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Port: When museums must resort to porn websites to share art, we've got a problem

We shouldn't be OK with this.

Kolo_Moser_-_Liebespaar_-_ca1913.jpg
Liebespaar by Koloman Moser, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
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MINOT, N.D. — In 2002, U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, a devout Christian, became the butt of many jokes after the Justice Department put up drapes (they cost a ridiculous $8,000 ) to hide the bare breasts on the Spirit of Justice statue often seen in the background of news conferences.

Ashcroft's aversion to the female form seemed quaintly out of touch at the time.

Who knew he was on the cutting edge of culture?

OnlyFans is a website that allows individual content creators to deliver photos and videos directly to their audiences, usually for money. It's mostly used by pornographers, which is why you might not want to admit that you know what it is, but among its more recent sign-ups is the Vienna Tourism Board.

Yes, that Vienna and, yes, they're sharing nudes.

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The capital of Austria is famous for its art, and the tourism folks want to share it. Only, doing that in these prudish times is difficult. When the Austrians tried to share a video of the Venus of Willendorf , a 25,000-year-old mother goddess statue, it was taken down by Facebook. "Liebespaar," a 1913 painting by Koloman Moser featuring a nude couple embracing, was also censored.

That's not the only example of art censorship on social media, so the Austrians have turned to OnlyFans, both as a temporary way to share their art with the world, but also as a protest of the prudes running the mainstream social media platforms.

Nor is social media the only front in the war against censorship. In 2017, the Austrians approached several European cities with a proposal to run large ads featuring the work of Egon Schiele that would promote a show of his art. "Officials in England and in Germany deemed the images too explicit," The New York Times reports .

Another form of art, the comedy stylings of Dave Chappelle , is also under fire. In his recent Netflix special, Chappelle had some provocative things to say about transgender issues and censorship which have prompted sometimes violent mobs of protesters, including some Netflix employees , to demand the show be taken down.

I can't give you an opinion on what Chappelle said on Netflix as I haven't seen it yet.

I hope I get a chance before it's censored.

Frustratingly, this crackdown on art is juxtaposed with our society's embrace of low-brow politics and entertainment. President Joe Biden is seemingly followed everywhere these days by profane chants from crowds (they're not saying "Let's go Brandon" ). The putative leader of the Republican party, meanwhile, is Donald Trump , the Vincent van Gogh of puerile bombast.

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We live in a time when museums must resort to porn websites to share art and even A-list celebrities like Chappelle imperil their careers by taking on controversial topics.

It's not something we should be ok with.

To comment on this article, visit www.sayanythingblog.com

Rob Port, founder of SayAnythingBlog.com, is a Forum Communications commentator. Reach him on Twitter at @robport or via email at rport@forumcomm.com .

Rob Port column sig
Rob Port

Rob Port column sig
Rob Port

Rob Port is a news reporter, columnist, and podcast host for the Forum News Service. He has an extensive background in investigations and public records. He has covered political events in North Dakota and the upper Midwest for two decades. Reach him at rport@forumcomm.com. Click here to subscribe to his Plain Talk podcast.
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