The recent flap over Choco-Jesus is stranger than the usual case of this type, since it seems that the usual outrage professionals have worked themselves into the requisite dudgeon without even having a clear sense of why they’re supposed to be offended. Bill “The Jews Run Hollywood” Donohue blusters:
This is one of the worst assaults on Christian sensibilities ever. It’s not just the ugliness of the portrayal, but the timing — to choose Holy Week is astounding.
Now, the artist claims the planned timing was just a coincidence, which seems odd, because there’s one obvious way of understanding the piece that is both relevant to Easter and (one would think) not especially offensive to Christians. The chocolate bunny, after all, is a familiar Easter icon. Presenting a detailed, realistic chocolate Jesus at this time of year underscores the contrast between that cuddly, cartoonish image and the suffering Jesus is supposed to have endured in the Passion and resurrection. On this reading, the sculpture could be seen as a critique of the shallow public performance of the holiday in light of its more profound or authentic meaning.
If the timing really was coincidental, perhaps that’s not what the artist intended. Still, if you’re going to start blasting a piece of art on the grounds that it’s offensive, shouldn’t you at least try to look as though you’ve made some effort to come up with a theory about what the piece in question means, and whether it really is offensive?