In an unexpected turn of events, Newsweek has revealed their recent story concerning false allegations that military interrogators flushed the Koran down a toilet was actually funded by the National Endowment for the Arts.
“I’ve always loved Andres Serrano,” said one of the Newsweek reporters who broke the story, “In fact, he personally taught me how to fill a urine cup. I had one of his autographed cups gilded. It’s on my mantelpiece today. I figure it’s worth maybe a quarter million.”
Serrano, well-known for his marvelous artistic work, “Piss Christ,” which submerged a crucifix into a jar of his own urine, applauded his student’s work. “Well, of course people died!” he replied in response to this reporter’s queries, “That’s the essence of art. That’s what I love about the Arab street - Moslems have the hearts of artists. What I’ve been teaching for years is that we need to ascend to a radically new level of performance art and now we’re beginning to get there.”
Accomplished artist Chris Ofili agreed. Ofili is well-known for his spectacular rendition of the Holy Virgin Mary, which represents her exposed breast as a ball of elephant dung, and replaces the angels that traditionally crowd around her with cut-outs of human buttocks.
“The problem with American Catholics is they don’t understand art. They look at this work of mine, they see it, and what do they do? They write letters of protest! I mean, is that it? That’s all?? I’m trying to provoke a real involvement in society, maybe a riot, maybe some arson, and all I get is letters and a couple of white folk carrying signs.”
“I was really in a funk about that for a long time.” Ofili continued, “I had just about given up on America. But then this happens! Newsweek reporters are my kind of people. The NEA drops a dime on one of my students and Newsweek was there to play this into a big happening. I wish I could have been in Afghanistan to see the blood flow!”
German anatomist and chemist Gunther von Hagens was also highly enthusiastic about the Newsweek work. Hagens, who calls himself the Plastinator, takes dead human bodies, peels away the skin, extracts all water and fat and injects them with silicone and other polymers, and then presents them, flayed for better viewing, in various states of dismemberment. This exhibit has toured art museums internationally.
“What I want to do now is get those corpses, plastinate them, and continue Newsweek’s work,” said Hagens. “The problem is, we didn’t get enough bodies. I’m working with reporters at Newsweek, Time and CBS right now to finish another grant proposal to the NEA. Flushing the Koran was a good first step, but it’s time to move on. We’re proposing one of those suicide bombers detonate himself near the Ka’aba.”
The Ka’aba is the holiest site in Islam, a meteorite which has been at the center of Arab worship since well before Mohammed.
“Take out the Ka’aba and the Moslems will go NUTS!" Hagens said, "That should get us the kind of body count that today’s art demands. In fact,” he added, “we don’t even have to take it out. We just publish an article saying that Bush has targeted it for destruction. Everybody who reads our stuff already has the vision of Bush that we want them to have. It will be easy!”
“This is what art is all about,” enthused an NEA board member, “Art builds on reality. When we first saw the Newsweek proposal to invent a story about desecrating the Koran, I have to say I was not very excited. In America, we have desecrated everything we could think of and it never got us more than a few nasty notes from some ignorant hotheads.”
“We have been striving to evoke the 60’s again, to bring back the riots, the smell of tear gas, the rubber bullets. All of this is an important part of American culture. It’s hard to believe, but many young people today have literally never run down the street with their clothes on fire from an exploding smoke grenade.”
Other NEA members agreed, “Americans are too willing to take anything we dish out. Every bit of artwork we’ve funded, from ripping apart children in the womb to paying off judges to hijack the Constitution, it doesn’t matter. Nothing works anymore. We needed to find people with backbone, people who would stand up to us so we could laugh as we crushed them. We can’t get Americans to riot anymore.”
“Oh, sure, killing Schiavo was fun,” added another, “and we don’t regret a dime of the money we spent on our best up-and-coming artists, men like George Felos and Judge Greer, but that was a one-time thing. The NEA has finally found a way to take performance art worldwide. We’re done with wrapping islands in plastic. Let’s start wrapping the Koran in dog vomit!”