Insults, Injuries, Ignorance

It sometimes happens that a news item catches people’s imagination and spawns countless comments that border on the pornographic or blasphemous.

A case in point is the so-called restoration of the painting that has been re-christened Cecilia Giménez’s Ecce Homo and inevitably, several other paintings, including The Scream and La Gioconda, were adorned with the botched version of the painting, originally by Elias Garcia Martinez.

The furore obtaining after the event came from two blocs: those who called the painting sacrilegious and wanted it re-restored forthwith, and the plebs who wanted it preserved for posterity because of its oddball charm.  Chartered trips were organised to allow the (non-?)Faithful to ogle at it, and countless Facebook Groups about it were set up.

Then came the bombshell. The Sanctuary of Mercy Church in Borja, near Zaragoza, began charging gawkers an entrance fee; the sum of €2,000 was collected in the first four days.  Thus was the red rag anti-clericals needed to expound upon the avariciousness of the Church.

Because of the repercussions, Giménez “had become a virtual recluse”; it was therefore a surprise to note that the ‘frail old lady’ wanted a slice of the action.

Inevitably, the reverberations of this demand were great – possibly greater than when she did the deed that started the ball rolling.

However – and this is a big let-down by the media, even the local one – it was not reportedwhy the self-styled restorer wanted a share of the profits.  Perhaps it would not make good press to inform the readership and the viewership that Giménez did not desire the money for herself, but stipulated that it was to go to charities working on behalf of those who, like her son, have Muscular Atrophy.

This is yet another instance of how the media manipulates facts in order to sway public opinion, and how ignorance and arrogance sometimes masquerade as journalism.

It also shows how those who are in a position of power do not always wield it correctly – and how, often enough, they do not do their homework, hoping that the rest of us will take their plagiarised or regurgitated waffle as gospel truth because “we read it in the papers” or “we saw it on television”.  We do not realise that some information has been withheld, or that a person is being quoted out of context, or that the facts have been edited to coincide with the political or religious views of that particular medium.

In a totally different context, we have been told that “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing” – combine this with a modicum of power vested in someone, and you have an infuriating, potentially treacherous situation.

This happens, for instance, when a junior doctor at the hospital is too conceited to call the head of the firm, and misdiagnoses a terminal condition, indicating it is something totally different.

Just this morning, I was talking to two of my friends who have family members with learning difficulties, who avail themselves of respite care at different places. The first one said that her brother was always reluctant to leave home, but once he went inside the other buildings, he visibly relaxed and enjoyed himself. The second one said that her brother willingly goes to two of these places, but balks when the third is mentioned, and always mentions one particular member of the staff.

It is obvious that a “failure to communicate verbally” is sometimes taken to mean that a person is not aware of what is happening.

I saw this happen a couple of Sundays ago at Mass. The altar-boys approached a couple and asked them to represent the congregation at the Offertory. Instinctively, the mother suggested that her daughter would replace her. “But is she capable of doing it?” asked the older one, loudly enough to attract the attention of those of us in the immediate vicinity.

The SLA of my friend’s daughter was not pulling her weight, and this did not sit right with my friend. When she complained at the appropriate levels, she was told that “at least” the child had “someone”, for there were many other children who were still being assessed.

The incident best filed under “I am not homophobic but…” has Paris Hilton’s tirade ending with “You’ll like, die of AIDS.”  The rant happened in a taxi, and no one would have known, save for the fact that the driver recorded it. So Hilton made a U-turn and specified that she was “merely” talking about homosexuals who use Grindr to find casual partners for sex.

The apology was carried on GLAAD’s website, and read, in part, “I am so sorry and so upset that I caused pain to my gay friends, fans and their families. Gay people are the strongest and most inspiring people I know.”

This, in itself, opens another can of worms. Given that this was “a private conversation” with a homosexual friend, why did she not sue the driver for breach of privacy?  Did she think it was more expedient to apologise profusely and have a spokesperson simper that “Paris’s comments were to express that it is dangerous for anyone to have unprotected sex that could lead to a life-threatening disease. It was not her intent to make any derogatory comments about all gays.”, because it keeps the limelight on her rather than shining it on the unknown third part?

Why do we have to have every single word that Paris Hilton says, every single dress that Suri Cruise wears, what Richard Burton said about female leads who were not Elizabeth Taylor, and who has been seen with whom, and more non-mews of this ilk, thrown into our faces?

Who, locally, has spoken of Michael Jackson’s posthumously-released “Pro-Life” song calledAbortion Papers?


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