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Day 527: Offense Intended

So, Chris Rose fed the Sacrilegious Blasphemers Of Krewe du Vieux issue by waffling about it in today’s Times-Picayune Living Section. It’s his prerogative to sit on the fence about this or anything, but I draw the line at his interpretation of what other people said. Rose quotes our krewe captain, Lewis Schmidt, and then goes on to explicate what Lewis meant:

He reserved the right to point satire at any and all institutions and individuals and it comes down to one of those “It’s only a joke; we meant no offense” explanations but, as anyone who has experienced life by any measure can tell you: Those are the exact phrases that have marked the sudden and ignominious demise of many otherwise promising careers, friendships and romances.

This is what Lewis said:

“We’re very glad that the Catholic Church is exercising its right to free speech … We’re about satire, and that’s what we did.”

Where in these two sentences did Rose get the idea that Lewis, much less the rest of Krewe du Vieux, means no offense? We’re not apologetic, we don’t seem to have any regret about our krewe’s themes … ever. Ironically, the only float decision some of us have anguished over repeatedly, staunch Christians included, is being too conservative.

With some Christian inspiration from our very own Michael Homan, I penned Rose this personal email regarding his response to the Catholic protests and the above paragraph in particular:

[snip]

I appreciate your taking on the Catholics who currently capture media attention, more so because they’re being given it.

My response to this whole shebang is that this is

a) by Catholics, who support Carnival as a time to overindulge in and purge all vices before a month of fasting,
b) in a majority Catholic city and
c) about the use of said imagery in 2005.

Again, they should clean out their own houses before taking the proverbial scrubbers to the rest of humanity.

As for your “It’s a joke, we mean no offense” take on Schmidt’s statement:

It is a joke, and most of us at Krewe du Vieux do mean offense. It’s not art for art’s sake (our floats and costumes may be construed as such, but that’s in the eye of the beer holder); we’re having fun. If you’re offended, don’t come to the parade. That’s what the rest of Mardi Gras is for.

One of the problems with American self-righteousness today is that we are turning into Catholic / Christian / Muslim / Hindu / Atheist first and Americans second. The First Amendment exists for a reason, and we’re sticking to it.

However, if these folks insist on being Christians first, let them read Micah 6:8.

“And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly, and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God.”

Kindness to our fellow krewe members and the people who come to see us braving all (crime, cold, FEMA trailers, their unfinished homes) is the key. Let the self-righteous read their own book.

[snip]

People who live in glass houses should not call the kettle black, lest their sacred cows turn into tasty burgers … yadda yadda.

All this aside, man, did we have a good time! My arms and legs are still sore.

6 comments… add one
  • GentillyGirl February 6, 2007, 10:04 PM

    Thanks darlin’… I don’t feel so bad about my writings concerning this “flap”.

  • Adrastos February 6, 2007, 10:32 PM

    Way to go, Maitri. I was stunned that some people interpreted Rose’s comments as a stirring defense of free speech.

  • ashley February 7, 2007, 12:41 AM

    Look at my post. I quote what the mook said at the Captains ball, which is diametrically opposed to what he said in his column.

  • liprap February 7, 2007, 8:22 AM

    Give ’em hell, woman.

    8-)

  • Michael Homan February 7, 2007, 8:40 AM

    Great job Maitri. I’d imagine that many, if not most, of the members of Krewe du Vieux are Catholic. And carnival itself is of course very Catholic. As most krewes get increasingly tame, Krewe du Vieux remains spot on what the season celebrates: to celebrate the ups and downs of life and to make fun of social boundaries. If nobody was offended than that would be a mistake.

  • Slate February 9, 2007, 1:04 AM

    I am a recovering Catholic and a newbie to KdV. That having been said: GO MAITRI!

    I think the quotes that are at the bottom of my emails about sums up my views of this flap and Rose’s cowardice:

    ~~When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. – Hunter S. Thompson

    It IS weird, and we did.

    ~~Between two evils, I always pick the one I never tried before. – Mae West

    Mae knew what she was talking about!

    ~~The people who are regarded as moral luminaries are those who forego ordinary pleasures themselves and find compensation in interfering with the pleasures of others. – Bertrand Russell

    Self-explanatory.

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