Recently, I was blocked on Face Book for posting the below photo of the First Lady Melania Trump. Aside from the annoying interruption of one’s daily addiction and far flung communications ease, the incident got me thinking about censorship. I believe Face Book’s blocking of nude images is no doubt derived from a calculated desire to prevent pornographic nastiness from offending nice people. To apply that assumption to the image of the new First lady is an interesting proposition. Thus, abandoning all nuances to the contrary Face Book considers apriori Melania Trump, First Lady of America to be a porno babe, and thus her womanly lusciousness is licentious rather than artfully natural and Eve-like, and so must be blocked to save the children, enfeebled elderly reverends subject to possession, rutty middle aged tycoons, etc..and so on…
However, there is not some prude, pursed-mouth Zuckerberg church person ensconced in a moldy Face Book basement busily censoring steaming nudes that offend the sensibilities of the general public. Rather, there is probably an algorithm or two which in their digital wisdom ferret out V’jajas, Penises, Tits and Ass with all the cold passion of a Torquemada. Although, Gawd only knows, that the Renaissance penchant for micro man appendages and lady/girl breasts might be overlooked by the mighty detailed mathematics of size and volume ascribed by numbers acquiring censorship by an all knowing machine. Maybe this is Face Book’s snarky reference to Deus Ex Machina.
Face Book has been sustaining serious criticism over its censorship, because of booboo’s such as blocking images of Courbet, Mapplethorp, Cezanne, Ingre, Picasso, which in kitsch terms appear on every vase, fan, collectable plate and millions of postcards. The Renaissance gets a particularly bad rap, when Donatello, Michelangelo, Raphael, and the venerable Titian get mugged by Face Book’s tasteful and humorless algorithms. Art suffers.
In defense I tried to present the case which many Trump apologists often make in the convoluted hype-style of spokes-creature Kellyanne, I’m not Goebbels, Conway, that Melania’s expose was in fact a case of fine art and thus should be exempted from censorship. After all, her hatch port is discreetly covered by a well manicured hand worthy of a lady. Furthermore, she is wearing heels. Unfortunately here lacking, a proper iconography would insist on wearing pearls to demand the dull viewer recognize a proper lady when present.
The ‘other’ gods do have a sense of humor though. The overlapping shadow selves of Madame Trump form what appears to be a fluttering scarf emerging from her private parts like a poltergeist. If we stick to a model of sacred art and consider this a Madonna portrait, then this ‘accident’ of technology might be considered a sign of the emerging Holy Ghost and therefore perfectly legitimate.
I even made the case that the lithe, sensuous body of Jesus cradled by his Mother in the Pieta enshrined in the Vatican has a similar well placed covering over his divine private parts, not unlike Melania’s lovely hand, but rather a discreet T-towel-like devise that completes the modest sanctity that is religious convention. I didn’t mention that Michelangelo was gay and particularly attuned to the male body. Well, clearly the algorithms, who are pissed off by Medieval and Renaissance porno slackers, aren’t buying it.
In the current atmosphere of Trump world one is strongly ‘advised’ to accept the notion that fashion models usually pose in the nude, because as the ‘normalizers’ would have it: The human body is a beautiful and natural thing to behold. However, it must be noted that a clear distinction between the two below portrayals cleanly distinguishes the difference between soft, sacred, peach-like breasts and those of current fashion, which are more like turgid tether balls. To my art historian’s mind, what separates the nude of the Holy Mother/Eve persuasion from those of the Magdalen party girl set are accessories. You dear reader be the judge:
Face Book algorithms unmoved by Renaissance naturalism, seem immune to the naked charms inherent in the natural beauty of the human body as exhibited by the most elevated woman in the Western world.
Unfortunately, Melania’s grumpy scowl makes her look like she’s being stripped searched at customs for Cartier contraband, rather than a sexy siren’s alluring stare or a working madonna’s erstwhile wholesomeness. In a last ditch effort to grovel for a pardon, I did mention the most recent Melania biographic documentary in which some tool from her younger days, says unequivocally that even back then she was known as a ‘modeling prodigy’. Ah huh…………….
Prolific these days are the screamers and howlers of ‘slut shaming,’ which any photos of Melania in her birthday suit engender in relation to her new status as the First Lady of the United States. If it’s any consolation to her I would recommend reading up on the Empress Theodora, although I doubt Melania has the talent to acquire that great lady’s ascent from the lair of her bear trainer father and ‘actress’ mother.
I have mixed feelings about this. I am tainted by conditioning to the dignity, grace, and accomplishments assumed by traditional State propaganda for First ladies, who are expected to represent the ideals of 300 million citizens as the apogee of American traditions and aspirations. The White House is a conservative model of those aspirations. Trump Tower is like a Las Vegas powder room on steroids.
‘Slut shaming’ is an interesting and controversial word these days, in that ‘sluts’ have been given such a bad rap by the righteous outraged, who now embrace the appearance of such as the natural beauty of the human body. It’s all very confusing, this launch into New Speak which will echo the zeitgeist of Trumptopian primitives. For example, I am puzzled why artificial blond hair, and sleeveless red dresses are so de rigueur. Can’t the righteous afford sleeves? Is FOX News now MSNBC. Is there a map of Trumptopia? Does it look like Middle Earth? Is Trump Tower Sauron’s lair?
As for sluts, some of my best friends were sluts, including myself, who was quite proficient in the humping arts for a handful of my youthful years and so emphasize an appreciation for the esthetics of amorous sport. Fortunately I did not gold-leaf dig a shady billionaire husband, who exposed my ‘artistic’ past in the full glare of his narcissistic demands for world adulation. Poor Melania, slut sister or no, be comforted, Face Book has your back….and front.
Although Face Book’s censorship punishment for crimes against body parts seems a minor contretemps in the day to day business of online life, it struck an ominous note with me. I felt greatly disturbed by the helplessness I felt when my major source of information was cut off without appeal. Those who are familiar with Face Book soon realize that in a counter-intuitive irony, it is virtually impossible to deal with an actual customer service human person. Algorithms are in charge. There is no appeal.
Can you imagine how quickly life would change in this country if the media hating fascist martinets with which Trump has staffed his Cabinet pulled a Face Book cut-off on its critics and opponents? Think 1984. Think Germany 1933.