June 12, 2011 in City

Clark: Protest of Hindu idol artfully depicts idle minds

By The Spokesman-Review
 

I’m so glad that crazy prophet was wrong and the world didn’t end last month.

It would have been a damned shame to miss out on the sight of some of our own religious lunatics standing on a street corner in protest of a metal elephant.

That was the scene Friday in Coeur d’Alene.

Four adults and a couple of kids (hopefully, too young to know better) gathered at Sixth Street and Sherman Avenue. They politely held up signs warning the public about the unchristian evils of a nearby sculpture, a four-armed Hindu elephant god named Ganesha.

“No Idols,” read one sign.

“Idols Are Not Art,” read another.

“The Veneration of Idols is the Worship of Demons,” read still another.

This nutty protest coincided with the 5:30 p.m. dedication ceremony of ArtCurrents, Coeur d’Alene’s new public art program.

A small conspiratorial part of me keeps wondering if the ArtCurrents officials could have staged this tomfoolery as a sly way to promote their event.

I mean, come on. One of the so-called protesters wore a yellow polo shirt and blue plaid Bermuda shorts.

That’s not a protester – that’s a caddy.

Plus everybody knows that there’s no better draw for an art show than when the moralists start complaining that the art is naughty.

ArtCurrents features 15 pieces that are on display all over the Lake City. There’s a bass fiddle, a bull elk, blue heron …

Ganesha the elephant, however, is the only sculpture deemed unholy by sensitive members of the Kootenai County Constipation Party.

Did I write that?

What I meant was Constitution Party.

When I caught wind of this elephant uproar there was no doubt in my mind. I had to go to Coeur d’Alene and meet Lord Ganesha for myself.

The piece, created by Spokane’s Rick Davis, is an artistic rendering of the Hindu god of success and vanquisher of evils and obstacles.

It looks like Dumbo on acid.

Ganesha’s got a hatchet in one of his hands. He wears earrings, and the antennae curling out of his head reminded me of those springy “deely bobbers” they sell at the circus.

Oh, yeah. There’s also this strange rodent lurking under Ganesha’s chair.

I don’t know what the rat’s called so I nicknamed it “Hagadontha” in honor of a dude I once worked for.

True, I’m hardly an expert in Hindu deities. But from his flamboyant attire, I think Ganesha would make a terrific mascot for the Log Cabin Republicans.

This protest is so lame.

I grew up in the ’60s. Protests back then were over things like civil rights and the Vietnam War. You know, real issues.

And why pick on Ganesha?

About a block west of the elephant is a statue of this woman frolicking with a couple of otters.

I think the Constitution Party’s art critics oughta take a gander at that one. I don’t know what Otter Woman is up to, but it looks pretty unnatural if you catch my drift.

Upon closer inspection, however, these constipationalists may have a point. There is something definitely blasphemous about the pompous pachyderm Ganesha.

The $35,000 price tag.

Doug Clark is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review. He can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or by email at dougc@spokesman.com.

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