I feel like I am living in a tospy turvy weirdo world in which a magnificent sculpture that has stood for centuries is somehow a threat to the innocence of children who might view his nudity. Michelangelo created David between 1501 and 1504 and it has been seen by millions of people each year 1, 252 508, at last count.. Galleria dell’Accademia is his current place of display. There are 30 replicas of this symbol of strength throughout the world and who knows how many mini versions? If you are interested in learning about all things David, check out this article that offers insight into the sculpture that has suddenly raised intense scrutiny in Florida. While this work of art has had its share of raised eyebrows for its well endowed depiction of the biblical hero and king, this is taking it to the extreme.
In the midst of a lesson on classical art in a charter school in Florida, a few parents complained that their 6th grade children were exposed to pornography in the form of this classic sculpture. As a result, the principal, Hope Carrasaquilla was instructed to either resign or be fired. According to the school district, the problem wasn’t simply that she dared to show the bare naked depiction of the young man who would be king after slaying the giant, Goliath, in the biblical accounting, but that parents were not notified in advance that their students would be viewing the sculpture.
The worldwide response has been amusing with memes of David’s genitals covered with the shape of the state of Florida, an assault rifle, a dress, Mickey Mouse and the plastic non-descript body of a Ken doll making the rounds. Another shows an image of nuns in Italy taking a selfie in front of Michelangelo’s artwork.
I sigh in amazement that these parents assume that children don’t know that people are naked under their clothes. There is nothing sexual about the statue. He is not engaging in sexual activity. His hand is not on his not-so-private parts. If the child came home from school mentioning what they saw, it could open up a whole conversation about the beauty of the human body. Sixth grade children are 12 or 13 years old, either entering puberty or soon to do so. If their parents have not discussed biology and human anatomy with them by then, they are seriously lagging behind.
The museum in Florence, Italy where David ‘lives’ has invited folks from the school to visit and see first hand, the beauty of the artistry. There was also a personal invitation from the mayor of the town, Dario Nardella to the besieged principal to visit so he could, “honor her”. I hope she is scooped up by a new school who would be lucky to have such a forward thinking principal on staff.
The same rigid, bigoted thinking led to the removal of two sweet songs from the lineup at an elementary school concert. The first, Rainbow Land, sung by written by Dolly Parton and performed originally by the musical legend and her protegee’ Miley Cyrus was considered “contentious” by the school board in Waukesha, Wisconsin for encouraging cooperation which, apparently, is controversial. Doesn’t the district have an anti-bullying policy? Wouldn’t this be the perfect anthem?
Some of the lyrics, “you and I go hand in hand.” “all the hurt and the hate going on here, it needs to stop here.” “We are rainbows, me and you / Every color, every hue.” They proudly proclaim, “dig down deep inside / Brush the judgment and fear aside / Make wrong things right / And end the fight.'” In this battle for acceptance, the stars remind us that if we stick to constant conflict instead of acceptance, “ain’t nobody gonna win.”
The second was Rainbow Connection originally crooned by another musical legend, Kermit The Frog, singing about stars and rainbows and wishes and dreams…oh, the horror!
Clearly, the objection is the fear that children are being indoctrinated to accept each other and themselves for being who they truly are. I wonder what kind of world these people who object to diversity want to see.
A world of fear and hatred and conformity or one of peace, love and understanding? The answer seems sadly clear. This rainbow sheep of my family would love to see the ideology that was expressed in Marlo Thomas’ 1972 mind and heart opening album called Free To Be You and Me.
“To a land where the river runs free.
To a land through the green country
To a land to a shining sea
To a land where the horses run free
To a land where the children are free
And you and me are free to be you and me.”