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Wednesday, January 11, 2012
CNS' Starr Has Another Anti-Gay Freakout Over Art Exhibit

The Media Research Center, led by's Penny Starr, earned a Slantie award lst year for manufacturing a controversy over a gay-themed exhibit at a Smithsonian-operated art museum. The anti-gay Starr apparently liked that award so much, she's trying to manufacture another right-wing freakout over another art exhibit.

Starr cranks up the anti-gay outrage in a Jan. 10 CNS article:

For the second year in a row, the federally funded National Portrait Gallery (NPG), a part of the Smithsonian Institution, held an exposition during the Christmas season focused on the homosexual lifestyle.

“Seeing Gertrude Stein: Five Stories,” an exhibition appearing at the NPG from Oct. 14, 2011 through Jan. 22, 2012, focuses on lesbian activist and writer Gertrude Stein.

The exhibit, set up in five rooms at the taxpayer-funded museum, highlights Stein’s lesbian relationship with Alice B. Toklas and Stein’s “second family” of homosexual men, some of whom collaborated with Stein on various projects.

The whole thing is pure Depiction-Equals-Approval Fallacy. Starr is obsessed with tax money being spent on gay things -- even though she admits that the Stein exhibit was paid for by private funds, she adds that "all Smithsonian museums receive federal funding." Here's the question she asked Smithsonian officials about the exhibit:

“In the past 14 months, NPG has mounted two exhibitions--Hide and Seek, and Gertrude Stein--that include a focus on the homosexual lifestyle. Given that NPG mounts less than a dozen exhibits annually, is there a reason that two exhibits within the past 14 months have included a focus on the homosexual lifestyle and is that part of NPR's mission as a national and taxpayer-funding institution?”

On top of echoing the right-wing trope that homosexuality is nothing more than a "lifestyle," Starr got her facts wrong about the number of exhibits the gallery hosts; at the end of her article, she notes that the gallery hosted 22 exhibits during the past year.

Starr is also rather late to the game -- the Stein exhibit opened in October and closes on Jan. 22. Starr seems to be attributing her tardiness to a squabble with the Smithsonian over whether she could take pictures in the exhibit; that request was denied, so instead her article is accompanied with pictures of exhibits as they appear in the book on the exhibition.

All in all, a pretty sad attempt. Starr's anti-gay agenda, it seems, has overtaken her so-called journalism.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:46 PM EST

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