Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Why did school authorities want this mural painted over?

A reader sent me a link to the following story. Liz Bierendy is a 17-year-old student at a school in Rhode Island in the U.S. She painted a mural for her school depicting the progression of a boy from childhood to adulthood. Have a look at the mural below:

Pilgrim High School mural, Warwick Rhode Island, by Liz Bierendy
It seems that school authorities saw the mural and felt it to be offensive. They ordered that part of the mural should be painted over.

Can you guess why? Here's a clue: the "offensive" part of the mural is the bit at the end.

The authorities did not like Liz Bierendy's portrayal of the family. According to Liz Bierendy she was told that portraying a man getting married to a woman and forming a family,
may be offensive to some people because it is not how society views a family anymore because some people may not grow up with a mother and the whole marriage type thing may be a religious symbol.

I am tempted here to write "Really?" about a thousand times. But I should know better. I have explained in detail myself why liberals have issues with the standard traditional family. I shouldn't be surprised if liberals treat seemingly innocent depictions of the family as being too suspicious to be rendered into art.

The mural was only saved when a higher official, a school superintendent, stepped in and used his authority to allow the mural to stand in its current form:
The section of the mural featuring the family was ordered painted over by school officials. Bierendy said she was notified prior but she was still "pretty upset." The Superintendent of Warwick Schools Peter Horoschak has since stepped in and asked that the student be allowed to finish the mural however she sees fit.

Bierendy says she is going to take the weekend to “think about this,” and on Monday she will decide how to finish the mural.

In a statement released by Superintendent Peter Horoschak he said "some of the members of the Pilgrim High School community suggested that the depiction of a young man’s development from boyhood through adulthood as displayed may not represent the life experiences of many of the students at Pilgrim High School."

Update: I've just read some comments in a local newspaper about the issue. Most readers are supportive of the mural, but those few that are against really do believe that the mural is an attempt to impose religion or "religious values" in public schools.

Is the American left really going to go down this path and view the family as a "religious symbol" that must be kept out of public life?

It's a serious development as a society needs a stable culture of family life to prosper, but public authorities will not be able to promote such a culture if it is deemed to be a "religious value" that cannot be favoured within public settings.


  1. This is the sort of thing that makes me want to disengage. To just say "You and your society are going to crash, burn, and die. I want no part of it." and move to some Christian enclave.

  2. Erik,

    I think we need to do both. We need to "disengage" in the sense that we recognise that the mainstream is toxic and that we will only survive if we can create our own institutions/counterculture/communities. But we should still engage the mainstream and seek what successes we can have there.

  3. I've never understood why some people are offended by a reminder that some people have different lives than they do.

  4. This might interest you...

    Men not marrying? How deep does "the problem" go?

    About this user
    I'm a divorced mother of three who's tired of living in a society that treats men like assholes and women like children. I have a blog, owningyourshit.blogspot.com, and also write at avoiceformen.com, where I try to convince anyone who'll listen to start thinking of men as human beings, and start insisting women collectively grow up.

  5. They could simply add a last frame showing the man thrown from the home in handcuffs,that should satisfy those "realists."

  6. I tried to guess the offensive bit before seeing the answer and could only come up with the fact that the boy happens to be Caucasian at every single stage of his life!

    I wish the superintendent would adopt a less noncommittal position than asking that she be allowed to finish it "as she sees fit." I'm sure a strong affirmation of a traditional family structure would find a lot of public support, even in liberal New England.

  7. ... and move to some Christian enclave.

    What Christian enclave?

  8. They're not offended by the mural. They hate it and want it and all it represents destroyed.

    If in the mural he had married a black woman, with a black chil', they would be shoving this mural down our throats.

  9. "What Christian enclave?"

    The one we're not telling you about.

  10. I'll be interested to see how far this story goes. When I was alerted to it the only news sources were those from a local radio station and a couple of small websites. I was the third ranked source on google. It was then picked up in Australia by Tim Blair and Andrew Bolt. I notice this morning that there are now ten pages of google results - it's been picked up widely on smaller, independent websites. But will it go mainstream?

  11. It's a sad, sad day when something as natural as a family composed of both parents and their children is viewed as some sort of horrific anomaly meant never to be seen.

    I feel bad for future generations. Possibly deprived the presence of both parents under this assumption that "it's perfectly natural" is a horrible thing to have imposed on you.

  12. This young artist and the whole incident shows us that culture is crucial. A very simple drawing by a child has more influence than a thousand opinion pieces. This is why Hollywood is so valuable to the left - a picture maybe worth a thousand words, but a movie or TV series (West Wing, Daily Show, Bill Maher, Glee, Modern Family, Harvey Milk, Avatar, Law and Order, etc,etc) must be worth billions of words. The late Andrew Breitbart understood that until conservatives get involved in the media (make movies, TV and news), they'll be fighting a losing battle. A simple citizen-journalist piece that Breitbart supported brought down ACORN overnight and another piece almost finished off Planned Parenthood. This is the approach to follow, the mainstream media a demonstrably liberal-leaning and will not investigate themselves.

  13. I saw the movie "21 Jump Street" which portrayed an eco loving, trendy, "tolerant" and effete young male left winger as a baddy, and did so in an amusing way. It was hardly a conservative movie but did certainly ridicule the left.

  14. The moment I read the mural was offensive I immediately guessed it was because of the end.
    It's bad faith on the part of the school; asking a student to design a mural and then painting it over - but a good life lesson, this girl will quickly learn that for the modern age, approval and inoffensiveness matters more than being correct or principled convictions.