Notes on Enrique Chagoya’s “When Paradise Arrived”

Enrique Chagoya is the Stanford professor and artist whose image of Jesus involved in a sex act was destroyed by a Loveland grandmother and truck driver.

While I like his pastiches of Goya, I didn’t like “Misadventures of the Romantic Cannibals” and I find Chagoya’s “When Paradise Arrived” just crude and offensive.

Its message is obvious: “when paradise arrived, the powerful destroyed the powerless”. This alarm was first raised in Latin America by Bartolome las Casas in the 16th century.

What Chagoya ignores is that if oppression is represented in a cartoonlike or ironic fashion (such as a giant Mickey Mouse glove), people often take the side of the oppressor.

Adorno collaborated with others on films meant to discourage anti-Semitism and authoritarianism in the late 1940s, only to discover that the audience identified with the “funny” anti-Semite and authoritarian.

Francis Ford Coppolla intended to make an antiwar film in Apocalypse Now, only to make a catchphrase for macho idiots who have of old loved da smell of napalm in da morning, and found the destruction of a beautiful public school in a seaside village a laff riot. These jagoffs have since applauded a series of brutal American wars and the destruction of American K-12 education.

Goya’s Esto es Peor “This is Worse” ain’t funny. The Ibero-British Peninsular War was a damned serious business. Enrique, please take note. Fascism is too Fascinating for you to Fuck around with it.

My brothers drive trucks despite having a good education and the ability to write, because they are men who have supported their families for years in an education system in which graduate school creates famine from plenty. I am most offended by the binary opposition between “Stanford Professor” and “truck driver” in many articles about the Loveland incident.

Many artists drive trucks to support their careers, especially if they don’t want to be institutionally affiliated, here with a school founded by one of your basic robber barons in which identity politics is one more way to jockey for vectors of power. I feel, reading Chagoya’s own biography at Stanford, that he would rather be considered an artist.

Chagoya needs to drain his work of irony and study feminist-political art (notably Holzer).


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