Thursday, October 8, 2009

To See or Not To See - Mariano Gonzales' APU Exhibit Deemed Objectionable, To Be Removed

Doug North, President of Alaska Pacific University, wants to muzzle free expression.

It began with this note, which had replaced a mysteriously "disappeared" note North had earlier placed on the wall at Mariano Gonzales' Grant Hall exhibit, last Friday afternoon:
Since North's ill-advised, dumbed-down expression of outrage was posted, people who view Gonzales' question, "Why are Americans still dying in the Middle East?" as inappropriate or unpatriotic, or.....? have convinced North to muzzle Gonzales.

Some are also concerned that Gonzales' display of the American flag violates U.S. Code. It does not. Others claim that if kids come into Grant Hall for events and see "FUCK!!!" written on the wall, it will have an adverse impact upon their personality.

If you want to see the exhibit, if you want to comment for or against our current war policies, you'd better get over to Grant Hall at Alaska Pacific University pretty soon, because the exhibit will be long gone by October 25th, the scheduled closing day.

Speaking of profound respect for the American flag:

Update - 10:45 p.m. Thursday: Mariano Gonzales has informed me that the interactive installation will be moved to another gallery at Alaska Pacific University, rather than be terminated early.


clark said...

i guess the free exchange of ideas wasn't appropriate for a university setting?

Steve said...

Unfortunately, I left before the exhibit was open and will be back after it closes. But I understood that the exhibit simply asks a question and allows viewers to write their answers on the wall.

Asking why about an American political policy is now something that is inappropriate at a university?

If the exhibit is shut down, then perhaps this means APU isn't really a university. When a school is so dependent on donors that it can't resist pressure on something like this, the essence of being a university is gone. But, hey, the President's letter doesn't say he is shutting it down, so maybe this is a false alarm. We'll see.

btw, What does '2977 reminders' mean?

Philip Munger said...


Nothing in writing yet. Mariano was told verbally yesterday that the exhibit will have to come down early. The letter is posted to show that President North felt offended from the get-go. The decision to pull it, though, is his, according to my sources.

We'll see if the Anchorage MSM even touches this with a ten-foot pole. I doubt they have the courage. Let's hope they prove me wrong.

2,977 is the official estimate of 9/11 victim numbers, IIRC.

clark said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jim said...

The second amendment seems a lot more popular than the first in Alaska-- you can carry guns just about anywhere, but there are far fewer places where you can voice your opinions or artistically express them.

Mark said...

Disclaimer? Well, my oldest son just returned from a tour with the Marine Corps in Helland Province.

Please, is "North's ill-advised, dumbed-down expression of outrage " the ONLY "ill-advised" "expression of outrage"? Or do you count the reference to the US Flag Code which you said you disagreed with the interpretation of vis a vis the display in question a "dumbed-down expression of outrage" as well?
Like President North, I have seen only photos but it sure looks like performance art to me. His description of it as "facile guerilla theater" seems pretty accurate.
Mark Springer

Philip Munger said...


No, I don't regard the interpretation of the US code re flags as a "dumbed-down expression of outrage," merely highly opinionated. Have you expressed outrage at the way ex-Gov. Palin draped herself in the American flag upon occasion, or had it dangle over furniture for her "Runners' World" self-portrait?

I'm a Veteran and am involved with many ceremonies involving our flag. I wouldn't have participated had I not felt Prof. Gonzales' installation to be within the bounds of acceptability.

Re President Doug North, the more I find out about him, the less impressed I am.

jim said...

I was going to comment on Palin's exploitation of the U.S. flag too.

I wonder if the flag code is constitutional. The stuff about lapels, and who may wear lapels, is confusing.

Has anyone ever been prosecuted for violating the flag code?

Anonymous said...


Your son and you must believe that he is serving the principles of the American constitution, which is an honorable motive. But these very principles, many of us believe have been violated by recent and current presidents. Hence, "guerilla theatre" a very appropriate artistic expression in such times, in my view.

Some of the constitutional violations are seizing power for the executive branch from the other two guarantors of freedom, the congress and courts, by waging war without a legitimate declaration and under false pretenses. Breaking treaty obligations, by violating the Geneva conventions through use of torture and bombing of civilian infrastructure meant to punish the populace and not the criminals, Revoking habeous corpus through the unlawful passage of the patriot act, violating "posse comitatus" by bringing military forces and private contractors to "police and intimidate" the American populace into silence. I could go on. And by the way, Doug North has no right to invoke all those who died on September eleven, not only because he used it as Bush used it as an excuse to wage war and devestate Iraq, which it has been born out had absolutely nothing to do with the events of 911, but because many of the families of the victims have spoken out about using thier suffering to justify this unjustifiable war.

So much for free speech in America.


funkalunatic said...

In Second World War we had Pacific and European Theater. In modern Perpetual War we have Guerrilla Theater!

clark said...

i'd like to see the title 'guerrilla theater art' recycled in the near future.
let's not let mr. north off the hook easily for his smallmindedness.