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February 01, 2013 11:00 AM The Nazi Problem

By Daniel Luzer

Alabama’s Troy University has decided to cancel a faculty art show because the museum’s board of directors has decided some of the art was offensive. And, you know, weird.

According to an article by Chris Norwood in the Daily Home:

According to Heritage Hall office administrator Kelly Williams, “It was supposed to be a group exhibit for Troy University’s communication/fine arts/design program. There were nine artists that contributed, and the theme was ‘A Sense of Place.’ There was a piece by Ed Noriega that showed cans of Ajax, I guess, that had been relabeled, and had swastikas on the top. There were also some digitally altered images of the Virgin Mary holding a dead chicken in one hand and a broom and dust pan in the other. But the biggest problem was with the swastikas.”

Ah yes, the swastikas, always a bad idea for an art exhibition in an Alabama museum specializing in paintings of historic Talladega buildings and locally made pottery.

The troublesome artwork came from Edward Noriega, a professor of Art and Design at Troy University. It apparently included a picture of the Virgin Mary labeled “cleaning lady” in Spanish. Another piece featured a can of bleach with a swastika on it labeled “ethnic cleanser.”

There was also this one:

NaziAlabama

The professor explained that his work was a protest of House Bill 56, Alabama’s anti-immigration law.

The bill, signed into law two years ago, is the nation’s strictest piece of anti-illegal immigration legislation. It requires policy to determine legal status of people if they have any “reasonable suspicion that the people in question might be undocumented. It also prohibits illegal immigrants from receiving any public benefits at either the state or local level, prevents illegal immigrants from attending public colleges, prevents landlords from renting to illegal immigrants, and requires public elementary and high schools to “submit annual tallies on the suspected number of illegal immigrants” to the state. It’s a really tough law.

But as Noriega put it, “I wanted to be able to compare what Alabama is doing with that the Nazis did. I do believe that this law is a form of ethnic cleansing.”

Note: if you want to make a good point about policy, do not compare things
to the Third Reich. Just don’t. The law is bad, but it’s not that bad. [Image via]

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer