Some people were scandalized when secular celebrities from Rihanna to Madonna dressed up in glitzy bishop hats and bejeweled crowns of crosses for the hot-ticket Metropolitan Museum of Art gala in Manhattan. The fundraiser was organized around the theme "Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination," based on an exhibit containing items loaned by the Vatican.
The Catholic Church has a rich history of imagery for fashion designers to explore. But their tweaking of religious imagery was a child's game of patty-cake next to Time magazine, which delighted in publishing a related piece titled "The Story Behind This Photo of Stormy Daniels as the Virgin Mary."
"Let's try to remember 2002, when we were still a nation capable of shock," Time's Susanna Schrobsdorff mused. Artist Nika Nesgoda, who was raised Catholic, took a series of photographs in which she recreated iconic paintings of the Virgin Mary using porn actors as models, including a performer using the name Stormy Daniels. One painting exploits the 14th-century painting of the Annunciation with the archangel Gabriel that is now displayed in the renowned Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy. Nesgoda told the East Hampton Star, "I was steeped in the church's iconography and the suspicion and guilt and everything that goes along with that iconography."
In the Time article, Nesgoda preposterously attempted to blur the sacred and the profane beyond all recognition. "The models in my pictures are both marginalized and glorified," she claimed. "Like the Virgin, they are untouchable and misunderstood." The writer gushed over this suddenly relevant photographer, saying, "There was no way she could have predicted that she'd wake up one day to find that one of her former models, Stormy Daniels, was at the center of a political, cultural, legal maelstrom that could alter the course of American presidential history, or at least the cold open of 'Saturday Night Live.'"
This was just the latest attempt by Time magazine, as it fades into oblivion like Newsweek and U.S. News & World Report, to paint Daniels as a heroine. "As the reputations of almost everyone in the President's orbit implode in real time, she stands slightly apart from the verbal brawls between lawyers and pundits on cable TV," wrote Schrobsdorff.
A month ago, this same scribe gushed at the front of the magazine, "Stormy Daniels, porn star, director, entrepreneur and fiercely funny tweeter, might just be the woman the resistance needs."
It's one thing for liberal journalists to revel in the contradictions of a president dealing with the scandal of paying a porn star hush money at the same time he promotes religious freedom and the National Day of Prayer at the White House. It's another thing for the media to pretend they are somehow treading on the moral high ground next to the porn star/Resistance heroine as they peer down at the Trump team, endlessly proclaiming it might be "imploding in real time" and wishing it would.
In time, all these tabloid tactics from the so-called prestigious press will fade. In the Catholic imagination, the Virgin Mary forever holds a special place above all the faithful. In her glory at the right hand of Christ, she cannot be sullied by pop stars or porn stars, and their artistic and journalistic hucksters. She can only be saddened.
L. Brent Bozell III is the president of the Media Research Center. Tim Graham is director of media analysis at the Media Research Center and executive editor of the blog NewsBusters.org.