David Lynch's Banned Bovine

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[Click on the slideshow to your right for a tour of New York’s herd.]

What was Lynch trying to say? “I never interpret my art,” the director says. “I let the audience do that.” One must assume that to be his pre-programmed answer after giving the world such eerie flicks as Blue Velvet, The Elephant Man, and Eraserhead.

But city Parks Commissioner Henry J. Stern compared the “Eat My Fear” cow to the work of Charles Manson and suggested that Lynch should “stick to his day job, making movies.”

“It took a while for my pupils to dilate” after viewing the cow, Stern told the New Yorker magazine. “The first thing I could see was the forks and knives stuck in its butt. Then I saw the back, all torn open, and the cow’s head, rammed into its midsection, and the blood and entrails and gore.

“These cows are meant to be PG,” Stern said. “Would you want a swastika cow, or a KKK cow, or a cow performing an obscene act?”

One must wonder what the CowParade organizers expected when they asked Lynch, a notorious shock artist, to contribute. The director did win the Palme d’Or at Cannes for Wild at Heart. But he isn’t known for his manners. This is a man who reportedly keeps a dead rat in his refrigerator for inspiration.

‘Cowtowing’ to Censors

The censorship of art and entertainment has been a pretty hot topic in New York these days. Mayor Rudolph Giuliani threatened to shut down the Brooklyn Museum of Art for displaying a painting of the Virgin Mary decorated with elephant dung.

Maybe Lynch’s beheaded bovine is just a reflection of a mayor who will no longer allow his home to be known as “Sin City.” Under the Giuliani administration, nude dancers have had to face all sorts of restrictions, and the number of adult clubs have dwindled. Billy’s Topless and other adult establishments, once the staple of midtown Manhattan, have been forced to change their names. It’s now “Billy’s Stopless,” because the once bare-chested ladies can’t take it all off.