Tempest in a Toilet Bowl

Creator Kate Millett puts a lid on the art controversy that won't die

And she is surprised at the recent reaction it has garnered in Phoenix.
"I think it's too bad people have taken such offense," she says. "We were deliberately trying to be controversial, and we also were testing the law because we felt that it was dictatorial and superpatriotic and irrational. . . . We felt in protesting a dishonorable war that we were acting as patriots. And also we felt we were defending the First Amendment, which is free speech, and to us that was very precious and important."

The veterans protesting the work see themselves as patriots, too.
"I suspect it's a different feeling about patriotism," Millett says. "When we opposed the war, we felt we were doing it as patriots because we felt it was unjust and besmirched the honor of the United States. And so we both feel we're loyal and deeply moved by American values and the Constitution. But we see it differently.

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