Urban Milwaukee

Was It Political Correctness Run Amok?

Bruce Murphy talks about removal of Shorewood public sculpture on TMJ radio.

By - Jan 6th, 2016 01:23 pm
Spillover II. Photo by Michael Meidenbauer

Spillover II. Photo by Michael Meidenbauer

The controversy continues.

WTMJ radio interviewed Urban Milwaukee editor Bruce Murphy this morning about his column, “The Man Who Cried Anti-Semitism.” The column looked at the questionable claim that there was coded anti-semitism in the Spillover II sculpture in Shorewood’s Atwater Park. Shorewood officials decided to take down the sculpture and artist Jaume Plensa has offered to make changes.

Murphy suggested the problem arose because of questionable claims that went viral and then were amplified by the media. “It’s the ‘wisdom of the crowd’.. something goes viral and then people have to respond.”

The show’s moderator Gene Mueller suggested the problem was a case of “political correctness” that got out of hand. Listen to interview here:

8 thoughts on “Was It Political Correctness Run Amok?”

  1. 2fs says:

    Sorry – but “politically correct” might (perhaps) be about excessive sensitivity – but this is sheer idiocy.

  2. M says:

    It’s also blatant exploitation of the media and alarmism to create traffic for a blog. National Enquirer digit-style.

  3. R Koch says:

    When did we become so sensitive and let our feeling get hurt by art. Get over it and put the piece back where it belongs for all to see.

  4. M says:

    As this article and all the comments detail, this was nothing about political correctness or hurt feelings or sensitivity. It was the blatant exploitation of the media and Shorewood officials by an unscrupulous blogging huckster who gloated on his blog about how he took down a world-renowned artist for blood sport and to create clicks for his blog.


    It’s opportunism run amok, aided by social media. Such smear attempts would have taken forever to build in the past, most likely withering with the scrutiny of common sense and critical thinking. Now a crank can gain traction for a ridiculous assertion and have it “go viral” within hours. Yes, this sort of sick behavior can act function like a dangerous virus. Anyone can cry “Fire” in the crowded online theater and create widespread panic.

    By the way, the term “political correctness” has become so corrupted that it ceases to have any real meaning. “On the Media” on NPR recently did a great analysis about it.

  5. M says:

    Here’s Huckster Matt Sweetwood’s gloating blog about his fame whoring at the expense of a renowned artist:


    In it he outlines 10 steps he took to set the stage for what he considered a “sexy” self-promotional coup. In case anyone was not sure how Shorewood and MKE got played, he provides his full playbook.

    Intro from his Pulse Power blog:

    “It took 6 days from the time my blog, “Hateful Sculpture in Milwaukee Needs to be Scrapped” posted until Jaume Plensa, a world famous artist, was compelled to remove his Spillover II sculpture. On a recent visit to Milwaukee, I had observed that there was an ethnic slur, “Cheap Jew” in plain sight, made from letters of the sculpture. Within a few days the Internet buzzed, my article went viral and it quickly forced a meeting between the artist and the local community. After I did four TV interviews and four newspaper interviews the story was all over Milwaukee and the country. On the 6th day a truck came to remove the sculpture and it’s offensive remarks.

  6. Vincent Hanna says:

    Exactly M. As Dana Milbank writes, “GOP candidates are now using the “politically correct” label to shut down debate — exactly what conservatives complained politically correct liberals were doing in the first place.”

  7. M says:

    Great quote, Vince. It strikes me that bashing “political correctness” is being used by pols and others to lift what used to be norms of civility.

    If Trump or anyone wants to use slurs and mean language he can flaunt it as the refusal to be “politically correct.” Boorishness is now all the rage.

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