On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case of a Colorado baker who refused to create a wedding cake for a gay couple on religious grounds.
As I understand it, baker Jack Phillips wasn’t opposed to selling Charlie Craig and David Mullins a cake, just a wedding cake. In other words, he doesn’t mind their living in “sin,” just legitimizing that “sinfulness.”
The couple sued and so we are here. The arguments go something like this: Phillips has a right to make a cake – or not – for whomever. Craig and Mullins have a right to be served by a public business.
Somewhere along the way, the nature of Phillips’ “artistry” got thrown into the mix. He is “the Bernini of buttercreams,” as a New York Times headline put it.
“Does it matter,” article author Steve Sanders asked, “that Mr. Phillip’s wedding cakes are individually created and may even, in a sense, be ‘art’”?
No, it doesn’t, because they’re not art. (Let’s be clear: He should’ve just created a damn cake for them and been done with it. It’s not like they asked him to sleep with them. What is it about so many straight men that they get all uptight about gay men? Is it that they are just protecting their power as the (still) top dog? Are they afraid of being objectified? Maybe they should just get over themselves.)
Whatever Phillips’ cakes are or are not, they are not art, which is only about itself. Whereas cake is meant first and foremost to be eaten, just are chairs are meant for sitting. These are crafts, not arts. We needn’t get so highfalutin’ about it. (Technology doesn’t help the situation, turning everyone with a microphone, a camera and a computer into an artiste.)
As for Bernini, he created some of the most rarefied of works (“The Ecstasy of St. Theresa”), but slashed the face of his faithless mistress, disfiguring her.
Just because you’re an artist, doesn’t mean you can’t be cruel.