Monday, April 20, 2009


Zappala will seek death for Poplawski
Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. will seek the death penalty for the man charged with the shooting deaths of three Pittsburgh police officers, his spokesman said last night. Paperwork to support capital punishment for 22-year-old Richard Poplawski will likely be filed by the middle of next week, Mr. Zappala's spokesman Mike Manko said. "Our investigation of both the evidence and the background of the defendant has produced several compelling, aggravating circumstances with respect to seeking the death penalty," Mr. Manko said. "As of now, there are no mitigating circumstances. Consequently, our office will be seeking the death penalty." -By Sadie Gunman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"Pieta" by London artist Paul FryerMade of wax, wood and human hair, the sculpture portrays Jesus in a quasi-crucifix pose except that instead of on the cross, he is slumped unconscious in a modern-day electric chair. We at Culture Monster aren't easily shocked (pardon the pun). But what did surprise us about this story was that Fryer's sculpture wasn't shown at a hip downtown gallery but in a cathedral of all places — and with the blessing of the local bishop! In an article in Le Monde, the Monsignor Jean-Michel di Falco explained that he wanted "to make us aware once more that someone being nailed to a cross is a scandal. Usually, we no longer feel any real emotions in the face of something truly scandalous, the crucifixion." He added that he was overjoyed to see "a large number of people who normally don't step foot in a church line up at the cathedral." So we revise our earlier statement: Artists and the Catholic Church know a good controversy when they see one. More power to them. — David Ng

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