My friend Peter, a professor of International Relations, saw this image as one of Globalization, where the United States goes forth "saving" other countries (represented by Zahara & Maddox), while leaving behind a wake of McDonald's, Coke and Wal Marts. His take was fascinating to me, as "Blessed Art Thou" was the title mid-way through, but when the painting was finished, I looked at it and thought, 'This really should be titled "An American Benediction", because the painting was SO American. So the title, one of the things I have been getting nasty emails about, might never have happened if more people knew what a benediction was.
Speaking of nasty emails, one of my newfound friends has pointed out to me in a comment below that The Catholic League, an organization that defends individual Catholics and the Institutional Church from defamation and discrimination, has issued a press release on the painting. Bill Donohue (a man I exchanged many an email with when Sacred Ovaries made his list) commented on the painting is this way:
“The painting is innocent enough and not designed to offend. Nonetheless, Kretz has misappropriated the imagery of Our Blessed Mother. The only good thing we can say is that at least Kretz has—in her own backhanded way—correctly seized upon the most important and revered woman ever to live as the focal point of her statement. It also sends a message to those who unfairly cast the Catholic Church as anti-woman: no other religion in the world has reserved such a special place for a woman to be honored more than Catholicism.”
Radar even ran a pic of the painting detail with Bill smiling beneath it.