Allegedly anti-gay “cult” leaders may have pulled a fast one on Brooklyn-based Assemblyman Felix Ortiz.
Aesthetic Realism applied for $4,000 of state-funding to help their work at Raices, a largely Latino senior center in Brooklyn.
It seemed like an honorable cause, we’re sure, because the group had never before received monetary assistance during its 13-years of service. Unfortunately Ortiz didn’t do his homework. Former AR members claim the group’s nothing more than a cult that preys on the elderly – and the gays.
Founded in 1941 by Latvian-born Eli Siegel, the group aims to highlight the beauty of art, particularly with regard to merging opposites, like order and chaos. “All beauty is made of opposites,” reads its website. Though that sounds innocuous enough, former member Michael Bluejay describes its philosophy as entirely insidious – aesthetic Realism’s most beautifully merged opposites are penis and vagina.
[AR believes that] unhappiness and mental illness (including homosexuality) is a result of egotism. Studying aesthetic realism will teach you how to like the whole world and thus is the key to happiness (and to not being homosexual).
Aesthetic Realism adheres to standard cult practice, says Bluejay, such as “fanatical devotion to leader” and the belief that “they have the one true answer to universal happiness.” Raices serves the ultimate purpose, however: recruiting new members, who are then alienated from their loved ones.
AR representatives deny the allegations, of course. One wonders why, then, the Soho-based organization didn’t ask their Assemblywoman, Deborah Glick. Could it be because she’s a big lesbian? Glick, for the record, tells journalist James Odato that she would “never” have given Aesthetic Realism the money.
We have to say we find this whole thing very queer: an anti-gay group based around art and culture? That’s like holding an AA meeting at a bar!