Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Bill Henson witch-hunt continues

ABC Radio just reported that the Newcastle Art Gallery has been ordered to take its Bill Henson works off the walls and remove the images from its website. They have obeyed already. Meanwhile the Albury Art Gallery has reportedly also removed their Henson works from exhibition.

His work also appears in many books and the NSWAG exhibition catalogue. The inquisitors had better start a national house-to-house search and burn them all, too. Hint: books burn at Fahrenheit 451.

Then they can start on the 1969 Blind Faith album cover (pictured here with additions that make it Inquistion-proof). I bought it from a shop in Sydney just a couple of years ago. They'd better start a search of all the cd shops in Australia, not to mention everyone's cd collection. Then, to be consistent, they should prosecute the artist Bob Seidemann, Robert Stigwood and Polydor Records, and Eric Clapton who fought for the image and in fact named the band after its title.

Then they'd better go on a world-wide witch-hunt and demolish every site that carries the image, eg the site mentioned above which describes how the model, who was the same age as Shakespeare's Juliet, begged for the opportunity to pose and her Mayfair parents agreed. If the Inquisitors are thorough they should also censor every website that carries that link.

On the other hand they could just get on with protecting vulnerable kids from pedophiles instead of wasting their time persecuting artists.

And still, movies showing horrific torture, mutilation and violence are freely available at every video shop. I wonder if Hetty objects to the invasion of Iraq which has resulted in unimaginable suffering for hundreds of thousands of children. She is certainly not campaigning about that. What a sick society of dim, sex-obsessed hypocrites we live in.

PS 28/05/08 – Elizabeth Farrelly asks:  'Who is drawing the dirty pictures?' in today's SMH.

PPS 29/05/08 – an ex police superintendent who also owns an art gallery castigates "the purse-lipped paragons of public morality." Lovely phrase!


Anonymous said...

The reason the Labour Party resisted elevating Rudd to the leadership for such a long time is his deep religious convictions.

They had grave concerns. So maybe it manifests itself in this view about the female form,

Then again it did not stop him going to a New York strip joint and getting pissed.

Will God forgive him as clearly he does not know what he is doing.

Anonymous said...

Interesting little Heckler column in the SMH this week too. A mother who is a fan of both Bill Henson and "Australia's Next Top Model" (on prime time tv), wonders why the sexed up 16 year olds in the latter have been somehow overlooked by the vice squad.

The Editor said...

Re Heckler: Indeed.

Bob Gould of Gould's bookshop was just on the radio recounting how in the '70s police raided his shop to confiscate Aubrey Beardsley posters which showed 'pricks' as he put it. One officer noticed a poster of Michelangelo's David and suggested to his boss that they should take that too. They did.

James Valentine asked about Naturist magazine which regularly shows young girls and boys naked and has never been busted. Gould's point was that the naked human form is not in and of itself obscene. Then they started on the arrest and ruin of Eugene Goossens. Dear oh dear.

And today Malcolm Turnbull has departed from the Nelson/Rudd line and supported Henson. Even some Liberals have good points.

Anonymous said...

I suspect that if Hetty and her ilk had their way, they would happily run us straight back to that loony period in America's history that Bill Bryson writes about, when people made skirts to cover their piano's legs for fear that the shapely curves might incite sexual desire.

Anonymous said...

" Even some Liberals have good points"

The above comment by the editor is pathetic. There are good views on all sides of politics.

Anonymous said...

Miranda Devine has interesting article in todays Herald
"Still, I was as shocked as anyone to see the police move in on the Roslyn Oxley9 gallery last Thursday; on the one hand, glad to see a line drawn on behalf of childhood innocence, and on the other sick to the stomach at the cliched image of a police state come to life".

Anonymous said...

Rudd remains unmoved. SMH.29 may

"The Federal Opposition treasury spokesman, Malcolm Turnbull, supported Henson yesterday. He owns two works by the artist, although neither is similar to the photographs seized.

"I don't believe that we should have policemen invading art galleries," he said . "I think we have a culture of great artistic freedom in this country."

Despite an outcry from the arts community, the Prime Minister stood by his original assessment of Henson's exhibition as "absolutely revolting".

"I gave my reaction. I stand by that reaction and I don't apologise for it," Kevin Rudd said yesterday. "I am passionate about children having innocence in their childhood."

His refusal to apologise follows an open letter from artists urging Mr Rudd and the NSW Premier, Morris Iemma, to "rethink" their criticism of Henson. Mr Iemma had said the photographs were "offensive and disgusting"."

Meanwhile the Arts Minister, Peter Garrett, has remained silent

The Editor said...

Quote: " Even some Liberals have good points"

The above comment by the editor is pathetic. There are good views on all sides of politics."

-- True, but good points on the Liberal side are few, in my view. There are some 'gentleman Liberals' as one commentator described them yesterday but they tend to be swamped by the Iraq-invading majority, a crime against humanity that I cannot forgive. And they all work for the enrichment of the rich at the expense of the poor, seeing the world only in terms of competition and winners and losers with the majority being losers. Not my ideal society.

Having said that, Labor seems to be nearly as bad these days.

Anonymous said...

This furor over these images reminds me of the Danish cartoons of Mohammed.

Remember when the Islamasista went nuts over the portrayal of Mohammed?

Well Mr Rudd is no different. What a letdown. And yes I am very afraid and will not vote for him again.

The Editor said...

Re the Miranda Devine story (linked in above comment):

She betrays the flaw in her argument in the early paragraph:

"So artists want the freedom to exploit budding pubescents as nude models, but they don't want the Prime Minister to freely express his thoughts?"

This makes several assumptions: that the models were exploited, that nudity is necessarily sexual and somehow obscene, and that Rudd's critics were attacking his right to speak rather than what he said.

I for one dispute each of these and think that if the foundations of her argument are shaky, so is the whole edifice. In a sense she is begging the question (in the correct sense of the term) because she is reaching conclusions identical to her assumptions.

Her criticism of Edmund Capon's rationalisation is spot-on but it still leaves the question: "Do depictions of young people in somewhat shocking situations necessarily condone those situations or simply raise the matter for thought and debate?"

In the case of rock spiders downloading kiddie porn for their own gratification I have no doubt it's the former. In the case of Henson's work, it's the latter.

Anonymous said...

You cannot forgive the "iraq invading majority".
Well who can forgive the silence about the more than 1 million killed during Saddam's rule.?

And then again the Saddam gassing at Halabja

Who owns the crimes against humanity, Saddam or our silence?

The Editor said...

Who can forgive the silence about Saddam? Indeed, I agree. Add to that Zimbabwe and Burma nowadays. But this does not justify an invasion, the worst crime anyone can commit in my view as it includes every other crime you can imagine.

The fact was that Saddam had been brought to his knees, had destroyed his weapons of mass destruction, did not have control over his own airspace and had been punished for his invasion of Kuwait. Weapons inspectors had free rein and yet Iraqis still had schools, power, security and hospitals.

The politically motivated invasion has left Iraqis in misery that will last for generations and opened up the Middle East to Al Qaeda. Is that worth the photo-op of pulling Saddam's statue down, a petty act of revenge? Not to mention hundreds of thousands dead and more injured, including innocent children.

Anonymous said...

Hmm so “Weapons inspectors had free rein and yet Iraqis still had schools, power, security and hospitals”

Oh well, they also had this



I sorta think if I was from Iraq under these circumstances I would vote for invasion anytime. And any liberal or labour member of parliament who supported invasion would get my vote.(WMD or whatever excuse you needed to end the regime)

The Editor said...

Yes, it's horrible. I despair about human nature. It happens all over Africa and the Middle East. And in South America during the '70s.

So what's improved since the invasion? Do you think this is not still happening? What I say is still true -- there were hospitals, schools, power, jobs, hope for the general population. Now there is not. Saddam had been caged. The damage had been limited. Now Pandora's box is open again. Every story about a kidnapping or a mass grave covers similar horror.

If you think this justifies an invasion, you must also support invasion in many other countries, now. The graphic nature of the video you show does not alter the argument one bit. It just underlines what I said.

The underlying truth is that the invasion of Iraq was about oil, and profit for Halliburton, GM and the world's arms dealers. Other countries like Chad, Somalia, Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Burma are left to stew in their agony.

The UN did not approve the invasion of Iraq, for good reason. Howard, Bush and Blair went right ahead regardless, on the basis of lies. It's unforgivable, as are the crimes of Saddam.

The Editor said...

And another thing. After reflecting on the horrifying video (linked in the comment two posts above), John Howard and the Liberals cannot claim any credit over the Iraq situation. There is case after case of people who fled the horror of Iraq, as portrayed in that video, but were refused entry into this country under Howard's cruel refugee policy.

There were no humanitarian reasons for the invasion of Iraq. It was just a cynical grab for power, oil and profits by George W Bush's mates in the world's dirtiest industries, ably assisted by a sycophantic Howard.

Videos like the one referred to were put together afterwards to persuade people otherwise.

Harking back to the origins of my own peacenik sympathies, I remember that my mind was made up by an anti-Vietnam war poster showing a body dismembered by a landmine, a picture which our media had refused to publish.

If you don't like people being tortured, maimed and killed, you have to be anti-war except, in my view, in cases where engagement will clearly prevent even greater suffering caused by the actions of an aggressor. This was not the case in Iraq.

Anonymous said...

Hey but didn't labor set up the detention centres in 1992 because of the push from illegals?

And what about all those UN resolutions in the 1990's condemning

The Editor said...

You are right about Labor. They are nearly as bad as the Liberals these days. Just look at Michael Costa sucking up to them over power privatisation at the moment.

It's a theme you will find repeated in this blog.

That's why I have been working for The Greens for the past several years although I am less involved at the moment.

And condemning Iraq is not the same as invading it. Saddam was dragged kicking and screaming into line, which supports my view that engagement worked.

As it happens I support the UN-approved intervention into Afghanistan as it displaced the Taliban who had invaded it in the first place. They practice all the same horrors shown in the Saddam's Crimes video link above, but they also lock women out of health, education and public life. They also support Al Qaeda in return for huge financial backing. Iraq was a different situation entirely.

PS Are you manually embedding code in your comments or is there a tool in blogger I don't know about?

Thanks for your interest and polite debating style.

Anonymous said...

How to post a link.

Depending what Operating System and browser used will determine how you create the link. I manually do it .
However there is some useful information