Dear Chief Secretary to the Treasury,
I'm afraid to tell you there's no money left.
Signed, Liam Byrne

(Outgoing Labour Chief Secretary to the Treasury. May 2010)

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Victor Meldrew and art.

The Mail reports that the BBC has decided to carefully pre-empt viewers complaints.

Let's put you in the picture with a bit of help from Flog it! presenter Paul Martin :-
'Yes, they had to have the painting moved. It wasn't a big deal but they do get complaints about this sort of thing. You'd be surprised.'
No, actually, there's little that would surprise most British people these days, but let's move on to what Mr Aldridge, the auctioneer, thinks :-
'It is absolutely ridiculous.

'This is a 19th century neo-classical work of art.
So Mr Aldridge tried to deal with the problem himself
'I tried putting a Post-It note over the offending part of her anatomy, but that wasn't good enough apparently.'
The Mail is, of course, less concerned and carries a snapshot of the offending painting - which shows a woman's nipple. And it isn't even a fresh one

As the auctioneer explained, the painting is 19th century, neo-classical, oil on canvas.

Presumably the BBC will now, when making any of their programmes, make ensure that no classical art or sculpture is in the background - nowhere, not anywhere - on case one viewer comes over all faint and nervous, or in case another gets all excited.

This isn't, sadly, quite a full-on Victor Meldrew moment, not really, because this sort of thing already happens in the online photographic world, where photographers have to label pictures of naked people, including statuary, as "adult material" - due to complaints from vociferous one or two (who could even be the same person) who threaten legal action which could take a site offline and their usual excuse is, "In case a child sees it.".

These people are, slowly but surely, suppressing freedom of artistic expression - with one place after another toppling like dominoes - as each becomes an example of "best practice" for others. They've clearly ratched up the ante now, by getting the BBC to conform.

It's not good to speculate who these complainers might be, or what their motives might be, or what their background might be, but it seems more than likely that they are not native Britons.

Sometimes people need to understand that prudity was never listed as a virtue, and children need to know that being without clothing is not a crime.

1 comment:

Leg-iron said...


The island is Gruinard off Scotland and was used to test an anthrax bomb. It was eventually treated with formalin and declared clear but I'd still be wary of it. there are no pubs on it so there's no point going there anyway.

Anthrax is a right swine. It can cause gut, respiratory and blood infections, all of which can be fatal and yes you can catch it from someone who's got it.

Spore life is not decades. It's centuries.

It's not an ideal bioweapon though. Sure, it's easy to make and store but it kills too quick. You need something that'll tie up resources with lots of sick people to be really effective. Something like swine flu would be good.

But I'm getting into dodgy territory here so I'll shut up. The last microbiologist who talked about bioweapons in public didn't exactly have a long and peaceful life.