Mar 272009
 

There’s no limit to the self-importance or the stupidity of people like John Waters.

In this Irish Times opinion piece, Waters asserts that Conor Casby committed a crime, that his paintings have no artistic value and that the whole thing was caused by the internet.

Now, let’s just be clear. and I’ll say this slowly for John’s sake.  The paintings are not on the internet.  They’re in the back of some police station and before that, they were on the walls of two galleries.  The internet has nothing to do with it, except in the paranoid, Luddite mind of John Waters.  This man is losing touch with reality.

Secondly, John Waters has no discernible artistic talent or qualifications that I’m aware of, other than having written the worst Eurovision song in history and once having screwed Sinéad O Connor, which to me would indicate a severe deficit of judgement.  And yet, he considers himself entitled to pronounce on the merit of Conor Casby’s painting skill. 

Thirdly, he has no basis for accusing Conor Casby of committing a crime, and if I were Conor, I would be taking immediate action against the Irish Times for defamation.  I bet there are many lawyers who would be happy to take the case at no charge, pro bono publico.

At the same time that he attacks a defenceless schoolteacher for engaging in a harmless prank, John Waters overlooks the inappropriate use of the police force to intimidate the artist, because it wouldn’t suit his prejudices to address the implications of doing such a thing to a citizen of our democracy.  It seems that in John’s world, some people, like Brian Cowen, are above ridicule, and other people, like Conor Casby, are beneath contempt.

Waters is rapidly drifting towards his natural home territory: authoritarianism.

He has always had these inclinations.  He was always an opinionated, overbearing bombast, and an intellectual snob, but it’s only as he gets older that he feels able to come out and be true to his natural leanings.

What a pompous gobshite.

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Also on Bock:

Windbag Punctured

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All Bock posts on Cowen here: Cowen Nude

  51 Responses to “Cowen Paintings — John Waters Makes a Fool of Himself Again”

Comments (49) Pingbacks (2)
  1.  

    True, and what an absolute downright prick! And to think this moronic gobshite cocksuckin’motherfuckin’hunkof’fuckin’pussyshit(excuse my language), could think he could write a winning song for that cocks…..(see above) song contest, well, that says it all really!

  2.  

    Waters says ”…they nevertheless cumulatively contribute to a climate in which public discourse is cheapened and debased, rendering it less likely that people of intelligence and sensitivity will participate.”

    I’m intelligent and sensitive.

    John Waters can fuck off.

  3.  

    I am also intelligent and sensitive. I don’t find fart jokes or toilet humour generally all that funny, but John Waters, this is funny, it’s provoked a public discourse and I’m willing to participate. We don’t all have the soapbox that you have to make a comment – or just to make people laugh – and, you know what, this guy showed that we don’t all need it.

  4.  

    John whonow?

    Sounds like a right bucket of warm toss.

    Or am I coming across insensitive and unintelligent?

  5.  

    John Waters has spent the last god knows how long decrying anyone who dared threaten his dominion over the soap box. As far as he is concerned he and his ilk are the only people entitled to an opinion, and now rather than bang up the bankers he wants to bang up a teacher.

    Hi reasons are these;

    There is a public debate ongoing that he didnt start.

    There is a public debate ongoing that he was not invited to.

    There is a storm in the media and Mr Casby had the audacity to not make him aware of it first.

    John Waters’ only problem is a slowly but steadily deminishing sense of self importance thats constantly under threat from other people with opinions who, in his eyes, are not worthy of them.

  6.  

    Seriously though, does anyone know where I can buy a copy of the painting and one of Mary Harney in the nip also. I’ve a terrible rat problem out in the back garden and I reckon those paintings would frighten the ever living shite out of them. I’ve tried outting out a few John Waters pieces but to be honest the smell of shite from them just seems to attract more vermin……..

  7.  

    It doesn’t matter if Casby’s caricatures are good or not. His right to artistic expression does not depend on the quality of the finished painting, just as Waters’ right to freedom of the press does not depend on the quality of the finished article. Each is entitled to express his opinions irrespective of how well he paints or writes. Which is a good thing for Waters, of course, considering how incoherent his article about Casby is. In particular, the assault upon public discourse has been committed here not by Casby but by the massively disproportionate exercise of state power against him.

  8.  

    I see John’s problem with internet discussion.

    It leaves less audience for his inane ramblings.

    And P.S. John:

    “It may seem excessive to credit the squalid affair of the Casby paintings with representing a threat to democracy”

    Brian Cowan was not democratically elected by the people, nor by a huge majority(88 to 76) in the Dáil. He was ‘elected’ because he lacked the back bone to stand behind his predecessor who apparantly ‘embarrased the office of An Taoiseach’.

    So we now have the minister for finance, who squandered our Celtic Tiger Tokens and got us to where we are today, as our leadear by default. There’s a real threat to democracy.

  9.  

    Well stated, Sir, and in warrr, salubrious tones.

    I myself have oft been described as a defenceless schoolteacher engaging in harmless pranks; and yet, indeed, I take Myself infinitely more Seriously than this, as Each of us Must do.

  10.  

    “His works are crude, unfunny, vindictive, without intrinsic content and wholly lacking in artistic merit”.

    Absolutely untrue. As someone who makes a substantial part of their income in the “arts” I see the paintings as being, well, quite good actually. A friend of mine who works in a local gallery here valued those two paintings at between €4000-€5000 for the pair at least, given how infamous the likes of Brian Cowen, Vincent Browne and Waters have made them.

    The main thing I get from the Water’s piece is how utterly irrelevant he is. To write off these paintings as he did here…

    “He did not intimate what he thinks they might be saying. That the artist has an infantile obsession with toilet humour? That he nurtures some deep animus towards politicians?

    That he cannot draw?”

    …show’s us a man who would rather lick the jackboots of the Establishment than stand up for the principles of free speech that men like him are supposed to be watchdogs of.

    That a journalist (even one as unworthy of the title like Water’s) could write that article should be warning enough to all of us that Free Speech can be eroded in a fucking instant if we allow it.

  11.  

    Hey Bock,Mr Waters wrote a not so flattering piece in the (Irish) mail on Sunday rag around the time of Shane Geoghegan’s murder about the town we live in.See if you can find it,I’m sure YOU will like the guy even more once you’ve read it…Sounds like the ramblings of another Dublin hack who has never even visited this town but has somehow afforded himself the right to bash the integrity of everything about Limerick and everybody in it.I’d like to know where this plonker is from himself.what song did he write anyway?

  12.  

    Who the fuck would pay five grand for a painting of Biffo in his birthday suit?

    What would you with it, hang it over the fireplace to impress your guests?

    “And here we have an 18th century montage by Turner.

    And this is a scetch of the expression of shock on an Irish artists face when he was asked to do a days work, by Aosdana.

    And here we have two paintings of a fat fuck holding his shorts in his hands and taking a dump.

    Five grand my bollocks.

  13.  

    I had to laugh at this whole situation, what started as as an Irish in joke has blown up into an international in joke. Cowan has found himself a laughing stock on the world stage as a result of his pomposity and righteous indignation. The whole affair would have blown over in a week or so if left alone, as it is he will be known as the fat twat in the nip holding his pants for evermore.

  14.  

    I have been saying for years that Waters is mad. Nothing more , nothing less. Just mad!

  15.  

    Well yeah, I wouldn’t pay 5 grand for it either, but that’s what he said they would probably be worth given they fact that they’re so infamous now.

  16.  

    Your friend, who works in the gallery,yesterday, would want to go away and get a mass said for himself.

  17.  

    Naughty Bock .. please have more respect for esteemed-potential Senator John Waters!!!!!!!!

  18.  

    Waters is spot-on in EVERYTHING he said. It’s the writer of this rabble-rousing, sock-it-to-the-man rubbish article that’s got it wrong. Idiot.

  19.  

    Maggie has it right. Waters is tilting for Eoghan SF/WP/FG/FF Harris’s seat in the Senate next time round.

    Waters is an unmitigated eejit and I believe this column will come back to haunt him. Never let it be forgotten that years back Waters as editor gave John Healy carte blanche in In Dublin magazine to pen a huge eulogy to Charles Haughey, “Our Last Hero”. Everyone with a nose on their face could smell the stink off Haughey, even then, and even if it couldn’t be proven.

    I believe Waters is on some ‘reality’ ‘celebrity’ series at the moment. I won’t be watching.

  20.  

    What about this business of bringing the office of the Taoiseach into disrepute…as if Haughey and the bould Bertie haven’t done it already.

  21.  

    Lets arrest them instead.

  22.  

    Lot of anger there, Ed. Lot of anger. I’d say you’re an FFer with issues. Would I be right?

    Watch the old blood pressure, buddy-boy. It can be a killer.

  23.  

    Calm down Ed. We could arrange a picture of John Waters if you’d like?

  24.  

    Bock, you’re letting your site down. I recall you using a fancy Latin phrase to describe the stupidity of attacking a person rather than his argument. Ad homen, I think. Yet here you are defending a juvenile attack on a man’s physique. And typically, your usual contributors take the bait and attempt to outdo your crassness. You are wrong on many counts, not least that the gardai were marshalled by Brian Cowen to assauge his vanity.That never happened. What is sad is your belief that a caricture of a fat man in the bog is satire. I expected more.

  25.  

    What is happening here? Did Waters kill someone? Or just hit a nerve? And Bock, your comment about Waters and Sinead O’Connor…shame on you. They have a child. For Christ’s sake, get a grip.

  26.  

    If you cast your mind back to the 80s and the satirical TV series Spitting Image the political class were lampooned and sneered at on a a weekly basis – as it should be. The caricatures of same were savage. Physical appearances and vocal mannerism were magnified a thousand times into grotesque parodies of the people concerned. But did Thatcher and the boys go running to PC Plod to come down on Spitting Image ? Did ITV issue a groveling apology to the government. No, the politicians took it on the chin and ITV would have told the British government to fuck off if they looked for an apology. Same with George “we must come together to unite” Bush. He was being lampooned on almost an hourly basis from the moment he stepped through the door of the WH.
    But over here in sensitive, touchy feely Ireland we have Biffo coming across
    as some kind of shrinking violet because someone hung paintings of him in compromising positions in a gallery. Poor old Biffo is having his privacy invaded, whatever.
    Meantime, if Biffo wants to see real images of people stripped of their dignity then they should take a look at the ever lengthening lines of people outside our dole offices.

    Not a pretty picture is it T-shock – but then this is real life not art.

    Save us the crocodile tears Biffo. The whole lot of you in Leinster House, with your fat salaries, fat cars, fat houses, fat heads, pensions while your still working, obscene expense accounts and God only knows what, are lucky there isn’t a coup d’etat in this country and you haven’t been ran out of the town at gun point.

  27.  

    Was’nt going to comment, but yes i am.
    John Waters equals superfluosity
    Paintings of Brian Cowan and choice of subject by Conor Casby equals superfluosity.
    Deeper issues of censorship and policing and further waste of taxpayers money….fantastic detraction from a country going down the tube.
    Brian Cowan has no right to any automatic respect because he assumed a role, I think the choice of subject and material by Conor Casby could be reflective of poor taste, but then a lot of art is.
    For someone who’s primary senses are visual and tactile, placing a piece of art on a wall depicting something so ordinairy but so ugly and its obvious intent to just rip the piss (excuse pun) out of someone who will be remembered in the annals of ridicule anyway, is just a phenonomal waste of paint, time and print.
    Certainly a low blow to Brian Cowans wife and kids, just totally tasteless but still totally superfluous as was the reaction by the Gardai et al.
    As for JW he is the undisputed High King of the bandwagon, if he were a solicitor he would be an ambulance chaser, if he were a politician he would cut his hair and talk about “grass roots” if he were an asshole, oops yes he is.
    Far more outrage about these pieces of nonsense than the fact that Bank of Ireland execs are holding their jobs while The lardarses in Gov are scrapping the long promised facility for Cystic Fibrosis patients, lets pay off the developers debt, fuck the sick, and yeah get out there and arrest some arse of an artist for a little freedom of expression, lets bury the taxpayer once and for all, the chorus of FF let them eat cake and look at vile art.

  28.  

    If John Waters had made specific points in his article, I would attempt to refute them. However, the article was no more than a statement of his personal prejudices and a wholesale dismissal of of an artist’s skill, without any basis other than his own personal tastes.

    John Waters needs to learn that he is not infallible and that he will have to come up with more than opinions. High quality commentary isn’t as simple as quoting some German philosopher every three sentences.

  29.  

    What is it about people that lets them wear whatever colour-tinted glasses they choose? Is idiocy so rampant after all?
    I wonder BOCK if you can write anything that won’t find an idiot response. It’s like; post a blog and the idiots will surface.
    Maybe it’s just me!

  30.  

    unstranger; where have you been ? “is idiocy rampant” are you the only person not batting it aside to get through a day ?

    Bock; with all due respect, I have no time for the warblings of JW but the remark about JW/ SOC was beneath you, they do have a child and anyones personal and sexual choices are and should be disengaged from their public persona.

  31.  

    Not when their personal choices determine what sort of sweeping statements they make about the rest of us, as John Waters does. If he can’t take it, he shouldn’t give it out.

    For years, John Waters has inflicted his angst on us about his relationship with SOC. He made it public property by his personal choices.

  32.  

    I don’t read John Waters any more and have not read the article in question. His pretentions to be an intellectual, his constant harping on his personal circumstances in his journalism, his total dismissal of bloggers on the basis that there are too many of them and their contributions are not mediated by (e.g.) himself, have rendered him superfluous to intelligent discussion of anything.

    It’s a pity, he has ability but has unfortunately lost the run of himself.

    I don’t hold it against him that he is from the Wesht, but I do hold it against him that he has let down that part of the country.

    May the force be with the rest of us.

  33.  

    Don’t get where personal choice of sexual partner determines “sweeping statements”

    With regard “the rest of us ” that is a collective term, not a pointed individual criticism, only in case of context as recent article.
    Your defence of “freedom of expression” is valid but I fail to see where a personaly held opinion on his relationship with SOC had any relevance in context.

    Jw’s infliction of “angst” would have been a personal choice by any of us as to give it time or credance.

    I just feel that there is a child of said union and it might be hurtful to that child to encounter such comments as they were in my opinion unnecessary, given the subject matter, your comments were not indicitive of a relationship of value, and there is no way that you or anyone can make that judgement.

    Yes, JW/SOC relationship was placed in the public domain, by more people than themselves, but as a child is involved, I feel that particular subject should be treated with more regard, that child is now probably old enough to use the internet and possibly encounter such a comment, your use of the term “screwed” was derogotory and potentially hurtful and potentially misleading, you are a Father, public domaine or not it was out of context and snide.
    Sorry if you don’t like what i say, the adults involved are obviously used to flak, its the child i was thinking of.

  34.  

    Norma — That was exactly the argument that was put forward against Conor Casby’s paintings and it’s utterly spurious. John Waters draws adverse comment on himself by the pronouncements he makes, and he is also a public figure, by his own choice. That’s tough on him, but there you go. Someone who makes his living out of expressing his prejudices is going to attract rough comment.

    Do you think it will come as a surprise to this child to discover she was conceived in the orthodox manner?

  35.  

    Waters problems with bloggers appears to be that they are not subject to sub editorial control and they can basically say what they like and get away with it.

    To a certain extent this is true. However, the argument is disingenuous because it invites comparisons with basic bread and butter reporting. For instance, reporting on a court case – you have to get your facts right there or you’ll be up in front of the beak yourself.

    Make one mistake and the chances are that will be the last time you are published.

    However, there is little or no difference between blogs and opinion pieces on newspapers.Both are basically penned by writers expressing subjective opinions on the topics of the day.

    I happen to like John Waters and think his blogs, sorry opinion pieces, are a necessary antidote to the left wing nonsense dribbling out of the gobs of his fellow columnists at the IT.

    But his opinion piece on the Biffo paintings was disappointing to say the least. Meanwhile, opinions are like arse-holes they say – everyone has one – in my opinion.

  36.  

    Waters actually makes me violently ill – this happened once when he took part in some TV programme about the Irish Famine.

    He stood there looking melancholy over a grave and sighed that his family history was the embodiment of the Irish story. After vomiting, I rolled on the floor laughing at this pretentious display.

  37.  

    Waters is a grumpy old man, he has sure come a long way from the hip days of the Hot Press. He has become another ass, a former leftie like Owen Harris both of whom have become part of the new trendy right wing. I am sure he too has an eye on a cosy Senate seat.

  38.  

    John, John, John. What’s to be said? His reponse to various issues has become so overwrought as to be hysterically funny. He knows this, but now craves reaction more than he values reasoned debate. He is far from stupid, but he has settled into the role of articulate and embittered court jester to the Builders of Destiny. He has painted himself into a corner, but it’s his corner and he’s found that there’s a nice living to be made there. He’s now utterly incapable of turning down a gig – Famine Bainisteóir on Ice, or whatever. Pathetic, incomprehensible, sad.

  39.  

    “The only amusing thing here is Casby’s deluded belief that he has something to say.”

    Why doesn’t he have something to say? Isn’t he living in a recession hit country? Doesn’t he believe that The Taoiseach isn’t wearing the trousers? (as one of the pictures suggests) or that the country/economy is being flushed down the toilet? (As the other picture suggests) or that the Emperor isn’t wearing any clothes? (As both pictures suggest).

  40.  

    Could’nt care less who paints what or of whom, don’t want to buy into further distraction from reality of the present, which this debacle has turned into.
    Thanks for definition of “orthodox manner” re conception, being “screwed ” and “deficit of judgement” What a wanton lot we must be.

    Have we become a nation of occupants “unable to turn down a gig” JW sure isn’t alone there.

  41.  

    I know that I would be unhappy if a guest in my home banged a nail into a wall and hung up a nude painting of me on the wall while I was not present. And I would certainly be offended if I owned a retail outlet and a customer hung up a caricature of me nude on a toilet bowl. How do you think a school principal would react if a student stuck up a nude drawing of the headmaster on the school noticeboard? Surely he would try to find and punish the prankster?

    Personally, I admire the sense of mischief and the lampooning of those in power that is a result of these pranks. Full marks to Mr Casby for pulling his one off successfully. He should also be applauded for using his inititiave in these hard economic times to come up with a novel approach to marketing his paintings. And while I find some humour in this aspect of his achievement, I fail to see any artistic merit or hint of sarcasm or irony in his work.

    I read Mr Waters’ article and have found it to be the best thing written about this incident so far. I agree that Mr Casby’s action could be constued as an act of vandalism. If someone can enter a gallery and hang up a painting then surely it would not be wrong to swap one of the gallery’s paintings for it. Or perhaps I could make a short film on my phone of a nude man wearing a Brian Cowen mask taking a dump. Then I could transfer it onto film, break into a screening room at the Omniplex and put it on before the latest blockbuster. Would it be art? I doubt it. But, would it get me free publicity and start a conversation? You bet it would.

    Also, Mr Waters did not say that ‘the whole thing was caused by the internet.’ I think that he was trying to say that the media reaction to this incident is symptomatic of the type of culture that has developed as a result of the internet over the last decade. In the old days, media content was controlled by those in charge of the powerful media organisations. This led to a certain level of quality and taste in film and TV that was, nonetheless, still seen as inferior to to ‘higher’ forms of art such as painting, literature and theatre. Of course, there was still a lot of crap out there, but the audience was free to criticise it and I would think that a lot of this criticism took place in public houses.

    The rise of the internet means that it is now possible for artists of all kinds to put their work up on the web and it is possible for the audience to access so much more than ever before. Obviously, this has led to less control over quality and, hence, a new type of culture has arisen. This culture favours style over substance, quantity over quality, and tiolet humour over wit. It also means that discussion has moved away from the pub and onto emails, message boards and blogs. As a result, a writer who is employed by one of this country’s most distinguished newspapers is attacked on a personal level and subjected to namecalling. Is is any wonder, then, that Mr Casby’s work is vilified by the traditional media, but lauded by proponents of the new media?

  42.  

    Pat —

    First, nobody banged a nail in a wall. He used double-sided tape.

    Second, he didn’t hang a painting of anyone associated with the galleries.

    Third, as far as I can see, the paintings are not caricatures but fair likenesses of Mr Cowen.

    Fourth, the gallery is not a school, nor does it have a principal teacher, and Conor Casby is not subject to its punishment.

    Fifth, your failure to see merit in the paintings is neither here nor there. The same applies to John Waters’s assessment of them. It doesn’t matter what you, John Waters or I think of the pictures. Your views on their artistic quality are as irrelevant to this matter as mine are.

    Sixth, the artist did none of the things you speculate might have happened. He didn’t swap a painting and he didn’t make a film. You can hardly condemn him for doing something you made up, can you?

    Seventh, the internet had absolutely nothing to do with Conor Casby’s actions, except in Waters’s fevered brain. He’s obsessed with the medium because he can’t control it.

    Eighth, you clearly have your own views on what material people should be permitted to view. Would you be more qualified than I am, or anybody else, to decide what is of sufficient quality to meet your approved standard? Perhaps you’d send in the police, as happened in this case?

  43.  

    Sorry to add to the substantial number of comments on this particular post, but a side-issue has emerged that I’d like to comment on.

    It’s heartening to note the sensitivity being shown to “the child” born to Sinead O’Connor and John Waters, but her right to privacy needn’t concern anyone here. Her anonymity was offered up years ago, on the altar of the Irish Times’ Opinion pages, by her father. Her name is Róisín, and I know this only because John Waters brought this fact into the public domain time and time and time again. One could speculate as to why. Fathers’ rights were, and rightly remain, an issue to the IT columnist and perhaps the action of repeatedly naming her was a public affirmation of his role; maybe he simply wanted to annoy her mother… who knows? Whatever the reason, he named her in his articles with relentless regularity and neither he, nor we, can unring that bell.

    Those references to her used to bother me then, and the advancing of the “won’t someone think of the children” argument bothers me now. Sword and shield, and all that.

  44.  

    Eily, as for this dismissing of ‘think of the children’ you will be aware, if you read this blog, that Bock is a champion of the children usually – those in war, those in danger or abusive situations. The fact that JW refers to his daughter in his columns does not justify the crude, demeaning and dismissive remark about the columnist’s relationship with the woman who became the mother of his child, a relationship which, by virtue of their shared parenthood, continues. Nor does it excuse the comment about what the child will think about her conception.

  45.  

    Thank you for your reply, Bock. If I may take a few of your points, according to your own numbering system.

    First, I was unaware that he had used double-sided tape instead of a nail. This would certainly make it easier for the gallery to remove any marks caused by the artist.

    Second, I am aware that Mr Cowen is not associated with either of the galleries.

    Third, according to my Chambers Dictionary, a caricature is “a representation, especially a drawing, of someone with their most noticeable and distinctive features exaggerated for comic effect”. I think that Mr Casby’s caricature certainly fits these criteria.

    Fourth, I am aware that the gallery is not a school, that it does not have a principal, and that Mr Casby is not subject to its punishment. I was using the school and the headmaster in a metaphorical sense.

    Fifth, I completely agree. As they say, I don’t know about art, but I know what I like.

    Sixth, I did not assign either of these actions to the artist. Again, I was speaking metaphorically.

    Seventh, As I said in my original comment, I do not think that Waters blamed the internet for the incident, but for the media reaction to it and the culture that, for good and bad, has been spawned by the internet.

    Eight, If I may take each of these three points on its own:
    (i) You said, “you clearly have your own views on what material people should be permitted to view.” I do not agree with this statement. I certainly have my own views on what I would like to view. But, I am completely against censorship of any type. I never said that Mr Casby’s paintings should not be seen by people. In fact, they are freely available to view on your site and on the internet. I would be unhappy if I was restricted from viewing them or any other material. In fact, if you read my comments you will see that I was supportive of the artist’s action and found humour in it.

    (ii) You said: “Would you be more qualified than I am, or anybody else, to decide what is of sufficient quality to meet your approved standard?” If I understand the question correctly, then I would say that yes I am more qualified than you, or anyone else, to decide this. Similarly, you are more qualified than I, or anyone, to decide what is of sufficient quality to meet your approved standard. Each individual builds up their own tastes and interests throughout their lives. Nobody can tell me or you or anyone else what music, books, films, TV shows, or even paintings we should like or not like. But, each of us should be entitled to express our own opinion about what we love passionately and also about what we dislike as well. You do that quite well on your site and I made my opinion known in the comments.
    (iii) You said, “Perhaps you’d send in the police, as happened in this case?” I believe that it has been confirmed that it was either or both of the galleries, not the government, that alerted the gardaí. It seems that it related to security issues rather than concern about the painting’s artistic merits. But, I think your question asks if I would alert the guards if I was aware of crimes against culture. You know, this is not a bad idea. Perhaps our police force could be issued with warrants to enter people’s homes and go through their CD collections. Offensive stuff like Celine Dion and boy bands would be confiscated and destroyed on the spot. The guilty parties would be given penalty points and, when they reach a certain level, they would be barred from all record stores. Similar operations could be carried out in other areas of the arts, with regular warnings by An Garda Síochána on TV, especially at Christmas. In no time, Ireland would become a cultural mecca, with thousands of artists flocking to our shores as we enter a new phase of cultural renaissance.

  46.  

    Now that’s the quality of discussion I’d like to see more of here.

    A big improvement on the recent commenter whose best shot was to call me an idiot.

    By the way, I’m not sure the paintings exaggerated any of Mr Cowen’s features. Could it possibly be that people are offended by an accurate representation of the Taoiseach?

  47.  

    ;-) Yes, I guess even a brilliant portrait painter would struggle to create a painting of the Taoiseach without it turning into a caricature. In fact, Casby does not exaggerate Cowen’s facial features in the slightest. I cannot comment on the accuracy of his depiction of the rest of the Offaly man’s body.

    Check out this link to a magazine cover that, I believe, is an excellent example of political satire. It’s quite provocative, shocking and controversial, but I think it works well. I’m sure that the subject would not have been too happy with the image, but I feel that it pokes fun at media coverage and not at the man:

    The New Yorker

  48.  

    At the risk of abusing Bock’s hospitality, I’d like to reply to Róisín’s response to my comment. I was surprised to read that I’d dismissed the “think of the children” argument; I expressed admiration for the sensitivity shown by commenters towards the privacy of “the child” in question but pointed out that it was somewhat redundant given that her father has divulged, in print, the girl’s name (and, I might as well add, age, class in secondary school and place of residence, along with sundry details regarding her parenting arrangements). Given that the girl’s parents are well known, she doesn’t have the option of sheltering under a less-recognised surname, and while John Waters’ frequent references to his daughter might not have cost her a moment’s thought, I found them troubling and said as much. I didn’t advance John Waters’ references to his daughter as justification for any crude, demeaning or dismissive remark, or for any comment whatsoever. I didn’t take issue with Bock’s remarks for two reasons – first, as originally stated, because I was addressing a side issue to the main post, and second – because I’m a long-time reader of the blog and feel that his decent-stick credentials are well established. John Waters has been mixing it with the big boys for a long time now (low blows included) and it seems to me that any reasonable reading of the comments on John Waters would conclude that they are squarely aimed at his fundament and nowhere else. Anyone looking for a dismissive attitude to children’s rights and justification for crude and demeaning remarks should move along, there’s nothing to see here.

  49.  

    I made the comment about Sinéad O Connor because this windbag feels entitled to dismiss an artist’s work.

    Who is John Waters to say that a painter’s work has no merit?

    The closest John Waters ever came to any sort of spurious artistic credibility was to screw Sinéad O Connor, and I’m sure Sinéad screwed him too, in a reciprocal arrangement, as these things tend to be, but he’s been trading off the notoriety ever since.

    Waters only has credibility by association with other people who might have achieved something in the artistic area. All he ever did was write a bad Eurovision song that got nowhere.

    Not exactly art-critic material, wouldn’t you say?

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