"All things are wearisome, more than one can say." - Ecclesiastes 1:8

Monday, February 20, 2006

What excuse can they give?

Asks Nick Cohen of those who only practice risk-free desecration:
"Even on a wet Thursday lunchtime, there were plenty of sightseers from the metropolitan intelligentsia enjoying [Gilbert and George's Sonofagod Pictures: Was Jesus Heterosexual?' exhibition] rather than mourning the passing of their world. In prose that might embarrass an estate agent, novelist Michael Bracewell told them in the catalogue that Gilbert and George were engaged 'in rebellion, an assault on the laws and institutions of superstition and religious belief'.

Burbling critics agreed. Gilbert and George still get a 'frisson of excitement' by including 'f-words, turds, semen, their own pallid bodies and other affronts to bourgeois sensibilities' in their work, wrote a journalist with the impeccably bourgeois name of Cassandra Jardine in the Daily Telegraph. 'Is it the perfect Christmas card to send George Bush at Easter? Yeah, yeah,' added groovy Waldemar Januszczak of the Sunday Times."
His contempt is evident. It's a feeling I share, I'm afraid. Those who imagined they were doing the Enlightenment a favour when they ridiculed what other religions hold to be sacred have shown themselves to be less than fearless iconoclasts, to be polite about it.

The attempt by some on the left to collapse the concept of blasphemy into one of racist stereotypes is no doubt well-meaning but misguided. Placards complaining of the latter were conspicuous by their absence at the peaceful demonstrations on London; those complaining of the former, ubiquitous.

Meanwhile, the rage at the publication of the cartoons continues to find some strange targets.

Of the original question - they have none, for there is none.

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