Wednesday, May 30, 2012

My 5 Cents

So it's been a pretty quiet week. On Monday eve I went and hung out at The Trucker's ... we were both still feeling pretty miserable :( And last night I went to a Lola Montez Champagne & Caviar Sensual Safari evening organised by @WhizBangLouLou. It was really interesting to chat & meet the owner in a nice cosy environment, and there was champagne & caviar so that was good ;)

Now, here's something I don't usually talk about on my blog (if you thought from the above paragraph it was going to be sex-toys you can breathe a sigh of relief. It's not). It's something else that I can't believe has been headlining in our country for approx 18 days (give or take) now. The Spear. Now I don't discuss politics here (aside from the fact that if you are old enough, I think you should vote regardless of your political opinion) but this one has been dragging on for a while now and since the City Press and now the Goodman Gallery are apparently removing the picture of the painting from their websites, I wanted to put it on mine. You know, because that's how the internet works. Information is out there. You can't remove something from every nook & cranny of the internet.

And although I couldn't care less about the painting or what it is of, I believe that people should be allowed to express themselves in any way that doesn't harm another. This certainly isn't physical abuse. And although I believe emotional abuse is a serious thing and not to be taken lightly, I don't think one random act or an opinion by a total stranger constitutes emotional harm. Yes, you might not like what someone says about you or what they think of you, but no one ever said everyone was going to like you or agree with you all the time and, this is the important bit here, they should be allowed not to and to have their differing opinion.

The best article I've read on this whole debacle was by Jonathan Jansen. I guess I could've understood if JZ had gone to the artist as an individual and said "Listen, dude, that painting, it was in poor taste and I am kinda offended and I'd appreciate if you didn't display it" ... but I guess that would only really work if he was an ordinary citizen. Because as someone like the president or a celebrity, you do rather become public property. I mean the painting would never have been made if the guy in it was Joe Soap off the street (because there'd be no context and I do believe that the painting is making a statement about JZ, and one that I think is actually appropriate considering his multiple wives & sexual scandals) ... but, sadly, I also imagine that if it had been Joe Soap, there would still be no court case defending that person's rights or dignity and no marching in protest by the masses. See, now that's a double standard and that's only a part of where I think we've gone wrong.

I am also curious about what would've happened if this painting had been held back and only released by the artist in years to come, after Zuma had died and was merely and ex-South African president. Would anyone have cared about his dignity then?

I have another question too. What would they have done if someone (any takers) arranged an online flash mob where everyone around the world could make their own Zuma-and-his-penis-picture and all uploaded it to the same place (or probably rather, multiple places). How would the masses have reacted then? Where would they march? What court would be able to control that?

I think that the offended public & JZ could happily have taken this up with just the City Press for their role in making a painting, that was quite content to be hidden away in a gallery, seen by maybe a few hundred people out of South Africa's 48 million (as per wikipedia stats), very public. Now that I would've been okay with. But to attack the artist and the gallery displaying it seems crazy to me. I suspect that even if it was a front page City Press article, but didn't have a picture of the painting this whole uproar wouldn't have happened either ...

The people seeing the bigger picture know that all this has done is make this the most famous painting in South Africa and put Brett Murray's name on the map (remember it because I am sure he'll be in future editions of Trivial Pursuit). No one is going to unsee the image now that it's been removed from 2 websites and a gallery and even defaced. A quick search on google and wikipedia will provide you with a copy. Nothing here has been gained.

Anyway, I think there are so many things wrong with the weeks-long arguing that has gone on around this painting so I just wanted to put it up here, on my little piece of the internet. To prove a point about how the internet works.

1 comment:

oldmanjohn said...

The court case etc by the ANC was not about rights and dignity. It was about manipulating the ignorant masses and boosting the ANC and Zuma.

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