A New Blood Libel?

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OK … trying to be honest.
I posted just the Muslim part on my Portfolio and now I’m not sure I got it right.

UPDATE: (In fact I’ve swapped it for this “wider” version now.)

Essen­tialist crap — all muslims are … the jews are … is a major part of what got us into this cesspit … not to mention colonial wars, support for brutal dictat­or­ships, global­isation, proxy wars and all the shit we’ve visited on “our” brown cousins abroad.

I’m accidently privileged — no-one’s going to ask me to choose just one allegiance to my country right or wrong, to a particular religious authodoxy, or to a specific racial identi­fic­ation for that matter.
I’d be hard pressed to find any values I do share with Cameron, Merkel or even Hollande but I pass … as “normal”, vanilla (though I’m not O).

Wow, Europeans have very short memories … all of ’em 🙂

Still, a blood trans­fusion might well be a sensible precaution before visitng Birmingham again.

Je suis Charlie

… sort of.

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René Magritte seems to make sense for all sorts of reasons.

Hardly know what to think or even where to start … shock, outrage, even a twinge of fear but a lot of other things too.

Nothing worth saying can be artic­u­lated in a sound bite or on a badge or a banner. A picture, however …

If we’re going to hold the line against the bullying binary thought police of left or right, religious or atheist, radical or reactionary, control freaks or anarchists, we need to embrace ambivalence, nuance, complexity, fluidity and constant negoti­ation and debate, learning and thinking and listening … and at least try to be honest … and make lots of lists.

We don’t have the death penalty here for murder; never mind for being a bigot, being rude or just a knob … not even (officially) for being brown.
Elsewhere however … ?

Hari Kunzru, Martin Rowson and Gary Younge were life belts in the tsunami of sancti­mo­nious smug.

Ma petite boîte des Refusés

call to prayer
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Exper­i­ments …
(an Israeli Apache hunting over the Great Omari Mosque in Gaza)

camo robe
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and failures …
(trying to say something about our misun­der­standings about domestic violence and war)

fire below
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pretty pictures …
(or our fascin­ation with an outdated comic book imagery of war)

remote controlled gun tower
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and more exper­i­ments …
(That veer too far from the nightmare of trying to farm in Gaza under the trigger-happy electronic eyes of remote-controlled gun towers)

predator boy toy
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that don’t quite pull it off …
(because the irony of soldiers playing with toys and Killing people is just too grim to laugh at)

hawk drone
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Or are too quiet …
(and almost seem to accept the purposeful beauty of the archi­tecture of death)

sniper in Ferguson
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or just too literal to make it …

into my portfolio (at the moment at least) … and yet … they’re pretty good.


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I’m not sure there’s any value in applying what I do to portraits but I’m trying it because I want to be able to have these creeps as actors in my scenarios.

Steve Bell’s bum or bollock-nosed S&M pig is somewhat overwhelming.
But maybe there is something in looking at them closely and being as objective as one can while taking the control of the image out of their hands …

But Neil Kinnock is right: Joseph Goebbels did believe that if you told a big enough lie and kept telling it, people would believe it. So in that way Osborne is a chip off the old block.
The economic problems we face are Labour’s fault, the recession is Europe’s and Labour’s fault, things are getting better, the deficit is our focus, borrowing is going down, austerity is working, we’re all in it together … aye aye aye … one could scream.

He might not be the brightest button in the basket but nobody’s that dim.
Maybe the whithering contempt is also just an act.
Perhaps little Gideon is as needy and eager to please his superiors as he always was.

The Eunuchs

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Dream images are the clearest, the purest … but also the hardest to predict or control.

The St Louis Police in Ferguson, NYPD in New York, police officers across the US “see” danger in black men, they are often genuinely afraid, they feel threatened and they respond with terminal force. Racial bias against black men is the norm in the US and probably here in the UK too. But it is not natural … it is half as common among African Americans as their Caucasian colleagues … it is cultural. And it can be changed.

Three brutalised eunuchs policing the streets on behalf of the ruling class, they do not betray; it is not their job to serve or protect the people who live in those streets.
They are almost blind but can see enough to discern the skin colour of the person in front of them.

They are both impotent and powerful, victims as much as victim­isers, kapos … machine-like as well as human, white, Hispanic and African American and yet all painted white.

In my dream they were utterly terri­fying and now they match the dream pretty well and yet they are ridiculous, strutting automatons. Well, I suppose they aren’t going to be beating me or anyone else.

And it’s not as though we (in the UK) have room to talk when you look at the figures.
Police routinely detain and search, and more and more, pepper spray and taser anyone who fails to comply, to offer complete deference … when did this become a crime?

Der Golem

bibi golem
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Der Golem spielt mit seinem Modell der Germania … oh no, that was someone else, in another time … Netanyahu plays with his model of a rebuilt Solomon’s Temple … in a Jewish only Jerusalem.

The British and Americans created a Golem to defend the Jewish people (or their interests in the region — enlightened self-interest of course) and as the story dictates, in hubris and absent mindedness, they’ve lost control and now it is the exist­ential threat to the “promised” land.

OK, so why is this not in your portfolio?

Need time to absorb, evaluate.
Carl Boese and Paul Wegener’s movie, “Der Golem, wie er in die Welt kam” of 1920, is pretty obscure to start with and likening Netanyahu to Hitler, even slightly, and in jest, is a bit heavy.
But an Israel that relegates even its own one and a half million non-jewish citizens to second class status before the law is an abomin­ation.

He may be made of the same mud as the temple mount but so are about nine and half million Palestinians, a diaspora who can’t go home.


link to portfolio

Just added this to my portfolio

Holman Hunt’s weird and lurid little painting, mostly done at Usdum (that’s Mount Sodom to me) on the Dead Sea in Judea, fascinated me as a kid — a tiny day-glo nightmare with a rainbow (the one in Manchester anyway); compelling but obviously mad and a bit crappy.

I didn’t know that he had some sort of crazy millen­arian christian zionist (they have those?) conviction that any jew seeing it would spontan­eously convert to chris­tianity. Hmmm …

And I thought the idea of casting a goat out into the wilderness, on Yom Kippur, to perish, and with it the sins and sorrows of the community with which it was invested, was barmy.

I find it horrible and shameful that our Modern, Civilised society can still so easily be convinced that voodoo shit like that might work.


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It is grimly ironic that, as we have moved from an indus­trial to a service economy, our culture sneers at mac-jobs at one end of the social scale but reveres the parasitic pirates, pick-pockets and pimps at the other.

I had thought of it as a portrait of Richard Branson who is constantly refered to as an entre­preneur rather than the leech that he is … but I’m not sure if anyone would recognise it. One can be a little too cryptic.