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Julian Karswell
10-02-2009, 03:24 PM
CONTENT WARNING
This thread has proven to be controversial and offensive to some members. However, the opinions herein have not been found to condone or excuse criminal acts. Nonetheless, a warning of potentially disturbing content is advised. The content, accuracy, opinions expressed, and other links provided by members are not investigated, verified, monitored, or endorsed by THOMAS LIGOTTI ONLINE.

There are two contemporary media stories which are provoking much debate because of the controversial link between art and the sexual exploitation of children. Although neither case has a direct link to horror literature, or indeed literature in general, I think there are enough grounds for discussing the issues here.

Firstly there is the Polanski arrest. I suppose the important question is, why now? The authorities handled this matter incompetently, which in turn led the victim suffering from twenty years of prurient media intrusion, but why suddenly arrest the man now? I presume it is politically motivated so the Americans on this board may be able to give us a better insight into the situation.

Polanski made some superb films. In fact after the whole Sharon Tate thing, I'm amazed that he managed to recover, and I often wonder whether this experience influenced his work. If you reflect upon the Charles Manson murders the film 'Rosemary's Baby' is quite a remarkable piece of work. And given Polanksi's penchant in the aftermath of the Manson murders for pubescent girls, should we read anything in to the central theme of 'Chinatown' involving Faye Dunaway?

Undoubtedly there are powerful psychological undercurrents in play here, without even factoring in Polanski's childhood. Given that he was apparently besotted with Sharon Tate, and engaged in adult affairs up until the time of her death, the Manson murders seem to have triggered an interest in paedophilia. I'm no expert on psychological matters, so if anyone has any insights as to why or how this trigger can occur, I'd be interested in the reasoning.

Finally on the subject of Polanski, should we now downgrade the value of his films, given that he may indeed serve time for the rape of a child? This is an issue which has often perplexed me. My view is usually that if an artist's work is wholly dedicated to celebrating inappropriate behaviour, then the work is and should be devalued. But if the artist's inappropriate behaviour had little impact upon his or her work, then I don't think it should. For example, Richard Dadd was insane and murdered his own father in a cold and premeditated manner, yet his work possesses a rare weird beauty.

The second case is a curious one. The photographer Garry Gross took some really quite disturbing photographs of Brooke Shields when she was just ten years old, heavily sexualising her.

(Don't click on this link if you are easily offended.)

LINK REMOVED TO NEGATE TLO ASSOCIATION - GOOGLE REFERENCE AT YOUR OWN DISCRETION

In my opinion there is little doubt that they are inappropriate. I don't think they make artistic sense, and I don't think there is much precdence in classical art for sexualisation of minors to such a degree.

Gross's reputation was savaged in the years after this photo shoot and he was declared bankrupt after being sued because of the pictures. However, the contemporary artist Richard Prince reinterpreted one of the pictures, and this was hailed as acceptable new art. But things took a new twist recently when the Tate Modern in London pulled the painting on the grounds that it was 'pornographic', something Gross still denies.

I think the pictures ARE pornographic. They sexualise children in a manner I personally find unacceptable. However, should they be banned? Are they art? Can they be justified?

JK

qcrisp
10-02-2009, 03:40 PM
This is an article written about the whole Polanski thing by the girl in question:

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/wire/la-oe-samantha-geimer23-2003feb23,0,4716430.story

I personally think that beyond actual protection of individuals in law - that is protection from assault, robbery, and so on - everything else is hysteria. I don't believe in censorship. Art is precisely that forum in which one can and should say the unsayable. Everyone has the right to tell their story (before they are judged, sentenced and executed), and artists have for a long time, also had an instinct to tell stories from the other side of life - the side that is in no shape or form respectable.

Russell Nash
10-02-2009, 03:52 PM
Finally on the subject of Polanski, should we now downgrade the value of his films, given that he may indeed serve time for the rape of a child? This is an issue which has often perplexed me. My view is usually that if an artist's work is wholly dedicated to celebrating inappropriate behaviour, then the work is and should be devalued. But if the artist's inappropriate behaviour had little impact upon his or her work, then I don't think it should.

I usually don't reply to your postings, for what purpose...? This is an example. Polanski was firstly accused, among so many other things, of sodomy. Do you really know what it is...?

Sodomy: Intercourse via the anus, committed by a man with a man or woman.

This was later changed. Mr. Barker, do you have kids? Yes, imagine that, instead of this girl, Polanski tried to sodomize one of your kids. Would you still consider him to be a good director...? Would you still say that one thing is art and the other sodomy? Would you talk about it abstractly...? I don't think you would.

To defend himself he said: "Show me the man that doesn't like young girls". Is this man smart or totally stupid, believing himself to be who knows what...? I show you one, Polanski, me.

If to see art one has to go around sodomizing young girls, I prefer "no art".

An artist or not, sooner or later, he is going to pay for what he did.

Julian Karswell
10-02-2009, 04:27 PM
Finally on the subject of Polanski, should we now downgrade the value of his films, given that he may indeed serve time for the rape of a child? This is an issue which has often perplexed me. My view is usually that if an artist's work is wholly dedicated to celebrating inappropriate behaviour, then the work is and should be devalued. But if the artist's inappropriate behaviour had little impact upon his or her work, then I don't think it should.

I usually don't reply to your postings, for what purpose...? This is an example. Polanski was firstly accused, among so many other things, of sodomy. Do you really know what it is...?

Sodomy: Intercourse via the anus, committed by a man with a man or woman.

This was later changed. Mr. Barker, do you have kids? Yes, imagine that, instead of this girl, Polanski tried to sodomize one of your kids. Would you still consider him to be a good director...? Would you still say that one thing is art and the other sodomy? Would you talk about it abstractly...? I don't think you would.

To defend himself he said: "Show me the man that doesn't like young girls". Is this man smart or totally stupid, believing himself to be who knows what...? I show you one, Polanski, me.

If to see art one has to go around sodomizing young girls, I prefer "no art".

An artist or not, sooner or later, he is going to pay for what he did.

I don't often do this - in fact I've never done it - but I'm reporting your post for being personally abusive.

CB

Russell Nash
10-02-2009, 04:42 PM
I don't often do this - in fact I've never done it - but I'm reporting your post for being personally abusive.

In fact, this thread is very offensive. But because you are Christopher Barker, no one says anything. Or even worse, people may agree with you. Go ahead, ban me. By the way, ban also that French film director who is expressing more or less my viewpoint. It's on the newspapers.

Polanski, 46.

Young girl (raped, drugged, and sodomized), 13.

The fact that he is always escaping justice proves he is not innocent.

Julian Karswell
10-02-2009, 05:11 PM
This is an article written about the whole Polanski thing by the girl in question:

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/wire/la-oe-samantha-geimer23-2003feb23,0,4716430.story

I personally think that beyond actual protection of individuals in law - that is protection from assault, robbery, and so on - everything else is hysteria. I don't believe in censorship. Art is precisely that forum in which one can and should say the unsayable. Everyone has the right to tell their story (before they are judged, sentenced and executed), and artists have for a long time, also had an instinct to tell stories from the other side of life - the side that is in no shape or form respectable.

Quentin:

Thanks for the link. This echoes what Samantha Geimer said in a documentary shown on the BBC a while ago. I know that some people find it odd that she believes that the judiciary and media have caused her more trauma than the original crime itself, but I can see her point. The judge and the newspaper editors have quite shamelessly milked the case for their own profit, insensitive to the fact that in doing so, they not only make her relive the original incident, but also paint her into an imaginary corner, so that she can't escape and quietly regain her own life.

I can't follow you on the censorship issue though. I used to think I was a champion of free speech and an opponent of censorship, but my experiences as a parent have changed me. I am still a liberal but I think that young and vulnerable minds need to be protected from some specific images and ideas. Furthermore, some studies have shown that by permitting zero censorship, you can indirectly stimulate and facilitate inappropriate and criminal behaviour.

Of course, if we were all reasonable and tolerant liberals who acted responsibly then censorship would not be required. That might be possible in another life, but I don't think that it is on planet earth.

The New Nonsense
10-02-2009, 05:24 PM
C'mon, guys. Just take a step back, pour yourselves a drink, and allow yourselves time to cool off. We're all very intelligent adult people here. Thus we should be able to discuss topics (even touchy ones like this) with politeness, logic, and respect. There's no need for personal jabs or bans. Personal attacks just put others on the defense and detract from the topic, serving no one. If you disagree, fine. There's nothing wrong with a differing opinion; just agree to disagree. Then move on to the next topic.

Julian Karswell
10-02-2009, 05:29 PM
I don't often do this - in fact I've never done it - but I'm reporting your post for being personally abusive.

In fact, this thread is very offensive. But because you are Christopher Barker, no one says anything. Or even worse, people may agree with you. Go ahead, ban me. By the way, ban also that French film director who is expressing more or less my viewpoint. It's on the newspapers.

Polanski, 46.

Young girl (raped, drugged, and sodomized), 13.

The fact that he is always escaping justice proves he is not innocent.

I reported you because your post was discourteous and inflammatory, not because you are unentitled to hold the opinion you do.

I think we all know what Polanski did. It is a matter of public record and is in the public domain. You don't need to repeat it with outraged relish. My first post was not about the original crime, nor about decriminalising Polanski's behaviour.

People don't allow me to get away with posting controversial things because I am Christopher Barker. If anything the opposite applies. But the fact that you think they do suggests some deep-seated animus on your part towards me. I therefore suggest for your own good - and for wider altruistic reasons - that you ignore my posts and leave me well alone.

I don't much like you and I don't much care for the way that you have spoken to several members of TLO. That's why I ignore you and steer clear of threads you are involved in. Why don't you extend me the same courtesy? I only read your posts in this thread because I reasoned that either a) you may have turned over a new leaf, or b) you were going to carry on with your bizarre vendetta.

I also think it's wrong of you to try and disparage people who might reply to my post. I think that sort of behaviour is intimidating and tantamount to bullying. Why should it bother you if people respond to my post?

JK
PS. This will be my final communication with you an any matter. Any questions I have raised are rhetorical and I will not enter into further discussion about the issues with you. Indeed, I would not have the slighest objection were the group's moderators to remove some of the posts from this thread.

Julian Karswell
10-02-2009, 05:33 PM
C'mon, guys. Just take a step back, pour yourselves a drink, and allow yourselves time to cool off. We're all very intelligent adult people here. Thus we should be able to discuss topics (even touchy ones like this) with politeness, logic, and respect. There's no need for personal jabs or bans. Personal attacts just put others on the defense and detract from the topic, serving no one. If you disagree, fine. There's nothing wrong with a differing opinion; just agree to disagree. Then move on to the next topic.

Make mine a glass of Talisker, good sir!

Russell Nash
10-02-2009, 06:27 PM
I reported you because your post was discourteous and inflammatory, not because you are unentitled to hold the opinion you do.

[...]

People don't allow me to get away with posting controversial things because I am Christopher Barker. If anything the opposite applies. But the fact that you think they do suggests some deep-seated animus on your part towards me. I therefore suggest for your own good - and for wider altruistic reasons - that you ignore my posts and leave me well alone.

I don't think my answer was offensive.

Neither do I consider Mr. Barker to be inferior to me in any way. I even offered him to buy his book from Ex-Occidente Press. I still do.

In Argentina, there was a famous case

Argentine priest convicted of sexually abusing boy | terra (http://en.terra.com/lifestyle/articles/html/hof5806.htm)

that was on the news for more than 8 years I think. This catholic priest (Padre Grassi) used to feed homeless children, had a big charity foundation, and many children were to his place to be fed, daily. But, he was accused of sexually assaulting minors (15 or so), he was convicted this year, and he couldn't explain what he was doing going out at night with one kid at the time, alone. The youngest one was 11, at that time. People, defending him, said that he didn't do it, although no one explains what he did with the kids at night, outside his place (where his charity foundation is). Some people even shouted: "who cares about the boys, he is a good man". Then, I wanted to ask Mr. Barker his opinion about cases like this. Polanski should be in jail. As Padre Grassi is.

I never intended to say that Mr. Barker agrees with what Polanski did. I don't think anybody with kids would agree with this conduct. I have two kids, and although I disregard Good and Evil, I would kill him if such Polanski touches one of them.

Saying this, I think that art in cases such as Polanski's cannot be separated from what one does in his private life. See, he didn't do whatever he wanted to, with a 20 year old girl, conscious of what she was doing. On the contrary, the girl was raped. People say, Polanski, good man! But I cannot imagine what the girl felt when she was being raped (and sodomized, against her will) by an adult. Arthur Clarke said that he didn't remember how many young boys he had sex with. His award by the Queen, I think, was taken back, when this was made public. I personally read several of his books, probably 15. But I stopped reading him. Why didn't he have sex with men, 20 or older? Why boys? What is on the mind of someone like Polanski, or Clarke?

I am not against sex in any way, gay or straight, but with sex done with a minor, against her or his will.

I usually don't answer your postings because I disagree with you most of the times, and of course you are entitled to post whatever you want, and to have any viewpoint you may have. But this thread is especially disturbing, as I said, I have two kids, and I cannot but think of what I should do if Polanski or any other touches (or sodomizes) one of them, now, that there are still young.

However, this time, it looks like Mr Barker and me agree on this point.

Russell Nash
10-02-2009, 06:36 PM
"There is one justice, and that should be the same for everyone," Besson said on French radio. "I have a daughter, 13 years old. If she was violated, nothing would be the same, even 30 years later."

Backlash grows against campaign | News | The First Post (http://www.thefirstpost.co.uk/54160,peopleentertainment,luc-besson-joins-backlash-against-release-roman-polanski-campaign)

qcrisp
10-02-2009, 07:56 PM
I can't follow you on the censorship issue though. I used to think I was a champion of free speech and an opponent of censorship, but my experiences as a parent have changed me. I am still a liberal but I think that young and vulnerable minds need to be protected from some specific images and ideas. Furthermore, some studies have shown that by permitting zero censorship, you can indirectly stimulate and facilitate inappropriate and criminal behaviour.

Of course, if we were all reasonable and tolerant liberals who acted responsibly then censorship would not be required. That might be possible in another life, but I don't think that it is on planet earth.

There are certainly 'artistic' artifacts that make me feel uneasy. For one thing, I'm quite squeamish. I don't like gore. I have no desire to watch the kind of film that some people (I think) call 'torture porn'. I really don't see the appeal at all. I even understand that it might be possible to disqualify something as art (at least on very strong subjective grounds) because it is 'sick'. However, bad things happen in the world all the time. That is, in a chicken-and-egg scenario with 'bad things' and 'sick art' being the chicken and egg, my guess is that 'bad things' come first. They exist independently, so to speak. If they exist, why should we not be able to imagine them, think about them, talk about them and depict them?

Not being a parent, I don't have to worry about the issues you mention, but I feel censorship with regard to children is basically a parent's responsibility. In other words, I don't see why anyone should be stopped from expressing themselves simply because children exist. The issue must be to do with the accessibility of material that is deemed psychologically harmful to children. Although it doesn't concern me, I understand the reasons for things like TV watersheds, the film rating system and so on.

I've watched a very interesting documentary recently:

YouTube - Teenage Tourettes Camp part 1

This might seem like a tangent, but it's an example of why I don't agree with censorship. Tourette's is apparently neurological and incurable. However, one interesting aspect of the condition is that the person who suffers the condition, if s/he has a verbal tic, tends to have the compulsion to say (shout etc.) whatever is the worst thing to say in any given social situation. In other words, knowing what is the worst thing to say must, in some way, make the sufferer compelled to say it. I can't help thinking that this fact says a lot about the nature of taboos and the way that human beings are drawn to them specifically because they are taboo. If they were not taboo, no one would be interested and there would be no attraction.

Mr. D.
10-03-2009, 07:23 PM
Tourette's syndrome sounds a lot like Poe's imp of the perverse, which can be uncontrollable as well. I would like to go back to the original post and say that in my experience (being a very minor offical authority figure) the authorities almost always screw things up. When they don't it is usually because the upper authorities don't interfere with the decisions of a lower authority. Once upper management gets its hands on something it gets ruined. Always. Everywhere. Every time. So the official screw-ups of the Polanski case are not unusual. Another thing to consider - and even people in the USA don't seem to realize this - is that this country is very different from every other country. The local LA judge won't be happy until Polanski is in the courtroom in person. Then, even if the case is dismissed for cause, the judge and most Americans will feel that justice has been served. Don't forget that all of the Puritans came over here. They haven't left. p.s - I prefer Isle of Jura.

Julian Karswell
10-03-2009, 08:42 PM
I reported you because your post was discourteous and inflammatory, not because you are unentitled to hold the opinion you do.

[...]

People don't allow me to get away with posting controversial things because I am Christopher Barker. If anything the opposite applies. But the fact that you think they do suggests some deep-seated animus on your part towards me. I therefore suggest for your own good - and for wider altruistic reasons - that you ignore my posts and leave me well alone.

I don't think my answer was offensive.

Neither do I consider Mr. Barker to be inferior to me in any way. I even offered him to buy his book from Ex-Occidente Press. I still do.

In Argentina, there was a famous case

Argentine priest convicted of sexually abusing boy | terra (http://en.terra.com/lifestyle/articles/html/hof5806.htm)

that was on the news for more than 8 years I think. This catholic priest (Padre Grassi) used to feed homeless children, had a big charity foundation, and many children were to his place to be fed, daily. But, he was accused of sexually assaulting minors (15 or so), he was convicted this year, and he couldn't explain what he was doing going out at night with one kid at the time, alone. The youngest one was 11, at that time. People, defending him, said that he didn't do it, although no one explains what he did with the kids at night, outside his place (where his charity foundation is). Some people even shouted: "who cares about the boys, he is a good man". Then, I wanted to ask Mr. Barker his opinion about cases like this. Polanski should be in jail. As Padre Grassi is.

I never intended to say that Mr. Barker agrees with what Polanski did. I don't think anybody with kids would agree with this conduct. I have two kids, and although I disregard Good and Evil, I would kill him if such Polanski touches one of them.

Saying this, I think that art in cases such as Polanski's cannot be separated from what one does in his private life. See, he didn't do whatever he wanted to, with a 20 year old girl, conscious of what she was doing. On the contrary, the girl was raped. People say, Polanski, good man! But I cannot imagine what the girl felt when she was being raped (and sodomized, against her will) by an adult. Arthur Clarke said that he didn't remember how many young boys he had sex with. His award by the Queen, I think, was taken back, when this was made public. I personally read several of his books, probably 15. But I stopped reading him. Why didn't he have sex with men, 20 or older? Why boys? What is on the mind of someone like Polanski, or Clarke?

I am not against sex in any way, gay or straight, but with sex done with a minor, against her or his will.

I usually don't answer your postings because I disagree with you most of the times, and of course you are entitled to post whatever you want, and to have any viewpoint you may have. But this thread is especially disturbing, as I said, I have two kids, and I cannot but think of what I should do if Polanski or any other touches (or sodomizes) one of them, now, that there are still young.

However, this time, it looks like Mr Barker and me agree on this point.

I have three children, two of whom have profound mental disabilities, and as such, are especially vulnerable to abuse. I have been CRB checked myself and used to oversee the checking of staff who worked with children. I therefore may have some understanding of the issues involved. I also have a relative who worked in the probation service at a senior level on several high profile cases who confirmed the most cynical views one could possibly hold.

Notwithstanding this, I still strive to remain independent and objective. I think that the crime Polanski committed was despicable, but I also think that the media and judiciary has treated his victim with equally cynical disregard. Indeed, after re-acquainting myself with the her views via Quentin's link to an article she wrote for the press, I am particularly impressed by the dignity with which she expresses herself. She really is a very kind and clever individual who should probably be an ambassador for some worthy cause. She has displayed greater courage, integrity and tolerance than the media, the judge or Polanski himself. In fact, her behaviour has been almost saintly (a claim I do not use lightly).

JK







JK

Julian Karswell
10-03-2009, 08:58 PM
Tourette's syndrome sounds a lot like Poe's imp of the perverse, which can be uncontrollable as well. I would like to go back to the original post and say that in my experience (being a very minor offical authority figure) the authorities almost always screw things up. When they don't it is usually because the upper authorities don't interfere with the decisions of a lower authority. Once upper management gets its hands on something it gets ruined. Always. Everywhere. Every time. So the official screw-ups of the Polanski case are not unusual. Another thing to consider - and even people in the USA don't seem to realize this - is that this country is very different from every other country. The local LA judge won't be happy until Polanski is in the courtroom in person. Then, even if the case is dismissed for cause, the judge and most Americans will feel that justice has been served. Don't forget that all of the Puritans came over here. They haven't left. p.s - I prefer Isle of Jura.

To quote Morrissey:

"I crack the whip and you skip
Because you deserve it - you deserve it."

YouTube - The Smiths - "Handsome Devil"

The same song has the words:

"There's more to life than books you know - but not much more."

[Every time The Smiths are mentioned, I smile, remembering that I saw them play in London when I was 17 on 'The Queen Is Dead' tour.]

Jura........1984 was authored there, but notwithstanding it's.....erm, standing, as one of the bestest novels ever written, it doesn't have you bopping in the aisles like 'Handsome Devil'. Good grief, I'm not gay, but The Smiths made me think that I might be.

[JK glances at aspects of his CD collection: Erasure, Soft Cell, Abba, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Queen.....]

Withnail, you bastard!

Dr. Bantham
10-04-2009, 12:06 PM
This thread has become a source of concern and disgust for more than one member, and I am compelled to respond both as a mediator and as a member. I am equally horrified by pedophilia and would even go so far as to advocate a death sentence for the greatest offenders, as the lives they destroy can carry as great or greater a weight than the lives a murderer takes. I am not happy to have the subject arise at TLO, and removed the referenced link within the original post, but found nothing within the post which promoted or condoned such behavior. To the contrary, Chris made the following statements throughout the thread:
I think the pictures ARE pornographic. They sexualise children in a manner I personally find unacceptable.
I used to think I was a champion of free speech and an opponent of censorship, but my experiences as a parent have changed me. I am still a liberal but I think that young and vulnerable minds need to be protected from some specific images and ideas. Furthermore, some studies have shown that by permitting zero censorship, you can indirectly stimulate and facilitate inappropriate and criminal behaviour.I have three children, two of whom have profound mental disabilities, and as such, are especially vulnerable to abuse. I have been CRB checked myself and used to oversee the checking of staff who worked with children. I therefore may have some understanding of the issues involved. I also have a relative who worked in the probation service at a senior level on several high profile cases who confirmed the most cynical views one could possibly hold.

Notwithstanding this, I still strive to remain independent and objective. I think that the crime Polanski committed was despicable, but I also think that the media and judiciary has treated his victim with equally cynical disregard.

There are two controversial elements to Chris's statements which I sense must have offended some members beyond the occurrence of the subject itself. The first is that Chris expressed his personal opinion that art should not be devalued by the inappropriate behavior of an artist if their art does not celebrate the behavior.
My view is usually that if an artist's work is wholly dedicated to celebrating inappropriate behaviour, then the work is and should be devalued. But if the artist's inappropriate behaviour had little impact upon his or her work, then I don't think it should.
I do not believe that an artist should be formally banned in either instance. Instead, the public has the option to pass judgment on their own and diminish support for the artist. I myself find it difficult to distinguish art from the artist, however, and I find myself steering clear of artists that have a despicable reputation for whatever reason. In some instances I am making a clear decision not to support the artist. In others, I find myself distracted by their private life and consciously searching for evidence thereof within their art. I am not always pleased with this position, however, and sometimes wish that I could allow myself to enjoy the art without being annoyed by my awareness of the artist as a flawed individual. Note that Chris asked for the opinion of others while stating his personal perspective here, and I believe everyone has the right to consider or ignore an artist as a person when subjected to their art.

The second position that I detect offense with is that Chris questioned the motives of the authorities to act at this time and the value of punishment with consideration to the victim, who is apparently speaking on behalf of Polanski at this time. It is my understanding that the validity of the case is also in question, due to the investigation being flawed and the original confession being allegedly coerced. This is for the courts to decide, and should not be an argument against extradition, however. Furthermore, it is my personal opinion that if he was found guilty and there is no subsequent reversal by the courts he should serve the full sentence plus evasion charges, regardless of the time passed or the support of the victim. I am neither a judge nor lawyer, however. I am merely a jury of one by proxy, with my verdict to be the expression of my opinion and the sentence passed to be my reaction as a consumer. I personally believe that the motives of the legal system and the effectiveness of the punishment are ultimately irrelevant with regard to the application of the law, as it should be applied without prejudice. Extenuating circumstances would be considered by the judge and jury with regard to sentencing, but should not dictate the relevance of prosecution. Punishment is designed as a deterrent to both the criminal and the public, as they are witness to how the system will respond should they commit the same crime. Again, elements of my personal opinion here appear to differ from those expressed by Chris, though I do not recall him explicitly expressing that Polanski should not be punished at this time. Even if he did, this is a matter of opinion and Chris has been clear that he condemns such acts.

This thread has offended multiple members. However, I do not believe that the opinions expressed therein at any point condone or excuse the crime itself. If at any point I believed this to be the case, appropriate action would be taken. I have not acted on the request of Chris to reprimand Alberto for his response, as I believe one should expect emotional responses to such a sensitive subject.

To diminish the shock and dispel potential face-value misinterpretation, I have renamed the title to "Art, Pornography & The Artist". A warning at the beginning of the content will be added to clearly establish controversial content and the position of TLO. If any content within this thread or any other at TLO is deemed to be grossly offensive to any member, I encourage the post to be reported. I alone cannot read the entirety of content posted by members. My position with this content is that though the subject matter is sensitive and ultimately received as controversial, the opinions expressed have neither condoned nor excused illegal acts. Furthermore, the exploration of ethical tangents were proposed from an intellectual perspective and with a reasonable amount of respect for a difference in opinion to be stated. Some of you may disagree with my interpretation, and are welcome to voice your opinion publicly or privately. I am not beyond fallacy in my judgments, but I do my best to consider all perspectives and arrive at an unbiased and fair position. This should be evident in the fact that my personal opinion on this subject is quite conservative, while my position relative to the expression of the opinion of others is ultimately liberal. There is a fine line when approaching controversial subjects, of course, and I encourage all members to be respectful of others with regard to the subjection of inappropriate content as well as the opinion of others in response to such matters.

qcrisp
10-04-2009, 04:45 PM
Have to say that I didn't find anything in this thread that was more offensive than you might find in a newspaper article discussing the same subject matter. In fact, I found it less offensive than many such newspaper articles.

Julian Karswell
10-04-2009, 05:58 PM
As a matter of public record, I have apologised to Dr Bantham for having started such a contentious thread, and for having posted links to pictures which whilst referencing a contemporary media story, may have caused offence to some members of TLO. I also wish to apologise to anyone else for any perceived offence.

I honestly did not start the discussion with the intention of courting controversy, although I do acknowledge that I have something of a track record for puckish mischief-making. In my opening post and in successive ones I hope that it is obvious that I was striving to tread a careful and responsible line.

It goes without saying that Dr B did not ask that I apologise. I offer this purely of my own volition.

Whilst I am personally able to discuss issues like the Polanski and Shields' cases objectively and dispassionately, I can see that others may find such discussions unpleasant because of the subject matter, or to be simply unable - through no fault of their own - to hold in check their disgust and outrage about such emotive issues. I should have been more sensitive to that, and to Dr B's role as moderator, to say nothing of his obligation to keep the TLO web-host happy.

I am not particularly interested in the original cases since both seem pretty sordid and clear-cut to me: Polanksi committed an appalling crime, and the Shields' photographs are pornographic rather than artistic. No, it's the wider political and media issues which fascinate me, issues which I thought might be of relevance to TLO members, such as press hysteria, political intrigue, etc etc. However, I can see that the Polanski and Shields' scandals might not be the best foundation for such a discussion, given that the cases themselves are in many ways so morally repulsive.

JK

qcrisp
10-04-2009, 06:25 PM
Tourette's syndrome sounds a lot like Poe's imp of the perverse, which can be uncontrollable as well.

Poe was quite ahead of his time. Not that the syndrome didn't exist then:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sociological_and_cultural_aspects_of_Tourette_synd rome#Notable_individuals

He was interested, though, in extreme human psychology even before Freud was born. It's Poe's bicentenary this year, of course, as must have been mentioned elsewhere on this site (I don't doubt).

Here's a story of his that was censored after initial publication:

http://www.eapoe.org/works/tales/bernicea.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berenice_(short_story)#Publication_history_and_cri tical_response (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berenice_%28short_story%29#Publication_history_and _critical_response)

Poe disagreed with the complaints. A month after "Berenice" was published, he wrote to White saying that many magazines achieved fame because of similar stories. Whether in bad taste or not, he said it was his goal to be appreciated, and "to be appreciated you must be read."[9] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berenice_%28short_story%29#cite_note-Whalen69-8) He admitted, "I allow that it approaches the very verge of bad taste -- but I will not sin quite so egregiously again." Even so, Poe also emphasized that its final judgment should come not from the taste of the reading public but on the circulation of the magazine.

Mr. D.
10-05-2009, 04:35 PM
Mr. Polanski's crime is merely one incident in a strange life. In my opinion too much attention has been focused on this action by one man. For example as I write 100s are dead and 1,000s are homeless in Southern Indian due to the terrible flooding going on. I think that this is much more important than the tribulations of a couple of people. Is it possible that we are too concerned with the doings of the rich and famous and have lost sight of what's really important?

qcrisp
10-06-2009, 09:55 AM
This would seem a very apposite essay for this thread:

http://www.k-1.com/Orwell/site/work/essays/dali.html

It is by Orwell, and concerns Dali.

(The views expressed by Orwell are not necessarily mine, I should add.)

paeng
11-05-2009, 08:17 AM
"When does art become child porn?"

http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2009/nov/01/art-child-porn-old-masters

Julian Karswell
11-05-2009, 03:50 PM
The difference between the Shields photos and the Bronzino painting is, for me, that Shields has been deliberately presented as visual sex candy, whereas the woman / mother in the painting seems to be the centrepiece, not the angel-winged child. What's more, Bronzino appears to be commenting on the old Oedipus complex issue, whereas the photographer is simply trying to suggest that an underage girl can be made sexually desirable if you plaster her in grown-up make-up.

The angel-winged child doesn't strike me as being particularly sexualised although he is clearly adolescent. I also think the glaring patriarchal figure in the top right of the picture is a strange, complex fusion of the envy some fathers feel when their wives lavish attention on children instead of them, and also a judicial, censorious condemnation. Indeed, although I know nothing of the history of the picture, it could even be that the two figures at the top corners respresent a man and wife, and that the man is pulling back a veil to reveal to his wife what could / might / is happening within their family as he himself sees it i.e. rendering the picture a dream or nightmare based upon his imaginings.

In contrast the Shields photo is pure paedophiliac fantasy. I see no artistic merit in it whatsoever.

JK