Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Go away, or I will kill you. I mean this.

I’ve been following the recent debate about Bill Henson being allowed into a Melbourne school ground without the knowledge of parents in some detail and I’ve come to this conclusion.

I don’t give a fuck.

I was sick to the back teeth with this when it first came around and my opinion hasn’t shifted.

The only thing worse than Henson himself, whose vanity and ego is matched only by his sense of entitlement, is the shrieking dickheads who have populated this “debate” in recent days.

Peter Farris – fuck off

David Marr – fuck off

Neil Mitchell – fuck off

Jeff Sparrow – fuck off and die slowly from a painful wasting disease that causes your head to swell to twice its natural size and your testicles to rot away slowly.

In short;

I’m sick of your endless, pompous moralising, the cheap political points you make rather than debating the issue, the snide personal cracks, the sense that you’re entitled to make your lame-arse points in the national media, the same tired debating tactics you first used in your private school thirty years ago.

Enough. Stop.

To quote one of my great heroes, Oliver Cromwell, “In the name of God, go”.

82 comments:

Desci said...

whose vanity and ego is matched only by his sense of entitlement

...Which he's actually allowed, given how freakishly talented he is. My god, I love that man.

Leilani said...

Can Leslie Cannold go and get fucked at the same time?

I've been wanting her to fuck off ever since she wrote about her 'generous father' paying for her botox injections.

Perseus said...

Yes, it is like the recent Georgia / Russia / USA / NATO skirmish. I hated all of them, and the only solution was that all of them die.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Like some creaking, ancient machine, I can hear the cogs grinding in Catherine Deveney's head as she prepares to crank out another "delightfully quirky piece" on this for tomorrow's Age.

Maybe so Dess, but he still; strikes me as a pompous, self-serving putz.

Desci said...

Eh, artists of that callibre are allowed to be. I only hope I can one day perfect my art to the point of being a justifiable egomaniacal cunt cunt.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Eh, artists of that callibre are allowed to be.

Why?

Melba said...

Great artists have always been excused the failings which people wouldn't put up with in other normal people. There's a fond indulgence of people who are seen as genius; it's almost to be expected that they be arrogant, rude, egomaniancs etc.

BUT THEY CAN'T BE PEDOS.

Desci said...

What Melba said. Though he's not a pedo. People who are smarter, more talented, or contribute more to society in some way may have their cuntiness overlooked.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

People who are smarter, more talented, or contribute more to society in some way may have their cuntiness overlooked.

Once again, I fail to see why.

There is no reason why Henson be allowed to visit the grounds of a primary school without the knowledge or consent of the parents or the school board.

I'm smarter and more talented and I couldn't get away with that sort of shit.

Melba said...

I didn't mean to say he was a pedo, I don't think he is either.

I think we can add beautiful and rich people into the group who have allowances made for them at every turn. Not sure why, it just is what it is. Maybe they are perceived to be "better" than the norm and then people who are more in the norm than out attach higher value to them, admire them, therefore let them get away with shit.

Melba said...

Until they get targeted and torn down in the tall poppy backlash.

Louche said...

I bet all the imbeciles baying for Henson's blood about this wouldn't minded if it was Home And Away scouts on the school grounds.

Philistines.

Boogeyman said...

Home and Away now has naked 12 year olds?

eat my shorts said...

All I have to say about the Henson thing is that the principal of that school has to be at least slightly retarded. No principal who actually wanted to keep their job would do what the media say they did.

And you still couldn't have Home and Away or any other talent scouts on school grounds without informing parents/getting permission from the school board/management.

And can I just say, there sure are some freaks who hang around school grounds. It's amazing who'll just mosey on in. There's not a whole lot you can do, especially if they're doing something that appears fairly mundane like walking their dog, it's a public place after all. But there's a lot of weirdos out there. And most of them smell funny. (I haven't got statistics to back that up, so you'll just have to take my word for it.)

Jamie said...

I don't care if the playground interloper is a soapie talent scout or a big league footy coach looking for the next Buddy Franklin or a creepy, 50-something snapper who dresses up nudie pics of kids with arty shadows and the cynical claim that you either embrace his self-serving interpretation of creative expression or doom yourself to life as a cultural neanderthal.

No-one gets to size up my kids at school for anything (with or without a compliant principal on their arm) without consulting me first. Don't like it, Bill? Colour me cro-magnon (culturally speaking).

Louche said...

I guess things have changed since I was a kid. We had snake handlers, TV scouts, movie scouts, firemen visiting our school all the time and don't believe my parents were notified in every case.

People can look at your kids when they're walking down the street. I think we've all become WAAAAAAAY over-paranoid.

Poor schools, having to do so much extra admin because parents are control freaks.

I have a teacher friend who says that her ideal place to work wolud be a school full of orphans.

catlick said...

I have a teacher friend who says that her ideal place to work wolud be a school full of orphans.

Is she perchance familiar with the Christian Brothers who so diligently "worked" my brother when he was placed at St Vincent de Paul's Orphanage in South Melbourne in 1961?

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

It's nothing to do with paranoia.

Henson shouldn't have been allowed onto the school grounds without the approval of the school council - at the very least.

And I very much resent a cunt like Frank Moorhouse pontificating about the "new puritanism" just because people might take a different approach.

Louche said...

Then what is it to do with Ramon? What is the harm in an artist walking around the playground, accompanied by a member of staff?

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

The harm lies in the fact that a member of the public was given a guided tour of a primary school without anybody else - parents, the school council - knowing or approving.

It doesn't matter if he was an artist. In that sense his identity is irrelevant.

And in any case, much of my ire is directed at members of the "commentariat" who buy into this issue just to trot out the same old tired cliches they've been using ever since the election of the Howard Government.

Louche said...

The harm lies in the fact that a member of the public was given a guided tour of a primary school without anybody else - parents, the school council - knowing or approving.
I guess, as I said in my first post, that is a pretty regular occurance in my experience, and I don't understand how/why things are so different now.
Part of choosing a school for my child would be meeting the principal and seeing if I trusted them to make decisions about issues like people on the school grounds etc.
It is paranoia to me, because I don't see how a guided tour can be harmful to anyone, an I bet department representatives etc get shown around schools all the time.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

I bet department representatives etc get shown around schools all the time.

Um, no they don't.

Not without getting permission from the school.

catlick said...

I doubt Henson or his representatives ever sought or could ever seek official permission to do this. How could anyone put sufficient spin on what is essentially this request: "May I look at the children to see which ones I might like to photograph naked?"

catlick said...

By this I mean it was probably an informal arrangement, not through channels, not documented.

Sorry for the double post.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

I could spin that Catlick, but I doubt you could afford my services.

I don't come cheap, you know.

Boogeyman said...

We had snake handlers, TV scouts, movie scouts, firemen visiting our school all the time and don't believe my parents were notified in every case.

It's one thing to invite outsiders into the school for entertainment or educational purposes (eg. firemen) without seeking parental permission every time. But it's completely different inviting an outsider to come into to a school and assess your children for commercial purposes, without notifying parents.

If Bill Henson wanted models for his art, how difficult is it to send home a pamphlet - "Famous artist Bill Henson would like to meet children for potential artistic models - 3pm, school hall. Please sign here if you approve"?

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Well said, Boogey.

Perseus said...

We had a Salvation Army guy come once and he taught us Game Theory as a way of fostering in us an appreciation of equitable wealth distribution. The whole thing fell apart when a fellow student (who happened to be in the Young Libs) kept stuffing the exercises up, and loudly proclaiming: "But I want to be richer than everyone else!"

Aside from that, nobody ever visited my Generic High.

*

Catlick - your brother and Mr. E Discharge may want to compare notes.

Are you still a practicing Mick?

Louche said...

The thing is, I doubt the children would have known they were being assessed, and neither would the parents, until Marr;'s book came out, except for the ones Henson spoke to.

I think a cattle call of "models" and pushy parents would have been much worse.

squib said...

Henson Idol, coming soon to Channel 10...

catlick said...

Catlick - your brother and Mr. E Discharge may want to compare notes.

Not wanting to be a killjoy, but he's going to need a Ouija board to do that.

Are you still a practicing Mick?

I'm what I call a Cultural Catholic. It's like being Jewish. You just are.

Boogeyman said...

I doubt the children would have known they were being assessed, and neither would the parents, until Marr's book came out, except for the ones Henson spoke to.

The kids didn't know because, being kids, they're probably not familiar with the ways of adults. The parents didn't know because they weren't informed.

But Bill Henson knew, and the principal knew. And one would hope the latter would understand common social mores and the responsibilities of their job, and inform the parents first.

I think a cattle call of "models" and pushy parents would have been much worse.

No, because they would have had the choice to participate or not.

catlick said...

The new playground chant...
"pre pubescent, teenage,
sittin' in a row,
Gotta shoot the pictures
before the menstrual flow...
how.many.pictures.did.he.shoot.1.2.3.4.5.6.7.8.you're it!"

catlick said...

Yes, well..."you're it!"

Boogeyman said...

Catlick, if I had little girls I'd love to contract you to be their governess.

catlick said...

You could do worse.

wari lasi said...

People can talk art all they like. Like so many things it complicates a very basic issue.

To repeat myself. If a bloke came up to me, no matter who he was, and said he wanted to take pictures of my 12 year old child naked, I'd punch him in the face. He wouldn't get the opportunity to say, "But, you know, it's art"

Art my arse.

Jamie said...

Yep, what Wari said.

It may be so, Louche, that many other people were invited into the school in our day.

But these folks and Bill Henson are in a totally different ballpark. What this boils down to is a bootlick, arty wannabe school principal secretly doing the bidding of an "artist" whose "works" have alreaqdy drawn a great deal of ire in the mainstream community.

And I resent that my concerns for the safety of my children and others are summarily dismissed by the lefty commentariat as a lack of cultural enlightenment.

Sorry, nudie kids creep my shit out.

eat my shorts said...

I have a teacher friend who says that her ideal place to work wolud be a school full of orphans.

That's a pretty fucked up thing to say, even as a joke.

Or I'm missing something and just don't 'get it'.

Catlick said: it was probably an informal arrangement, not through channels, not documented.

And that's exactly the problem. Schools are accountable for what they expose children to while those children are in their care. A principal who keeps things like that on the sly obviously can't be trusted. I wouldn't trust them and I wouldn't want to knowingly work for someone who would take such a risk. Dodgy as.

Louche said...

EMS it's just a joke that parents are so annoying. She's quite religious, so I didn't think it was that offensive?
Catlick I am sorry to hear about your sister.
Boogey I still think the way the "scouting" was conducted was preferential to a typical casting call where certain children would be rejected, they would be acting self-consciously etc.
I still don't know what the "risk" in having him walk through the school is, when accompanied.

Don't if you don't want any commercial activity on school grounds or you just don't like his art.

Boogeyman said...

To mimimise risk to my kids, I 'd like them exposed to as few strange adults as possible while at school. Visitors for an educational purpose are an acceptable risk. Casting agents aren't.

I mean seriously, my kids go to school to be educated. Where's the educational value in an artist or casting agent sizing them up as potential models? Absolutely none. This argument that 'they're acting unselfconsciously' is weak to the core. FFS, Bill Henson could sit in a park and assess kids playing unselfconsciously if he really needed to, and approach the parents of the kids he likes.

The risk in having him walk through the school accompanied, is that you have a strange adult striking up conversations with your kids, establishing an initial rapport and trust, which could potentially be exploited later (eg. kids walking home from school, agent driving by, "hey we met today, you know me, hop in my car and come to my studio"). You think just because Bill Henson is famous, you can automatically trust him? You think just because someone is a casting agent, their intentions must be pure? Why allow the potential for such risk, when the outcome (commercial assessment in a natural setting) has no educational value?

Louche said...

None of the articles I saw said that Henson had approached the kids and talked to them.

I'm not sure I would like that either.

wari lasi said...

I wouldn't trust them and I wouldn't want to knowingly work for someone who would take such a risk. Dodgy as.

EMS, I may have mentioned before that Mrs L is in the same game as you, and for the record she agrees entirely. It's profoundly inappropriate.

catlick said...

Louche, either you are being deliberately and provocatively obtuse, or innately lazy and stupid. Which is it?

WitchOne said...

A guy took a photo of my son on the train once, I lost my goddamn mind and had him hauled away by the cops. (fears were justified, guy had priors)

Same deal, anyone walking into my childrens school and "assessing" them for any reason would be running the risk that I would get violent. For "arts sake" it would necessarily be a physical assessment, creepy!

squib said...

Obviously showing Henson around a schoolyard was pretty dumb but is it likely to occur again? No. Therefore it's not something I think we need to worry about

Louche said...

What is obtuse about what I am saying catlick? I'm certainly not the only person thinking this way - see David Marr or various parenting blogs and opinion articles.

Yes I am being provocative, I thought this blog readership could handle it. No need to reduce it to name calling. Unless of course, we should all play on your level.

I wouldn't have thought you all thought the same as Miranda Devine, but I guess I might be wrong.

Perseus said...

Louche: I think you'll find it's because you said you were sorry to hear about Catlick's sister, when indeed it was her brother she referred to.

It was just a mistake and needn't go further.

Now, everyone back to hating every facet of the Henson debate, or change topic to my sudden mainsteam obsession: The missing chick in Croatia. This is real 'boy down the well' stuff and normally I kind of tune off on these hysterical coverages, but I'm kinda clinging to this one, probably because I'm finding myself very admiring of her family. What a Dad... seriously, what a Dad.

Louche said...

Apologies Catlick, that was very insensitive of me.

I was posting late last night after a few wines.

catlick said...

Thank you Perseus et al, but actually I wasn't taking issue with that. It's the non sequiturs I object to. "She's quite religious, so I didn't think it was that offensive?"
It's the plank like inability to grasp the point."I still don't know what the "risk" in having him walk through the school is, when accompanied.

Don't if you don't want any commercial activity on school grounds or you just don't like his art."

Louche said...

What is the point then catlick. I have asked repeatedly for people to tell me.

catlick said...

How 'bout those Croatians eh?

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

*sigh*

The point, Louche, is that as a matter of principle and policy a man seeking to use young children in a commercial venture should not have been allowed onto the school grounds without - at least - the knowledge of either the Education Department or the School Council.

It's both a breach - it seems - of Education Deaprtment policy, privacy legislation and the ethos of public education.

I have no strong opinion about Croatians.

Except for Croatians owls.

They're cunts.

Louche said...

It's both a breach - it seems - of Education Deaprtment policy, privacy legislation and the ethos of public education.
Well lets just wait and see what the investigation reveals.
Basically I just think its a storm in a teacup and a distraction from the policeman, politicians and other scumbags in high positions who are actually ABUSING kids and peddling real child pornography.

wari lasi said...

And let's not forget that, for whatever reason, he has a penchant for photographing children naked.

The Britt Lapthorne drama has worn me out. It sounds more and more like she was a risk taker and bad things can happen to risk takers.

The brother sounds like the most level headed member of the family, the mother, probably understandably, is always blubbering. The press are having a field day with it.

Fad MD said...

And let's not forget that, for whatever reason, he has a penchant for photographing children naked.


And that makes him money. Anything like this should go through the Dept of Education anc school board. I agree whole heartedly with other on this.

To be honest, there's no reason why if Henson were to put an ad in the local "arty" paper or bulletin asking for child models that he would not get suitable models. Why does he have to trawl through a school for them?


I wouldn't have thought you all thought the same as Miranda Devine, but I guess I might be wrong. I guess this article was living proof of the "room of monkeys/typewriters" theorem.

As to the Croatian thing, it's a bit close to home at the moment. The 15yo son of one of my staff (whose husband works at one of the euro emabassies) has not returned home for 2 days. No indications from school or friends as to any problems, he doesn't speak Tagalog - not looking good I'm afraid.

wari lasi said...

Fad, that sounds nasty, and 15 is really still a child.

I don't know about the Miranda Devine thing. I'm boring I know, but I have a real problem with ANYONE who wants, for whatever reason (ok medical reasons excluded), to look at pictures of naked children.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Oh and BTW Louche, thanks for illustrating perfectly the point I was trying to make with a completely gratuitous reference to Miranda Devine.

Louche said...

If the shoe fits..

Boogeyman said...

What is the point then catlick. I have asked repeatedly for people to tell me.

Well, I thought I had stated the point, but I'll state it again, slightly differently: Allowing an artist known for painting naked children onto school grounds to observe people's children, would be make many parents in today's society very uncomfortable, hence it would have been bloody obvious to any school principal with half a brain to get parental permission first.

I wouldn't have thought you all thought the same as Miranda Devine, but I guess I might be wrong.

That's hardly fair. Just because my opinion happens to coincide once in a while with the insane MD doesn't make me a raving right-wing prude.

As far as this being a storm in a teacup, well perhaps so, except that it's all very well to say so after-the-fact that no harm had been done. At least this debate will help clarify what are appropriate boundaries with kids in schools, before harm does get done.

If that last statement made sense to anyone I'm treating myself to some chocolate.

wari lasi said...

Enjoy the chocolate boogey. And the fact that it's 4:20 not 5:20.

eat my shorts said...

You can double that chocolate, Boogey.

Louche said...

I accept your point, I just see it differently. I am not trying to change your mind, but I also don't appreciate being called lazy, stupid and a bunch of other names by Catlick for having a different POV.

Given that the school is in ST Kilda, with an urban artsy-fartsy demographic, I bet a proportion of the parents were actually chuffed that a world-renowned photographer had been on school grounds looking for models. And if no scouting is allowed on school grounds that should be across the board, not just with Henson but all TV, movie, model scouts.

It's this constant referral to 'risk' or 'harm' I find odd, because not ever has Henson been accused of harming any model he has worked with. Just because a lot of you seem to find his art distasteful is no reason to brandish him a perve.

The sad fact is that most children will be abused by a relative or close family friend.

eat my shorts said...

I bet a proportion of the parents were actually chuffed that a world-renowned photographer had been on school grounds looking for models.

And if that was going to be the case, the principal would have had no reason not to inform parents beforehand.

When I said that principal would have to be retarded to do such a thing, I wasn't being a smart arse. I'm serious. You'd have to be dense to work in education and not be aware of the policies regarding visitors to the school.

I don't know about other states, but we have go through mandated professional development on this kind of stuff, you attend, it needs to be on record that you attend, and then they tell you what common sense would tell you (i.e. that parents need to be kept informed of these kinds of things).

If the principal had informed the parents beforehand and *then* the media got hold of it and created a big old moral panic about it, that would be a storm in a teacup (to me, anyway). I think it's different in this case because the principal so obviously mis-managed the situation.

Louche said...

That may well be the policy in TAS, EMS, and you sound like a very professional teacher. As I said earlier, unannounced visitors were standard 'in my day' and some reports I'd read indicated that technically she didn't do anything against school policy. And did this not happen before the brouhaha over his latest exhibition? back when Henson was actually known as a respected artists and not a pedophile (despite years of nude photos?) Then it wouldnn't ahve been AS controversial as if it happened last week.
If the investigation turns up that she went against policy, then she should be reprimanded. It is not such a gross error, in my mind, to warrant sacking.
I call it a storm in a teacup, because compared to so many awful things that happen every day, this seems pretty minor to me. Which is back to the media circus Ramon was originally writing about.

catlick said...

" but I also don't appreciate being called lazy, stupid and a bunch of other names by Catlick for having a different POV."
Yet another thing you don't appreciate.

Louche said...

Catlick, do you ever say anything that's not a swipe? Saucer of milk, dear?

eat my shorts said...

you sound like a very professional teacher

Aw crap. I've totally misrepresented myself.

I understand your perspective as well, but completely disagree. I don't think that means I can't appreciate good art, or that I can't see that the media is capitalising on the general public's concerns about the situation, and I'm sure as hell not a prude.

I don't care if what the principal did wasn't technically against policy. It was shifty and dumb. Not qualities for a great principal.

catlick said...

Read my quips!

eat my shorts said...

It is not such a gross error, in my mind, to warrant sacking.

Perhaps not, but still I wouldn't want her to be my boss, if I had a say in it.

John said...

You have sat here too long for the good that you do...

And Ramon, you're now a reactionary.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

I was wondering when somebody would pick that up, John.

And Ramon, you're now a reactionary

You know it, comrade.

Boogeyman said...

John's comment was a little too succinct for me.

In other words... huh?

Perseus said...

I have no idea what John's comment meant either.

catlick said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
catlick said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ramon Insertnamehere said...

That's 'cause John and I are very, very clever.

Nyerr, nyerr, nyerr.

Cat got your tongue, catlick?

Boogeyman said...

Thanks Catlick (before you removed your comment).

It's a Cromwell quote.

Louche said...

"I didn't know this would be a big story". You're not a farking grad journa David Marr. STFU.

http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,24493582-2,00.html

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

I have to say, I'm with you on this one Louche.

If David Marr didn't know this would be a big story, then he's a fuckin' goose.

eat my shorts said...

In his address last night, Marr said "the little boy is shattered and blames himself for what has happened".

This is exactly why I think the situation is shitty.

Let's just argue for a second that a kid is chosen to model nude for a photographer and the parents consent to it and it doesn't end up all over the mass media.

Then, what happens in a few years, even without the blow-up in the media that this case has had, if the kid believes that what their parents did in agreeing for them to pose nude is wrong?

You still have a kid whose image was taken out of their hands and sold as a commodity.

The more I think about it, the less well it sits with me, no matter how well-reasoned the arguments I hear for letting kids pose nude for art are.

And I thought I'd said all I had to say on the topic? Bah!

Aesophia said...

I know I'm jumping in the pool a bit late, but this is a blog/forum, so yay for my 2 cents :)

Bill Henson is one of Australia's most famous photographers. He has an amazing portfolio that is NOT solely based around the uncomfortable subject matter of nude children. He has been working in the industry for decades (read: he has not always been a dirty old man).

The school where he was 'scouting' was a Steiner school (or similar) where most of the parents would indeed have been chuffed, Louche, to have such a prestigious artist potentially choosing their child for his work.

Previously, he has asked around his circle of friends and collegues if their children would want to be in his photos (one of my friends modelled for him back in the day). Never has a photo been taken without a parent's approval and presence at said shoot.

That said, the entire subject matter sets my teeth on edge & I have a problem with anyone taking photos of naked children for whatever reason, end of story. And I certainly don't agree to anyone 'sizing up' children at a school (especially without permission) for nude photography, I don't care how 'artistic' you are.

However, some artists love controversy and actually produce work to cause said controversy. Remember that insano freak who exhibited faeces, urine and blood (most or all of it his own) as art a few years ago, I mean come ON, he just wants the attention!

You may also find it amusing to note that Mr. Henson is now releasing a book - nice coincidence there Bill? Hmmmm, I don't think so!