“Wait, No, Not Us! We’re Artists, Dahlink!!”

It is, I think, a measure of the current atmosphere that so uncontroversial a move – the production has been touring since September, and the play, with its wild, working-class teenage heroines, has been loved and admired ever since Stafford-Clark discovered its 19-year-old author in the early 1980s – seemed weirdly momentous: significant enough to make the main news bulletins. When I heard about it, I poured myself another drink.

Rachel Cooke just discovered that the #IBelieveHer movement is like that tiger you gleefully climb on the back of, before it breaks free of the reins and starts savaging the people you previously thought were safe.

This is just one in a long line of recent instances of mimsy self-censorship in the arts and, in the months and years ahead, I predict many more, the fear and trembling among institutions growing exponentially as further cases of harassment and abuse are revealed, and some of those we know about already perhaps pass through the courts.

Oh, yes indeed. I’m stocking up on popcorn!

Although it gives me no pleasure to say so, I saw all this coming. Last April, when Harvey Weinstein was still protected by his ghastly network and the liverish glow of his formerly high-wattage power, I wrote a long piece about the increasingly nervous attitudes of galleries to “difficult” work in which I speculated that, among other artists, Balthus, some of whose subjects are pubescent girls, would probably soon find himself in trouble. And so it came to pass.

We could all see it coming, love. You’re not special there.

People talk of a “reckoning”. At last, they say, women need no longer be silent about what they’ve suffered at the hands of men; our idea of what constitutes sexual assault has changed forever. I have no problem with this.

So why are you writing this?

But we need to be careful. This is a dangerous moment as well as an important one.

Ah. Of course. Ir’s because your ox is now in danger of being gored. So, are you going to speak out against the accusers, to hurl criticism their way?

You don’t have to look very hard to see that we’re beginning to conflate sexual mistakes of all kinds with abuse, that beneath the surface of this debate conservative forces are at work, as well as reforming, liberal ones.

I guess not. This is one of those Left wing conundrums, then.

“He’s a sexual predator.
You’re a dangerous but dashing tease.
I’m a harmless flirt.”

And at the heart of it, it’s all those bloody conservatives’ fault!

The mob can be whipped up in as long as it takes to hit a keyboard; institutions are risk averse, worrying about funding and audience development with freedom of expression seen as mere tinsel atop the tree.

Yup. But it’s your mob, love. Own it.

5 comments for ““Wait, No, Not Us! We’re Artists, Dahlink!!”

  1. December 20, 2017 at 12:45 pm

    Liberation !
    I’m thixteen and not ashamed of my botty.
    A woman can do anything a (base and crude) man can do.
    Its My body and My choice.
    I am not to be shamed.
    Free sex !
    I am empowered.
    Yes I am going out dressed like this.
    How DARE you criticise me.

  2. Errol
    December 20, 2017 at 1:45 pm

    ‘Conservative forces’ vs ‘reforming liberals’.

    Ah, those lovely reforming liberals – turning society into a slaughterhouse of jugemental, trigger happy, aggressive, abusive, intolerant, arrogant oppressive Lefties. It’s boo and hurrah words. We are good, they are bad.

    The Left are a crusading army. One recruiting from the vulnerable, frightened and cowardly. The ones too dim to stand up and say ‘What? That’s gibberish.’ The ones who believe that robbing the rich actually means also giving to the poor because that is what the ‘good’ guys preach. That the rich should be robbed of their property and that’s good, isn’t it? The well off are evil, evil because they’re demonised – demonised by those robbing them. Easy to hate people you’re told to hate. People who are different, who are successful because you’re not, and it’s *their fault!*

    This is why I hate the Left. Because they don’t care. Because they are militant. Because they are vicious, spiteful, hate filled hypocrits who will see the world burn because they believe they are right through no justification than their own misguided, unthinking, irrational, self induced bonkers conviction.

    This irrationality is why their demented ideas always backfire. This woman wants her vision to apply only to what she hates. Not what she doesn’t. That’s what she means. Yet she can’t acknowledge her hypocrisy. It’s the ‘free speech but only if you agree with me’ lark.

    They wrap up their hypocrisy in fine words and vapid arguments but it’s still there, reinforced by the faithful equally as frightened of seeing the idol toppled because it would expose themselves to the ridicule of evidence, rationality and reason.

    They revert to type, frightened, cowardly, spiteful, vicious creatures who attack, violently anyone who dares threaten their own refusal to think. They can’t. The cognitive dissonance of being shown to be wrong by their own actions would break their fragile minds so they hide and cower, breaking out to champion their idiotic, flawed causes to disguise their own hypocrisy and defend their own ego. At the end, it is only ever about them and this is why left wingery fails. The insults become abuse, the abuse becomes physical abuse (as we’ve seen with the fascist anti fascists) until eventually they begin their frenzied crusade and kill anyone who disagrees with them and we get Kristallnacht, the Great Purges, the ‘Great’ Leap Forward and we end up with nothing but death, pain and misery all for the ego of failure, the poverty of logic and the refusal to accept that they are wrong and back we go again, resetting the clock until the next bunch of nutters arises and kills tens of millions more under the banner of the ‘progressive’.

  3. Voice of Reason
    December 20, 2017 at 8:28 pm

    One approach that I have suggested to some of this (even beyond the issue of predation) is for men to complain just as loudly when sexist remarks are made about them. Similarly, do so for racist complaints.

  4. December 22, 2017 at 12:26 am

    >back we go again, resetting the clock until the next bunch of nutters arises and kills tens of millions more under the banner of the ‘progressive’.

    Well, if you won’t be killed and tortured for the sake of progress then you just can’t be helped, Mr Stubborn Pants.

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