Cretinous stupidity

The Times disclosed in April that a sculpture bought by the Royal Festival Hall from the trust had been made by Colin Pitchfork, who was serving life for killing two teenage girls.

The centre withdrew the item, publicly apologised and said that it would “have a conversation with the Koestler Trust about future policy”.

Kath Eastwood, whose daughter Lynda Mann, 15, was killed by Pitchfork, said Cochrane’s painting should also be removed. She said: “Obviously the work of a man who has committed that crime — which is just as horrific — shouldn’t be on display. I know what the parents must be thinking.”

Dean Stalham, formerly an art specialist at the trust, said: “They should stop celebrating art by paedophiles and serious sex offenders, and care more for the thoughts and feelings of victims of crime.”

Art is art: it matters not who created it. If Hitler\’s skills had been comparable to those of Rembrandt then his paintings would be as worth celebrating while his other actions would be just as condemnded as they are.

My Latin\’s not up to it but it\’s a variation of pecunia non olet. A pint of beer brewed by a child rapist is a pint of beer to be judged as a pint of beer. A painting by a child rapist is a painting to be judged as a painting.

We might, we should, we do, bang up a child rapist for being a child rapist but to then insist that every aspect of them, every thing they do or produce, is thus evil and to be anathematized is simply cretinous stupidity.

12 comments on “Cretinous stupidity

  1. So Roman Polanski’s films are also about to be banned, then?

    And what about the Koran? I heard about the Aisha thing….

    The place where I work has several copies of ‘Mein Kampf’ – should I kick up a fuss about that? It’s an academic library that I work at after all, and not the BNP’s headquarters…

  2. but to then insist that every aspect of them, every thing they do or produce, is thus evil and to be anathematized is simply cretinous stupidity.

    Er No. It’s simply human nature. To call it cretinous stupidity shows an arrogance and lack of empathy towards those whose lives have been wrecked by these criminals.

    By all means have a debate on whether these works should be displayed in a public space or not, and what shoulde happen to any putative profits that may accrue, but to call people stupid for disagreeing with you is a Progressive tic that doesn’t really suit.

  3. When you get banged up, you lose certain liberties including the liberty to peddle your stuff.

    And if the person banged up has a special talent, whether an artist or brain surgeon, it is indeed a loss to the rest of us, given the talent pool available to us to enjoy has thereby slightly shrunk.

    Tim, are you suggesting prisoners with special talents should have some special dispensation to continue to peddle their stuff that is not available to untalented ones? I can see the case for it, but it isn’t one I agree with (and less so where the offence is serious).

  4. What is a bit stupid is to buy a work of art from the Koestler Trust, which encourages art in prisons, and then to claim to be taken aback when the artist turns out to have a criminal record.

    I must say, however irrational the idea, I would prefer not to eat a scone baked by Myra Hindley.

  5. By all means have a debate on whether these works should be displayed in a public space or not, and what shoulde happen to any putative profits that may accrue

    I would question why the likes of Colin Pitchfork are allowed to make sculptures in prison in the first place. It serves no useful purpose and a more austere regime would be cheaper, more secure and more fitting for what prison should be for someone convicted of such crimes.

  6. and people still sing the madrigals of Gesualdo – who killed his wife – and admire the paintings of Caravaggio – a brawler and killer – and the poems of Villon.

  7. I think the public get mightily cheesed off when they find their tax money has been used to pay for the stuff. But personally I don’t mind, so long as the piece is displayed with no attribution, and the artist receives no payment.

  8. @ Philip Hunt

    I think you may be confusing Edward Johnston with Eric Gill. When it comes to making accusations of paedophilia, incest and bestiality, it is really rather important for the accuser to correctly identify the culprit…

  9. Kevin B a good boy and go and sit back in the corner. I’ve been in prison and I’m not proud of it. But it was in prison that my life changed. Art entered my life and saved it. Prison art has an extremely dark aspect and can not be just about the art. Art does have boundaries. Victims of crime and their families have to be considered in circumstances like this. It would have been a far greater thing, on the Koestlers part, to have kept the offending art out. It would have shown that at least they care.

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