Monday, 8 August 2011

oh fuck
Cartoonist miffed by negative newspaper article
The Australian Aug 9 2011
WORLD renowned American cartoonist Robert Crumb has pulled out of his headline appearance at the Graphic arts festival in Sydney later this month.

He made the decision after being described in a Sydney newspaper as a "self-confessed sex pervert" and a "very warped human being".

Crumb, 67, who was among the founders of the underground comix movement in the 1960s and whose characters include Mr Natural and Fritz the Cat, was to be the main attraction at the second annual Graphic festival to be held at Sydney Opera House on August 20 and 21.

The artist, who is based in France, told The Australian yesterday he had withdrawn from making his first appearance in Australia because of the nasty nature of an article in The Sunday Telegraph, owned by News Limited, publisher of The Australian.

The newspaper's story on July 31 featured the headline "Cult genius or filthy weirdo". In it, anti-child abuse campaigner Hetty Johnston described Crumb's work as "crude and perverted images emanating from what is clearly a sick mind".
I'll keep you up to date as I figure out what's happening. The festival is still holding up, so I'll be there!

the article that caused the problem:
Smutty show a comic outrage
Telegraph July 31, 2011
A SELF-CONFESSED sex pervert whose explicit comic drawings cannot be shown in Australia is to deliver a talk and hold a special exhibition at the Sydney Opera House.

Cartoonist Robert Crumb's visit, funded by the Opera House and endorsed by the City of Sydney, has sparked outrage with sexual assault crisis groups describing the France-based American artist as "sick and deranged".

Crumb, a "seminal" cult comic cartoonist from the 1960s regarded by fans - including the City of Sydney - as legendary, and a genius, is renowned for extreme drug-fuelled drawings, depicting incest, rape, paedophilia and bestiality.

The Sydney Opera House's publicity for the art festival event next month warns: "Some patrons may find parts of this event's content disturbing. Event may not be suitable for persons 15 or under."

A spokesman for the federal Attorney General's department told The Sunday Telegraph that Crumb's work cannot be shown in Australia unless he submits his illustrations for classification. The spokesman said his work would almost certainly be refused classification.

In one drawing, of the character Mr Natural, Crumb, now 67, depicts a sex act between an oversized baby and a man. Anti-child abuse campaigner Hetty Johnston said the Opera House event was endorsing the "depraved thought processes of this very warped human being".

"These cartoons are not funny or artistic - they are just crude and perverted images emanating from what is clearly a sick mind," she said. "Of all the brilliant artists, cartoonists and writers the Opera House and council could have supported, you have to wonder why they chose Robert Crumb."
I can't say well, this is Australia, as every country has numbskulls who can't tell the difference between satire and evil. However, when From Hell was temporarily banned from importation here, I got the customs guy on the phone and said (not identifying myself as co-author, but as publisher) "but this book has won awards in the USA, Paris and London", he replied "Well it could well pass in those other places, but this is Australia."



Blogger Unknown said...

The original article (shame, shame, shame) that they're talking about as per Dylan Horricks twitter post.

8 August 2011 at 21:54:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Eddie Campbell said...

I'll stick that under the main post. Thanks. I was too busy in damage control to fret over the details.

8 August 2011 at 22:21:00 GMT-5  
Blogger spacedlaw said...

I never knew Australia could be a prude.

9 August 2011 at 00:09:00 GMT-5  
Anonymous Tita said...

How upsetting. I thought they've stopped being so 'prudent' after the From Hell ban.

9 August 2011 at 00:29:00 GMT-5  
Anonymous Kumar Sivasubramanian said...

I bought flights and event tickets, and booked a hotel in Sydney for the weekend. I'm seriously disappointed/angry about the Crumb situation, but hopefully the rest of it still holds together so I get something out of it, however diminished.

9 August 2011 at 00:46:00 GMT-5  
Anonymous Jitterati said...

"I go to the theatre to be entertained. I don't want to see plays about rape, sodomy and drug addiction...I can get all that at home.” -Beyond The Fringe

9 August 2011 at 02:43:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Greg G said...

Obviously a controversy engineered by the - anyone know the name of the journalist? Shades of Bill Henson.

9 August 2011 at 02:46:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Greg G said...

"by the": paper.

9 August 2011 at 02:47:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Unknown said...

Also in the news... from GoogleSpain interview to Eddie Campbell in ADN Newspaper

9 August 2011 at 02:47:00 GMT-5  
Anonymous Chris B said...

How upsetting. I thought they've stopped being so 'prudent' after the From Hell ban.

As far as I recall, Hetty Johnston didn't work in Customs in WA eleven years ago. And Greg's vague bloviating is in fact on point - she was one of the main agitators behind the Henson affair.

9 August 2011 at 03:01:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Greg G said...

Sorry to be vague, was posting on my phone - should have waited till I got home.

My understanding of the Henson case was that a radio host was trying to gin up controversy for several hours before he got someone to bite (Johnston). Would have to check the David Marr book to be sure.

I imagine this story is likely to have started the same way, with a journo noticing some press release or other from Graphic and ringing around the usual loonies till they got a good quote to manufacture outrage around. As it's Sydney, Johnston was likely their first call.

Not to detract from Eddie's point about Australia - it has had a long tradition of censorship and wowserism. The current computer games hoo-ha is the most recent example I can think of, but we did ban both Lady Chatterley's Lover AND a book about the British trial back in the day. There's bits of deleted Dr Who episodes that only exist because of the TV censors in the sixties...

9 August 2011 at 04:16:00 GMT-5  
Blogger TEBEOBIEN said...

i can't even imagine what some would say spanish journalists in the same situation...

9 August 2011 at 04:55:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Pepo Pérez said...

What a shame. Maybe the journalist needs some "cultured" reference about the work of Crumb to be taken seriously. And perhaps many of Goya's images also couldn't be exposed in Australia.

The Austrialian prestigious critic Robert Hugues on Crumb:


"I think of Crumb as the Bruegel of the second half of the twentieth century. In the first half there was none, but there was one in the second, and is Robert Crumb"
(Robert Hughes, in the film "Crumb", 1994)

9 August 2011 at 05:03:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Pepo Pérez said...

Ignorance never ends.

9 August 2011 at 05:09:00 GMT-5  
Anonymous Chris B said...

"a journo noticing some press release or other from Graphic and ringing around the usual loonies till they got a good quote to manufacture outrage around. As it's Sydney, Johnston was likely their first call."

Yes indeed (though I believe Johnston's a Queenslander) - remember the same paper tried to gee up outrage against the waste of taxpayers' money on last year's Vivid at the Opera House by ringing up Western Sydney mayors.

9 August 2011 at 07:17:00 GMT-5  

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