Following the arrest of Dutch cartoonist Gregorius Nekschot last week, it has become publicised that the Dutch Secret Service apparently has a division dedicated to checking all cartoons being published in the country for potentially offensive content. Whatever you may think of Nekschot’s racist junk, that should be cause for concern. And indeed, Dutch cartoonist Peter Nieuwendijk, founder and present Secretary General of the Federation of Cartoonists Organizations (FECO) is organising a campaign, supported by the Dutch Cartoons Association, the Dutch Foundation Pers and Prent (Press & Print), and Cartoonists Rights Network International, to inundate — “bomb” — the Dutch Ministry of Justice in cartoons. More information on how to participate here.
This Friday will see the opening of Boy Wonder Simon Bukhave’s first solo exhibition. If you’re in Copenhagen (perhaps attending the Grand comics festival, Komiks.dk), go check it out. Simon has produced a couple of new, gorgeous drawings (see above) : and everything is for sale! Go, watch! Go buy! (In fact, just send him some goddamn money!)
More info here.
Forleden blev sløret løftet for det nye forlag, der fremover skal varetage forlaget Carlsens tegneserietitler – som følge af den lange, indviklede og noget uforståelige juridiske proces, der fulgte i kølvandet på Egmonts opkøb af Bonniers forlagsdivision. Groft forenklet brød EUs konkurrencemyndigheder sig ikke om den nye mastodont, og betingede en godkendelse af overtagelsen med et krav om frasalg af Carlsens tegneserielinje. Efter flere måneder er der nu kommet klarhed over situationen: Carlsens tegneserietitler (minus manga og Valhalla) bliver videreført i et nyt dansk og uafhængigt forlag med navnet Cobolt. Forlagets ejer, manden med pengene, er Kurt Dahlgaard, og forlagschefen bliver Carsten Søndergaard. Metabunkeren har interviewet sidstnævnte, og her følger hvad Søndergaard havde på hjerte:
Kan du fortælle lidt om Forlaget Cobolts udgivelsesprofil – vil forlaget “nøjes” med at vedligeholde alle de gamle Carlsen-titler, eller kan man forvente en mere offensiv stil?
Cobolt har ikke tænkt sig blot at hvile på laurbærrene. Tegneseriemarkedets interessante udvikling de se seneste år vil naturligt komme til at præge Cobolts program fremover, både hvad angår titler, genrer, udgivelsesformater og salgskanaler. Endnu er det dog for tidligt at løfte sløret for meget konkrete planer for nye udgivelser. I første omgang vil der blive skruet op for de mange udgivelser, hvor produktionen har ligget underdrejet, mens forhandlingerne om overdragelsen fra Bonnier til Cobolt har stået på.
One of Hollywood’s elder statesmen, the director, actor and producer Sidney Pollack has died. He was one of Tinseltown’s consummate craftsmen, never flashy but always solid — a comfortable presence in American mainstream cinema that, much like his contemporary Sidney Lumet, never lost sight of quality and subtle auteurial voice. From the caustically satirical They Shoot Horses Don’t They? (1969) to the pitch-perfect Three Days for Condor (1975) and Tootsie (1982) — each of the latter a sort of quality blueprint for their genres, of political thriller and romantic comedy respectively — his best films are unassuming, intelligent and gripping pieces of classic Hollywood cinema.
Columbus, Ohio-based MC Tero Smith, alias Camu Tao, has passed away after a three-year battle with lung cancer, reports his long-time collaborator El-P of Definitive Jux Records. In his press release, he writes:
“To those who knew Tero, he was an almost uncategorizable force of nature. Wild, hilarious, proud, loving, tough, outspoken, spontaneous and brilliant. He wore his heart on his sleeve and he dripped creativity, leaving inspiration and awe in the hearts and minds of anyone who was fortunate enough to see him work. “
Public Enemy brought it all back home Friday night. Performing, for the first time ever, their classic album It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (1988) in its entirety, they returned to a defining moment in modern music history and consolidated their status as perhaps the greatest hip hop group ever. Though not held at the Hammersmith Apollo, where they performed on the Def Jam Tour in 1987 — the show that was subsequently immortalised in live segments on the album — but rather at a sold out Brixton Academy across town, it was still one hell of a homecoming.
So why it is such an upsetting photograph is not just because we see someone smiling in the context of the horrible, but that when we look at her, we begin to have to resist smiling ourselves. So it’s a terrible, terrible picture for that reason alone.
— Paul Ekman, Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the University of California, San Francisco.
The picks of the week from around the web.
OK, since yesterday I’ve been looking over some more of this Gregorius Nekschot’s work and let’s just say that I’m not interested in reproducing any of it here. I may be missing some kind of mitigating knowledge of context, but have a hard time seeing how his work is different from this, this, or this (and if you want more comparative material, check out the Nazi Propaganda Archive. Be warned, however, that all of those links contain disturbing racist imagery).
It seems to me a pretty accurate assessment when the Dutch Public Prosecutor’s Office calls this hate speech. The question, of course, is whether it should be banned by law and whether producers of such material, such as Nekschot, should be prosecuted for spreading it. I don’t believe that’s the way to go about things — it’s a slippery slope towards greater censorship and will only worsen the situation. And, in any case, garbage like this is ultimately just a symptom of serious problems in the society that fosters it. Problems that obviously and urgently need to be addressed.
What I find shocking is not so much that some crank produces this crap, but that many people apparently take it seriously instead of rejecting it outright. Where the hell are we, if depicting our fellow human beings like this is somehow acceptable enough that it gets published in newspapers? Where do we, as self-proclaimed enlightened and civilised societies, draw the line?
Funny how staid and measured the Bomb in the Turban seems these days.
There is a distinct sense of hesitation to the work of the Italian Renaissance painter Sebastiano del Piombo (1485-1547). In spite of a high level of craft and an acute visual sensibility, many of his pictures are characterised by a searching insecurity, which also seems reflected in his notoriously low rate of productivity. According to Vasari’s biography, his longtime friend and mentor, Michelangelo, went as far as to describe him as plain lazy. He did this at a time when the two artists had fallen out — allegedly over the older master choosing fresco instead of oil as the medium for his Sistine Last Judgement — but is somehow characteristic of the professional relationship that more than anything determined Sebastiano’s career as an artist. The creative boost he got from the older artist’s Protean vision developed over time to become a crushing creative dependency.
The arrest and 30-hour detainment of Dutch cartoonist Gregorius Nekschot and the seizure of his property by police at the end of last week is disturbing news. The arrest was part of an investigation into alleged spreading of hate-speech in his cartoons and political commentary, based on a complaint made by a Dutch imam in 2005. I’m not familiar with Nekschot’s work, but what I’ve seen — coarse and repulsive as it is — is not substantially different from the hateful agitprop of a Geert Wilders for example, and not even his garbage merits this kind of action. Ignoring this kind of idiocy is the best way of combatting it.
What the hell is wrong with the Dutch government?