The recent controversy over Picturegate transcended Conor Casby’s paintings. It revealed a national broadcaster in preemptive terror of the government; a meddling Government Press Office that overstepped the procedures the rest of us have to adhere to if we have a broadcasting complaint; and a Gardai that are clearly taking directions from murky corners of Irish politics. The full implications of a very strange week have yet to be teased out but many people are waking up to the rot in Irish political life and the episode has revealed some strange definitions of satire, and strange attitudes to the human body.
If any of this concerns you, and as a citizen of a democracy it should, you should express that concern. The Leave Conor Casby Alone group on Facebook approaches 6,000 members, you might join that.
You might voice your concerns to RTE email@example.com and/or the BCC http://www.bcc.ie/how_to_complaint/index.html.
I’m encouraging as many people as possible to contribute to Fústar’s exhibition of nudie Brian Cowen postcards: http://www.fustar.info/2009/03/26/the-great-picturegate-postcard-exhibition/
Remember, the severity of satire directly correlates to the hypocrisy and cynicism of a regime, and this one is displaying the symptoms of both. True cruelty lies in the abuse of power invested by an electorate.
Send your postcards even if you think you can’t draw. You might not be Michaelangelo but your few meagre lines will defend a principle so fundamental as to be invisible until it is compromised, or worse, lost altogether.
For now, free speech has only been compromised.