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I’m Robbo the Port Swiller and I approve this painting.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Friends of the decanter no doubt read the story this week about the kerfluffle over the Manchester Art Gallery temporarily removing John William Waterhouse’s “Hylas and the Nymphs” from display?  (Apparently, it’s back up now.)

It is a painting that shows pubescent, naked nymphs tempting a handsome young man to his doom, but is it an erotic Victorian fantasy too far, and one which, in the current climate, is unsuitable and offensive to modern audiences?

Manchester Art Gallery has asked the question after removing John William Waterhouse’s Hylas and the Nymphs, one of the most recognisable of the pre-Raphaelite paintings, from its walls. Postcards of the painting will be removed from sale in the shop.

The painting was taken down on Friday and replaced with a notice explaining that a temporary space had been left “to prompt conversations about how we display and interpret artworks in Manchester’s public collection”.

Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute!  I thought that the purpose of art nowadays is to be “unsuitable and offensive”! I thought such untouchable examples of artistic expression such as the “Piss Christ”, that Madonna made of elephant dung, and the photography of Robert Maplethorpe were supposed to shake us stuffy, close-minded bourgeois mouth-breathers out of our comfort zones.   Double-standard we much?

But then, of course, consistency is not a hobgoblin with which Cultural Marxism concerns itself very much.  Power first.  Principles later.

The article is from the Guardian,  which seems to take the line that summarily disappearing a piece of art is not censorship, because in a museum, for example, things get switched in and out all the time for a lot of different reasons.  Well that may be true, but if you’re saying you’re removing it because it might be too offensive, then yeah, you’re censoring it.  (Speaking of which, I see where a school district in Minnesota is yanking Huckleberry Finn and To Kill a Mockingbird from its reading list because of badspeak.  What the heck happened to the principled liberals like Nat Hentoff who used to speak out against this sort of nonsense? Off the top of my head, Camille Paglia is about the only one who still puts up a fight.)

By the bye, in Ol’ Robbo’s experience, language such as “to prompt conversations about how we display and interpret artwork”  when used by Leftists invariably translates into “shut up and get in line, kulak”.

Of course, if the Manchester Gallery decide in good conscience that they simply can’t keep this Waterhouse, Ol’ Robbo would be perfectly happy to take it off their hands.

UPDATE:  The lovely and talented Mary Katharine Ham takes many of Ol’ Robbo’s points about both the Manchester flap and the Minnesota book-banning, and turns them into a battle-cry.  Mmmmm…..MKH mentioned the old Llama Butchers by name in a video back in the day (which I couldn’t possibly find now).  Nice that she’s evidently paying attention to Ol’ Robbo even after all this time.  A glass of Madeira, M’dear?

Her greater point, which I think is an important one, is that when people actually push back against this web of unreality, it buckles, since it is built on a web of fantasy and lies.

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