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Another Perry speaks out against Islamism

Grayson Perry to be exact, a Brit artist, of the sort that makes you want to reach for the sneer quotes. But, I do give this Other Perry two cheers if not three for saying even this much:

“I’ve censored myself,” Perry said at a discussion on art and politics organised by the Art Fund. “The reason I haven’t gone all out attacking Islamism in my art is because I feel real fear that someone will slit my throat.”

This may seem like a half-arsed attack on Islam and/or Islamism, but it is way better than nothing, I think. Half an arse is better than no arse at all. These kind of remarks are adding up. The project of denouncing Islam as the evil crap that it is gradually gains ground, inch by inch, and what Other Perry says is another inch advanced. And I do mean attacking Islam, rather than merely those accused of ‘betraying’ it by… doing what it says. The word is gradually spreading.

If you are a serious Islamist, who does believe in doing what Islam says, we infidels, even our artists, are starting seriously to understand you. Watch out. We take our time to understand these kinds of things, but we get there, and when we do… On the other hand, if you are, as so many Muslims are, a nice person, and accordingly not a serious Islamist, but if you merely say periodically in a self-hypnotic way that you do believe in Islam, then for goodness sake read the damn stuff properly and stop saying that you believe in it. You are trying to have it both ways. Stop this. Stop encouraging something that you say you don’t believe in. Make up your mind.

A good first step in denouncing Islam as the scary stuff that it is is to admit that you are scared of it, and not in any ‘phobic’ way but for good solid reasons. Grayson Perry has admitted this, and rather than complaining that he goes no further, I say, good on you mate, for at least going this far.

32 comments to Another Perry speaks out against Islamism

  • Pham Newen

    Of course the exact same thing goes for Christians….. right?

  • WalterBoswell

    Pham Newen wrote : “Of course the exact same thing goes for Christians….. right?”

    Given the choice, and be honest now, who would you rather offend, if you were and artist and you had to offend?

  • Brian, I don’t think that his attack on Islam was half-arsed at all. His statement actually says all one needs to know about Islam.

  • RAB

    Pop Art in Pottery
    Popery bashing is easy
    But Islam can give you
    A nasty case of the piles!

  • Monty

    Well I think he is being refreshingly honest.

    But that alone sets him apart from the rest of the supine “progressive” community of the arts and education, who fire at will against harmless christians while pandering to the worst excesses of islamic fascism.

    I find all religions risible, and I say so. But only one cult will try to silence me by violence.

  • Nick M

    More like a nasty case of the viles…

    Anyway, from the Times Online, “One work depicted a teddy bear being born from a penis as the Virgin Mary”. Huh? I really can’t quite picture that. How do you depict a teddy bear as the Virgin Mary?

    Well, whatever, kudos to Mr Perry for saying at least what everyone else is thinking. I have said some extremely forthright stuff about Islam but would I walk past the local mosque wearing a Mo-Toons T-shirt? On my own? Just after Friday prayers?

  • WalterBoswell

    …but would I walk past the local mosque wearing a Mo-Toons T-shirt? On my own? Just after Friday prayers?

    1000 quatloos says yes, one day you will.

  • Nick M

    Mr Boswell, what is a “quatloo”? If it’s pegged to the USD in anyway…

  • Paul Marks

    Christians protest.

    Normally when their tax money is being used for anti Christian art – but sometimes even when no tax money is being used. For example, the protests over the film “Life of Brian”.

    However, there is no position in mainstream Christianity that violence may be used against the makers of antiChristian art.

    There is such a position within mainstream Islam (both Sunni and Shia).

    Of course at one time there was such a position within mainstream Christianity (hence the blasphemy laws that still exist in this country). Hopefully in the future mainstream Islam will oppose legal restrictions (i.e. the threat of violence) on antiIslamic art.

    The problem is the same one that often comes up.

    Tolerant Christians can always say “whilst Jesus did overturn the money changers tables in the temple, in the main his message was non aggression – the temple being God’s house and therefore his action being defensive in nature”.

    A Muslim who claimed that Mohammed had a message of “non aggression” or that his actions were mainly “defensive in nature” would not be correct.

    Liberal minded people, whether Christain or athieist, could always claim that using the threat of aggressive violence was in contradiction to the life and message of Jesus. Liberal minded people have difficulties in making such a claim about the life or message of Mohammed.

    In short Mr Perry is quite right to be concerned about being murdered if he does the same sort of thing to Islam that, say, the producers of “piss Christ” and so on do so often to Christianity.

    However, I sometimes wonder if the reluctance to attack Islam among progressive artists and film makers (and so on) is really just fear of being murdered.

    There is the traditional hatred of the West (or at least of “capitalist culture”) and the belief that it is the duty of creative people to undermine it.

    If one’s mind is concentrated on the destruction of the West, Islam may seem like a boring side issue – or radical Islam may even be seen as a possible ally.

    Certainly some Progressives do believe that the West (for all its faults) is superior to Islam and that they should help in its defence – but most do not think on these lines.

  • Eamon Brennan

    Irrespective of his target it is telling that GP talks of attacking this and that in his work.

    I have been of the opinion for quite a while now that modern Brit-art has gone down the biggest blind alley it could insomuch as its only purpose is to shock or offend.

    As a result it has swiftly become hidebound and predictable and deadly dull.

    “Look here we have a statue of the pope defecating on children while Princess Diana cheerfully munches on the intestines of a slaughtered kitten.”


    Personally I wouldn’t mind seeing him slaughtered by some incensed Muslim. One less attention seeking chin-stroking twat in the world.

  • veryretired

    What passes for art in the modern, or post-modern, sense has lost all connection with any recognizable esthetic principle, and, as a result, has lost any cultural relevance it may have once had.

    Honestly, does anyone even remotely engaged with the real world pay any attention to these pathetic poseurs? Would anyone you know or respect even allow any of this worthless crap into their house, much less spend any time worrying about what the meaning behind it is, or the maker’s political or religious sentiments?

    In fact, the fashioners of these nonsensical pieces of ephemera have de-constructed themselves into utter meaninglessness, and, except for the occasional provocation like the “piss christ” or some other blasphemous item of artistic sewage, are totally ignored by the vast majority of the rest of humanity precisely because their “creations” are so utterly without artistic or esthetic value.

    I don’t know how many times I have read or heard the lament, usually in some predictable defense of “artistic relevance” that, paradoxically, ends up declaring how divorced art has become from the crassness of the modern world, that art used to be a part of every facet of life in more primitive societies, but now has been cast out into the netherlands on the periphery of the current culture.

    And everytime I hear this nonsense, I have the same thought—Is it art that has been marginalized? or has art defined itself out of existence by its refusal to recognize true creative genius simply because that creation has a practical (read commercial) purpose?

    The same whining little twit who cries about how every pot or parchment or building in the ancient world was a work of art would swoon if it was pointed out that everything around them was created by, and included, creative elements every bit as artistic as any greek temple or monastary manuscript.

    The use of the term “elegant” by engineers and scientists to describe designs or experiments or theorems is telling, and denies by its very usage and meaning the lament of the “suffering artist” that there is no place for art in the cold, commercial world of the global marketplace.

    What these phony little dung-shapers fail to notice, or are afraid to notice, is that they are surrounded by the practical applications of creative genius from countless men and women everywhere they go, in everything they do, in everything they use. The world they disdain is made up of elegance and designed practicality.

    It is the usefulness of the modern world that this concept of art cannot accept. It is irrelevant precisely because it no longer has any meaning or purpose other that infantile self-indulgence. It is ephemeral because of its triviality, its utter lack of any meaning or esthetic content.

    It comes as no surprise, therefore, that this little pissant and his fellows are deathly afraid to say anything about islam because they might be held accountable in a very real and painful sense.

    It would be a connection to the messy ishiness of the real world far too meaningful for the modern practitioners of the art of meaninglessness.

  • Sam Duncan

    I completely agree with your assessment of Brit-art, Eamon. The argument seems to be that if it provokes a response, it’s worthwhile. To which my reaction is always that you can provoke a response by poking people with a stick. It doesn’t make it art.

    But I think Brian’s right about GP. It’s not enough, but it’s a start. The more people saying this openly, the better.

  • Nick M

    Your last paragraph is appalling. Need I explain why?

    Ephemerality has an aesthetic of it’s own. It makes it no less poignant than flowers or fireworks or the fading beauty of a Hollywood starlet. Lolita is at least as much about the glory of popular culture as about nymphettes. Lolita is a metaphor for temporatility.

    The real point is that quite simply our pseudo-bohemmian artists would be the first up against the wall under sharia.

    And, you know, overall, I think these people are just being rebellious for the sake of it and to dimwits of the current generation that the keffiyeh is just as “iconic” as Che in his beret was…

  • permanentexpat

    Guns don’t kill people…………..people do. By the same token I believe that Art doesn’t degenerate….’artists’ do.

  • WalterBoswell

    Nick M –

    Can’t find the original Star Trek scene so this(Link) will have to do.

    Eamon Brennan – “Look here we have a statue of the pope defecating on children while Princess Diana cheerfully munches on the intestines of a slaughtered kitten.”

    Now that’s something I’d like to see Grayson Perry stick on a pot.

  • Eamon Brennan

    Nick M

    Do you genuinely think that I literally meant that I was looking forward to Grayson Perry’s horrible death, or could it possibly be that that I was making a ridiculously over the top statement, that couldn’t possibly be taken literally, in order to illustrate my dislike of the sensationalist trend in modern British art.

    Or are you trying to manufacture a bit of righteous outrage there? Slightly two-faced behaviour on your part given your own predelection for such comments.

  • RAB

    Ahem! a bit of fun is being had gentlemen!
    This is modern Art after all
    Not life!

  • RAB

    Oh, dont suppose I can interest anyone in this:-


    Again this year?
    Na, thought not. We are being very tough on Islam this time by the way.
    Playing Cat Stevens records backwards and the like!…

  • Nick M

    I’m conflicted. Just Like Mr Perry’s dress-sense. I am never over the top! Just like Mr Perry’s dress-sense. I was, I have to admit mildly annoyed because my understanding is that Mr Perry may sell utter crap but hey, that’s the market and you weren’t displaying too much irony;-) You just seemed a bit straight arrow on the moider. If I misinterpreted, I’m sorry…

    Thanks, Walter. I was wondering if it was Star Trek. Is that a Ferengi thing?

  • Eamon Brennan

    It could be worse. You could be playing them forwards.

  • Some lines from Orwell’s 1943 poem :”As one non combatant to another.”

    “All propaganda’s lying, yours and mine
    It’s lying even when its fact are true;
    That goes for Goebbels or the “Party Line”
    Or the Primrose League or the PPU
    But there are truths that smaller lies can serve,
    And dirtier lies that scruples can gild over
    To wate your brains on war may need more nerve
    Than to dodge facts and live in mental clover;
    Its mean enough when other men are dying,
    But when you lie, it’s much to know you’re lying.

    That’s thirteen stanzas, and perhaps you’re puzzled
    To know why I’ve attacks you-well here’s why:
    Because your enemies are all dead or muzzled, you’ve never picked on one that might reply.

  • Eamon Brennan

    Actually Nick, the really sad thing about GP is that once you get past his infantile attempts to shock, he really is an exceptionally talented artist and skilled craftsman. He just chooses to produce crap.

  • Orwell contd.

    You’ve hogged the limelight and you’ve aired your virtue
    While chucking sops toevery dangerous faction,
    The left will cheer you and the right won’t hurt you
    What did you risk, not even a libel action.
    If you would show what saintly stuff you’re made of
    Why not attack the cliques you ARE afraid of.

    Denounce Joe Stalin, jeer at the Red Army,
    Insult the Pope – you’ll get some comeback there
    It’s honorable, even if it’s barmy
    To stamp on corns all round and never care.

    But for the halfway saint and cautious hero
    Whose head’s unbloody even if unbowed
    My admiration’s somewhere near to zero;
    So my last words would be: Come off that cloud,
    Unship those wings that hardly dare to flitter,
    And spout your halo for a pint of bitter.

  • Nick M

    I’m off oop norf to sell art-works from my brothers stall in Newcastle this weekend. He also works at The Blatic in Gateshead. I am not the only one who thinks it’s mainly total crap. But then isn’t most art? Isn’t most anything? Somethings last but most don’t.

    Yusuf Islam doesn’t even, as an uber Muslim deserve any artistic regard because he doesn’t believe it is worth anything himself, absolutely and in principle.

  • Paul Marks

    George Orwell – Eric Blair.

    The pro Western Progressive – much like Chistopher Hitchins or Nick Cohen in our own day.

    In 1939 he found that most of his Progressive friends were not prepared to stand against Nazi Germany – because it had made an alliance with the Soviet Union which had already led to the “liberation” of Poland and the Baltic States. And, anyway, Britain and France were evil capitalist lands that should be destroyed.

    “Who stepped forward to defend civilization in its hour of need – Colonel Blimp and the old school tie”.

    Even the snear did not hide that this was the truth. It was Colonel Blimp (i.e. the old conservative) who stepped forward to defend civilization. Most of the Progressive, compassionate folk choose to ally with terrible tyranny.

    They have not changed.

  • WalterBoswell

    Is that a Ferengi thing?

    I’m not sure. It’s from ye olde Star Trek. Kirk is in an combat arena fighting space monsters. I’m not even sure they had Ferengi back then.

    Here’s a little idea(Link) Grayson Perry might consider should he decide to go the extra mile into near virgin waters of Islamic sensitivities.

  • Really do not know a great deal about Art, but I like the chap in the URL box, have a couple of his works.

    McKenzie Thorpe, may be a bit of a lefty but he draws well.

    Nick M, you going to be on the Bridge at Jesmond on Sunday selling stuff ? there is a reasonable arts and crafts fair there, or with the mention of the Baltic is it a tad more upmarket 🙂



  • countingcats

    …but would I walk past the local mosque wearing a Mo-Toons T-shirt? On my own? Just after Friday prayers?

    Carrying a copy of Satanic Verses?

  • Nick M

    You remind me of the stoning scene in Life of Brian, “You’re just making it worse for yourself!!!”

    Yeah, I know it, but I’ll be down on the quayside. Upmarket, hmmm…

  • Paul Marks

    Kirk is not fighting “monsters” – he is fighting people (of various sorts) who either have been abducted (like himself) or bred to provide amusement for beings who had lost their bodies (basically brains in jars).

    The situation is saved by these beings being convinced by Kirk that they could amuse themselves in more productive ways – for example teaching their former victims the things they know and helping them build a civilization. All a bit neat and simple (but it is Star Trek).

    As for throat slitting:

    Some people accused of this went on trial in Turkey today – it is alleged that they went into a Christian publishing house and slit the throats of a German missionary and two Turkish converts.

  • WalterBoswell

    Aha charade to you because in a way Kirk is fighting monsters: the ones in the jars. He fights them with the twin prongs of reasoning and emm … more reasoning. Now let’s us forget about this and play pacman(Link)

  • I’m not very into this area but this are very strong words. Nice!

    Ms Pacman