Brian Cowen and the Naked Truth
Deaglán de Bréadún
The silly season usually arrives in August. At that time, parliament and the courts and the other institutions are on their summer hols and the most wild and wonderful stories have a chance of surfacing in the news media.
National Gallery visitor reads caption under Brian Cowen caricature
The silly season has arrived five months early this year. The drama of the absurd about the ”portraits” of the Taoiseach which were illicitly hung in the National Gallery and the Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA) Galley reflects a society that is losing the run of itself.
Bob Dylan wrote in one of his songs the, “Even the Pres-ident of the Yew-nited States must sometimes stand nay-kid.” A semi-nude cartoon portrayal of the Taoiseach is a matter for goodhumoured ribaldry and “craic”. Not so much a nine-day wonder as a flash (flasher?) in the pan.
As I was leaving the Dail last night, the Taoiseach was coming in the gate. I can testify he looks a good deal healthier and fitter than his comic portrayal. By coincidence, as I walked up Kildare Street moments later, there was a copy of one of the offending pictures pasted to a door. Not very much like the man at all, but then it was not intended to be. It was just a bit of fun, perhaps making a political point in a harmless, semi-anarchistic kind of way. The artist, Conor Casby, has also done caricatures of Bertie Ahern and Michael McDowell.
Therefore, the notion that the forces of law and order should have been sent into the offices of Today FM to demand emails and phone messages left in relation to the portraits really beggars belief. It suggests that the Stasi mentality did not collapse with the Berlin Wall and someone, somewhere has undergone a major “Humorectomy”.
Fair play to Today FM producer of the Ray D’Arcy Show, Will Hanafin for declining to provide the artist’s name and contact details (for reports click here and here.) “Tell the names of your companions” indeed!
Given the level of criminal activity in some of our cities and the other multifarious forms of skulduggery afoot, not least in certain boardrooms, you really would think the Gardaí would be given something better to do than tracking down this harmless prankster.
RTE’s climbdown over screening the pictures was also embarrassing and unnecessary. Vincent Browne’s denunciation of RTE last night was quite bizarre coming from the patron saint of adversarial journalism: he sounded like an Outraged Mother of Ten from the Evening Press letters page of yore.
This will probably make us an international laughingp-stock. Oh, Mother Ireland, you’re rearing them yet!