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Thursday, 6 November 2014

Burning Wonga Man

Well yesterday's post was fun. I'll have more on that in the new year. Some people have pointed out, "but what about art photography? What about documentary? What about conceptual?"

Good point. A few years ago I did an extended spew of sarcasm that touched on some of these subjects and the generic nature of bad photography. It was called How Not to Photograph. It lasted about six months. This was the first post, here's another one, and here's another.  Yesterday's post lasted one day. So there is much more time to go before a balance is reached.

And in terms of visibility, the balance will never be reached. Photographic muzak (with a z, yes) is everywhere. I was in town again today and I saw thousands of pictures (I don't remember any) but not one of them was art or documentary or social. So there is a balance to be reached there. I'm not sure how writing how photographic muzak and featuring on this blog will do that. It might even tip the balance a tiny bit the other way. Oh dear!

I think there is much more critical writing on documentary than there is on the muzak I was talking about yesterday. Isn't that what Susie Linfield wrote about so eloquently in her essay that questioned why so many critics hated photography, hated looking even.

The annual bonfire night procession is held by the Lewes Bonfire Societies

Anyway, enough of all that for now. Yesterday was bonfire night in the UK and we had a bonfire. You make effigies on Bonfire Night and burn them. The effigies are called guys after Guy Fawkes, a Catholic who tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament.

For a few obvious reasons (it's sectarian and isn't that a good thing and he's a symbol of opposition to all things corporate), not so many people burn Guy Fawkes. Sometimes this isn't a good thing and they find something even dafter to burn. This is what happens in Lewes where they were going to burn Alex Salmond, the Scottish Nationalist leader who didn't quite get independence for Scotland a couple of months back - he would now. But because of complaints, they didn't burn him in the end beca burnt Putin sitting on top of Malaysian Airlines jet MH17.

We did nothing so ambitious at our little allotment and instead burned effigies of a Slum Landlord, a Wonga Loan Shark and a Homicidal Misogynist Nutbag (and I'm thinking more of religious homicidal misogynist nutbagshere - all the major religions are accounted for, so if you are a religious homicidal misogynist nutbag, don't worry you weren't left out. You're in there somewhere whatever your religion.) If you are just a religious nutbag, don't worry, it wasn't you I burned. Unless you're one of those who thinks that all non-believers are going to burn in hell, then what the heck, you're in as well. Why not? What goes around comes around. And it's not for real anyway. Nobody should be killed for their beliefs, not even Wonga Man and Slum Landlord.

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