Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Bill Henson, "agenda-setting", and the strange malleability of politics

For all the talk of new media changing the media structure, blogs still tend to be more reactive than proactive. It's still the mainstream media and political leaders that set the public agenda of what's discussed, on blogs as much as anywhere else.

I haven't really felt inclined to discuss the Bill Henson situation because I feel like it's an issue that's been dragged kicking and screaming onto the public agenda. I did see some of Henson's work, photos of adolescents' bodies, when doing cultural studies at uni last year. I think it says something about the hysteria around the issue that I honestly cannot remember whether the adolescents in the images that I saw were completely nude or not. Either there was no full nudity, or the context was such that the question of exactly how much clothing was not being worn simply had no reason to stick in my mind.

The only real reason I'm commenting now is because Malcolm Turnbull has recently voiced his support of Henson and artistic freedom, condeming the raids that were done on the art gallery. Meanwhile, the previously linked news article says that the Prime Minister is standing by his initial criticism of the gallery display.

Just to re-iterate: it's the Labor Prime Minister that's currently advocating censorship on the grounds of sexual immorality, and it's the Liberal front-bencher currently defending freedom of expression in the face of that censorship. Weird.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Worth a thousand words...

Link to interesting video about Bill Henson's photographic work: