It seems a whole bunch of people have their knickers in a twist about a split second view of a portrait of murderer Myra Hindley in a Visit London promotional video shown in Beijing.
- A spokesperson for Boris Johnson said the use of the image is ‘deeply disturbing’.
- A senior government official told Sky News that someone ‘should be fired immediately’.
- Downing Street says the use of the image was ‘in poor taste’.
Google News shows about 30 mentions of the Hindley image’s use in Beijing.
But let’s get some perspective. The majority of the 30 mentions of the use of the Hindley portrait is from the UK. Run a Google News search for Jimmy Page + Beijing and you get more than 1,800 hits from all around the world.
I’d guess the message received by the outside world is that London is planning to have a real good party in 2012. And that wasn’t that the real objective?
As I mentioned on Simon Wakeman’s blog this morning, artists’ best work is often a reflection of a society. Britons don’t like this particular reflection, but that’s the point. It’s not inappropriate; it’s art.
And when you consider that video in question is a couple of years old and the glimpse of artist Michael Harvey’s portrait was an ambient gallery shot meant to highlight Britain’s vibrant art scene, it’s clear that no offense was intended. So why are people calling for heads to roll?
As Simon rightly points out, this tempest in a teapot gives an excellent insight into what organisers of London 2012 are up against. One false step and UK media is ready to pounce!