Over the past year, I’ve been lucky enough to have designed a fair few posters for various events around the UK. House shows for friendly groups of like-minded punks with DIY ethic, spoken word showcases for people keeping the spirit of the beat generation alive, and occasionally, the odd lecture. It makes for wonderfully varied and exciting work.
Furthermore, as a visual artist, I often feel marooned at my desk and laptop; designing posters for other promoters and bands helps me feel part of a larger, more varied creative community.
A few weeks ago, work had ground to a halt. My inbox was empty, my Tumblr followers dried up, and I’d all but given up hope of progressing further as a freelance artist. However, someone I’d done artwork for in the past sent me a message asking for a poster for a lecture at Deansgate Waterstones with outspoken feminist writer, Julie Burchill, who would be speaking about her latest novel, The Unchosen.
Initially, I was overjoyed: “feminism? Writing? COMMISSION WORK?! Hooray!” However, my elation quickly soured as I read through her Wikipedia biography. After seeing quotation marks surrounding phrases like, "self-confessed Christian Zionist", and hearing how she spent the 80’s "writing articles favourable to Margaret Thatcher," it became clear this particular job was not for me.
However, how does one turn down a job based on personal ethics? Two years of Art College and Three years of university, I’ve not had one seminar which teaches the protocol for backing out. This is something you’re have to discover for yourself.
I’ll admit, my ethics are not quite as strong as they once were: a lapsed vegan diet and a steady stream of Sundays where I’ve stayed in bed rather than marching for human rights is evidence enough for my lethargic attempts at ‘Being Good.’
For many, like myself, Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter and the internet at large is the ground upon which we stage our daily virtual, virtuous battles. And you know what? That’s a pretty shitty state of affairs.
In the end, I told a white lie about being, “too busy,” (partly true) and “not wanting to rush through a piece or let anyone down.” In reality, the idea of having promotional work for a Philo-Semite, a “vociferous defender of Israel” in my portfoilo was something beyond contemplation. In addition, having been known to stoke the fires a little to fiercely in the past, polite fibs and and professional politic seemed the appropriate exit.
However, two days ago the Independent posted this. "What did this lesbian rabbi do to make Julie Burchill mad?" For those of you unable to read the article at the present time, it discusses how Burchill joined the Brighton and Hove Progressive Synagogue, and later on wrote 23 pages of unspinnable Islamophobic and homophobic tripe in her book The Unchosen.*
After reading this piece, I ended up going on the Facebook event page to share the article, as I believe anyone going to the event should be aware of Julie Burchills vile, beligerent, lazy, racist, homophobic opinions.
However, I also don’t expect to get any further work. Fro this avenue at least.
May your feminism be intersectional, or may it be bullshit, Julie!
AND FREE PALESTINE!
*Everyone should read the article in question when the opportunity arises, as I will not repeat many of the direct quotations in this piece as it should be considered a separate piece to my own.