The Taoiseach has no clothes and RTE has no balls: the Brian Cowen Nude Caricature


(No taoisigh were harmed in the making of this image. You may experience some nausea yourself though, for which I apologise, but this is about principle, freedom of speech, and news staying news.)

UPDATE: We’re going to have an exhibition!

Tonight RTE News issued an apology for reporting news. This will not stand.

You may be familiar by now with the anonymously donated nudes of Brian Cowen in the RHA and National Gallery.

Well RTE has been gradually censoring itself over the course of the day.

First the report which should be viewable on the RTE website was withdrawn. Next the captions on the images were changed. Now the images have been removed altogether. And finally RTE News apologised to Brian Cowen and the office of the Taoiseach for any offence caused.

I know who painted this and I know it has got even more bizarre behind the scenes. The Gardai are involved but funnily enough he hasn’t been charged with anything. Garda resources were squandered on this but what the hell, there were paintings at large.
This needs to be screamed from the rooftops: the very freedom to express dissent and poke fun at those in power is being attacked. Brian Cowen’s handlers have decided that Kim Jong-il has the right attitude and have started leaning on RTE to amend its coverage of our inglorious leader: Nob Nation had to tone it down 2 weeks ago (although the producer claimed there was no government interference with tonight’s form you’ve got to wonder) and now RTE had to apologise because the DG got a bollocking from the Government Press Office.

When the government can so clearly meddle in the broadcast decisions of the national broadcaster this should cause all of us concern. The news was changed today to reflect the offended sensibilities of those in power. This has been par for the course for years no doubt; but when something as frivolous as a report on a funny painting can be withdrawn from the RTE archive, that is cut and dried censorship of the innocuous. We are now not allowed to laugh at Brian Cowen.

Well I say no. That won’t do at all. I’ve written on about the importance of satire in society. Cowen’s handlers are exercising their influence over the increasingly frail RTE but they can’t stop people laughing. So even if you’re someone who’d lay down your life for Brian, you shouldn’t have to suppress your titters in a democracy.

EDIT: Irish Election have t-shirts for sale, proceeds going to the Rape Crisis Network.

48 thoughts on “The Taoiseach has no clothes and RTE has no balls: the Brian Cowen Nude Caricature”

  1. No Ciaran, stop being so rational! There’s a point to be missed here! It’s the internets! It’s full of bullies and pron! And Nerds with capital letters!

  2. Garreth, the reason people are getting “jizzed up” is not because of the content of the paintings or who is pictured. It’s because of the outrageously heavy-handed reaction to it.

  3. Well said !! Whats going on in this country sickens me and i can only imagine what our previous generations would think, keep up the fight!!!

  4. Seriously, is there anything more pathetic than a bunch of Nerds in the Blogosphere getting all jizzed up on moral outrage over something that people with real lives don’t give a toss about?

    Satire should never be censored, but equally, people, regardless of their position in society, have a right to their dignity.

    The nude cariacture of Cowen is not an attempt at political satire; its is an attempt to embarass the man, and is puerile in the extreme.

    Grow up, you losers.

  5. I am a leaving cert student and I am writing to say how appauling it is that the office of taoiseach can have the power to make a public broadcaster apologise. We the people pay taxes for RTE to bring us news day in day out. News that will be brought to us regardless of the situation. When somebody is murdered you show the picture of the person that committed the crime. Regardless of if they want it or not, thats beacause news is news! So why in this case is a bit of light hearted fun been taken so seriously!?

    In this economic recession we are seeing people kill themselves over money issues. Were all being told to lighten up and that things can only get better. This picture which wasn’t even that bad in my opinion sparked a bit of humour back into the Irish.. what we need in a time like this. I don’t know what sort of country we’re living in when the Taoiseach can’t see that it was only a joke.

  6. It’s flipping unreal stuff isn’t it. He sat on his big fat ass while the country fell apart but he springs like a tiger for this. The sooner himself and his party of goons are banished to the bottom of the Atlantic, the better.

    Anybody got higher res versions of the paintings so we can print them out and stick them everywhere?

  7. Nice to hear Pat Kenny is on the right side. Now – who wants to club together with me to commission the artist to do a Naked Kenny next? I have a strange feeling Pat the Plank’s feelings on the matter might be subject to change!

  8. Ha, bloody ridiculous behaviour from the office of the Taoiseach.

    RTE should equally be ashamed of themselves for bowing to government pressure.


  9. ps,
    I should have said freedom to laugh instead of freedom of speech after all we already have that , dont we ? lol lol lol lol

  10. Well done to Pat Kenny on his radio show today for showing up RTE’s ridiculous appology, and Fianna” Fall’s’ ” blowing this up into something that can only become more and more embarrasing for Brian Cowen, as even more artists take up the batton for freedom of speech.

  11. “incarcerating interest in his other works”

    so they’ve taken some of his other works?

    first i heard of this was on indymedia i thought the artist had put that up himself, quoted somebody who access to the cloakroom some one who works at the gallery.

  12. This is something we can’t tolerate.

    Now we see precisely what RTÉ is and we also finally understand the concept of a slightly democratic party.

    Dangerous times we live in. Very dangerous. These lads never wandered far from the days of Dan Breen and now that they’ve been exposed for the cowboys they are, the teeth are bared again.

    Never forget this: FF is not a political party. It’s a criminal conspiracy and it has absolutely nothing to do with democracy.

    Dangerous fucking times.

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