Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Bryan Ferry laments

There's a splendid meeting between the Telegraph and Bryan Ferry, which keeps circling last year's "admiration for the aesthetic achievements of the Third Reich" comments. Ferry is, understandably, upset at having been reported as admiring the Nazis, but seems reluctant to broaden the debate out into a wider question of if you can really separate the aesthetic from the politics. Indeed, he actually turns it into a grumble about - yes - political correctness having gone mad. He'd bypassed the question earlier on in his chat with Nigel Farndale, but then returned to it when Farndale mentioned Roxy Music's album artwork, and the tendency to have sexy lady covers:

Yes,' he says, 'it's remarkable how liberated the climate was then. There is much more political correctness around today. What you can and cannot say. As I discovered last year. In a way it was much freer in those days. You could speak your mind. You certainly wouldn't have got told off for talking about Albert Speer's buildings in the 1970s.'

But if a band tried the Country Life cover today, it wouldn't be "political correctness" that would get them attacked - it'd be the sexist use of semi-naked women to sell albums. Likewise, although some of the stories on Ferry's Speer comments did boil the story down beyond any reason, he wasn't "told off" for "talking about Albert peer's buildings", people were reacting to his praising of what was a Nazi aesthetic. It's easy to wail "oh, they said I loved the Nazis" rather than debating the extent to which the art was crucial to the state; to mumble that you've been silenced by "political correctness" when you've chosen to close down the debate yourself is, at best, weak. And a not a little self-pitying.


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