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Jay Currie

One Damn Thing After Another


An Unlikely Martyr in an Unlikely Country

The resonance of this hideous crime, not only in the Netherlands, but across the whole of continental Europe, is difficult for the British to comprehend. We have no conception of the status accorded to the artist in countries that have known totalitarian dictatorship within living memory. The Nazis and the Communists liquidated or exiled the intelligentsia wherever they could. Persecution cast a shadow across the Continent from which it has still not wholly recovered.

Hence the reverence in which the artist is held. Hence the cult of dissent at any price, however absurd, pretentious or childish. Hence the aversion to censorship of any kind, including self-censorship. For a post-traumatic culture, the artist is a high priest. The murder of an artist for the sake of his art shocks secular Europe rather as martyrdom once shocked Christendom. Theo van Gogh is a secular martyr.
the telegraph
Van Gogh was cremated yesterday.