The news this week has provided me with many talking points. The Delhi city authorities are dealing with their monkey infestation by introducing larger, more blood-thirsty simians in the hope that they will wipe out the shit-hurling menaces without proving a bigger problem themselves. Gordon Brown has been voted “Britain’s most influential disabled man” much to his confusion and the amusement of many observers, some of whom have joked that if being born without a personality is a disability then Mr Brown would be receiving a rather large government subsidy. Israel is bombing everyone – Lebanon, Gaza, the UN – safe in the knowledge that until American jews cease to be wealthy they will never be brought to book. But one story, for me at least, has proved the ultimate zeitgeist and really hit home what it means to be alive in this accursed Year of Our Lord two-thousand-and-six.
On the tiny Davaar Island, on Campbeltown Loch in Argyll (West Scotland for those of you not lucky enough to be born in God’s Kingdom) you can see a wonderful example of some late 19th Century religious artwork, a picture of Jesus Christ painstaking daubed onto the wall of a cave in 1887 by local schoolteacher and apparent religious fruitcake Archibald MacKinnon. While not the most famous piece of its ilk, it is certainly a local treasure and attracts a great deal of visitors to the area, many of whom believe the painting to be sacred.
Unfortunately, yesterday the painting was discovered with a huge image of Cuban revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara spraypainted over it in what has been described as an “apparent political attack”. This saddens and shocks me, firstly because of the destruction of such a beautiful piece of artwork, and secondly because of the way it was destroyed. Certainly this was not an act of political vandalism. Guevara’s image is one of the most instantly recognizable in the world, and although people rarely know anything about the history involved, Che’s handsome and defiant visage represents to us a righteous and indignant rebellion against tyranny of all kinds. Forget communism, what this represents to people is sticking it to the man. While a potent image, let us not forget is also a generic image, a prepackaged imaged, cruelly hijacked by capitalists and “alternative” clothing companies to give middle-class privileged kids that anti-establishment edge they will need to give them credibility while they study to be economists of some kind. What has happened, very probably is that some kid, who thinks he’s smart, and he knows about politiks has spraypainted – nay, stencil spraypainted – a picture of a long-dead commie from a different hemisphere, who means nothing to him politically or culturally over a beautifully painted, loving created piece which represents the more sublime aspects of a religion, which while has been damaging for Scotland as a whole, has been responsible for some of our greatest moments, and is a vital part of our history and heritage. It is a case of something beautiful being destroyed to make way for something that is frankly a bit rubbish. No doubt this child thinks himself the graffiti king – well if you’re so good why do you need a stencil? Why not draw it yourself? Are you a communist? Doubt it – if you were you wouldn’t use a symbol that had been so obviously co-opted by capitalist institutions, you’d draw - oh I don’t know – Frederick Engels or even fucking Leonid Brezhnev. Then I’d believe you had even a minute amount of knowledge regarding communism. Have you no imagination? Why shout so loud when you have nothing to say? Ah, what’s the world coming to? I am a great believer in the power of social revolution, and completely irreligious, so as you can see politics and religion don’t come into it for me. All I see is art that means something being replaced with art that means nothing. If I catch the kid I’m going to strike him mute and fuck him lame. Bastard.