25 comments on “Robert Hughes dies in New York. August 2012.

    • It is a sad loss. In the ABC news article his niece suggests that he never fully recovered from that accident. I remember it at the time, it always seemed that there was far more to it than reported in the media.

      • Umm – I wondered about that. He never regained full mobility, did he? It’s a loss, but he had a gloriously full and productive life – I don’t suppose he’d complain too much – though he was a pretty egotistical man, I think.

        • The night after I did this post his interview with Andrew Denton on Enough Rope was played on tv. He had a walking stick and did mention about the accident. Apparently the people involved in the accident tried to ask for large sums of money to verify whatever story he wanted them to. He called them low-lifes (well, it was probably worse than that) outside the courthouse at the time because of this, but as it was not public knowledge it just made him look bad, insulting these ‘poor victims’. He was quite egotistical though, you’re right 🙂

          I love his kind ‘just because you say it is art doesn’t mean we have to revere your ability’ kind of art critique though. 🙂 Here is a clip from 10 news with a little bit of everything about him.

          • Hey, Metan, that was a great summation clip, reminded me of all sorts of things – but particularly his outspoken and wonderfully frank assessment of much of the ‘stuff’ that was churned out in the art world in the ‘modern’ age. (I always wondered whether I liked him so much because I agreed with him!?!) Thank you (even more so as heaven alone knows how you embedded it in your reply!).

            I’m not surprised people came at him for money – there was always something strange about the crash, way out there in nowhere land – I suppose there was drink involved, or someone there who shouldn’t have been, or someone driving who shouldn’t have been, but whatever – we all make mistakes and ‘people’ are vile when they prey on others’ weaknesses.

          • I’m glad you liked it, I was looking for a clip from the Enough Rope episode but there was nothing! Grrrr…. 🙂 I love the attitude he had towards those ‘creations’, not all of it is admirable just because someone calls their efforts art. He never worried about offending people, that’s for sure!
            The crash was a strange thing and as soon as someone well-known is involved in anything like that the vultures will come calling.

            (To embed a youtube video you just copy the http link at the top of the screen while it is playing and then copy it onto its own line of the comment box. Similar to the way it is embedded in a normal post, but this way you don’t have to un-link it.)

          • The Enough Rope interview would have been fantastic, if Andrew wasn’t too deferential?

            (Many thanks for the tech lesson – I’ll give it a try and see if I can make it work!)

          • I admit I didn’t watch all of it, I had it running in the background when I was getting on with other things. The parts I saw though were pretty good, Andrew was a little deferential but, as alway, pulled out some great questions and very interesting threads were followed. 🙂

    • The Fatal Shore has a lot about the convicts in Tasmania too (when it was Van Diemens Land). It is a very interesting book, makes me realize how soft we are these days!

    • It is well worth it. To read about the convicts and the politics and the hardships, all in different ways, and with different peoples stories to illustrate it is completely fascinating.

        • Oh no… now I feel pressure! What if you don’t like it!! Aaarrgghh 😉

          I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. My convict ancestors were sent to Van Diemens Land, and my GGG Grandmother was one of those badly behaved convict ladies who spent a lot of time locked away for bad behaviour. Whenever I read about the Female Factories I think of her and how it must have been to live then.

          • I really enjoyed the novel ‘The English Passengers’ by Matthew Kneale, which has lots about Van Dieman’s land and the convicts, so it will be interesting to read something that is more factual.

  1. It may be one of the few books about Australian history that ‘s in the consciousness of folks in the U.S. I should re-read it now. We tend to be too U.S. centric — very foolish, as there is a wide and fascinating world out there.

    • Australian history is a very interesting thing, although every country has an amazing story behind it doesn’t it! 🙂

      I think that the US media doesn’t really help to keep the horizons wide for you all, just look at the decision of the NBC to edit out the London bombing part when they aired coverage of the olympics opening ceremony. I don’t understand what they thought they might achieve with that, it is not like you didn’t already know that it had happened!

      PS: Am reading Bram at the moment, and enjoying it greatly!

  2. I will definitely pick up The Fatal Shore. No book can fully cover a country’s history, but a well-done one can help outsiders (as well as natives) understand so much better why things are as they are today.

    And you are spot on about the US media’s myopia. One would think from US media coverage that 95 percent of the world’s population lives in the US and the other 5 percent are scattered among remote atolls around the globe. No wonder we know so little about what goes on beyond our shores.

    • Being so home-centric certainly doesn’t do any population any good, does it. The world is a huge and amazing place and the more we know about the rest of it the more we can appreciate it. (and how lucky we are living in first-world countries.)

    • The Fatal Shore doesn’t cover the entirety of our history but really gives you a feel of the kind of life that the convicts were sent away to. The transportation system was a kind of slavery, yes, the convicts had a light of freedom at the end of the tunnel but the condidtions they ived through in the meantime were, at times, horrendous.
      The parts about Norfolk Island really show the kinds of treatment the worst behaved got. The fate of one convict, Joseph Mansbury, always sticks in my mind.

      In the book Mr. Hughes quotes another source saying that, after repeated flogging over three years his back appeared “…quite bare of flesh, and his collar bones were exposed looking very much like two polished ivory horns…”. There was so little of him left to flog that the overseer suggested flogging the soles of his feet next time.

      The women were often dreadfully treated and the authorities despaired of them as they were so badly behaved, drunkeness was a real problem. I can’t imagine that there was much incentive to be well behaved though.
      Reading about the treatment much of the population recieved it is no surprise that Australians in general are extremely suspicious of authority, I think it was bred into us!

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