antisemitism,  Obituary

Death of an “eccentric”

For some reason The Washington Post considered the “eccentric artist” Sebastian Horsley, who died of a heroin overdose at 47, to be worthy of an obituary.

From Judith Isaac’s blog in 2008:

Victoria Coren in The Observer on 2 Sept 2007:

“A few weeks ago, I was due to have dinner with writer and roue Sebastian Horsley. Are you familiar with Horsley? He briefly wrote a sex column for The Observer, but the readers didn’t like it and (this being a democratic newspaper) he was asked to take his pen elsewhere. When the day came, I rang him to suggest meeting in Belsize Park, a leafy area of north London.

“‘I can’t bear Belsize Park,’ yawned Horsley. ‘It’s full of Jews.'”

Ms. Coren was so offended that she decided not to interview Mr. Horsley. When I interviewed him myself, I asked him to respond to her article.

“Sebastian, you’re not an anti-Semite, are you?” I wondered.

Sebastian Horsley leant in the direction of my tape recorder and exclaimed,”Death to Jews! …now you have it on tape.”

For those not in the know, Sebastian Horsley is a British artist more notorious for various excesses and provocative statements of bigotry than he is for his artwork. He’s built an entire career on people’s strong reactions to him.

Mr. Horsley went on to say, “If I’d known she was Jewish, I’d have been even ruder!”

For someone who doesn’t like Jews, he certainly has a hard time spotting us, I thought.

I continued conducting the interview. I was curious to see whether he’d elaborate. But when the tape recorder was turned off, I tried to broach the subject with him again. At this point, if he’d said these things in order to stay in character, I wanted to give him the opportunity to tell me so.

“Sebastian, you know, about Victoria Coren’s column -” I began.

“DEATH TO JEWS!” spat Mr. Horsley a second time. Then he turned away, indicating that the subject was closed.

Ha ha. How delightfully outrageous and subversive this Horsley fellow was.