Kudos To The BC Government (For A Change)

September 2, 2010

I am not generally a fan of the Liberal Party government that currently runs British Columbia (even though the only potentially viable alternative is even worse.)  However, I have happily supported their move to a Harmonized Sales Tax and now I have to praise two serious transportation safety initiatives.

Earlier this year they announced the toughest drunk driving legislation in Canada, laws which came into effect on September 1st.  A breathalyzer reading of .05 used to be just a warning. Now, a first offense at that level brings a $200 fine and a three-day driving ban. Getting caught at 0.8 or above brings an immediate $500 fine, a 90-day ban and a 30-day impounding of the car — plus any additional criminal charges that can be brought against the driver.

I happen to believe that there should be a zero tolerance for ANY alcohol in the system of a driver, but these new rules are a good start in that direction.

Just as interesting are new regulations coming in at the end of this month which will hit speeding drivers hard.  According to the Province newspaper:

Beginning Sept. 20, drivers caught exceeding the posted speed limit by 40 kilometres or more will see the vehicles they are driving impounded.  “A charge of excessive speeding will trigger a mandatory seven-day impoundment for a first offence, a 30-day impoundment for a second, and 60 days for subsequent excessive speeding offences within two years,” a ministry press release stated.  Those sanctions are on top of existing penalties, which include: a fine of up to $483, three penalty points on a driver’s licence and an ICBC driver-risk premium of $320 per year for three years.

Good stuff and bravo to the BC Government for pushing these through!  No doubt some libertarian fools will challenge both of these new rules on “constitutional” grounds; I hope we don’t have to waste too many taxpayers dollars defending public safety.

Tree At Garry Point

September 2, 2010

Tree at Garry Point, Steveston BC.

Damien Hirst Accused of Plagiarizing Works

September 2, 2010

I have made clear in multiple posts here that I do not consider Damien Hirst to be a great artist.  And now, it is claimed, that many of the pieces I dislike so much are not even his own ideas.  Today’s Guardian has a story that fifteen of his major works were “inspired” by others:

While Hirst has previously faced accusations that works including his diamond skull came from the imagination of other artists, the new allegations include his “crucified sheep”, medicine cabinets, spin paintings, spot paintings, installation of a ball on an air-jet, his anatomical figure and his cancer cell images.

Charles Thomson, the artist and co-founder of the Stuckists, a group campaigning for traditional artistry, collated the number of plagiarism claims relating to Hirst’s work for the latest issue of the Jackdaw art magazine. He came up with 15 examples, with eight said to be new instances of plagiarism. The tally includes the medicine cabinets that Hirst first displayed in 1989, and its development in 1992 – a room-size installation called Pharmacy.  “Joseph Cornell displayed a cabinet with bottles on shelves called Pharmacy in 1943,” said Thomson. Nor were Hirst’s spin paintings or his installation of a ball on a jet of air original, he said, noting that both were done in the 1960s.  “Hirst puts himself forward as a great artist, but a lot of his work exists only because other artists have come up with original ideas which he has stolen,” said Thomson. “Hirst is a plagiarist in a way that would be totally unacceptable in science or literature” …

It emerged in 2000 that Hirst agreed to pay an undisclosed sum to head off legal action for breach of copyright by the designer and makers of a £14.99 toy which bore a resemblance to his celebrated 20ft bronze sculpture, Hymn. David Lee, editor of the Jackdaw, says that Hirst’s compensation was an admission of guilt. “The fact he was willing to fork out the money is an indication that he knew he was plagiarising the guy’s work.” Hirst declined to comment.

It appears that none of the aggrieved artists has the money to challenge billionaire Hirst in court, so he will probably hang on to all his money.  But hopefully the publicity will teach him some lessons.