He’s lost nothing of his rage

Brave heroes of art:

The organisers of a music festival in northern France have defied pressure to cancel a performance by a once-idolised French musician who has served a jail term for beating his girlfriend to death.

More than 65,000 people have signed a petition demanding that Bertrand Cantat, former frontman of Noir Desir, be removed from the programme of the Papillons de Nuit festival, which takes place in May in the Normandy town of Saint-Laurent-de-Cuves.

“By putting Bertrand Cantat in the spotlight you are normalising violence against women and even condoning it,” claims the petition on the Change.org website, started by a “citizen feminist”.

The organisers of the festival, which drew 68,000 rock fans in 2017, have rejected the call, saying in a statement: “We consider that our only criteria should be artistic.”

Because art exists in a sealed-off vacuum and has no impact on the larger world, is that it? But the problem there is, it doesn’t.

In a profile on the festival website, Cantat, 53, is described as “having lost nothing of his brooding nature, rage and critical thinking”.

The brooding nature and rage of a guy who beat a woman to death, and the critical thinking that failed to clue him in that he shouldn’t do that.

Cantat, whose group enjoyed cult status in France in the 1990s, killed Marie Trintignant in a hotel room while on tour in Lithuania in 2003. Trintignant, an actor, died following severe brain damage after Cantat beat her during a fight.

The killing sent shockwaves through France, where Cantat was known as a champion of social causes.

Oh well, she was only a woman.

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