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Subject: Re: Cultural controversy swirls around Seattle Opera’s ‘Madame Butter fly’
From: Kiwi <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Kiwi <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Thu, 3 Aug 2017 17:17:03 -0400

text/plain (67 lines)

Well, yes.  Wonkle anyone?  It's not just having an Indian or two, it's the 
stereotyping of the 'injun,' especially the 'red' Indian Billy Jackrabbit. 
Then we can spare a moment for the minstrel, Jake Wallace, often shown in 
blackface  (although in Vienna they simply had his voice coming over a radio 
and he never appears).  These are major blunders based on modern 
sensibilities (though I maintain these missteps are relatively easy to 
correct in stage direction).

But I think it may be more basic than that:  it is probably true that we can 
find some reason for outrage if we look closely at many operas from great 
and lesser composers.  We are simply in a period of time when small things 
become large and outrage becomes art.  A lot of the protests are, in fact, 
more about the individual who feels the grievance than the actual substance 
of the 'plaint.  It was only a few weeks ago, for example, that some one 
took umbrage because a Caucasian woman attending Butterfly with fashion 
chopsticks in her hair became a true crime against Asians.  Part of it, to 
bring just a touch of politics into it, is the nationalist movement where we 
are splitting apart based on heritage rather than coming together as a 
single nation.  Unless things change, such extreme opinions are likely to 
become more frequent rather than less.

It is the time we live in.  Hopefully, our visit here will be short and 
we'll move on to a more unifying and accepting time.

-----Original Message----- 
From: Les Mitnick
Sent: Thursday, August 03, 2017 1:51 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Cultural controversy swirls around Seattle Opera’s ‘Madame 

>     Question: Do I, as an American, get to have my own hissy fit over 
> Puccini's "cultural
>     appropriation" of the American West in "Fanciulla del West?" 
> (Actually, common sense and
>     a reluctance to embarrass myself would keep me from having such a 
> hissy fit, but I pose
>     the question anyway.)
>     When I hear someone whining about "cultural appropriation," 
> particularly in connection with
>     art, I want to tell the whiner to shove it up their grievance-ridden 
> backside and stop
>     demanding that everyone else cater to their delicate sensibilities. 
> These are people with too
>     much time on their hands and not enough of importance on their minds. 
> And the self-
>     abasing, guilt-ridden virtue signaling from opera managements like 
> Seattle's is no less
>     irritating.

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