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Subject: Re: Cultural controversy swirls around Seattle Opera’s ‘Madame Butter fly’
From: Donald Levine <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Donald Levine <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Thu, 3 Aug 2017 17:08:47 -0700
Content-Type:text/plain
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Good article.  I have always liked Jay Nordlinger as a critic even though
he writes for publications that are totally antithetical to my particular
politics. I assume part of the reason he writes for them is that the type
of liberal journals that I read probably would prefer articles like the
ones he is writing about.  No matter.  He is a good critic and he is right
on where this is concerned.  Art should know no politics.  Of course in the
real world we know that it does.  Various regimes, usually totalitarian
have appropriated art for their own purposes and as propaganda.  That is
just as much  perversion of art as the crazy sensibilities shown by the
students in Bristol.  Same for the blackface problems with Otello although
Otello was not a black man, he was a Moor from North Africa and was more
like as with most Algerians and Moroccans, a darkish skinned Caucasian, or
at least, darker than the Venetians around him and in contrast to the fair
Desdemona.

People, we are f----d up.  In America we are so hung up on race and it
works both ways.  Both the bigots and those who proclaim that they are not
bigots.  There are already movements afoot to remove Jefferson from Mount
Rushmore. Washington is half way in the shitter also.  I guess Lincoln is
safe.  BTW, Teddy Roosevelt wasn't the most egalitarian guy around.  You
aught to read about his involvement in the Spanish American war and the
American involvement in the Philippines pre WW2.  Its not pretty but its
history and you can't pretend it didn't exist just as you can mea culpa
yourself into the next century.

Next topic of discussion should be the Kennedy Center Awards and how they
were established to highlight the best in the arts in America and have
degenerated into a pop oriented award for the biggest money winners in the
world of mass entertainment.  The closest person to the classical arts
nominated this year is the great choreographer and dancer Carmen de
Lavallade.  LL Kool J?  Please.

Donald

On Thu, Aug 3, 2017 at 2:28 PM, Paul Ricchi <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> I alternate between laughing and shuddering at this latest manifestation of
> the "identity politics" / "search for victimhood" disease - a self-serving
> hoax planted by politicians that now seems to be in full fester, and which
> so many arts "leaders" are cowering under.
>
> But Jay Nordlinger said it so much better:
>
> Several weeks ago, a friend sent me an article from the website of Opera
> Philadelphia. Its headline was “Turandot: Time to call it quits on
> Orientalist opera?” The writer’s answer was yes. Turandot and similar works
> were guilty of “outdated gender roles,” “problematic racial stereotypes,”
> and all the rest of it. The article sent a shiver down my spine. It was —
> I’m going to reach for this overused and abused word — Orwellian. The cops
> are on the beat, and they are getting stronger. You can hear the tramp of
> their boots outside the door. I’ll say again: Certain people will kill art,
> and civilization along with it, if we let them.
>
> Read more at:
> http://www.nationalreview.com/article/442580/killing-aida-
> fatal-clash-art-identity-politics
>
>
>
> On Thu, Aug 3, 2017 at 5:17 PM Kiwi <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
> > 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
> > Butterfly’
> >
> > >
> > >     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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