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Subject: Re: Cultural controversy swirls around Seattle Opera’s ‘Madame Butter fly’
From: "Max D. Winter" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Max D. Winter
Date:Thu, 3 Aug 2017 22:07:09 -0400

text/plain (46 lines)

Rich Lowenthal wrote:

"Art does not reside in some rarefied intellectual world, free of politics, free 
of prejudice, free of history."

And Nordlinger never said it did.  Rather, he was addressing the inimical 
effects on artistic expression and performance of a particularly virulent 
(and authoritarian) strain of political thought, "identity politics" and its 
creepy sibling, "cultural appropriation."  And yes, operas such 
as "Mahagonny" ARE "generous and inclusive" in the sense that they are 
there to be viewed, appreciated or disliked, and performed, by any and all.  
The situation Nordlinger was writing about, vis--vis "Mahagonny," would 
be if a group of feminists (or better yet, prostitutes) tried to shut down a 
production of the opera because it portrayed prostitution and prostitutes in 
a manner they deemed offensive - cultural appropriation of whoredom by 

Nordlinger supported his argument with multiple examples.  To those he 
cited I would add a more recent instance: the attempt by the Identity 
Politics/Cultural Appropriation Nazis to have a painting by (white female) 
artist Dana Schutz removed from an exhibition at the Boston Institute of 
Contemporary Art, and moreover, that ALL her works be banned from 
exhibition at the Museum.  Schutz's offense?  The subject of the 
objectionable painting was the open-casket funeral of Emmett Till 
(previously exhibited at the Whitney), and "it is not acceptable for a white 
person to transmute Black suffering into profit and fun."  Alas, the ICA, in 
typically cowardly fashion, caved to the fascists and removed the painting 
from the exhibition.  (The Whitney, to its credit, had declined to do so.)  
Well, at least the ICA did not agree to cancel the entire exhibition and 
make Dana Schutz a "non-person" in good old Stalinist style.  But stay 

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