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Subject: Re: Levine
From: Maxwell Paley <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Maxwell Paley <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 5 Dec 2017 13:21:37 -0800

text/plain (61 lines)

Kiwi, I think there may be two separate 
issues here.

(1) Should someone known to inflict abuse (“known” implying much stricter criteria than gossip or hearsay) be allowed to continue as an employee of a performance organization?

(2) Should the artistic output of a known abuser be censored or boycotted? Is there something wrong or immoral about enjoying such art?

I think (1) is easy, (2) is complicated.

To question (1), my own view is that someone for whom there’s credible proof of abuse should be fired and not rehireable.

If someone is going to use the power of their career position to intimidate and abuse, they deserve to have their career wrecked.

To question (2) it’s more amiguous. If the “art” inherently integrates the abuse (such as child porn), no question. It needs to be suppressed and eliminated.

Otherwise, some people will elect not to partake of such art (and now there are some who won’t be able to listen to a Levine performance without their stomach churning). But I don’t think you can impose it on people not to listen and not to enjoy. I believe there is a phenomenon whereby a work of art cuts itself loose from the artist and becomes an independent entity of its own. I think this can also include recorded musical performance.

You can argue that most of Levine’s recorded output shouldn’t exist. That argument says that if the Met had done the right thing in the beginning, these recordings would never be there. But they are there.

I think there’s also a big difference between inclination and action. Several biographies have cited Benjamin Britten’s interest and attraction to young boys but, at least so far as I know, there’s no indication that he acted on it in a way that was physical, abusive or harmful.

Max Paley

Sent from my iPhone

> On Dec 5, 2017, at 10:02, Kiwi <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> I find all this so upsetting that I can't quite make sense out of it. Apparently, the decades-old rumors about Levine were widely known by management (who, indeed, may have even participated in covering up the open secret by providing pay-outs to victims), board members, musicians and audience members--and yet nothing was ever done until Levine was old and growing less reliable as a conductor--in short, until his sell-by date had passed.  Now Peter Gelb declares he is deeply disturbed by the latest reports (but only once they become reportable in the press, not before when he and the board members were quietly cleaning up mess after mess) and finds it a tragedy for anyone whose life has been affected.  And yet, management, board members, musicians and audiences at no time sanctioned Levine.  How about all those mothers and fathers who brought their kids to the Met or whose kids participated in Met productions or other venues where Levine worked?  Did anyone warn them about potential risks?  Did anyone mention that the health and wellbeing of their child might be at risk?
> All those audience members who sat through a Levine performance and who knew the 'rumor':  what sort of justification can be used?  That Levine wouldn't approach them directly because they were adults?  It didn't matter because no one in their family or in their social group were affected?  It's just music and he couldn't harm anyone while waving around his baton?  All those glowing praises bestowed on Levine by people WHO KNEW he was preying on kids and who didn't care because they put their aural pleasure first?
> OK, I get it:  we want what we want when we want it, and everything else be damned.  But we are talking kids here, and don't we all, at some point in our lives, need to take a deep breath and say enough is enough?  I'll give this one thing up, the thing I love, if it saves another?
> Or is that too idealistic?  Do we all just hold ourselves so entitled that we no longer care about those who can't protect themselves?
> And, please, I've had a couple of folks who compared the apple/Wagner to the orange/Levine.  One (as far as I know) was verbally anti-Semitic;  the other was physically assaulting boys.    I'm not sure I see a clear parallel but....I guess whatever floats your entitled boat works for you.
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