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Subject: WITCH HUNTS AND LYNCH MOBS (formerly, I smell a book in the making)
From: RAYMOND GOUIN <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:RAYMOND GOUIN <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Fri, 8 Dec 2017 02:18:13 -0500
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Les:

I have avoided posting on this issue since the allegations against Levine were published in the press.  Your message gives me the opening needed to comment.

This is in response to your December 7th comment, to wit: "I wouldn't be a bit surprised if some insider within the Met organization decides, or has possibly already decided, to write a tell-all book about James Levine.  Of course for the book to be valid, it has to be backed by facts and proof."

Your stated requirement would serve to bar most of those who have posted on this matter on Opera-L from participating in the writing of that book.

It has been over fifty years since I read "Rumor, Fear, and the Madness of Crowds" by J.P. Chaplin. But the book has immediately come to mind,   If the book were to be updated and re-issued today, it would have to include a chapter on the Opera-L postings in response to the allegations made against Levine in the press.  

If you want to know how insulting that comment is to Opera-L, read the book.

What has been so disgusting in the vast majority of postings is the near total absence on Opera-L of the concept of vetting.

For the brainless and/or amoral, let me provide a dictionary definition of the same:

VET
VERB
GERUND OR PRESENT PARTICIPLE: VETTING

MAKE A CAREFUL AND CRITICAL EXAMINATION OF (SOMETHING). 

SYNONYMS: CHECK, EXAMINE, SCRUTINIZE, INVESTIGATE, INSPECT, LOOK OVER, 
SCREEN, ASSESS, EVALUATE, APPRAISE.

I not only grew up in Salem, Massachusetts, but also in the Essex Institute, where the original documents pertaining to the 1692 witch hysteria are archived and where -- in a simpler age -- I was so trusted that I had direct access to and could hold the actual trial documents in my own hands -- and that before even reaching my teenage years.  Accordingly, I know -- full well -- what constitutes a witch hunt.  That is what has been fully in evidence on Opera-L with regard to Levine.

As to the lynch mob attitude displayed on Opera-L, I can provide another literary reference -- "The Ox-Bow Incident" written by Walter Van Tilburg Clark.  Whether it be the 1940s when the novel was written or 1885 where the story is set, the present conduct of too many Opera-L members mimics the conduct and hysteria of the lynch mob portrayed in that novel. 

A third literary reference is also in order -- that in regard to the instantaneous love-to-hate Epiphany transformation evidenced by many Opera-L members upon the publication of allegations against Levine. That reminds me of George Orwell's "1984" and the passages therein pertaining to the war rally during which the government changed allies so that the ally had become the enemy and the enemy had become the ally.  Of course, this meant that all of the rally signs were wrong -- a fact instantaneously attributed by the mindless, witless crowd to a conspiracy and plot to discredit the government. 

I have no interest in litigating the truth or falsity of (or even what actually are) the charges against Levine.  The issue I am addressing is how unfairly, shabbily and stupidly he has been disparaged on Opera-L.

HYPOCRISY! (nothing more need be written on the topic)

The one regret that I want to express is Albert's absence from Opera-L due to his passing.  How I would have loved reading his savaging of the Savonarolas who have arisen from the dung with regard to this topic.

In closing, I want to take note that, fortunately, there have been exceptions to my tone of general condemnation. But they have been far too few.

A plague on this house.

Ray Gouin
An Enemy of the People

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