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Subject: Re: ENO's Magnificent "Death in Venice" (DVD)
From: David Wagner <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:David Wagner <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sat, 16 Dec 2017 09:54:07 -0500
Content-Type:text/plain
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"Sorry to hijack a topic for another purpose but it is a fact that opera
stories reflect
true emotions and sexual compulsions and, watching from afar America's
sudden
discovery of "improper" sexual behavior, it might be relevant."

And here I thought you meant The Merry Widow! That "pavilion," you know -
lots of careers just waiting to be ruined right there.

As for that "traditional American sport" (which is also European when
polemical need requires), the Salem incident began in May of 1692; by
October of the same year, Salem officials were asking themselves what they
had been thinking of.

I hold no brief for capital-P Puritans, but one has to notice, that's a
shorter recovery time than the most on-point comparison, the "ritual abuse"
"scandal" of the 1980s and early '90s, for which a few people are still in
jail for actions that are physically impossible (but would be highly
illegal if physically possible). A jury of their peers "believed the
children" beyond a reasonable doubt, and, for the non-lawyers, once a jury
has rendered a verdict, the presumption of innocence reverses and become a
strong presumption in favor of the jury verdict. (Standard of review for
reversal of a jury verdict on appeal: "no reasonable jury" could have
convicted. I.o.w. the jury was pretty literally bonkers. Which some of
these were; fat lot of good that did most of the defendant-appellants.)

That said, I commend Donald for seeing the similarities between #metoo and
classic witchhunting patterns.

-David Wagner

On Sat, Dec 16, 2017 at 9:26 AM, donald kane <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> There is also the traditional American sport, dating back to sixteenth
> century
> Salem, of hunting for witches,. the "me too" movement being a choice
> example.
> Add to that our wildly imprecise use of  the English language: how can the
> mild
> terms misconduct or misbehaviour be applied to anything ranging from casual
> flirtation to bodily assault?
>
> dtmk
>
> On Sat, Dec 16, 2017 at 5:26 AM, Frank Cadenhead <[log in to unmask]>
> wrote:
>
> > Sorry to hijack a topic for another purpose but it is a fact that opera
> > stories reflect
> > true emotions and sexual compulsions and, watching from afar America's
> > sudden
> > discovery of "improper" sexual behavior, it might be relevant.
> > This opera's story, of a man in his final years having a flirtation with
> a
> > young
> > adolescent, might be relevant to today's newspaper stories. As an
> American
> > living
> > abroad, I am reminded of America's persistent avoidance of dialogue about
> > issues
> > of sexual compulsion and deviance and how the story of James Levine,
> among
> > others, has not been properly explored in the "real world" context. These
> > issues
> > are far more complex and subtile than the present dialogue you are
> hearing.
> > First, the boy who is attracting the attention of Aschenbach is acting
> > deliberately.
> > Yes there are adolescents who understand that they are gay and are
> > attracted to
> > older men. Yes, there are male (and female) adolescents who are attracted
> > to
> > older women. Those who inhabit the gay world are aware of this and porn
> > sites are
> > full of examples that wouldn't be there unless they got clicks.
> > The American avoidance of dialogue about sex is another major factor in
> > the story.
> > How could Levine's "abuse" continue for years without the child's parents
> > being
> > aware? The "wall of silence" around sex, an American tradition, would be
> > the chief
> > culprit. There is much less of a "wall of silence" in opera. Opera can
> > teach you
> > about the real world and its complications. Gilda still loves her abusive
> > young man
> > even after Rigoletto arranges the quartet and she sacrifices her life for
> > him.
> > Please, nobody read this as some sort of justification of any sexual
> > behavior. It is
> > intended to simply indicate that often the story is more complicated that
> > the
> > "sexual harassment" or "sexual abuse" tags indicate and it has always
> been
> > complicated.
> >
> > Frank Cadenhead
> >
> >
> >
> >
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