Tuesday, September 26, 2006

In The Key Of J

“Art never hurt anybody.” was the slogan that was bantered about when I was in college. We had it printed on shirts and ball caps, we believed it. And I still believed it until two years ago when I heard about the incident concerning Theo Van Gogh, Vincent’s great-grand-nephew. Then of course there was the Dutch cartoons maybe not high art but these drawings got people killed. Both of which were foreshadowed by the Salman Rushie affair. “I would like to inform all the intrepid Muslims in the world. . . that the author of the book titled The Satanic Verses, which has been compiled, printed, and published in opposition to Islam, the Prophet, and the Koran, as well as those publishers who were aware of its contents, have been declared madhur el dam ["those whose blood must be shed"]. I call on all zealous Muslims to execute them quickly, wherever they find them, so that no one will dare to insult Islam again. . . .” the Ayatollah Khomeini

Today I heard on NPR that a German Opera house Shelved Mozart’s Idomeneo Due to anti Muslim Content. (listen here)
“One of the leading opera houses in Germany has cancelled a production because a scene that might offend Muslims could create a security threat. The production of the opera Idomeneo features a scene in which a character presents the severed heads of religious leaders -- including Poseidon, Jesus, the Buddha and Muhammad. The Deutsche Oper in Berlin said police had warned that staging the production could pose a security risk to the opera house, its employees and patrons.” The interesting thing is that scene was not in the original Mozart version but tacked on by a more recent director. Instead of cutting the scene the Opera was canceled. They were rightly afraid for the lives of the cast and audience.

As a director I would have cut the scene because it is sledge hammer aesthetic in the first place and my ego is not yet so large that I think I can make Mozart better. Also by cutting that scene people stay employed and audiences get to hear great music with grandiose visuals. Most likely though it was too late to pull the scene because the rumor still lingers, like rumors do, that Mohammad was and is insulted because the scene is still in the minds of the Opera house staff. The offence does not have to be made tangible only thought of to be the cause of jihad. So they are going to mount the Marriage of Figaro instead, that's safe.

It seems that today not only can art hurt you it can get you killed.


Paul Pennyfeather said...

The sad thing is that the West is in permanent appeasement mode. We self-censor, cancel, or decline to speak before any threats are even issued.

Whatever platitudes we may utter about the "religion of peace," our actions seem to say, "anything will set these people off, so do nothing controversial." In practice we appear to believe that a significant minority of Muslims will regard an pretext sufficient for justifying violence; and most of the rest will not say or do anything about it, either out of fear or perhaps sympathy.

I cannot see a solution arising until our words match our deeds, at the very least.

Alan said...

Check out Thomas Sowell’s article about the tolerance of intolerance is dangerous. See it here http://www.townhall.com/columnists/column.aspx?UrlTitle=the_weeks_revelations&ns=ThomasSowell&dt=09/26/2006&page=full

Anonymous said...

Muslims are acutely sensitive to any criticism of Mohammed, because the entire Islamic Death-Cult rests on the veracity of this one pedophile and of his claim that his hashish-inspired hate-rant is the Word of God.

The slightest doubt about Mo's character sends tremors through the whole Islamic edifice.

The same problem of personal veracity does not apply to Christianity or Buddhism, where the founder of the religion wrote nothing himself, but his teachings were collected and codified by a number of independent individuals who were also thus implicitly 'character witnesses' to the personal integrity of the founder.