The Smoking Man
Source – nationalpost.com
– “…There is a vicious element in our culture, which, unable to add matter of worth to the world, and lacking even the ambition to do so, vents its sorry envy and anger at high culture via the cant of progressive ideology and identity politics to denigrate and dismiss the finest works of the creative human mind. It’s mud or the stars, folks. And they’re cheering for the mud”
SM:...Evolution, Devolution or Revolution…
When ‘Progressives’ Who Can’t Create Stoop to Denigrate – By Rex Murphy
Unable to add matter of worth to the world, they vent their sorry envy at high culture via the cant of progressive ideology and identity politics
A bust of Ludwig van Beethoven is seen wearing a handmade face mask in the streets of Bonn, Germany, on April 8, 2020, during the coronavirus pandemic. PHOTO BY ANDREAS RENTZ/GETTY IMAGES
It is inarguable that we live in a communications age. No society, no prior era has had the abundance of means, the instantaneity of relay, or the density of message — human and machine — as ours. Nine-year-olds in Whitbourne, Nfld., can send pictures and text to other nine-year-olds in a Chinese village in a sliver of a second. There is a constant play of data, image and script of near-immeasurable volume circuiting the globe. Deep space and the inner atom send information from their respective remotenesses.
YouTube and its various avatars preserve and transmit performances current and past. We may hear W.B. Yeats in Celtic singsong reciting The Lake Isle of Innisfree (1930) or young Vladimir Horowitz taking the paint off Carnegie Hall and arresting the hearts of aspiring pianists (1920s), or leap to this present day to be astonished by the magisterial pianist Grigory Sokolov
In a cliché, there is so much out there. A serious or mature or seeking mind can enhance its sensibility, learn with a facility and an ease beyond the fantasies of a single generation ago. The internet has arrived, we are only at its birth days, and the treasury of human knowledge and achievement is byte by byte unfolding to the largest public in all of history.
In a cliché, there is so much out there
In ancient times (which in the computer era I put at about 40 years ago), a young person wanting a taste of classical music might catch five minutes of José Iturbi (Ritual Fire Dance, anyone?) on The Ed Sullivan Show, or luckier still, a young Glenn Gould on CBC igniting fresh fire over the endless genius of J.S. Bach. These were glimpses of the best and beautiful.
Contrast today, a young person almost anywhere in the world, with some adult to lightly point the way, could find his or her way to the high moments in the repertoire of Western classical music — scores and performance. All of it waits in the iPhone or on the desktop computer.
Naturally, such abundant sunshine precedes or hides a thunderstorm. Sadly with all that is great and beautiful at our ears and fingertips, there is also a huge accompanying cloud of nonsense and determined ignorance. Such bounty, such access to the best that our troubled kind has brought into the life of the world, does not go, in this anti-enlightenment period, without complaint, muttering and most determinedly, political grievance. In every small mind a lot of rain must fall.
Pedestrians pass a mural depicting German composer Ludwig van Beethoven in his native city of Bonn, western Germany, on Dec. 13, 2019. PHOTO BY INA FASSBENDER/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES
As a pit of nonsense, the website Vox is without peer; there none darker or deeper. Very recently, as is alas only too predictable in a time when some hunt for grievance and disharmony as swine search for truffles, Vox unloaded a “column” that attempted to alert the social justice world to the damage, the injury, the insult that Beethoven’s 5th Symphony — the most concentrated, powerful and stirring composition in the classical canon — has done to the world.
In Vox’s woke warning, the Fifth, which I thought was a musical composition, is an instrument “of wealthy white men … who turned it into a symbol of their superiority and importance.” I know it was certainly that for me when I was 10 in Placentia Bay, and don’t get me started on how Mozart’s stuff drove me to buy my first top hat.For the VOX critics, the single most recognizable four notes in all music “may be predominantly a reminder of classical music’s history of exclusion and elitism.” And my aunt “may be” Marie of Romania.
It’s mud or the stars, folks. And they’re cheering for the mud
There is a vicious element in our culture, which, unable to add matter of worth to the world, and lacking even the ambition to do so, vents its sorry envy and anger at high culture via the cant of progressive ideology and identity politics to denigrate and dismiss the finest works of the creative human mind.
It’s mud or the stars, folks. And they’re cheering for the mud.
Show them the Pietà and they will complain Christ is “foregrounded.” The Sistine Chapel and they would smear witless graffiti over it. They narrow all to personal politics. They squeeze the world into their cloistered ideological preconceptions. And should art not speak to their preoccupations, or mirror their tiny fascinations, why then it’s racist or colonialist or phobic or marginalizing. It is always something other than what it really is.
People watch a video of a concert recorded by the Baltasar Neumann Orchestra, playing pieces of Mozart and Beethoven repertoire, at the Cours Mirabeau plaza in Aix-en-Provence, France, on July 21, 2020, as part of this year’s digital edition of the International Festival of Lyric Art of Aix-en-Provence. PHOTO BY CLEMENT MAHOUDEAU/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES
Politics is not everything. In fact, politics is hardly anything. You may force politics on everything, but no one in their real heart agrees. The left wants to shrink life to its own obsessions. It wants to constrict human experience and human response to set slogans and narrow obsessions. It cannot listen to great music because its ears only hear what it seeks. It doesn’t seek pure music. It wants grad studies politics.
Was Beethoven male? Absolutely. Was he white? Absolutely. And did either of these qualities encompass his genius? Absolutely not. He was, before and after, above and beyond these tendentious categories, first and foremost an artist of the human race. He was one of us all.Western classical music has travelled far and found great interpreters and appreciative audiences in countries and cultures, and over generations, far, far from its source. There’s probably more Beethoven being performed in Japan right now than in Germany and no one sane is arguing cultural appropriation.
It is a marvellously degrading facility this, to bring the world of art and literature and music down to the level of the daily protest march and niche grievance. A kind of anti-genius is at play. Politics of the current cultural kind squeezes the glory and the beauty out of things. It shrivels experience and narrows the understanding.
I sometimes think that if we were to seek some sort of ransom for all the cruelties and mischiefs humans have done, something to place on the opposite scale, it might have to be the fruits of the creative and inquiring human mind — in sum, great art and brilliant science — the wonders of our kind. They might not make a full balance, but they would surely come near. Ignorantly maligning them is a blight on our time.
Thanks to: https://rielpolitik.com