January 27, 2009

Second Epistle of St. John the Empowered

Hatched by Dafydd

John Hinderaker has (yet another) excellent piece up on Power Line; this one views more-in-sadness-than-in-anger the not so recent phenomenon of the wanton and tendentious politicization of ostensibly party-neutral cultural congregations, such as classical concerts and sporting events. He concludes the post thus:

My only contribution to the discussion is to note that this is nothing new. Years ago, I attended many more cultural events than I do now. During the 1980s, I was a season ticket holder at Minneapolis' Guthrie Theater. Over time, I became deeply offended by the fact that no matter what the play, whoever put the program together would find a way to work in an attack on the Reagan administration. The last straw was when I went to King Lear at the Guthrie. It was an excellent production, but my enjoyment of it was ruined by the fact that the program was turned into an anti-Reagan tirade. I wasn't even much of a conservative at the time, but the inappropriateness of the whole thing was too much for me.

I didn't "boo loudly," as Glenn [Reynolds] suggests; I just quit going. I wonder how many millions of conservative and mainstream Americans have stopped supporting cultural organizations because of this sort of wanton left-wing politicization.

I don't know whether John feigns naïveté here for dramatic purposes, but it's perfectly clear to me that driving conservatives and other antiliberals out of the arts and other cultural events is precisely the goal at which the Left aims with great deliberation.

The strategy is straight out of Uncle Joe's playbook, and they have done it for generations in other arenas -- such as the Civil Rights Congress, which began its life right after World War II as a perfectly legitimate, albeit labor-liberal, civil-rights organization. The Communists (e.g., Stalinists) infiltrated enough people into the group to get themselves elected to the important offices -- and turned it into a Soviet-Communist front group. One element of the strategy is to drive as many dissenting views out the door by aggressively boorish, even thuggish behavior.

How is what happened with King Lear, or what happened to Jay Nordlinger at a string-quartet performance upstairs of Carnegie Hall (see John's post), any different? It should be clear that when people with a history of thuggishly politicizing non-partisan political events or organizations are caught thuggishly politicizing non-political cultural events, we can safely conclude it's neither astonishing coincidence nor puzzling happenstance. It is, as Ian Fleming wrote, enemy action.

I have my own dreadful experience of just such a phenomenon, which I thought I had written about here at some length but can't seem to find. Some years ago, I attended the retirement party for my favorite teacher, whom I will simply call Fitz, at my old junior high school. Fitz was a math and science teacher, shaggy-haired and reliably absent-minded, and nearly everybody who had him as a teacher loved him.

His retirement party was held in a public park and attended by at least 1,500 people, including current and former students and their families. Lots of what is now called middle-school age children in attendance.

The other teachers in the special program in which Fitz taught got up to deliver encomiums, including one teacher from long after I matriculated on to high school and eventually university. This teacher -- I never met him and cannot now remember his name (nor would I want to do) -- allegly taught history and politics; but this was a simple retirement party for a math and science teacher. Nothing prepared me and a number of other attendees for what was to come.

Touching only momentarily on things related to Fitz, this other fellow chose not to linger. Instead, amidst what should have been a Fitz speech, he launched into, I rib you not, an obscenity-laced tirade against George W. Bush and his administration, the Iraq war, Republicans in general, conservatives in particular, and specifically, religious conservatives in a string of venomous personal attacks, using language more suited to a muleteer or a dockwalloper. It went on and on, occasionally punctuated by the lemming-like applause from similarly slope-browed products of consanguineous marriage who thought the venue perfectly appropriate for Democratic demagoguery of the brass-knuckle variety.

I rose from my front-row seat and strode angrily up the aisle and away, abandoning the field -- because the only alternative I could envision was to walk the other direction, up to the speaker's lectern, and see if I could refute him with a right cross... a course of action I was perilously close to undertaking.

I am still enraged at that fat, Franken-like buffoon for ruining a simple party in appreciation for a quarter-century of teaching high-level math and science to junior-high kids; at the liberals in the audience for not only tolerating but cheering on the hijacking; and at the LAUSD for hiring such a scumpuddle to berate and bitch-slap pre-pubescent 12 year olds into aping the Communist agitprop with which I'm certain he fills their "history" hours.

And don't think for two consecutive seconds that his rant was spontaneous; if you're anxious to give that bipedal toadie the benefit of the doubt, first buttonhole David Horowitz and ask him what he thinks (not Horowitz the consumer advocate but Horowitz the former editor of Ramparts and leftist agitator turned conservative agitator). This is deliberate. This is planned. This is the visible wake of a subaqueous leviathon conspiracy to drive antiliberals out of every sphere of public life, until we can speak our minds, or even exist, only in caverns and catacombs, like the Jews and early Christians in ancient Israel under the bootheel of the Roman Empire.

And a seredipitous advantage to the Left is that it sounds so fantastic that anybody stepping forward to tell you that lefties politicize the non-political precisely in order to drive out traditional Americans sounds like a raving madman with delusions of persecution and grandeur. (Believe me, I've seen the glances askance.)

I think the only viable solution is to continually and loudly call them on their impropriety, insensitivity, politicization, and tribal partisanship... but we should only do so in appropriate venues, or we risk falling into the very trap they set for us.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, January 27, 2009, at the time of 1:17 AM

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The following hissed in response by: snochasr

You neglect to mention that most of these mushroom beds ply their trade on the public's dime, too. The Guthrie theater, and many others, are supported by "arts" money from government, as are the schools and schoolteachers. Worse still, there are the huge left-tilting soapboxes of public TV and public radio, where supposedly an objective view of the news is their raison d'etre, unsullied by the chains of avaricious commerce. Don't you believe it for a second.

The above hissed in response by: snochasr [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 27, 2009 6:38 AM

The following hissed in response by: salfter

"Booing loudly," as the puppy blender put it, worked well enough against Linda Ronstadt a few years ago at the Aladdin. The audience reaction to her screed was so negative that she got herself 86'd. It works when it's tried; perhaps it needs to be tried more often.

(Is it just me, or does the photo in the linked article make her look like Rosie O'Donnell, minus about 200 lbs.?)

The above hissed in response by: salfter [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 27, 2009 8:41 AM

The following hissed in response by: Mr. Michael

We need a common, fun, and immediately recognizable way to shout the message "Shut up and SING!" Then, whenever anybody tries this, we can signal the performer that they will be embarrassed by the crowd if they continue...

And yeah, I'd still use it during a speech at a retirement party. Like I say, it has to be fun.

The above hissed in response by: Mr. Michael [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 27, 2009 9:56 AM

The following hissed in response by: Geoman

Why should live performances be any different than movies, or TV, of for that matter cocktail parties?

What bugs me more than anything is the presumption. They assume their opinions are more worthy and important than your time, your money, or the real purpose for the event or movie, or TV show. It is just so...self absorbed and narcissistic. Insulting.

I still remember the Robert Redford movie "Sneakers". Mildly funny and entertaining, till the end when they steal all the money from the RNC to give to Amnesty International. Ruined the whole movie for me. And it was played in just the most nyuk nyuk way.

The above hissed in response by: Geoman [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 27, 2009 5:15 PM

The following hissed in response by: Goyo Marquez

Okay this has to be one of the best lines you've ever written:
"…using language more suited to a muleteer or a dockwalloper. It went on and on, occasionally punctuated by the lemming-like applause from similarly slope-browed products of consanguineous marriage…"

For my own experience, back when most of you guys were still in diapers I attended a concert at the Hollywood Bowl the guest soloist was Irish Flautist James Galway. He began to attack President Reagan and was basically booed down by the crowd. I guess those were the good old days.

Greg Marquez

The above hissed in response by: Goyo Marquez [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 28, 2009 3:24 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh

Greg Marquez:

[B]ack when most of you guys were still in diapers...

Er, I don't know where you attended university, but we didn't wear diapers -- or not very often -- at UC Santa Cruz, which is where I spent most of the Reagan Administration. (Actually, I transferred to that bucolic institution from UCLA in the dark days of Jimmy Carter; I bought my first computer around then: a Kaypro II.)


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 29, 2009 2:07 AM

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