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September 26, 2006

Guess What's Been Banned Now?

Every time I think I've lost my capacity for amazement, things get a little bit worse:

Berlin- One of Germany's leading opera houses, Deutsche Oper Berlin, announced Monday that it was cancelling a controversial production because of the likelihood that it might offend Muslims. The original opera, Idomeneo by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, makes no reference to Islam, but director Hans Neuenfels introduced a scene to his production that depicts the decapitated heads of the Prophet Mohammed, Jesus Christ, the Buddha and the Greek god Poseidon.

Here's what I don't get. It's tough for Germans to find much in their culture to be proud of these days. There's something about brazenly starting two huge wars in thirty years and nearly wiping out an entire continent's population of Jews that tends to give you a bad name on the international stage. It's got to be tough knowing that the adjectival form of your country's name has become a byword for "thuggish brute".

But guys: music is where you excel. Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Brahms, Mahler...these guys are the all-star team. No other country compares, or even comes close.

Hell, I'll even throw in Wagner and Buxtehude, just for good measure (although I draw the line at Schoenberg).

The point here is that this is the very best of what your culture has produced, an art form that reached its pinnacle under your batons, and you're blithely tossing it away one little bit at a time, you craven teutonic pissant swine.

This incident highlights one of the reasons I get nervous about things like, I don't know, the London mega-mosque I mentioned yesterday. If they're this scared in Berlin, how eager do you think Londoners are going to be to produce The Abduction from the Seraglio or Dance of the Persian Slave Girls next to a stadium of people likely to be offended by them?

Because that's how it will happen: Pieces of art and other culturally "controversial" items won't have to be banned for very long; they'll just gradually disappear as people decide they aren't worth the trouble.

Link found via Hot Air.

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posted by AndrewR at 10:30 PM

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