Politics Over Art
Wed, 07/02/2014

The “Klinghoffer” opera tells us that shocking, horrible evil that violates all of our civilized human instincts may be regarded differently if it is prompted by appropriate motives.

This is using art to serve politics. The selective techniques and persuasive power of art do not belong to a political discussion. A fair debate would be a better forum if public enlightenment is the purpose. It is doubtful, however, if this evil is debatable.

The misuse of art is similar to the Stalinist philosophy of approving only the creation of paintings and posters that glorify political teaching. Today those works are regarded with more amusement than reverence. As to the censorship question, the Metropolitan Opera was not choosing whether to perform controversial art but rather if it should perform controversial politics — presented in a one-sided form and broadcast to the world.

 

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