September 27, 2006

Equal Opportunity Offense, Selective Sensitivity

Carroll Andrew Morse

If you still need proof that the West is being frightened into applying inconsistent standards to free expression involving religion, depending upon what religion is involved, I don't think it can get any clearer than this report from Reuters...

Four cancelled performances of a Mozart opera have re-ignited an anxious and heated debate in Europe over free speech, self-censorship and Islam.

By canning its production of "Idomeneo", fearful of security threats because of a scene that might offend Muslims, Berlin's Deutsche Oper provoked front-page headlines across the continent and found itself fending off charges of cowardice.

The controversy centred on a scene in which King Idomeneo is shown on stage with the severed heads of Buddha, Jesus, Mohammad and the sea god Poseidon.

Out of four severed heads -- three from living religons -- only one is singled out as an unacceptable display. Can there be a rational explanation, i.e. an explanation not based on power and fear, for this?

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We must not allow ourselves to be intimidated by the ravings of religious fundamentalists, be they Islamic, Judeo-Christian, Hindu or undersea-based.
Liberal or conservative, we cannot allow these cursed dogs to dictate what kinds of arts we can or cannot enjoy.

Posted by: Rhody at September 27, 2006 4:12 PM

Curious choice of words, Rhody. As a matter of clarification, I wonder how seriously you'd take remonstrations that you shouldn't "enjoy" particular works based on their treatment of religion.

(It's honestly just a question.)

Posted by: Justin Katz at September 27, 2006 5:06 PM

The German government has called for the show to go on. Yes, cancelling this show is a double standard based in the fear of violent Muslim, as opposed to Christian, reaction.

On a broader level, I wouldn't shed a tear if it did get cancelled. It seems to be only the lastest work of "art" that attacks religion in attempt to shock viewers and draw headlines. The sheer frequency of such works of "art" have made them quite pedestrian.

Posted by: Anthony at September 28, 2006 12:17 AM

Mozart could not have foreseen the rise of political correctness or violent religious fundamentalist movements.
I tend to fall in with the South Park conservative view that you can't satirize somebody else's religion while demanding that yours be immune from ridicule, as the al-Qaida folks or O'Reillyites would have us believe.
As Salieri might say, "Mozart...what a @#$%ing secular humanist."

Posted by: rhody at September 29, 2006 12:04 AM

1) The heads-in-the-bag part of the performance was added by the director, not Mozart.
2) Most folks outside the Islamic world ignore blasphemous garbage art as long as they aren't forced to fund it.

Posted by: rhodeymark at September 29, 2006 12:50 PM