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C.Z.
2017-11-17 15:29:08 UTC
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Lately the topic of valuing the art of an artist who is not a good person in one way or another is newly current, with all the sexual abuse interwoven through the worlds of politics, entertainment and media. Love the art or leave it? Though Wagner was not a sex abuser, his shortcomings as a person are plain. But I can think of no other artist for whom this moral conundrum is so easily solved. I don't have any trouble doing without Woody Allen's films. To do without Wagner's music is unthinkable.
REP
2017-11-17 20:36:15 UTC
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Post by C.Z.
Lately the topic of valuing the art of an artist who is not a good person in one way or another is newly current, with all the sexual abuse interwoven through the worlds of politics, entertainment and media. Love the art or leave it? Though Wagner was not a sex abuser, his shortcomings as a person are plain. But I can think of no other artist for whom this moral conundrum is so easily solved. I don't have any trouble doing without Woody Allen's films. To do without Wagner's music is unthinkable.
Everyone has a right to decide for themselves whether they can stomach the artistic creations of someone they find morally reprehensible. If someone enjoys watching a movie directed by a sexual predator, for example, then I say leave them to it. It's far more objectionable to shame them for doing so.

REP
Mike Scott Rohan
2017-11-19 00:48:49 UTC
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Post by C.Z.
Lately the topic of valuing the art of an artist who is not a good person in one way or another is newly current, with all the sexual abuse interwoven through the worlds of politics, entertainment and media. Love the art or leave it? Though Wagner was not a sex abuser, his shortcomings as a person are plain. But I can think of no other artist for whom this moral conundrum is so easily solved. I don't have any trouble doing without Woody Allen's films. To do without Wagner's music is unthinkable.
I would be deeply surprised to find a great creator of any sort who was a wholly "good" person. We all have our faults and weaknesses, and the expressive effort of creativity tends to intensify and magnify them -- as does the necessary egotism and self-belief. There are always exceptions, of course; by all accounts Shakespeare was a quiet, pleasant man. Yet even so, he's named in a lawsuit as presenting a threat to the plaintiff's life; he was possibly rather near with money, and left unpaid city taxes; and his relations with his wife are debatable. How would he have appeared through the tabloids today?

Cheers,

Mike
C.Z.
2017-11-19 18:33:11 UTC
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Post by C.Z.
Lately the topic of valuing the art of an artist who is not a good person in one way or another is newly current, with all the sexual abuse interwoven through the worlds of politics, entertainment and media. Love the art or leave it? Though Wagner was not a sex abuser, his shortcomings as a person are plain. But I can think of no other artist for whom this moral conundrum is so easily solved. I don't have any trouble doing without Woody Allen's films. To do without Wagner's music is unthinkable.
Shakespeare has also been accused of hoarding grain during a time of widespread hunger, if I'm not mistaken.

It is interesting to me how I despise Degas and Chopin for their antisemitism but forgive Wagner his, and Cezanne his.
Mike Scott Rohan
2017-11-20 16:05:04 UTC
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Post by C.Z.
Post by C.Z.
Lately the topic of valuing the art of an artist who is not a good person in one way or another is newly current, with all the sexual abuse interwoven through the worlds of politics, entertainment and media. Love the art or leave it? Though Wagner was not a sex abuser, his shortcomings as a person are plain. But I can think of no other artist for whom this moral conundrum is so easily solved. I don't have any trouble doing without Woody Allen's films. To do without Wagner's music is unthinkable.
Shakespeare has also been accused of hoarding grain during a time of widespread hunger, if I'm not mistaken.
It is interesting to me how I despise Degas and Chopin for their antisemitism but forgive Wagner his, and Cezanne his.
I'm supposed to be fairly well up on Shakespeare, but I don't remember that one. He did invest in tithe rights, but they were mostly financial by that time and had little direct relevance to produce. Beyond that his dealings were chiefly in property. From a neighbour's correspondence he seems to have promised money to support the opposition to some land enclosure round Stratford, but the writer comments to the effect that he'll believe that when he sees it... Mind you, there's occasionally a speck of truth in among the old traditions. John Shakespeare, his glover father, was supposed to have been a wool-dealer, but this was discounted because it would have been against trade laws. And then not so long ago they found records of a dispute with him over a large quantity of wool.

I myself don't feel I can exactly forgive anti-semitism in Wagner or anyone else -- I didn't know about Degas or Cezanne, but it doesn't surprise me. But it's something that can be understood in context, at least, especially in their backgrounds, upbringing and religion for example -- coming from a strongly Roman Catholic country, as did Chopin, or a somewhat provincial German one, as did Wagner, where such prejudice was more or less culturally embedded. France was nominally more liberal, but the nobility, for example, to which Cosima belonged, remained very bigoted.

Cheers,

Mike
Herman van der Woude
2017-11-20 16:51:22 UTC
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Post by Mike Scott Rohan
Post by C.Z.
Post by C.Z.
Lately the topic of valuing the art of an artist who is not a good person
in one way or another is newly current, with all the sexual abuse
interwoven through the worlds of politics, entertainment and media. Love
the art or leave it? Though Wagner was not a sex abuser, his shortcomings
as a person are plain. But I can think of no other artist for whom this
moral conundrum is so easily solved. I don't have any trouble doing without
Woody Allen's films. To do without Wagner's music is unthinkable.
Shakespeare has also been accused of hoarding grain during a time of
widespread hunger, if I'm not mistaken.
It is interesting to me how I despise Degas and Chopin for their
antisemitism but forgive Wagner his, and Cezanne his.
I'm supposed to be fairly well up on Shakespeare, but I don't remember that
one. He did invest in tithe rights, but they were mostly financial by that
time and had little direct relevance to produce. Beyond that his dealings
were chiefly in property. From a neighbour's correspondence he seems to have
promised money to support the opposition to some land enclosure round
Stratford, but the writer comments to the effect that he'll believe that when
he sees it... Mind you, there's occasionally a speck of truth in among the
old traditions. John Shakespeare, his glover father, was supposed to have
been a wool-dealer, but this was discounted because it would have been
against trade laws. And then not so long ago they found records of a dispute
with him over a large quantity of wool.
I myself don't feel I can exactly forgive anti-semitism in Wagner or anyone
else -- I didn't know about Degas or Cezanne, but it doesn't surprise me. But
it's something that can be understood in context, at least, especially in
their backgrounds, upbringing and religion for example -- coming from a
strongly Roman Catholic country, as did Chopin, or a somewhat provincial
German one, as did Wagner, where such prejudice was more or less culturally
embedded. France was nominally more liberal, but the nobility, for example,
to which Cosima belonged, remained very bigoted.
Cheers,
Mike
In particular for France, don't forget the Dreyfus case in which
anti-semitism played a huge role. France in the 19th century was - like
Poland still is today - a very Roman Catholic country in which Jews
were commonly believed to be God murderers, and not only by local, not
very educated priests. Most intellectuals considered the Jews a 'lower
form of mankind', even if they had achieved something in society
(Meyerbeer, Rothschild). Over all, one can say that anti-semitism was
normal in the 19th century, all over the world, even in my own little
country, the Netherlands.
The great change how the world thought about Jews came only after World
War II, and only because of the knowledge what the Nazis had done with
the Jews. My father, who was absolutely not anti-semitic, could still
say (not so very) funny things about Jews, even after the war, not
realising that he was discriminating them, or saying something about
"Negroes in Africa who were not yet up to independence", without
meaning to harm anyone. The human mind is strange.

I don't like anti-semitism at all, and I don't like Wagner's
anti-semitism, or Chopin's or Degas' or Cezanne's, but I do try to see
it in it's context the times and societies they lived in. No one in the
19th century wished what the Nazis did, the extermination of the
'Jewish race' only because they were Jews. I have never heard anything
anti-semitic in Wagner's music, nor in Chopin's music or seen anything
like that in the paintings of Degas and Cezanne.
--
Met vriendelijke groet,
Cheers,
Herman van der Woude
Mike Scott Rohan
2017-11-28 14:54:15 UTC
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Post by Herman van der Woude
Post by Mike Scott Rohan
Post by C.Z.
Post by C.Z.
Lately the topic of valuing the art of an artist who is not a good person
in one way or another is newly current, with all the sexual abuse
interwoven through the worlds of politics, entertainment and media. Love
the art or leave it? Though Wagner was not a sex abuser, his shortcomings
as a person are plain. But I can think of no other artist for whom this
moral conundrum is so easily solved. I don't have any trouble doing without
Woody Allen's films. To do without Wagner's music is unthinkable.
Shakespeare has also been accused of hoarding grain during a time of
widespread hunger, if I'm not mistaken.
It is interesting to me how I despise Degas and Chopin for their
antisemitism but forgive Wagner his, and Cezanne his.
I'm supposed to be fairly well up on Shakespeare, but I don't remember that
one. He did invest in tithe rights, but they were mostly financial by that
time and had little direct relevance to produce. Beyond that his dealings
were chiefly in property. From a neighbour's correspondence he seems to have
promised money to support the opposition to some land enclosure round
Stratford, but the writer comments to the effect that he'll believe that when
he sees it... Mind you, there's occasionally a speck of truth in among the
old traditions. John Shakespeare, his glover father, was supposed to have
been a wool-dealer, but this was discounted because it would have been
against trade laws. And then not so long ago they found records of a dispute
with him over a large quantity of wool.
I myself don't feel I can exactly forgive anti-semitism in Wagner or anyone
else -- I didn't know about Degas or Cezanne, but it doesn't surprise me. But
it's something that can be understood in context, at least, especially in
their backgrounds, upbringing and religion for example -- coming from a
strongly Roman Catholic country, as did Chopin, or a somewhat provincial
German one, as did Wagner, where such prejudice was more or less culturally
embedded. France was nominally more liberal, but the nobility, for example,
to which Cosima belonged, remained very bigoted.
Cheers,
Mike
In particular for France, don't forget the Dreyfus case in which
anti-semitism played a huge role. France in the 19th century was - like
Poland still is today - a very Roman Catholic country in which Jews
were commonly believed to be God murderers, and not only by local, not
very educated priests. Most intellectuals considered the Jews a 'lower
form of mankind', even if they had achieved something in society
(Meyerbeer, Rothschild). Over all, one can say that anti-semitism was
normal in the 19th century, all over the world, even in my own little
country, the Netherlands.
The great change how the world thought about Jews came only after World
War II, and only because of the knowledge what the Nazis had done with
the Jews. My father, who was absolutely not anti-semitic, could still
say (not so very) funny things about Jews, even after the war, not
realising that he was discriminating them, or saying something about
"Negroes in Africa who were not yet up to independence", without
meaning to harm anyone. The human mind is strange.
I don't like anti-semitism at all, and I don't like Wagner's
anti-semitism, or Chopin's or Degas' or Cezanne's, but I do try to see
it in it's context the times and societies they lived in. No one in the
19th century wished what the Nazis did, the extermination of the
'Jewish race' only because they were Jews. I have never heard anything
anti-semitic in Wagner's music, nor in Chopin's music or seen anything
like that in the paintings of Degas and Cezanne.
--
Met vriendelijke groet,
Cheers,
Herman van der Woude
Very true. The Dreyfus case originated with the aristocratic establishment, in which Dreyfus was an outsider; although it must be said that it wasn't originally his Jewishness, but more his Alsatian origins and hence "German" connections, which made him a convenient scapegoat. It was when these military idiots started trying to cover up their injustice that militant nationalists latched onto the affair, and the militant anti-semites (until then relatively few) latched onto them in turn, turning what had been fairly casual, latent dislike or distrust of Jews -- "normal" at that time, as you say -- into a patriotic cause. Not too dissimilar, in fact, to what happened in Germany soon afterwards.

I know what you mean about your father's reactions. We're all prisoners of our time and assumptions. My grandfather, a Franco-British colonial born well into the 19th century, had nothing against Jews, and favoured the natives of the colony he lived in, but had grave doubts about educating them "too quickly". I had a pretty liberal upbringing, and I agree WWII made all the difference. It made all but the most determined bigots confront their prejudices. I went to school with the children of Jewish refugees, and hardly gave their race or religion a thought -- except as those lucky sods who didn't have to get in in time for prayers. So much so, I offered one a ham sandwich by mistake, and cringed when I realized it.

I agree that few people in the 19th century wanted a general pogrom, but it's never too hard to turn latent prejudice into its more violent form, especially if its object becomes a general, dehumanized threat -- "the international Jewish conspiracy", "Zionist conspiracy" and so on. That kind of "tagging" is what worries me about some areas of politics today. Wagner found it easy to attack "the Jews" while still being very attached to Jewish people, and there are signs he increasingly realized the contradiction inherent in this; but being what he was, and married to Cosima, he wouldn't admit it outright.

Cheers,

Mike
m***@gmail.com
2017-11-28 23:07:50 UTC
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Post by Mike Scott Rohan
Post by Herman van der Woude
Post by Mike Scott Rohan
Post by C.Z.
Post by C.Z.
Lately the topic of valuing the art of an artist who is not a good person
in one way or another is newly current, with all the sexual abuse
interwoven through the worlds of politics, entertainment and media. Love
the art or leave it? Though Wagner was not a sex abuser, his shortcomings
as a person are plain. But I can think of no other artist for whom this
moral conundrum is so easily solved. I don't have any trouble doing without
Woody Allen's films. To do without Wagner's music is unthinkable.
Shakespeare has also been accused of hoarding grain during a time of
widespread hunger, if I'm not mistaken.
It is interesting to me how I despise Degas and Chopin for their
antisemitism but forgive Wagner his, and Cezanne his.
I'm supposed to be fairly well up on Shakespeare, but I don't remember that
one. He did invest in tithe rights, but they were mostly financial by that
time and had little direct relevance to produce. Beyond that his dealings
were chiefly in property. From a neighbour's correspondence he seems to have
promised money to support the opposition to some land enclosure round
Stratford, but the writer comments to the effect that he'll believe that when
he sees it... Mind you, there's occasionally a speck of truth in among the
old traditions. John Shakespeare, his glover father, was supposed to have
been a wool-dealer, but this was discounted because it would have been
against trade laws. And then not so long ago they found records of a dispute
with him over a large quantity of wool.
I myself don't feel I can exactly forgive anti-semitism in Wagner or anyone
else -- I didn't know about Degas or Cezanne, but it doesn't surprise me. But
it's something that can be understood in context, at least, especially in
their backgrounds, upbringing and religion for example -- coming from a
strongly Roman Catholic country, as did Chopin, or a somewhat provincial
German one, as did Wagner, where such prejudice was more or less culturally
embedded. France was nominally more liberal, but the nobility, for example,
to which Cosima belonged, remained very bigoted.
Cheers,
Mike
In particular for France, don't forget the Dreyfus case in which
anti-semitism played a huge role. France in the 19th century was - like
Poland still is today - a very Roman Catholic country in which Jews
were commonly believed to be God murderers, and not only by local, not
very educated priests. Most intellectuals considered the Jews a 'lower
form of mankind', even if they had achieved something in society
(Meyerbeer, Rothschild). Over all, one can say that anti-semitism was
normal in the 19th century, all over the world, even in my own little
country, the Netherlands.
The great change how the world thought about Jews came only after World
War II, and only because of the knowledge what the Nazis had done with
the Jews. My father, who was absolutely not anti-semitic, could still
say (not so very) funny things about Jews, even after the war, not
realising that he was discriminating them, or saying something about
"Negroes in Africa who were not yet up to independence", without
meaning to harm anyone. The human mind is strange.
I don't like anti-semitism at all, and I don't like Wagner's
anti-semitism, or Chopin's or Degas' or Cezanne's, but I do try to see
it in it's context the times and societies they lived in. No one in the
19th century wished what the Nazis did, the extermination of the
'Jewish race' only because they were Jews. I have never heard anything
anti-semitic in Wagner's music, nor in Chopin's music or seen anything
like that in the paintings of Degas and Cezanne.
--
Met vriendelijke groet,
Cheers,
Herman van der Woude
Very true. The Dreyfus case originated with the aristocratic establishment, in which Dreyfus was an outsider; although it must be said that it wasn't originally his Jewishness, but more his Alsatian origins and hence "German" connections, which made him a convenient scapegoat. It was when these military idiots started trying to cover up their injustice that militant nationalists latched onto the affair, and the militant anti-semites (until then relatively few) latched onto them in turn, turning what had been fairly casual, latent dislike or distrust of Jews -- "normal" at that time, as you say -- into a patriotic cause. Not too dissimilar, in fact, to what happened in Germany soon afterwards.
I know what you mean about your father's reactions. We're all prisoners of our time and assumptions. My grandfather, a Franco-British colonial born well into the 19th century, had nothing against Jews, and favoured the natives of the colony he lived in, but had grave doubts about educating them "too quickly". I had a pretty liberal upbringing, and I agree WWII made all the difference. It made all but the most determined bigots confront their prejudices. I went to school with the children of Jewish refugees, and hardly gave their race or religion a thought -- except as those lucky sods who didn't have to get in in time for prayers. So much so, I offered one a ham sandwich by mistake, and cringed when I realized it.
I agree that few people in the 19th century wanted a general pogrom, but it's never too hard to turn latent prejudice into its more violent form, especially if its object becomes a general, dehumanized threat -- "the international Jewish conspiracy", "Zionist conspiracy" and so on. That kind of "tagging" is what worries me about some areas of politics today. Wagner found it easy to attack "the Jews" while still being very attached to Jewish people, and there are signs he increasingly realized the contradiction inherent in this; but being what he was, and married to Cosima, he wouldn't admit it outright.
Cheers,
Mike
That's interesting and reminds me of a friend who sent me a tract Wagner wrote after Judentum where there was a sentence which convinced him that Wagner actually would have condoned more violent means against the Jews. I can try to look up the reference to which he was referring but there was a very ambiguous line in it that he latched onto though I tried to convince him otherwise
Mike Scott Rohan
2017-11-30 14:44:45 UTC
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Post by m***@gmail.com
Post by Mike Scott Rohan
Post by Herman van der Woude
Post by Mike Scott Rohan
Post by C.Z.
Post by C.Z.
Lately the topic of valuing the art of an artist who is not a good person
in one way or another is newly current, with all the sexual abuse
interwoven through the worlds of politics, entertainment and media. Love
the art or leave it? Though Wagner was not a sex abuser, his shortcomings
as a person are plain. But I can think of no other artist for whom this
moral conundrum is so easily solved. I don't have any trouble doing without
Woody Allen's films. To do without Wagner's music is unthinkable.
Shakespeare has also been accused of hoarding grain during a time of
widespread hunger, if I'm not mistaken.
It is interesting to me how I despise Degas and Chopin for their
antisemitism but forgive Wagner his, and Cezanne his.
I'm supposed to be fairly well up on Shakespeare, but I don't remember that
one. He did invest in tithe rights, but they were mostly financial by that
time and had little direct relevance to produce. Beyond that his dealings
were chiefly in property. From a neighbour's correspondence he seems to have
promised money to support the opposition to some land enclosure round
Stratford, but the writer comments to the effect that he'll believe that when
he sees it... Mind you, there's occasionally a speck of truth in among the
old traditions. John Shakespeare, his glover father, was supposed to have
been a wool-dealer, but this was discounted because it would have been
against trade laws. And then not so long ago they found records of a dispute
with him over a large quantity of wool.
I myself don't feel I can exactly forgive anti-semitism in Wagner or anyone
else -- I didn't know about Degas or Cezanne, but it doesn't surprise me. But
it's something that can be understood in context, at least, especially in
their backgrounds, upbringing and religion for example -- coming from a
strongly Roman Catholic country, as did Chopin, or a somewhat provincial
German one, as did Wagner, where such prejudice was more or less culturally
embedded. France was nominally more liberal, but the nobility, for example,
to which Cosima belonged, remained very bigoted.
Cheers,
Mike
In particular for France, don't forget the Dreyfus case in which
anti-semitism played a huge role. France in the 19th century was - like
Poland still is today - a very Roman Catholic country in which Jews
were commonly believed to be God murderers, and not only by local, not
very educated priests. Most intellectuals considered the Jews a 'lower
form of mankind', even if they had achieved something in society
(Meyerbeer, Rothschild). Over all, one can say that anti-semitism was
normal in the 19th century, all over the world, even in my own little
country, the Netherlands.
The great change how the world thought about Jews came only after World
War II, and only because of the knowledge what the Nazis had done with
the Jews. My father, who was absolutely not anti-semitic, could still
say (not so very) funny things about Jews, even after the war, not
realising that he was discriminating them, or saying something about
"Negroes in Africa who were not yet up to independence", without
meaning to harm anyone. The human mind is strange.
I don't like anti-semitism at all, and I don't like Wagner's
anti-semitism, or Chopin's or Degas' or Cezanne's, but I do try to see
it in it's context the times and societies they lived in. No one in the
19th century wished what the Nazis did, the extermination of the
'Jewish race' only because they were Jews. I have never heard anything
anti-semitic in Wagner's music, nor in Chopin's music or seen anything
like that in the paintings of Degas and Cezanne.
--
Met vriendelijke groet,
Cheers,
Herman van der Woude
Very true. The Dreyfus case originated with the aristocratic establishment, in which Dreyfus was an outsider; although it must be said that it wasn't originally his Jewishness, but more his Alsatian origins and hence "German" connections, which made him a convenient scapegoat. It was when these military idiots started trying to cover up their injustice that militant nationalists latched onto the affair, and the militant anti-semites (until then relatively few) latched onto them in turn, turning what had been fairly casual, latent dislike or distrust of Jews -- "normal" at that time, as you say -- into a patriotic cause. Not too dissimilar, in fact, to what happened in Germany soon afterwards.
I know what you mean about your father's reactions. We're all prisoners of our time and assumptions. My grandfather, a Franco-British colonial born well into the 19th century, had nothing against Jews, and favoured the natives of the colony he lived in, but had grave doubts about educating them "too quickly". I had a pretty liberal upbringing, and I agree WWII made all the difference. It made all but the most determined bigots confront their prejudices. I went to school with the children of Jewish refugees, and hardly gave their race or religion a thought -- except as those lucky sods who didn't have to get in in time for prayers. So much so, I offered one a ham sandwich by mistake, and cringed when I realized it.
I agree that few people in the 19th century wanted a general pogrom, but it's never too hard to turn latent prejudice into its more violent form, especially if its object becomes a general, dehumanized threat -- "the international Jewish conspiracy", "Zionist conspiracy" and so on. That kind of "tagging" is what worries me about some areas of politics today. Wagner found it easy to attack "the Jews" while still being very attached to Jewish people, and there are signs he increasingly realized the contradiction inherent in this; but being what he was, and married to Cosima, he wouldn't admit it outright.
Cheers,
Mike
That's interesting and reminds me of a friend who sent me a tract Wagner wrote after Judentum where there was a sentence which convinced him that Wagner actually would have condoned more violent means against the Jews. I can try to look up the reference to which he was referring but there was a very ambiguous line in it that he latched onto though I tried to convince him otherwise
Let us know if you find it -- but was it in German or English? Wagner's language could often be extremely harsh, but not, so far as I know, in advocacy of violence. However his translators, in particular Chamberlain and Ashton Ellis, often gave it a much nastier slant, reflecting their own bigotry (and perhaps also Cosima's). Judenthum suffers from this -- unpleasant enough already, but made worse by its interpretation.

Cheers,

Mike

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