The point is not that “The Death of Klinghoffer” shouldn’t be performed. Fine, let it be performed. When it comes to anti-Semitism, “The Merchant of Venice” is far worse. But then let it be protested as well without whining.Because if you protest our protesting, it's whining; if we protest your protesting (say, in Ferguson), it's just reasoned debate.
No one gainsays the question when people protest the staging of “The Merchant of Venice,” because every honest person acknowledges what is profoundly offensive about it even as they admit it is an undeniably great work.As witnessed by all the celebrity wingnuts protesting whenever The Merchant of Venice plays. Whoops, sorry, no Palestinians in that one! (Maybe he means this.)
Perhaps there are people who can honestly argue “The Death of Klinghoffer” is a work so aesthetically vital every culturally literate person must see it or be deemed a Babbitty boob.Remember, whenever you make a case for a work of art and John Podhoretz doesn't like it, what you're really doing is insulting simple, salt-of-the-earth folk like John Podhoretz.
No, what they wanted was a nice, comforting, fake controversy, one of those controversies that makes something seem larger and more relevant. This is a violation of the true aesthetic purpose of an arts institution.Spoken like a guy who used to review movies over a little meter that showed how "left" and "right" they were.
You know how you can recognize propaganda from other kinds of bad writing? By the inescapable sensation that it couldn't have made any sense even if its author had actually tried.
UPDATE. "I've never seen The Death of Klinghoffer, and the fact that Rudolph Giuliani has valiantly joined the protesters is not convincing enough for me to oppose its performance," says mortimer 2000 in comments. "Has Donald Trump weighed in yet? His take is always much more persuasive."
To Podhoretz's charge that the Met's staging is "a violation of the true aesthetic purpose of an arts institution," tigrismus answers, "It's the Metropolitan Opera. Their 'true aesthetic purpose' is to perform opera. Which they did." Sorry, comrade, the new idea is that all citizen-art will first be approved by rightwing fussbudgets -- maybe in this case we can call them anti-social justice warriors. Of course, as coozeldad reminds us, such a protocol would drastically reduce the available options: "These morons top out at Richard Strauss or whatever they can hum along to. Anything other than that is art fags."
Lulz also to cole -- "Can't wait to read Kevin Williamsons's review! I hope it involves plenty of phone-throwing!" -- but really, as usual the commenters have my own work beat, go look.