Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The Enlightment suffers another blow

Stop me if this story sounds familiar. The Berlin Opera just cancelled one of its fall programs because its director is afraid of unruly Muslims. Apparently, the fall showing of Mozart's "Idomoneo" included a scene where someone carries the severed heads of Mohammed, Jesus, Buddha and Poseidon.

(Before we get to the political commentary, two thoughts: (1) Doesn't this lineup of severed heads make you 5000% more interested in attending this opera? and (2) How did "Poseidon" sneak into that lineup of religious heavyweights? What, Zeus and Odin weren't available? Moving on.)

Back to Berlin. Here's what irritates me, beyond the blatant capitualition of Western values to absurd religious extremism -- there wasn't any real threat to the opera at all! According to the International Herald Tribune:

This past summer, the Berlin police said they received a call from an unidentified person, who warned that the opera was "damaging to religious feelings." The caller did not make a specific threat against the opera.

"All this came in light of the cartoon controversy," said a police spokesman, Uwe Kozelnik. "We started to investigate, and finally concluded that disturbances could not be ruled out."

Wait, so all I have to do is call an opera and complain about damage to my religious feelings, and I can force the cancellation of said opera? ("Wait, all I have to do is pretend I can make bombs out of hair gel, and I can shut down air travel in England for three days and make air travel miserable worldwide?") What's happening here is a lethal mix of religious zealotry combined with terrorist paranoia. Muslims claim to be offended by anything, anytime. Security officials in Western nation therefore warn against the potential for any "disturbances." Add the two together, and we cancel operas because some dipshit picked up the phone.


Blogger Robert Boyd said...

The enlightenment is always under attack. Remember the NEA battles from the '80s? And look at this one--this time the offended ones are Christians:

2:59 PM  

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