Thursday, September 28, 2006

Selective Transgression

Following up on the Berlin cancellation of the Mozart opera for fear of the Muslim reaction: Roger Kimball of the New Criterion has a fine piece in which he says:
Our avant-gardist artistic establishment preens itself on being "transgressive," "challenging," "provocative," etc. But it prefers to exercise its anti-bourgeois animus within the coddled purlieus of bourgeois security. It has discovered that there is a big difference between exhibiting photographs of Christ on the cross in a bottle of urine or Madonna having herself "crucified" on her current concert tour and poking fun at Muhammad. The former earns you the delicious obloquy of the Catholic establishment while shoring up your credentials as a brave artistic and moral pioneer. The latter sends murderous hordes into the streets looking for something, or someone, to destroy.
Kimball’s whole article is here.


Anonymous said...

How does the kind of thought seen in this article relate with your "Violence Unveiled" or with Girardian thought with regard to violence or are we looking at a different subject in this altogether?

Peace and all good,
Br. John English,O.E.F.

Gil Bailie said...

Kimball is pointing out the hypocrisy of those who pose as brave cultural iconoclasts but who suddenly turn sensitive to religious sensibilities when any real bravery is required. How does this relate to what I wrote in "Violence Unveiled"? I'm not sure how to answer. I'll post something on it if I have time before I leave for Rome. We're experiencing a recrudescence of old fashioned sacred violence the likes of which Westerners (guilty though we in the West have been of such things in history) have not seen. The Enlightenment taught us that such things would pass away; but they didn't. History is still underway, and there is no guarantee that what happened to the Byzantium and to Eastern Christianity in 1453 and almost happened to Western Christianity in 1683 will not happen in the 21st century.
What are we to do about it? All I can say is: summon our faith and meet our responsibilities without abandoning our finest principles. Never an easy task.