Derb: The Tragedy of Madame Butterfly

Discussion in 'This Cesspool We Live In' started by il ragno, Mar 17, 2017.

  1. il ragno Proud American Deplorable

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    It's not only in colleges that "the depravity of whiteness" is denounced. Our institutions of high culture are aggressive in the cause, too.

    Case in point: Seattle Opera. In the coming season, actually in August this year, Seattle Opera is staging performances of Puccini's opera Madame Butterfly. The story of the opera is, that Lieutenant Pinkerton of the Teddy Roosevelt-era U.S. Navy, when visiting Japan, contracts a marriage with a Japanese girl, name of Butterfly. He then sails back to the States, having been told that the Japanese don't take these marriage contracts very seriously.

    Butterfly does take it seriously, though. She waits loyally for years until Pinkerton returns. Then, finding that he has meanwhile acquired an American wife, poor Butterfly does the Japanese thing.
    In the opera footnotes to my novel Fire from the Sun I wrote that Madame Butterfly is: "Everybody's mother's favorite opera. But mothers know stuff: Butterfly is a masterpiece." Of course it is. You're not going to contradict all the world's mothers, are you? For shame!

    For the first hundred years or so of its existence, the opera Madame Butterfly was taken at face value as a musical drama on a tragic human story. Then the CultMarx commissars arrived to strap it into their ideological straitjacket.

    So now we have this, from the Seattle Opera website. It's 125 words, but I'll quote them all to you, to give you the full flavor of finger-wagging prune-faced sanctimony:
    Inspired by true events, Madame Butterfly is an often painful reminder of racial and cultural injustice found throughout America's history. In July 2017, Seattle Opera is committed to participating in an open dialogue with the community on issues surrounding this work and will host a discussion open to all. Additionally, prior to performances, the lobby areas of McCaw Hall will be used for a large-scale exhibit, allowing audiences to consider the lasting impacts of American imperialism on people of Japanese and Asian ancestry which continued well into the 20th century. A month after Madame Butterfly closes, we will present An American Dream, a story depicting the incarceration of a Japanese American family in the '40s, to provide an essential second perspective for Madame Butterfly audiences.
    "American imperialism"? Might we hear a word about Japanese Imperialism? And then perhaps another word about Chinese imperialism? The Japanese and the Chinese actually proclaimed themselves to be empires, for Heaven's sake! Eighty-five years ago, in fact, the Japanese made a strenuous attempt to incorporate big swathes of China into the Japanese Empire, using very brutal methods.

    Why isn't that worth a mention? Why? Because it can't be incorporated into a narrative about "the depravity of whiteness," that's why.

    As an opera lover, I can't adequately express the hatred and disgust I feel at this invasion of high culture by thin-lipped, moon-booted ideologues. I'd mind less if they would keep themselves and their stupid, empty dogmas penned up in CultMarx seminaries like Middlebury College, where they could virtue-signal to each other all day long, while leaving the rest of us alone with our pleasures.

    No: They have to come lumbering into the sanctuary, knocking over the statues, drawing mustaches on the artwork, peeing on the rugs. It makes me mad. The hell with these swine! Damn them all to hell!

    Forty years ago, when I was getting acquainted with ancient Chinese poetry, I found it amusing to read what Confucian critics, back in the days of the Chinese, yes, Empire had said about those poems.
    There would be, for example, a poem handed down from the remote past that was obviously, when you read it, a lament for thwarted love. Some later Confucian critic, though, would interpret it as the complaint of a loyal minister whose advice had been rejected by his prince.

    Reading that kind of thing, I'd reflect on how depressing it must have been to live in a culture where plain human stories about human emotions couldn't be left alone to speak for themselves, but had to be hacked and crushed to fit into the pigeonholes of a state ideology.

    Now, forty years on, I'm living in just such a culture. I hate it.

    I love the opera and wish no harm to any person. However, if I were to see in tomorrow's news that Seattle Opera had burned to the ground, with the loss of all its properties, costumes, and instruments, I would smile a quiet, glad smile.

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