When we understand that the basic thrust of Marxism is the total destruction of everything that has gone before, Frank Furedi’s column makes so much sense. The short story is, they are coming for the classics.
What he describes with example after example, is nothing less than high octane, turbo charged, cancel culture.
Everything from Shakespeare to Beethoven is all on the block. It all has to go.
Not convinced that it’s all part of a Marxist plot?
The thing is that most of the useful idiots driving it would be totally unaware of even the most recent history of most of our own lifetimes but for the rest of us, it is impossible not to see the exact parallels between the ongoing, woke demolition of Western culture Furedi describes and the cultural Marxism that drove the cultural revolution in China with its associated struggle sessions.
The concept of Year Zero, in Pol Pot’s Cambodia where all culture and traditions that went before April 1975 had to be completely destroyed and replaced by the revolutionary culture is another example.
Through the prism of extreme Islamism, the destruction of the 1500 year old Bamyan Buddhas in Afghanistan in 2001 was also part of this same nihilistic mindset and in 2021 in the corporate world we have our own Billy Graham type, come to Jesus crusades and exorcisms as employees fight their demons with their own “struggle sessions” and admissions of guilt, over the myth of white privilege etc.
These “training seminars” are for all intents and purposes, struggle sessions of self loathing in the tradition of Mao’s cultural revolution.
READ ON —
“…In recent years it has become increasingly fashionable to frame Western art and culture in a negative light. All its great inspiring figures, from Chaucer to Shakespeare through to Jane Austen face the charge of being “too Western”, “too white” or “too racist”. Classical music, ballet and opera are also dismissed in a similar vein. Western classical culture has always been the target of dogmatic radical commissars on the grounds it is elitist, out of date, irrelevant and far too exclusive. Now these philistine arguments have fused with those promoted by advocates of identity politics.
Hostility towards Western classical culture is frequently justified on the ground that it is too old, too white, too male and far too homophobic.
It should not come as a surprise that virtually every great classical composer, poet and writer is in the crosshair of the cultural jihad. Take the case of poor old Beethoven. Until recently some wacky supporters of identity politics claimed that this great composer was actually black. Six years ago, The Concordian, a student-run Minnesota newspaper denounced the “whitewashing of this composer’s legacy”. They described this composer as having a “wide, thick-lipped mouth, short, thick nose, and proudly arched forehead”. With the escalation of the culture war the argument has radically altered; the problem with Beethoven is that he is “too white”.
In the Anglo-American world it has become obligatory for the classical music establishment to apologise for their art’s association with white privilege. At times the classical music press appears to portray a love of this art form as a marker of white supremacy. Last year, writing in the NewYorker, the critic Alex Ross apologised cravenly for being a “white American”. He described his world as one that is “blindingly white, both in its history and its present”. As far as Ross is concerned classical music is compromised by its supposed “history of systemic racism”.
With the racialisation of classical music, the accusation of whiteness is sufficient to delegitimate its legacy. Philip Ewell, an American black music-theory professor, has been in the forefront of advocating the claim that classical music is irredeemably compromised by its whiteness.
In the sphere of literature the targeting and even the cancelling of the classics has assumed an ubiquitous form. There is now a concerted attempt to render invisible some of the most important contributions to the literary canon. Even Homer, whose Iliad and Odyssey are not just the foundational works of Greek literature but also of Western civilisation is dismissed with contempt by cultural jihadists.
From their perspective, Shakespeare, who in many ways personifies English literature cannot be allowed to survive with his reputation intact. A section of the teaching profession in the US has decided to wage a holy war against Shakespeare. They have declared that they are not prepared to teach Shakespeare on the ground that his works promote “misogyny, racism, homophobia, classism and anti-Semitism”. In her call to arms, young-adult novelist Padma Venkatraman wrote in School Library Journal, that “absolving Shakespeare of responsibility by mentioning that he lived at a time when hate-ridden sentiments prevailed, risks sending a subliminal message that academic excellence outweighs hateful rhetoric”.
Her fellow crusaders have informed the School Library Journal that they were ditching plays like Hamlet, Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet in order to make “room for modern, diverse, and inclusive voices”.
No doubt classical Western culture has its flaws but when everything has been said and done it has endowed the human spirit with a tangible quality that continues to enrich our lives. That is why we need to defend the integrity of our civilisational accomplishment from the barbarians inside the gate…”