Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Gergiev & the double standards of the politically correct

Here at The Telegraph in a glaring example of  the double standards of the politically correct, the journalist Graeme Archer attacks the principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra, Valery Gergiev,  for being a supporter of Russian President Vladimir Putin and, most particularly, for sharing his (in the west, at least)  now somewhat counter-cultural views on the subject of homosexuality. 
Concert-goers have already heard - in a trademark invasion of the platform - from the ubiquitous  Peter Tatchell on the same subject.

But what are we being told here by the new arbiters of moral orthodoxy - that a lesser conductor would be preferable just so long as his political and social views were up to speed? What about musicians who are supporters, explicitly or implicitly,  of the Peoples' Republic of China - certainly no less illiberal by contemporary western standards than Mr Putin: should they be exposed to the same degree of criticism and pressure?

We are always being told - rightly, but ad nauseam - by the left about the enormous damage done to culture and the arts by McCarthyism in the 1950s in the U.S.A. and its equivalents elsewhere. The treatment meted out to the openly pro-Soviet Communist British composer Alan Bush in the same period is a case in point. Are they saying that that kind of bullying and exclusion is now acceptable when applied to  those on the political right or to the socially conservative? 
Perhaps it's high time just to concentrate on artistic excellence rather than trying to impose upon the arts the ever shifting standards of a post-Christian social elite.

Here are Gergiev and the L.S.O. in an astonishing live performance of Mahler's Ninth Symphony - after hearing this, I  really couldn't care less about the conductor's politics:


  1. Every time I see that smug twit appearing on the Culture pages I want to batter him with an outsize haddock. And Damain and Huffy trot along behind...


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