Thursday, March 29, 2007

Elitism on the world's great orchestral stages


A reader wrote yesterday and asked whether I agreed with everything I post here. The answer is an emphatic no. But I do try to provide food for thought. Which is why I offer an extract from, and link to this article in the current American Spectator. And for those arriving from Agonist.org I would point out that the words below are a quote (which is what an extract is) from the American Spectator article - not my words.

So what should orchestras do to increase the numbers of minority violists? Perhaps they should follow Nazi Germany's lead which set quotas on the number of Jews who could attend medical or law school in order to allow more goyim to become doctors and lawyers? Orchestras could limit the number of white male and female Asian-American orchestra members, and instead of calling it a quota system, they could call it "diversity."

Or orchestras could follow the lead of the professional athletic associations which 50 years ago stopped excluding athletes on account of skin color and now simply hire the best. Does any one really want to see boxing or the NBA adopt a quota system?

Traditionally government and academia have been the testing grounds where theories of social engineering are put into practice. Social engineers, however, have been less successful making inroads into professional sports, the arts and the military. Perhaps that is why our government and schools run like an Edsel, while the San Francisco Symphony and the U.S. Marines are beyond compare.

Certainly a good case can be made that black and Latino students should be exposed to classical music. I'm all for it. But a similar argument can be made for poor and middle class white kids in rural schools, and yet I do not hear
Aaron Dworkin pushing for more hillbilly cellists.

If ever there was a case for elitism it should be made on the world's great orchestral stages, where perfection should never be held hostage to political correctness. If you want mediocrity, look to the government and the public schools. Plenty there to go round.

Now for an alternative view read here, here, or anywhere else on the blog.

Thanks to Bernard T for the heads-up. Any copyrighted material on these pages is included as "fair use", for the purpose of study, review or critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Report broken links, missing images and other errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk

6 comments:

Elaine Fine said...

Perhaps Christopher Orlet should be advised that Juilliard is the correct spelling of the name of the school. "Julliard" is not correct.

Pliable said...

Bigots like to be outraged about reverse discrimination in theory, while covering up and lying about real discrimination in practice. I urge people that have Overgrown Path blogrolled to ask themselves why they are sending traffic to a bigot and thus tacitly approving of the bigotry that is purveyed there. says
www.agonist.org presumably before reading this, this, this, this, this, and countless other articles.

I guess I forgot that whatever side you are on "to provide food for thought" people actually had to read the blog.

Anyway thanks for the traffic.

Pliable said...

Interesting link.

Dennis said...

How anyone could refer to that article as bigoted or racist is beyond me. Did Agonist even read it? Or does he just assume anyone opposed to quotas and "affirmative action" is a racists? The article was arguing against Aaron Dworkin's attempts to force artificial "diveristy" into orchestras based on extra-musical considerations such as race, at the expense of strictly musical ability. That is not racist, it is anti-racist. Indeed, one could argue that in his intense focus on all things racial, it is Dworkin who is the racist here, not the American Spectator author.

Henry Holland said...

I'm about as far politically as is possible from the ethos of the American Spectator, but Dennis is correct, I'd say. Stirling Newberry loses all credibility by not even knowing which site made the comments he's criticizing.

Pliable, I love your blog and I've been reading it for about 2 years now (thank you Alex Ross!), but may I gently make a style suggestion? I know by now that things in Arial font (or very similar) are being quoted and that your comments are in Times New Roman font (or very similar). I can see how that could be confusing for newcomers. Maybe you could use italics to set off what you are quoting or do this

****

Blah blah blah blah

****

or block it in a box? Just a suggestion.

Your faithful reader,
Henry Holland

Pliable said...

Also see this bigot alert.