The left's search for microaggressions keeps getting more ridiculous
Leftists need to destroy the past to ensure that people have no point of comparison when they suffer the miseries, indignities, and multiple forms of slavery that make up daily life under leftism. That may explain why leftists, not content with destroying America's history, are reaching out to destroy any culture derived from white people. The latest historical personage to end up in the left's crosshairs, believe it or not, is Beethoven. Apparently, he is such a painful symbol of "exclusion and elitism" that it would be best if he were canceled along with the Founding Fathers.
This bizarre, entirely reductive view comes from Vox, where Nate Sloan and Charlie Harding launched their assault against Beethoven. Sloan is a young academic who got his Bachelor's at Brown, one of the most woke colleges in America; earned his Ph.D. at Stanford; and now works at USC. USC recently removed a professor from teaching an MBA course and subjected him to re-education camp because, when he used a Chinese word meaning "um" or "uh," his black students felt that it sounded too close to the evil "N-word."
Harding is a music journalist who once had a single on Nigerian Top 40 pop radio. Despite his lack of academic credentials, he is as painfully woke as any of the pseudo-intellectuals whom America's leftist institutions keep churning out and imposing on the rest of us.
Now admittedly, the biographical material on both Sloan and Harding is slender. However, one only has to read their article from Vox to know the noxious social justice milieu in which these two white men (and yes, I'm assuming their genders) were marinated, complete with the foul anti-white racism that is Critical Race Theory.
Sloan and Harding open their plaint about Beethoven's microaggressions by stating that Beethoven's ever-popular Fifth Symphony is musically magnificent and that it's "a metaphor for Beethoven's personal resilience in the face of his oncoming deafness." Don't believe it, though. That opening was just to lead you down the primrose path. Instead, Sloan and Harding explain that this attitude is a typical product of white, male elitism:
Or rather, that's long been the popular read among wealthy white men who embraced Beethoven and turned his symphony into a symbol of their superiority and importance. For others — women, LGBTQ+ people, people of color — Beethoven's symphony may be predominantly a reminder of classical music's history of exclusion and elitism. One New York City classical music fan wrote in the 1840s, for example, that he wished that "all women shall be gagged by officers duly licensed for the purpose before they're allowed to enter a concert room."
Today, some aspects of classical culture are still about policing who's in and who's out, and much of it started with Beethoven's Fifth. When you walk into a standard concert hall, there's an established set of conventions and etiquette ("don't cough!"; "don't cheer!"; "dress appropriately!") that's more about demonstrating belonging than appreciating the music.
The article is short. If you want to know how Beethoven is now a microaggression to emotionally incontinent woke Millennials, you have to listen to this dense duo's podcast:
In the third episode of our four-part series The 5th, a collaboration between Vox's Switched on Pop and the New York Philharmonic that breaks down the music and meaning of this inescapable work of music, we ask how Beethoven's symphony was transformed from a symbol of triumph and freedom into a symbol of exclusion, elitism, and gatekeeping — everything we love to hate about classical music today. How did the meaning of this symphony get so twisted?
I am not a sufficiently intrepid reporter to spend time listening to their explanation. I reject a world in which the value of everything is measured by emotionally immature people conducting an in-depth analysis of their own navels. Instead, I'm going to do my bit to push back against the left's continued cultural degradation by listening to Beethoven's Eroica, my favorite of his works.
Image: Ludwig van Beethoven, 1820, by Joseph Karl Stieler. Public domain.