June 6, 2023

Hardwood Paroxysm

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In the United States, the discussion is closed. for fear

Two months ago, the Courtauld Gallery in London changed the caption of the famous painting Un Bar aux Folies Bergère by Édouard Manet to warn the visitor – obviously distancing himself – from the fact that one of the patrons photographed is glancing at the male chauvinistic of the girl serving at the counter. The business dates from 1881-1882, and the Parisian club, as it is known, was frequented by prostitutes, clients and pimps … But a few days ago, the Washington Post – a champion of freedom of expression – suspended journalist David Weigel (for a month, no pay!) To retweet a sexual joke. And after Johnny Depp was asked to step down from the role of Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts movie series over allegations of sexual abuse against his ex-wife Amber Heard, and now that he has been released from trial, an online petition has surfaced — meaning equality and the opposite — that Heard be removed from the Aquaman sequel for smearing her husband. Previous …

They are entirely different episodes, united by the same ideological insanity, called abolition culture which – modern McCarthyism led by the Thought and Language Police – has been running through American society for years and has serious repercussions on European society as well. Which also seems to be more disappointing on the subject, thanks to a millennial cultural background characterized by more skepticism and less morality.

Abolition of culture, which often happens to civil rights movements that began with the best of intentions and ended up slipping into the worst of intransigence, is a phenomenon whose core is understood – it is a phenomenon that is blamed, often retroactively, without trial and on the basis of mass hysteria, historical or famous figures for saying or doing something considered Today it is abusive or politically incorrect towards some minorities – but this eludes its true contours and motives.

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Now an excellent tool for self-orientation in the legitimate aspirations (indeed very rare) of abolition culture, in its (destroying) drifts, in its various origins and declines out and on this side of the Atlantic, is Costanza Rezacasa d’Orsogna’s essay Scorrettissimi, subtitled: “Abolition Culture in American Culture” (Laterza, in bookshops from Friday), by far the most complete Italian study on what began as abolition culture and turned into abolition of culture. In the name of understandable anti-racist, anti-male and anti-sexist claims, the politically correct pairing of #MeToo, “Woke Culture” and Black Lives Matter and the claims of the diverse LGBTQ world in recent years has tore down and defaced statues. ; social and political actors, singers, journalists, deformed writers; literary classics rewritten or censored; bleached films and plays; He noted the public’s defamation of masterpieces of art history (from Paul Gauguin to Balthus); Variable declaration requesting withdrawal of books; Banned TV series … The new militants are working day and night, on all fronts.

And here we are in the book of Costanza Ryzacasa Dorsogna, an expert on American culture who has had the opportunity to interview several intellectuals, from coast to coast in the United States, engrossed in what appears to be the worst Witch Hits 2.0: a deadly mixture of ideology, ignorance, and racism. We are the dictatorship of minorities…The author contextualizes the often misused words of “abolition of culture” in relation to neighboring terms such as “cultural appropriation”, “hate speech”, “toxic masculinity” and “white privilege”. It explains how the phenomenon arises and stubbornly arises from the left – the liberal and illiberal left in the United States, the blind progressive and intolerant among us – while also highlighting some cases of censorship on the more intolerant right (against books and authors who have supported and proposed gender theory since elementary school). Above all, by surveying the great American press and the internet world, the book charts the most notable cases of indexing, segregation, ostracism, banishment, (false) victimization, and reorganization of college programs. In colleges there is a danger of abandoning the study of Latin and Greek because they are considered expressions of colonial civilizations, just as some classics are considered homophobic, and chauvinistic and racist men are already lost …

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Over two hundred pages, nine chapters, meticulous “introduction” to how America is rethinking its moral code (and not only) on the basis of some politically correct case studies (like the astonishing story of bestselling author Philip Roth: The torn biography after author Blake’s accusation Bailey – not his conviction – of sexual harassment, as if a vacuum cleaner or green car could be pulled off the market when its inventor ends up on trial for rape; or the crusade against Mark Twain’s books or Harper Lee itself for containing the unspoken word “nigger” , “nigger”; or, again, the change in reception, in recent times, of the character and work of the “Machista” Ernest Hemingway …); Then the “Conclusions,” very balanced, but leave no room for doubt: should we stop reading Philip Roth because she is a misogynist? Should we judge the literary masterpieces of the past in light of today’s sensibilities? “Should we stop reading Faulkner for his failure to deal with systemic racism if America itself, a hundred years later, is still incapable of doing so?” In short, “If culture is a bridge, as is often said hypocrisy, why prohibit it?”. And very recent Italian cases come to mind, such as Milan mayor Beppe Sala deciding which Russian artists can or cannot perform at La Scala …

Scorrettissimi is an incorrect, documented and necessary book. And awful in its own way. It shows how – always with the best of intentions… – paradoxically, the more educated left (the wave of abolitionist culture starts from colleges, newspapers, and publishing houses, not from Trumpian suburbs) suppresses the very essence of democracy and the basis of teaching, i.e. debate. For fear of retaliation lost the desire for dialogue. The issues were no longer discussed, they were just cancelled. So far, the president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, Greg Lukyanov, bluntly explains, “The message has passed that if you have a different opinion, you’d better shut your mouth.” Will it be the same in Italy too?

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