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Thread: Valery Gergiev Controversy

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    Senior Member Oreb's Avatar
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    Default Valery Gergiev Controversy

    Have any of you been following the controversy currently surrounding Valery Gergiev?

    Here's a taste:

    http://www.theguardian.com/music/201...hts-supporters

    Where does one draw the line when it comes to issues like this? I detest homophobia, but also heartily dislike the sanctimony and intolerance of the cultural 'Left', which seems to consider it acceptable to target anyone who has the temerity to disagree with it.

    Whatever the right and wrongs (and facts and opinions) of this case, I hold the man's conducting in high regard and can't imagine his personality or opinions causing me to revise that view.

    What do you think?

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    But we're very unhappy that Valery Gergiev is a friend and supporter of Putin (...) We want him to denounce those laws
    As if they would have any right to demand that or expect anybody to care that they're "unhappy" because of his association with Putin. The action is ridiculous, everybody has political beliefs, including artists, and all political beliefs make some people "unhappy" - which means that every single concert taking place on this planet can be potentially disturbed by people displeased with performer's political orientation.

    Completely leaving the matter of whether homosexuality is cool or not behind, the activists are getting outrageous with their demanding position. It's basically "state in public all that we want or you're backwarded, hateful homophobe and we will consider you an enemy to be attacked in all possible ways". Same thing happened to Anna Netrebko when they tried to force her to make some statement of support. When she wrote "as an artist, it is my great joy to collaborate with all of my wonderful colleagues—regardless of their race, ethnicity, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. I have never and will never discriminate against anyone", many still were displased, because it wasn't political statement supporting the homosexual's "cause". This is plain audacity, because neither she or any other famous artist is obligated to use his/her position to do such thing and if he/she wishes, he can do just the opposite. These people who are often claiming to fight for liberty seem to take it for privilege which should belong to them but not to anybody who thinks differently.
    Last edited by Aramis; Nov-12-2013 at 12:27.

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    Senior Member SiegendesLicht's Avatar
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    Well, how about allowing people to remain people, not politically correct drones without a single opinion or emotion of their own?
    ... yet for us will still remain the holy German art... (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg)
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    Quote Originally Posted by SiegendesLicht View Post
    Well, how about allowing people to remain people, not politically correct drones without a single opinion or emotion of their own?
    What's wrong with political correctness? I am a person, and everything I truly believe is basd purely on my own personal morals, just happens to be that there are things that I believe which also happen to be labelled "politically correct."

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    Senior Member Ukko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ComposerOfAvantGarde View Post
    What's wrong with political correctness? I am a person, and everything I truly believe is basd purely on my own personal morals, just happens to be that there are things that I believe which also happen to be labelled "politically correct."
    That is (almost) everybody's situation. There is no way to be completely non-PC or PC unless you are a very light-on-your-feet politician.
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    It's not really a Gergiev controversy it is a Putin controversy, protesters are simply confronting Russian stars in order to attack Putin who they can't easily reach. The problem isn't people being allowed to believe what they want, Gergiev could be as anti-gay or as anti anything as he wishes, it is their willingness to tacitly support a position without either admitting it or challenging it. Even saying "I'm a conductor it is nothing to do with me" would be better than silent assent. Netrebko and Gergiev are cultural exports whose Russianness is part of their brand and are used by the Russian state to sell Russia abroad, just as celebrities are used the world over.

    If protesters want to tell people they shouldn't listen to Netrebko because she hasn't said the right thing about gays or whales or the icecaps or gun ownership, then they can. And you have the right to choose, to listen or to refuse, if you don't like her stance on any issue. Perhaps you are not interested in making that choice and you will listen regardless, that is your choice too.
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    Senior Member PetrB's Avatar
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    Right, as if boycotting all things made in Russia which the rest of the world consumes would make one dent in the Russian mentality about gender roles or sexuality.

    Is anyone at all shocked at the old-world ultra conservatism, the male chauvinism, the homophobia, of the Ex soviets, many Eastern and Central Europeans, or anything like?

    Wasn't it pianist Stephan Hough whose performance in Singapore was cancelled because some bureaucrat found out Hough was openly homosexual? I'm sure Hough managed to get another replacement gig without its making a dent in his career or income. Pity for Singapore, and those who live there, including the small sector of locals who are homosexual.

    Boycotting a concert because of the conductor's stated views on something? Who was the conductor that said women can't be good conductors?

    Boycott him if you will, buy no tickets to events he conducts, purchase no recordings. Someone else will pick up the slack and purchase a seat to that concert, still buy those recordings.

    About or less than ten percent of the population (men and women attracted to their own sex) making a noise to politically boycott one individual in what amounts to about three per cent of the population (classical music, doers and audience) is a tempest in a teacup.

    The issue is not ridiculous to target and lobby for a change of mind, the target is too small to be effective, the tactic is ludicrously ineffective.
    Last edited by PetrB; Nov-12-2013 at 16:32.

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    Senior Member hreichgott's Avatar
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    I agree with the principle here but not the tactic. The arts have long been a spiritual, social and material resource for LGBT people -- why choose boycott as a tactic? Much better to support the arts and pick some other tactic, e.g. wearing rainbow stuff to concerts, a letter-writing campaign to Gergiev, providing financial support so that LGBT musicians in the orchestra can feel free to come out and have a safety net in case they are fired, inviting guest artists with Gergiev's orchestra to also participate in LGBT supportive events in the same city... there are so many choices.
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    Senior Member SiegendesLicht's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ComposerOfAvantGarde View Post
    What's wrong with political correctness? I am a person, and everything I truly believe is basd purely on my own personal morals, just happens to be that there are things that I believe which also happen to be labelled "politically correct."
    First of all, the moral value of above all, not ever offending anyone, is a pretty shallow one in itself. And when people are judged on the basis of this moral value, and when ever their careers can be threatened because of it, it is a lamentable state of things. You know, there is not much difference between censoring yourself for fear of offending an all-powerful government and censoring yourself for fear of insulting the many various groups, many of which will jump at any chance to be insulted and do their best to bring you down.

    Second, it often happens, in cases where two sides are involved, that it is only one side that tries to be as tolerant and non-offensive as possible, usually the European/Western one. The other side takes it as a weakness that should and will be exploited. I am sure people like that beheaded soldier in London, or the three people lately murdered on a bus in Norway could tell you a lot about that aspect - it cost them their lives after all.

    Third, if anything is going to change the Russians' minds, it is not going to be that sort of moralizing posturing that comes from a lot of the Western media on the subject of this new law and other issues. There is a lot about the West that is admirable and should be emulated by all who want to live in peace and prosperity, but this sort of attitude is only going to lead to resentment.

    If you believe in the things you believe in, whatever that might be, out of your own conviction, not because it is the "correct" thing to say, that is great. Everyone should have that right, no matter if their belief is fashionable or not.
    Last edited by SiegendesLicht; Nov-12-2013 at 18:57.
    ... yet for us will still remain the holy German art... (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg)
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    Senior Member Tristan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PetrB View Post
    Is anyone at all shocked at the old-world ultra conservatism, the male chauvinism, the homophobia, of the Ex soviets, many Eastern and Central Europeans, or anything like?
    Not at all shocked. My mom grew up in Albania and I still have much family there. That kind of thing is rampant over there and it doesn't surprise me. And a boycott is not going to change people's minds, not that we even have to. Obviously I don't think like Putin and his laws, but this kind of thing isn't going to change anything. And I especially don't like bringing music into it

    Now I can understand some boycotts, just on a personal level. It's not necessarily about "change" but it might just be about not wanting your own money to support something you strongly disagree with.

    That's how it was with the whole Chick-fil-A thing for me. Obviously I don't care if the CEO is against gay marriage; he has every right to be. But knowing that if I put money into their company, it could potentially be donated to groups that I consider harmful and against everything I stand for, then perhaps I don't want to patronize a company like that.
    Last edited by Tristan; Nov-12-2013 at 19:21.
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