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The Two Minutes Hate at Lincoln Center

1984-not-a-users-guide

Thursday night, "the New York Philharmonic premiered a work by John Adams. Adams is probably the most famous and important composer in the world (classical composer). His new work is Scheherazade.2, a 'dramatic symphony for violin and orchestra,'" Jay Nordlinger, who attended the performance writes at the Corner. But first, Adams took time out to instruct his audience to insult an AM radio host:

Before the performance, Adams himself took a microphone and spoke to the audience about the work. He described how it came about. He had seen an exhibition in Paris about Scheherazade. Then he read Arabian Nights, and was appalled by the “casual brutality toward women” depicted therein. At the same time, he was reading of brutality toward women around the world: in Egypt, Afghanistan, and India, for example.

But we were not to think we Americans were exempt from this brutality. For example, you can “find it on Rush Limbaugh.” (Rush equals the Taliban or the Muslim Brotherhood, you see.)

To this remark, the audience responded with sustained and robust applause. In 1984, Orwell writes of the two-minute hate. The applause in Avery Fisher Hall did not last for two minutes, but it went on long enough.

Obviously, John Adams knows nothing about Rush Limbaugh. It’s a good bet he has never listened to Rush’s show or read an article by him. The same must be true of the audience members who applauded. But Rush is a hate figure on the left, a bogeyman. His name has almost magical power. And Adams must have known that if he invoked it, in the way he did, he would get agreement and applause from a New York audience.

This is a sick and twisted culture. It features that toxic combination of ignorance and hate.

Rush himself is amused at becoming "the official bogey man of the left:"

[Nordlinger and I] had a little back-and-forth exchange today, and I told him, I said, "No, this stuff? I long ago ceased being bothered by this.  In fact, I've had to learn how to take this as a measure and sign of success," and it clearly is.  So, anyway, that's what I was talking about at the open of the program as being the one who inspires the most hate among people on the left who are already engaged in hate.

One of his listeners, who attended the performance estimates that there was about a thousand people in the audience:

CALLER:  It was packed and the majority of people clapping were in the front and whooping it up.  I don't believe that Jay heard me, but I was outraged.  It ruined my entire evening.

RUSH:  I think you and --

CALLER:  I was just stunned. I'm sorry to interrupt you.  I was just so stunned, and I'm still very upset about it.  It was completely inappropriate and completely out of context.

RUSH:  Well, I appreciate your sentiments.  I really do.  You and Jay must have been the only two people in there.

CALLER:  Well, my friend Trish was with me, and she absolutely was outraged as well.  The reason that I called you is I just wanted to let you know that someone in addition to Jay and my friend Trish in Manhattan, in the land of leftist loons, has your back.

RUSH:  Well, I appreciate that more than you know.  I really... I don't know how to thank you for that, because there's no way I can tell people how much that means.  It's just no way I can convey that to people.

CALLER:  Rush, I heard you come and speak in New York City.  I'm a huge fan and a huge listener, and you are right on, everything you say and everything that you do for us conservatives.  You can be anything in New York City.  You can be a murderer, a thief, a liar, but don't you dare be a conservative.

As Rush responds:

My name epitomizes and encapsulates all of their hatred for conservatism.  But, see, the point is this guy's standing up there, and he realizes what he's doing.  He's telling people that his inspiration... He has been inspired to write this piece on the basis he was so appalled at the way women are treated in various parts of the world.

But then, as a good liberal, he had to say something to let everybody know that America's no better.  So he says, "And, by the way, you can find it here on Rush Limbaugh," and that's when the audience started their nearly two-minute applause.  None of 'em listen to the program like you, Melanie.  None of them have the slightest idea what happens here.  It doesn't matter.  They know what happens here because they watch The Daily Show or because they ready Media Matters or basically whatever sewer on Twitter they happen to visit. That's how they know what happens on this program.  They wouldn't dare tune in here like you do.

As we noted a week and a half ago, during Starbucks' CEO Howard Schultz's heavy-handed attempt to pour a toxic blend of racialism into his company's products, Nordlinger has noted in several posts and articles over the years since Mr. Obama came to power, the number of politics-free “safe zones” is continually shrinking in America. Classical music used to be one such zone, but as with Germany in the first half of the 20th century, apparently that's no longer the case.