as Cyrano de Bergerac (film, 1950)
Seek the patronage of some great man,
And like a creeping vine on a tall tree
Crawl upward, where I cannot stand alone?
No thank you! Dedicate, as others do,
Poems to pawnbrokers? Be a buffoon
In the vile hope of teasing out a smile
On some cold face? No thank you! Eat a toad
For breakfast every morning? Make my knees
Callous, and cultivate a supple spine, -- Wear out my belly
Groveling in the dust?...”
No thank you! No, thank you! And again
I thank you! No! – But ….
To sing, to laugh, to dream,
To walk in my own way and be alone.
Europe is not “groveling in the dust” before any “great men,” but rather retreating from its culture at the noisy and often violent behest and demands of….mere Muslims, and at the insistence of Islam. But the quotation from Cyrano’s “No Thank You!” speech from the Rostand’s play represents the moral antithesis of politically correct thinking, speech, and action. No pride, no white plumes have been evident in Europe for a long time, except for the exceptional individuals who are denigrated and crushed by the elite.
Can you imagine a modern European fighting for European culture with the same verve and skill as Cyrano de Bergerac? And winning?
Giulio Meotti’s article on Gatestone, “Europe: Making Itself into the New Afghanistan?” underscores and details how even Europe’s culture, in tandem with its politics, defers to Islamic anti-values in pursuit of Islam’s supremacy.
European museums, instead, are rapidly submitting to Islamic correctness. The exhibition "Passion for Freedom," at the Mall Gallery in London, censored the light box tableaux of a family of toy animals living in an enchanted valley. Entitled, "ISIS Threaten Sylvania", it was eliminated after the British police referred to its "inflammatory" content. Previously, the Tate Gallery in London banned a work by John Latham that displayed a Koran embedded in glass….
The Museum of Cultures of the World in Gothenburg, Sweden, opened with an exhibition entitled "AIDS in the Era of Globalization". In it, the artist Louzla Darabi exhibited a work, "Scène d'amour", that depicts a woman having sex with a man whose face cannot be seen. A verse from the Koran is written on it in Arabic. Less than three weeks after the inauguration of the exhibition, the museum removed the painting. The Hergé Museum in Louvain, Belgium, was planning an exhibition to pay tribute to Charlie Hebdo's cartoonists; that event, too, was cancelled.
French President François Hollande eliminated a section of the Louvre Museum dedicated to the Eastern Christians, who in the last two years have been decimated by the Islamic State. "The Louvre will be dedicating a new section to the artistic heritage of Eastern Christians", then President Nicholas Sarkozy announced in 2010. But the project was scrapped by the museum's new management, with the approval of Hollande's culture ministry.
Years ago, I asked a young French exchange student staying in the U.S. with an American family, if he’d ever read Cyrano de Bergerac. What? Had he ever heard of Edmund Rostand? Voltaire? Victor Hugo? Who? The fellow looked perplexed. No, never heard of them. Presumably the student was one of the best and the brightest of French students, which was why he was in an exchange program. Apparently he knows little of his country’s literary history, thanks to his state education, which has embarked on down-playing, if not eradicating, his country’s cultural heritage in schools, lest the latter offend or enrage Muslim students.
Walter Hampden, as Cyrano
in 1925 (Broadway stage)
That same phenomenon is occurring in Britain and the U.S. It indicates why France is declining and groveling. If you are afraid of standing up for the good, or are unaware that there is a good to defend and uphold, it will remain undiscovered, or it will simply disappear. All you’ll learn is how important it is for “peace” and “diversity” to defer to and “respect” all things Islam.
Aiding Islam in the groveling is the Left in the West, ever as always to accommodate Islam.
The officials of the fair presumably did not want to offend Islam and possible Muslim buyers with Pignatelli's combination of the mat (used by Muslims for prayer) with the woman's face. "We are shocked, this is the first time this has happened and I think it is legitimate to talk about it", Pignatelli said. "If in Rome it can happen that you decide to veil art works to avoid offending foreign visitors, well, I do not agree". The reference is at the Italian government decision to veil the antique Roman statues to avoid offending Iran's visiting President Hassan Rouhani.
If Europe wants a future, it should be less ideological about Maastricht's treaty and more against Maastricht's capitulation to fear. The brave Algerian writer Kamel Daoud said:
"Those (migrants) who come to seek freedom in France must participate in freedom. Migrants did not come to seek asylum in Saudi Arabia, but in Germany. Why? For security, freedom and prosperity. So they must not come to create a new Afghanistan".
Right. But it is the European mainstream that is letting them turn our cultural landscape into another Afghanistan. The Taliban have killed artists and destroyed art works. The West used to be proud of being the land of the free.
The main problem is that that "modern" art is dominated by the "mainstream" Left, which for decades has professed there are no objective measures of what is worth contemplating as art or even as literature (the Frankfurt School introduced this Marxist idea from Germany, and was imported to the U.S.). It is the Left which recognizes acceptable "art" and rewards it. It is the clueless, timorous wealthy who buy ("invest" in) modern art at spectacular prices. It has been government-subsidized museums that have made room for trash, which they mix with genuine art, so that the trash is elevated with the authentic (the Tate in London is the most notorious practitioner). It is largely the Left with political power which subsidizes modern art via private foundations established over a century ago but which were taken over the Left. The modern cultural landscape is worse than that of Afghanistan; it is a combination sewer, swamp, and mad house.
The best solution is to get the government out of all cultural endeavors, regardless of their venue or audience, just as it should get out of education.
From denigrating Western cultural achievements, the Left has progressed to charging the West with racism and bigotry for having promoted the superiority of Western art (adding the charge of cultural “imperialism”) over the art of primitive cultures and this policy is now rife in academia and is being inculcated in the minds of students.
Nike of Samothrace Sculpture
in the Louvre, Paris, France
There is a sign of hope that President Trump has given the National Endowment of the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities pink slips, but it will take more than a cancelation of funding to counter destruction wrought by the Left. It is the Left that wishes to destroy the West.
In academia, as a result of their exposure to subjectivist esthetics and “cultural diversity,” Stanford University students voted against a renewal of the Core Curriculum. Stanford Students Reject “Racist” Western Civilization Course. Dennis Prager on Townhall wrote:
This month, Stanford University students voted on a campus resolution that would have their college require a course on Western civilization, as it did until the 1980s. Stanford students rejected the proposal 1,992 to 347. A columnist at the Stanford Daily explained why: Teaching Western civilization means “upholding white supremacy, capitalism and colonialism, and all other oppressive systems that flow from Western civilizations.” The vote — and the column — encapsulated the left’s view: In Europe, Latin America and America, it loathes Western civilization).
This month, Stanford University students voted on a campus resolution that would have their college require a course on Western civilization, as it did until the 1980s.
Stanford students rejected the proposal 1,992 to 347. A columnist at the Stanford Daily explained why: Teaching Western civilization means “upholding white supremacy, capitalism and colonialism, and all other oppressive systems that flow from Western civilizations.”
Michelangelo’s David in the
Thus, Michelangelo is no better than any contemporary artist, and Rembrandt is no greater than any non-Western artist. So, too, street graffiti — which is essentially the defacing of public and private property, and thus serves to undermine civilization — is “art.”
Melody-free, harmony-free, atonal sounds are just as good as Beethoven’s music. And Western classical music is no better than the music of any non-Western civilization. Guatemalan poets are every bit as worthy of study as Shakespeare.
When the Nobel Prize-winning American novelist Saul Bellow asked an interviewer, “Who is the Tolstoy of the Zulus? The Proust of the Papuans?” all hell broke loose on the cultural left. Bellow had implied that the greatest writers of fiction were Western.
The left hates standards — moral standards, artistic standards, cultural standards. The West is built on all three, and it has excelled in all three.
Why does the left hate standards? It hates standards because when there are standards, there is judgment. And leftists don’t want to be judged.
The subjectivism and relativism of Marxist “esthetics” is basically nihilistic in nature. Which is why the Left can be in alliance with Islam. Islam stands for nothingness, and it wishes to impose it on the West. Every Western achievement in science, art, and politics is an affront to Islam. The West has been, ever since the end of the Dark Ages, pro-life and living on this earth; Islam has not changed in fourteen centuries and its theology and “practical” advice for living on earth is decidedly anti-life, and anti-value.
Islam will eat you and Europe
and America alive.
The editors of Britannica note that:
….nihilism encompassed a variety of philosophical and aesthetic stances that, in one sense or another, denied the existence of genuine moral truths or values, rejected the possibility of knowledge or communication, and asserted the ultimate meaninglessness or purposelessness of life or of the universe.
This is essentially the Islamic view, with the qualification that if anything has “purpose,” is it for or by Allah. Human values are superfluous. See “A Complete Way of Death” from May 2016, and that should clarify why Islam is nihilistic to the core. Europe is destined to become an arid “nothingness” in which all values are hidden, apologized for, or destroyed.