After the devastating pandemic of 1918, many museums, theatres and live entertainment venues are now reopening with an abundance of performances and exhibitions.
The March of Woke is threatening to ruin the recovery of cultural treasures.
Musicians are changing great works to avoid offending minorities. There are notices at art shows warning people of potential offensive content. Literature classics are being “edited”, censored, or modified.
CHRISTOPHER HART, who is in despair, reports here on the worst examples of Cultural Vandalism during the Great Age of Cultural Vandalism
CANCELLING’ is one of our greatest artists
Hogarth and Europe: Tate Britain (until 20 March)
William Hogarth, one of Britain’s greatest satirists, mocked and denigrated the Georgian vices and foibles. His work has been called Britain’s greatest visual artist.
Grayson Perry and Paula Rego, three of the most highly acclaimed contemporary artists today, paid tribute to Hockney’s work.
Tate Britain’s new exhibit, however, shows Hogarth’s best work along with those of his continental contemporaries. It is accused of cancelling him by placing notices informing the viewer of Hogarth’s paintings.
William Hogarth is an English painter/engraver who created this self portrait. This work depicts him sitting on a wooden stool.
The label, along with a self-portrait of Hogarth on a wooden chair and a caption stating that it should be viewed in context of slavery, is one of several.
“The chair is made out of timbers that were shipped from the colonies through routes that also enslave people. Is the chair also a symbol for the many unnamed people of color who support his creativity and are able to make the society possible?
Another label claims that a Chinese-American academic says that a painting is a ‘picture o White degeneracy.’ Art critics quickly dismissed this absurdity. One art critic described the nonsense as “wokeish” and said that it was a remark on how the culture wars of today had dragged 18th-century artists into the present day’s cultural affairs.
Another said that Hogarth’s art was treated by the curators as “bombs ready to explode” because of their extreme anxiety about social attitudes at this time.
The artist was patriotically fervent, passionate about foreign wars, and completely untroubled at the existence of gender traditional roles.
He may have sang Rule Britannia during the bath and thought that French people were too weak to enjoy the Roast Beef of Old England. See his hilarious illustration of this name.
In waking terms, he was utterly toxic. That is why Tate Britain’s commissioners appear to have been ravaged by “paroxysms” of embarrassment over the art they choose to exhibit.
OBJECTIVE SCIENCE DOES NOT INCLUDE OTHER SCIENCE.
Permanent collection: Science Museum
You would think that the objective, rational and cool world of science is free from this juvenile hysteria.
Alas, no. There is no way out if you visit the Science Museum. The museum recently gave in to the pressure of the transgender lobby and agreed to completely rejig the gallery on human biology to “update the non inclusive narrative”.
Although the gallery was using a lot of sexist words like ‘Boy’ or ‘Girl, it will no longer use these terms.
The Science Museum also consults with the Museum of Transology in Brighton, which works to ‘halt the erasure of transcestry’ and to ‘reclaim the power to write QTIBIPOC (Queer, Trans and Intersex, Black, Indigenous, People of Colour) history’ via its own challenging collection of precious artefacts, which include a Hello Kitty plush toy and a pair of M&S boxer shorts in a plastic bag.
SHAMING OF SLAVE TRADERS AT THE BANK
Exhibition on slavery: Bank of England Museum, spring 2022
The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street, however, isn’t secure. Recently, the Bank of England announced it would proudly reopen its museum. It had been closed due to Covid. The positive, uplifting exhibit will focus on…how many of its ex-directors and governors were involved in slavery trade.
These shameful criminals’ portraits have been taken out of public view. However, the exhibit will feature their crimes and will include their names. Since they are dead or buried since two to three centuries ago, there will not be any chance for them to defend themselves.
Perhaps visitors should be encouraged to throw rotten tomatoes at them?
Recent announcements by the Bank of England revealed that they will proudly reopen their museum after it was closed for Covid.
It is possible to imagine that the Central Bank of the United Kingdom could be more engaged in addressing the inflation rate, which has risen to 5%, than engaging in fake shocks and disapprovals that some people in the past did not have strictly 21st century values.
Andrew Bailey (the Bank of England Governor) denies the Bank of England has gone “woke”, whatever this word means.
Really? A website that names George Floyd as a victim of American police violence? Why? Did anyone at the Bank of England get involved?
Court Review Of Ethnic Diversity And Inclusion, an institution, has just released a report that claims the bank needs to “identify, surface and address Micro-Aggressions along with understanding the power behind micro-affirmations”.
But what about the economy?
WAGING WAR IN HERO CHURCHILL
Permanent collection: Imperial War Museum
With several locations in London, Manchester, and RAF Duxford in Cambridgeshire, the Imperial War Museum is, in its own words, “the most important museum about war and conflict in the world”.
The Second World War Galleries, Holocaust Galleries and Churchill War Rooms are highly regarded.
Churchill, like many others, isn’t immune to a swarm of angry activists. Pampered millennials spray painted his statue in Parliament Square using their favorite term for abuse, Racist. The Imperial War Museum, surely, isn’t this kind of fatuous “activism”?
Winston Churchill as Winston Churchill on a 1949 vacation.
The IWM Southwark hosted an appearance by a local hip-hop band to celebrate Remembrance Day. One member of the audience was horrified to learn that the show featured a “vile attack” on Winston Churchill, as well as a rant over race. Many people walked away in dismay.
This performance was funded by the Arts Council which is in turn funded by taxpayers. So we help finance the denigration and denigration one of our greatest heroes.
Addressing the museum directly, one furious visitor wrote on Twitter: ‘Your job is to preserve, not destroy & shame our historical past.’
SEEKING A CRUCK AT THE NUTCRACKER
The Nutcracker: The Royal Ballet (finished January 8th)
Tchaikovsky’s classic 1892 work is a delightful fairy tale of a ballet, and a perennial favourite at Christmas time — as it was at Covent Garden.
Ballet is not safe. Scrooge is a modern-day Scrooge. The Nutcracker, according to a left-wing critic for all things entertaining is riddled by ‘unbelievably offensive racist and ethnic stereotypes’.
And so the ballet is increasingly twisted and tortured by various modern ballet companies to fit their joyless agenda — including, alas, the Royal Ballet.
Shevele Dynott and Desiree Balantyne performing the Arabian Dance during a dress rehearsal at the London Coliseum for ‘The Nutcracker.
The Arabian Dance is a beautiful example of this. It typically has a male and three female performers.
Because of the original arrangements’ harem-like overtones, Royal Ballet changed the scene so that it only featured one male and one girl. The original arrangements had ‘harem’ overtones, so there were less roles for the female ballet dancers. This is a great loss for Sisterhood.
Perhaps we ought to be thankful. A recent production made the Arabian Dance into pole dancing, because it was deemed less offensive.
Scottish Ballet made changes to the Nutcracker too.
The ballet’s godfather, Drosselmeyer (the heroine Clara), was also made into a female character.
APOLOGIES FOR THE WHITE STATUES
Collection permanente: Cambridge University Museum
You might have thought that this most rarefied and scholarly of museums was safe from the Curse of Woke — but think again.
Museum of Classical Archaeology has a collection of fine portrait busts, many in white marble and plaster, from Ancient Greece and Rome. They now have a public apology for their ‘appallingly’ whiteness.
According to the museum, this could give the impression that there is a lack of diversity in ancient history.
Statues at the Cambridge University Museum. Its collection features busts in white marble or plaster from ancient Greece and Rome
However, at least one professor who is still living in the real world pointed out that the 600 plaster casts of Roman or Greek statues found in the museum are mostly depictions of Romans or Greeks. This limits the possibilities to showcase their variety.
This Whiteness Alert, part of a larger action plan by the Cambridge Classics department to ‘publicly acknowledge the problems of racism in Classics and the necessity for active anti-racist works within our discipline’.
According to the report, “engagement with the problematic past, present and future of Classics has not been sufficient, in particular its relation to imperialism and colourism, and entrenched racism”.
‘Colourism’ here denotes the anxiety that the museum’s plaster casts are too white — although a more balanced observer, or perhaps someone from the Cambridge chemistry department, might explain that this is hardly surprising, as they’re made of plaster of Paris – which is white.
Unnamed Classics staffer called the new plan unhinged and as terrifying as it was comical.
FRETTING ABOUT OUR COLONIAL PASSAGE
The Past Is Now: Former exhibition at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery
In the Midlands, even bikes are not safe.
Perhaps you’d like to go to Birmingham’s Museum and Art Gallery to admire the Staffordshire Hoard Of Anglo-Saxon Ore, as well as its incredible collection of 19th-century Pre-Raphaelite paintings.
But be warned — the activists have wormed in here too. The Past Is Now was a recent exhibition that was ‘hard hitting’ and ‘used art and objects from the collection to question Birmingham’s involvement in British imperialism and test the venue’s colonial past.
The classic 1984 novel by George Orwell (pictured) will be rewritten. Sandra Newman, a new author, will present the story as Julia’s point-of-view. Julia is the love interest of Winston, Orwell’s original protagonist.
Even a bike was featured in the exhibition, an old, sit-up, and-beg Made In Birmingham bicycle. The viewer was asked to think about the ‘everyday human and environmental impacts of our possessions and the links they have to the British Imperial Project’.
PS PS Finally, in irony beyond parody, George Orwell’s iconic novel 1984 warns against totalitarianism creeping and that history is being rewritten.
Sandra Newman will recount the story through the eyes of Julia, Winston’s lover.
Maybe woke millennials won’t bother with the original and will instead read this feminist version. Let’s not forget that 1984 was written by an educated white man.
Maybe they won’t ever think about Orwell’s frightening vision of a society where: “Every record has been destroyed, falsified and every book has been revised, every painting has been redone, every street-building has had its name changed, every date has been modified, every page has been moved. This is happening day by day, minute to minute.
Bizarrely, it seems as if the over-mighty controllers of our culture have taken Orwell’s words not as a dire warning, but as a laudable aim — and they are determined to implement it.