I grew up in South Africa playing, watching and supporting South African cricket. As with all the major British Empire colonies (except Canada, because they have no summer to accommodate games lasting as long as five days), cricket is often the national sport even when there’s another sport to compete with it (rugby holds that place in New Zealand and to a slightly lesser degree in South Africa).
The first international Test match I watched was at the age of five, when Peter May’s England side played South Africa at my “home” stadium, the Wanderers, in Johannesburg, and thereafter I never missed a single Test played at that ground. Of course, there weren’t that many because [sigh] the awful apartheid system of my youth forbade teams from India, Pakistan and the West Indies from visiting South Africa because their players were black. (Stupid, huh? But there you are.) In 1972, England, Australia and New Zealand stopped sending their teams over to South Africa and banned the SA teams from visiting them, so South Africa went into a twenty-year pariah status and Test Cricket fizzled out altogether.
That all changed long after I’d left South Africa and settled in the U.S., when Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress took control, and thankfully ended all that racist nonsense in sport. FInally, South African crowds could see Test cricket again, and this time against all the teams, including India, Pakistan and my favorite, the West Indies.
So I became an avid cricket spectator again, and even though it was difficult to find TV that featured Test cricket, I began to cheer on South African national teams with the greatest relief. It helped that the South African cricket team, even after so long a layoff, was a powerhouse side and in the late 1990s and early 2000s dominated World cricket against all comers.
I don’t support them anymore.
One of the unwelcome features of apartheid South Africa was, of course, that there were no Black cricketers because they couldn’t play against White sides locally, and in any event football (soccer) was the preferred sport of Black South Africans.
Unfortunately, one of the policies espoused by the African National Congress was the system of “balance” in sport — that teams had to consist of x number of Whites and y number of Blacks, regardless of talent. As with all things, cricketing talent ebbs and flows between the various races — whether in England or South Africa, with their internal “multinational” populations — and sometimes there are only a couple of really good players, or even none that can compete at international level. This is as true for football, where there are hardly any White footballers because football isn’t played much in high schools (rugby and cricket take precedence), as it is for cricket, where there are just not that many Black players to draw from. (Rugby, interestingly, does not have that problem: the current national side has just beaten the British Isles’ “Lions” team — a combination of players taken from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland — in a Test series where the captain of the “Springboks” is a massive Black guy.)
As a result, while South Africa can always send a Test cricket side to play in, say, Sri Lanka or England, it may not be the best side because there is a racial quota to fill and regardless of talent, skin color must be taken into consideration first — a lopsided inversion of the old “only Whites can be selected” policy from days gone by.
So when I watch South Africa play, I’m always conscious that I’m probably not watching the best South African side possible — and in recent years, South African has fallen from the top ranking in international cricket and dropped to fourth and even fifth on occasion. I hate that, and so, after a long lifetime of support for South Africa, I’ve stopped doing that and now support mostly England, or whatever team is playing against Australia.
I told you all that so I could tell you this. The redoubtable Heather Mac Donald, writing in City Journal, has laid open the effect that Critical Race Theory has made on classical music.
The lead reviewer for the New York Times, Anthony Tommasini, urged that orchestra auditions no longer take place behind a screen, in order to address the “appalling racial imbalance” in orchestral ranks. Currently, musicians’ identities are concealed by a screen through most, if not all, stages of an orchestral audition to prevent favoritism or bias (a process known as a “blind audition”). But colorblindness is now regarded as discriminatory, since it favors merit over race.
If that sounds familiar to anyone who read about the South African cricket situation above, it should be. Try this, too:
BBC Magazine columnist Tom Service also purported to deconstruct the alleged greatness of the canonical repertoire: “The link between patriarchal power in the West and the fact that the classical canon is made of lookalike faces of Great Men is more than coincidental.” Slate complained that referring to well-known composers only by their last names exacerbates classical music’s exclusionary practices. The Louisville Orchestra, for example, had advertised the performance of a Beethoven symphony and the debut of a composition memorializing Breonna Taylor by “Davóne Tines” and “Igee Dieudonné.” To assume that Davóne Tines and Igee Dieudonné need to be “full-named,” whereas Beethoven does not, replicates classical music’s “centuries of systematic prejudice, exclusion, sexism, and racism,” according to Slate.
Once again the present is being press-ganged into atonement for the past, even where the “systematic prejudice, exclusion, sexism, and racism” is patent nonsense. One might as well complain that African tribal music is racist because it doesn’t have any White players in the genre.
Classical music radio announcers and executives instructed their audience to hear inequity in the cascade of human feeling coming from their speakers. Garrett McQueen, then an announcer for American Public Media, told a Composers Forum roundtable in June 2020: “You are complicit in racism every time you listen to Handel’s Messiah.” (Handel held stock in a slave-trading company.)
There’s more, a whole lot more, and I urge you to read the whole article, as one should for all of Mac Donald’s writing.
Fortunately I don’t have to listen to a subpar, racially “balanced” orchestra which has not drawn from the very best musicians (of all races), just as I don’t have to support a South African cricket team which loses because they’re not fielding the best team possible.
For my classical music, I can listen to older performances created by orchestras which were not beholden to Critical Race Theory and racial quota policies.
I am really glad that I have a huge classical CD collection which, in terms of time, goes back to performances recorded in the 1950s, 60s, 70s and even 80s. I’m even more glad that I tend to favor solo classical piano pieces, where racial tokenism cannot take place almost by definition — and anyway, I have recordings of all my favorite classical pieces already, many of them just different interpretations thereof played by Rubinstein, Argerich, Andsnes, Lisitsa and Barenboim, to name but a few. And I have orchestral renditions of the works of Grieg, Beethoven, Bach, Brahms, Mozart, Wagner and all the other Old Dead White Oppressive Patriarchal composers which stretch all the way from the Berlin Philharmonic through the New York Symphony and Vienna Philharmonic to the CSO.
Put bluntly, I have a lifetime’s worth of classical music that I love, and have absolutely no need to listen to any “new” performances, ever. The inferior, woke orchestras of today can go and suck eggs because I see no need to buy their music.
They can ask the NFL, NBA or CNN what it feels like to play to much smaller audiences. Or the Democrat Party.
Time to re-read Fahrenheit 451…
That’s a keeper for me and spreader for my (still tiny) network.
I had two kids go through orchestra in high school. My youngest now has a masters in music and is in the business. That you are chosen blind, on merit, was key. You either had it or you didn’t. The kids knew where the bar was.
I’ve spent a lot of time listening to orchestras, both high school and the pros. Trust me, there’s enough cattiness to go around but that’s ok as long as the music is the goal, at the end of the day.
Greasing the skids, yet again, for some nob “POC” musician is like handing the retard the ball to run into the end zone while everyone claps. Sure it feels good. But in the long run the game suffers.
I won’t even get into the bleck students at my kids music school protesting that western music notation is rayciss because they opened the door of the school, gave a scholarship to some hod rat that plays buckets for drums but he can barely read words let alone music. He can’t do the work but that’s somehow my fault.
What’s worse than a woke orchestra are the modern composers. Gawdawful noise. I got to the point that if the conductor (or the composer) came out to tell you what the piece was about, the piece would be miserable and the last thing you’d think of hearing it was what they said it was about.
The stupidity grows heavier and more burdensome by the hour.
So musical notation is racist? Can they explain why (or more pointedly, HOW) Samuel Coleridge Taylor learned to read music and write it (compose) and went to study classical forms in Europe about the same time as Scott Joplin and many other American blacks were unable to go there due to poverty. No one can say that Joplin and his contemporaries did not write excellent music, however different from the classical forms they may have been.
A small correction. The Irish rugby team is drawn from both Northern Ireland and the Republic (Eire) which means the Lions are players from the UK and Northern Ireland.
you’re absolutely right about meritocracy and that’s how it should be.
Oh and be sure to collect CDs and movies that you like before the woke scolds can ban them altogether.
The thing that gets me is that for decades MLK’s words of judge the content of their character rather than the color of their skin has been hammered into society. Yet they make color all important. Color and race is the perspective you see the world from and therefore should be taken into account with every interaction. They demand that the color of the proprietor’s skin be taken into account when you buy stuff. This goes on and on and it’s all a steaming pile of bullshit wrapped in hypocrisy.
If other cultures put forth a better system, then we’d be using their system for music notation, science, literature, technology etc. Tell me about the American Indian wheel or the great libraries of African tribes.
Speaking of libraries of African tribes, I’d like to know what the books were that were in the great library of Timbuktu, as recounted in “The Badass Librarians of Timbuktu” by Joshua Hammer, the true story of librarian Abdel Kader Haidara’s secret mission to smuggle 377,000 centuries-old manuscripts out of Timbuktu during the 2012 jihadi occupation of northern Mali.
And it is happening for art as well.
#1 – local art center hires a diversity consulting firm to “educate” them
#2) – diversity firm looks at a proposed exhibit, clutches their pearls, shrieks and points
#3) – nice retrospective exhibit of 72 year old established photographer is “postponed” for a year.
I hope they kick those consultants to the curb and fire the idiot who thought that it would be good to let the social-justice warriors inside their tent.
Every time I read about “diversity experts” their actions sound like scam artists.
Thirty-five years ago, I wanted to do cold readings, but my desire to not defraud people was too strong. Nowadays, I’m thinking that “Diversity Expert”, or “World’s Foremost Authority on Diversity”* would be a secure means of bringing in money, but this time, along with not wishing to defraud people, I am way too pale to do a Rachel Dolezal. Besides, I doubt my hair would endure the permanent wave process.
My thought exactly. I bet that if the museum were to offer a “grant” or to help fund some “program”, all of this would dry up and blow away. It is nothing more than a shakedown. They have studied at the feet of Reverend Al Sharpton and studied well.
Don’t give up hope completely, Kim, There are lots of excellent performances of classical music being produced in Japan and China in the last 20 years, and if the cultural seppuku of the west continues, that may be the only part of the world to perform excellent music in that category.
And I agree, CD and DvD’s are the best way to see and hear well-performed art, bypassing the woke scold Philistines. Certainly Netflix and Sirius Radio can’t be relied upon to keep high quality art available, they just go by popularity.
Idiocracy and “Ow! My Balls!” cannot be long in coming.
Just happen to be reading this morning about Apple scanning all the iPhones for child porn. How long before they do the same for black list music, books, radio stations, notes ??? What the hell else ??? Welcome to the digital age !!!
But I would get a laugh at the NY Philharmonic high-lighting “Wet Ass Pussy” …. Lol
Is there anything that actually gets better when you un-racist it?
> They can ask the NFL, NBA or CNN what it feels like to play to much smaller audiences.
They’ll just say, a la Spinal Tap, that their appeal is becoming more selective.
Every one of these idiots should only be permitted to visit doctors picked because their skin tone was “underrepresented”.
The good parts of Canada, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta do indeed have short summers, but they’re much like those North Dakota and Montana, two glorious states which quite rightly eschew the game of Cricket in favour of the more manly sport of Hockey.
Do cricket players have most of their teeth? Of course they do. What kind of activity is that?
As for the warm parts of Canada, they’re like Washington State, New England and California, effeminate lefties all.
Some are effeminate lefties, not all.
Get out of the big cities and try saying that in a small-town tavern 😁
Beethoven, Grieg, and others are single-named because they’ve been celebrated for a very long time. Even Bach can’t always get away with being single-named, because he’s not the only well-known classical composer by that name. Maybe Tines will be single-named in 200 years, but I tend to doubt it.
The only two male soccer players I can name are David Beckham and Pele. Does that mean that whites are being put down in that sport by having to be full-named?
Also, I’ll note that the US Navy stopped including photographs for promotion boards a few years back, but now they’re talking about using them again. Apparently, merit is insufficiently diverse.
Give me anything by the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, conducted by Sir Neville Mariner.
You got that right.
Another performing group is Voices of Music. Their channel here:
Based out of San Francisco but they keep their site politics-free and just concentrate on the music. One sample:
Major kudos to whomever is doing the recording. Stunning acoustics regardless of their venue. Really well done.
Here is an interesting video interview by BBC’s Classic FM radio presenter entitled “What Does a Conductor Actually Do?” with Brit conductor Sir Simon Rattle. (15 minutes)
A bit pretentious, but I was intrigued with his point that when he was a student, his teacher had ten different students conduct the same musical piece with the same orchestra; “Every rendition sounded completely different”.
Great music needs a great conductor.
If it’s quality music not tainted by the communists you’re looking for, try the young lads and lassies of The Choral Scholars of University College Dublin. They consistently put out wonderful music accompanied by a fantastic orchestra and they’re led by an excellent conductor.
There version of “A Parting Glass ” is among the best I’ve ever heard.
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