July 4, 2015

Ovid is already fucked. Mozart is next...

Here is an excerpt from an Op-Ed piece in the last April issue of Columbia University's daily newpaper Columbia Spectator:

During the week spent on Ovid’s “Metamorphoses,” the class was instructed to read the myths of Persephone and Daphne, both of which include vivid depictions of rape and sexual assault. As a survivor of sexual assault, the student described being triggered while reading such detailed accounts of rape throughout the work. However, the student said her professor focused on the beauty of the language and the splendor of the imagery when lecturing on the text. As a result, the student completely disengaged from the class discussion as a means of self-preservation.
     [The Multicultural Affairs Board] proposed that the [University] issue a letter to faculty about potential trigger warnings and suggestions for how to support triggered students. ...that there should be a mechanism for students to communicate their concerns to professors anonymously, as well as a mediation mechanism for students who have identity-based disagreements with professors. Finally, the [University] should create a training program for all professors, including faculty and graduate instructors, which will enable them to constructively facilitate conversations that embrace all identities, share best practices, and think critically about how the Core Curriculum is framed for their students.
This expression of Fascist Infantilism, typical of today's American universities, made me wonder how long it will take before Mozart's Don Giovanni is dropped from Music Appreciation courses.  Why would music professors want to jeopardize their jobs by "triggering" survivors of domestic violence with Zerlina's famous aria "Batti, batti":

Beat me, beat me, dear Masetto,
beat your poor Zerlina!
I’ll stand here like a little lamb,
to await your blows.
You can pull out my hair.
Pull out my eyes,
and I’ll still gladly kiss
your dear hands.

Come to think of it, the so-called trigger warnings will have to be slapped on just about every opera in the standard repertoire, which obviously makes this emotionally harmful art form unsuitable for today's college students.

I suspect that many of the same students, who run to the Dean's Office in tears as soon as they encounter the word 'nigger' in a Mark Twain novel or a slight of womanhood in a Renaissance painting, will enthusiastically shake their bodies later in the day to Rihanna's  glorification of kidnapping, torture, and sexual degradation in her new song Bitch better have my money.  Which, of course, is as it should be.  After all, Rihanna is hot (hey, the camera zooms in on her crotch every five seconds!), while Ovid, Caravaggio, and Mozart are boring, stuffy, and offensive relics of the oppressive, patriarchal, white male hegemony.


upkerry14 said...

Like this insanity:


upkerry14 said...

you were saying?.......

upkerry14 said...

sorry.... one more example.... they just keep appearing in front of me.....

laybl said...

My favorite racist moment occurred at a playground in the Bronx, twelve years ago. I(66, Jewish) was shooting baskets when five Chinese-Americans drove up to the court and asked if I would join in a three-by-three game...of course...so there I was on defense, before the game began, when a teammate shouted, "Let's beat these niggers!"
Does Columbia include "Titus Andronicus" in its curriculum?

Ranapipiens said...

Unless memory fails me (possible, as the last time I read it was more than 40 years ago), the Columbia Spectator is inexact on a couple of points (due maybe to an imprecise translation?).

It's hard to understand why they claim that Daphne's story "include[s] vivid depictions of rape and sexual assault". Ovid describes a frightening pursuit but when Phoebus reaches her, Daphne appeals to her river-god father for help and is saved by immediate transformation into a laurel tree (not an enviable outcome, perhaps, but it's not rape). And Persephone does not figure in the original Metamorphoses, but rather her Roman equivalent, Proserpina.

Nitpicking? Probably. Have I missed their point? Not at all. But an argument is more tenable when its basis is accurate.