Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Hideously white, part 94,000

If members of the public were asked to identify one thing that embodied British culture, many would pick the Proms. Weeks of classical music; the Royal Albert Hall; Union Flags and Land of Hope and Glory on the last night - what could be a better modern symbol of the nation? And it's certainly popular: hundreds of thousands of people attend the the thing itself, and millions of people across the World tune in to watch.

This, however, is not enough for Margaret Hodge, who holds the post of culture minister in one of the most uncultured governments we have ever seen. Delivering a speech on "Britishness" to the left-wing Institute for Public Policy Research, Hodge complained that the Proms were insufficiently inclusive:
The audiences for some of many of our greatest cultural events - I'm thinking particularly of the Proms - is still a long way from demonstrating that people from different backgrounds feel at ease in being part of this.

I know this is not about making every audience completely representative, but if we claim great things for our sectors in terms of their power to bring people together, then we have a right to expect they will do that wherever they can.
By contrast, the BBC reports that
...Mrs [sic] Hodge praised other institutions for "creating the icons of a common culture that everybody can feel a part of" - such as the Angel of the North, the British Museum and the Eden project as well as TV and radio shows "from Coronation Street to the Archers" and shared public holidays.
Quite how one can "feel a part of" the Angel of the North is unclear, unless one is speaking literally. But, generally, Hodge's preference for Corrie over Elgar speaks volumes about Labour's philistine outlook on the world. It evinces an instinctive preference for popular culture over high culture, purely because it is popular. The actual artistic or aesthetic merit of a thing is irrelevant to Hodge: all that matters is how many people tune in.

How many people tune in, and how many of the right sort of people tune in. Because, aside from the philistinism that Hodge's comments betray, there is also an evident racial subtext: when she talks about "inclusiveness", she is quite clearly complaining that the Proms are just too hideously white. This is not the first time that a Labour culture minister has attacked the arts for this heinous crime: in 2005, David Lammy accused arts organisations "of being 'too exclusive' and not doing enough to promote black people in senior roles".
The fact is, that events like the Proms tend to attract white people, in much the same way that rap concerts tend to attract a disproportionate number of blacks (albeit balanced out by middle-class white teenagers attempting to be edgy). Classical music is white music: it is our cultural heritage, not that of non-whites. This is not to say that non-whites can't enjoy classical music, and no doubt some do, but it does explain why the audience at events like the Proms is overwhelmingly white. Non-whites aren't being excluded: they're just not interested.

The other main reason for Hodge's attack is that the Proms, and particularly its famous last night, are proudly, openly, and traditionally British. Its white attendees wave the Union Flag and listen to Land of Hope and Glory, with nary an emblem of multiculturalism in sight. Watching the last night, one could almost imagine that the war that the left has waged against this country's heritage for many decades had never happened. For the left, which delights in the damage it has done to this country in the name of multiculturalism, this is just unacceptable.

14 comments:

Homophobic Horse said...

"Classical music is white music"

That made me wince. No, it isn't. As a musician myself I can tell you it is utterly erroneous to believe that classical music - a form of music much more diverse then popular music - is the music of white people in a physical sense.

It's difficult to explain, but saying classical music is "white" is loosely like saying there is a "white" science. Which isn't true.

Crapipedia on Beethoven: "[Beethoven created] large, extended architectonic structures characterized by the extensive development of musical material, themes, and motifs, usually by means of "modulations," or key changes. Although Haydn's later works often showed a greater fluidity between distant keys, Beethoven's innovation was the ability to rapidly establish a solidity in juxtaposing different keys and unexpected notes to join them. This expanded harmonic realm creates a sense of a vast musical and experiential space through which the music moves, and the development of musical material creates a sense of unfolding drama in this space.

In this way Beethoven's music parallels the simultaneous development of the novel in literature, a literary form focused on the life drama and development of one or more individuals through complex life circumstances, and of contemporaneous German idealism's philosophical notion of self, mind, or spirit that unfolds through a complex process of contradictions and tensions between the subjective and objective until a resolution or synthesis occurs in which all of these contradictions and developmental phases have been resolved or encompassed in a higher unity."

Beethoven, like most composers, wrote according to philosophical and aesthetic schemas that cannot be adequately understood as "white" ideas.

These latest comments from Margeret Hodge are the latest in a long line of meglomaniacal governments who seek to co-opt music for ideological ends. In the case of Margeret Hodge, for the universal hegelian state which is all things to all people. Liberal fascists indeed.

Umbongo said...

hh

I'm not a musician and I was initially uncomfortable with the idea that "classical music is white music". However, since the vast majority of classical music's creators and practioners are/were (incontrovertibly) white the notion that classical music is uniquely a product of the civilisation nurtured in Europe by whites is wholly reasonable.

Our host is, I think, correct in identifying this attack from the Minister of "Culture" as one on both indigenous British (actually, English) identity specifically and white (ie European) high culture generally. Mrs Hodge who went out of her way to protect child abusers when she was chairman of Islington Council continues her hallmark career characteristic of defending the indefensible by extending her patronage to race hustlers and barrel scraping populist crap-meisters who infest our culture (not that the two are mutually exclusive).

Fulham Reactionary said...

HH:

My point is simply that classical music is part of white/European cultural heritage, in the same sense that, say, jazz is part of black American cultural heritage. Of course, I recognise that there is a lot more to all types of music than merely race, but it is clear that certain types of music are associated in the popular consciousness with certain ethnic groups (e.g. classical, most rock, folk: white; rap, blues, jazz: black; bhangra: Indian).

Alex said...

I agree that classical music is inherently "aracial" - meaning racial criteria simply don't apply in defining its qualities etc.

However, what we think of as the works of the classical composers, let's say from Bach to Brahms, were the products of a white civilization. Beethoven's expressionist music can be understood as part of the Romantic movement which was an artistic and philosophical trend that was almost exclusively European (if we count Russia as being in Europe) and therefore white.

Margaret Hodge is ridiculous and ignorant - which is why her proposal about the Proms has been taken seriously by the media.

muzzylogic said...

Hodge isn't British herself. She has no loyalty to this country or its native races, but I'll say this for her: she can't be accused of treachery like Bliar, Brown and Cameron.

That made me wince. No, it isn't. As a musician myself I can tell you it is utterly erroneous to believe that classical music - a form of music much more diverse then popular music - is the music of white people in a physical sense.

Did FH mean it in "a physical sense"? It's music, after all. His meaning was clear enough. Without whites, no classical music. No science, democracy or free speech either.

MrSmith said...

FR, I wouldn't worry overly about HH's comment on classical music not being white music. I recall not too long ago in the comments section of a Gates of Vienna post HH was objecting to being classified as 'white'.

HH, let's see if this makes sense to you. Put simply, classical music was developed by whites. Thus classical music is white music, same for our architecture, science, etc.

You write - "Beethoven, like most composers, wrote according to philosophical and aesthetic schemas that cannot be adequately understood as "white" ideas." But really, who else has come up with such ideas?

wildgoose said...

hh isn't alone in objecting to being classified as "white", it should have no more relevance than being described as blue-eyed, brown-haired, tall, or any other description - all of which fit me but none of which actually describe anything essential.

I am English, libertarian, humanist.

Those 3 words say far more than "white", "blue-eyed" or "brown-haired" ever will.

Anybody who thinks that gradations amongst the melanin content of skin is some "deep truth" is just sinking to the level of the hustlers of the Race Relations Industry.

MrSmith said...

How very progressive and goodthinkful of you.

muzzylogic said...

I am English, libertarian, humanist.

Congratulations. How long have you known?

Those 3 words say far more than "white", "blue-eyed" or "brown-haired" ever will.

After all, one can't preen oneself on one's race, can one?

Anybody who thinks that gradations amongst the melanin content of skin is some "deep truth" is just sinking to the level of the hustlers of the Race Relations Industry.

Anyone who thinks race is simply a matter of "gradations amongst the melanin content of skin" is just the sort of smug, scientifically illiterate person who would take libertarianism seriously.

Homophobic Horse said...

As I learnt from Lawrence Auster, one must read closely and literally, one must read Socratically.

White is purely physical, taken on its face it means Europeans are the same where ever they go, this obviously isn't true. One can better say classical music is European music as this conveys both time and place and includes, for instance, German philosophy. Whiteness, as a physical characteristic, doesn't work, because it conceivably includes Japanese people for whom German ideas on consciousness have had no contact or impact.

To make clear: If I were to have written that article, I would have replaced White with European.

wildgoose said...

"After all, one can't preen oneself on one's race, can one?"

Why should I? After all, it's my Western Culture that I am excessively proud of, and especially the English contribution to that culture.

More to the point, defining myself by my "race" (that would be "human" by the way) would just be sinking to the level of the hustlers in the Race Relations Industry whom I absolutely despise.

muzzylogicf said...

Wildgoose, let's examine what separates you from race hustles.

1) Race hustlers preach that race is a scientifically meaningless concept. You agree with them.

2) Race hustlers think culture is the only important thing. You agree with them.

3) Race hustlers want whites to have no racial identity. You agree with them.

So you despise race hustlers while accepting the fundamental tenets of race hustling. You're a good example of how libertarianism facilitates the destruction of what it claims to hold dear. Race is more important than culture, because culture grows out of race. Western culture depends on western people, i.e. on whites. No whites, no western culture. Compare Rhodesia with Zimbabwe, or certain areas of London or Bradford before and after enrichment.

HH -- "white" means European. You might as well worry that by saying "white" you're including polar bears and doves.

wildgoose said...

Yes, indeed. Let's examine what separates me from the race hustlers.

"1) Race hustlers preach that race is a scientifically meaningless concept. You agree with them."

I never said that - you did. And in any event, the race hustlers do just the opposite of what you are claiming, by forever justifying their prejudices on the grounds of "race". Just like you in fact.

"2) Race hustlers think culture is the only important thing. You agree with them."

I think Culture is the important thing, and Race Hustlers believe Race is the important thing. Can you tell the difference? (The clue is in the word "Race").

"3) Race hustlers want whites to have no racial identity. You agree with them."

Oh no they don't. They explicitly demonise us as "whites". My argument is that skin colour is irrelevant and that those who promote its significance are the real racists.

So that would be putting you on the same side as the Race Hustlers.

muzzylogic said...

Yes, indeed. Let's examine what separates me from the race hustlers.

"1) Race hustlers preach that race is a scientifically meaningless concept. You agree with them."

I never said that - you did.


You referred to "gradations amongst the melanin content of skin". Below you say "My argument is that skin colour is irrelevant..." Is it reasonable to conclude that, like the race hustlers, you do not think race is a scientifically meaningful concept involving far more than skin colour?

And in any event, the race hustlers do just the opposite of what you are claiming, by forever justifying their prejudices on the grounds of "race". Just like you in fact.

As your knowledge of English increases, you'll realize that the same word can be given different meanings by different people. To me, race is a biological category with great social significance; to you and the race-hustlers, race is a social category with no biological significance (apart from skin colour). Race-hustlers are prejudiced against (they'd call it "critical of") whites for social rather than biological reasons. Or so they say. If the concept of behaviour contradicting ideology confuses you, investigate the terms "hypocrisy" and "hidden agenda".

"2) Race hustlers think culture is the only important thing. You agree with them."

I think Culture is the important thing, and Race Hustlers believe Race is the important thing. Can you tell the difference? (The clue is in the word "Race").


See above about words having different meanings. You disagree with race hustlers about whether race-as-social-category remains important: you agree with them that race is not a biological category. You, like the race-hustlers, think that we can do away with racial problems by altering culture. You want our culture to ignore race-as-social-category; they want our culture to see it as an essential guide to reversing white-created injustice. Or so they say. See above about hypocrisy etc.

"3) Race hustlers want whites to have no racial identity. You agree with them."

Oh no they don't. They explicitly demonise us as "whites". My argument is that skin colour is irrelevant and that those who promote its significance are the real racists.


Again, you've tripped on the concept of the same word having different meanings to different people. To me, "white" (as a shorthand for "white (northern) European") is a biological category; to you and the race-hustlers it is a social category. "Racial identity" is something else you've failed to understand. I want whites to have a positive identity and to defend their own interests; race-hustlers want whites to have no positive identity and to surrender their interests.

So that would be putting you on the same side as the Race Hustlers.

No, I'm on the opposite side, as I hope I've explained above. By regarding race as irrelevant and denying that whites have racial interests, you assist the race-hustlers in their anti-white scams. I'm pro-white. If you claim that by being that, I'm providing ammunition to the race-hustlers, well, the alternatives are to resist them or to collaborate with them, whether passively, as you do, or actively, as lefty whites do. And that's beside the question of whether my beliefs are scientifically valid.