Art and artists can be dangerous. Especially to those whose beliefs are hollow and whose strength is what they can get at gunpoint. History notes that artists are usually among the first to be rounded up when someone wants to take or maintain power. Why? Far too dangerous to let the storytellers keep plying their trade when you are running a propaganda machine.
Artists are also chastised and often derided for presenting stories that are unpopular, or don't appeal to a mass sensibility. Of course we are also guilty of being as politically correct as the next guy. Often to our own detriment.
The situation with the opera Idomeno in Germany is a fascinating one. Afraid, after the pope's recent remarks ignited a furor in the Muslim world, that the scene where it depicts the severed head of Muhammad, (along with those of Jesus, Buddha, and other figures) would potentially be a security risk, the opera company suspended the production. The new German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, warned that this was "self-censorship out of fear." And she's right.
Those who want to conquer the world for Islam have won a large victory thanks to the Pope's comments (no matter how wrong they were taken) and the shrewd manipulation of them. These Islamic propagandists are better than any we have on our side.
I've been putting off posting on this as I have mulled it over. But I recently read an intriguing post on Obligatory Anecdotes that spurred this on.
Look for a rash of reactions leading to more such acts, both self imposed and from without. Sad. Not sad that this will occur, because it has many times throughout history and the pendulum always swings both ways over time. But sad that we are so enmeshed in our own ill-conceived sense of this struggle that has been so ill-defined by our own leaders that we can't see the hollow truth for what it is on both sides. Neither value system has a leg to stand on which is why they are so afraid of opera and other art forms. But one day the stories will be told. They always are. In fact they have many times before. We just hate reading them and viewing them because they shed too much light on the inconvenient truths that hinder the manipulation of the moment.