Too white? Too male? Too straight? Too bad

By WND Guest Columnist

By Bill McCusker

When school boards, teachers and librarians cancel “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Huckleberry Finn,” yet soil themselves over removing a book from grade school libraries just because it shows young boys fellating each other – it might be time for some rational reflection.

In recent years, I have had the opportunity to read Homer’s “The Iliad” and “The Odyssey,” Euripides’ plays, Turgenev’s “Fathers and Sons,” Hugo’s “Les Misérables,” Greene’s “The Power and the Glory” and other literary gems. I have listened to the remarkable Renaissance compositions of Palestrina and most of Mozart’s symphonies and concertos. I dusted off a few volumes of my old Time-Life art series and was again astounded by the paintings, sculptures and architectural wonders of Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo and other Italian Masters. I marveled once more at the works of Monet, Renoir, Manet, Sisley, Pizarro, Gauguin and other French impressionists.

How does one describe this small sample of artistic achievement? Genius? Extraordinary insight into the human condition? Remarkable beauty? Divine inspiration?

Sadly, these masterpieces are increasingly condemned for being the hateful, sexist, racist, homophobic, colonialist, Eurocentric, transphobic, etc. products of dead white men – deserving not praise but scorn, not study but cancellation.

In a recent video, a public-school teacher belched self-praise for striking Homer from the literature syllabus. At the University of Pennsylvania, an image of Shakespeare in the English department was replaced with that of a black lesbian poet. Not to be out done, high schools and colleges nationwide have tossed Shakespeare aside. Dickens, Joyce, Balzac, Flaubert, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Cervantes, Dante and Goethe don’t stand a chance.

Hollywood has declared that any movie to be considered for the Best Picture Academy Award must now include the requisite numbers of underrepresented people in its production. Actor Richard Dreyfuss said that such a paint-by-numbers scheme imposed on art makes him “want to vomit.” Artists, he said, should not be forced to pander to any group. Refreshing, perhaps, but on how small of an island does Dreyfuss stand?

Looking ahead, will producers, publishers and curators next say “no thanks” to works of art falling short of de rigueur diversity quotas? They already are; see Disney. Looking back, will existing books, scripts and images be altered to comply with preferred racial, gender and gender identity standards? That, too, proceeds apace.

(Hmm … speaking of remaking the past, one wonder what the Philadelphia Flyers did with the Kate Smith statue. An icon one moment, gone the next. Her crime? Singing “God Bless America,” way back when the Flyers were Stanley Cup contenders, about the time Ben Franklin was flying his kite. And she wasn’t even a white guy).

What’s next? Remaking “The Godfather” so that Michael and Fredo are gay? Making the “Mona Lisa” Asian? Retouching a few apostles in da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” so that drag queens have a seat at the table? Giving a little top surgery to a bather or two of Rubens? Using a chisel to turn Michelangelo’s David into a birthing person? It’s becoming very hard to exaggerate.

Imagine shunning a miracle cure because it was invented by a straight white male. Similarly, imagine throwing onto some 21st-century trash heap the priceless legacy of a civilization’s masterworks because they were created by artists belonging to a race, gender, or sexual preference now out of favor.

Instead of canceling them, our new-age philistines should bow down in awe to these masters in appreciation and celebration of the extraordinary gifts they have given to the world’s generations following them.

Too white? Too male? Too straight?

Too frickin’ bad.

Bill McCusker is an author, speaker and retired business leader. He lives in New Jersey.

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