You may have seen this before. It’s a brief clip from Cate Blanchett’s movie Tar:
If you dislike videos, here’s the transcript, as best I can render it from the error-prone YouTube attempt:
Max: You play really well, but nowadays white male CIS composers…just not my thing
Lydia Tar: Don’t be so eager to be offended. The narcissism of small differences leads to the most boring conformity
Max: I guess Edgard Varese is okay…I mean like Arcana anyway.
Lydia Tar: Oh well then you must be aware that Varese once famously stated that jazz was a Negro product exploited by the Jews. Didn’t stop Jerry Goldsmith from ripping him off for his Planet of the Apes score. It’s kind of a perfect insult don’t you think?
But you see, the problem with enrolling yourself as an ultrasonic epistemic dissident is that if Bach’s talent can be reduced to his gender, birth country, religion, sexuality and so on, then so can yours. Now someday Max, when you go out into the world and you guests conduct for a major or minor orchestra, you may notice that the players have more than light bulbs and music on their stands. They will also have been handed rating sheets, the purpose of which is to rate you. Now what kind of criteria would you hope that they would use to do this? Your score reading and stick technique, or something else?
All right everyone: using Max’s criteria let’s consider Max’s thing in this case. Now can we agree on two pieces of observation? One that Anna was born in Iceland, and two that she is in a Waldorf teacher kind of way a super-hot young woman? Show of hands….All right now let’s turn our gaze back to the piano bench up there and see if we can square how any of those things possibly relate to the person we see seated before us….Where are you going?
Max: You’re a fucking bitch.
Lydia Tar: And you are a robot. I mean unfortunately, the architect of your soul appears to be social media. If you want to dance the masque, you must service the composer! You’ve got to sublimate yourself, your ego, and yes: your identity. You must in fact stand in front of the public and God, and obliterate yourself.
It’s the finest evisceration of “woke” political posturing I can imagine. That Hollywood allowed it to be made is a kind of miracle. The core of the thing is Lydia Tar’s first statement:
The narcissism of small differences
Leads to the most boring conformity.
It doesn’t matter whether you consider the differences involved large or small. They’re actually quite significant in determining one’s beliefs, preferences, intentions, and conduct. What matters is the Left’s one and only aim: conformity. Your conformity with the Left’s prescriptions and proscriptions. And no matter how they may mutate – and you may be sure they will, and more rapidly than you might expect – you will be required to keep in step, to chant the obligatory slogans, and to cheer and boo for the right people and on cue.
Most of the creed, however many and tortuous the vermiculations it experiences, will consist of shameless contradictions of what is objectively, verifiably true. For as has been said, those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities…and atrocities will be among the Left’s marching orders. Don’t ask at whom the atrocities will be aimed, or why; just do as you’re told.
Indeed, the smallest imaginable differences will be artificially inflated to weather-balloon size. Gradations of hair color will be deemed catastrophic. Differences in vocabulary will be made into justifications for pogroms. For the important thing, the essential thing, Comrade, is to keep the revolution going! Fervor must be maintained. Fidelity to the Party must become the sole criterion of importance – and to certify it, every one of the faithful will be required to recite the whole of the Creed: word for word, regularly, before an approved doctrinal monitor. That monitor will have the power to condemn you for any slightest degree of deviation.
They who have called Leftism a religion aren’t quite correct. No religion fit for human consumption demands that its adherents believe that which is demonstrably untrue.
These days, 1984 is probably the most frequently cited and quoted of all fictions. If George Orwell / Eric Blair were alive, he’d probably demand residuals. All the same, its relevance is unquestionable. It sometimes looks as if the Left has aimed at reifying the Party’s absolute rule over all things… which, in Orwell’s novel, extended even to the thoughts of its subjects.
It’s been proposed by several that the Left will “eat its own” sooner or later. Indeed, there are signs of that already. I’ve seen it before, in a collegiate setting. The purveyors of doctrine cannot allow anyone to dissent from any aspect thereof. It could call the whole edifice into question, and where would we be then? Tolerating freethinkers? Allowing dissidents to go their own way?
That might be the most promising opening for a counterattack from the Right. For among the faithful are surely persons who talk the talk without fully accepting it. The possibilities for fomenting internal strife are appealing, if not too savory ethically.
Trouble is, the strategists of the Left know it too. Their quest for political hegemony has the enforcement of “politically correct” doctrine as one of its principal aims. It’s part of why they excoriate any well-known person – especially among the culturally prominent – who differs with them. (Consider J. K. Rowling as an example.) Granted that they don’t have a Ministry of Love yet…but the century is young.
Don’t imagine there’s anything deep hidden in this piece. It’s just what I’ve been thinking about this morning. Besides, as I’ve said on other occasions, I charge my Gentle Readers what my opinions are worth.
Have a nice day.