RESPONDING to Bernard Carpenter: Mendelssohn in the condemned cell,
A librarian is no more than a temporary custodian (part-custodian, usually) of a library. The library endures. The librarian is ephemeral and has no business in trying to imprint his or her politics on the character of the institution, or its collection. Bernard Carpenter is admirably polite in his references to Liz Jolly, so I shall respect that, but my blood boils when a librarian urges censorship.
‘Western cultural supremacy’ is a problem, then? Well, China had one of the greatest cultures in the world and deliberately destroyed it. Is that what the woke guardians of our thoughts are aiming at? Which will be criminalised first: performing Mendelssohn’s music, or liking it? What replaces Mendelssohn’s sparkling Midsummer Night’s Dream music? Funnily enough, I don’t like the famous Wedding March, which seems (to me) tiresomely metronomic, but I love every other note. Why should not everyone have the opportunity to enjoy Mendelssohn’s music in the same way, without being lectured that to do so is wrong?
I remember that when the Soviet Union, beloved of our modern censors, fell, statues of Lenin, Dzerzhinsky and all sorts of other Bolshevik murderers were removed. They were not, however, destroyed. If Lenin gets a renewed, deluded following some time, there’s a warehouse full of his images. When the British Library is done with censoring Mendelssohn, will his legacy remain recoverable, or will a woke ignoramus, on a six-figure salary, get to press DELETE?