We Americans can theorize all we like, but there’s something most of us don’t have — the ghastly experience of living under a totalitarian regime. James Zhu, who had that experience, posted the following as a comment to my North Korea posts. He fully supports the Philharmonic’s visit, and wrote what follows as a response to my fellow blogger Terry Teachout’s piece in the Wall Street Journal. Terry opposed the Philharmonic’s visit, which of course he has every right to do.
I thought I’d promote James Zhu’s thoughts from a comment to a full blog post. I feel humbled before what he says. Thanks, James.
Following is a post in response to Terry Treachout article on WSJ 10/27. Since part of Treachout article, which strongly against the visit, is a refute to you view, I repost here.
I was a bit unsettled by your article on New YorK Philharmonic visit toNorth Korea, 10/27/2007, on WSJ. You never lived in such a “Darkness at Noon”, nothing less) and culture, how do you evaluate the impact of classic music to people “not familiar with Western composers”? I was first exposed to Mozart at a time when one of my school teachers was beaten to death on the street like a wild dog. I didn’t quite understand what was going on, but through his Serenade I said to myself, “there are got to be a better world”. I was timely punished and sent away to a camp for scavenging these Columbia 33 1/2 records and listening to them.
After Philadelphia Philharmonic came to China(the audience was highly controlled and not telecasted), nobody over there thought it was a support to Mao, knowing you wouldn’t be raided on anymore if you listen to Duke Ellington, and knowing the more good stuff were coming. I surmise the viewpoints like yours must be more belligerent before Philadelphia Orch. did China. Alas, look at what happened.