The New York Times recently endorsed having children boycott a Christmas performance of “The Nutcracker” merely because there was money from the Kochs involved in supporting it. Additionally, it would seem that art is no longer purely for art’s sake. According to the Times, it’s only worth can be to support the political views of Times’s editors and staff. Evidently, if Koch money is involved in its production, or showing, the art in question should be attacked by “Occupy” protesters, that according to the Times.
These examples cited by the Koch’s in response do more than stretch the bounds of incredulity. They amount to character assassination and an embracing of the worst form of guilt by association. One might have hoped that such tactics were in large part destroyed along with the Iron Curtain of Soviet fame. It’s frightening, as well as tragic, if not all that surprising, to see them re-emerge on the pages of the New York Times.
The first, by art critic Anthony Tommasini, complained about our support for the arts, compared us to the deposed King Ludwig of 19th-Century Bavaria and the Renaissance Medicis and therefore urged that the situation “would seem to make the performing arts a natural focus for the Occupy activists.”
The second piece, appearing in the “Ethicist” column by Ariel Kaminer, applauded a reader for keeping her granddaughter away from a performance of “The Nutcracker” because we donated to the production. “Tolerance has its limits,” Ms. Kaminer explained, and “Tchaikovsky makes strange bedfellows.”
In other words, Times writers apparently must perform contortions so bent-over-backward that it involves medieval references and politicizing children’s Christmas ballets, all to squeeze a disparagement about Koch into their copy. My question to you is: if the paper is going to be indulging a hostile approach that is this far-fetched, then don’t we deserve some explanation from editors for the sheer frequency and the underlying purpose?
Readers themselves might wonder if they’ll soon read moral circumspection about the many performing arts or left-leaning institutions supported by the Sulzberger family, which owns the paper. Doubtful, it would seem. (And never mind at all the Sulzberger family’s role in building the New York Stock Exchange, stifling the Times’ unions, giving golden parachutes to underperforming executives, and other such activity the paper lately characterizes as “the one percent”).
The amusing thing about the boycott? It’s a feeble attempt to stage a protest when the organizers, including NYT staffers, likely make purchases of Koch products many times over the cost of a single ticket.