As the saying goes, “Screw 'em if they can't take a joke!”
But in this case I think we can make an exception. The Berlin Deutsches Opera has decided not to perform Mozart's Idomeneo because they fear reprisals for offending Muslim sensibilities. Of course it doesn't help that this particular production has twisted Mozart's original libretto into something unrecognizable, with an ending far different from the one Mozart scripted.
In Mozart's version, the opera, set on Crete in the aftermath of the Trojan War, is a play about sacrifice and reconciliation. The opera ends with King Idomeneo issuing a "last command. I announce peace," before ceding power to his son.
Mr. [Hans] Neuenfels's version is Modern German--i.e., gratuitously offensive. It is more Neuenfels than Mozart. Instead of appearing as the harbinger of peace, Idomeneo ends the opera parading the severed heads of Poseidon, Jesus, Buddha and the Prophet Muhammad. How do you spell "anachronistic balderdash"?
It doesn't offend just Muslim sensibilities, it offends everybody's sensibilities. But still, it illustrates the lengths to which some will go in order not to offend someone who is offended by our very existence. How far do we go to prevent offending a vocal minority among the world's Muslims?
Frankly, I believe we've gone too far. For some of these so-called offended Muslims, everything we do offends them. The fact that we're even drawing a breath is offensive to them. My advice to them is “Lighten up.” If they can't manage to do that, then perhaps “Piss off!” will do the trick. And if that doesn't do the trick, then a well spoken “Shut the f*** up, butthead!” might.
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