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Education: Rotterdam Conservatory, Cambridge University // Activities: composition, writing

Tuesday 24 May 2022

Nederlands: nog altijd actueel - kunstenfondsen

Artikel gepubliceerd in Trouw in 2009:


Het stroeve Nederlands is te danken aan ingrepen door de redactie van Trouw.

Het onderwerp is nog altijd actueel, en de onzin van de moderne kunst (die allang niet meer modern is) gaat gewoon door:



Sunday 15 May 2022

Extreme rightwing nostalgia

Rightwing objection to cosmopolitanism / globalisation, to immigration, to multiculturalism, to diversity, and a nostalgia for separation, national racial purity, and especially the complete failure to understand that culture (in the widest sense) is not a racial product but accessible to anyone with enough perceptive capacities, has led to the current waves of hostilities towards ‘the Other’, in any form – minorities, fugitives, economic immigration – anything that is not ‘from here’ or does not seem to conform to a narrow concept of ‘identity’. It is a primitive reaction born from fear and misconception of the modern world. It is a degrading trend, undermining civilisational values, and it has the face of evil.

Such extremists hide their racism behind the term ‘identitarianism’, which sounds less openly reactionary than ‘white suprematism’. But:

“Identitarianism is a lament against change made by people fortunate enough to have been granted, through the arbitrary circumstance of birth, citizenship in a wealthy liberal democracy.

Especially distasteful is the annexation of the term ‘European Renaissance’ to cover a racist agenda, abusing a cultural term representing humanism and cultural florishing to disguise something that deserves the deepest contempt. These are crackpot ‘thinkers’, poisoning the minds of people with even lesser understanding of their own civilisation.

“Faye’s work helps to explain the rupture that has emerged in many Western democracies between the mainstream right, which may support strict enforcement of immigration limits but does not inherently object to the presence of Muslims, and the alt-right, which portrays Muslim immigration as an existential threat. In this light, the growing admiration by Western conservatives for the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, is easier to comprehend.” Something that has, nowadays, an alarming ring about it.

Interesting article, from 2017, in the New Yorker, which explores the sources of this deplorable wave of reactionary ‘thinking’ especially in France – where philosopher Alain Finkielkraut makes a very disappointing bow to a despiccable writer who fuels the destructive hysteria of the far right: 


The Enlightenment has not at all reached its apogee and is still in the process of trying to find a solution for humanity’s enduring ills.

In this context the problems of cultural identity as described in this article may be helpful:



More woke


The nonprofit Friends of the DaPonte String Quartet has fired the four musicians in the 30-year-old ensemble and is changing its name and mission to diversify its programming, a move that left the group stunned and angered.


But it is perfectly logical. In the wake of woke, players who are not diverse, i.e. who are non-black, non-genderly-challenged or otherwise not conforming to new ideals of social justice, will have to be cancelled because they create – through their ‘privilege’ – a stumble block to a more just society. It is the usual zero sum thinking: you being in the position to reap rewards of all of your hard work and talent, could only get that far because of me being excluded and thus, sunk into misery. So, you have to pay for your stealing of my rights, you caused my misery.

What kind of society will we get if such ‘thinking’ becomes paramount? It will result in a new form of voluntary fascism, of collective hysteria, of organized envy, hatred and spite, and numerous innocent victims. Not to mention the damage done to talent and achievement. It would mean a cultural suicide of immense proportions.

If people want certain fields of endeavor be more rightfully accessible, which is a laudable idea, they should look for the real causes of exclusion. Opening doors by shutting others is merely relocating the problem and fuelling injustice, social and otherwise.