Patterico's Pontifications

6/17/2021

Yet Another Overreaction to Innocuous and Commonplace Speech Touching on Race

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am



Read this entire piece by Robby Soave:

Until last year, Daniel Elder—a 34-year-old musician who lives in Nashville, Tennessee—had a promising career ahead of him. The theme of the prize-winning composer’s work, truth through emotion, is evident across his catalogue of choral music, including his debut commercial album, The Heart’s Reflection.

Elder isn’t composing very much these days. And even if he were, no one in the industry is willing to buy his work. His publisher has blackballed him. Local choral directors refuse to program his music for fear of provoking a backlash. They won’t even let him sing in the choir.

His offense? Being dismayed by arson committed by protesters.

On May 30, around 1,000 peaceful protesters marched down the streets of Nashville as part of an “I Will Breathe” rally. But not everyone on the streets was peaceful: A group of activists joined the protest as it was drawing to a close and started smashing windows and spraying graffiti on the sides of buildings. They threw rocks at police cars, and eventually someone set the city’s historic courthouse on fire.

“The courthouse windows were smashed, its walls were spray painted with graffiti and fires were started inside the building, damaging a portion of the mayor’s office,” noted the Nashville Tennessean. “A plaque commemorating the civil rights movement in Nashville was destroyed.”

The destruction spooked Elder, who lived nearby and was thus under a city-wide curfew.

. . . .

Dismayed, disenchanted, and unable to sleep, Elder decided to delete his Instagram account. He penned one last farewell message, which was cross-posted to his Twitter and professional Facebook page: “Enjoy burning it all down, you well-intentioned, blind people. I’m done.”

And that’s all it took. The social media mob gathered, grabbed their virtual pitchforks and torches, and marched. It worked. His publisher wrote out an entire obsequious apology for him to deliver, full of the kind of absurd groveling and struggle-session platitudes we’ve all heard a million times before. Problem is, the guy refused to deliver it. Because he hadn’t done anything wrong. So his publisher — really the only game in town for his type of music — dumped him. He’s struggled since with mental health issues, inability to write, you name it.

The topic of race is impossible to discuss in this country. Anything you say, no matter how obviously true or inoffensive, can cause your life to be turned upside down in an instant. We have all seen the stories. This is just a particularly ridiculous example, but it’s hardly the only one.

I listened to a little of this guy’s music, linked in the article, and enjoyed it. I might buy his album.


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