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April 14, 2010


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malachy walsh

Lisa Timmel is great. And I think the post is an excellent example of why. Thanks for posting it.

Ian Thal

"Our theatre history is full of the degenerate melding of forms"

Wow, really poor word choice here. The most well known branding of art and artists as "degenerate" was by the Nazis-- and note how it's mostly "ethnic" theatre that she labels as "degenerate."

I'm sure this is exactly what Timmel did not mean to evoke, but she really needs to have somebody look over her copy next time.

Lisa T.

Thanks, Isaac. I'll get the broken link fixed.

Ian, I did intentionally invoke Nazi terminology because I'm writing for (tweaking?) an audience that has very rigid racial and gender categories but absolutely no ability to acknowledge it. Racism/racial discomfort up here tends to hide under some pretty high-falutin' language and ideas about what what is proper form, but it's racism all the same. At the same time, if you are familiar with the art works the Nazis labeled as degenerate, then you also know it's all the best art/artists of the early 20th century which is also what I'm trying to evoke. But you are right that it's probably a bad choice for a blog post as it will get misinterpreted. I'll be interested to see if anyone else has the same reaction.


Ms T.,

I got that once you mentioned minstrelsy; as soon as you did that, intimations of race mixing, mongrelism and degeneracy weren't far-fetched, because that pool of accusations were hurled at American music and theatre by the Klan and other "purists" once jazz started seeping into our national culture. So, good on you, then....

And Mr. T.? How paternalistic. Who the heck gets their blog copy looked over? Yours? This is the Internet, sir -- it's *edited*?

Ian Thal

Thanks for the response, Lisa.

You have to understand that the rest of the post came across as so earnest and non-ironic, that the note about "degenerate" art was jarring to me as a student of history and afficionado of dadaism and other forms of aesthetic modernism.

Yes, I certainly agree with you that the "degenerate" art was the best stuff produced in the German speaking world at the time.


The blog entry was an official communication from one of the biggest theatres in the New England states. So yes, this stuff sometimes gets looked over. It's not like the off-the-cuff blogging that you or I do. I just applaud the prompt clarification.


I get it -- the "step up" institutions still must make when making official communications through social networking. Understood -- and thanks.

Todd Williams

We self edit - if I had to send posts to Marketing, Devo, Artistic or Admin for review we would never publish. I know that Lisa and Charles review each others work but, still, I think you are going to find the occasional poor choice of words on our blog. And so far we are fine with that. We know of whom we are speaking for but we have no intention of blogging by committee.

I am thrilled that Lisa and Charles have committed to sharing their thoughts on the Huntington's blog. I hope you'll agree that it steps things up a notch or two.

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