Talk:Richard Wagner

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Fry's documentary on Wagner is well worth watching, by the way, as he covers the music in depth as well as covering the anti-semitism in a very intelligent and non-knee-jerking way. He also recently presented the Proms performance of one of Wagner's operas. Again, quite worth watching. Scarlet A.pngbomination 18:03, 6 August 2010 (UTC)

It took a long time for me to get over his anti-semitism and give his music a serious chance. Even as I did, though, I was plagued by doubt and the Hitler association. I feel it's wrong to say "art is art, regardless of who created it," because however well-written Mein Kampf might be, I'm not going to call it good literature. But the difference between Hitler and Mein Kampf and Wagner and the Ring is that Hitler actually did heinous things - but even though Wagner may have disliked Jews, he never harmed one. He just spoke out against them. So if Andy writes a beautiful opera, I'll consider it solely on its artistic merit. But if Stalin wrote a majestic symphony, I'd discount it immediately. (Not that I'm likening Andy to Stalin, they're just two figures I dislike vehemently. And there are lost of other reasons to not be troubled by Wagner's beliefs besides this one, of course.) Blue Talk 19:32, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
A lot of people were anti-semitic in those days too, and theories of racial superiority had scientific respectability. Wagner gets picked on because Hitler admired him and used his works to dream up an Aryan mythology for the Germans, but these ideas were current in that time; Hitler could have used anyone to build his theories on. Basically, Hitler isn't Wagner's fault. Totnesmartin (talk) 19:56, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
Very true. Disliking Wagner on those grounds is pretty much Godwin's Law Redux. But it does raise interesting questions about separation of art and artist, which was an aspect of a Music And Gender course my other half did. Can you, or can you not for that matter, separate Wagner's art from his antisemitism (regardless of how common it was historically) any more than you can separate homosexuality from Freddie Mercury or John Cage. I don't think there's a simple yes or no about that as undoubtedly you'd be influenced by your prior taste in music and knowledge of the situation, as the above comment about the hypothetical dichotomy of Andrew Schlafly's Grand Opera Don DeMeyer vs Joseph Stalin's Symphony No.4 in C. Scarlet A.pngbomination 20:07, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
As an aside, since we already have Conservapedia: The Musical, why not begin "The Conservapirates of Penzance," a comic opera in two acts? Blue Talk 20:24, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
(EC)Yes. Far be it from me to say everything Hitler liked was evil - I'm a socialist, Hitler was a socialist, in a broad sense. The reason I picked on Wagner wasn't really because of the fact Hitler enjoyed him (IIRC, the other Nazi high command hated when Hitler would make them listen to his music), it had more to do with his Judaism in Music. And if I may quote an youtube comment: "...I mean, what do you think Vivaldi would have thought about Muslim's? [sic]" Blue Talk 20:10, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
A fairly decent refutation of people who say "I won't listen to Wagner because he hated Jews!" is to give them a short little lecture about how Voltaire hated Jews and people of Jewish descent, and then ask them if they considered, say, Candide not worthy of their attention because it was written by a anti-semite. --The Emperor Kneel before Zod! 23:53, 1 September 2010 (UTC)

This is similar to the controversy over Elia Kazan, who infamously named names to the HUAC and avoided being blacklisted, then making some seriously classic films. It's complicated, especially when we try to judge historical figures by modern standards. ħumanUser talk:Human 02:39, 26 January 2013 (UTC)

IMNSHO...[edit]

...it's entirely possible to think of Wagner as a goddamn asshole for his antisemitism and love his music.--Arisboch (talk) 18:29, 24 June 2015 (UTC)

+1, +1, +1 WalkerWalkerWalker 10:46, 25 July 2015 (UTC)