The Art of Now. Radio 4 this morning. Not so much ‘art’ and not so much ‘now’ - more an undiluted half-hour of low-level but unashamedly emotive stigmatisation of Israel.
Of all the wars zones in all the countries in all the world, the BBC has to walk into - - you probably know what I mean, and it isn’t Casablanca. It’s all very well featuring art in dangerous places, but most of the 28 minutes of this programme were devoted to art during “wars” in which Israel was singled out as the villain.
And, rather than ‘now” they had to go back to 2006 to feature Beirut. Why shoehorn “Cartoonist and free improvisational trumpeter Mazen Kerbaj” talk(ing) about his work during the 2006 Lebanon war and the problem of exoticising art from warzones", when you could go to hundreds of far more recent warzones, where I’m sure you could find some improvisational musician, dancer or visual artist exoticising something or other.
And if you must go back in time to find it, there is a wide choice. Surely war zones are not all about Israel? One of the featured thespians appeared to be associated with political activism as much as "making art that helps us question and communicate". Another contributor was Israeli composer and ex-IDF soldier Mátti Kovler whose feelings of guilt one might associate with the typical left-leaning politics that currently prevail in the world of music.
Composer Errollyn Wallen’s quavery voice droned on about creativity inspired by life-changing experiences at the hands of warmongering Israelis, with a dollop of Kurdish oppression thrown in to relieve the monotony. Did I imagine I heard that the second intifada was between Israelis and Palestinians?
There was no balance just another half-hour of the kind of unadulterated grievance-mongering against Israel that the BBC specialises in, hung tenuously on the peg of 'art', and fallaciously on the peg of 'now'.