I am not worthy - I'm worthless

One of the joys of writing a blog is that years later people can still discover the articles you wrote. Recently I've had an interesting comment on a post I wrote back in 2010 on why I'm not a great enthusiast for opera. I'd like to let you see Mr/Ms Anonymous' comment in all its glory:
Appalling ignorance of classical music (its history) in general, and of opera in particular. The author has NO feel for the genre, and how could he possibly understand the funding side of things unless he loved the music? He doesn't, and his ignorance fuels his rant of public support. In Europe, where opera companies and orchestras receive state funding, culture is appreciated with an understanding of its true value. Worthless article.  
Now I responded as follows:
Dear Anonymous, someone with your obvious cultural depth will obviously understand what 'ad hominem' means and why intelligent people regard it as the most pathetic form of argument.

I am also impressed with your psychic ability to deduce my ignorance or otherwise of the history of music from an item that isn't about the history of music. Marvellous.
... but I feel there are few more things I could have said. Apparently I have NO feel for the genre. I have NO feel for mud wrestling either, but what has that got to do with the price of fish? To have a 'feel' for something implies an emotional bias, which is hardly an ideal state to be in to make a dispassionate decision. And then we get to the real doozey. I can't understand the funding if I don't love the music. Presumably this is why most of us can't understand the funding of the E.U. - because we don't love it. Silly us.

I think even Anonymous would agree that most people don't love opera. So (s)he is saying that only a tiny minority can understand the funding. Is that a good argument for publically funding something? What's more (s)he says Europe provides state funding. Okay - so European countries are a good guide on how to operate finances? Three words: Greece, EU Budget.

All in all, you can't help but feel that Anonymous has not done opera any favours...


  1. Well, I had to look up ad hominem' on wikipedia, and found it amusing that they have the following example of abusive ad hominem; That Boris Godunov was the favorite opera of Joseph Stalin indicates the worthlessness of the opera.


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