“No, Not Through Me.”… Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
In 2008 Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, the outspoken critic of Soviet oppression, died at age 88. The words in the above title, he uttered long ago.
In an article about Utah’s Sundance Film Festival, Gary Geipel, a communications consultant and writer based in Indianapolis, writes that he started watching Sundance’s offerings online when lock-down hit. As he reports in the WSJ:
… I looked forward to seeing new, small-market films from my recliner. But when I logged in to buy tickets, I was stopped at the virtual door.
But then the Sundance site warned Gary it wouldn’t sell tickets unless he affirmed the festival’s “Community Agreement.”
Among other things, I had to promise to be “vigilant in the fight against the spread of COVID-19,” to avoid “unwelcome sexual attention, harassment, stalking, and inappropriate physical contact of any kind,” and to refrain from “abuse or intimidation including that related to race, gender, position, or wealth.”
Gary Geipel calls himself a classical liberal with conservative sensibilities As he confesses, he was “often challenged and sometimes offended by Sundance films.’
But that was “Good”
Movies can open our minds and make us think—as most good art does. But this depends on the freedom to think for ourselves and question established orthodoxies without fearing anonymous informers and Orwellian enforcement teams.
The Fight Club
Gary admits that writing in the past tense about Sundance makes him sad.
But more of us—patrons, donors, and especially liberal-minded board members of arts organizations—have to learn to echo Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn: “No, not through me.”
If we don’t, we can prepare for the Sundance loyalty oath to become the norm at cultural venues. And we should prepare our imaginations for whatever comes after that.
If you’re willing to fight for Main Street America, click here to sign up for the Richardcyoung.com free weekly email.