Monday, 13 July 2020

Woke or Awake? by Ruth Bonetti

Articulate wordsmiths beware!

Fellow writers do you quake in the new religion of righteous cancel culture? 
No book, statue or film is safe, even if it depicts those who fought against injustices like slave trading. 

The new religion of righteous cancel culture revolution insists "citizens who may have committed no crime and oppressed no one, feel obliged to get down on their knees in a gesture of supplication to persons unspecified." Thus Peter Baldwin sums up The race to tear down reason in The Weekend Australian  "The rise of a new cultural revelation threatens to destroy history itself."

History reveals disturbing parallels; the fall of the Roman Empire into Dark Ages; last century’s Nazi book-burning; writers, artists, intellectuals, linguists, decimated by Stalin and Mao. Today they are cancelled. In this hyper sensitive age do others feel uneasy, stifled, neutered? 

Johann Sebastian Bach: His Life In Pictures And Documents: Fischer ...Dead white males – of merit

"The evil that men do lives after them; the good is often interred with their bones." (Shakespeare) 
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." (George Santayana.)


What place in academia that chooses Confucious Institutes over Ramsay?
What place in my next manuscript for a "racist" 1959 letter quotation? 

My landlord grandfather checked a house rented to "an ants’ nest Chinese Den…Chinese heads bobbed up everywhere in every door…I don’t know whether you can complain about them or say anything nasty about them. If you did it with your eyes open we cannot blame them.” 

In 1903 he worked with Hindus "and in a friendly way I asked one how it is they can live in such an awful smell. He just shook his head and said, our smell is not as bad as your smell is to our countrymen…I think this should be our first starting point without casting any judgment." Edit out?

How can we shine light in this new Dark Age?

Awake, calls the voice to us of the watchmen high up in the tower;
Midnight the hour is named; they call to us with bright voices;
where are you, wise virgins?
Indeed, the Bridegroom comes;
rise up and take your lamps,

Johan Sebastian Bach told of the wise virgins in his cantata Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme. 

I wait with burning oil.
Zion hears the watchmen sing,
her heart leaps for joy within her,
she wakens and hastily arises...

Bach faced criticism, rejection – as we do

"The music is too showy. Some of our members even think it is sinful. Music should be simple so that it draws attention to God, not to the music or the performers."
Imagine Bach drawing a deep breath before defending his music:
"The main purpose of my music is to glorify God. Some people do this with music that is simple. I haven't chosen to use a simple style, but my music comes from my heart as a humble offering to God. This honours God no matter what musical style I use."
"I play the notes but it is God who makes the music."
Rejected by ecclesiastical employers, Bach's secular one gave him the freedom to write as he was inspired. After Bach died in 1750, his "fuddy-duddy" (white male?) music was forgotten for 80 years. In 1829, another God-driven composer Felix Mendelssohn revived his St. Matthew Passion. 

Cure Writers' Block

Bach wrote prayers at the beginning and end of his manuscripts: at the top JJ, an abbreviation for “Jesu Juva,” which translated means, "Jesus, help me."
Then the music began to pour from his soul and onto the page. When he was finished and satisfied, he wrote the letters SDG at the bottom of the page - Soli Deo Gloria - For the Glory of God Alone.

RUTH BONETTI is grateful for Bach's example as she writes Part 3 of her award-winning Midnight Sun to Southern Cross saga, St Lucia and the Art Deco Mansion–What drove the man who built it? Due for October release, it tells further Journeys of her Grandfather.  


  1. Interesting post, Ruth. I put a question about that on my author page this morning before I knew you'd done a blog on it. I can understand if booksellers decide not to stock certain books (that's always the case anyway) or if some TV networks take some shows off their current schedule (that happens anyway), but I don't agree with changing historical works. We have to go back and look at those works in the context of the times within which they were written. It's then interesting to see how far we've come or whether we keep making the same mistakes. Thanks for raising the issue.

  2. Thanks Ruth, This is an issue that is certainly on my heart at the moment. As a creator, I am saddened by the destruction of works which have been wrought in blood, sweat and tears. I find it ironic that this 'cancel culture' comes from the manifesto of a white privileged male who went to university. There's only One I take the knee for. Jesu Juva indeed.

    1. Thanks for your validation of my own qualms, Raelene. And that you picked up on the disturbing "kneel' culture, and voiced that Christians kneel only to Jesu Jevu.

  3. Thanks for your comment Nola, and support for historical texts. We live in interesting times!