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January 11, 2018

Letter to the Editor

Re: Moderated Panel Takes Up Issue of Monuments in the 21st Century

Even though the fate of Stephen Foster statue is sealed, I still would like to bring in my two cents. In my perception, the sculpture in question actually glorifies a tremendously gifted black musician. He is full of inspiration playing with abandon his banjo. Foster, a renown composer, writes down this music. I read that one of students stated that here is presented an act of plagiarism. This young person should take a class in history of music. The great Russian composer Michail Glinka once said, “The music is created by people and we, composers, are just arranging it.” Folk tunes were used by Beethoven, Tchaikovsky and Brahms, just to mention few but great names. There is a photograph of Stravinsky writing down folk tunes.

Continuing on the “remove it” road the next candidates in case of the Carnegie Museums would be Shakespeare (“The Merchant of Venice” — Jews feel uncomfortable, “The Taming of the Shrew” — antifeminist play) and J.S. Bach (composed Church music — an atheist’s feelings are heart by, say, Passions), etc. At the end, we probably will be left with Diplodocus Dippi (provided that the animal will stop to sport Steelers colors). Those “I (we) feel worried” statements quite often are expressions of selfishness and non-tolerance to feelings of others.

Boris Kushner
Professor Emeritus of Mathematics
University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown


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