It seems ‘their’ ABC is going to audit its catalogue of titles to remove any of those that are ‘problematical’ in terms of perpetuating or glorifying offensive history.
Yesterday I was listening to a concert on ABC Classic FM celebrating Richard Tognetti’s 30 years at the helm of the Australian Chamber Orchestra. The concert was broadcast from the ABC’s Eugene Goossens Hall. That set my PC alarm bell clanging.
Those of you not into classical music may not be aware of Sir Eugene Goossens. Goossens was an eminent British conductor who was lured to Australia after the Second World War to raise the profile of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. He did that and became a celebrity here, presiding over the orchestra from 1947 until 1956.
But Goossens had a guilty secret. He was obsessed by pantheism and the occult and had a long affair with a notorious Kings Cross witch. Eventually his peccadillos were discovered by a journalist who began an investigation and uncovered some incriminating letters that Goossens had written to his paramour. He was targeted by police and, to cut a long story short, returning from a trip to London in 1956, his luggage was searched by Customs on a tip-off from UK police. They discovered a large quantity of pornographic material. Goossens pleaded guilty, received the maximum fine for this offence. And in today’s parlance, he was cancelled. His career was over and he returned to England a broken man.
Now you or I would think his ‘crime’ was trivial enough and the price he paid was well over the top. His contribution to music as a conductor and composer was considerable and certainly outweighs the ‘offensive’ nature of his private life.
But if consistency is to be maintained – if ideological purity is paramount – given how offensive pornography is to every right thinking feminist, surely this tribute to Goossens, the naming of a hall in his honour, cannot be allowed to stand.
Is it likely, do you think, that Goossens will fall to the purge of political correctness? That would be a shame so let me offer the ABC an out. I reckon he gets a free pass because he was a victim of the pigs. That probably outweighs his offensive misogyny.