UCLA professors are protesting a symphony conducted by a conservative commentator whom they call “horribly bigoted.”
History professor Andrew Apter and political science professor Michael Chwe released a letter in which they advise readers to boycott a concert where conservative commentator Dennis Prager will be the guest conductor, according to a report Wednesday in Campus Reform.
“Please urge your friends to not attend this concert, which helps normalize bigotry in our community,” said Apter and Chwe in the March letter, which Prager publicized in a National Review op-ed Aug. 1. “[Prager] is not a trained conductor and there is no musical rationale for his participation.”
Apter said he told Prager’s assistant, Michael Logan, that he would like to speak on the show but has yet to receive a firm invitation.
“I suspect that they are not really interested in having me speak on the show,” Apter told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “Prager is building a caricature of academic culture in order to reject the caricature, not to address our real objections to his bigoted views.”
The history professor forwarded part of a message he sent to Logan to The Daily Caller News Foundation.
“I encourage a multitude of viewpoints in my classes,” said Apter, noting that he was “academically conservative” in his value of high standards and opposition to grade inflation. “But this doesn’t mean condoning bigoted statements. My objection to Dennis Prager is not partisan or anti-conservative, it is simply against bigotry.”
“When Prager calls ‘leftism’ a ‘cancer’ and voting for Trump ‘political chemotherapy,’ I’m sorry, my Jewish alarms go off (my French relatives were gassed in Auschwitz),” said the professor. “From the standpoint of a violinist in the Santa Monica Symphony, to subject ourselves to the command of his baton is an implicit, if not explicit, endorsement of his bigoted ideas as a public figure.”
In his op-ed, Prager noted that he had studied classical music starting in high school and that conducting symphonies is one of his hobbies.
“It is not enough to prevent conservatives from speaking,” Prager wrote about the professors in his op-ed. “It is now necessary to prevent conservatives from appearing even when not speaking. Conservatives should not be even be allowed to make music.”
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