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Nazi connoisseurs tried to keep something for themselves, a large stock remained in Berlin, in the basement of Goebbels’s ministry of propaganda. Ironically, the Nazis’ scrupulous documentation of the Entartete Kunst (Degenerate Art) exhibition of 1937 has made identification easy.
But why were these sculptures found in the rubble of Königstrasse 50? After much detective work, art historians found a letter showing that the apartment on the third floor had indeed been used by the Nazis as a secret depot. Hundreds of objects must have been stored there, most of which—paintings, wooden sculptures—were destroyed when the building, hit by a bomb during an Allied raid in 1944, burnt and collapsed. Only the 16 survivors have triumphed over the Nazi ban, and their scarred appearances tell a deeply moving story. Under the title Verlorene Moderne (Lost Modernism), they are currently on exhibition in Hamburg and will then travel to Munich and abroad.
Wholly absent from the debate is any reference to the philosophical tradition of natural law running from Plato through Aquinas, Hooker, Grotius, Hobbes and Locke to today’s Professor of Law at Oxford University, John Finnis. And any suggestion that homosexuality might be a psychological disorder is considered heretical by our politically correct inquisitors. The American psychiatrist, the late Charles Socarides, who held that homosexual tendencies arise through a failure in gender identification in the first two or three years of a child’s life, received death threats and saw his books burned by gay activists in the US.
The supporters of same-sex marriage, however, are permitted to propagate their own cod psychology. In The Times Matthew Parris told his readers that a survey of 160 students in America and Germany established a clear link between “homophobia” and latent homosexuality. Thanks, Matthew. Now I know. California, here I come!
Bigotry or dissent?
By piers paul read
BY OLIVER WISEMAN
The debate over same-sex marriage has brought home to me how intolerant the British have become of dissenting opinions. After the publication of an anodyne letter I sent to the Spectator suggesting that some might dispute the moral equivalence between conjugal and gay sex, I was congratulated by one journalist for my “courage”, while another confided in me that, although he opposed same-sex marriage, he would never dare say so in print.
The words “homophobe” and “bigot” are freely used to smear those who defend the teaching of all the world’s great religions that carnal exchanges between members of the same sex are wrong. Of course, the bigots and homophobes dare not use pejorative terms such as “degenerate”, “depraved”, “perverse” or “vicious” in return. Cardinal Keith O’Brien of Glasgow called the proposal for same-sex marriage “grotesque”, but even he did not condemn gay sex as such. The arguments of church leaders have concentrated on the issue of marriage as the source of procreation and family life.
The government’s proposals depend for their acceptance on the shallow learning of the younger generation.
Fertile new ground? Young cricketers in Rwanda
In 1895, Winston Churchill, then a journalist covering the uprising against Spanish rule, made an optimistic prediction for Cuba. The Caribbean island would, he said, “be free and prosperous under just laws and patriotic administration, throwing open her ports to the commerce of the world, sending her ponies to Hurlingham and her cricketers to Lord’s”. Churchill is yet to be proved right, but the association of cricket with economic progress lives on in the British imagination. In 2006, Foreign Office officials hatched a plan to teach Cubans to play cricket. The logic appears to have gone something like this: if Cubans fall for the game, then when the Castros’ autocracy collapses, cricketing Brits, rather than baseball-playing Americans, will be best placed to capitalise on the island’s new economic freedom.
But how to persuade Cubans to swap bases for stumps and catchers for wicketkeepers? For this the Foreign Office turned to Tom Rodwell, whose new book, Third Man in Havana (Corinthian, £14.99)—Rodwell apologises to Graham Greene, who hated cricket—documents his failed attempt to win the Cubans round as well as other unlikely adventures with bat and ball. His trips to Israel, Panama, New York, Sierra Leone and elsewhere make Rodwell a cricketing missionary, packing his pads wherever he goes to do good with cricket.
Rodwell was as ill-suited to his Cuban mission as Mr Wormold, the vacuum cleaner salesman-cum-spy of
Greene’s Our Man in Havana. The Spanish translation of the MCC’s Laws of the Game, he soon discovered, was written by someone who knew plenty of Spanish but little about the sport. A game in Guantánamo (the town, not the nearby US naval base) ended prematurely when Stalin, a stubborn fastbowler from Havana, had an lbw appeal turned down; and unsurprisingly Rodwell failed to persuade a baseball bat manufacturer that cricket bats would be a more lucrative trade. e
May 2012 The Good Samaritan (1737) by William Hogarth appears in The Healing Power of Art: A History ofWesternArt inHospitals byRichardCork (Yale University Press, £50), amagisterial survey of the subject. Hogarth’s depiction of the New Testament parable decorates a grand staircase in the administrative block of St Bartholomew’s Hospital, London. Hogarth had a special affection for Barts. He was born nearby and his friend, John Freke, was president of the College of Surgeons and governor of the hospital.