Terry Teachout originally sent up cautionary flags regarding the New York Philharmonic’s possible trip to North Korea in his October Wall Street Journal column “Serenading a tyrant.” Teachout wondered:
What would you have thought if Franklin Roosevelt had encouraged the Philharmonic to accept an official invitation to play in Berlin in the spring of 1939? Do you think such a concert would have softened the hearts of the Nazis, any more than Jesse Owens’s victories in the 1936 Olympics changed their minds about racial equality? Or inspired the German people to rise up and revolt against Adolf Hilter? Or saved a single Jewish life?
Teachout counseled that the Philharmonic and the Bush administration “would do well to ponder these questions before consenting to put America’s oldest orchestra at the service of the man who turned off all the lights in North Korea.” Teachout to the contrary notwithstanding, the Philharmonic announced that it will play in North Korea in February. Today Teachout attended the Philharmonic’s official press conference on the trip. He reports on the press conference here at About Last Night and has cross-posted his report here at The Horizon. To flesh out the thought of orchestra president Zarin Mehta, the Phil is going to create some joy…for Kim Jong-Il.