Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Monday 01 March |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Giovanna Maria Bonomo
home iconArt & Culture
line break icon

A fast take on ‘The New Philistines’ with Sohrab Ahmari

Sohrab Ahmari

Zoe Romanowsky - published on 01/29/17

A polemic on how identity politics has taken over art

Aleteia posed six questions to Sohrab Ahmari about his new book, The New Philistines, published by Bitepack Publishing. The book looks at the way identity politics has crowded out what art has always been primarily about — the quest for truth, beauty, and honest criticism and self-expression.

1) What inspired the book?

The immediate impetus came from watching an awful performance of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Globe, the theater built near the site of the one co-founded by the Bard some 400 years ago. The production was a mess aesthetically, and Artistic Director Emma Rice was determined to lecture and chastise the Bard for his crimes against PC identity politics circa 2016. Having fallen in love with the Globe, I despaired of what had happened to the institution — so I wrote this polemic against the takeover of the arts by the identitarians.

2) If you could give this book another title, what would it be?

Enough Identity!

3) What story or anecdote in this book most personally resonated with you? 

I note in the introduction that I was born and raised in Iran, where the ruling Islamists view art as an ideological enterprise. It worries me to see so many Western cultural elites mirror the same kind of thinking.

4) Did writing this book teach you anything?

Yes, a valuable lesson for this ex-smoker: that I’m capable of writing a book (albeit, a short polemic) without nicotine.

5) If there is one person you want to reach with this book, who would that be?

As a writer and thinker, I’m always trying to reach myself 10 or 15 years ago. That’s my ideal reader: someone young and intellectually curious and sensitive who is dissatisfied with what the culture offers, and wants to better understand where the dissatisfaction comes from and perhaps what to do about it.

6) What is the ideal beverage to have in hand while reading your book? 

This is a Scotch kind of book.

This is the second of Aleteia‘s weekly author interview series on books worth reading. See our first one here: The Shepherd Who Didn’t Run with Maria Ruiz Scaperlanda.

Tags:
ArtBooksInterviews
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
PADRE PIO
Philip Kosloski
Padre Pio’s favorite prayer of petition
2
MADONNA
V. M. Traverso
The 9 oldest images of Mary
3
SEARCHNG PURSE
Cerith Gardiner
12 Things every Catholic woman should have in her purse
4
Jacques Fesch
Brother Silas Henderson, SDS
Meet the Death Row prisoner who discovered a ...
5
LUXOR FILM FESTIVAL
Zoe Romanowsky
20-year-old filmmaker wins award for powerful 1-minute film about...
6
CELEBRITY MARRIAGES
Cerith Gardiner
10 Celebrities whose marriages have stood the test of time
7
RECONSTRUCTED CHRIST
Lucandrea Massaro
This 3D “carbon copy” of Jesus was created using the ...
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.