Not much development over in Paris with the Peter Handke/Commedie-Francaise spat, but much thanks to those bloggers international Ben Ellis and Alison Croggon for keeping us all in the loop across the borders of space and lanaguage. Ellis offers his own translations of the local press accounts there, such as these disheartening statements from M. Bozonnet at the Commedie:
Didn't he know [already] of Handke's opinions? "Of course, but when Bruno Bayen proposed the play, Handke had not yet committed a decisive act of guilt."[...]
Is he a censor? At this, he revolted: "I didn't ban the producing of Peter Handke, but I'm refusing to invite to the Comedie-Francaise a man who doesn't respect essential values."
Question for discussion: does producing the man's work equal "inviting the man?"
It would be nice if a major media outlet in this country at this stage tried to offers some objective account of exactly what Handke's stated positions on Milosevec are, and also how his play does or does not relate to them. Apparently the play is over a decade old and predates Handke's current mess. So would this be like refusing to publish early work by noted anti-Semites like Pound and Eliot? Let alone the ol' Wagner problem...
My general take on those controversies--and it may apply to Handke as well--is that this is a consequence of venerating the artist over the work. In our culture of celebrity, what Handke says as a private citizen trumps whatever he does in his art. When St. John the Divine here in NYC debated a while ago over whether to include a bust of Pound in its "Poet's Corner," I argued the solution was simply to display an excerpt from the Cantos instead of the man's head.
Of course, the solution is to abolish the culture of celebrity. Failing that, well...