As Leach puts it, "The effect of ignoring that purpose and Eastman’s own explanation of it for the sake of taking up a different fight is to assign him to the oblivion he was sadly stuck in after his death."
So, she as much as anybody living is responsible for Eastman being available for the protesters to appropriate. She published half his music when it was lost. Many of the protesters skipped the lecture and went straight to the protest. Fine, it takes all kinds. But it is up to the organizers, who are responsible for inviting and programming Leach on Eastman, to be the adults in the room, a task at which they signally failed IMO. It remains true that if I were invited to drive several hours to a conference calling itself OBEY, I would steer well clear. And evidently I would do so with reason.
Update: just to add what to me is an important point regarding identity politics and the tribalism it represents. The fact that a protester is gay and black, as at least one of the protesters evidently was, does not make them Julius Eastman. And it will never make them Julius Eastman; that involves a different kind of work. Similarly, no amount of tribalism or wishing will make me W.B. Yeats. It isn't going to happen. Leach indirectly addresses this point when she notes that Eastman was many things, among them being a composer who will now (thanks in part to her) be remembered, when others are forgotten.
Last edited by John Isbell; 09-16-2019 at 04:19 AM.
Reason: many things