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Friday, March 12, 2010

Slander Throughout History

Okay, how many of you, like me, thought Salieri was a jerk? Haven’t you see the movie AMADEUS? Imagine my surprise when I discovered this week that Salieri’s reputation was a complete fabrication.

First, Antonio Salieri was a not only a contemporary of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, he was a friend. Moreover, Salieri was highly thought of as a composer in Europe.

So what happened? In 1898, Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov wrote an opera called MOZART AND SALIERI. Evidently, all good operas need a conflict, so Rimsky-Korsakov invented one—he portrayed Salieri so consumed by jealously, he poisoned Mozart. Seventy-five years later, producer, Peter Shaffer reinforced this depiction of Salieri in his film AMADEUS.

I guess this is called artistic license.

It is one thing when art concocts a tale that honors a person, such as Washington cutting down the cherry tree. It is quite another when art destroys a man’s reputation.

Over 46 times, the Bible talks about the sin of slander. I understand why. Sorry I thought so poorly of you, Salieri.

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