Getting oneself in hot water

I am surprised by all the opposition to my argument for not burning the unpublished Nabokov manuscript.  I say this: we limit all sorts of destructive transactions for the living, so why not every now and then a limitation upon the wishes of the dead?  I was not staking out the extreme (but possibly true) position that the wishes of the dead should count for nothing.

I might add that the status quo is permitting the Nabokov manuscript to
be published and that civil society has not collapsed.  Nor are people panicking that their gravestones will be overturned three years hence and sold to finance the expansion of the EITC.

In any case I propose a thought experiment.  If you disagree with me, you should never have read Kafka or Virgil, nor should you set foot in the British Museum, go to an ancient Egyptian art exhibit, or for that matter visit any ethnographic museum.  Lots of that stuff was taken from graves.  They probably didn’t want "the public" to look at it and yes that includes you.  How many of the nay-sayers will pledge they have behaved this way or even that they are much bothered they didn’t? 

Nor are you allowed to hear Doors tribute bands, remixed or recombined Beatle vocals (would John have approved?) and who knows about late Schubert or Mahler’s 10th?  Better safe than sorry and that goes for unapproved translations and editions as well, or how about any religious compendium that refers to the Hebrew Bible as "The Old Testament"?  Don’t even pick it up.  I do in fact regard Sussmayr’s completion of Mozart’s Requiem as an aesthetic crime but not a moral one; it is better to hear the work unfinished.  The really sad thing is how many people like the revised version.


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