You can read the article here: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/aug/06/hungary-culture-crushed?INTCMP=SRCH&utm_source=mandiner&utm_medium=link&utm_campaign=mandiner_hungarianglobe_201308
I agree with the basic premise of Szirtes' outrage - I don't like the idea of art being used solely for ideological purposes either, but what bothers me about Szirtes's article is the double-standard he fails to declare and the bias he chooses to hide.
Most of the Hungarian writers and artists Szirtes mentions in his article have shady roots in the old communist regime. Peter Esterhazy recently discovered his father was a communist informer. Marta Meszaros's parents were both ardent communists - so much so that they chose to move to Moscow in the 1930's. Ironically, Meszaros's father was consequently killed in a Stalinist purge. Even lauded film director Istvan Szabo, whose film Sunshine achieved international success and recognition, was a communist informer who provided the secret police with information about dozens of people.
So, what's the big deal? Well, what Szirtes does not acknowledge in his article is that most of the artists and thinkers he mentions, in addition to hundreds of others he does not mention, helped co-opt Hungary's culture for decades. Many were rewarded handsomely for it with support and grants and cushy positions in the former communist power structure. While these artists were towing the communist line in various forms, hundreds, if not thousands, of other writers and artists were censored, arrested, or simply blacklisted. Fidesz's push to place what Szirtes refers to as fascist writers in curriculums and supporting "patriotic" artists, most of whom were suppressed and denied a voice for decades because of communism, is anathema, but somehow keeping former communist creators and their creations in the forefront of Hungarian culture is perfectly acceptable - nay, necessary to preserve Hungarian culture.
Uh . . . okay.
Once again, I am not against the premise of Szirtes's objection to what is going on in Hungary at the moment. Too much government influence in the world of the arts is not a good thing, regardless of the ideology being touted. Art should always aim to be higher than either politics or economics. What bothers me is Szirtes's slithery obfuscation of the crushing and co-opting of Hungarian culture that went on for decades long before the current ruling Fidesz government embarked upon its cultural programs. Szirtes and his merry band of culture warriors must acknowledge this rather inconvenient past if they want to their concerns about the present to be taken seriously . . . by me at least.