- At 2Blowhards, Michael offers an excellent piece on the latest disturbing, exhaustingly trying trend: crying at the office. In this confessional, Oprahfied, touchy-feely culture we've developed, I suppose this shouldn't be surprising. The stat of the day, from Michael: "One shrink estimates that 'the average college student in 2006 was 30% more narcissistic than the average student in 1982.' Given how self-centered college kids were back in the early '80s, that's a frightening figure." And that, as I am wont to say, explains a lot.
- At Architecture and Morality, Relievedebtor asks whether the Imus flap hurts or helps conservatives. Does the almost complete ban on serious discussion of issues such as race mean, as Relievedebtor fears, that "unless there is enormous push-back among voters and consumers, the sensitive nature of political correctness in America Imus exposed will make it much harder for a conservative to now be elected president," or will it be that "If the frustration over what happened to Imus and the subsequent debate about hip-hop and hypocrisy in the media builds, an outspoken conservative may be able to awaken the sleeping Republicans." I hope for the second, but fear the first. But I agree wholeheartedly with his conclusion, that "ideas must continue to be of primary importance, not the opinions of others." Including bloggers!
- Two wildly differing opinions on Puccini's Il Trittico, which appears tomorrow afternoon as the Met's final moviecast of the season. An Unamplified Voice was distinctly unimpressed with it, while Jay Nordlinger at the New York Sun was far more favoribly disposed. I always enjoy reading Nordlinger; his opinions are frequently reliable, and when he doesn't like something he has a way of letting you know without resorting to the cattiness so often present in reviews of this type. So who's right? Perhaps we'll know after the live broadcast tomorrow.
- Mstislav Rostropovich, one of the greatest cellists ever and a staunch opponent of Communism, died earlier today. A friend of Solzhenitsyn, Rostropovich was outspoken in fighting for the rights of dissidents and eventually fled the Soviet Union in the 70s. He memorably performed Bach at the base of the crumbling Berlin Wall, returned to Russia during the abortive Communist coup attempt in 1991, and will remain a giant of classical music long for as long as there is classical music. R.I.P.