Monday, June 28, 2010

These people drive me crazy!

With all due respect to Drew's Opera Thursday (below the jump)  - and hey, Drew, I think Opera Chic is cool, too - but with all due respect, this is one of the biggest pieces of drivel I've read in some time (and that's saying something).

Go read it for yourself, but the gist of it concerns Jay Nordlinger's recent article for National Review on the world premiere by the Fort Worth Opera of Before Night Falls, Jorge Martin's adaptation of Reinaldo Arenas' memoir.  Apparently, Nordlinger's attention to the atrocities of the Castro regime and the shadow it casts over Arenas' life was a little too much for the lefties in the comments section to handle.  My God, this was a nasty little piece of tripe - the comments, I mean, not Arenas' story.  (And so many liberals really seem to have such a hard time disagreeing on things without becoming nasty, don't they?)

Now Nordlinger doesn't need any defending from me (and he's a much better writer than I am, anyway) but when you read comments as foolish as these, you kinda feel an obligation to respond, even if refuting these silly comments is as easy as catching fish in a barrel. Or, as Tom Wolfe once wrote, "It was the kind of crowd that would have made the Fool Killer lower his club and shake his head and walk away, frustrated by the magnitude of the opportunity." But to start:

Patrick as you point out the article is in National Review,not Opera News. It should go without saying that this means the article's going to be written with a political sensibility. (By the way, did you know that William F. Buckley Jr. was a good friend of former Met director Schulyer Chapin Guess that must mean Buckley was part of a communist homosexual cell as well.) Now,since NR's a conservative mag,it's probably going to have a conservative perspective, don't you think? (If you do think, that is. It's certainly not apparent from the quality of your writing.) What, does this mean you're not allowed to discuss opera in a political context? I mean, there's a whole book written about Leonard Bernstein's political life. Of course, Bernstein was a flaming liberal, which I guess makes it OK. Anyway, conservatives are too busy listening to redneck country music to appreciate the finer arts. (Just ask Paul McCartney.) And as for your swipes at Reagan - puh-leeze. You can't be more creative than that?

"Kevin," if that is your real name,I was wondering when that fascist canard would pop up. For the love of God, what is it with this liberal obsession about calling conservatives fascists? As Goldberg's Liberal Fascism points out, fascism has a very intimate relationship with the left. And WFB a segregationist? If you're talking about the 60s civil rights legislation, read what Buckley had to say about it in later years. Otherwise, it's pretty obvious that "Kevin" doesn't really understand anything about politics, as well as not understanding anything about what the word fascism actually means. I'm not necessarily saying he's illiterate, just that he's not very well read.

To Doug, first of all, congrats that you've got the guts to admit you're a liberal. I don't know where you're writing from, but if you haven't heard the liberal adoration of Castro and Che, you obviously don't get around much either. Listen to Sean Penn, for example. (Hey, I didn't say they had to be smart liberals.) Love of Che is very, shall we say, chic on college campuses (and elsewhere) in this country.

And finally, to Rachel: indeed, what should we expect from a former speechwriter to GWB? Probably something that's far better written than delivered.

I don't really know why I bother writing about this, except that I needed something to start the week off here.  Really,these kinds of rantings don't deserve much more than a collective yawn.  It's so boring having to refute this kind of ignorance on a regular basis that it almost isn't even worth the effort anymore.  But I do resent the veiled implication that opera - or fine arts in general - should be the exclusive province of the arts-and-croissants crowd. Agree with me?  If so, go over to Opera Chic and leave a comment, as I did.  (I don't know if it will get published, but it's not for lack of trying.)  Most of all, don't let this kind of arrogant ignorance go unchallenged.


  1. Point taken, Mitchell. :) I went and left a comment on the site as well; someone else had written a good comment in defense of Nordlinger, although I don't see yours up yet. If you want to remove her site from the sidebar links, go ahead!

  2. After beginning voice lessons in 2002, I knew something was going to happen to me. When I lifted my voice in an operatic way, the anger with some church members came when a leader was unhappy with my stance on classical music built on the years of lessons. He called me "too opera" and preferred karaoke. When you pad your vocal resume with Messiah, Die Jahreszeiten, and now Mass in C Major (Beethoven), the congregation will turn on you when the leader boasted he prefers pop and another says redneck country.

    When Music City USA is the Schermerhorn, Charleston is the Gailliard, your "home" market is the Koger, you've sung with names such as Hill, Quackenbush, LaRoche (Jahreszeiten), Briggs, Kim, Will (Mass Cmaj), along with Siemon, Benson, and many others, and you would rather sing accompanied by Cleland, Sprott, Hilbish, and Suniga than to a karaoke machine, the insults are clear. Not just that, I've seen names such as Hanna (Messiah, 2006), Cornwell (Gianni Schicchi, 2002, and Carmina Burana, 2005) Cuttino (various), and numerous other singers (mostly those I know personally), so there is no room at the inn for country.

    As a conservative who enjoys serious music that mandates thinking (there's a great part of last week's Crosstalk radio programme that discusses church music in greater detail from a Grove City College professor's book), we are wanting serious thought.

    Last year, I reflected here that Charpentier's "Louise" was an opera that reminded me of the nation, with the Bohemian artsy crowd's disgust like that of the President and his Zombies (as the book says).

    I have appreciated opera more since a conservative friend on a Saturday Morning Political Discussion online a decade ago had a daughter in vocal performance.

    Mr. McCartney has no understanding of us because their train of thought was they were deities. In fact, I think Obama's plans for energy is an insult, considering that parts of Die Jahreszeiten we sang last year praise industry, and Mr. Obama wants to destroy industry. At Granger (the Life Enhancement Centre I've noted as part of the cultural problem), "Live and Let Die" was used as service music.


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