Saturday, September 26, 2009

Around the Web

While this post is slightly tardy, I plan on using future Fridays simply to highlight or briefly comment on articles, images, and goings on germane to the themes of this site but that I do not intend formally to address. Items here may be already well-discussed, of self-evident significance, et cetera. Without further introduction, the first installment of Around the Web.

1. The new season at the Metropolitan Opera in NYC began with a new production of Puccini's Tosca. Reviews from the Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal. The production was apparently greeted with booing, displeasure, and a touch of ennui. Here are some images of the previous production and the current, courtesy The NY Post:

The Met's new general manager, Peter Gelb, explained, "For those people who are unhappy, what do they want us to do? Run the same production for the next 50 years? If we don't update productions, this art form will die out." This is an odd remark in two respects. First, it assumes people did not like the production simply because it was new, instead of what seems to be the case, which is they disliked it because it is ugly. Second, (and if by "art form" he means opera) it assumes that the opera must be updated to remain relevant, and under that assumption also assumes that a change of sets qualifies as necessary change to achieve relevancy. It is also possible he simply meant that if we do not build new sets there will not be enough of a demand for people to build them and thus the craft of set-making will die out. I'm note sure if that is plausible.

Franco Zeffirelli, designer of the previous production, reportedly gave what I think is the appropriate response, "You can't stage an opera without keeping in mind what the author wanted." Productions may of course change, but the changes must be appropriate to the work and explicable as improvements.

2. At the WSJ, Paul Marshall reviews the new book, Reflections on the Revolution in Europe by Christopher Caldwell, observing of Europe's secular suicide, that "Western Europe became a multiethnic society in a fit of absence of mind. . ." and while "Many Europeans are determined to defend their values. . . it is hard to defend what you cannot define."

3. Lionel Chetwynd and Roger Simon over at Pajamas TV's Poliwood discuss the recent NEA uproar. Specifically, they consider that while a civilization has an obligation to pass on its culture to subsequent generations, or at least the best of and most essential aspects of its culture, perhaps it is simply impossible to have the government perform the task without opening wide the doors to corruption.

4. Earn Big $$$ the NEA Way!

5. Christopher Hitchens laments the sad and unfunny state of liberal comedy.

6. Similarly, movie critic Christian Toto points out how the satirical news source The Onion saw fit to mock the Alzheimer's Disease of a deceased American President who held office twenty years ago instead of poking fun at the incumbent.

7. A bevy of economists weigh in on the likelihood of short-term and long-term inflation.

8. John Ziegler points out that liberals are apparently still apoplectic and frothing over Sarah Palin.

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