Wednesday, August 04, 2004

We are all donuts

Bunnies are the new black: brown and dead.

PS to Alex Ross: You put it best, I think, in your 1998 article (the dim recollection of which inspired my earlier comments):

Wagner´┐Żs angriest modern critics have suggested that he would have approved of Nazi Germany if he had lived to see it. His angriest defenders answer that he would have been horrified by the uses to which his music was put. The argument is a foolish one: Wagner was a man of the nineteenth century, Hitler a man of the twentieth.

First of all, who wasn't an anti-semite then? This is not to relativize the problem, just contextualize it. To me Wagner is most interesting as a source for a particular historical moment, but also as a kind of case study of romanticism's outer limits (or logical conclusion, depending on your point of view). No matter how horrible he was, his work is important in that respect, and also, of course, as "art" on its own terms (which I am less qualified to assess). I do not even believe that Germans (or Wagner fans) should be forced to "come to terms with that legacy" all the time -- unnecessarily literalist. The dogs, however, struck me as more Disney than quirky, and that, the faux-humanizing, seemed more distasteful than usual in this context. But your defense of Bayreuth itself is well-taken. If anything, it seems to me, it ensures that we return to this issue annually. I just wish we could persuade people to do it without exploding scoreboards and lots of shiny objects.

Random synapse firing: this reminds me, I've been meaning to buy a copy of the best-subtitled book ever, so I can regale everyone with disturbing similarities between our present state of affairs and the situation in post-Versailles Germany. If you're lucky...

ionarts reports that the dogs have been removed, presumably because of my criticism.

Seriously, though, who doesn't love dogs?


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