Friday, December 25, 2009

Keillor's genius

I have an obscenity of riches this year--over time, I have downloaded 7 different versions of the Bach Christmas Oratorio. I can't listen to all of them today but the one by a couple of Bach groups from Stuttgart (Helmuth Rilling: Stuttgart Bach Collegium, G├Ąchinger Kantorei) is in the front running. The Swabians created Mercedes-Benz and Porsche, why should I be surprised they are dynamite at singing Bach?

The only thing I forgive religion for is music and Christmas has, by FAR, the best music. Kiellor is right--we SHOULD object to the commercial dreck that sullies our musical heritage. I mean, have you ever actually eaten a roasted chestnut--and what does it have to do with Christmas? And why does Rudolf get to share the stage with Berlioz' L' Enfant du Christ, or Handel's Messiah, or O Day Full of Grace? Or the immortal Bach?

Of course, that doesn't mean that Keillor didn't set off the PC crew with his little rant. It shouldn't take long to figure out why if you read the whole thing. The paragraphs below show Keillor also understands a great deal about the absurdities of academic economics.

Don't mess with Christmas
It's a Christian holiday, dammit, and it's plain wrong to rewrite "Silent Night." Unitarians, I'm talking to you! 
BY GARRISON KEILLOR 
People in Cambridge learn to be wary of brilliance, having seen geniuses in the throes of deep thought step into potholes and disappear. 
Such as the brilliant economist Lawrence Summers, whose presidency brought Harvard to the verge of disaster. He was the man who, against the advice of his lessers, invested Harvard's operating funds in the stock market and lost the bet. In the cold light of day, this was dumber than dirt, like putting the kids' lunch money on Valiant's Fancy to win in the fifth. 
And now the genius is in the White House, two short flights of stairs above the Oval Office. This does not make Cambridgeans feel better about our nation's economic future. 
You can blame Ralph Waldo Emerson for the brazen foolishness of the elite. He preached here at the First Church of Cambridge, a Unitarian outfit (where I discovered that "Silent Night" has been cleverly rewritten to make it more about silence and night and not so much about God), and Emerson tossed off little bons mots that have been leading people astray ever since. "To be great is to be misunderstood," for example. This tiny gem of self-pity has given license to a million arrogant and unlovable people to imagine that their unpopularity somehow was proof of their greatness. 
And all his hoo-ha about listening to the voice within and don't follow the path, make your own path and leave a trail and so forth, encouraged people who might've been excellent janitors to become bold and innovative economists who run a wealthy university into the ditch.

No comments:

Post a Comment