Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Art In the Service of Evil

[I originally wrote this last summer, August, actually, and I am editing it for today's currency.]

I do not apologize for the difficulty of this post, just as neither Adams or Beethoven would not. The complexity of this piece and my concept require that the reader must pay attention. Must.

It's my intention that, if you would be so kind as to observe the word and order of the video performances in this post, dear reader, you shall come to a gratifying end.

Imagine the time. 1824 and John Quincy Adams, a Founder of our United States and a rebel by the way, is President of the United States.

One of the finest pieces of human art creation I know of is Beethoven's 9th Symphony, known as "The Chorale" symphony and it debuts in said 1824. Imagine that you composed, but you never physically heard it. That would make you Beethoven. There's a little bit of it that makes you, well, you.

Be embraced, you millions! This kiss for the whole world!
Brothers, beyond the stars, a loving Father dwells
You bow down, you millions? Do you sense the Creator, world?
Seek Him beyond the stars! Beyond the stars must He dwell.
Be embraced, ye millions! This kiss for the whole world!
Brothers, beyond the stars must a loving Father dwell. Be embraced,
This kiss for the whole world! Joy, beautiful spark of the gods,
Daughter of Elysium, Joy, beautiful spark of the gods
These are the wildly crazy words of Schiller, that Beethoven put to music. Now, watch.

This first part, to measure against, is from 1942, April 20th; Hitlers birthday , Kurt Furtwangler conducting. Notice the people's faces in both the orchestra and the audience.

Observe - the conductor, Furtwangler, is a MANIAC in this performance, and the orchestra result is all "Eh. I've had better." He was a world reknown conductor beforehand and his co-option by the Nazis.

And the audience are zombies. Including the wounded. Are these "millions" embraced? No. And does this sort of staged shit look familiar, like, say, the State of the Union, pick one, since 2003?

'Bout these here performers. Are they free? No.

Are they kissed? Probably not. And there's definiteley no lube, if you know what I mean.

Lets move to the reconstruction period in Europe. Previously, SadButTrue urged homework re: the difference between "Manifest Destiny" and "Lebensraum."

Well, here's a 1949 offering from those who lived through "lebensraum" and are pretty well into the Marshall Plan.

There's a very sobering difference when one observes it. The Prague ("Praha" in my family) folks during the Marshall Plan years have an entirely different performance. It's workman-like, and understandably so, since they are re-building. Notice how the simpler approach yields an entirely different performance.

A sober, simple and methodical approach is entirely appropriate, free from the yolk of Nazi oppression, AND IT BECOMES UPLIFTING! Instead of stilted as before. Observe the faces between the 2 videos so far. Video 1, the Nazis suck. Look at all the crossed arms in #1 and the serious faces. There is no Joy in #1. But - people are so serious about their "Freude" ("Joy") in #2 in Marshall Plan Prague. The tone is lighter, but is that all? Nope - the Czechs are STILL SINGING THE GERMAN WORDS! You see, the shit Nazi German has left, but the German Art remains.

This fucking brilliant next-door-neighbor, Beethoven, over 100 fucking years ago, made this shit, it's brilliant, it's in German and these folks just don't care that the Germans have totally fucked them in the ass, they CARE ABOUT THE ART! And they should. Beauty was bereft for so long, discrimination had no place along side it. And that makes those particular Czechs so pure of heart, for their time and place, I can't tell you how much it makes me tear up in hope for the future.

The simple fact of their breathing and volume and enthusiasm in the piece are worlds apart from video #1. They have SURVIVED THE MUTHERFUCKERS and are now PROSPERING, albeit barely and by scratch. They blame the Nazis and their fascism, and do not confuse it with Beethoven. Heavenly people, really.

And now, to my ultimate point:

Again- look at the peoples faces, in both the orchestra and the audience. It's so simple for Bernstein and his audience. The smiles alone tell the jubilation of the performance.

Here's the way I look at this. You can only have one opportunity to bastardize a great work of humans for a political agenda. To my mind, what happens is, you get one shot at the bastardization. TIME will prove as the Great Corrector.

The FISA bill is exactly the kind of thing that is the subject of Beethoven's only opera, Fidelio. Is that going to pass? Odds say yes.

If so, it could very well be that we could never ever have again such a performance as the Bernstein 9th Symphony in our lifetimes. In fact, Fidelio could ultimately be the victim of a soft ban. You know, dying by "well, it could never happen here." It is totally fucking dark here, right now, God, if you're listening.

So note to Obama: You ain't Furtwangler. You have a choice to be Eric Kleiber or Leonard Bernstein. I say, be Bernstein. That's what will guarantee you two terms instead of one, buddy. You told us on August 01, 2007

[...] This Administration also puts forward a false choice between the liberties we
cherish and the security we demand. I will provide our intelligence and law enforcement agencies with the tools they need to track and take out the terrorists without undermining our Constitution and our freedom.

That means no more illegal wire-tapping of American citizens. No more national security letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime. No more tracking citizens who do nothing more than protest a misguided war. No more ignoring the law when it is inconvenient. That is not who we are. And it is not what is necessary to defeat the terrorists. The FISA court works. The separation of powers works. Our Constitution works. We will again set an example for the world that the law is not subject to the whims of stubborn rulers, and that justice is not arbitrary.

This Administration acts like violating civil liberties is the way to enhance our security. It is not. There are no short-cuts to protecting America, and that is why the fifth part of my strategy is doing the hard and patient work to secure a more resilient homeland.

Too often this Administration's approach to homeland security has been to scatter money around and avoid hard choices, or to scare Americans without telling them what to be scared of, or what to do. A Department set up to make Americans feel safer didn't even show up when bodies drifted through the streets in New Orleans.
That's not acceptable. [emphasis mine]

That's an entirely clear promise. Keep it. And by the way, You, Constitutional Professor, Know Better. Shame on you.

Shame. [shaking head]


The Nazi types may never again appropriate Beethoven's 9th Symphony. They will have to have US give it to them to do so again. Let us keep this particular torch unto ourselves, and never surrender it lightly. But are we surrendering?

I am dreading the day that I have to write the whole "Abschuelicher" thing again.

[Fidelio-Leonore ( woman who dresses as a man to get the job
done - UC)
appears on the scene: "Abscheulicher, wo eilst du hin,
was hast du vor?" (despicable one, where are you hurrying off to, what is your

In trembling agitation, the orchestra accompanies the fearful lamentations of the plagued woman's heart. Then Leonore regains her posture; in a wondrous passage (introduced and accompanied by the strings, woodwinds and soft playing of the horns), "Komm, Hoffnung, laß den letzten Stern der Müden nicht rbleichen" (come, hope, do not let the last star of the weary one fade away).

And then Leonore rejoices, "Ich folg dem innern Triebe, ich wanke nicht" (
will follow my inner notions, I will not falter
). She sings herself into a delirious state. --At the request of Fidelio, Rocco orders that the prison cells be opened.

With a chorus that can hardly still be described "earthly", the prisoners welcome fresh air and light. Here, the outer course of events stand completely still. Yet, the expression of the inner meaning of the events is so strong that one would not consider this chorus as an interruption but rather as a first breath of air of the freedom to come
(emphasis mine) ]
Surrender your art NOT to the service of evil. And I know you folks won't. I am just challenging every frikking Dem in the Senate and the house, and not just on FISA.

But, fuck. [*] Beethoven would roll in his grave if he knew that the previous folks had ever used his Art to an ill-purposed, fascist or otherwise anti-human situation.

Be embraced ye millions - this kiss, Freedom, is for the whole world.

* This post was curse-word enhanced more than regular posting I do. Just because I wanted to.