Utopian Turtletop. Monsieur Croche's Bête Noire. Contact: turtletop [at] hotmail [dot] com

Tuesday, May 04, 2004


Reading a review of the new Stephen Sondheim musical in the "New Yorker" last week, I was wondering why theater critics and not music critics review musicals. But of course, I remembered, music critics are segregated by genre. Jazz, pop (mostly rock, country & hip hop), and classical -- and musical theater is theater, not music, by this taxonomy. It’s as if movie reviewers were segregated by genre -- only “thriller” critics review thrillers, only “comedy” critics review comedies, and foreign-language films are reviewed by linguists.

Then I noticed: The “New Yorker” reviewer pans the new Sondheim musical on the basis of a weak script and never once mentions the music. Not once.


I was feeding breakfast to the baby dude and reading the paper this morning, and a letter to the editor from a World War 2 veteran named Robert Eckert in today's Seattle P-I made me break down sobbing. Eckert tells the story of sitting around with some WW2 veteran friends shortly after Bush launched the "Iraq war debacle," trying to figure out Bush & Co.' motivation. Oil, religion, and vengeance are mentioned as possibilities.

"The 18-year-old grandson of one of my friends who had been listening to the conversation said, 'You old guys think too much. Bush has an itch. The military has an itch. Cheney and Rumsfeld have itches. All of the itches are a little different, but build toward one goal: Find a common enemy and a reason that the public will buy, then unleash hell on earth. Most of the kids my age know they will be called on to scratch the itch even if it kills them. The young will pay for it one way or another for years to come.'

"What do kids know? We all agreed that the war was a combination of everything we said it was and nothing that Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld said it was. We continued drinking our coffee, and talking about the old times."

It was the pure affection expressed in the pseudo-dismissive banter of "What do kids know?" that broke the dam for me. Love, letting me grieve for the destruction and suffering and gall.

The baby dude didn't know what to make of my crying and pretended to laugh, to try to cheer me up.

Comments: Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?