Monday, May 12, 2008

Works Cited

Like the Druzes, like the moon, like death, like next week, the distant past is one of those things that can enrich ignorance. It is infinitely malleable and agreeable, far more obliging than the future and far less demanding of our efforts. It is the famous season favored by all mythologies.

Who has not, at one point or another, played with thoughts of his ancestors, with the prehistory of his flesh and blood? I have done so many times, and many times it has not displeased me to think of myself as Jewish. It is an idle hypothesis, a frugal and sedentary adventure that harms no one, not even the name of Israel, as my Judaism is wordless, like the songs of Mendelssohn. The magazine Crisol, in its issue of January 30, decided to gratify my retrospective hope; it speaks of my "Jewish ancestry, maliciously hidden" (the participle and the adverb amaze and delight me)...

Two hundred years and I can't find the Israelite; two hundred years and my ancestor still eludes me.

I am grateful for the stimulus provided by Crisol, but hope is dimming that I will ever be able to discover my link to the Table of Breads and the Sea of Bronze; to Hein, Gleizer, and the ten Sefiroth; to Ecclesiastes and Chaplin.

Jorge Luis Borges, I, a Jew

Out of all the millions of Amazon customer reviews

...this is without a doubt my favorite:

Ever wonder why Beethoven was der Fuhrer's favorite composer? Then these recordings are for you. I am normally against dragging the politics of an artist into a discussion of his work. But Karajan's reported 11 years of active membership in the Nazi party really seem to have been a major influence on his musical aesthetic. These recordings present a Beethoven of unrelieved aggression and inhuman discipline. Tempos are fast, dynamics tend towards the loud and anything approaching a march rhythm is goose-stepped. The unanimity of the Berlin Philharmonic is technically amazing (and somewhat frightening). One never gets the sense of an individual musician playing an instrument. Everyone is just a cog in the absolutely perfect Karajan Machine. But aside from aggressiveness, the music is barely characterized. Beethoven's poetics? Nonexistent. It's no wonder that the Sixth is an utterly ludicrous failure. It's one thing to take a walk in the Polish countryside, quite another to stage a military invasion.

Seasoned music geeks of course know this is ridiculously false: Hitler's favorite composer was Christopher Cross (as evidenced by the infamous Braun mixtape).

Sunday, May 11, 2008

So the Volokhs Left for Texas

And the firmament's bawling in despair.

[9:51:29 PM] Scott says: I didn't want you to feel gay, so I hugged Sasha too.

[9:51:59 PM] Jay Goodman Tamboli says:
hah. Thanks. I'm sure he's scrubbing ferociously in the shower right now.

[9:52:10 PM] Jay Goodman Tamboli says:
"Can't… get… the stink… off…"

[9:52:55 PM] Scott says:
Him and me both. I just walked through an ocean to get home and I still smell like vodka and beets.