Wednesday, November 14, 2007

WETA-FM Critic At Large Jens F. Laurson And Pan Cogito Fail To Agree About The Depth Of Racism And Pseudo-Intellectualism In Classical Music Today

"For ionarts classical music contributor, and WETA-FM critic-at-large, Jens F. Laurson to call former Washington Mayor Marion Barry a “bona fide awful and utterly worthless human being;” and Tim Page “one of [Washington’s] very finest members” reveals, to me, some of the underlying racism and damaging elitism of classical music in America today – a topic discussed recently by Richard Taruskin in his long The New Republic article, “The Musical Mystique”.

Like Marion Barry and numerous other politicians, numerous members of the classical music profession have been arrested on drug charges – including, early in their careers, San Francisco Symphony conductor Michael Tilson Thomas and violinist Elmar Oliveira ; or have faced tax and financial irregularity charges -- such as, more recently, conductor Stephen Simon.

In his new book, Alex Ross describes leading American, Pulitzer Prize winning composer John Adams as a user of illegal drugs both as a college student and as a young classical composer. Does that make him a “bona fide awful and utterly worthless human being;” or was Adams just lucky not to be caught -- and for the classical music world to be tolerant of illegal drug use?

It would appear to me that critic-at-large Laurson holds Thomas, Oliveira, Simon, and Adams as less “awful, despicable, and worth-less human beings” because they are “classical musicians” and “European-Americans”, and not “African-American” nor older politicians toiling for economic development and social justice in the slums of one of America’s richest cities.

Unlike Mr Laurson, Mr Page appears – according to the follow-up coverage – to have had the intelligence to realize the damage of his intemperate remark."

Garth Trinkl. Composer, librettist, and economist. Posted to Charles T. Downey's ionarts website under "Tim Page Leaving the Post Early" on Tuesday, November 13, 2007at 5:30 PM, EDT.


"Mr. Trinkel [sic], you [sic] incisive comment once again proves your superiority. How could I have missed in my own intemperate remark the signs of a severe affliction of racism. Can I make up for it by calling the aforementioned Michael Tilson Thomas, Elmar Oliveira, Stephen Simon, John Adams bona fide awful and utterly worthless human beings if they, too, don't pay their taxes and violate the terms of their probation and test positive for cocaine use after already being a convicted felon?

I had thought the idea of turning this into a race issue was the provenance of Mr. Barry himself - who linked the e-mail his staffer received with mass slaughter, feels like the e-mail only further contributes to it being "almost open season on black people in the country" and called Tim Page a "Low-Life". (There's irony, if you want it.)

To bring Taruskin's article into this veers between pointless hilarity and inane pseudo-intellectual hogwash."

[WETA-FM Critic-at-Large] Jens F. Laurson. Posted to Charles T. Downey's ionarts website under "Tim Page Leaving the Post Early" on Tuesday, November 13, 2007 at 6:20PM, EDT.

Hercules takes a break. The goddess Athena pours him a cup of wine.

Mount Holyoke 1925.BS.II.3, Attic black figure skyphos, c. 500 B.C.E.

"For the fifth labor, Eurystheus ordered Hercules to clean up King Augeas' stables. Hercules knew this job would mean getting dirty and smelly, but sometimes even a hero has to do these things. Then Eurystheus made Hercules' task even harder: he had to clean up after the cattle of Augeas in a single day."

The Augean Stables: Hercules Cleans Up

Photo credit: (c) Maria Daniels, courtesy of the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum. 2007.


Nikita Stewart "Some on [District of Columbia City] Council Now Doubt Wisdom of Hospital Deal: Members Say Faith in City Officials Was Shaken by 11th-Hour Notice of Financial Risks in $79 Million Plan" Washington Post November 2, 2007.


Blogger jodru said...

hmmm, this little comment battle seems to have been erased off of ionarts.

wonder why?

11:00 AM  

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