A blog formerly known as Bookishness

By Charles Matthews

"Dazzled by so many and such marvelous inventions, the people of Macondo ... became indignant over the living images that the prosperous merchant Bruno Crespi projected in the theater with the lion-head ticket windows, for a character who had died and was buried in one film and for whose misfortune tears had been shed would reappear alive and transformed into an Arab in the next one. The audience, who had paid two cents apiece to share the difficulties of the actors, would not tolerate that outlandish fraud and they broke up the seats. The mayor, at the urging of Bruno Crespi, explained in a proclamation that the cinema was a machine of illusions that did not merit the emotional outbursts of the audience. With that discouraging explanation many ... decided not to return to the movies, considering that they already had too many troubles of their own to weep over the acted-out misfortunes of imaginary beings."
--Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What I'm Listening To

George Gershwin, Porgy and Bess. Willard White (Porgy); Cynthia Haymon (Bess); Harolyn Blackwell (Clara); Damon Evans (Sporting Life); Bruce Hubbard (Jake); Cynthia Clarey (Serena); Marietta Simpson (Maria); Gregg Baker (Crown). Glyndebourne Chorus, London Philharmonic Orchestra, conduced by Simon Rattle.

I'll never give up my fondness for the old Leontyne Price-William Warfield highlights album -- on which Price not only sings Bess's arias but also Clara's "Summertime" and Serena's "My Man's Gone Now" -- but this complete version is undeniably one of the great opera recordings. The cast is superb and the choral and orchestral work outstanding, but the real genius lies in Simon Rattle's conducting. Seriously, if you don't own this one, you should. (The video below is from a made-for-TV version available on DVD, with Haymon and White, conducted by Rattle.)

Outfoxing Fox?

John Scalzi on why the Obama administration's attack on Fox News is a smart strategy.
The White House says Fox News is not a real news organization and is the propaganda arm of the GOP, Fox News throws a very public shit fit about it, which gives it higher ratings and an impetus to skew even more to the right in its presentation, and go out of its way to criticize Obama even further. Meanwhile the noise is all covered by multiple other news outlets, which in aggregate reach a much larger audience, which show Fox News anchors and personalities in the middle of ideological conniptions, confirming to the general population the proposition that, indeed, Fox News is more interested in politics than news, and reinforcing the impression that Fox News and the GOP are reading off the same page. Which makes the GOP look unreasonable in an era in which its popularity isn’t, shall we say, spectacular to begin with.