Romanticism, sexual orientation, and rich people

Tim BlanningBBC History

“Art is no longer viewed as being representational or as recreational but as essentially expressive–that’s at the heart of the romantic revolution. It changes the purpose of culture from serving some other cause or patron to being artist-centered, that is, expressing what the artist feels inside himself or herself, and once that lep has been made from a work-centered to an artist-centered aesthetic, then the way has been cleared for music, which is the most expressive of all the arts, the way is cleared for music to move to the top of the heap.”

“One of the red threads that runs through [Wagner’s The Ring] is a critique of power, that it is the lust for power…[that it] corrupts and that there is in this constant struggle…the demands of love which must be privileged. So in that sense the meaning of The Ring was diametrically opposed to the ethos of the German empire with its triumphalism and its materialism. [ . . . ] If Hitler had understood…what [Wagner] was exposing…he would have [realized that] what he was trying to do was fundamentally misguided. [ . . . Wagner] would have been appalled. [ . . . ] He believed that Bismarck was ‘a brutal barbarian.’ [ . . . ] He was so appalled by the German militarism after 1871 that he talked about emigrating to the United States of America.”

“Professor Feldblum Introduces Moral Values Project”

27 Nov 06 @ Georgetown.

One’s sexual orientation is morally neutral, but the positive communication engendered by sex concomitant with one’s orientation is necessary and unique, and some would consider positive communication a good. Encountering those who consider homosexuality an aberration, an evil, allows potential dialogue introducing the question, “is it thus regarded merely because of something in Leviticus?” And is purely religious evidence reason enough to enforce anti-gay law? Tolerance is not enough, although it is a necessary first step. I find Feldblum’s project hopeful and admirable, but I think back to those I’ve known who have one book on their shelf, and who believe dinosaurs and gays never existed, and that a nation built on Christian values can uphold a separation of Church and State, and I don’t think that a handful of wealthy intellectuals can do much to change the world…except via violence.

“The Bin Ladens”

Steve Coll 24 Apr 08 @ London School of Economics and Political Science.

I suppose it’s no wonder that Bill Clinton played saxophone and George Bush is the guy everyone wants to drink a beer with, that somehow the key to American power is to appear simple, normal, middle-class, and just seem to fall into the good fortune of great fortune, all during the time of MTV’s Real World, and the explosion of the internet. I went out with a girl who did a lot of scoffing, and she scoffed at me for having read Zinn’s People’s History, and made some comment about it being a pernicious load of misguiding shit, and only now do I begin to wonder if, honestly, Leopold and Loeb are of more timeless relevance than Sacco and Vanzetti–I think yes. And I have trouble understanding the connection between the shits I went to high school with, all five-hundred of them very handsome, captains of the football team, graduating with highest honors, and going on to Harvard, yet unable to lead a decent conversation. I always liked to assume our enemies to be a ragtag group of fundamentalists who just happened to luck out back on 9/11–no–can it be that they’re just like us? The nation’s poor misled by the nation’s billionaires? Is it true that the bin Ladens have a rags-to-riches story that rivals anything Horatio Alger wrote? A Kennedy family with high ethics? When I stop answering the phone because all my friends have decided it’d be better to defer their dreams until after they have their own law practices and can let others work for them, they tell me “you’re so naive–honestly, you can make your fortune, and then be an artist,”–if you still have a soul. But it occurred to me today–rich people don’t have to worry about dying–because they have health care! Do you remember when Kennedy died? Do you remember the fiery chariot that swept down from the clouds and took his golden figure back to the heavens?

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