Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Put down that tiki torch, take up a harpsichord!




     There are several ways to characterize my Sunday night.
     First, it was musical: horns and chorus, a performance by Music of the Baroque.
     Second, it was religious, Christian specifically, as this was a Christmas concert, with tunes such as Bach’s “Ich ruf’ zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ” and “Ave Maria” by Robert Parsons.
     It was architectural: we sat in the vast sanctuary of the Divine Word Chapel in Northbrook, though “chapel” is a rather paltry term for such soaring marble splendor.
     And finally, it was connubial. My wife, who has been on a Music of the Baroque kick, suggested going — our third concert since summer — and I, dutiful spouse, agreed, particularly because she had never seen the inside of Techny Towers, and I was eager for her to see this unexpected European holy space incongruously situated in the leafy suburban paradise.
     All those elements were at play.
     What I did not consider the evening being was “white,” a part of white culture, even though the performers and sold-out audience did indeed all seem to be white. Not until I foolishly checked my email during intermission, and read one of a weekend’s worth of reader agony regarding my Friday column about how supporters of Donald Trump will plague our country long after his orange hugeness is tossed upon the ash heap of history.
     “Donald Trump is president today because Barack Obama, by any number of measures, was the worst president in U.S. history,” wrote … well, he never did sign his name. He then offered up the standard Fox News laundry list of supposed Obama flaws, ending, with this delicious conclusion. “Perhaps worst of all, he took campus politics and made them a national phenomenon.”
     Safe spaces — thanks, Obama!

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4 comments:

  1. I attended the one-night only performance of the King Singers last Thursday along with my daughter, her husband and my sister, who I sometimes remark caused me to abandon my musical career in 1948, because the lessons disturbed "the baby." It was similar in many respects to the concert Neil and his wife attended. I actually looked around assiduously during the intermission for Neil, as it seemed this would be something he'd like, probably more than me. The performers and the audience seemed all white, if you disregard my daughter, who's obviously Korean and one of the singers, who looked vaguely Asian. There are, I'm sure, many black people in the Chicago area who would know more about and would be able to appreciate the King Singers more than I, but none showed up as far as I could see. Have to add that I knew nothing about the group and didn't know they would be in Chicago until my daughter invited me to see the performance. If anybody likes a capella singing, the group will perform again in Wheaton on February 15, 2019.

    john

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  2. “Perhaps worst of all, he took campus politics and made them a national phenomenon.”

    Usually, when it comes to Obama-hater talking points, I can at least deduce what the thought process (if you can call it that) behind them might be. But this one leaves me scratching my head. What could it possibly mean?

    Could it be: 1) fascist punks like Something Spencer and Milo Whosis ended up not speaking at a college after being invited to do so by the Campus Fathead Club, 2) they despise Obama, so therefore 3) it's Obama's fault they didn't get to speak? That's my best guess, anyway.

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    1. Campus politics can include all kinds of wild liberal ideas, even accepting minorities. Used to be that they just did that in those fancy colleges so regular folks didn't have to worry about it. Obama, just by his presence, suggested that everyone should tolerate those different from themselves.

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  3. This column is significant on several levels, encouraging more self-awareness of how white culture influences thought and behavior, and the insidiousness of bigotry.

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