Remembering a campaign slogan, &c.



A member of Fatah’s Central Committee — these are the “moderate” Palestinians, remember — told Lebanese television, “By God, if we’d had a nuclear weapon, we would have used it this morning.”

Oh, I believe you, baby. (The Palestinian leader in question, by the way, is Jibril Rajoub.) I believe you. You don’t have to tell me.

So, the tornado in Oklahoma? I have heard it blamed on 1) global warming and 2) the sequester. You know, it may have been less annoying when people just blamed stuff on the Jews . . .

Last week, there was a wonderful dinner in New York, hosted by Dana Perino and Mark French. Mark is the head of Leading Authorities, an agency in Washington. Dana is the former Bush 43 spokesman and current Fox News star. Also present was her suave British husband, Peter McMahon.

And the guest of honor? Another Brit, Charles Moore, one of the best writers in English (no less). Let me give you a link that you will value: here. This is Moore’s archive at the Telegraph. He will inform, console, provoke, and uplift.

He is Thatcher’s authorized biographer, and the first volume of that biography has just appeared: here. He is surely the foremost Thatcher expert in the world. But he must not be thought of as a specialist. On theater, politics, literature, world affairs — he’s one you want to read.

Even his columns on banking are interesting, I swear. I remember a column of his on banks — their purpose, their responsibility — that was downright moving.

The last column I have read is this one, on the new Gatsby film. A faithful adaptation of a book is not necessarily a good film, he says. A film must be its own, separate-but-related work. And I recommend a very peculiar and interesting column from two months ago: this one. Donne wrote a poem called “Good Friday, 1613. Riding Westward.” Four hundred years later, Moore did the same thing. He didn’t write a poem. But he rode westward, and wrote a column about it.

He’s the only person on earth who could have, or would have, written such a column, I think. It is “anthologizable,” as Bill Buckley would say. I my own bad self might have worked up a column on Donne, Good Friday, and the fate of civilization. But the ride? No way.

Regular readers of my column are familiar with Moore, and they are also familiar with Michael Hersch, the American composer. For a magazine profile I did of him last year, go here.

Over the centuries, composers have written pieces for their children — and other children, by extension. Hersch has followed in that tradition. He and his wife Karen have a daughter named Abigail. Abby was born on the 250th anniversary of Mozart’s birth: January 27, 2006.

Daddy’s Child’s Piece is in A minor (no sharps or flats). Here is Abby playing it — in public. It’s hard to know what to be more impressed by: the piece and its craftsmanship, or the performance by this seven-year-old gem.

What aplomb! What a sense of rhythm! What accuracy! What leaps across the keyboard! What a sense of musical purpose!

Have you had enough of a column for one day? This is a shortish one, but I don’t think you can top or follow Abby.

UPDATE: This column has been amended since its original posting.


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