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blogging in the wee hours


Three a.m. to be exact. I just got home from a wonderful performance of “I puritani” at the Met—Anna Netrebko terrific in the soprano role–her mad scene brought the house down. She’s drifting in and out of madness all through the opera, according to the requirements of the plot (which is a historically illiterate 19th-century provincial Italian’s take on Sir Walter Scott’s mangling of 17th-century English history). It all ends happily, i.e. with her marrying her guy, but you can’t help wondering how the marriage will work out, what with her being so mentally unstable. Perhaps I shouldn’t take opera plots so seriously.

Coming through Penn Station on the way home, I saw that one of the NY tabloids has a big front-page spread on the fact that the number of US soldiers killed in Iraq has now exceeded the number of dead on 9/11. I don’t see the point of this. We embarked on the current conflict to make war against jihadists, not merely to avenge 9/11. You might as well argue that we should have stopped fighting WW2 when our combat deaths exceeded those at Pearl Harbor. In fact, with Gerry Ford in the news, I thought of the Mayaguez Incident , when we lost 15 men in combat by way of rescuing the crew of a ship the Khmer Rouge had seized and held captive, without having killed any of them. (And all of whom they released unharmed, for reasons still not understood.) Some people grumbled at the time that the losses were disproportionate to the offense we were reacting to; but I thought, and still think, Ford did the right thing.


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