In Impromptus today — Part II of an “Oslo journal” — I report what I think is the freakiest, bizarrest thing I’ve ever reported. I’m standing in the lobby of the Grand Hotel, talking with an eminent human-rights lawyer. We’re talking about China. We’re griping mightily about Hu Jintao’s state visit to Washington. President Obama rolled out the red carpet for the ChiComs as if for some delegation composed of Pericles, Bolívar, and Churchill. The 2009 Nobel peace laureate fêted the jailers and persecutors of the 2010 Nobel peace laureate and his family. Lang Lang, the pianist, provided the entertainment at the big White House banquet (and in a particularly nauseating way).
Anyway, the lawyer and I are griping about all this — and in walks Lang Lang.
Get this straight, please: Right there, in that particular hotel, in a Scandinavian capital, Lang Lang suddenly appeared. It was as though my curses had summoned him. What are the odds? I couldn’t begin to calculate them. (It transpired that Lang Lang was playing a recital in town the next night.)
As I’ve noted in this blog before, Lang Lang has a position with the CCP, the Chinese Communist Party: He’s a vice president of the All China Youth Federation. The “basic task” of this federation — I’m quoting the Party now, so don’t mess with me, or it — is to “uphold patriotism and the banner of socialism, rally and educate young people from every ethnic group, encourage youth to study Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, and Jiang Zemin’s Three Represents,” etc.
If I’d had my wits about me, I would have walked up to Lang Lang and said, “Excuse me, but could you explain to me about the Three Represents?”
P.S. My fellow music critic Fred Kirshnit, in a review of this pianist, wrote, “. . . Mr. Lang. (Or is it Mr. Lang?)”
P.P.S. I myself, writing about Lang Lang, have quoted Jimmy Durante: “New York, New York: a name so sweet, you’ve got to say it twice.”