Planets and Their Languages

by Jay Nordlinger

Today, we publish Part III of my “California Journal.” (It wraps up tomorrow.) The subheading of Part III is a quotation: “I feel air from another planet.” It comes from Schoenberg’s String Quartet No. 2, which launched a new musical age (or symbolized such a launching). More specifically, it comes from one of the two poems set by Schoenberg. Both are by Stefan George. And this particular poem is “Entrückung,” or “Rapture.” “Ich fühle luft von anderem planeten.” “I feel air from another planet.”

Well. I have no doubt that, since cave-man days, older people have felt on different planets from younger people. And younger people have felt on different planets from older people. “What planet are you living on?” some people say, expressing their incomprehension at others.

Bewilderment at the young is a cliché, I realize. And yet, holy Moses: The identity-politics-ese that some students speak is absolute Greek to me. I do try to keep up. I read Twitter and all. But this stuff is really far-out. And I don’t think it reflects any good.

Is that “Get off my lawn”? Or “Turn down that music”? Or is it a point?

Anyway, see what you think.

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