Culture

The Corner

The Maestro and the Donald

Harvey Sachs, a music writer and historian, has written a big, fat, great biography of Toscanini, the conductor. I reviewed it in our August 14 issue. Today and tomorrow, I am expanding that review in my Impromptus. For the first installment, go here.

I’ve got something that may amuse you. Over the weekend, a friend of mine sent me an audio clip of Toscanini in rehearsal. Toscanini flips out, as he was wont to do. He goes absolutely psycho on the bass players. On YouTube, the heading is “Toscanini DESTROYS a bass section.”

That’s the way they do it on Twitter and all over the Internet. So-and-so DESTROYS so-and-so. Or so-and-so administers a SAVAGE beatdown. All these tough guys at their computer keyboards, working out their belligerence. I picture them as pasty little fellas who never played sports.

Anyway, I wrote to my friend — a pianist and conductor, by the way — “Un mostro” (a monster). I had some other choice words for the maestro as well. My friend responded, “Knowing bass sections the way I do, though, I can sympathize. And, I get a little bit of a sick thrill out of it!”

I answered — using a phrase of our time — “That’s why Trump got elected!” I added, “A serious point, actually.” My friend said, “Yup.”

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
Elections

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

What the Second Amendment Means Today

The horrifying school massacre in Parkland, Fla., has prompted another national debate about guns. Unfortunately, it seems that these conversations are never terribly constructive — they are too often dominated by screeching extremists on both sides of the aisle and armchair pundits who offer sweeping opinions ... Read More
U.S.

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More
Film & TV

Black Panther’s Circle of Hype

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) first infantilizes its audience, then banalizes it, and, finally, controls it through marketing. This commercial strategy, geared toward adolescents of all ages, resembles the Democratic party’s political manipulation of black Americans, targeting that audience through its ... Read More