The Corner

Names and Nonsense

In today’s column, I have my usual shtickage — or some of it: the awfulness of Bill Clinton, the greatness of Lincoln, the glory of music, the amusements of language — blah, blah, blah. But there is nothing on names. And I thought I’d throw something at you here. Two things, actually.

1) I was reading an article — find it here — about those Russian spies, deported from the United States. They are now back in the Motherland, being toasted as heroes and heroines. The author of the article (an Associated Press report)? Simon Shuster. Granted, he’s missing a “c.” But still.

2) So, I’m in the Metropolitan Opera House last night, covering Boris Godunov. At intermission, glanced at the program, and saw the name of the man who prepared the children’s chorus — the children’s chorus, mind you: Anthony Piccolo. (“Small,” in Italian.)

Am I the only one who thinks that’s a riot? Maybe.

Okay, this is not so funny: A few weeks ago, a reader sent me an excerpt from Opera News, in which Stephen Wadsworth, the director of the Met’s Boris, holds forth. He says, in his wisdom,

“In the beginning, the people are skeptical and irritable, because their new ruler gained the throne through wrongdoing. In the end, they recklessly celebrate another new ruler who’s done the same. And they don’t even rationalize it. They’re just so happy to kick out the old, they surrender rational thought and go on a rampage. Can you say ‘Tea Party’?”

Can you say “typical arts-world blowhard who obviously knows little of contemporary politics and should stick to his knitting” — and knit better than he has in this Boris, at that?

Most Popular

Law & the Courts

Obstruction Confusions

In his Lawfare critique of one of my several columns about the purported obstruction case against President Trump, Gabriel Schoenfeld loses me — as I suspect he will lose others — when he says of himself, “I do not think I am Trump-deranged.” Gabe graciously expresses fondness for me, and the feeling is ... Read More
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
PC Culture

Kill Chic

We live in a society in which gratuitous violence is the trademark of video games, movies, and popular music. Kill this, shoot that in repugnant detail becomes a race to the visual and spoken bottom. We have gone from Sam Peckinpah’s realistic portrayal of violent death to a gory ritual of metal ripping ... 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