The Corner

A Helluva Racket

Impromptus today is devoted (are devoted?) to Rick Brookhiser’s recent biography of James Madison. I have many disparate notes in there (of course). I quote several of Rick’s lines I like, including this: “Virginia Republicans, with the persistence of cicadas, accused Federalists of yearning for monarchy . . .” My comment: “Is there anything under the sun more persistent than cicadas?”

I wrote this column on Friday. Over the weekend, I was talking to a friend of mine who is working at the Ravinia Festival, the summer home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. I asked how a particular performance had gone. He said, “It was hard to tell, because of the cicadas.”

Last month, I was in a Taiwanese national park — virtually a wilderness — and the cicadas were so loud, it was almost unbelievable. The noise was positively deafening. I said, “A construction site in downtown Taipei could not be noisier.”

Okay, I’ll be quiet about cicadas, lest I start to sound like them.

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