Tuesday, November 15, 2016


Beyond Parody

"If this be a jest, the humor of it eludes me."

Every time I think that college campuses couldn't possibly beclown themselves any worse than they already have done, a fresh idiocy pops up on my radar.

Both students and faculty at the University of Virginia have officially objected to
a recent message by the institution's president, Teresa Sullivan. The message
was intended to encourage UVA students
to buck up in the wake of the election (apparently she was concerned that they would be suicidal at the prospect of a Trump presidency or something).

Unfortunately, a quotation in her campus-wide email sparked protests that she was "undermin[ing] the message of unity, equality and civility that you are attempting to convey." Had she quoted George Lincoln Rockwell? Orville Faubus? Anita Bryant?

Why, no. The offending quotation was from...Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence (which includes the most stirring sentence on behalf of human equality that has ever been written in English) and founder of the University 
of Virginia!

The folks objecting to President Sullivan's email think it is shameful of her to quote him, and are demanding that she desist. How long, I wonder, before the Social Justice Warriors at UVA decide to demand that all Jefferson portraits, statues, etc. be removed or covered up?

"People who think like this actually expect others to respect their views?"

Apparently so...it wouldn't be so bad if we could keep them confined to the campuses,
but they keep escaping out into the real world, with unfortunate consequences...

Feast Day

Statue in Zahm Hall Chapel, University of Notre Dame

Today is the feast day of St. Albert the Great, who is also known as Albertus Magnus, a 13th century Dominican friar who became one of the most prolific and influential writers and philosophers in church history.

Albert was beatified in 1622 by Pope Gregory XV, and canonized in 1931 by Pope Pius XI, who also simultaneously named him
a Doctor of the Church.

He is the patron of philosophers, scientists, and medical technicians.

Happy Birthday!

The Lawrence Tree, 1929

On November 15, 1887 Georgia Totto O'Keeffe was born in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin.

Early during her schooling she discovered a talent for the visual arts, and she went on
to become one of America's foremost modernist painters.

I first became acquainted with her work when a woman I was dating showed me
a coffee table book of her paintings. That relationship fizzled out, but my affection for O'Keeffe's work did not.

Back when I decorated my classroom with fine art prints, there were a number of O'Keeffe paintings that were in my regular rotation (I changed the paintings on display at the beginning of each academic quarter). It helped a lot that AllPosters.com had such an extensive collection of her works...

"I like her 'big flower' paintings the best."

They're my favorites, too...but The Lawrence Tree is my single most favorite...

Steady As She Goes

From the pen of Lisa Benson, whose editorial cartoons you should read often, as I do.

Until Next Time...

On November 15, 1942 Daniel Barenboim was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The son of parents who both gave him piano lessons at an early age, Daniel was performing for audiences by the age of seven.

His family moved to Israel when he was 10, and when he was 12 they took him to Salzburg, Austria to further his music education. It was there that he met conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler, who became a major influence on his career.

My own exposure to Barenboim is due to his celebrated work interpreting Beethoven, both as a pianist and as a conductor.

In 2005 Barenboim undertook performing all 32 of Beethoven's piano sonatas in a series of eight concerts given over an two-week period at the famous Staatsoper in Berlin.

The performances were filmed for eventual release on DVD, and they are magnificent. Barenboim's view on the proper interpretation of Beethoven (and other composers) has its critics, but I am not among them.

Today's send-off is his performance of Sonata No. 8 in C minor, Op. 13, also known as the Pathétique. Enjoy...

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