… from the Maracot Deep of Gradeapalooza. A few quick points before I resume my examination of the strange artifacts my students have thrust upon me:
Point the First: At NRO, Jay Nordlinger is two-thirds of the way through some ruminations on what the Blessed Dalrymple might call “Our culture — what’s left of it.” One particular segment that caught my attention:
I spend a lot of time in and around music. (I work as a music critic at night.) Every so often, musicians will “come out” to me. They will confess their conservatism to me. But they swear me to secrecy, lest they get in trouble — lest they lose their jobs, or otherwise be outcasts.
Why should this be? Why should politics matter in music? So what if an oboist believes in lower marginal tax rates, missile defense, or school choice? What does that have to do with oboe playing? What should her colleagues care?
They just do. If they knew, they would know she was a Bad Person. And she might have trouble keeping or getting work.
I submit (and not for the first time) that this underscores a key difference between significant portions of the left and right in contemporary culture. Folks on my side get used to compartmentalizing pretty early in the process — separating the dancer (whose ideas we may find objectionable) from the dance (which we enjoy.) We tend to think of a waffle fry as being a waffle fry, not an endorsement of a political or moral position. On the other hand, we have the folks who get miffed when Mo Tucker becomes a Tea Partier, or who launch boycotts because they believe they should determine where their money goes even after they’ve spent it. In short, we have the compartmentalizers and the folks who see life as some sort of relatively seamless political garment. Mr. Nordlinger, the answer to your question is that your oboeist’s colleagues are totalitarians — soft ones perhaps, but totalitarians nonetheless.
Point the Second: In the wake of the Real City show last weekend, The Berries have launched a Twitter account, which you may follow at @TheBerriesAreGO.
Point the Third: A popular local watering hole and a beloved restaurant, both located in downtown Mondoville, have both closed on very short notice in the last few weeks, dejobbing more than a few folks in the process. Both sets of owners mentioned local taxes and licensing issues as making their businesses unsustainable. The slew of vacant storefronts along Main Street seem to support their argument. (Wal-Mart and other chains near Chicken Murder Boulevard are perking right along — they’re big enough not to worry about those taxes and fees. Some would decry the big folks for squeezing out the small. However, might we also not consider the idea that the city is creating a de facto barrier to entry?)
In the local newspaper, yesterday’s editorial was entitled “[Mondoville] Is Magical.” When I saw it, I thought, “Yep. Businesses are disappearing quite completely.”
And now, back into the bathyscaphe.