The Thinking 
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The March of the Kings

January 6, 2013


BEFORE this Feast of the Epiphany ends, listen if you have the chance to British composer Ralph Vaughan Williams’s The March of the Kings from his Christmas Cantata Hodie (This Day) here. It begins approximately at minute 2:50 in this recording. The March conveys the regal atmosphere of the men proceeding toward Bethlehem. It is magnificent and exhilarating. It reminds me of the time when I was about three years old and wore a cardboard star while three Wise Men, who were also small children, followed me as I walked around a pole. I thought at the time that it was the most important thing I would ever do. I was a star.

The text of The March of the Kings, adapted from Matthew 2:1, 2 and 11, was written by the composer’s wife, Ursula. The first verse is:

From kingdoms of wisdom secret and far
come Caspar, Melchior, Balthasar:
they ride through time, they ride through night,
led by the star’s foretelling light.


The Wise Men

January 6, 2013


IN The Everlasting Man, G.K. Chesterton wrote of the Magi, the Eastern philosopher kings who traveled to Bethlehem under the guidance of a star. While the shepherds were drawn out of simplicity to the baby in the manger, the Oriental kings, carrying expensive gifts, were drawn by a longing for truth and wisdom.

The mere sight of the newborn satisfied their deepest intellectual yearnings.

Chesterton wrote in his chapter, “The God in the Cave”:

It is still a strange story, though an old one, how they came out of orient lands, crowned with the majesty of kings and clothed with something of the mystery of magicians. That truth that is tradition has wisely remembered them almost as unknown quantities, as mysterious as their mysterious and melodious names; Melchior, Caspar, Balthazar. Read More »


The Epiphany

January 6, 2013


The Adoration of the Magi, Raphael (1502-03)


The New Year with Strauss

January 6, 2013


I WAS away for a week during the Christmas season, taking care of a sick aunt in Florida, so I did not get a chance to watch the Vienna Philharmonic’s annual New Year’s Day concert, which takes place in the magnificent Golden Hall of the Vienna Musikverein. Fortunately, the concert, conducted this year by Franz Welser-Möst, can be seen in its entirety, complete with the famous Strauss waltzes, online at PBS until Jan. 16.

See my previous post on the Vienna Philharmonic, which has resisted feminization and multiculturalism in an era when most Western orchestras have been dramatically transformed by the entry of large numbers of women and Asians. As I wrote before:

The Philharmonic did not allow women to become full members until 1997. Between 1997 and 2010, a period during which many other orchestras became heavily female, it hired only three women. Paul Fürst, a violist, once stated in a documentary on women conductors:

There is no ban on women musicians playing here but the Vienna Philharmonic is by tradition an all-male orchestra. Our profession makes family life extremely difficult, so for a woman it’s almost impossible. There are so many orchestras with women members so why shouldn’t there be – for how long I don’t know – an orchestra with no women in it … A woman shouldn’t play like a man but like a woman, but an all-male orchestra is bound to have a special tone.

In America, the first violin sections of major orchestras do not look like this anymore:

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January 6, 2013


THE DANISH painter Viggo Johansen painted several wonderful pictures of friends gathered around a table conversing in lamplight, their faces animated by deep conversation and intense rapport. They include this 1886 painting, Aftenpassiar, or Evening Talk. In each of the paintings, his conversing men and women appear in suits and elegant dress, as if intellectual communion is a formal event.


VAWA Bullies

January 6, 2013


IN THIS interview with Jennifer Granholm, Tricia Rose, a professor from Brown University, expresses disbelief that the Violence Against Women Act was not reauthorized by the 112th Congress. But here’s the astounding part. The Ivy League professor maintains that Republicans did not want to move the bill because they did not want to protect Native American women who are “violated” by white men on tribal lands.

Granholm, without flinching before this fat lie, says Republicans believe Native American women are not “human enough.” And Rose, who looks ridiculously un-professorial in a silky purple blouse, reminds us that whites stole Indian lands.

These two well-dressed bullies are utterly at home with lies. For them, the ends justify the means. A domestic violence bill that presumes every man is a potential wife-beater is so inherently and undeniably good that any falsification of the truth, even the patently false claim that white men are routinely “violating” Indian women, is justified.

Rose is a professor of Africana studies and receives generous grants from major foundations for her virulently anti-white activism and mind-blowing ignorance. Her entire career is proof of the power women and nonwhites possess. Both Rose and Granholm are shocked that the whole world is not up in arms that VAWA has not been reauthorized and they blame it on a conspiracy to deprive young women of the enlightened truths of feminism.

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The Homemade Casket

January 6, 2013


SEE Carolyn’s moving comments in the thread about cremation. She describes how her family and friends have made burial a more personal — and also less expensive — affair. When her grandson died as a baby, her husband made the casket himself.

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