Thursday, January 19, 2012

800 Words: The Schumann Group

I had to nap this evening during time I'd otherwise spend writing. So here's another rerun from back during the VoW days.

(The difference between the real McLaughlin Group and the Saturday Night Live one is that the real one is infinitely more ridiculous)

Eusebius: What are we doing here?

Florestan: I think Tucker needs us to be part of some project.

Euseblius: Who's Tucker?

Florestan: Some guy I met at a party a couple years ago.

Eusebius: A couple years ago?

Florestan: Yeah he kind of disappeared about a year and a half ago. Nobody hears much from him anymore, but he now has a blog that he basically uses to remind the world that he still exists.

Eusebius: Do people read it?

Florestan: Fuck if I know.

Eusebius: Couldn't he just shut his mouth and do the hermit thing the right way?

Florestan: I guess that would make a lot more sense. But he never was particularly good at keeping his mouth shut.

Eusebius: So,...this is the kind of guy who thinks that he can just appropriate characters from Robert Schumann's diaries and that the three people in the world who'd get it won't laugh at him for being the world's most pretentious blogger?

Florestan: I think he's kind of resigned himself to that.

Eusebius: So what are we doing for him?

Florestan: I think he wants us to debate something or other with the usual roles.

Eusebius: You don't mean?...

Florestan: Yeah, those. Sorry, but you gotta do the depressed artist thing again.

Eusebius: And you get to be that jock who pretends to play the guitar and every girl thinks is the hottest thing since John Mayer.

Florestan: Hellz yeah.

Eusebius: Where's this Tucker guy in all this?

Florestan: He was that guy who randomly came up to me at a Tilden House party and smashed my guitar against the wall.

Eusebius: Oh yeah. I liked him.

Tucker: Oh there you guys are. How are we today?

Florestan: Chillin',

Eusebius: Fuck my life!

Tucker: Perfect.

Eusebius: What are we here for again?

Tucker: I'm here to watch the two of you go at each other like rabid dogs. And to make this more interteresting to any DC types who I make read this i brought a couple famous DC figures too.

Arnold Schwartzenegger: WHO'SYA DADDY AND WHAT DOES HE DO?!?

Tucker: Arnold, we promised you could stay here if you didn't say anything. Here's the rest of the panel: From the neoconservative right we have Charles Krauthammer who once talked to my grandmother at the opera.

Charles Krauthammer: I meet many fine old Jewish ladies at the opera.

Pat Buchanan: And you're the son they all wish they had right?

Tucker: Actually it was Richard Perle who my grandmother met. And this fine fellow is Pat Buchanan, representing the more traditional right-wing. As usual, he's here because we couldn't get Bob Novak. Novak is currently indisposed on a long vacation with a return date Christopher Hitchens deems 'unlikely.'

Christopher Hitchens: Amen and L'Chaim to that you opus dei sellout.

Gore Vidal: Please Christopher, we can't all go turncoat with such preternatural elegance, --- is that Maker's Mark's excrement I see in your hand?

Christopher Hitchens: Is that excrement I see in your hand? .

(Gore harumphs)

Eusebius (to Florestan): Being a witty drunk looks like fun.

Florestan: I'd rather just be drunk.

Tucker: These classy men are our representatives from the left. Representing ex-Trotskyist anti-authoritarian hawks the world over we have Christopher Hitchens.

Charles Krauthammer: You forgot the self-hating Jew part.

Christohper Hitchens: Hey Mein Fuhrer, I can walk!

Tucker: And representing isolationist left-wing pascifism we have Gore Vidal.

Gore Vidal: Let's get this done with, I plan on dying as soon as this show is over.

Charles Krauthammer: Who are those two?

Tucker: They're the two sides of Robert Schumann's personality.

Pat Buchanan: Who the hell is Robert Schumann and why am I here?

Tucker: He's one of the great composers of the early Romantic era, and wrote some of the greatest piano music and lieder ever written.

Pat Buchanan: Another panel with homos eh?

Gore Vidal: Ugly ones too!

Christopher Hitchens: Another drink please?

Tucker: Well, I hope everybody's comfortable because now we can begin our discussion. The topic is, as you probably guessed, music. We're going to do this McLaughlin Group style, or at least the Saturday Night Live spoof of it. I will pick the topic, then cut you off whenever I feel like it. After I've heard my peace from each of you, I'm going to state my own opinion as though it's a fact and make it seem as though none of you have anything interesting to say.

Gore Vidal: Buckley wasn't available?

Tucker: Issue 1 - Why is most choral music more boring than watching a dishwasher? FLORESTAN!

Florestan: Choral music isn't boring. You're just not listening to it correctly. It's music that's written to express emotions people feel together. And when they come together they can make music that's more profound than anything they can do apart.


Eusebius: Most choral music? Try everything save a couple madrigals by Monteverdi! Florestan's right, this is community music. But like all community music it's written to be so tasteful, so unlikely to offend anybody's sensibilities, that only bland people can possibly be drawn to it.


Pat Buchanan: Is Choral Music like the stuff they play around Christmas?

Tucker: Some of it.

Pat Buchanan: I like that stuff. But I think those music types should stop trying to force it down our throats. Music has its place but everybody has to know what that is and not get all bent out of shape if we don't think its as important as they do.


Charles Krauthammer: I love it. It's a wonderful resource that molds its singers into fine citizens. The problem is that most people are disgracefully unworthy of choral music. No matter how much money you throw at choruses, most people just won't get what's great in it.


Christopher Hitchens: I detest choral music. Look into any choral singer's eyes, it's like gazing into the piggy-eyes of fascism. Choruses are for people who have a sublimated wish to be told what to do and how. One day you'll see the Hallelujah Chorus done with goose stepping and you'll see just how right I am!


Gore Vidal: Well it's no less banal than any other type of amateur music making. There is something truly sad about a person who has deluded himself into thinking that he can make wonderful music without schooling or practice. Unfortunately choral music gives sanction to these practices on a level no other music does.

Tucker: WRONG! Choral music is the tits.
Issue 2 - Why is Classical Music only enjoyed by Old People? CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER!

Charles Krauthammer: It is one of the telltale signs of our country's unremitting decline. Beethoven and Bach didn't uplift the human spirit by talking about bitches and icing your neighbors. Today's music has lost its moral compass and our society only has its own decadence to thank for that.


Pat Buchanan: I've been on television every hour since the civil war and I can't tell Bach and Brahms from Booz Allen Hamilton. Why should any American listen to it? It's flowery music for people too weak to find fulfilment in stuff made by Americans.


Gore Vidal: I don't see what's wrong with that. My generation was simply better than yours.


Christopher Hitchens: Classical Music is soundtrack of Empire and Great Power Politics. It is music which older generations use to remind themselves of an era in which they were less reminded of how morally culpable they are to mass murder..can we get some Wagner playing in here?


Eusebius: Old people have more time, more lesiure, more life experience. It's only natural that they'd embrace music that's more contemplative.


Florestan: Old people love music that confirms their sense of what life is. They've lost their sense of adventure and discovery, and so they only want to hear music they've heard throughout their lives in an environment that won't challenge them with anything unfamiliar.

Tucker: WRONG! People who listen to classical music deserve weekly beatings, but they're not necessarily old.
Issue 3 - Why do classical and popular genres view each other with such hostility? PATTY-CAKE PATTY-CAKE BAKERS BUCHANAN!

Pat Buchanan: Because these classical guys are so uppity. They continually act like their music is better than ours and making us support it with our money even if we don't like it.


Gore Vidal: Because classical music IS better, and the rest of the world views genuine quality with hostility. Nothing in the Beatles can compare to the exquisiteness of a Debussy prelude.


Eusebius: Because nobody in the popular world understands that music needs melos and innigkeit. They truly believe in Vox Populi, Vox Dei and they don't believe in an objective universal criteria by which all art can be judged. As such, classical music has retreated to a hermetic language that we happy few may understand, and those who don't content themselves with a miasmal abyss of mediocrity and decadence.

Pat Buchanan (to Krauthammer): I see what this guy means about weekly beatings.


Florestan: Becuase classical music has lost its desire to speak to the masses. In the era of Wagner and Verdi the greatest ambition of composers was to uplift the masses with a sublime musical language everyone could understand. In the era of Boulez and Stockhausen the greatest ambition is to keep the masses as far away from their music as possible.


Christopher Hitchens: Hundreds of years of mistrust and bigotry leads to nothing but blinding hatred generated by one stupid camp of idealogues for another. The solvability of these issues is so obvious. But it's blocked by leadership in both camps that acts in narrow self-interests and a populace too stupid to realize that they're being led into pointless slaughter.


Charles Krauthammer: For the most part I agree with Gore, but Debussy is weak music for the morally feeble.

Tucker: WRONG! The hostility between the two camps is purely a function of alcohol! Byyyyyyyyye Byyyyyyyyyyyyyye.

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