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Talking To Your “Homies”

Dr. Cole of Informed Comment notes:

Bush told Wolf Blitzer he thought Iraq was a comma. But Iraq is very clearly an exclamation point. Now you know why the whole policy has been wrong. Bush has been trying to close off a dependent clause, not realizing he was forcefully making a declarative statement.

Watertiger of Dependable Renegade mentions George Allen’s new nickname: Sen. Macacawitz

The first incident is the Shrubbery using crypto-Christian in public. The sense of the “comma” is that we shouldn’t judge his Iraq policy at this point because we don’t know the outcome. The “comma” is from “don’t use a period where G-d put a comma”, but reality and long experience tells us that it is no longer a question of whether the Iraq situation will end well or badly, but of how badly it will end.

The second is an example of a different religious group, Jews. If you aren’t familiar with Jews you won’t understand the significance of the ending.

These were insiders talking among themselves not being understood by outsiders, but the next example is an outsider attempting a joke about Islam.

I can’t imagine why anyone, much less auto dealer in Ohio would think that proclaiming a “Jihad” against prices and having “Fatwa Fridays” during which you gave toy swords to kids was a good idea. It’s right up there with last year’s chocolate crucifixes for Easter or having Rudolf as part of a Crèche.

The cancellation of the performance of Mozart’s opera, Idomeneo was not the result of what Mozart had written but because: “The opera was staged in Berlin in 2003, drawing criticism over a scene where the king presents the heads of Greek sea god Poseidon, Muhammad, Jesus and Buddha.” The opera thought there might be some people upset if they did it again. There was apparently no discussion of limiting the performance to what Mozart had written. I believe that many people feel he was a pretty competent lad when it came to opera, even without the added flourishes.

Most people are unaware that for a long time many Christians believed that Jews sacrificed babies. The basis of that belief was the bris, the circumcision on the eighth day of life. From the outside, things would look very strange.

Many things that are perfectly acceptable inside a group, take on an ominous tone when done from outside. Words do not always have the same meaning when used by group members and non-group members.

Showing a little respect for other people is not “being politically correct” or “pandering”, it is an intelligent way to stay out of accidental wars.


1 Steve Bates { 09.28.06 at 10:22 pm }

I believe that many people feel [Mozart] was a pretty competent lad when it came to opera, even without the added flourishes.

I don’t think for a moment he would have hesitated to add the flourishes. Every composer of opera from Monteverdi to Philip Glass has understood that it’s all about the show. What’s a little sacrilege, in exchange for a controversy that leads to larger audiences?

And here I was, hoping against hope that Bush was making a reference to the Pythagorean comma. Twelve fifths do not equal seven octaves. Pythagoras knew this. So did the Chinese, probably a few years earlier. Without some accommodation of the Pythagorean comma, some “temperament” as it’s called, Western music (which depends on being able to make music in different keys within the span of a single work) disintegrates.

Bush is really good at force-fitting things, cutting off the parts he doesn’t like, making things fit where they really don’t, and making things disintegrate. He also has a terrible temperament. There are other kinds of commas in music; maybe Bush can have one named after him, perhaps the difference between drinking twelve fifths and drinking seven liters, or some such.

2 Bryan { 09.28.06 at 11:46 pm }

Wolfgang skated pretty close to the edge in his operas and had problems with censors, so the added bit was lily gilding for the sake of outrage. It also misses the point that neither Buddha nor Muhammad are considered gods by the faithful, just inspired teachers, so adding them with the heads of Jesus and Poseidon misses the theme and displays the director as an “outsider” trying to make an “insider” point.

As I remember my music appreciation and Karl Haas, there is plenty of room in a classical score for improvisation if you are a skilled musician.

Bush has enough trouble with standard English; he should stop trying to be cute.