the Nazis. And the Yahoos keep winning the battles and losing the
Well, the serious stuff has always been a minority interest, so the
fact it is so currently doesn't bother me, except on occasions when
my "democratic" conscience gets the better of me (a corruption that
one can hardly avoid if one has grown up here).
A mistake American intellectuals often make, I think, is believing
that serious art somehow ought to be popular. But my feeling, really,
is that it should not be~in fact cannot be, just as most people will
never understand the delights of the infinitesimal calculus. And they
don't have to (I'm glad to say, since I certainly don't).
I've just been listening to Philip Glass's recent opera Waiting
for the Barbarians, premiered, naturally, in
where they understand these things, and fund them, better than we
do (they aren't afraid of that nasty word "elitist"). It is a work
in many ways, and despite many imperfections, beautiful and profound~to
say nothing of being spookily topical, even though it was originally
conceived many years ago. It's an example of art that may be difficult
for many audiences, however, not because of complex and demanding
artistic procedures (it is certainly easy enough to listen to), but
rather because of the moral complexities of the material: its "realism,"
in a word. American audiences, I know, reject too much reality in
their art: they want the sugar coating thickly lathered on, and truths
more wishful than verifiable (especially the postmodern canard that
there is no truth~ this gets everyone off the hook). (Postmodernism=
Disneyland for the intellectuals?) They'll even take opera if it's
easy to swallow. Well, I recommend Glass's opera highly. And it may
help assuage your gloom.