I'm pretty sure this has a great deal to do with our current shelter in place, but I find myself listening to a lot of music these days. Today, it was Richard Strauss, the magnificent Four Last Songs (1948). Do you know any Strauss? If you've seen 2001:A Space Odyssey, you've heard at least a snippet of something he wrote. (One of my old trumpet teachers is on that recording, BTW.)
See, I'm working from home now at a job that requires me to sit at a computer sifting through a slow but steady stream of virtual paperwork. As jobs go it's pretty darned good and, to be honest, I've had much much worse (someday we'll talk about the oil burns on my arms I received frying fish at Arthur Treachers). Anyway to pass the working time and to fill out the silent space, I have internet radio, YouTube and my rather paltry CD collection.
Music fills out the working spacetime very nicely though sometimes I think I just need a reminder that there's still beauty in this world of facemasks, truthiness and all the denials therein.
Some days, it's Barenboim playing Beethoven piano sonatas. Some days, it's Miles. A few weeks ago, I spent an afternoon reacquainting myself with the ska of Prince Buster with a little Skatalites thrown in for good measure.
Today, it happened to be Renee Fleming singing Strauss. A little bit of beauty found.
On to your letter.
For all of my political blogging (my first blog post at 2PJ was 15 years, 11 months and 9 days ago), I tend to stay away from "live" politics - politics as it's happening. This includes conventions, speeches and the yearly "State of the Union." Here's why: I find I have little to no patience for political theater. Ideas, yes. Process, yes. But politics for a show, definitely not. Ever notice that a SOTU broadcast is really all about how often which half the room stands and cheers for which content? This follows regardless of party, BTW. If an "R" is delivering the SOTU, the "Ds" will sit on their hands whenever all the other "Rs" in the room decide to cheer, and vice versa. If the "R" speeches something agreeable to the "Ds", it's time for the "Rs" to sit on their hands. Back and forth, a predetermined cheering and pouting choreography that accomplishes absolutely nothing.
If there's anything interesting of the speech to digest (and there usually is), I figured a long time ago that I can turn of the TV, get a good night's sleep and read it on my own the next morning. That's where and when the work begins. For me at least.
Locally, I've been rather disappointed by Conor Lamb - the representative from my district. His opponent, Sean Parnell, has had a much more pronounced web presence over the past few weeks/months and I am waiting for Lamb to catch up or at least to assert himself. I realize Charlie Cook has rated the district as "likely Democratic" (as defined as a "clear edge but an upset is possible") and so perhaps the Lamb campaign doesn't want to lower itself with a political fight they already see themselves as dominating. On the other hand, all we have to do is to look at how the Kerry campaign dealt with the Swiftboaters in 2004 to see that sometimes in politics you have to argue back forcefully.
Had they called bullshit on the bullshitters then perhaps 70,000 voters in Ohio would've voted differently. But they didn't and the actual war hero was painted into something very different while the guy who sat out Vietnam in Texas was seen by more voters as the real hero.
Maybe once the convention's done we'll see a different Lamb campaign.
With great respect,