As music director of the Berlin Philharmonic for 35 years, Herbert von Karajan remains one of the most discussed, analyzed and written-about conductors of all time. He was called the ‘General Music Director of Europe,’ leading orchestras and opera houses in Berlin, London, Vienna, Milan and Paris to become one of the most respected, yet intimidating, conductors of the 20th century. Yet behind his imperious, enigmatic face, who really was Herbert von Karajan? For many, he was the epitome of classical music—for others, the last dictator among orchestral conductors, as well as one of the post-War era’s most commercially successful classical music entrepreneurs. Yet all agree that in everything he did, he was ahead of his time.
Juvenile, manipulative, impossibly smarmy, hateful – or at least more than willing to use the weapon of other people's hate – and, above all, relentlessly cynical. To these (mostly) men, politics is not the "art of the possible", not a means for peaceably grappling with the most difficult and complex issues of the day, or for attempting to improve the lives of people you will never meet. It is nothing but a game, one where the object is not just to win but to destroy your enemies with a weird mix of angry slander and junior high insults – and to have a good chuckle while admiring your handiwork.
Where, now, are the Fulds of the world?
Sam Tanenhaus has spent twenty years studying American conservatism. Hobnobbed with Bill Buckley. Wrote a much-admired biography of Whittaker Chambers. Dipped deep into the core philosophy of Edmund Burke.
Now, he looks around to find Rush Limbaugh, Bill Kristol, and Sarah Palin in charge of movement conservatism. Anger replacing loyal opposition. A destructive impulse killing true conservative principles.
links for 2009-09-11
September 11, 2009 by lastingimpression