I went to a launch party last night for James O’Keefe’s new book Breakthrough: Our Guerrilla War to Expose Fraud and Save Democracy. As all the world knows, O’Keefe performed an important public service by exposing ACORN for the partisan voter-fraud-enabling sewer that it is. But as Breakthrough shows, he has been tirelessly devoted to [...]
by Eric Simpson
The New York Philharmonic performs Luigi Dallapiccola's Il Prigioniero; photo by Chris Lee
The opening bars of Prokofiev's first violin concerto always remind me of the start of the Sibelius concerto. Both begin sotto voce, with the violin wandering through a lyrical melody over a string tremolo. Both have a searching quality, but whereas the Sibelius broods with lingering regret, the Prokofiev offers a sense of hope.
That sense of hope came through in Lisa Batiashvili’s stirring and visceral performance with the New York Philharmonic on Saturday night. “Ease,” for which performers are so roundly praised, is not a word I would use in describing her playing. I don't mean to say that she struggled with the piece's technical challenges, because she most certainly did not; what I mean is that she doesn't toss off a concerto with minimal effort as though it were a mere trick. I heard her play the Brahms concerto with the Dresden Staatskapelle earlier this year, and my reaction then was the same: She is keenly attuned to the music's emotional urgency, avoiding the nonchalance into which performers of all kinds are too often content to sink.
Is the college admissions process fair? That’s been the question of this year’s college admission season, with articles like Suzy Lee Weiss’s Wall Street Journal Op-Ed “To (All) the Colleges That Rejected Me” and the Fisher v. University of Texas Supreme Court case challenging race-based Affirmative Action. As a recent high school graduate from a private school in New York, I have thought much about this topic.
I first read Weiss’s piece when it was published in March. Since then, it has gone viral and has received a mostly negative response, with Weiss criticized for having a sense of white entitlement (See “To (All) the White Girls Who Didn’t Get Into The College of Their Dreams”). Weiss was lucky enough to get into some of the Big 10 schools, including the University of Michigan and Penn State, but was upset she did not get into more elite schools. She felt discriminated against for being Caucasian. In her Wall Street Journal editorial, she wrote, “What could I have done differently over the past years? For starters, had I known two years ago what I know now, I would have gladly worn a headdress to school. Show me to any closet and I would’ve happily come out of it. ‘Diversity!’...If it were up to me, I would’ve been any of the diversities: Navajo, Pacific Islander, anything. Sen.”
I am contemplating the train wreck revolving around the revelations about our National Security Agency’s appetite for spying on U.S. citizens, along with the train wreck that swirls around the revelations about the deployment of the IRS for partisan vengeance, along with the train wreck that is the fiscal, administrative, and, ultimately, medical catastrophe called [...]
I just caught up with Charles Murray’s brave and perspicacious column at NRO about Jason Richwine. I know memories are short, but the outrageous story of how Mr. Richwine was hounded out of his job at the Heritage Foundation by a gaggle of PC witch-hunters last month is worth bearing in mind. His own account [...]
Ask someone to name a few locales that are important to contemporary art and they’re likely to give you the usual suspects—New York, Paris, Berlin. Rarely would their thoughts lead them south of the Mason-Dixon line. “Currents: Recent Art from East Tennessee and Beyond,” now on view at the Knoxville Museum of Art, is a reminder that the area that gave us Beaufod Delaney (TN), Jasper Johns (GA), and the Black Mountain College (NC) is still tuned in to the art world today.
by Eric Simpson
Liberal education and the failure of America's colleges to provide it have been discussed frequently in the pages of The New Criterion. Traditional core curricula have largely been abandoned in favor of unfocused, individualized programs of personal interest, especially since the latter half of the twentieth century. Cultural erudition has been replaced by "cultural sensitivity," to the detriment of our students and our society. Joseph Epstein, a frequent contributor to The New Criterion, joins Andrew Ferguson and Peter Robinson to discuss the problem in an interview for the Hoover Institution's Uncommon Knowledge series.
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Remember Malik Obama? He’s the Kenyan-born half brother of the more famous Obama. The men, who first met in 1985, are not close, but each served as the best man at the other’s wedding. Malik has what The Daily Caller delicately calls “a checkered past.” That’s not the President’s fault, of course, any more than [...]
Like most sentient adults, between my bouts of general alarm at the lurching incompetence of the Obama administration I have been enjoying little nibbles at the cornucopia of Schadenfreude it offers. Particularly amusing are the parallels between Obama’s response to some of the recent scandals that have plagued his administration — above all, the still-unfolding [...]
by Eric Simpson
Yannick Nézet-Séguin; photo: Chris Lee
On Saturday night, Yannick Nézet-Séguin wrapped up his inaugural year as music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra. In all, it seems the first run must be considered a smashing success: In his first year he has won over the critics, the audiences, the city, and, most importantly, the orchestra's musicians. His accession also just happened to coincide with the centennial of Leopold Stokowski's tenure with the orchesra, a point which has been played up steadily (The concert's Playbill cover, which featured a triptych of Yannick in rehearsal above a similar but faded spread of Stokowski, seemed excessive). Saturday's program was originally intended as a celebration of the legendary conductor, but ended up having to serve double duty as a tribute to former music director Wolfgang Sawallisch, who passed away in February.
( AHR-mah wih-ROOM-kweh)
In the Aeneid, the Roman poet Virgil sang of "arms and a man" (Arma virumque cano). Month in and month out, The New Criterion expounds with great clarity and wit on the art, culture, and political controversies of our times. With postings of reviews, essays, links, recs, and news, Armavirumque seeks to continue this mission in accordance with the timetable of the digital age.
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