Writing and Reading

2001-11-03

Ouch. The Yankees are experiencing a serious drubbing at the moment. I stopped watching after the third inning, when the score stood at 12-0. I figured at least I could get something productive done this evening.

Which I'm happy to say I did. Among other things, I finished formatting my Abelard paper and submitted it to the editor of the Journal of Ayn Rand Studies. The formatting requirements say that the document must arrive in Windows-compatible MS Word, WordPerfect, or RTF formats, which requirements I'm proud to say I was able to meet using all open-source tools: DocBook SGML as the source file, exported to RTF using the native Linux DocBook converter, and then polished (double-spaced lines and all that) using AbiWord. Who needs Windows? Not I.

Last night I did indeed read Ibsen's play Little Eyolf. It's a serious, if at times satirical, meditation on freedom, responsibility, and living for (and through) others. I found the ending less than fully satisfying, though, since it seems inconsistent with the creed of self-actualization Ibsen displays in his other plays: the two main characters, following the death of their son, decide to devote their lives to others by converting their house into an orphanage. It could be that that's the best they can do given how they have lived their lives to that point (both were self-centered in rather unhealthy ways), or it could be that Ibsen underwent a change of heart late in his life. Since I'm almost done with this chronological sequence, I suppose I may find the answer in his last two plays: John Gabriel Borkman and When We Dead Awaken.

Now playing: "Dvorak for Two", music for piano and violin performed by the brother-and-sister team of Gil and Orli Shaham.

Speaking of music, the latest installment of the SuitWatch column by Doc Searls contains some ruminations on the future of Internet radio inspired by the success of (and open-source tools behind) radio station KPIG and related sites. That has me thinking about the possibility of a really good classical radio station for the web. Something that wouldn't play just the warhorses, but rather would dig deep into the repertoire to play a wide range of art music -- including, all-importantly, new music that people would actually want to listen to -- not the bleeping twelve-tone garbage, but real music created by people like my friends Eric Nolte and Jeffrey Lindon. Everyone knows that classical music is dead -- the record companies are pulling back on support of new artists, lesser-known performers (and even established artists like Daniel Barenboim) are losing their contracts if they ever had one, and somewhere right now Willie Nelson is probably singing "Mama, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Composers". But the Internet may provide a way for a plethora of fine musicians to be heard and appreciated and, yes, even paid.

Today's quote from Victor Hugo: "Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to remain silent." (William Shakespeare, I.2.iv)


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