Bobbing about in the eddies of “choice” as we proles of the “Inclusition” are wont to do, how bracing it was to read Christopher Sandford’s piece on Stravinsky (Vital Signs, April)! Consider this quotation from the composer himself:
The stained-glass artists of Chartres had few colors, and the stained-glass artists of today have hundreds of colors but no Chartres. Organs, too, have more stops now than ever before, but no Bach. Not enlarged resources, then, but men and what they “believe.”
Today, we have more “resources” than ever before, yet, without some guiding sense of worth, these “choices” simply reinforce solipsism—as when we dutifully line up to participate in the Menshevik soap opera of national elections and then quack about our freedom and how wonderful it is simply to vote, regardless of whom or what we actually vote for. Whether in the arts, education, or society, we are meant to revel in the bountiful diversity of “choicemaking” without giving a hoot as to what it means; which, to comment on another excellent article in the April issue, does provide some insight into what Philip Jenkins refers to (“Well, Naturally, We’re Gullible,” Breaking Glass) when discussing the boring and omnipresent nature of “liberals” in the academy.
You see, the very puzzlement that one feels from, say, Titania Feebling’s seminal “Gravity as Construct: Re-Imaging The Amorphous Blob as Aphrodite,” or Prof. Max Abbruchkunst’s “Klangfarbenmelodie for Three Coon Hounds and Fire Engine” is a litmus to indicate how close or far from enlightenment one is; this puzzlement is the very thing that validates this deep Rube Chomsky sense of choicemaking. Stravinsky’s idea, which can be applied to all human endeavor, that “art begins when we decide what to leave out,” is the polar opposite of this so-called liberal so-called thinking. Whoda thunk that the very measure of what makes liberals so much smarter is delineated by how aggressively the underlying principles of “The Emperor’s New Clothes” are followed?