Thursday, December 11, 2014

Against cutesy-ness

Lying in bed last night reading Barry Mazur's When is one thing equal to some other thing?, I came across a throwaway line about the category of sets and how it is like Odette is to Swann and guffawed, and the person in bed with me, checking their Twitter feed and playing Solitaire, said "what?" and I shrugged it off, as one doesn't really want to be caught out laughing at a Proust reference late of the night, especially a Proust reference in an article on categories, since, as the children say, nothing kills a boner faster. But again I had a wistful longing for a proper Jesuit education, an education that really was an education instead of just hanging out in the library kicked out of class because it was so fucking deadly boring and hadn't I already learned it all during discussions at the synagogue and the moose lodge that the teacher took some pity on me and told me to come back later when all the rest were done for some special instructions and to earn the requisite grade of A or maybe even A+ through some extra credit hanky panky later back behind the quonset huts.

But what really irks me in this undereducated world is listening to yet another piece by a fellow composer overwhelmingly attracted to the cutesy and clever and wanting to share their cutesy cleverness with every person in dead-cat-swinging distance. Ah, even as a boy I could not understand the moments in some profound masterwork when suddenly the chicks in their shells start to prance about and one has to run, hoping to vomit one's guts out behind the cold water fountain in the lobby instead of down the neck of the patron a-fronting. And then, even worse, the composer who thinks hey I need some text so why don't I just knock something out here and there, yes, that's as dorky as it can possibly be, since why wouldn't everyone love to share some incredibly twee wordplay, forgetting that, just as the person who defends themself has a fool for a lawyer, the composer who has themself as librettist is most likely going to write a really shitty piece.

When I went on about this with my friend who we will, for the sake of argument, call "Jay", I was painfully aware that I myself have written my own texts but I said, slightly louder than maybe I should have, "who wouldn’t be interested in every little thing that happened to Erling Wold and every  thought that Erling Wold has ever had?"  And I was stewing about all that when I remembered the next piece setting some journal entries about having some coffee and cleaning one's underpants and stuff and I rolled my eyes and said to myself Jesus Lord in Heaven. 

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