Sunday, July 17, 2011

Significant Moments: On Ridiculing a Master

     A kabbalistic and Hasidic intimation has it that evil seeped into our world through the hair-line crack of a single erroneous letter, that man's suffering, and that of the Jew especially, came of the false transcription of a single letter or word when God dictated the Torah to his elect scribe . . .
George Steiner, No Passion Spent.
         — creating an error in the world; unplanned free -flow.
Steven R. Latham, System and Responsibility: Three Readings of the Institute of Medicine Report on Medical Error.
     This grim fantastication is utterly expressive of a scholar's code. It points to the definition of a Jew as one who always has a pencil or pen in hand when he reads, of one who will in the death-camps (and this came to pass) correct a printing error, emend a doubtful text, on his way to extinction.
George Steiner, No Passion Spent.
     If, in the face of such reservations, I offer a plea for Beckmesser, I do so not to deny or to extenuate his flaws, but to place them in perspective. . . .
    Had he been merely ridiculous, Wagner would not have taken the trouble to ridicule him. 
Peter Gay, Freud, Jews and Other Germans.
     At these words Beckmesser's rage is beyond all bounds.
Albert Lavignac, The Music Dramas of Richard Wagner.
     BECKMESSER:
          No more! An end!
     THE MASTERS:
          Enough! An end!
Richard Wagner, Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg. 
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On May 16, 2011 I wrote a satiric post about a partner at the law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld.   Had he been merely ridiculous, I would not have taken the trouble to ridicule him.

The character Beckmesser, the pedantic town clerk in Wagner's opera Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg, is a harsh critic of the young upstart Walther von Stolzing who wants to become a Mastersinger without having any formal training or qualifications.  

3 comments:

Gary Freedman said...

Do you think Mr. Callet got the joke? It's a little obscure.

Gary Freedman said...

At Lilliam Machado's going-away party in the 5th floor (small) conference room in the spring of 1988, associate Mark Schwartz made funny faces ridiculing David Callet who was standing with his back to Schwartz, talking to somebody.

Mark Schwartz was an immature person; just because you have degrees from Penn and Harvard doesn't mean you're mature.

So who's behavior was more egregious -- mine or that of Mark Schwartz?

chandra said...

Finally after all the read, the video was awesome!
Formal Complaint Letter