Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Significant Moments: On the Value of Candor and Honesty

"Wagner's here!" So saying, . . .
Martin Gregor-Dellin, Richard Wagner: His Life, His Work, His Century.
. . . the interval passed, the gong sounded. The audience, which had scattered in conversation, took their places again . . .
Thomas Mann, Mario and the Magician. 
As far as the eye could see, the throng looked like waves breaking at its outer edges.
Ronald C. White, Jr., Lincoln's Greatest Speech: The Second Inaugural quoting Noah Brooks of the Sacramento Daily Union.
No composer, and few human beings, have had Wagner's sense of mission.
Harold C. Schonberg, The Lives of the Great Composers.
He made no effort to disguise his strategy:
Elmer Bendiner, Time for Angels: The Tragicomic History of the League of Nations.
"We show them our hands," he explains. "We say, 'Listen, just so you know, we're here to manipulate you and show you beautiful things. Apparently, you want to do this. Now do you want to be massaged?'"
John Lahr, The Ringmaster: The Garish and Giddy World of Baz Luhrmann.

After removing his hat, scarf, and mantle he came forward to the front of the stage . . .
Thomas Mann, Mario and the Magician.
. . . and — bang! —
John Lahr, The Ringmaster: The Garish and Giddy World ofBaz Luhrmann.
... in something of a high-wire act, . . .
David Mermelstein, Wagner's "Parsifal" — The Sorrow & the Pity.

. . . showed himself a practiced speaker, never at a loss for conversational turns of phrase.
Thomas Mann, Mario and the Magician.
"I have but a word to say to you, and I shall sum it up with a bit of advice ..."
Theodore Roosevelt, Excerpt from Presidential Address Delivered to the Students of the Central High School of Philadelphia.
"You show them you have in you something that is really profitable, and then there will be no limits to the recognition of your ability," he would say. "Of course you must take care of the motives — right motives — always."
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness.
Only an experienced and self-assured gambler would have taken such a risk.
Peter Gay, Freud, Jews and Other Germans.

So far, the man had done nothing; but what he had said was accepted as an achievement, by means of that he had made an impression.
Thomas Mann, Mario and the Magician. 
_____________________________________

Soon after World War II Robert S. Strauss started his Dallas law firm and began the investments in oil, land, communications, clothing and insurance that have made him wealthy. His youth and Jewishness kept him out of local politics until his old friend Connally, then Texas governor, provided him with two power bases: one in 1963 as a member of the three-man state board responsible for granting bank charters, the other in 1968 as a state Democratic committeeman. Of his reputation for working equally well with the ideologically good, bad and ugly, Strauss once observed: "If you're in politics you're a whore anyhow. It doesn't make any difference who you sleep with." He remains both a pragmatist and un-blushingly candid. "I stopped lying 18 or 20 years ago," he says. "Not on moral grounds—it just didn't work."  


Describing Strauss's role at the 1976 Democratic National Convention, Jules Witcover set the following scene: "[Robert] Strauss, master of accommodation with all the subtlety of a nuclear explosive, orchestrated a grand finale that would have been comical had it not been for the good spirit of the moment. Suddenly he had everyone up on the rostrum with the triumphant, grinning Carter: Mo Udall and Scoop Jackson and George Wallace and Abe Beame and Hubert Humphrey and Sarge Shriver and Brendan Byrne and Raul Castro and Moon Landriue and even Strauss's wife, Helen. Like a drinker who has to have one more, and another, and one more after that, Strauss summoned literally dozens of the party's second- and third-string luminaries to the platform."

Indeed, as far as the eye could see, the throng in Madison Square Garden looked like waves breaking at its outer edges.

4 comments:

Gary Freedman said...

email dated July 19, 2005:

Governor Cuomo,

Please send my regards to Bob Strauss.

GARY FREEDMAN

Gary Freedman said...

email September 15, 2005:

Governor Cuomo,

If you're at all interested, you can access my webpage at garfreed.blogspot.com

Regards,

GARY FREEDMAN

Gary Freedman said...

Yes, "Mario" is Governor Cuomo and "The Magician" is Bob Strauss!

Gary Freedman said...

Mario Cuomo at the 1984 Democratic National Convention:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kOdIqKsv624