Sunday, November 17, 2019
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           Once upon a time, not so very long ago, there were subjects devoid of controversy. We often joked that motherhood, the flag, and apple pie were immune to criticism. Of course, everyone stood for the National Anthem. Sadly, this is no longer the case. Motherhood and the flag are now considered ideological lightning rods and even the best apple pie may soon have reason to worry.          Literacy, particularly musical literacy also seemed inviolate. Why would reading music or even studying music be a source of controversy? Jon Henschen is a veteran of the financial services... (Read More ...)

 GQ, the magazine formerly known as  Gentlemen’s Quarterly, and which began as Apparel Arts in 1931 as a publication for the men’s clothing trade, has of late taken to providing literary advice.  It published a provocative article entitled “21 Books You Don’t Have to Read.” Each title suggested by various writers and editors for oblivion was offered with another title offered as a replacement. Not surprisingly, the proposition generating the most controversy was the inclusion of The Holy Bible as a book you don’t have to read, with the chosen replacement turning out to be The... (Read More ...)

       In every field of human endeavor, awards and prizes are often the yardsticks by which we measure success and achievement. Inserting “Nobel Laureate,” “Academy Award winner,” or “Pulitzer Prize-winning,” before an individual’s name brings prestige and credibility to the person so honored. But over a period of years, the validity of such awards and prizes has declined sharply. Efforts by those making such awards have been tainted by overt politicization and worse, by an effort to follow the trends of the ghastly, ubiquitous pop culture. Those who challenge such attitudes... (Read More ...)

  This may seem like an absurd question, but think again. In England, a teacher named Katherine Birbalsingh spoke of her students, teenagers who think “Churchill” is an animated dog of the same name appearing in a television advertisement for an insurance company. Why would a fourteen-year-old student think that one of England’s greatest Prime Ministers is a dog? Birbalsingh blamed failed teaching methods which consider facts, figures, and basic knowledge to be “old-fashioned.” The Guardian, a British newspaper, conducted a survey of young adults, ages 18-24. Less than a third... (Read More ...)

  You may be tempted to shout, “Of course not!” But think again. Beethoven was a popular 1992 film about a giant St. Bernard that was named after the legendary composer. The film found such a large audience that a sequel was produced and titled Beethoven’s 2nd. If your children aren’t encountering classical music, they may well think that “Beethoven” is the name of the dog or the movie in which he starred. Nor is classical music the only genre of music your children and grandchildren may be missing. Jazz, classic film scores, and pieces from the Great American Songbook are also... (Read More ...)

Cultural Conservation is truly a philosophy, a mindset, a movement, and an organization. It is a philosophy that stresses the value of conserving what is important in our society and recognizing that conservation doesn’t take place by accident.We have magnificent national parks today, but these parks might not even exist were it not for the efforts of conservationists to preserve them. Cultural Conservation is a mindset, an understanding of the difference between change and progress, between new and improved, between eternal truths, timeless values, and the fashions and fads of the moment.... (Read More ...)

Dr. Miklos Rozsa, renowned Hungarian composer of music for films and the concert hall expressed his musical beliefs in his memoir, “Double Life.” He said, “I have no time for any music which does not reflect pleasure in life, and more importantly, pride in life.”  His music, like his life, reflected great personal integrity. His musical career was extraordinary, because as one of the world’s most celebrated film composers, he was able to thrive professionally in the commercial motion picture industries in Paris, London, and Hollywood, without sacrificing that integrity.  His... (Read More ...)

Bernard Herrmann was an eminent composer of symphonic, operatic, and film music. He rejected all fads and fashions to pursue a musical ideal. At a time when many of his colleagues were tripping over their own feet in an effort to keep up with the latest trends in commercial music, Herrmann responded with an uncompromising “no.”  He detested musical charlatans, even those making millions of dollars a year. He paid the price for his outspoken integrity, enduring ridicule and sarcasm from those in Hollywood whose only interest was profit. Herrmann expressed his view when he said, “Music... (Read More ...)

        “Rhyme and Punishment” is newly discovered autobiography of Richard Armour, a world-renowned humorist and academician who wrote over sixty-five books and thousands of light verses. For the first time, readers can discover his adventures leading what he called his “double life,” in “cap and gown” and “cap and bells.” I’ve called the newly published memoir “hidden treasure.” Find out why as you learn and laugh while reading the words of one of America’s most unique literary figures. Just watch the... (Read More ...)

If you have been reading the articles and considering the ideas found through this web site, this is a question you are likely to ask. When you recognize that we are in a cultural crisis, your first instinct is undoubtedly to search for a solution. But the usual places you might expect to be part of the solution, schools, government, and the entertainment industry, are part of the problem.Each of these contributes to the causes of our crisis. Schools are too often busy trying keep up with fads and fashions. Your children and grandchildren should be acquiring the tools to learn about the best of... (Read More ...)