The Agony Of Belief

Albrecht Dúrer, arguably the greatest drawing master of all time, had a dread of dying and a fear of eternal damnation. He once wrote, apropos of nothing, that “Anyone who is among us today may be buried tomorrow.” Elsewhere he writes, “Through disobedience of sin we have fallen into everlasting death.” You could, he thought, try mortifying the flesh but you shouldn’t count on that as a way out of eternal...

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On Cultivating Exquisite Taste

All by itself, independent of how it comes about, exquisite taste is neither good nor bad. In my opinion, some things are worthy of cultivation and some seem like a foolish joke. Some exquisite taste just happens without cultivation and it is hard to condemn it, however trite it may be. Young French children drink wine as American children drink milk. I doubt that American children can develop a preference for one brand of milk over another...

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Wagner And Hitler… In Love

Ezra Pound set the precedent. Widely regarded as the best of the best, so far as poetry is concerned, Pound received big bucks when he was awarded the Bollingen Prize. This set up a great furor because Pound had advanced from fascist follower of Mussolini to rabid supporter of Hitler and nazism. Many of the literati questioned his getting a prize, as if to honor his viciousness. Can one separate the artist from the man? In my opinion, one...

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Goodnight, Maria

I once saw a girl named Maria. It was in the mid-1950s, and she danced. I have seen clips but, sad to say, I never saw her dance in flesh again. Enthralled though I was, I did not imagine I would never see her like again even into the 21st century. I write of MARIA TALLCHIEF, the great Maria Tallchief, the best American born and bred dancer ever. Maria was one of only two persons (to the best of my knowledge) privileged to call George...

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Money Versus Things Of Value

When you read, as I just did, that the University of Louisville’s basketball team has a net WORTH of $291 million, it makes you wonder about the difference between value and worth. And if that $291 figure sounds high to you, consider, too, the money brought in recently by the sale of Francis Bacon paintings: $86.2 million, $44.8, $37, and most recently of all, $40 million. Poor Francis. Think how rich he would be if he were alive and...

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I Found It At The Movies

At about the halfway mark of the Civil War, Abe Lincoln takes the bold step of issuing an Emancipation Proclamation. A truly great moment in U.S. history. So it is now 150 years since that most important time. The film, LINCOLN, is about that moment. Since it stars Daniel Day-Lewis, there wasn’t, and could not possibly have been, suspense concerning who would get the Best Actor Award. ARGO, a very exciting potboiler, won Best Movie award for...

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