A Friday grab-bag: news, a joke, and a bleg. (Remember blegs?)
The news: last night I heard a lecture by Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht, whom I have mentioned here before, and afterwards went out for a beer with him and some folks from the Harry Ransom Center. Cop show! The lecture itself was stupendous, and I’ll write something about it later when it’s all settled a little more firmly into my skull. I introduced myself afterwards in the most embarrassing way possible, with the gushing and the simpering. (I think I actually used the words “I’m a huge fan.” Argh.) But he was cool. Anyway, I now want to have someone custom-make me a bumper sticker, or maybe a T-shirt, with the cover photo from The Production of Presence . . .
. . . next to the slogan, WWHUGD?
Anyway, the joke. A musical joke. I’m probably the last person to see this, but on April 1 Alanis Morissette released a video parody of the obnoxious, stupid, inane Black Eyed Peas video “My Humps.” First, see the original. (“Lovely lady lumps?”) And now the sensitive piano version:
As Julian Sanchez writes, Morissette’s parody “deserves an extra nod for managing to simultaneously be hilarious as a satire of both Fergie’s and Morissette’s own styles and
(just to twist the knife) actually a substantially better piece of
music than the tuneless original, low a bar though that admittedly is.”
Finally, the bleg. Commenter Roxanne Rieske wrote to ask what we’d suggest she could do to learn more about music history that doesn’t involve going back to college. It’s a good question, or at least, now that I think of it, I have no idea what to suggest. What good intro books are there that aren’t textbooks? Or miserable piffle? Book People in Austin, which is a good bookstore but which reflects the general Austin indifference to classical music, has a pathetic section that’s mostly “Dummies Guide to Classical Music” sort of things, but I’ve never looked at them to see if they’re any good. I suspect not. I summon the awesome power of the blogosphere! Fellow music geeks, what would you suggest?
Actually, I just had the greatest idea. Roxanne, I urge you to buy the DVD box set of Leonard Bernstein’s Young People’s Concerts. Don’t let the name fool you, it’s not just for kids. This is the greatest tour-de-force of music-appreesh pedagogy of all time. It is COP SHOW in the biblical sense. I watch this stuff for fun, because Leonard Bernstein, like Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht, is the man. He’s so huge he is, in fact, The Men.
A clip from the very first one, in 1958:
Bernstein is so emo. Geez, when’s the last time you saw something like this on CBS? In prime time?
I just plugged in the categories that correspond to the uncoordinated bits of this post, and I see that it says “Life, Teaching, Humor,” which sounds awful, like Mr. Holland’s Opus or something. OK, I added “cop show.” That’s better.