Saturday, February 28, 2015
Below is a screen shot of a part of the Daily Mail's web home page right now, where three stories about politicians are juxtaposed. First, a "Republican congressman" is caught in a minor kerfuffle about excessive spending to decorate his office. A problem, yes, but a minor one, and what about all the money the Clintons have spent decorating? Not a word. Then there's a story about "GOP" politicians "rushing to condemn." All that intemperate rushing to judgment hotheadedness. In both headlines, the political party is the first thing mentioned.
But then comes the really big story about the man who just resigned as the governor of Oregon after being caught up in a corruption scandal with an FBI criminal investigation heating up. Looks like he's destroying evidence! He's "disgraced." Now here's something meaty! But hmmmm, of just what political party is he a member? No mention in the large headline, or in the caption to the photo. One clicks through to the article. No mention in the five point summary of the report. One reads through the article, down past all the photos and ads. Finally, there at the very end the "disgraced" ex-governor's political party is mentioned at last – though in an oblique way at that.
OK now – Guess That Political Party!
It's obvious the lie that's going on here. The Daily Mail knows that by placing the big story of the corrupt unnamed Democrat just below two negative headlines about named Republicans, it creates the impression for inattentive readers that the third story is about a Republican as well. The Daily Mail also knows that few people will click through to start reading the article, and that even fewer will read all the way to the end where the corrupt politician's political party is finally mentioned. By mentioning the Democrat party only at the very end, the Daily Mail can try to deflect accusations of political bias by stating that it did indeed mention the Democrat party of the politician, but by placing the mention at the very end it ensures few readers of the original headline will ever know the truth.
Monday, February 16, 2015
Tuesday, February 10, 2015
As opera plots go, this one is simple. All the action takes place in a 24 hour period in Rome in the year 1800. The painter Cavaradossi stumbles upon an old revolutionary comrade on the run from a jailbreak and helps him with food and a good hiding place. But the ruthless police chief Scarpia appears and finds reason to suspect Cavaradossi of just that. Although the painter denies all, Scarpia proceeds to torture him to see if he’s lying, and forces his inamorata Tosca, a singer, to listen. Scarpia is clearly obsessed with Tosca – he proclaims in the Te Deum scene of the first act “Tosca, you make me forget God” – and uses her relationship with Cavaradossi to attempt a two-fer – get the information he wants and possess her as well. When Tosca can no longer stand her lover’s screams, she reveals the truth to Scarpia. Since she confirms that Cavaradossi has in fact aided a political enemy of the state, it is not at all clear what Tosca thinks the happy ending could be for her lover (and herself as well). Well, it is usually a capital error to expect much logic from opera characters, so strike that thought. Nevertheless, Tosca seems to work out a solution, and through double double-crosses the opera moves on to its dramatic conclusion.
|Cover of the Original 1899 Libretto|
In the Lyric Opera Companion, Stephanie von Buchau writes that "the most memorable slur cast on opera ... is Professor Joseph Kerman's celebrated dismissal: Tosca, that shabby little shocker." But, she writes, "Tosca, like all of Puccini's mature operas, consists of more than just a series of caloric tunes draped over a lurid story line in dubious taste. Puccini was an artisan, and however you rate his inspiration, you have to rate his craftsmanship very near the top of the list." No argument here, but in Tosca we the audience do not develop quite the same emotional attachment to Tosca as we do, for example, with Mimi in Boheme or Cho-Cho-San in Butterfly.
Tosca has been a favorite at Lyric Opera. It was featured in the company’s first season in 1954, although it may have been performed in the city earlier as there had been previous opera companies. That first production featured Eleanor Steber as Tosca, Giuseppe Di Stefano as Cavaradossi, and Tito Gobbi as Scarpia. Two years later Tosca was back, this time with Renata Tebaldi, Jussi Bjoerling, and Gobbi again. In the Lyric’s first 25 seasons, Tosca was featured in 10 of them with Gobbi as Scarpia in eight. In 1976 there was a newcomer to the role of Cavaradossi at the Lyric – Luciano Pavarotti, whose "favorite tenor and idol," according to his Wikipedia entry, was the Lyric's very first in that role, Giuseppe Di Stefano.
Some related posts:
Il Trovatore at the Lyric Opera
The Lyric Opera at Millennium Park, 2014
La Boheme at the Lyric
Aida at the Lyric
Show Boat at the Lyric Opera
Wednesday, February 4, 2015
Williams was not the only NBC employee on that assignment, so many more have been involved in perpetrating this lie. This "false story," as the liberal site Politico describes it, has been touted for over 10 years by NBC and Williams as evidence of the network's heroic news people who will go anywhere for a story. Politico reports: 'Williams has told the story several times, including during a 2013 appearance on "The Late Show" with David Letterman. "Two of our four helicopters were hit by ground fire including the one I was in, RPG and AK-47... we were only at 100 feet doing 100 forward knots," he told Letterman. "We landed very quickly and hard, and we were stuck, four birds in the middle of the desert. And we were north out ahead of the other Americans." '
Williams claims to be puzzled about how he could have mixed up landing safely and quietly with being shot down by gunfire, but vows to get to the bottom of the mystery. In addition, Williams, who for decades has also been claiming he is an objective journalist, insists that this story is the only thing he has made up, ever, honest. Double honest.