Yohannon (yohannon) wrote,

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So, that was interesting.

While riding into work, the iPod spit out one of the songs that was a particularly proud "find" of mine, one "Nessun dorma" as sung by Aretha Franklin, live at the Grammys. For reasons I can not explain, it makes me cry every single time I hear it. There's just something about it that touches me, and has since I first heard a few seconds of it on some "year in review" type show that same year (no, I don't really watch the Grammy's, or many other award shows. Too much fluff...).

Some time later, when I try to explain the song to people who haven't heard it, I referred to the stories I had pieced together from a multitude of suspect sources, namely that she was a last minute replacement for Luciano Pavarotti, and thus had to sing the song in HIS key... with only 45 minutes rehearsal.

It turns out (thanks to this yahoo article) that it was actually 45 minutes into the SHOW when the Tenor abruptly cancelled.... Aretha only had thirty minutes.

I have run into many postings about the web completely dismissing her performance, sometimes violently illustrating every perceived flaw, as if it were there god given right mission to save us all from imperfection... imperfection as they see it, at least. All other opinions are irrelevant.

What these cultural lobotomy cases seem (or choose) to forget is that their world is an artifice with absolutely no universal constant upon which to anchor itself; a frail attempt to control what is beauty, a fascist rebirth of solipsistic sophists -- Beauty is what we tell you it is.

The danger in that thought is it's self-referential nature: Once one realizes that beauty is relative, the thesis shatters. If it is real to you, it is your truth, and a part of reality.

I listen to that song and I imagine the moment, the chutzpah, the shock of the crowd. Those who would see their little clique invaded by people, like myself, who could honestly say we actively despised opera, only to be blown away by her performance, moved (as I said) to tears.

Maybe my ears are somehow aurally illiterate, little acoustic retards incapable of grasping the fine nuances that those who can toss around incredibly long words designs to label things as Bad, Good, or (most damnably) Adequate. I would prefer to think that it's more a case of allowing myself to be swept up by a moment captured by the magic of technology, taken on a brief trip to a place that makes my very soul quaver almost in sympathetic vibration, a secret chord that stirs you deeply.

I pity you who can not... WILL not... see what is beauty here. For those of you so crass as to attempt to sully my appreciation of the moment, I can but wonder why. Is it simple eagerness to show off your hard earned knowledge? Insecurity that what you judge to be the acme will be dismissed, just as you are so quick to dispose of?

The arbitrage of culture may never be completely eliminated -- the best we can hope for is that larger numbers realize that they can like what they like, and that others will have there own thing... and leave it the fuck alone.
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