How To Politically Balance Your Political Art Show

“When New Times first reported that the exhibition was being planned and included many anti-Bush works, Aeizona State University administrators promised that the show would not go on unless it was politically balanced. More than 400 pages of e-mails and correspondence written as far back as February through July 21 between museum staff, ASU administrative officials and the artists who were asked to participate in the show reveal how this ‘balance’ was achieved: Anti-Bush works were eliminated; museum director Marilyn Zeitlin allowed work she called ‘mediocre’ to be included; and ASU administrators with no background as curators, including President Michael Crow, weighed in on the content.”

How (Whether) To Reform German Spelling

In 1998, Germany undertook to reform its spelling. Six years on, there are big forces at work to change back to old spellings. “Backers of reform say simplification of spelling is badly needed to make life easier for schoolchildren; rolling back now would cause chaos in the classroom and cost millions. Critics say the overhaul has failed and Germany could become a land of dyslexics. Both sides have a point…”

What Role Language?

“It seems that words for exact numbers do not exist in all languages. And if someone has no word for a number, he may have no notion of what that number means. While there is no dispute that language influences what people think about, evidence suggesting it determines thought is inconclusive.”

Remembering Czeslaw Milosz

“Milosz was always worried that he had betrayed his homeland by leaving it and was glad to return to newly free Poland for the final years of his life. He was welcomed as a literary giant. But like many east European intellectuals who flourished in adversity, he had little to say directly about the new era of uncaptive minds. ‘Intellectuals have a certain image of things and don’t know very well what is going on beneath, in people’s heads, after those decades of totalitarian smashing and modelling’.”

Has Cell Phone Ban Had Impact On NY Theatres?

More than a year ago, New York City passed a law banning cell phone use in theatres. Many thought the ban was unenforceable. “Broadway, Off-Broadway, and Off-Off-Broadway house managers asking audience members to turn off their cell phones before a performance begins is now a completely common practice. But has there been 100% compliance? (Anyone who attends the theatre today might suspect otherwise.) Has anyone paid the fine? Has anyone been physically removed for defying the law?”

All Beethoven Sonatas (Performance And Scores) On One Disk?

The story is told that the CD was designed to have the capacity to hold Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. Here’s something light years beyond: “all 32 Beethoven piano sonatas plus scores compressed into a single CD-ROM selling for $29.98, newly released by Newport Classic. Watch your DVD player or computer swallow it up, and you’re good for 10 hours of music. Buying the recordings on compact disc (on which they’re also available) and the scores as hard copies would cost around $150.”

Lapham: Dissent Wanted

Harper’s editor Lewis Lapham is full of dissent these days, and seems energized by it. “It’s in our character to want to be nice. We get uneasy with sharp disagreement. We have nothing like the prime minister’s question period” in the British Parliament. Add nationalist fervor to fundamental niceness, he says, and you get something close to the view that America can do no wrong. ‘People want to feel that their presidents know what they’re doing, that our artists are capable of masterpieces, that our weapons are invincible. That we’re No. 1 in everything.’ To think otherwise, in this context, is to be perceived as somehow un-American.”