Monday, November 05, 2007

Wow, Jonah Goldberg sends me spiraling back to the 70s

He referenced Mark Steyn’s New Criterion article on the 20th anniversary of Allan Bloom’s The Closing of the American Mind at the Corner today.

I had the great pleasure of attending a seminar of Francis A. Schaeffer of L'abri in the late 70s wherein he taught about declining culture and post- modernism from a Christian philosophy’s perspective. I think it was the first time I ever heard the term “world-view.” It was a brief course of several days following the outline staked out in his How Should We Then Live. It was, of course, way over my head but I knew I was in the company of greatness…along with 10,000 of my closest friends. Still, seeds were planted and for the first time, I began paying attention to "classical" music.

Indeed, within a year of that seminar, I had the great fortune of hearing the legendary Benny Goodman perform in Fair Park in Dallas. I was seventeen and still remember that before the intermission (where I purchased my first gin and tonic at 17) he performed with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and after with his big band. I have to admit I was delighted to read this in Steyn's piece:

The argument is that, oh, well, you uptight squares are always objecting to stuff: you thought Sinatra exciting bobbysoxers was dangerous, and the Viennese waltz was the mating dance of a hypersexualized culture. No. Benny Goodman, noted by Bloom, was a huge pop star but he could play the Mozart clarinet concerto.

Some ten years later, Allan Bloom summed up a similar world-view from a secular perspective with Closing. This one I didn’t read for another ten years when I saw the book on a Top 100 list for the 20th Century. A brutal read for a child of the sixties…but that is his whole point. I should probably reread after having become a bit more sophisticated as my reading has become a bit more thoughtful.

This was followed in 1999 by Chuck Colson’s How Now Shall We Live, obviously echoing the themes of Schaeffer. (I have to admit I haven’t read this one yet for fear of being shamed.)

Funny how Jonah's little blurb can send me through such a spiral.


Anonymous said...

LJ and I also saw BG on that tour in Houston.

Scooter said...

I thought you may have. How 'bout that? Even before we knew one another.