Tag Archives: politics

La Nostra Siviglia

1 Nov

Crusty Doctor Bartolo doesn’t stand a chance with his ward Rosina once that picture of youthful vigor, Count Almaviva, comes to town. Plus, Almaviva’s a tenor. Practically a rock star.

Bartolo knows he’s in trouble. I almost feel sorry for him, at times. But, then comes that scene with Don Basilio, the one where Basilio proposes to Bartolo that Almaviva might be handily defeated with carefully fabricated slander.

Beaumarchais wrote Basilio’s calumny speech, but I know it (and love it) in Rossini’s musical rendition in Il Barbiere di Siviglia.

Here is the text, but I hope you will listen to Samuel Ramey sing it:

Calumny is a little breeze,
a gentle zephyr,
which insensibly,
subtly,
lightly and sweetly,
commences to whisper.

Softly softly, here and there,
sottovoce, sibilant,
it goes gliding,
it goes rambling.
Into the ears of the people,
it penetrates slyly and the heads and the brains it stuns and it swells.

From the mouth re-emerging the noise grows crescendo,
gathers force little by little,
runs its course from place to place,
seems the thunder of the tempest which from the depths of the forest comes whistling, muttering, freezing everyone in horror.

Finally with crack and crash,
it spreads afield,
its force redoubled,
and produces an explosion like the outburst of a cannon,
an earthquake,
a whirlwind,
a general uproar,
which makes the air resound.

And the poor slandered wretch, vilified, trampled down, sunk beneath the public lash, by good fortune, falls to death.

Have you heard that Obama is a Muslim?

Have you heard that Obama is a Muslim?

Have you heard that Obama is a Muslim?

A Mad Tea Party

16 Sep

The table was a large one, but the three were all crowded together at one corner of it: “No room! No room!” they cried out when they saw Alice coming.

“There’s PLENTY of room!” said Alice indignantly, and she sat down in a large arm-chair at one end of the table.

“You little girls come here for three reasons,” said the Mad Hatter, “One, you’re terrorists; two, you’re escaping the law; or three, you’re hungry (because) you can’t make a living in your own dirtbag country.”

“You should learn not to make personal remarks,” Alice said with some severity; “it’s very rude.”

The Hatter opened his eyes very wide on hearing this; but all he SAID was, “Why is a Muslim like a terrorist?”

“Come, we shall have some fun now!” thought Alice. “I’m glad they’ve begun asking riddles.–I believe I can guess that,” she added aloud.

“Do you mean that you think you can find out the answer to it?” said the March Hare.

“Exactly so,” said Alice.

“Then you should say what you mean,” the March Hare went on.

“I do,”Alice hastily replied; “at least–at least I mean what I say–that’s the same thing, you know.”

“Not the same thing a bit!” said the Hatter. “You might just as well say that saying there are headless bodies in the desert is the same as finding headless bodies in the desert!’

“You might just as well say,” added the March Hare, “that looking out your window at Russia is the same as having foreign policy experience!”

“You might just as well say,” added the Dormouse, who seemed to be talking in her sleep, “that being abstinent with other people, is the same as being abstinent alone.”

Alice felt dreadfully puzzled. The Dormouse’s remark seemed to have no sort of meaning in it, and yet it was certainly English. “I don’t quite understand you,” she said, as politely as she could.

“Tell us a story,” said the Hatter to the Dormouse.

“Once upon a time there were three little sisters,” the Dormouse began in a great hurry; “and their names were Elsie, Lacie, and Tillie; and they lived at the bottom of a well–”

“What did they live on?” asked Alice, who always took a great interest in questions of eating and drinking.

“They lived on treacle,” said the Dormouse, after thinking a minute or two.

“They couldn’t have done that, you know,” Alice gently remarked; “they’d have been ill.”

“Okay, then they lived on catsup,” added the Dormouse testily, “It’s a vegetable.”

“They’d still be quite ill,” snapped Alice.

“So they were,” said the Dormouse; “VERY ill.”

Alice wanted to ask whether they managed to see a doctor, but it seemed like a touchy question.

Then she tried to fancy to herself what such an extraordinary way of living would be like, but it puzzled her too much, so she went on: “But why did they live at the bottom of a well? Why didn’t they live in a proper house?”

“That’s not my job.  Anyway, there’s a plan for everybody,” said the Dormouse, falling asleep in an instant.

“The Dormouse is asleep again,” said the Hatter.

“What is a Dormouse, anyway?” asked Alice.

“It’s a mouse with a human brain.” Said the March Hare.

Alice looked confused: “I don’t think–”

“Then you shouldn’t talk,” said the Hatter.

This piece of rudeness was more than Alice could bear: she got up in great disgust, and walked off.

“At any rate I’ll never go THERE again!” said Alice as she picked her way through the wood. “It’s the stupidest tea-party I ever was at in all my life!”