Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Mau-mauing the Maestro

At The New Yorker online, Alex Ross is presenting material from the FBI file of Leonard Bernstein, who was apparently seen as a serious threat to National Security from the 1940s onward. Today's installment, "Bernstein and Nixon's Plumbers," is not to be missed. At the height of the Vietnam War and on the eve of the Watergate burglary, White House operatives like Patrick Buchanan and Egil Krogh fretted that Lenny might be slipping subversive Latin messages into "Mass," the piece he was writing for the 1971 opening of the Kennedy Center. As the air thickens with ravings about "death panels" and "FEMA camps," it is useful to remember that American paranoia has a long, long, long history.


I guess one of these days I should work out how to do that hyperlink stuff.

As Bernstein remarked in a talk about terrorism many years later, "Who am I to have political effect? I just work here." Maybe by 1986 he had stopped trying.

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