To the editors:
In my teachings I’m often confronted with Paul Porter’s irritated perplexity [Letters, March 29] when he finds it difficult to validate the objections to WFMT’s canned commercials against the global damages of war, crime, hate, etc.
What I try to explain is that the essential desecration of any object or entity has to germinate in somebody’s conscious decision, no matter how simple or skewered, to destroy whatever or whenever s/he can instead of constructing or enhancing–whether it’s polluting a forest with acid rain or throwing a vial of acid on a Rembrandt.
The scale of the injuries may vary but all injurers want to hurt the soul as well as the body, and works of art are temples of the human spirit just as defiled by commercial exploiters as the temple of Jerusalem was corrupted into a den of thieves.
If Mr. Porter and most of Chicago’s allegedly cultured citizenry could ever appreciate classical music as something more than an irrelevant bunch of fireflies dancing on a tambourine, they’d realize environmental toxins of all kinds originate with some barbaric mentality that exults in subverting Mozart on the radio via viral advertising as much as brutalizing a jogger in Central Park.
Mozart no longer can personally feel the pain of what society did to him but the consciousness he tried to develop through the careful assimilation of his (uncommercialized) music–something I’m willing to bet would be significantly undetectable in the repertoire of the Los Angeles Police Department, for example–is as fragile as any other moral affirmation under attack from both pharisaical phonies and puerile punks because it addresses the singular, fundamental and burdensome issue of all human sensibility: what are you going to do with your life’s thoughts and actions: confront or cop out? actualize or pretend? support or abandon? nurture or mutilate? verity or vanity? or as Mama used to simply put it, Right or Wrong?
Underdeveloped sensitivity, dilettantism, or the Nazis’ prototypical use of Muzak in concentration camps notwithstanding, you just can’t work both sides of the street. At least not after you take my class.