First, for the music lesson of the week.
Here’s a recording with text of Alexander Zemlinsky's Lyric Symphony, Op. 18 (wiki), finished in 1923, performance by Staatskapelle Berlin with Maria Bengtsson, soprano, and Bo Skovhus, baritone, conducted by Kirill Petrenko, posted by InvertedNinthChord.
The work is often compared to Gustav Mahler’s 'Das Lied von der Erde' ('The Song of the Earth' around 1908), a song cycle in six movements for soprano and baritone. The text in Zemlinsky's work is based on 'The Gardener' by Rabindranath Tagore in a German translation by Hans Effenberger. The subject matter seems to deal with finality, farewells, loss, and transition.
The Zemlinsky work have seven movements, runs around 45 minutes, and alternates baritone and soprano, with the man going first.
The first movement starts with a dour 3-chord motive in f# minor, which seems to be a leitmotif for the work. The work will end in D Major with a sort of late Mahler-sounding repose. But the middle movements are more adventurous, dispensing with key signature with sometimes a loose atonality. Alban Berg used a quiet passage near the end of the third song for his “Lulu Suite”, and a motive in the fourth song seems to appear near the end of Wozzeck (which I saw in NYC in 1974) after the catastrophe. Zemlinsky is viewed as an influence on Schoenberg and Berg, somewhat following a similar path starting with hyper romanticism, whose harmonies sometimes sound related to Brahms. Some observers feel that parts of the Lyric Symphony also remind them, oddly, of late Debussy.
I want to take up another issue in this post.
Lambda Legal is on my list of an automated monthly donation from my trust. So I get mail from them. Friday I got a mailer with an envelope 'Help Us Fight Florida's 'DON'T SAY GAY OR TRANS' Law. Inside there is some emotional language about 'LGBTQ+ kids and families across Florida'. There is a depiction of a family with four children, with the second oldest, 12, said to be non-binary and to use 'they/them” pronouns.'
My reaction is something like this: If I did not have my own platform to speak in detail and nuance about complicated issues like this, I would have to join one side or the other and be wrong personally no matter which one. Or I would have to remain silent completely and drop out. If a lot of people felt they had to do that, that’s an invitation to authoritarianism, especially fascism. That’s a fundamental problem with democracy.
We do have open gay marriage, open discussion of adult gay issues in visible social media, and children will see it. Although perhaps not very often. But kids may have some teachers with same sex spouses. So there is no reasonable way for public schools never to mention LGBTQ issues even in lower grades once in a while.
However, the way the 'Left' is promoting the issue is something else. It is making the entire LGBTQ world appear to be about gender identity, and that is false. In practice, most of the issues in schools seem to have to do with gender identity, not homosexual attraction among (cis-gendered) adults which has become much more acceptable in the past thirty or more years.
And there are scattered reports of 'indoctrination' of kids with rather inappropriate ideas especially in lower grades, sometimes infused with Marxism, and sometimes connected to a manipulative presentation of some derivatives of critical race theory – wokeness.
The facts on gender identity even in reputable publications keep shifting too much. Some readers may have heard of the squabble at Scientific American. Back in 2018, NIH (National Library of Medicine) had published an article “Molecular Karyotyping in Children and Adolescents with Gender Dysphoria”. The article shows that the correlation between reported gender dysphoria and actual chromosomal disorders (XXY, X_) or other known genetic or congenital or epigenetic disorders is rather small, although sometimes present. Other sites have indicated that sometimes these are treated hormonally with birth-gender affirming hormones. Nevertheless, there will be occasional cases of dysphoria even in lower grades that are valid, although much less than the 1.5% or so that is being reported in young people these days (even by groups like Trevor Project). These can be handled by careful school and parental management, not by forcing all grade school children to question their identities unnecessarily. (If we really have a biological rate of 1.5% something realty is terribly wrong in the environment, whether pollution, climate change, etc.)
Christopher Rufo has an article “The Dismantlers” (also in Fox News) presenting an apparently woke program in San Diego public schools attacking “heteronormativity” with indoctrination, although when I looked at the actual slides included they were not as radical as Rufo claims them to be.
I think detailed education on this subject (as far as responsible science takes us) can start when students take biology, like in ninth grade. But it's hard these days even for science writers to stay away from their own social and political motives.
I also got an envelope from 'National LGBTQ Task Force' this fall. Its headlines sensationally speak of 'queering the vote' this fall. Indeed, LGBTQ interests could face a backtrack this fall from frivolous new challenges to past opinions on gay marriage and even overturning the sodomy laws (the supposed "amplification" of monkeypox could reignite an old debate from the 80s).
In this climate, I need to do all my speaking for myself. I cannot donate to biased publications claiming they can speak for me. And that is a dangerous place for me to be, should things go 'really' wrong.
(Posted: Saturday, September 3, 2022 at 10 PM EDT)