Wednesday, February 10, 2010

"Mozart Was a Red" -- and my own Rand performance 2/17

One of the economists responsible for spreading the idea, alluded to in yesterday’s entry, that we should abolish the Federal Reserve — no longer quite as obscure a position as it once was — was Murray Rothbard.  He was also a disgruntled former member of Ayn Rand’s circle who felt that, among other problems, Rand was rude to his wife — who refused to abandon her religious beliefs even after reading Rand’s ostensibly knock-down arguments against them.

Indeed, Rothbard satirized what he saw as the weirdness and dogmatism of the Rand circle in an informal play called Mozart Was a Red — an allusion to Rand’s strong and often idiosyncratic aesthetic convictions, revolving largely around whether artists expressed a positive or negative sense of life (I believe that in real life, Rand preferred the upbeat Mozart to the grim Beethoven, though Beethoven’s heavy brand of Romanticism is not so unlike her own, if you ask me).

Dimitri Cavalli suggested that we do a performance of Mozart Was a Red at Lolita Bar sometime, and while I think that might be appealing to too narrow an audience (or perhaps would be better performed at New York’s oxymoronic-sounding Objectivist Community Center, if they’re tolerant enough for it), I will make it up to you in two ways: linking to video of perhaps the only performance of the play and, more exciting, telling you that if all goes as planned, I will be doing an important bit of Rand-related performance art one week from today on the Yale campus: reading excerpts of her well-titled speech “Faith and Force: Destroyers of the Modern World” on the fiftieth anniversary of her own rendition of it there (at least if my Yale contacts get back to me with the finalized details).

Indeed, I plan to give the speech on all three of the campuses where she gave it fifty years ago, including Brooklyn College and finally Columbia, the three fiftieth-anniversary days happening to fall this year on Ash Wednesday, Easter Sunday, and Cinco de Mayo, which I did not plan to anger Catholics with an anti-faith speech.  It just worked out that way, the void working in mysterious ways.  More details as soon as I have them.

1 comment:

Gerard said...

Ooh, my alma mater.

It’s funny, when I went to BC there was a short-lived center-right magazine that emerged after the K.C. Johnson witch hunt pursued by the history department had finally petered out. I don’t remember there being any Objectivist lectures though, which I suppose would have aroused the ire of the jihadists from the MSA on campus.

I do recall one of my philosophy professors giving me a genuine look of disgust-mixed with horror-when I mentioned Ayn Rand’s name without couching it in venomous contempt though.