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David Gates : American Disaster and Self-Congratulation

I take back what I said yesterday about this country having the world's best music: That piece "The Last Full Measure of Devotion," sung by some airbag soprano with the U.S. Army band at the Pentagon, was what P.G. Wodehouse characters call the frozen limit. All this stuff, moving as some of it is—the reading of names, for instance—brings together some noxious tendencies. One is atmospheric overkill: As I type this, for instance, a string quartet is playing "Amazing Grace" while a man and woman take turns reading. The names alone, among distant city sounds, would have done the trick. I don't mean to sound like a fucking esthete, but whoever planned this was working in accordance with an esthetic too. It reminds me of the original coverage, when TV news—see, I'm not entirely abstemious—would put dramatic music under footage of the towers collapsing. Got to keep the customers entertained.

refers to


Philip Kennicott : Fragile Memory ←  → Simon Schama : The Dead and the Guilty