Sunday, November 4, 2012

Aaron Copland - The Promise of Living

Aaron Copeland is thought by the too smart by half crowd to be unsophisticated.  He uses simple, traditional, American motifs.  The too smart by half crowd often thinks this way about America itself: it lacks the intellectual finesse of the European Intelligentsia.  In this, they are right: neither America in general nor Copeland in particular display that particular European trait.

And yet Copeland is known as The Dean of American Composers, and America sent a man to the moon and returned him safely to Earth, all in the space of a decade.

That's quite an odd miss, both of Copeland's musical sophistication - influenced more by jazz and the avant garde, and only dressed up in American motifs - and of the American Experiment itself.  This Republic has fostered a society that is perhaps the closest expression of the permanent revolutionary ideal so beloved of the Left.  Copeland's music perhaps captures better than any the fact that the American Revolution wasn't a decade in the 18th Century, but played out over the centuries with the Golden Spike, the Wright Brothers, the Panama Canal, "Lucky" Lindy, the Liberty Ship, and yes, the first steps at the Sea of Tranquillity.

You are almost certainly reading this on a device designed by those same "unsophisticated" Americans.  The American Revolution of creative destruction continues strong in our day.

That creative destruction is apparent in our political process as well.  Four years ago, we took a chance on an inspiring figure who has pretty much let us down on everything he promised.  And so it's on to Tuesday - two days hence - when the Permanent American Revolution will sweep over this President and his party, drowning them in a very American display of creative destruction.

Where will it end?  Who can say.  What we know is that the American People remain at the core sensible and resilient.  We have faced worse than this,  have recovered from worse than this and gone on to great things.  The images in today's video are of those people.  I found this incredibly moving.  Inspiring.  "Simple" people - perhaps described as unsophisticated by the too smart by half crowd - that went on to face down two races of Supermen, fix the stain of government-sanctioned racism and truly opening opportunity to all, and building the greatest engine of creative destruction ever seen.

And it was done not by the too smart by half crowd, but rather by ordinary, gloriously unsophisticated Americans chasing the promise of living.  Those Americans took a chance four years ago, one that turned out to be a mirage offered up by those that would split this People.  Those politicians have done their best, and even now are scrambling madly to piece together a coalition to keep their power.

But strong bands bind this People, from sea to shining sea.  Tuesday will see the People rise en masse and do something very practical, and very American.  They will choose creative destruction once again.  They will do this because they feel in their gut that this is the path to the Promise of Living, for them and their children.

Many of you out there are disheartened at the state of our Republic.  Don't be.  Tonight, look up when you are outside, look to see the Moon.  Reflect on that image.  It's not a rock you see, it's footprints.  And three used cars.  And a golf ball.

That's the American spirit, right there.  That spirit is still alive and kicking.  That spirit horrifies the too smart by half crowd.  It's the spirit that says you don't control me.  It's the spirit that says you can't stop me.  That crowd hates this.

The Romans had a saying: Let them hate, so long as they fear.  The Romans ground their enemies down, until the Mediterranean was called Mare Nostrum - Our Sea.

Nobody did destruction like the Romans.  Nobody does creative destruction like the Americans.  This Republic isn't done, not by a long shot.  The too smart by half crowd wants everyone to think like they do.  That's not how we do things.  That's not the Promise of Living, at least on these shores.

Go vote on Tuesday. Go with gladness of heart, for you are one of the Millions of Americans that will sweep a wave of creative destruction like few have seen.


Bob said...

Good post. It should be noted that Copland's "American motifs" are mostly to be found in the film and ballet scores that he did on commission. When he was writing for his own amusement/satisfaction, his works tend to be as 20th-century avant-garde (read: unlistenable) as most other 20th-century composers.

Walter Zoomie said...

A beautiful and well-written piece.
Thank you.

Most of the fun stuff in that video is illegal now.

A big part of the problem...

Old NFO said...

Excellent post and excellent points!

agirlandhergun said...


libertyman said...

Your essay would make a fabulous graduation speech! What are you doing next May?

Well written sir, and the video was very evocative. Both elements of your post were thoughtfully and skillfully done.

Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man is a favorite, despite its (former?) association with a television news show.

Great music. And to think I got an extra hour today to enjoy it!

Differ said...

Inspirational stuff,
Thank you Mr B.
My father was an Americanophile and had a collection of Copland's work. We played Coral Nocturne at his funeral...
There's hope for change Tuesday.

Reno Sepulveda said...

Thanks I needed that.

Phyllis (N/W Jersey) said...

Beautifully written - thank you!

Borepatch said...

Remember to vote!

drjim said...

+1 bazillion!

Ritchie said...

Thank you very much. Permanent American Revolution. Simple people would like this on at tee shirt. To see the benefits of intellectual finesse, visit a European construction site for a while and see if they clank into something old and explodable.

cnydem said...

Interesting that eleven comments are posted before anyone mentions the mis-spelling of the composer's name.