Thursday, September 07, 2006


Meetings with remarkable men (and their wives)

In the current Atlantic Monthly, Christopher Hitchens roasts JFK and his legacy over some white-hot coals. It's been a long time, of course, since anybody took the myth of Camelot at face value. With his playground notion of foreign policy and a compulsive sexual appetite that makes Clinton look like a 40-year-old virgin, Kennedy seems less and less like a candidate for Mount Rushmore. In any case, Hitchens's rhetorical blast came to mind the other day when I read an excerpt from Aaron Copland's diary, in which he describes the White House gala he attended on November 13, 1961. The evening honored Pablo Casals. Note Copland's patriotic pique at the omission of American music from the program:
I sat between Mrs. Walter Lippman and Mrs. William Paley. Pierre Salinger and Senator Mike Mansfield were at our table. President Kennedy was in full view the entire time, while ten violins played through dinner. Surprised at his reddish-brown hair. No evil in the face, but plenty of ambition there, no doubt. Mrs. K. statuesque. A ceremonial entry with the presentation of colors preceded dinner at which guests were presented to President and Mrs. Kennedy. Seemed to note a glance of recognition from Mr. and Mrs. Kennedy. After dinner we were treated to a concert by Pablo Casals. No American music. The next step.

When William Paley
kicked-the-bucket moi thought Rather, and his cohorts, we're gonna LOL on air.

"...He thinks the moon is a small hole at the top of the sky," as
Elizabeth Bishop wrote.

Stay on Groovin' Safari,
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