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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

In teh comments to the post immediately below, Cap’n Ned, long time friend of the decanter, alerts me to a flash-mob prank pulled off by the United States Air Force Band at the Air n’ Space Museum a couple days ago.  Starting with a solo cello appearing out of nowhere, the band broke into Bach’s “Jesu, joy of Man’s desiring”, gradually segueing into Handel’s “Joy to the World”, much to the wonder of the tourons wandering around the place.   Teh Anchoress has the video, so go on over if you’d like to see it for yourselves.

I suppose I should look on this as a good and joyful thing, but my cynical side jumps in with three observations:

First, experience and observation of teh clip inclines me to believe that 9/10 of the audience hadn’t the faintest notion that the first part of the performance was Bach’s great statement on Man’s hunger for God and hadn’t the faintest idea what this “Jesu” about which some of them were singing actually is.   All most of them probably knew was that some people in military uniform suddenly appeared and started playing this holidayish musick and that somebody was probably capturing it on vid.   So I’m guessing  it was the presentation rayther than the substance that got their attention.

Second, the shift to “Joy To The World”.  Even though the musick is attributed originally to Handel, we happens to hate that particular carol because I think it one of the very few instances of a bad setting of one of Isaac Watts’ hymns.  The line “While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains” in the second verse always makes me shudder in particular.

Third,  I can’t help wondering how far up the chain of command the decision to stage this went and what kind of consequences might be in store for whoever approved it in case somebody makes a stink.

I know, I know.  Single candles and cursing darkness and all that…..

Oh, I should add that my use of the term “X-mas” in the title of this post is deliberate.  X-mas, as I see it, is that modern, squishy, non-sectarian mid-winter holiday in which we all fight each other tooth-and-nail for the best “deals” in teh stores, assume an artificially heightened level of cheeriness at our office parties and spend Christmas Day tearing open wrapping paper, fighting with family, stuffing ourselves with food and drink and dialing in the most interesting bowl games.   I have gone so far as to start slipping the term into my conversation here and there.   So far, nobody seems to have gotten it.


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December 2013