Critical Difference: September 2009 Archives

In The New York Times Magazine today, The Ethicist answers an intriguing question from a Lincoln Center chorus singer: "Making disruptive noises at a concert is certainly rude, but if you are sitting close enough to distract the performers, does it rise to unethical?"
September 6, 2009 10:05 AM | | Comments (0)
Doubtless, George Eliot would have a lot of catching up to do if she time-traveled to the early 21st-century United States, but "Middlemarch" suggests she'd grasp our health care debate, and its various distortions, almost instantly. In her fictional 1830s landscape, as now, there's hardly anything more threatening than a clever, good-looking young upstart who arrives on the scene and immediately starts fiddling with people's health care in the name of reform.

In "Middlemarch," the upstart is Tertius Lydgate, the head of the town's new hospital. With his foreign ideas about how medicine ought to be practiced (e.g., doctors steering clear of blatant conflicts of financial interest) and his determination to further the field with his own research, it's no wonder a segment of the population is certain he's out to kill them. That is precisely "the trenchant assertion of Mrs. Dollop, the landlady of the Tankard in Slaughter Lane."

Mrs. Dollop became more and more convinced by her own asseveration, that Doctor Lydgate meant to let the people die in the Hospital, if not to poison them, for the sake of cutting them up without saying by your leave or with your leave; for it was a known "fac" that he had wanted to cut up Mrs. Goby, as respectable a woman as any in Parley Street, who had money in trust before her marriage -- a poor tale for a doctor, who if he was good for anything should know what was the matter with you before you died, and not want to pry into your inside after you were gone. If that was not reason, Mrs. Dollop wished to know what was; but there was a prevalent feeling in her audience that her opinion was a bulwark, and that if it were overthrown there would be no limits to the cutting-up of bodies, as had been well seen in Burke and Hare with their pitch-plaisters -- such a hanging business as that was not wanted in Middlemarch!

As a note in the Modern Library edition of "Middlemarch" explains, William Burke and William Hare were "infamous criminals who murdered in order to sell the bodies for medical research. Burke was hanged for the crime, while Hare turned Crown witness."
September 1, 2009 12:57 PM | | Comments (0)

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of recent entries written by Critical Difference in September 2009.

Critical Difference: August 2009 is the previous archive.

Critical Difference: October 2009 is the next archive.

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About Last Night
Terry Teachout on the arts in New York City
Artful Manager
Andrew Taylor on the business of arts & culture
blog riley
rock culture approximately
critical difference
Laura Collins-Hughes on arts, culture and coverage
Richard Kessler on arts education
Douglas McLennan's blog
Dog Days
Dalouge Smith advocates for the Arts
Art from the American Outback
Life's a Pitch
For immediate release: the arts are marketable
Mind the Gap
No genre is the new genre
Performance Monkey
David Jays on theatre and dance
Plain English
Paul Levy measures the Angles
Real Clear Arts
Judith H. Dobrzynski on Culture
Rockwell Matters
John Rockwell on the arts
Straight Up |
Jan Herman - arts, media & culture with 'tude

Foot in Mouth
Apollinaire Scherr talks about dance
Seeing Things
Tobi Tobias on dance et al...

Jazz Beyond Jazz
Howard Mandel's freelance Urban Improvisation
Focus on New Orleans. Jazz and Other Sounds
Doug Ramsey on Jazz and other matters...

Out There
Jeff Weinstein's Cultural Mixology
Serious Popcorn
Martha Bayles on Film...

classical music
Creative Destruction
Fresh ideas on building arts communities
The Future of Classical Music?
Greg Sandow performs a book-in-progress
On the Record
Exploring Orchestras w/ Henry Fogel
Harvey Sachs on music, and various digressions
Bruce Brubaker on all things Piano
Kyle Gann on music after the fact
Greg Sandow on the future of Classical Music
Slipped Disc
Norman Lebrecht on Shifting Sound Worlds

Jerome Weeks on Books
Quick Study
Scott McLemee on books, ideas & trash-culture ephemera

Drama Queen
Wendy Rosenfield: covering drama, onstage and off
lies like truth
Chloe Veltman on how culture will save the world

Aesthetic Grounds
Public Art, Public Space
Another Bouncing Ball
Regina Hackett takes her Art To Go
John Perreault's art diary
Lee Rosenbaum's Cultural Commentary
Modern Art Notes
Tyler Green's modern & contemporary art blog
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