Gone fishing

Well, not exactly. Just going on vacation. Leaving today for the Yorkshire Dales, returning on September 4. No blog posts until I’m back. And I’m likely to delay in posting comments, too.

(Remember that I have to approve every comment that appears here. This isn’t to give me control of what’s being said. I’ve never rejected a comment because I disagreed with it. The approval process is to get rid of spam, which defeats most attempts to stop it — including those captchas, the words shown in a graphic that you have to type out — and on one occasion almost brought down the entire ArtsJournal site. Best thing is for me to delete it quickly after it appears, and prevent it ever from showing up on the blog.)

So, until September 5th or so, please be patient if a comment you posted doesn’t show up. That’s just me, trying to have a mostly work-free vacation. Except for work I’m thirsting to do, like writing my book.

Have a terrific August, everyone. I’ll be back in touch when I return.

And on the subject of fishing — does everyone know that fishing, in the US, at least, is an endangered activity, much as mainstream classical music might be? Hunting, too. Older people hunt and fish, younger ones not nearly as much.

The decline in fishing — at least as projected into the future — struck some people a while ago as so serious that they wanted fishing taught in our schools!

Which puts the demand for classical music to be taught in a curious perspective. To what extent are classical music people simply asking for something whose importance is self-evident, and to what extent — especially as seen by the outside world — are we simply acting as yet another special interest?

Many of us, I’m sure, might smile at the thought of fishing being taught. Or at least at the idea that this should have some strong priority. But maybe people who fish feel the same way about classical music.

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  1. Laurence Glavin says

    Frank DeFord, one of the sports commentators on NPR, once said that he was unlike many other people in his field: he just didn’t like to fish. He didn’t like his own company that much, and didn’t have the requisite patience. I know a few people who only go to Tanglewood concerts in Western Massachusetts if they’re in the area, and once in a a while, they’ve reported back to me that they thought the experience would never end (the Shostakovich 7th will do that). A certain level of patience is required for the typical sonata-form piece.

  2. Richard says

    Don’t you know fish is made in factories in the midwest where it is frozen and wrapped in plastic. What is this “fishing” of which you speak?

  3. says

    Well, not to be the optimist in the room, but hopefully classical music is like fishing then, because at least here in the Midwest, every weekend day and most of the weekdays as well, there’s PLENTY of fishing pressure (as it’s called in fishing) on every local water I know of. A local county managed lake had 1.5hr long lines to enter the park on opening day for trout this year, and the last time I fished the Fox River I had a hard time finding a spot not inhabited by a person. So hopefully classical music is the same…measure the numbers in some ways, and you find a constant erosion…and yet there’s a lot of quiet fisherman constantly trolling for something fresh.

  4. says

    The decline in hunting and fishing is to many of us a good thing, part of the general movement of society away from cruelty toward animals. The progress beginning to be made against the intense cruelties of factory farming is a sign of this also. As is the recent adaptation in one section of Spain of a coming prohibition of bull fighting. It is long overdue that sentient animals be spared the sorts of extreme cruelties that civilized societies would never dream of imposing, routinely and legally in peacetime, on humans.

  5. Robert E. Harris says

    My other favorite occupation (listening to classical music) is playing duplicate contract bridge. The bridge playing population is aging along with the classical music audience and, it seems, along with the fishing population.

    The ACBL has promoted teaching bridge in the schools. There is a little of that, but not much, and the 11 year-olds of today won’t be the tournament players of tomorrow for another while. Attending bridge tournaments is almost as expensive as an equal amount of time devoted to attending professional classical music performances.

  6. Tdub says

    Anyone who feels that there’s some part of life so

    intrinsically valuable and fulfilling of our humanity

    that we should cultivate it in our schools is our ally, not our

    competition. This is true even if they loathe classical music

    with a destructive passion. For our world suffers from a shortage of their noble instinct to preserve what nourishes the soul, more than from any specific form of philistinism. Show me more fellow-citizens passionate about art, languages, theater, fishing, or even math for its own sake, and I’ll be less worried about the fate of classical music among us.