Saturday, May 20, 2006

Leb' wohl, du kühnes, herrliches Kind!

On the one hand, there is no such thing as bad publicity. It appears, not surprisingly, that I have hurt Mr. Douglas' feelings. Mr. Douglas has taken a very busy Saturday to rebut a recent post of mine. Oh, dear. Perhaps I should have sent him that snifter of brandy.

I love contradictions, and Mr. Douglas has been so kind as to provide me with a doozy:

There's so much wrong in that apologia one hardly knows where to begin ripping it apart. As good a place as any to start is, I suppose, to disabuse Mr. Smith of his curious (but, alas, not uncommon) notion that the Ring is "an extended meditation on power." It's, of course, nothing of the sort. Using the terms of Mr. Smith's own argument, the Ring is not a "mediation on power," but a "meditation" on the world-encompassing and -destroying evil that ineluctably ensues when love is usurped and replaced as a life principle by the will to human-created power.

The bold-face is, of course, mine. A meditation on the will to power is somehow different than a meditation on power? Parce mihi, Domine Jesu! My argument might not be a rhetorical masterpiece, but I do love painting in broad strokes. Playing the parsing game over "the will to power" and "power" is nonsensical. At best. There is no way that I can respond to his argument, for I cannot accept his premise. A meditation on the will to power is, like it or not, a meditation on power.

He does not like my "feminist" view of the Ring. That's too bad. Perhaps he is reading a different score than I. Perhaps there is a secret score for those who have decided that Wagnerian performance and criticism stopped in 1876. Alas, I will never know. The story arc of the Ring is, indeed, based on love. However, Wagner's concept of love in the Ring requires a man and a woman. The men, by and large, in his story are monumental failures. The women fix everything. Prove me wrong.

Mr. Douglas does not like my interpretation of the Ring. That's fine. He's wrong, of course, but I am perfectly willing to accept his interpretation. I promise that, if Mr. Douglas outlined his view of the Ring at one of my parties, there would be no derisive laughter or misogyny.


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