First we had La Traviata in public places, now we have The Sound of Music (Christopher Plummer called it The Sound of Mucus and he was there) popping up in train stations in Belgium and New Zealand.

A lot of people seem taken by these public displays by the descendants of the dancing maniacs of the middle ages. These dances seem to be the carefully planned expressions of spontaneous motion as joyous kinesis. I apprehend something more sinister – the imminent descent of Western Culture into terminal bathos. Of course, this decline has been underway since before the circumcision of Elagabalus. But The Sound of Music. Why?

Okay, The Rite of Spring might have been a bit of a challenge. But Tchaikovsky or even Khachaturian would have set toes to tapping without embarrassing even the most cloying sentimental. If you had to have words with the rhythm  Cole Porter, George Gershwin, and Irving Berlin are atop the popular pantheon.

My biggest fear is contagion. This sort of thing could easily spread to every shopping mall in the country. Both commerce and culture could simultaneously degrade under the assault of do re mi. If this tic is confined to railroad stations we could escape without serious damage as there are almost none left in the US. I’m told the CDC is on the case. I feel better already. But what if Wagner is next.

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