There was a regular education to be had from eavesdropping. So much of what was learned was accidentally overheard, just half a sentence caught when walking through the door.
On the surface, Ann Patchett’s “Bel Canto” reads like a silly romanticization of terrorism. I’m hard put imagining the al-Qaeda being so moved by little Cesar’s angelic rendition of Vissi D’arte, vissi d’amore, non feci mai that they change their mind about collapsing the World Trade Center. Nor do I see the ISIS getting tearfully remorseful about beheading their captives after hearing Roxanne Coss render a heavenly number of Nessun dorma.
But who knows? Terrorists are still human beings. They must still have emotion. Surely they feel they hurt they love—just like all the rest of us tree-hugging mortals.
I don’t get how they think, how it seems easy for them to kill—and not just kill, but kill in numbers, in a sadistic way, with pride and conviction. But opera might just be the way to get to them, to make them respect humanity again, to be kind to another breathing soul. Numbers lust power aside, I think music is one other language that man of any color sex belief understands and speaks by heart.
Meanwhile, on a totally unrelated note, here’s a thought from “Bel Canto” that I hope will give our Overbearing Binay an accurate and truthful perspective of where he stands in our political landscape: “Vice presidents were merely calling cards, things sent in lieu of things desired. They were replaceable, exchangeable. No war was fought or won over the inspiring words of a vice president….”