Shock Tactics

I was reading an article by Alex Ross in this week’s New Yorker about German philosopher and music critic Theodor Adorno when I was stopped cold by the following paragraph:

Tragically, Adorno was himself a victim of the shock tactics of pop culture. In April, 1969, a group of female activists interrupted his lecture “An Introduction to Dialectical Thinking” by flashing their breasts in his face and taunting him with flowers. He died a few months later, on August 6, 1969. It was twenty-four years to the day after the atomic destruction of Hiroshima.

Was anyone else crumpled into laughter? Maybe you’d need to read the whole article to find this funny. Adorno was a very serious guy, and the serious way this “attack” was described just reduced me to giggles. That’s just me, I guess.


Jason posted some interesting stuff today about Esperanto. It’s a language invented more than a hundred years ago, and it was supposed to be a universal worldwide “second language” so that we could all communicate. Sadly, it continues to have only about 2 million speakers. I’ve been fascinated by the concept for years, though. So romantic, that we should all be able to transcend our differences and compromise and all learn something new. In reality, the world’s second language is English, the language of commerce, power, empire. When I finally publish (web, book, whatever) that first collection of poetry, I’m calling it “esperanto.” It’s such a lonely but noble idea.