31 March 2007

A conductor, a hooligan and doing a Gibson

So what happens when a professional (apparently) musician turns to the murky realm of politics to gain inspiration for his new production? Here is the musician:

Simon Capet (pronounced Ka-pay) is part of three generations of classical musicians. "Music was the family trade, and I was also intended to carry the baton.”
And here is the subject matter:
Samson is an oratorio by George Frideric Handel. It was based on a libretto by Newburgh Hamilton, who based it on Milton's Samson Agonistes, which in turn was based on the figure Samson in Chapter 16 of the Book of Judges. Samson is considered one of Handel's finest dramatic works.
And here is the result:
The Victoria Philharmonic Choir is creating a stir with its version of Handel's Samson oratorio. The choir's version of the classic story turns the Biblical tale on its head by portraying Samson as a suicide bomber in 1946 Jerusalem.

Some say I'm brave, some say I'm anti-Israel or whatever, but that is OK," Capet said. "The point is to get discussion going."

Brave? Come on, it is all in the realm of poetic license. In is not like one would put a pile of shit in a box in a museum of art... oops, it was already done. Anyway, it is not about bravery for sure.

Anti-Israel? Come on, who cares about a politicised musical? Was done already, without much success...

So, while some may say whatever some may say, I say that little knowledge is a dangerous thing and may cause one to be called simply stupid. So it is time to present here a politically incorrect but true version of Samson's story. Mind you, I am not Norm, too (there is no Norm but Norm in any case), so it is not a refined version, be warned.

Samson (pronounced Shim-shon) was no refined third generation musician, that's for sure. He was a muscle-bound shtarker to start with ("Samson was said to be so strong that he could uplift two mountains and rub them together like two clods of earth"). He was an animal torturer ("Samson attaches torches to the tails of three hundred foxes, leaving the panicked beasts to run through the fields and vineyards of the Philistines, burning all in their wake.") He was a biggest hooligan in the known history ("Using the jawbone of a donkey, he slays one thousand Philistines.").

But first and foremost, Samson was a womaniser, lusting after every skirt (or was it toga at the time?), especially the goyish ones, of Philistine persuasion ("Samson's eyes were put out because he had "followed them" too often"). Which trait eventually caused his demise.

Now, there are two versions of the last act of that demise process. The totally wrong one, by the author of the linked CBC article: "He is chained in the temple by the Philistines and forced to witness a sacrilegious act. He pulls down the temple, killing himself and thousands of others in the process." It was difficult for Samson to witness anything at the time, dear scribe, for the simple reason of him being blinded prior to the act in question.

Then there is an accepted version (from Wiki):
Once inside the temple, Samson, his hair having grown long again, asks the servant who is leading him to the temple's central pillars if he may lean against them.

"Then Samson prayed to the Lord, 'O Lord God, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for one of my two eyes.' (Judges 16:28)." "Samson said, 'Let me die with the Philistines!' (Judges 16:30) Down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. Thus he killed many more as he died than while he lived." (Judges 16:30).
Of course, this version is a load of crap as well. The truth is much more mundane: Samson, as the story goes, after being blinded was put by Philistines to work grinding grain. Which work causes grain dust to fly around and the result is intense itching all over. So the only thing Samson had in mind while in the temple was to scratch his back against something. Unfortunately, Philistine know-how in the building industry was extremely poor, and Samson was, as it was already mentioned, quite a hefty bloke...

Anyway, suicide was the last thing Samson had in mind, and making him out to be a suicide bomber at the Jerusalem King David hotel is akin to making, for example, a distinguished Vancouver conductor into a... successful dealer in second hand camels of dubious pedigree.
Capet says presenting Samson as a terrorist is not meant to offend, or cast blame, but to challenge our notions of what a terrorist is. "Is there any difference between pulling down a pillar or blowing a bomb?" he asks. "Samson killed thousands of people. To show him in the traditional mythological sense does a disservice."
Our notions of what a terrorist is, dear Simon Capet (pronounced Ka-pay), are quite made up, and they could hardly change because of a two-bit conductor with aspirations and his pathetic attempt to tamper with classics for his own nefarious ends.

So let's summarize:
  • The people who blew up King David hotel were terrorists - not because of their intent to do in a few British officers but because many innocent lives were taken.
  • Samson was a hooligan, as was already established. May he rest in peace.
  • Philistines had some outstanding girls, obviously. They (both the Philistines and their girls) are no more and are not a subject of this post. But it must be mentioned that they may have been blond. Judging by Samson's obsession with them.
  • You, Simon Capet (pronounced Ka-pay), are quite a shameless publicity seeker, trying to do in a small way what one Mel Gibson has done in a much bigger way with The Passion Of The Christ. Witness the key sentence: "The point is to get discussion going."
  • I do not believe one Simon Capet has a future as a successful dealer in second hand camels. Doesn't have what it takes.