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in der bordell wo unsere heimat war

It's not every day that the BBC airs a programme on the exact same subject as my BA dissertation, but it happened this afternoon. And I got very cross because I thought the points being made were really boring and ignored lots of both texts, with which, despite not having read them for a decade, I appeared to be more familiar than the contributors. And so of course I started snarking at the radio in an unbearably pompous manner. But seriously, my thesis could have been summed up in one line - "John Gay satirised the individuals but not the institutions and political systems; Brecht satirised the institutions and political systems but not the individuals" - and this point, which seemed pretty obvious to a 21 year old, was not made once. Radio 4's blurb is about as insightful as the programme:
The Threepenny Opera by Kurt Weill is a simple story of 18th century life in London's Soho - or so it would seem.

No, so it wouldn't seem, because (a) it's set at the turn of the 20th century and (b) it's filled with songs with titles like "The Ballad of Sexual Dependency" and "Song of the Insufficiency of Human Endeavour", which hardly indicates a simple tale of London life. I expect better of you, BBC!

But I still love you anyway, because BBC7 is airing the original Radio 4 series of the Mighty Boosh, and you can hear it here (just scroll down).

And back to Brecht - I hear Nellie McKay is going to play Polly Peachum in a Broadway production of The Threepenny Opera! Not that I need much of an excuse to go to America, and if I did it would be to visit the new bride and also see Pandababy, but even if I hated leaving the country I would be tempted to go to New York just to see that.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
jane_the_23rd
Oct. 18th, 2005 10:02 pm (UTC)
What good is any kind of specialised thesis if you can't sometimes use it to snark at so-called 'experts'?

Oh, self-development and all that carry-on, but really, sometimes it's fun just to snark.
stellanova
Oct. 18th, 2005 10:16 pm (UTC)
Hee, so true! Although that was only my undergraduate thesis, so it wasn't exactly a Phud. And a lot of my study just involved listening to a copy of Die Dreigroschen Oper which I'd taped off glitzfrau and calling it work. But still! It was 20,000 words! Which is a lot of woffling about Brecht (and John Gay). And I got a first for it until the external examiner brought it down to a high 2:1 for being, and I'm not making this up, "too journalistic" in tone. He actually said it was "too readable"! Which says a lot about academia, I think.
jane_the_23rd
Oct. 18th, 2005 10:30 pm (UTC)
Too readable! Ha! I think I mentioned this before to you, but a friend of mine got a less-than-desirable mark on her MA for the same reason. Nothing really wrong with it, just 'too journalistic', i.e., 'too readable'. It does indeed say a lot about the attitudes of lots of academics. If it can be read and understood by a non-expert, it can't possibly just be REALLY WELL-COMMUNICATED, there must be something WRONG!

But 20,000 words is the length of an MA thesis.
stringy
Oct. 19th, 2005 08:47 am (UTC)
Those song titles make me want to remedy the fact that I don't know anything about The Threepenny Opera. Do I need to see a performance (although it'd have to be on dvd) or will a recording of the soundtrack do?
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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