The savage breast

June 2, 2008

All you Bush-bashers have been picking on Condi for such trifling things as her national-security competence. Now, finally something that’s serious:

Condoleezza Rice may be a top diplomat who once aspired to being a concert pianist but she let her hair down a bit in Stockholm to meet the flamboyant rock group KISS.

“I was thrilled,” a beaming US secretary of state told reporters Friday after meeting lead singer Gene Simmons and his three band members at the waterfront Sheraton Hotel in the Swedish capital on Thursday night.

“For someone who likes the whole range of music, it was really fun to meet KISS and Gene Simmons,” Rice said on the plane taking her from a conference on Iraq in Stockholm to talks with Iceland’s leaders in Reykjavik.

A classical pianist would even consider what KISS does music? How disappointing. Coincidentally, I ran across this story soon after reading the Condi-KISS one:

NEW YORK (AP) — Noted neurologist Oliver Sacks has found common ground with the pastor of Harlem’s Abyssinian Baptist Church: Both men believe in the healing power of music.

Sacks, the best-selling author of “Awakenings” and “The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat,” shared the church stage Saturday with the famed gospel choir as part of the inaugural World Science Festival, a five-day celebration of science taking place in New York this week.

“It should be an exciting and unusual event,” Sacks said in an interview this week. “I will talk about the therapeutic and beneficent power of music as a physician, and then their wonderful choir will perform. … And the audience will make what they can of it.”

I presume they’re talking about real music, like Dvorak’s “New World Symphony” or Duke Ellington’s rendition of “Satin Doll” or folk or jazz or blues or some early rock. Not hip-hop. Not the teen queens. Not KISS. Ever. Alice Cooper, OK. Black Sabbath on a good day. “Iron Man” smooths me right out.

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