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Xiphias Gladius

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Some fun examples of "worst" [Jul. 4th, 2014|12:54 pm]
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I was talking to my Mom, rebmommy, because one of her mentors, Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, just died and I wanted to see how she was doing. Her chain of smicha comes down from him.

My mother is a singer and a poet as well as a Rabbinic chaplain, so I took this opportunity to introduce her to the work of William McGonagall and of Narcissa Florence Foster Jenkins, generally considered to be the worst poet and the worst singer in the Western world since the age of mass media. What makes both of them so beloved is how they were both so unaware of their terribleness, and how everyone around them decided that they liked the people, and their works, well enough to never enlighten them.

The upsetting thing, as far as Mom is concerned, is that she's aware that, while she's a GOOD poet and a GOOD singer, she's not going to be the WORLD'S BEST of either of those. So she'd been hoping for the possibility of being the world's WORST, which would be almost as good. But now she sees just how low the bar is for "world's worst", and she's aware that she'd never be able to be bad enough to get under it.

http://www.mcgonagall-online.org.uk/works
http://www.psmag.com/navigation/books-and-culture/worst-singer-world-florence-foster-jenkins-84329/
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: browngirl
2014-07-04 05:44 pm (UTC)

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I'm sorry to disappoint your Mom, but she is far too talented and skillful to be the world's worst.
[User Picture]From: merripestin
2014-07-04 07:09 pm (UTC)

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Thank you for introducing me to Narcissa Florence Foster Jenkins. I don't quite know why I find her so charming, but I guess I am not alone.
[User Picture]From: xiphias
2014-07-04 10:00 pm (UTC)

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There's something attractive about confidence, even unjustified confidence, so long as it's not hurting anybody.
[User Picture]From: griffen
2014-07-05 09:44 pm (UTC)

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Who says it's not hurting anyone? Those of us with perfect pitch cannot listen to Ms. Jenkins without pain.

On the other hand, my father and mother used to have an LP of her Carnegie Hall "performance," including her mangling of the Queen of the Night aria from Mozart's Magic Flute. They would play it for unsuspecting new (music-savvy) friends and rave about what a wonderful singer she was... and watch the horror dawn over the friends' faces. Eventually they'd confess that they knew she was awful, and get treated to an equal amount of relief flooding the friends' faces.

Yes, my parents were evil, evil music people.
[User Picture]From: thnidu
2014-07-05 01:30 am (UTC)

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Thank you. I have an LP of Florence Foster Jenkins and a collection of McGonagall's Vogon-worthy poetry, but I never knew her so-appropriate first name.
[User Picture]From: micheinnz
2014-07-05 03:58 am (UTC)

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Oh oh don't go past Ivor Cutler! Strange, strange man, but he'll leave you smiling.