Weekend Agenda

1. La Clemenza di Tito (that one available streaming from La Monnaie).

2. Painkillers. Somehow I have reactivated an old running injury, which means that I am grumpy and limpy at the moment. It’s greater trochanteric bursitis, which in my head always comes out as ‘greater trochaic bursitis’ which is not actually a thing (fortunately?) but the upshot is I need to strengthen my hip abductors. Which means a lot of boring repetitive things on an exercise mat rather than fun things like running.

3. Books about the Civil War. It continues to amaze me that some of my fellow Murkins claim that the war was not about slavery. Anyone who claims that the Civil War was not about slavery needs to explain why it is that everyone involved spent so much time talking very heatedly about this thing that the war was not about. And also why, for example, the state of Mississippi’s secession convention stated that their position was thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery. And why South Carolina’s declaration of their reasons for secession stated that the representatives of South Carolina

affirm that these ends for which this Government was instituted have been defeated, and the Government itself has been made destructive of them by the action of the non-slaveholding States. Those States have assume the right of deciding upon the propriety of our domestic institutions; and have denied the rights of property established in fifteen of the States and recognized by the Constitution; they have denounced as sinful the institution of slavery; they have permitted open establishment among them of societies, whose avowed object is to disturb the peace and to eloign the property of the citizens of other States. They have encouraged and assisted thousands of our slaves to leave their homes; and those who remain, have been incited by emissaries, books and pictures to servile insurrection.

It’s a constitutional argument, yes, but it’s a constitutional argument . . . about slavery. Not all white southerners supported secession, but the ranks of those who did, particularly at the beginning of the conflict, included a lot of men who did not own slaves themselves, or who maybe owned only one or two. Stephanie McCurry’s wonderful book Masters of Small Worlds gives what I would call a brilliant and very convincing explanation of what motivated them.

4. Isn’t “eloign” a fun word? It means to carry something away to a distant location with the purpose of concealing it.

5. Also have to clean the house. And possibly listen to some Strauss.

6 thoughts on “Weekend Agenda

  1. Weekend plans:

    1. Finalize thoughts on the Rattle/Carsen Magic Flute

    2. Write up last night’s Korngold “Silent Serenade”

    3. Go to library to pick up DVDs

    4. Pack for New York.

    My late housemaster used to talk endlessly about some quotation from, I think Thucydides, about the casus belli advanced never being the same as the real casus belli. Funny how that continues down the years.


    1. Re: Thucydides – sometimes it isn’t; sometimes it is. I have had at least one colleague who works on the Civil War tell me that the scholarship on it would be even more interesting and sophisticated if historians didn’t feel they had to keep fighting a rear-guard action against the idea that slavery was somehow not a big deal (financially, socially, politically, etc.)

      Enjoy the trip to New York!


  2. 1. Good choice. Don’t miss it
    2. Booo!
    3. Those southerners!!!
    4. Yes, I thought it was a typo at first.
    5. Booo housecleaning

    This weekend, I need to:
    1. Get weighed
    2. Get haircut
    3. Continue settling into new condo (including finding and hanging artwork)
    4. Play for a wedding
    5. Do other church-music-related things
    6. Visit with our kids, who will be in town for about 2 hours
    7. Look for a job


    1. 1. I finished it this morning – it’s very good.
      3. Well, some southerners, at least! Most of the ones I’ve met are completely normal – but there are some nuts out there.
      4. So did I the first time I saw it. One of those weird legal terms that comes up only once in a blue moon.

      Ugh chores. (I always put off haircuts, which is usually a bad idea.) But seeing kids and playing for a wedding is fun, right?


  3. We in the NE tend to use this clever reductivism-avoidance ploy to maintain that we never had anything to do with the business of slavery, nope, not us, move along, nothing to see here…ooh look! Over there! Aren’t those some sort of vague but FAR MORE INTERESTING States’ Rights issues?…


    1. It’s one of the things I end up emphasizing whenever I talk about this period in history – slavery’s reach was great enough that virtually no one was untouched by it in some way.


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