Prufrock: The Unquotable Einstein, the Disneyfication of the Sistine Chapel, and the Life and Novels of Ross Macdonald

Reviews and News:

How many flowers does it take to make a one-ounce bottle of Chanel No. 5? 1,012.

Lights, lasers, and the Sistine Chapel: “The music swelled, heavenly clouds began to fade and impossibly bright rays of light began to cut through the theater. And then it stopped. The spectacle’s artistic director, Marco Balich, waited patiently. ‘What’s going on?’ he asked his creative producer. ‘Power outage,’ responded the producer, Stefania Opipari. Later, she explained that it was the first time that all of the lasers, projectors and special effects of the multimedia production, Universal Judgment: Michelangelo and the Secrets of the Sistine Chapel, had been turned on at the same time. ‘It was a minor problem,’ she said. ‘We fixed it.’ The debut of Universal Judgment was just over a week away, but if Mr. Balich, who is also the show’s producer, was nervous, you’d never have known it. He has a lot at stake on the production, which is set to debut on March 15. He has booked the capital’s former symphony hall for at least a year. If it’s successful, it would become Rome’s first permanent theatrical production along the lines of Broadway in New York or the West End in London. The Vatican has approved the project, on the condition that it would respect the artistic, religious and spiritual values that the Sistine Chapel embodies.”

Mark Bauerlein on the life and novels of Ross Macdonald.

Why were William F. Buckley’s spy novels so successful? They were predictable and unambiguous.

The triforium of Westminster Abbey will be opened to the public for the first time in 700 years in June.

The return of the phone booth.

Essay of the Day:

Albert Einstein is the most-quoted scientist in the world. “Education is what remains,” he is reported to have said, “after you have forgotten everything you learned in school.” Or: “The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.” But did he actually say these things? Andrew Robinson reports:

“Judging by the detective work on display in The Ultimate Quotable Einstein, on Wikiquote and on, plus my own research as an Einstein biographer, there is ample room for doubt. In fact, not a single one of the above quotations has been definitely attributed to Einstein, with the exception of ‘God does not play dice’! And even this is a pithy rendition of Einstein’s precise comment on quantum theory, in a 1926 letter to the physicist Max Born, where he wrote (in German): ‘The theory says a lot, but does not bring us any closer to the secrets of the “old one”. I, at any rate, am convinced that He is not playing at dice.’

“Another statement: ‘If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts.’ This has been widely attributed to Einstein, including by Ivanka Trump, who Tweeted it and generated a brouhaha on the internet in 2017 by seeming to weigh in on the controversy over ‘fake news’ stirred by her father, President Donald Trump. Einstein might have been sympathetic to the statement’s underlying idea. In a well-known exchange with a student who, in 1919, following the confirmation of general relativity, asked: what if the astronomical facts had contradicted the theory? Einstein replied: ‘In that case, I’d have felt sorry for God, because the theory is correct’. But there is no record of Einstein’s making such a categorical statement in speech or in writing. Similar comments about facts and theories date from the 19th century; and this particular statement was not attributed to Einstein until 1991, in The Art of Computer Systems Performance Analysis by Raj Jain – and then without any source.”

Read the rest.

Photos: USS Lexington

Poem: Danielle Chapman, “Good Friday Migraine”

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This post originally appeared on Weekly Standard


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