Skip to comments.Balint Vazsonyi's Memorial Service
Posted on 01/20/2003 2:01:37 PM PST by visitor
"Balint Vazsonyi's memorial service will be Wednesday January 22, 11 AM at Western Presbyterian Church, 2401 Virginia Avenue, (parking at Columbia Plaza or on the street or at Watergate hotel). Reception to follow at Watergate Hotel, Chesapeake Room, from 12:00-1:00pm. If you wish to send flowers, please do so to the church. Barbara Vazsonyi" ...rto
Here is a link to his Center for The American Founding website. There is a brief bio as well as some of his articles posted on the site.
If that isn't enough for a feat, Balint Vazsonyi also learned all 32 Beethoven Sonatas and played them on tour (after giving up smoking and doing push ups to get in shape for it).
LAMB: Another movie you mention in your book is "The Candidate," 1972, I think. Why did that get your attention?
Mr. VAZSONYI: Well, since you mentioned "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," it--it--it will not come as a surprise that, since the age of 10, I've learned to look upon American movies very much as a mirror of American life.
And it seemed to me an interesting comparison--to engage it in the book--to look at a 1972 film where Hollywood wants us to be and where Hollywood wants us to see the hero and the hero's beliefs.
So I start with "The Candidate," 1972, go on to "Regarding Henry" and end up with, I believe, "My Fellow Citizens," to show how the "The Candidate," played by Robert Redford, is already very different from the Jimmy Stewart character in "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," in his rhetoric and in his disapproval of America. But his disapproval of America in that film is still mixed with some degree of humor, which I try to quote in the book.
By the time we get to "Regarding Henry," there is no humor; there is only disapproval of America and those who have built America. And then by the time we come to "My Fellow Citizens," it's the quota system in an almost ludicrous manner, except that nobody laughs about it, and perhaps it's nothing to laugh about. It's something to take very seriously.
And what I hope very much is that people will look at my actual statements and examples and--and actually pick up this debate, because I would love--love nothing more than to have unlimited opportunity to be challenged on every word I've written in this book. And I would like to say here and now, if you don't mind that I abuse your hospitality, is that if those who are criticized in this book will not challenge it, I will certainly take it as an acknowledgement that everything in the book is as it's written.
LAMB: At the end, in your glossary, you have something called commissars. Who are they? Are there commissars in the American society?
Mr. VAZSONYI: Yes. Commissars--and I use the word because it's the most appropriate word to use.
Commissars are a product of the last 30 years, and I explain in some detail--there's also a--a long chapter of commissars in America. But the glossary at the end actually gives four commissar biographies, because it's a totally new type of human being. These are people who have never done a job that other people consider a job. They have worked in the movement--the political movement all their lives, and all they do, really, is they mete out punishment or they administer rewards to those who politically agree with them.
The reason I present four biographies is that I want to show the reader--and I asked the publisher to print them in columns side by side--to see that these biographies read like carbon copies of one another. These are four entirely different people. But, you know, they finished school and they immediately went into these movements where they can, if I may put it this way, settle their score with society.
LAMB: So these are real people.
Mr. VAZSONYI: These are real people. The reason that their namesare at the very end of each biography rather than at the beginning and in parenthesis is that I wanted to show that it's the type that is important for us to realize, not the actual people. The--the v--the device of giving their names at the end in parenthesis actually comes from Debussy's preludes written for piano--were to underscore that these were his impressions of the sails of a ship, not the real sails of a ship. He puts the title of each prelude at the end of the piece in parentheses. So that gave the idea.
But I think I set it up with an interesting little story that happened in Hungary, when the new secretary of the local Communist Party went to introduce himself to our great composer, Kodaly.
And Kodaly said, `What happened to your predecessor?´ And the new secretary says, `He went back to his trade.' Kodaly says, `What was his trade?´ `He was a hatmaker.' And Kodaly says, `And what was your trade?´ `Well, sir, I've always worked in the movement.' So Kodaly says, `Where will yougo back?'
And it's not right for America to have a whole class of people who have no place to go back except the movement.