Please allow me to mention a previously undisclosed circumstance
which might permit me to speak with a bit of gravitas here, and with
the goal of getting the focus back on that class full of the
"standard-brained youngsters of today" (to repeat Vladimir Nabokov's
delicious phrase) which Ms. Buntaine will be facing in but a few
weeks time: my own lovely wife Dianna was diagnosed with small-cell
carcinoma of the lungs on St. Patrick's day of 2014 -- and of which
condition she has apparently been cured, if the latest PET scan be
any indication, and this through the magnificent efforts of the staff
of the Ochsner Hospital system of New Orleans.
I was therefore very much in tune with Salvatore's post to the effect
that a mysterious and frightening disease such as cancer rocks one's
entire world -- and in tune as well with his idea that one is
inevitably thrown back on the consolations that it is the sacred duty
of art -- and art alone -- to convey.
At the same time -- and as a former English Lit major who had the
opportunity to study under the high priest of formalism, Cleanth
Brooks -- I share Ken Friedman's anger with regard to Post-modernism,
which seeks to declare that our precious cathedral of truth and
beauty has no more value than which a Jerry Springer audience might
assign to it: f*ck you and the horse you came on!!!!
And therefore Ruth Catchen's post is much welcomed as a way forward
(although with what effect on Leonardo's status as a journal of the
visual arts "yet to be determined"): if we are to factor in the
dramatic arts, there can be no more fertile ground than the field of
medicine, and with which Ms. Buntaine, in the heart of
pharmacological America, is rightly concerned; and in support of
which contention, I offer this account of Dianna's diagnosis and
recovery, and in which account the dramatic arts along with the great
Thomas Merton play a major role -- and which account is in search of
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