March 3, 2007

"I hope the pink drawers are ready too?"

Wagner's underpants!

23 comments:

Bissage said...

"Page Not Found."

Peter Palladas said...

Page Not Found. The requested URL was not found on this server. Please visit the Blogger homepage or the Blogger Knowledge Base for further assistance.

...I see no drawers?

Churchill's were pink silk. They say.

Ann Althouse said...

Wow, you guys are hot to look at underpants!

Link fixed.

hdhouse said...

in 1877 wagner was middle 60s. he was also in Londoon that year (mainly).

If he were a cross dresser or perhaps sexually confused, someone needs to tell about a zillion irate husbands who's wives he bedded.

rightwingprof said...

Oh no. Is that tired speculation back? What's next? More silly and ignorant accusations that Wagner was a Nazi?

Ann Althouse said...

But isn't it fun to still be talking about his underpants after all these years?

Was pink considered a girly color back then (and there)? I thought the girlification of pink was fairly recent. I think I recall a W.C. Fields movie, maybe from the 1930s, where a woman shopping for a baby can't remember whether blue or pink is the color for a boy. (And she's not an imbecile.)

Jim H said...

Wagner was such a control freak it isn't at all surprising that he dictated what his wife wore.

hdhouse said...

rightwingprof...i think that the correct concept was that the nazis like wagnerian music not that wagner was a nazi.

ann: actually it was customary to dress boys in girls clothes until middle teens. further, wearing "pants" as we know them was not only unfashionable, it was rude. and pink, you are quite right...it wasn't girly. it was just a color.

wagner was only a control freak on those things he could control. Cosmia was devoted and an interesting woman quite aside from her marriage.

Theo Boehm said...

Having done graduate work in Musicology, I can tell you that hdhouse is absolutely right:  Wagner 'sexually confused'?  Ha ha ha hee...hoo boy...wiping tear from eye...that's a good one!  Wagner wasn't confused about sex.  Not one little bit.

Maybe we can start on Franz Liszt next, because, you know, he wore velvet jackets.

Now, it's quite possible Wagner was a cross-dresser, but that particular kink doesn't mean much about gay tendencies.  Do a little online  research on the subject.  Don't expect links here. Be careful not to do it a work.  And don't report back on what you find.

It's interesting that instead of discussing questions of, say, the relevance of Wagner's work and aesthetic theories to modern movies, or even issues relating to the current state of productions at Bayreuth, we are talking about the color of his underpants.

I have a question for all you Wagner specialists who flock to this blog: Is there any substance to the rumor that Wagner was planning a final opera with the working title Captain Underpants' Rhine Journey?

That would be a cool way to get my 10-year-old to the opera.

Peter Palladas said...

Captain Underpants' Rhine Journey...

...try a-humming Liebestod as a techno-punk sea-shanty and you're there.

Steve Donohue said...

Yes, right after he completed "Siegfried Squarepants"

Drew W said...

I always wondered why early drafts of his famous 1874 opera were titled Die Götterdämmerthöng.

hdhouse said...

Actually on 3 martini nights i enjoy his stuff. i owned a facsimili limited edition of his tristan fair copy score (250 printed on the 50th anniversary of the composition) and of the 3-4 recordings of the opera i owned over the years, not one was verbatim to the score....

earlier references on this thread mention liberace and that may actually be fitting...i don't think wagner would have objected as he was larger than life...something of the composers answer to bill clinton i suspect...

but ann, from a female's point of view..projecting yourself into that time and place....wagner drops his pantaloons and skims down to his pink silk undies......impressive or over the top?

Theo Boehm said...

hdhouse: I don't see Liberace mentioned upthread, but I did refer to Franz Liszt. Maybe a little musical Freudian slip here?

For those unfamiliar with genuine kitsch, Liberace modeled his wardrobe and stage persona on a cartoonish notion of Liszt, in about the same way that the Disney Castle was modeled on Neuschwanstein.

Wagner seduced Liszt's daughter, Cosima, away from her first husband, and they had two children and were ultimately married.  Liszt was a big supporter of Wagner, both musically and financially, and helped keep Wagner in pink underwear until King Ludwig came through.

Wagner considered himself "the greatest dramatist since Shakespeare, the greatest poet since Goethe, and the greatest musician since Beethoven."  He had a point.  He was also the author of groaning bookshelves of unreadable, turgid prose, well-stocked with anti-Semitic rants.

For this and other reasons, I think we're better off getting back to Wagner's underwear.  I was wrong to hint in my last comment that we're not serious enough.

Anyone know more pants jokes? (Wagner dropping his pantaloons and skimming down to his pink silk undies doesn't count.  That's no joke.  That's a nightmare.)

rightwingprof said...

"rightwingprof...i think that the correct concept was that the nazis like wagnerian music not that wagner was a nazi."

Well yes, since Der Meister died in 1883, but that's not the point. The point is the PC ignoramuses who claim that Wagner "was a Nazi" because they're undereducated, misinformed by their undereducated ignorant faculty, leftist boobs, your average undergrad these days.

I called the Director of Women's Studies on it when she claimed that Wagner "was a Nazi." She didn't know that Wagner had died over four decades before the Nazi Party existed. Of course, there's a reason she was in "Women's Studies."

Theo Boehm said...

rightwingprof, and others who want to pursue the Wagner/Nazi theme:

Please, pants jokes only!  I don't think I'm alone in not wanting to read about dreary academic controversies before lunch.

Is there a school that has an Underpants Studies Department?  If so, some enterprising faculty member should get together with someone from the Music Department and do an interdisciplinary monograph, "Pink Underpants and the Wagnerian Aesthetic: the Gesamtunterhosentheorie."

Oh, and (pace, Prof. Althouse) Wagner was no Nazi. It's true.

He just wrote the background music.

hdhouse said...

well rightwingprof....

as ronnie raygun often said "there he goes again"!

Wagner's pamphlet "The Jews in Music" (1850) is pretty much a stinker of anti-semitism and you are correct that to blow Wagner into a Nazi rather than just an overblown bigot is a stretch. However, there was a considerable and significant issue with Jews and music and musical support and critical writing - specially Edward Hanslick who was the genesis for "Beckmesser" in Meistersinger. True Hanslick was "half jewish", he was raised Christian but that nuance was often lost on the Nazi mindset.

I would have more issue with Nazi and the American Eugenics movement but that is off topic.

What I deplore about your post is the inclusion of the phrase "leftist boobs" into your spew. Are "leftest boobs" a neo-con codeword for "new york attitude" alla west wing when you really mean jews or jew sympathizers? What is it about your ilk that you always take truth one step farther than it allows. Do you learn this technique from Rush Limbaugh...Its cold here this morning - ha to global warming....The earth looks flat to me....what round earth?

Frankly I would worry more about a thought process such as you exhibit than someone shouting about Nazis and Wagner.

Theo Boehm said...

Oh dear.

Why must so much devolve into these depressing controversies?

It appeared last night that a thread of pants jokes would break out. Wouldn't that be a fine thing here on Althouse?

Please, gentlemen, keep it to underpants!

rightwingprof said...

"Wagner's pamphlet "The Jews in Music" (1850) is pretty much a stinker of anti-semitism and you are correct that to blow Wagner into a Nazi rather than just an overblown bigot is a stretch."

No, not a stretch -- miles beyond historically inaccurate, ahistorical idiocy, in fact. That someone with a PhD would spew such garbage (though she also ignorantly insisted that "woman" was dervied from "womb" and "man") shows how cheap PhDs have become, and that any blithering idiot can get one -- provided that he has the tenacity to put up with the nonsense his committee puts him through, that he is enough of a left-wing boob and that he spews enough left-wing drivel.

When universities have programs in wholly non-academic fields such as "Women's Studies" or "Three-toed Lesbian of Color Studies," or "Diversity Studies," the academy has gone straight to hell.

As for Wagner's anti-Semitism, he was no more so than your average European of the era, and deserves no special scorn for it. Indeed, as can be demonstrated from the joy with which most Europeans handed over their Jews to the Nazis, he was far less anti-Semitic than the average European in the middle of the last century (and arguably, your average European today, given that they are remarkably unconcerned about the rising violence against Jews, and far more concerned about imaginary backlashes against their current pet minority, Muslims). Wagner, as far as I know, never called for their mass extermination.

Ann Althouse said...

I hope everyone's talking about underpants!

tjl said...

"Wagner was no Nazi. It's true.
He just wrote the background music."

If by background music you mean the Ring, the atmosphere is certainly Aryan enough, what with the Teutonic gods and so forth. But beneath the Nordic decor, the Ring contradicts Nazi idelogy. The gods wither, Valhalla burns, the invincible sword and spear shatter, the mighty heroes Siegmund and Siegfried perish, and the Volsung bloodline is extinguished. The Ring's most clearly expressed message is that greed and the lust for power are doomed to destruction.

Of course, greed and the lust for power were key aspects of Wagner's own character. Pink drawers were the least of his faults.

Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TMink said...

Right wing prof wrote: "I called the Director of Women's Studies on it when she claimed that Wagner "was a Nazi." She didn't know that Wagner had died over four decades before the Nazi Party existed. Of course, there's a reason she was in "Women's Studies."

Ouch. So easy, yet so enjoyable to read. Man I could smell the smoke on that one here in Nashville.

Trey