Wednesday, July 19, 2006


I listen to WNYC often. This morning, listening to the Brian Lehrer show, I heard him interview Wallace Shawn, the actor and playwright, son of William Shawn, the long-time revered editor of THE NEW YORKER. Wallace Shawn read from a dramatic monologue he wrote, "The Fever." Well, frankly, it sucked. Trite, inelegantly written, full of platitudes, it made me think that if he were not the son of such an eminent literary figure he would be just another guy of mediocre talent trying to make it in theater. He was not a particularly articulate speaker either. Sigh.

Years ago I taught the son of a very famous composer. The kid had no time whatsoever. He was utterly ordinary, even defective, musically speaking. Yet his father seemed clueless; he was actually delusional about his son's talent. Or maybe it was just parental excitement and support. Maybe I read too much into such things. Yet his son ended up a musician, a pop musician. Connections are everything, especially when talent is negligible.

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