Dark Days


From the New York Times

In its Wednesday edition, the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano commemorated two topical dates with full-page spreads: the 500th anniversary of the inauguration of the Sistine Chapel – which took place under Pope Julius II on Oct. 31, 1512 — and the 50-year run of the James Bond franchise.

To honor James Bond is to recognize the character’s role in popular culture, said the paper’s editor in chief, Giovanni Maria Vian, adding that the newspaper’s mandate is “to pay attention to the cultural phenomena of our time,” whether comics, pop music or film. In recent years, the newspaper has commended popular favorites like the Blues Brothers and the Beatles’ “White Album.”

So even the Vatican (!) has honored James Bond and the occasion of his 50th anniversary.

Meanwhile, the Mariinsky Orchestra also offered a commemoration this week. Like so many others, theirs was of the 100-year anniversary of the premier of the Diaghilev ballet The Rite of Spring. The concert was, but for the hurricane, to be played in Carnegie Hall on Wednesday.

The Vatican's newspaper has a mandate to “pay attention to the cultural phenomena of our time” — that’s more than our classical music institutions do. 

It is a dark day when the Vatican is more open to cultural phenomena than Carnegie Hall.