Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Nutcracker - One Example of the Superiority of Western Civilization

We decided to schedule an outing for Christmas Eve afternoon this year. After going over a few ideas we eventually chose to see the Nutcracker at a local theater. This performance was by the New Jersey Ballet and was wonderfully done. One of the Christmas traditions in our family was to read the storybook version (the old-style text) several times to the children each year in front of the tree. My oldest, being a girl, of course identified with Marie (I believe the original name was Clara), the boys with brave, selfless, and ever-the-gentleman Nutcracker, whom the story later reveals to be Godpapa Drosselmeyer's nephew. The story is a classic of good and evil, replete with instances of both heroes sacrificing much for each other. It starts out with a Christmas celebration of a bourgeois or aristocratic German 19th century family. The children's Godfather Drosselmeyer arrives with presents. Marie's is a Nutcracker that the girl falls for immediately, even tenderly wrapping its cracked jaw after her brother Fritz, having snatched it from her, promptly overloads its mouth and damages it. Like many children enthralled by the Christmas tree, decorations, and gifts, she begs to be allowed to play there a bit longer and drifts off to sleep. She awakes to the chime of the wall clock and a mysterious apparition atop it that shifts from the clock's owl to Godpapa and chillingly gives a warning. From so many readings through the years I can recite it like a bard -

“Clocks, clocks stop chiming, for behind the walls he's hiding. Seven wicked heads spit their spite, fourteen eyes burn the night. The Mouse-King awaits the twelve to strike; when hordes of mice shall show their might".

The delivery is supposed to be frightening and I would lay it on thickly. 

Marie hears and sees the mouse army and its horrid Mouse-King, both of which are engaged in battle by the toys, including Fritz's tin soldiers, with Nutcracker leading the way. Nutcracker moves forward to rescue a fallen compatriot and is surrounded. Marie throws her shoe into the fray to help Nutcracker and swoons.

She awakes later in bed and is told that she had bumped her head. Godpapa Drosselmeyer arrives and is chastised by Marie for frightening her. He begins to ever-so-slowly, and imperceptibly to Marie, provide hints to Nutcracker's identity by telling her the story of Princess Pirlipat. Here the reader gets the idea of where this story is going. A young man is employed to reverse a curse of ugliness placed on the Princess by the Mouse-King's mother. The Mouse-King's mother dies under the young man's foot as she trips him and curses him for reversing the curse on Pirlipat. Marie of course feels terribly about Nutcracker being despised by the Princess for having been cursed with an ugliness suffered during his act of saving Pirlipat.

The Mouse-King then begins his hideous visits, threatening Marie that he will destroy Nutcracker unless she surrenders her candy treats, books, dresses, etc. Marie complies to save Nutcracker. This goes on for several nights until, one night, Marie hears a "rustling and a clanging", a "shrill Squeak!", a tapping on her door, then the voice of Nutcracker assuaging her fears and promising good news.
There follows a most gentlemanly act as Nutcracker, holding a bloodied sword, bows his head and places before Marie the seven crowns of the Mouse-King. He tells her that it was her courage that gave him his courage to face and defeat his enemy.

Young girls are especially attracted to the following parts as Nutcracker takes Marie to his world of golden leaved-trees, silver tinsel, and sugar-fairies dancing for them. They travel in a gilded swan-shaped boat pulled by dolphins. Everything there is Honey, Orange, Chocolate, silver, gold, or rainbows. They arrive at Marzipan Castle where there is more to amaze Marie.

She awakes from this and tells the story to her family. In spite of the seven crowns she can produce, no one, not even Godpapa Drosselmeyer will believe or listen to her. In later years, in view of Godpapa, she holds Nutcracker and tells him that she would have loved him if he really were alive. This elicits a different response in the happy Drosselmeyer. The next day Marie is visited by Drosselmeyer and is introduced to his nephew, who reveals himself to be Nutcracker. After explaining his story he, kneeling, asks for her hand. After he passing of the time-honored "year and a day", they are married and go to live in Marzipan Castle.

I find this to be one of the crowning achievements of Western Civilization. The theater, ballet and other arts, music, literature, and the bravery of so many named individuals (as opposed to purely royal societies where the individual is usually absorbed into the culture as a whole) all point to a culture of excellence and individuality. The story of Nutcracker again is about sacrifice, manners, good conduct, beauty, and imagination. I find neither in Leftist thought or Islamic societies.

What arts have Leftist individuals or societies produced? Piss-Christs, elephant-dung Marys, pieces that proclaim anger towards property? Aside from some well-done paintings and prints from the 20's and 30's I am coming up empty. A Leftist would have to look at the Christmas Eve party in the story and see an aristocratic family that should not posses the property and resources that they do. Bravery in the face of evil is foreign to them as it is they who often claim that the Soviet Union needed a person like Stalin (Or China needed Mao) to bring those nations into the modern era. Please, don't believe me on that one. Research those facts on your own.

The whole theater itself was a reverse-image of an Islamic society, nicely-dressed women and men together, young people acting out a story of imagination  and wonder, a girl who plays a major role in both Nutcracker's and her own life, music and dancing, young girls in the audience swinging their arms in mimicry of the performers, and more. Don't forget Christmas without bombings.

We need to remember our incredibly rich inheritance if we are to stand our ground and put an end to the constant attacks on our culture. I do not believe that we have the right to abandon what has been handed down to us.

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