Tom Lehrer: alive and well and silent

One of bits of evidence I offer for the fact that I have great parents is that my mom not only introduced me to the work of Tom Lehrer, she gifted me with the Tom Lehrer songbook. (Written for piano, it's hard to play his stuff on guitar, but one of these days I'm going to figure out an arrangement for "Poisoning Pigeons in the Park".)

I sort of figured that Lehrer had passed away, I'm glad to learn he's alive and well. His apathy about his stellar musical career strikes me as sort of a Taoist wu wei, effortless action, though the change in political context also is interesting

Looking For Tom Lehrer, Comedy's Mysterious Genius (BuzzFeed)

The New Left agreed with Lehrer on Vietnam. His last public performance, in fact, was on a fundraising tour for George McGovern in 1972. But the singer — who saw himself as “a liberal, one of the last” — felt less at home in the new Democratic Party. In the end, Stevenson’s party, and Lehrer’s, lost — and with it, at least to Lehrer’s mind, a prevailing sense of humor. “Things I once thought were funny are scary now,” he told People magazine in 1982. “I often feel like a resident of Pompeii who has been asked for some humorous comments on lava.”

”The liberal consensus, which was the audience for this in my day, has splintered and fragmented in such a way that it’s hard to find an issue that would be comparable to, say, lynching,” he also told the New York Times in Purdum’s 2000 article, which was part of his last round of interviews to promote an anthology of his work. ”Everybody knows that lynching is bad. But affirmative action vs. quotas, feminism vs. pornography, Israel vs. the Arabs? I don’t know which side I’m on anymore. And you can’t write a funny song that uses, ‘On the other hand.”’

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