Tuesday, May 01, 2007

"Fiddler on the Roof" in Japanese (and English)

It's May Day.
I was looking for one of my favorite musical treats, a festive version of The Internationale by a Japanese klezmer band.
Sadly, the link is gone and YouTube doesn't have it either.
But never mind. I remembered something just as much fun: a Japanese version of "Tradition" from Fiddler on the Roof!

In case you need a refresher for the lyrics, I found another clip in English from the movie.
Here they are.

This is a bait-and-switch post.
Now that you've had some fun, those who care to be serious for a moment are directed to a profound little essay on Tradition by a very wise teacher/blogger, Gil Bailie.
The word "tradition" and the word "treason" come from the same root.
The very name "modernity" self-consciously used to describe the period of the last several centuries in Western cultural history clearly exemplifies the spirit that has dominated these centuries, and the "postmodernism" that has lately been offered as its sequel -- as it's name makes obvious -- is nothing more than the same spirit, in Shakespeare's words, having eaten everything else in sight, at last eating up itself.
The precise point I want to make is about the very nature of both tradition and culture. Both are received from the distant past, not concocted in the present or in the recent past. That is why we must try to resolve any differences between ourselves, our contemporaries, our ancestors, and our descendants in favor of our ancestors. Paradoxically, that is the only way we can resolve them in favor of our descendants. For what our descendants will most desperately need is an inheritance, a tradition, a moral, religious, and cultural patrimony that has the weight of centuries of affirmation, reflection, scrutiny, and living experience. Anything less ballasted than that will surely be washed away in the cultural tsunamis which are doubtless coming in the decades just ahead.
To hand on to the next generation a culture cobbled together out of the fashions and ideological enthusiasms of the last few decades is to betray them in the most irresponsible way, for such a culture is no culture at all, and it will do them not good. This why the New Testament warns against the "spirit of this age," not because of the peculiar toxins at work in the late-first century Greco-Roman culture when the New Testament was being written, but precisely because every age produces its own unique myths and rituals for warding off the truth that Christians are charged with announcing to the world, and Christians are warned to be wary of them, in season and out.
Read the whole thing. It's not all that long, but you'll probably have to read it through slowly and think about what you are reading to absorb the message. I did. But the message is worth absorbing.

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