Who does what for whom?
In his It Seems to Me column, “America is a Great Country” (T&V, Sept. 26) Christopher Hagedorn noted that, “You don’t have to be a statistics major in college (Where else, one might ask?)to understand that persons with kids over 26 are paying for persons with kids under 26,” and Mr. Hagedorn goes on to stress, “All of the above are paying for others with chronic diseases.”
In reading Mr. Hagedorn, I was reminded of PBS reporters, Thursday the 26th, as I recall, who pushed the point that the young (contributors) would be paying for the elderly and sick. So the question I have is this: Is that so? Is it so that those who make no claims pay for those that do?
I believe that here we are witness to the framed opposition between collective actions (such as insurance) and those who take a more deeply personal and self-centered, almost acquisitive, view.
I want to offer something different. I want to acknowledge collective actions, public and private such as health care, Social Security, with its payments to widows, kids, disabled, but also car and home insurances, for two, provided by private insurance companies. These are forms of collective behavior. Hence, when I pay my health care premium that is not analogous to my paying for the narrow world of buying a theater ticket:
I pay for my ticket and get a show. That’s it! Nor is my paying into an insurance fund analogous to my setting money aside for myself in the form of a savings, bond fund or stock.
While it is true that a record may be kept of my contributions, that record does not indicate ownership; it merely shows my contributions. When I retire, or get sick, I do not draw on them, I draw on the fund. If I do not draw on my contributions, then contrary to Mr. Hegedorn and the gentle voices on PBS, I do not draw on those of others either! Social Security and health care were never “nest eggs.” They were never singular “savings for a rainy day.” They are complex participations in the life of a people, and they do not have the logic of Me, Myself and I. To suggest that they do is to distort the collective energies of a people.
John Giannone, ST
Think opera – local shows and other events
Think globally, act locally. This time not politically, but operatically. The season has started and thoughts are turning to the many choices of hearing opera.
Speaking locally, you can indulge yourself operatically through 10 Met HD operas in the movie theaters of your immediate neighborhood throughout the season, mostly Saturday matinees.
If you want to learn more in depth about opera you can attend classes nearby on Monday afternoons at the Stein Senior Center on East 23rd Street, Sirovich Senior Center on East 12th Street or at the Casa Italiana at NYU on 12th Street, which offers “Adventures in Italian Opera with Fred Plotkin” featuring outstanding singers and musicians live throughout the year. At the Stuyvesant Town Community Center there are “Opera Conversations” once a month for casual exchange of information and discussion.
Last but not least, the opera house in walking distance from you is the Amore Opera on 220 East 4th Street which offers three short seasons per year. This year’s first season will be in October and offers “The Magic Flute,” Part I and II. in repertory. Part II? Yes, a sequel to Part I, The Labyrinth, was recently discovered in Germany and will be performed at the Amore for the first time in the US. Magical? You bet. More Tamino and Pamina, Papageno and Papagena, Queen of the Night, flute and bells and some surprises… Don’t miss it; it will be “must see (and hear)” opera magic.
Every September Opera News lists the upcoming seasons for a total of over 160 opera companies worldwide, 108 of them in the United States. (That’s those reporting to Opera News; there are probably more.) And where is the epicenter of this abundance? In New York City, of course. No fewer than 15 opera companies are alive and well (well… we are not talking about the often precarious financial health here but alive and well with talent).
New York boasts the grandest company: The Met, as well as the tiniest: Liederkranz on 86th Street. There are many sizes in between. The price range varies also widely, from stratospheric to affordable. But no one can say that she is excluded because of cost, because under certain conditions the price can be minimal. You just have to be a bit box office savvy.
Why are people fascinated by opera? It is the most complex and extravagant of all art forms. It offers outstanding music, high drama, glamour and artistic triumphs. It can offer temporary relief and escape from everyday mundane life as well as lifting the spirit through the music and identification with the heroes and heroines at hand. Moreover, most of human history has been explored in operas, in ever more fascinating interpretations, right down to modern internet crime (at the Met next month: “Two Boys.”
Irmgard Taylor, ST
Made the most of compost
Loved your headline in the Aug. 22 issue, “14th Street Y composting program is offer members can’t ‘refuse.’”