February 29, 2012
Today’s Google doodle celebrates Gioachino Rossini, the great Italian composer who was born on February 29, 1792, that is exactly two hundred and twenty years ago today. By the way, a characteristic mannerism in Rossini’s orchestral scoring is a long, steady building of sound over an ostinato figure, creating “tempests in teapots by beginning in a whisper and rising to a flashing, glittering storm,” which earned him the nickname of “Signor Crescendo” (Faddis, H., 2003, “Program Notes for the Overture to La scala di seta,” quoted in the Wikipedia entry for Gioachino Rossini). So what? you might ask. Well, this reminds me of the way sometimes the media work—take the case of Rick Santorum (this time the honor of the Signor Crescendo Award goes to Richard Cohen...).
Fr. Z is absolutely right, that’s a great, attention-grabbing title. And as it was not enough, there are many other possible applications in addition to the one mentioned in the title: just substitute Richard Dawkins with some other guy’s/gal’s name/surname … there might turn out to be a lot of interesting alternatives, say Sean Penn, George Soros, Dan Savage, Jay Carney, Dan Brown…
P.S. Hey, I was just kidding! Everybody knows that Richard Dawkins is an honorable man, and so are all the above mentioned, all honorable men! However, apart from the title, the post itself is very good and well worth reading—a kind of a twenty-first century version of Pascal’s Wager!