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2004-09-07 | 9:54 p.m.

Editor -- In reply to all the letters backing dance critic Octavio Roca in support of the exclusion of a fourth-grader from the San Francisco Ballet School (Dec. 12):

There's no better way to summon the snobs out of the woodwork than to question the strange cult of anorexo-mysticism, which clings to the practice of modern ballet like a tutu cinching a skeletal waist. Question the rightness of Balanchine's starved aesthetic, and suddenly you're painted as an art bolshevik, militating for the advent of ballet welfare.

Unfortunately, it's partly due to this knee-jerk reification of elitism for its own sake that ballet has become an airless theater, a music-box model that the rich come to thoughtlessly admire.

It's a tragedy for all involved. A tragedy for the audience, which trades the opportunity to see for the opportunity to be seen. A tragedy for the art form, which has slipped into the ether of cultural irrelevance. A tragedy for ballet dancers with hard-won technical grace, trapped in choreography that amounts to fossilized kitsch. And a tragedy for dancers who might have contributed to the evolution of the form but were denied that chance, because their bodies weren't brittle enough to be broken on the wheel of narrow convention.


I enjoyed this letter and wanted to correspond with the person who wrote it. But there is one Chris Lanier who made a graphic novel featuring woodcuts and another who writes a blog about digital media and, particularly, WMP. It took me a minute to figure out what WMP stands for ("Weapons of Mass ... Production?"), but no, it's Windows Media Player. So a little voice in my brain is saying surely not, surely not when I wonder if it could be the same person doing all three things. Could someone capable of writing such a whip-snarky letter about ballet also make woodcut comix (yeah, sure, because that's art) but then ALSO keep a deathly dull blog about WMP?

I am supposed to be writing my own deathly dull reviews tonight, so I shouldn't stay. Want to, though. Today was our first official day of school. Now all the kids are spending the night at Hope's house on a last-minute invitation. Duff is in Indy for a week-long conference. There is no better time for me to write these damn things up. So naturally, I want to fart around at Diaryland all night.

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