Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Vega: Star power and earthly reality

VegaSuzanne Vega

Vega, also known as α Lyrae, is a zero-magnitude star in the constellation Lyra. The fifth brightest star in the night sky and the second brightest in the northern celestial hemisphere, Vega forms, with Deneb and Altair, the Summer Triangle. Suzanne Vega — well, she's just a star, plain and simple.

I wholeheartedly agree with this breathless blog post by Paul Krugman:
Oh my God. How could I have missed the fact that Suzanne Vega is blogging for the Times?

In my next life I want to be a songwriter — precisely because I can’t imagine how it’s done. I’d give up the whole first page of my Google Scholar listing to have written “The Queen and the Soldier.”

For my part, I might substitute Gillian Welch for Suzanne Vega and either Annabelle or Wrecking Ball (alternative post) for The Queen and the Soldier, but I'd be quibbling at the extreme margin. Like Krugman, I'd trade my scholarly oeuvre for one melodically beautiful, lyrically true, and harmoniously complete song.

Very often, especially at AALS conferences and other large academic gatherings, I hear people declare that law teaching is "the best job in the world." I agree that we are very privileged to hold these jobs and that we legal academics, as a group, could definitely stand to be more grateful. But many people who bellow that statement are either delusional freaks or pathological liars, because there so many things in the literary, visual, musical, and theatrical arts (to say nothing of sports) that most of us would rather be doing, if only we had the talent.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Ann Bartow said...

Your final paragraph reminded me that I was "tagged" with a blog meme in which I was supposed to explain what alternative career I'd choose if I couldn't be a law prof. I never responded, not because I didn't have an answer, but because I didn't want to make my answer public. That lack of talent thing can sting!

Feel compelled to also note that the arrogant pomposity of Krugman referencing AND THEN LINKING TO his Google Scholar page in this context was meanly hilarious.

4/17/2008 8:19 AM  
Anonymous Matt said...

I'm not sure that I'd agree. For a long time I thought the dream job for me would be a professional baseball player. Later when I thought about it more I decided that that's not so, that I was imagining the fun I get watching baseball or playing sometimes in a recreational ways and thinking it would be like that when in reality it's lots of work, often getting hurt, lots of not too fun travel, etc. I also don't think I'd like being famous. I suspect that being a musician is often the same thing- travel, playing the same songs over and over until you hate your own work, etc. (There's obviously some of that in giving lectures on the same subject for years, too, I guess.) So, the choice isn't so obvious to me.

I should say that while I enjoy Susan Vega quite a bit I also resent the fact that whenever I think of her, or walk up broadway near 114th st., I can't get that damned "Tom's Diner" song out of my head for an hour or so afterwards.

4/17/2008 4:44 PM  

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