I’m no fan of Tom Delay, but I almost became one reading Timothy Noah’s snobbish surprise that the House Majority Leader could be interested in opera.
Abramoff is a huge opera buff, and-until now this has been a closely guarded secret-so is DeLay. The only previous public hint of this mutual enthusiasm was the revelation in June by Associated Press reporter Adam Nossiter that Abramoff persuaded the Coushatta tribe to put up $185,000 in 2000 so DeLay could treat some of his biggest donors to a concert by the fabled Three Tenors (José Carreras, Luciano Pavarotti, and Placido Domingo). Apparently, DeLay is no mere opera dilettante. He knows his spintos and his verismos and his ariosos, and I guess he must work overtime to keep that knowledge a tightly held secret lest his good-ole-boy constituents in Sugarland, Texas, conclude the Hammer is putting on airs.
Oh, really? There’s no proof anywhere that I have seen that Delay (whatever his level of political corruption) hid his love of opera from his constituents, other than Noah’s assumptions about the redneck residents of Sugarland and environs and what they would think of their Congressman’s musical tastes. I guess the man from Slate is certain no one from Sugarland ever got beyond Dolly Parton. I would remind the hoity-toity Mr. Noah that people from the likes of Oxford, Mississippi have achieved more in literature than ten million journalists of his ilk put together. (via Michael Totten)