What Magic Slept

As I was writing my last post, I thought about the movie “The Sweet Hereafter.” If you like devastating films, it’s one to see. It’s about life and death and how destructive blame can be, among other things. It was based on a book inspired by an actual event – a fatal school bus accident in a Texas town in 1989.

There’s an interesting article about the movie, the book and the true story at the University of Texas Law School website. One passage, about the nature of truth, sounded familiar

“Martin Heidegger, Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Richard Rorty, and the many others in a now well-developed stream of post-modern/post-structuralist thought call into question our Enlightenment notion of objective truth. To them, truth is contingent, provisional, and rooted in one's personal interpretation of the situation. We create truth, they say, rather than discover it. Reality is merely a construct of man. History itself is often little more than inventions or theories springing from the special circumstances, biases and needs of observers/ historians.”

Kind of off-topic for a music blog, but I haven’t mentioned the piper. As you can gather from the trailer, the movie brilliantly incorporates Robert Browning’s “The Pied Piper of Hamelin,” in which the title character stepped into the street smiling “as if he knew what magic slept in his quiet pipe.” You know the story. The piper rids Hamelin of rats. The town refuses to pay him, so he lures almost all the children into a hole in the mountain and closes it off forever. Just like in the movie, one lame kid is left behind.

"For he led us, he said, to a joyous land,
Joining the town and just at hand,
Where waters gushed and fruit-trees grew,
And flowers put forth a fairer hue,
And everything was strange and new;
The sparrows were brighter than peacocks here,
And their dogs outran our fallow deer,
And honey-bees had lost their stings,
And horses were born with eagles' wings;
And just as I became assured
My lame foot would be speedily cured,
The music stopped and I stood still,
And found myself outside the hill,
Left alone against my will,
To go now limping as before,
And never hear of that country more!''