Evil At The PianoTuesday, September 19, 2006
I took Rebecca to her piano lesson with Nikolai Maloff yesterday afternoon. It was a tough class and Rebecca insisted that the piece she had to play was evil. She repeated this several times so that finally Nikolai (a very gentle man except when he attempts to demolish his piano during Beethoven piano concerto recitals) took her aside and told her, "This piece is not evil. Ask your parents the meaning of this word. Don't use it to describe our piano music."
I distinctly remember one time when I was around 6, when my mother was combing me that she said, "Alex, with your hair the way it is you look like Hitler." "Who's Hitler?" I asked. "He was a very bad man," she replied.
Outside I explained as best as I could that all humans have the capacity for being good or for being evil. I told her that most times our good side is in charge. I mentioned Hitler. "He was a bad man, wasn't he?" she asked me. "No," I replied, "He was a lot worse. He was evil." I proceeded to explain Auschwitz, the showers and zyklon B. When we arrived at her house she asked, "Did water come out of those showers?" I replied, "No." We didn't say anything more.
A couple of years ago I photographed Vancouver playwright Jonathan Teague (above). He had written a play featuring Hitler's SS. I remember telling Teague about the hair over my forehead when I was a little boy.