By Jenni Frazer
May 31, 2011
Long ago and far away when I was studying English literature we were introduced to the concept of exegesis. I understood that it was to do with separating the personal feelings and beliefs of a writer or composer from their work, so that one could learn to value and judge the work objectively.
Sadly, of course, it becomes well-nigh impossible, in many cases, to make such a separation. Thus Wagner is forever associated with antisemitism, Mel Gibson's films can never really be viewed in the same way, and there are certainly those in the public eye today for whom my grandmother's hissing epithet of "yiddenfeit" is a perfect fit.
Thus I was somewhat discomfited to hear Desert Island Discs on Sunday when the guest was Pink Floyd's Roger Waters. Waters went on — and on and on — about his father, killed at Anzio when he, Waters, was just a few months old, and how that death had informed his political viewpoint right up to the present day. Waters' present version of Floyd's iconic "Another Brick in the Wall" is an overtly politicised presentation with rather too much emphasis, in my opinion, on attacking Israel.
Imagine the aggravation to hear that Waters had chosen Leonard Cohen's "Bird on the Wire" as one of his eight records. "I can't have you liking Leonard Cohen!" I snarled at the radio, and switched it off. I do realise this is a marginally insane response. But it's my marginally insane response — exegesis and all.