When I asked her what her dad did, she said, “He’s a college professor. He teaches the dead languages.” “People study that?” She shrugged. “I guess.” “Okay. So what are the dead languages?” “They’re languages that were once important but that nobody uses anymore. They haven’t been used for a long time, except by historians.” “Like what languages?” “You know, FORTRAN. BASIC.” “What does one sound like?”
“I’m afraid Hitler and Nazism have stained Wagner,” he says dolefully. “For some people that stain ruins the whole work; for others, it is just something you have to face up to.”
I was also writing this essay to a conservative Mormon audience that at the time would have felt no interest in decriminalizing homosexual acts.