Source: Russell Lee, June 1939, “Negro day laborer repapering his house. The wall and roof is in such bad condition that the house must be repapered after every rain. Muskogee, Oklahoma.” Farm Security Administration / Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress, http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2017783505/. Photoshopped.
May 19, 2018. The car’s radio transmits a bass voice singing over diminishing-storm effects on flute. Oh yes: it’s act 4 of Rigoletto, and Sparafucile has just delivered the body bag. The jester has lost his honor but gained his revenge. Egli è là! he soliloquizes over the bag. Morto!
But what is that tenor voice in the distance? And is it singing La donna è mobile?
Oh no. And because the tenor has taken to the radio to explain about women, it’s easy for us delightedly unseeing hearers to visualize him in a comb-over.
On May 16, former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had delivered the commencement address at Virginia Military Institute. Without naming any names, Mr. Tillerson suggested to the graduates that virtue may have value, appearances to the contrary notwithstanding. Two months earlier, white-haired Mr. Tillerson had been publicly broken by the blonded master whose vices he faithfully served. He wasn’t the only one.
An accurately idiomatic plural of rigoletto (“funny little guy”) wouldn’t be rigoletti. It would be optimists.