Saturday, August 1, 2015

The Cutting Edge - Sonny Rollins, McCoy Tyner, Ron Carter, Al Foster

Incredible playing.   It's always amazing to hear how jazz musicians can turn out genius level performances, some of the greatest music ever played here or elsewhere,  that are obscure in the general American culture as pop trash infests the collective memory.   Something is seriously wrong with that.  I think it's a matter of marketing decisions.  I think more people would go for the great stuff if it were not ignored.  Though race could certainly enter into it.

Sonny Rollins - Saxophone
McCoy Tyner - Piano
Ron Carter - Bass
Al Foster - Drums

The Law Is Radical As The Gospel Is Radical

So many of the people who read The Bible base the meaning of the words and passages on concepts we have now about such things.   That's especially the case of the economic and social justice laws. As has been pointed out, one of the effects of The Mosaic Law would be a tendency to lessen social class and inherited wealth.   Today's Catholic liturgy has one such passage as the first reading.

The LORD said to Moses on Mount Sinai,
“Seven weeks of years shall you count–seven times seven years–
so that the seven cycles amount to forty-nine years.
Then, on the tenth day of the seventh month, let the trumpet resound;
on this, the Day of Atonement, the trumpet blast shall re-echo
throughout your land.
This fiftieth year you shall make sacred
by proclaiming liberty in the land for all its inhabitants.
It shall be a jubilee for you,
when every one of you shall return to his own property,
every one to his own family estate.
In this fiftieth year, your year of jubilee,
you shall not sow, nor shall you reap the aftergrowth
or pick the grapes from the untrimmed vines.
Since this is the jubilee, which shall be sacred for you,
you may not eat of its produce,
except as taken directly from the field.

“In this year of jubilee, then,
every one of you shall return to his own property.
Therefore, when you sell any land to your neighbor
or buy any from him, do not deal unfairly.
On the basis of the number of years since the last jubilee
shall you purchase the land from your neighbor;
and so also, on the basis of the number of years for crops,
shall he sell it to you.
When the years are many, the price shall be so much the more;
when the years are few, the price shall be so much the less.
For it is really the number of crops that he sells you.
Do not deal unfairly, then; but stand in fear of your God.
I, the LORD, am your God.”

"Do not deal unfairly," is a commandment that would wipe out just about all of the American, British, etc. laws dealing with property and debt.  If there is an open invitation in secular law in the United States it is to cheat, swindle, ruin and grind other people into the ground, stealing everything from them and duping them into running off debts they will never be able to pay,  something that is encouraged by large swaths of pop culture and pop-science of the type mentioned in the post below.  Yet those most aggressive in the law, when it comes to other people sleeping with consenting adults, mostly, these laws which are far more extensive and far more embedded into the fiber of scriptural justice are entirely ignored.   I can't imagine this one making it onto a right-wing judges chamber walls or into a legal decision, even indirectly as the ones dealing with the contemporary understanding of same-sex sex does.   You won't hear CNBC talking about it, I'd guess.

August Challenge To Materialists, Atheists and "Naturalists"

I have been inviting materialists, atheists, naturalists to give a coherent, non-self contradicting explanation of how their beliefs about the nature of reality produce equal rights and the moral obligations to not only admit that those are there but to act in a way that observes and respects equal rights.   I will publish any that seem to me stand up to the same standards that materialistic atheists of any name use to attack the Jewish, Christian, Islamic, religious ideas that can produce an absolute holding of equal rights and the moral obligation to act in respect to those rights.  As of yet I haven't had an atheist do more than mouth the current lines on that arising from evo-psy which don't stand up to the first level of atheist debunkery, even if you ignore that those claims are not only not founded in evidence but are widely debunked by observations in nature.

One of those I recently ran across in a Youtube is the notion that animals are programmed to not kill the young of their species when observations of animals in the wild, not to mention in human societies are full of the intentional killing of young, not only of the killers' own species but within their closely related cousins and closer relations but even by siblings and  parents. Lions, domestic cats, lemurs, rats, guinea pigs, owls, ... infanticide of near relatives is not an unknown phenomenon and the various, usually baseless and sometimes grotesquely attenuated attempts to fit those into natural selection are more notable for being self-serving than grounded in rigorously gathered statistical evidence that animals who kill their young are at a reproductive advantage over those who don't within any given species.   There is a greater chance among people that a young child, those in the age group covered by this Just-so fable explaining the origins of morality,  will be murdered by a member of their own family, including their parents, than by an unrelated stranger.

In murders of persons under age 12, the victims' parents accounted for 57% of the murderers,

which is rather a confirmation that the materialists' origin of morality on that basis is totally bogus.

In regard to the scientific presentation of human infanticide, as I noted in great detail, it has been described as a means of the improvement of the human population, a part of natural selection by the most orthodox of Darwinists, including the originator of natural selection on which such atheists mount their assertion.  In addition to that is the recent line of those in that incredibly named profession, "ethicists," who are some of the most explicit and extreme of current advocates of the most radical of legal permission of infanticide who are, so far as I was able to determine, uniformly atheists.

I have not reviewed the videos of Sean Carroll's Moving Naturalism conference in which an argument breaks out between the attending atheists as to whether or not they should hide the inevitable amoral nihilism that is a necessary logical conclusion of their "naturalism" and all materialist systems, in general or if they should come up with a cover story that will be more palatable for a general public, if they should tell a "noble lie" about that or not.  But it was one of the greatest shocks of my past decade of reading what atheists said about their own ideology how frequently that amorality was what was moved, beginning, not with Friedrich Nietzsche but with Ernst Haeckel*, the most prominent colleague of Charles Darwin on the European continent.  That's not a relic of 19th century Germany, it's current and the living assumption of people today, many of them prominent thinkers.  

So, this is a challenge.  I maintain that it's impossible to locate even a durable form of equally held rights among all people without it being the endowment of God, our Creator.   If someone can come up with that without God in a way that will withstand the atheists' rejection of the religious explanation I will publish it.   I should also say that no one has yet succeeded** in  my previous challenge to tell how a materialist's "brain-only" brain could know how to make the physical structure in the brain that comprises an idea before the idea is present in the brain and how it would know what to make before it could know that because the idea wasn't present in the brain until it made that structure.   Without that explanation it is impossible for the "brain-only" model to work unless some form of precognition was involved, only that means that the idea was introduced in the brain by means which cannot be accounted for by materialism as it is universally asserted by materialists.

*  If we contemplate the common life and the mutual relations between plants and animals (man included), we shall find everywhere, and at all times, the very opposite of that kindly and peaceful social life which the goodness of the Creator ought to have prepared for his creatures—we shall 20rather find everywhere a pitiless, most embittered Struggle of All against All. Nowhere in nature, no matter where we turn our eyes, does that idyllic peace, celebrated by the poets, exist; we find everywhere a struggle and a striving to annihilate neighbours and competitors. Passion and selfishness—conscious or unconscious—is everywhere the motive force of life. The well-known words of the German poet—
“Die Welt ist vollkommen überallWo der Mensch nicht hinkommt mit seiner Qual.”1
are beautiful, but, unfortunately, not true. Man in this respect certainly forms no exception to the rest of the animal world. The remarks which we shall have to make on the theory of “Struggle for Existence” will sufficiently justify this assertion. It is, in fact, Darwin who has placed this important point, in its high and general significance, very clearly before our eyes, and the chapter in his theory which he himself calls “Struggle for Existence” is one of the most important parts of it.
Whilst, then, we emphatically oppose the vital or teleological view of animate nature which presents animal and vegetable forms as the productions of a kind Creator, acting for a definite purpose, or of a creative, natural force acting for a definite purpose, we must, on the other hand, decidedly adopt that view of the universe which is called the mechanical or causal. It may also be called the monistic, or single-principle theory, as opposed to the twofold principle, or dualistic theory, which is necessarily implied in the teleological conception of the universe. The 21mechanical view of nature has for many years been so firmly established in certain domains of natural science, that it is here unnecessary to say much about it. It no longer occurs to physicists, chemists, mineralogists, or astronomers, to seek to find in the phenomena which continually appear before them in their scientific domain the action of a Creator acting for a definite purpose. They universally, and without hesitation, look upon the phenomena which appear in their different departments of study as the necessary and invariable effects of physical and chemical forces which are inherent in matter. Thus far their view is purely materialistic, in a certain sense of that “word of many meanings.”  
Ernst Haeckel,  The History of Creation vol 1. Translated by Ray Lankester.  I always need to point out that this was a view of natural selection that Charles Darwin totally endorsed, over and over again, most prominently in his continued citations in The Descent of Man, in which he said if he'd known Haeckel was writing this book he would not have bothered writing The Descent of Man because Haeckel had spoken for him in the book.   Lankester was another of Darwin's closest colleagues, his translation was endorsed by pretty much everyone as being accurate.  

** Remember the challenge has to be coherent and fulfill the requirements of atheists in their debunking methods.   A couple of incoherent attempts, made in comments elsewhere, didn't make it past the first stage.  

Saying No To The Olympians

Boston should be congratulated for having a mayor who turned down the Olympics scam.   I would like to think that, eventually, any place governed by elected officials who are answerable to The People will turn down the shake downs and PR scams that are the Olympics, it might make them more able to turn down similar plans to enrich the owners of professional sports teams if they practiced saying "no" to such fat cats.  

The Olympics are run by a putrid, corrupt establishment with a sense of entitlement matched only by their hypocrisy of their cloying, dishonest false front.    I heard one news item about them a few years ago that said one of their demands was to have a highway lane reserved for the exclusive use of Olympics officials.  Their sense of entitlement is boundless.  It's no huge surprise to find out that Bejing was chosen, a city in a country without democracy, now without even a veneer of socialism as it is one of the world centers of organized corruption of every kind as the common people are rolled over at will by the ruling oligarchs of the kind that communism seems to inevitably leads to.  In real life communism, inherently anti-democratic and inevitably autocratic would have been rationally expected to work out that way.   Democracy is hard to achieve, hard to maintain and always at risk in the face of indifference or difficulty, when a government starts out by giving into that risk it is short circuited.    That such a place is to be the only city that has hosted both the winter and summer Olympics says a lot about the "movement" and, I hope, a sign that democracies have outgrown that kind of shake down effort.   

Boston shouldn't have ever thought of looking into the Olympics until it has fixed its public schools, housed its homeless and provided a decent standard of life to the poorest residents.  No city should, no country should.   You can say the same thing for the "Peoples" Republic.  

Friday, July 31, 2015

Hate Mail

I wish I could say only in Duncan's "Brain Trust" could you find so many people who have been to college but who are too lazy and ignorant to look up the meaning of a word to even understand that they don't know what the word means.  Only, as I said earlier today, we are in a post-literate world. If I were 20 again I'd go back to college to become a public school English grammar teacher and I'd be a real hard ass about using the dictionary.   The future will be divided between people who know what the hell they're talking about and those who don't or there won't be one.   The present seems to be divided between people who pretend to know what they're talking about and those who pretend to pretend to know what they're talking about by agreeing with what the first group says.  

Isaiah says,  "... and a little child shall lead them", that's his eschatological vision.   In Duncan Blacks' a childish ass misleads them.  

Aaron Copland - Nature The Gentlest Mother from Eight poems of Emily Dickinson


The World Feels Dusty

Dawn Upshaw - soprano
Saint-Paul Chamber Orchestra,  Hugh Wolff - conduct

Three Columns About The Resurrection From April 1968

This month I was harangued over The Resurrection again, though this time the dolts doing it apparently didn't have the "Second Law of Thermodynamics" canard at their disposal.  It was more idiotic than that.

I've confessed that I've got doubts about what is meant by "The Resurrection" when someone talks about that, generally they mean that the body of Jesus was reanimated like Frankenstein's moster or some equally absurd idea, one which doesn't seem to fit with the descriptions, such as those are, in the Gospels and other mentions of it in scripture.   As Richard McBrien points out, the Gospels don't tell us anything about HOW it happened or any clear account of what those who reported meeting the risen Jesus experienced.  Some, such as the account of Thomas's meeting with Jesus report a physical but different body who could be touched, a Jesus who could eat.  But not just a physical body as Jesus could appear and disappear.   Which would be scoffed at, so this reposting isn't for the scoffers who I invite to go elsewhere.

Here are three columns Richard McBrien published in April, 1968.  His understanding of what history and why The Resurrection can't be considered, strictly speaking, an historical event.  Which  will probably be too much for many of the people mentioned above to get unless they can understand what he means by that passage.


There was a time in Catholic theology when the resurrection of Jesus was not regarded as an essential part of the Redemption. The full saving act took place on the cross (St. Anselm again!); the resurrection was a kind of epilogue. Jesus rose from the dead in order to prove that he was truly the Son of God. 

The theological atmosphere in the English-speaking world changed considerably with the appearance of F. X. Durwell's biblical study The Resurrection (Sheed and Ward, 1960). It restored the Easter mystery to its proper place at the center, and not on the periphery, of our Redemption. 

Some older (and not so old) Catholics, and particularly priests, do not like to be told that the Church arrived at some deeper theological or pastoral insight after they finished their own formal religious education, in college or seminary. Significantly, they do not usually resist these insights if you can establish that we really held these views all along, but that now we are simply using different terminology. For some, this conviction has become a theological Linus-blanket. 

But this is not the situation in far too many cases, and we do the Church no real service by pretending that nothing has changed except the words. I am not suggesting here that we should ignore the past, or, worse still, reduce it to scorn. But unless we are willing to acknowledge the inadequacies and distortions of the past, we shall never purge ourselves of these deficiencies. We will have submerged our problems and, in the end, have learned nothing from history. 

I should expect very few Catholics, priests or laymen, to be able to point to any extensive treatment of the resurrection in the theology they learned some years ago. Indeed, whenever the resurrection was a topic for study, it was usually in an apologetical framework: Jesus is the Son of God, and he proved this by his miracles and especially his resurrection from the dead. (For a fuller consideration, see Avery Dulles, S.J., Apologetics and the Biblical Christ, chapter IV.) 

Now that we have rejected the idea of the crucifixion as cultic sacrifice and of the Redemption as the payment of a debt owed to God, we are free to view the resurrection of Jesus in a far richer theological perspective. 

The Redemption is the work of the Father, and it is the Father who raised Jesus from the dead for our salvation (Rom. 4:24; 8:11; 10:9; 1 Cor. 6:14; 2 Cor. 4:i4; 13:4; Gal. 1:1; Eph. 1:20; Phil.2:9; I Thes. 1:10; 1:21). This is the consistent tradition of Pauline theology, although it has not always been part of our catechetical formation. (Some evidence of this emerges from the emotional distress manifested by some Catholics when they learned that the newer translations of the Gospels spoke of Jesus being "raised" from the dead rather than "rising" from the dead.) 

We are, in fact, saved by the resurrection of Jesus. It is through his resurrection that he communicates the new life of the Spirit to us (Rom. 4:24-5). We are reborn in the Spirit because Jesus has been raised and glorified (Jn. 7:39; 16:7; 20:22; 1 Pet. 1:3-4). Death no longer has a final hold over any one of us. The hope of our own resurrection is founded on our faith in Christ's (1 Cor. 15). 

But if the resurrection is torn from the mystery of our Redemption and is regarded solely as a proof for the divinity of Jesus, then it can have no real meaning for the life and mission of the Church. 

On the contrary, we must see that the resurrection is at the very heart of our Christian faith ("Jesus is Lord!"). We Christians believe that human life and history can and will succeed because Jesus of Nazareth is the risen Lord. The resurrection is the ultimate promise of God that his Kingdom will be brought to perfection for us. 

Jesus has left the tomb and gone into the city. He can and must be found there. It is the Church's responsibility to locate him again and again, and release the Spirit which he possesses. The Church is his resurrection community and, as such, a symbol of hope to the world. This is the essence of the Easter message and the task of the Easter faith


It is disastrous when matters of faith are posed in black-and-white, either/or categories. Either the teaching of Pope Pius XI on the morality of birth control is perfectly correct, or the Church is no longer infallible. Either Matthew 16:18 is an absolute proof of the primacy of Peter, or the Catholic Church is not truly the Body of Christ. 

The problem of the resurrection of Jesus can yield the same kind of false dilemma: either the resurrection is an historical event, or it didn't happen at all and we are still in our sins (see 1 Cor. 15:17). 

Some Catholics may be accustomed to thinking that the resurrection is an open-and-shut case: Jesus literally and physically got up from the tomb on Easter morning and, with the same body he had before the crucifixion, walked around, meeting his disciples, talking with them, instructing them. If a photographer were present at the time, he could have "caught" the Lord with his camera. Only "liberal" Protestants deny the historical truth of the resurrection, these Catholics believe, because they, deny, in the first instance, the divinity of Christ. 

In this week's essay 1 shall bring to the reader's attention a sample of some recent work being done by Catholic theologians on the problem of the resurrection. It should be pointed out that nothing in these studies diminishes the deeper theological and religious significance of the resurrection, which we outlined last week. 

Do we really have to believe that the resurrection of Jesus is an historical event in the sense that his goings-about on Easter Sunday could have been recorded on camera if one were available? The answer is very probably "No," and the clearest expression of this view has been produced recently by G. G. O'Collins, S.J., of Cambridge University, in an article which would ordinarily not come to the attention of my readers: "Is the Resurrection an 'Historical' Event?" in Heythrop Journal (October, 1967; pp. 381-7). 

Father O'Collins notes the renewal of interest in the resurrection on the part of Protestant theologians. Those of my readers who follow the progress of theological discussion through the pages of The New York Times and the news magazines will know by now that the new "theology of hope," proposed by Jurgen Moltmann and others, accords a central place to the resurrection of Jesus. 

But Father O'Collins finds that some of the newer Protestant thinking, far from being "liberal," insists too strongly on the historical character of the resurrection. It is such an event, they suggest, that an historian could verify it by his own scientific methods. 

However, an event cannot be called "historical" unless it meets certain conditions: (1) its causality must be open to scientific examination; (2) the event must have been witnessed by impartial observers; and (3) the event should bear some relationship to the kind of happenings we commonly experience. 

The resurrection fails to pass this test: (1) we cannot investigate its causality, because the scriptures themselves do not attempt to give an account, let alone a precise and detailed account, of how it occurred; (2) only believers testified to the appearances of the Lord; (3) the resurrection bears no analogy to our common experience. 

In brief, an "historical" event is one that happens in the realm of space and time. On that basis, Father O'Collins concludes that it is not an ''historical" event. By his resurrection Christ entered a new mode of existence of the glorified body, a Spirit-filled existence in which he is the source of life for mankind (2 Cor. 3:17; 1 Cor. 15:43 ff.). 

For the most part, his glorified existence is only to be described in negatives: immortal, impassible, etc. "If in fact Christ on the far side of the resurrection continued to exist under the bodily conditions which we experience and within which the historian operates, he would not be the risen Christ" (p. 385). 

The argument here is that the resurrection is central to our redemption in Christ and yet we need not regard it as an "historical" event in the strict sense of the word. How can this be? More next week.


The resurrection of Jesus differs from the other raisings from the dead mentioned in the Gospels: e.g., the young man from Nain (Lk. 7:11- 17), Jairus' daughter (Mk. 5:35-43), and Lazarus (Jn. 11). 

First, these events are described in some detail, whereas the resurrection of Jesus took place "in the silence of God" (St. Ignatius of Antioch). Secondly, there was never a problem of identification regarding the risen Lazarus or the risen daughter of Jairus, for example; whereas we have several instances in the Gospels where even his disciples failed to recognize the risen Lord. 

But the major contrast lies in the fact that the daughter of Jairus and the others resumed their lives under normal bodily conditions and would eventually die again. They had not yet entered into the final state of their existence. 

Jesus, on the other hand, does not return to our space-time condition. With his death and burial his historical existence is completed. He has moved into his final state of existence where he is now Spirit (2 Cor. 3:17; "see also 1 Cor. 15:43 ff.). 

Does all this mean that the resurrection was not "for real," that our faith is founded on an illusion? Not at all

Something objective did happen on Easter Sunday and its effects have manifested themselves ever since. The apostles themselves proclaimed the resurrection of Jesus as a real event, because they experienced and understood it as such. St. Paul would even argue that without the resurrection our faith is in vain and we are still in our sins (1 Cor. 15:17). 

The apostles were convinced that Jesus had appeared to them at definite times and in specific places and to a particular number of persons. These events were not regarded simply as mystical experiences and certainly not as hallucinations. On the contrary, "these appearances are historical from the side of those who encountered the risen Lord, but not from the side of Christ himself" (G. G. O'Collins, S.J., Heythrop Journal, October, 1967, p. 386). 

The resurrection and subsequent appearances are not subject to verification by the objective historian, and yet they are real events. This means that we must believe not only in the redemptive value of the resurrection, but also in the event itself. This is not true, however, in the case of the crucifixion. 

While faith is required to see the cross as the tree of life, faith is not required to accept it as an historical fact. Jesus of Nazareth was crucified, and an historian can verify this. But this is not so with regard to the resurrection. And yet the resurrection is just as real as the crucifixion. "Reality" comprises more than what is narrowly regarded as "historical." 

In other words, one can accept the resurrection as a real, bodily event, without necessarily calling it "historical." I say "necessarily" because there are theologians today (and they are not all fundamentalists) who continue to insist on the strict historicity of the resurrection. (For these references, see Father O'Collin's' article in Heythrop Journal.) 

While there may be room for discussion on the precise meaning of "historical," it must be clear that no Christian can responsibly deny the reality of the resurrection. It is something that really happened to Jesus of Nazareth and not merely to his disciples and apostles (as Bultmann has suggested). 

Indeed, the reality of the resurrection is the only thing that fully accounts for the faith and proclamation of the primitive Church. The apostles were men transformed by their experience of the risen Christ. No other explanation suffices for the extraordinary events that followed Easter Sunday and Pentecost. 

Now, as then, the only effective proof of the resurrection is a living faith. The resurrection remains an event which transforms and is transforming. A community which proclaims only a biological resuscitation of a corpse which lived some 2000 years ago is, at best, an historical anachronism or a curiosity piece. 

The risen Lord can only be experienced today, as he was in Palestine, in the breaking of the bread -- as men break bread with one another and give hope to those without hope, joy to those without peace, justice to those without rights. The Church, as the risen Body of Christ, must be precisely this kind of community

Paglia's Recursive Regurgitation

It was a long time ago that I noticed that the pseudo-feminist Camille Paglia's biggest fan base seemed to be the, then, middle-aged, college educated men who made decisions in the media.  Some of whom had any respect I had for them shattered on the rock of her cultural cliches.   Christopher Lydon was one of those whose lack of attire I had to admit to upon hearing what he had to say about her.  And it wasn't just him, it was a large part of the post-literate littérateurs who are faking it through a career as our post-literate intellectual class.  There are real intellectuals but they seldom get into the media because those who run the media don't think there's a market for it.  They are more likely to be found at a land-grant university, a small college, working in some out of the way place than in the media as it comes from New York, Boston, Washington or LA.

In the case of Camille Paglia the persistence of total bilge regurgitated for a quarter of a century, stringing together names, current and topical ones,  artificial idols of the pop industry, mixing all of that with names dropped in from old Western Civ textbooks and your World Lit anthology and inserting the frequently misreported crap from the corporate media and you've pretty much got what her entire act consists of.  The woman is a total fraud spouting back at the corporate media the same crap they spout mixed in with enough superficial name dropping to make the upper escalations in that media feel superior because they know the names - though they clearly don't know enough to know that she doesn't know any more about them than they do -  and you've got a perfect model of life among our non-intellectual untellectuals.

But why should I go into her again when Molly Ivins summed up this situation perfectly 25 years ago.

What we have here, fellow citizens, is a crassly egocentric, raving twit. The Norman Podhoretz of our gender. That this woman is actually taken seriously as a thinker in New York intellectual circles is a clear sign of decadence, decay, and hopeless pinheadedness. Has no one in the nation’s intellectual capital the background and ability to see through a web of categorical assertions? One fashionable line of response to Paglia is to claim that even though she may be fundamentally off-base, she has “flashes of brilliance.” If so, I missed them in her oceans of swill.

One of her latest efforts at playing enfant terrible in intellectual circles was a peppy essay for Newsday, claiming that either there is no such thing as date rape or, if there is, it’s women’s fault because we dress so provocatively. Thanks, Camille, I’ve got some Texas fraternity boys I want you to meet.

There is one area in which I think Paglia and I would agree that politically correct feminism has produced a noticeable inequity. Nowadays, when a woman behaves in a hysterical and disagreeable fashion, we say, “Poor dear, it’s probably PMS.” Whereas, if a man behaves in a hysterical and disagreeable fashion, we say, “What an asshole.”

Let me leap to correct this unfairness by saying of Paglia, Sheesh, what an asshole.

Leftish Posing Both Elite and Macho Failed It's Stupid To Repeat That Failure

It was about ten years ago, while reading younger people online, that I realized that a lot of what I saw being advocated was political action that repeated what had failed, continually, over the previous thirty or so years.   Considering that in the same time I read many times the definition of a crazy person as someone who continually repeats the same thing expecting different results, it was clear something was wrong.  The left as a bunch of upper and upper middle-class college educated folk, many of whom had financial security but who also had an absurdly romantic view of the previous left, the "new left" and what I guess was the "old left" is not a viable political entity.  If it were the repeated failures of the past forty years would not have happened.  One of the stupidest parts of that failure was the naive faith that, somehow, the truth would win out over lies.  The stupidity, if not insanity of that was proven by how lies in the freest of all free presses won out well over 90 % of the time, hampering even the best of intentions by such Democrats who had managed against the odds to win elections.*  Neither Clinton nor Obama governed as liberals, as many have noted, they governed to the right of Dwight Eisenhower in the 1950s.   Lies win when lies are permitted and have the magnifying and multiplying effect of the electronic media and the cash of millionaires and billionaires.  That is something that dictators have known since the birth of electronic media with radio and the movies but which our idiotic, mostly Ivy League trained Supreme Court pretends to not know, even the liberals on it.  It was the liberal Warren Court which removed any penalty for the media lying in the Sullivan ruling in 1964, which was followed, unsurprisingly, by the period of right-wing ascendancy.   The typical thinking on this issue, figuring that because Jefferson and Madison and Voltaire said something in the age of quills and gall ink we can't face reality is too stupid to be tolerated any longer.  Lies benefit the rich and powerful, not the underclass or anyone else.

Yet, with that clear history and its manifestation around us in the constant barrage of lying propaganda, especially during election years, media libertarianism is one of the most commonly held delusions of the would-be left, today.   I think it was when I read one of the most popular of the leftish bloggers deriding proposals to reimpose the Fairness Doctrine and community service standards on TV that I realized this was one of the major problems of the allege left as I was finding it online.  With the rise of direct expression by people on the left in large numbers, a lot of the deluded thinking and romantic foolishness became apparent.   In my case, it did have the beneficial effect that I had to look critically at my own assumptions and, more so, habits of thought in these matters.  I'd let my affection for some old lefties blind me to the failure of their ideas and methods and the fact that a lot of their ideas were pretty awful.  You can start with their getting suckered by the communists and anarchists, for a start.

That's a long introduction for this video which was posted yesterday, How To Teach Civics in a Quaker School

It might not have the cheap drama of manning the barricades and playing Paris Commune or, heaven help us, Les Mis, it might not sound attractively violent or nasty or macho but it's not like those things have gotten us anywhere.   The major accomplishment of the "new, new left" in the past decade seems to have been the mighty and angry effort to occupy a few public parks and to vent online.  Which probably turns off more of the real left, the left which is untapped, the people who have a stake in the success of a real left with realistic goals which values making real change in real lives more than it does in issuing a theory and striking a pose.  People who realize that what those idiots who strike those poses do is stupid and nothing that will work and nothing they have to waste their time in because it will be counter productive.

If the Quaker in the video would have misgivings about the first two paragraphs in this piece, I'd remind him that one of the early names of the Quakers was "Friends of Truth". **  If you are a friend of the truth, you can't very well be a friend of lies at the same time.  The truth will make you free, if you and a lot of other people know it.  If they "know" lies, none of us will be free.  The past half century of American history gave that idea the test of time in real life.

* Given that the last nearly liberal president we've had, Carter, won due to a combination of the reaction against the massive corruption and criminality of the Nixon period and the ineptitude of Ford and that Bill Clinton and Barack Obama won with a combination of financial crisis caused by the previous Republican adminstrations and weak opponents, the strategy of just waiting for Republicans to go too far or blow up the economy is a rather pathetic capitulation to the corrupted system given us by the Supreme Court.

** All that having been said, it is clear that the phrase “Friends of Truth,” used as a term for the Quakers, dates back at least to 1653.  The earliest attestation I have come across is in a 1653 letter from Margaret Fell to Col. West, published in A Brief Collection of Remarkable Passages and Occurrences Relating to the Birth, Education, Life, Conversion, Travels, Services, and Deep Sufferings of that Ancient, Eminent, and Faithful Servant of the Lord, Margaret Fell; but by her Second Marriage, Margaret Fox (1710) p. 42:

Most part of the Goals [sic] in the North part of England hath some Friends of the Truth in them, as York, Carlisle, Appleby, and Lancaster.

But the single word “Friends” appears just as early, as in the following sentence from a 1653 letter from Gervase Benson to George Fox and James Nayler, reproduced in A.R. Barclay’s Letters, &c of Early Friends (1841) p. 3:

As for the Friends’ enlargement at Kendal, George Taylor, I hope, hath or will give you an account.

Although both terms are quite early, I have not found any clear indication that one of them was understood as a shortened form of the other.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Beethoven - Piano Sonata Op 110 - Rudolph Serkin

Hate Mail

My rule for judging governments, judging political ideologies, parties and their members begins with their willingness to divide the murderers in the world into the bad, evil murderers who are "theirs" and the good murderers whose murders are OK because, well, because they're "our" mass murderers. Harry Truman might have judged Stalin as being "our SOB", but, then, Truman was the one who OKed dropping two nuclear bombs, especially the second one.   The pretense that it is the variety or economics which is asserted by an ideology places it on an objective line of political identity is one of the stupidest ideas ever pushed by academics.  That lie leads to the fervent superstition that slavery under a communist government is, somehow, different from slavery under a fascist or a merely capitalist or a feudal or whatever political system when the violence which is an intrinsic part of enslavement is all the same.   That economic babble was asserted as the measure of political ideologies is merely a confirmation that those who did that valued money over human lives, over life, in general.  It is political economy as if money matters, not people.  That some of those doing that were more pretentious about caring for the welfare of those enslaved counts for little, in the end, as can be seen when their fervent pronouncements became the foulest of politics and their lofty statements turned to state terror.

I don't take back anything I said about Brecht who was at best a dupe and at most a hypocrite and a liar.  I think that the clue to his real nature can be seen in some of his more attractive and popular works, the ones that make him the most produced of 20th century playwrights, pieces like Happy End, Threepenny Opera and The Rise and Fall of Mahagonny.  His cynical, humorous and romanticized presentation of gangsters, thugs, pimps, etc,and those who are used by them makes you wonder how someone could have such a nasty view of life and be considered some kind of a humanitarian.   His dramatic theories are bull shit.  His ideological distortions of the real lives of Galileo and his daughter, not to mention just about all of the historical figures in his Life of Galileo are certainly not realistic and are certainly there to misrepresent what happened in real life and its ultimate meaning.   Since his theater is meant to be didactic he should have started by not lying about real lives and real historical events.

I used to really like Brecht's things but, with the experience of watching the events of the past half a century and more, reading the events of the century before that, they are worse than a dead end, they are a road to depravity.  That his was a Marxist depravity doesn't really signify much.  How it differs in its message from fascist nihilism is something that becomes less instead of more clear.   Marxism failed, it started failing as soon as it took power in Russia, Emma Goldman saw that, soon after Trotsky found out, too.  As can be seen in China, Marxism can lead to a really regressive form of 19th century capitalism under a totalitarian police state, one which is quite accomplished in economic imperialism.  If that turns out to be an improvement over military imperialism or if it doesn't also lead to that has yet to be determined.  I don't expect it will turn out well.  China, interestingly, could prove that both Marxism and capitalism are fully compatible with the most oppressive of total police states, a mixture of 1984, Ferenheit 415 and Brave New World, only worse.  In the end, liberalism has to reject his view of life because liberalism is politics as if people, their lives, the lives of others, really matter.

Your being romantic about Brecht is hilarious in that he was about as cynically and brutally unromantic about life as could be.  It was his shtick, what attracts adolescents to his work.   Mounting an angry response to a non-romantic view of him only adds to the irony of the situation.

Update:  Simels is so vain he thinks this post is about him when he didn't even comment on my post yesterday.   Hate to make you feel jealous, Sims, but I have other enemies whose comments I won't post.

Update 2:  And now he's denying that I wrote this in response to someone else even though he didn't post a comment on yesterday's piece.  Simile dementia.

Update 3:  And now he's still insisting that this is all about Sims when it wasn't until Simels insisted it was.  Oh, and, he's saying I'm the one who is "straight jacket worthy" over this.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Francesco Corbetta - Passacaille

Israel Golani - baroque guitar

Caprice de Chacone

Pierre Pitzl - baroque guitar

More On The Idiotic Statement That The Black Church Supports White Supremacy

James Cone is the living theologian who speaks most strongly to me.   When I talk about Christianity it is the Christianity that he talks about, most of all. which I mean.  Its authentic character grows with everything I hear him say, everything by him I read.

Who Needs Springtime For Hitler When The Mother Is A Real Thing?

That quote about those who struggle I gave the other day is cited in various places as being from Bertolt Brecht's 1930 Cantata-play Mother, not to be confused with Mother Courage And Her Children.  I'd never seen it or heard it before going to look for the quote in the original.   I read through the scores of some of the songs which Hans Eisler wrote for the production at IMSLP and listened to a number of Youtubes of the music.  It's easy to see why it didn't catch on.  I couldn't locate the original version of the quote in the play but it is about as awful a piece of musical theater as I've ever heard.   And I've heard some real junk.  If you want a good example of how bad it is, here's a Youtube from a production in English, with new music,  of one of the less absurd songs,  Praise of Learning.   In addition to that there is Praise of Communism and, if that's whetted your whistle, Praise of the Dialectic (in the original, I couldn't find it in English).   Really, "Praise of the Dialectic" just an idea that sings out of great musical theater, isn't it.   It wasn't until fairly recently that I read some of Brecht's thoughts in advocating his "materialist, anti-metaphysical. non-Aristotelian" dramas, of which The Mother, may be the quintessential example.  I have to say, most of his theorizing is total crap, You have to twist words and go through a lot of dishonest contortions to pretend that such make believe entities as the dialectic aren't metaphysical, not to mention everything else about this most non-realistic presentation of a pretend reality.  Theater is inescapably metaphysical, it isn't physical reality, its representation of time, alone, is a complete violation of physical reality. But such is the pretense whenever materialist ideologues pretend that their ideologies are not metaphysical in any way because materialism has to be false if there is any reality in any metaphysical entity.

This work was mounted in Germany in the struggle against the Nazis, who, predictably, closed down the production and jailed the actors.  Which probably had nothing to do with much of anything political  or real life.  The pretense that a theatrical production, one seen by several thousand people, at most, would have a political effect is absurd.  But even in the most attractive production imaginable The Mother is so unrelentingly awful and absurd in presenting Soviet style communism as THE alternative to Nazism that I can't imagine it as being anything but counter productive.  That anyone would produce it, seriously, today, with what is known about the Soviet Union, especially in the period when Brecht wrote the thing and Eisler set them in his dreadful political style, it has a real Springtime for Hitler quality to it.  It's not as if the reports of atrocities and mass killing were unknown in 1930, those were available from the most anti-capitalist of sources as well as the accurate reports of anti-communists.

I wasn't exactly brought up to adore Bertolt Brecht, I doubt my parents talked about him even once, though I would guess they'd heard of him.   It was my reading and education that inculcated my former affection for him and his writing.  Some of it I still do like, the anti-Nazi stuff, though even the experience of that has to be mitigated by his promotion of some of the worst of communism.  I always thought his fleeing the bumbling American fascists of the House American Activities Committee for the grim and far more efficiently oppressive regime in East Germany had to count against his proclaimed love of freedom and the dignity of humanity.   He outlived Stalin by three years, he must have heard about at least some of the tens of millions of murders under Stalin's workers "paradise" the grim reality of it was certainly all around him in his last years.

In contrast he lived in the United States enjoying, no doubt, his celebrity and some of the profits available to those who are involved in movie production.  In terms of the experience available to Brecht, America had not only achieved a level of material prosperity unheard of in human history but had also produced such the manifestations as near universal public education, including the land grant university system, the GI Bill, and other, unprecedented and unheard of anti-capitalistic redistribution of wealth that he had never seen anywhere else.   With all of the massive faults of the United States in the late 1940s early 1950s, the racism and other evils that had yet to be overturned,  the "dialectic" at work in the United States had produced nothing to rival the evils that the competing "scientific" ideologies of fascism-Nazism and communism had produced in Germany and the rest of Europe.   It produced the far more generalized material prosperity that he experienced when he fled Europe for here.

Marilynne Robinson, in her essays points out that no less an expert than Marx did not consider the United States a capitalist country, she joins in the observation that the United States has not, in fact, until recently been a classically capitalist country, despite what Marxists here and abroad have deplored about us, along with our alleged vulgarity.  That is an attitude that became fashionable among the educated elite here as it yearned for some imagined level of sophistication achieved in Europe.  Which, by the way, produced vulgar junk that could rival anything produced here, and which had already produced evil in ways and in amounts that the United States had not yet rivaled.

The casual anti-Americanism that has become a required character trait among educated people has certainly not helped endear that class to the majority of Americans.  The absurdity of that might account for how, in Chicago, in 2013, with the full range of the mass murders of the Soviet Union, those countries it occupied before and after the Second World War, the as massive mountain of murdered people in China under Mao and in other, smaller countries under communism fully documented and known, someone thought it was a good idea to mount a production of Brecht's lying, awful. dreary piece of "materialist, anti-metaphysical, anti-Aristotelian"  agit-prop.   Every word of it being false is not only proven by the historical record of Soviet communism and communism elsewhere, but also in its total and absolute impotence in fighting fascism and Nazism.   We know that now beyond any rational doubt.  It is as absolutely known as the massive crimes of the Nazis.   Only, for some reason, we're supposed to pretend we don't know it.   It's worse than insane, it's a lie.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

My Answer To The Stupid Statement Made At Salon That The Black Church Supports White Supremacy

I would love to hear the entire sermon because this is the first time that the meaning of the horrific Psalm 137, the entire thing after the first, often quoted verses, where the crime of infanticide seems to be reveled in, made real in the context of American responses to 9-11.

1  By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept
when we remembered Zion.

2  There on the poplars
we hung our harps,

3  for there our captors asked us for songs,
our tormentors demanded songs of joy;
they said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”

4  How can we sing the songs of the Lord
while in a foreign land?

5  If I forget you, Jerusalem,
may my right hand forget its skill.

6  May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth
if I do not remember you,
if I do not consider Jerusalem
my highest joy.

7  Remember, Lord, what the Edomites did
on the day Jerusalem fell.
“Tear it down,” they cried,
“tear it down to its foundations!”

8  Daughter Babylon, doomed to destruction,
happy is the one who repays you
according to what you have done to us.

9  Happy is the one who seizes your infants
and dashes them against the rocks.

I heard nothing, nothing whatsoever, in the secular left that was as powerful or as meaningful, it is entirely bereft of this kind of prophetic testimony because it rejects the enormous record of examination contained in The Bible.  Coates' journalism doesn't match it.

How Can A 48 Year Old "Humanist" Work At Harvard in 2015 Without Having Been Exposed To These Ideas?

So, Ta-Nehisi Coates, with a new and very well received book, and, probably more to the point, appearing on The Daily Show, is the flavor of the month, it would seem.   I had read some of his things in the Atlantic and was as impressed with his writing ability as everyone else but the recent explosion in his fame has left me rather puzzled.  I have not read his book, though I might well read it.

Like some others who read Greg Epstein's praise for Coates on the basis of his atheism at Salon,  I'm rather astonished that it took Coates writing in his book and in the Atlantic so very recently to open the eyes of so many white people to the issues he covers.  Especially those white folk who study and work at a major intellectual institution such as Harvard, like Epstein.  Didn't they ever read other black writers of whom there have been scores and hundreds talking about these issues, some with the same insights Coates writes about decades ago, some more than a century ago?  Many of those writers were available to me living in a rural backwater in the north years before Epstein was born, I read some of them when I was in high school more than a half a century ago.  Since Epstein is an ordained Rabbi* as well as an atheist chaplain at Harvard, who studied at major universities, I wonder how he could have apparently missed the entire range of Black liberation theology and the earlier writings of such ubiquitously known figures as The Reverend Martin Luther King jr. and the myriad of other black writers who have addressed the same issues that Coates writes about, leaving it to him to primarily give the same ideas an update in his own writing style.  It isn't that Coates is a more insightful writer than those older and previous writers, he's merely a younger one with a more currently fashionable framing.

What he says about black lives mattering was being said in the late 19th century and through the 20th century by black writers such as Ida B. Wells and Walter Francis White, it was exposed all during the anti-lynching campaign, even to a wider audience.  And black writers have never stopped writing about that and against the many murders of people for being black, certainly including summary executions by the police of entirely innocent people as well as people who were murdered by the police for things white people would have done without any police action being taken.  What Coates says about that is far less profound than what James Cone has said about it during the same period and far less useful in both providing strategies of coping and of making improvements.  As I noted the other day, some of Coates' statements are far more likely to lead to an impotent despair than they are real progress in real lives.  Black lives are lives in reality, not merely things to be thought about by intellectuals and the causal readers of Atlantic articles and books.  They mattered before the recent coverage of police shootings and the gun-lynchings of thugs like George Zimmerman who are let off by the police and the system caught the attention of the current white would-be-intelligentsia.

What Coates says about the issue of reparations, as well, has been talked about and discussed in massive detail beginning in the period of Reconstruction and onward to today.  It's telling that in his much talked about and important article he begins by citing The Bible, Deuteronomy 15:12-15, which provides a Biblical case that God demands that compensation be paid to slaves who have been held in the far less absolute form of bondage that is allowed under Mosaic Law, which was paid in some cases by people who gave up holding slaves under the influence of The Bible and who took the commandment to pay compensation seriously.  I read his article and don't recall seeing any comparable argument made for compensation on the basis of materialism or atheism.

I am finding it harder to take Coates as more than a very talented writer who has worked on what other, previous writers have said and presenting their thoughts and insights while ignoring that those ideas can't be generated or given any kind of moral or political force by his general framing of atheism. Which was done in the past too, it was what the Marxists here in the United States did for the entire period of the Soviet Union, supporting atheist, Communist regimes there and in other countries, conveniently ignoring that their overarching atheism was impotent to even mount a critique of capitalism with all of its baggage of racism, exploitation of workers, inequality and injustice while the religion they despised could give an absolute reason those were wrong. They also did so here, in the West, while ignoring that everything they slammed the governments here for allowing or addressing ineffectively in the period when baby steps of progress were being made was happening universally in the Soviet Union, in China, in the occupied countries in Eastern Europe and in smaller, some of them even more brutal atheist paradises such as North Korea and Pol Pot's Cambodia. I do remember even some of the most ardent voices on the left, some of whom were otherwise admirable, defending Pol Pot in the early part of his insanely homicidal regime. The Chinese government which was held up as some kind of paragon by the lunatics of Progressive Labor, who were influential in the destruction of an effective left in the late 60s and early 70s, never have had much trouble getting along with the worst of their type.

Marx didn't, as far as I can recall reading, ever address the impossibility of finding rights in materialism, workers rights, included.  He presented things as if his imaginary forces of history were actual material objects, the movements of which could be charted to determine their eventual destination.  Where he, somehow, expected they would rest in the best of all possible worlds.  In the meantime, the Soviet Union, China and other industrial atheist paradises were founded on generalized slavery, the workers being maintained for greater efficiency of production, not because they were the possessors of rights granted them by their Creator, who didn't figure into their system.  And in China, today, we see that materialism is a fungible ideology, as its "Communism" has been transformed into a Victorian capitalism on uppers.  It has no higher ideal than the creation and concentration of money.

But Coates is a writer of the post-Marxist popular atheist period, an atheism that is more compatible with the American establishment.  His career as a writer is interesting for that reason as well as for his very real talent.

The extent to which Coates turns into a media phenomenon is likely a good gauge for the phenomenon that a religious writer will be taken less seriously by the mainstream media, that being determined by the extent to which they are a religious and a liberal at the same time.  It is certainly de rigeur to be an atheist in large parts of the intelligentsia, a token appearance of a religious figure, here and there, allowable as convenient.  I have wondered at the tolerance of religious expression among minority figures in such venues as a marker of the more general condescension of the white media for minorities and their cultures.  Such minority voices appearing in the media restricted to addressing issues of minority interest.  I wonder if the extent to which anti-religion will give those such as Neil Degrasse Tyson wider access for addressing other issues will develop into a trend in the way that anti-leftism and criticism of black people by black conservatives has flourished in the media.  There would seem to be a full employment policy for such commentators as far more informed voices are banned from being heard except in the rarest of instances.  The same can be said of religious conservatives, religious liberals being another class disappeared by the media.

Atheism fully deserves the kind of critique that is popular among the scribbling classes when religion is the topic and its not going to get one even as its contradictions and hypocrisies flourish and its mythology promoted in the media.  Liberalism needs for atheism to get a full critique because of its basic incompatibility with the foundations and goals of genuine liberalism.

I would love to ask Coates where in materialism, in science, in atheism and atheist exposition of human minds and lives he finds anything to make a moral obligation to respect the rights he writes about, from the obligation to pay reparations for the work of black slaves and those held in de facto slavery during the post-emancipation period up to and including the rights of full equality.  I can tell him where those reside in Christianity, he, himself points to one of the main ones in citing Deuteronomy. If he read the great Black Liberation theologians and the Latin American and Asian Liberation theologians, he would find more than I could tell him.   And those rest on the bedrock of The Bible, which rests on a belief in the God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob and the belief that all people are made in the image of God and are equally endowed by God with inalienable rights.   He won't find anything comparable in atheism.

* It is bizarre that someone who entirely rejects God and the entire basis of The Law can be considered Jewish while someone who converts to Christianity from Judaism, who believes in the same God and the Jewish tradition apparently isn't to be considered as Jewish anymore.  I have yet to read an explanation of that and would welcome one that makes sense of the matter.

Monday, July 27, 2015

I'm Told I'm a Philistine Because I Don't Bother With Movies Anymore

I must say I find television very educational. The minute somebody turns it on, I go to the library and read a good book

Groucho Marx

And, remember,  he died in 1977,  just one year after VCRs became widely marketed and well before DVDs and Netflix were available.   The same year that "Star Wars" dealt the first, fatal blow to adult movie making in Hollywood.   And, believe me, going back and looking at what it made before then doesn't stand up as well as even second tier literature of the period.   That was before books started being routinely written with the movie in mind, as well.   It was the period when movie music began to really, really rot, as well. 

Adult's With The Terrible Twos Are The Asshole Nation That Dominates Online Discourse

I can only thank heaven that I missed the viral click frenzy about the crying child in the Portland, Maine diner.  I'd never heard of the restaurant before but was amazed to read that their "pancakes" are 14 inches across and an inch high.   If their "pancakes" are bigger than layer cakes, for crying out loud, no wonder they're not fast food.   If I'd ordered them unsuspecting and was left waiting for fast food (it is a "diner", after all) I'd feel like fussing a bit.   And I'm pretty amazed at how the alleged adults, especially the owner of the diner handled it.   Though I wasn't there and can't really know from the testimony of the most interested parties what really happened in the restaurant, you can judge how the alleged adults on both sides handled it afterwards.  In any case, "social" media made things worse.

You can understand the owner being upset over having her diner slammed on the diners own webpage but if you invite unmoderated comments from anyone you're asking for that.  Unmoderated comments are the home of insanity, lies and character assassination.  A business owner hosting unmoderated comments about their business is begging for grouble.  The experiment of unmoderated comment threads proves that the bad drives out the good, the bratty comments of adults up to and into the senior years will always dominate unless they are deleted or not published.  But the owner's choice to be a bigger brat in her response wasn't professional, it wasn't even adult.

The mass media, even before the internet, has done a lot to lower the level of adult thinking and acting into that of the worst of two-year-old bratiness.  Your typical TV comic or comic actor, these days, is far more likely to be either portraying or acting like an especially difficult 2-year-old with the privileges of an adult.  The promotion of verbal aggression as some kind of positive and funny thing, the sign of a strong, will take no guff pose, the sign of a wise guy or gal has become universal.  It has turned a large part of America into Asshole Nation.

I remember when I was still watching movies someone had a video of ET.  It must have been at someones' house because there is no way I'd have paid to see the thing, but I couldn't stand it because the kids in that movie were such brats, the kind who grew up to be the kinds of assholes who man internet comment threads.  I don't like that kind of stuff in kids of 9 to 14, who should have grown out of being the kinds of little brats that the worst of 2 or 3 year olds can be.   When they reach adulthood they're not brats anymore, they're the kinds of assholes who can't deal with a difficult 2 year old and who hate them for acting like 2 year olds because they're essentially 2 year olds themselves.  And they are the ones who have control of the discourse online, on comment threads, on self-books and on Twitter.  That such people have children, themselves, I am afraid, is a fault of nature, though I hope not many of them. When brats bring up brats, sometimes, in rare instances, the kids grow up, perhaps embarrassed by what an asshole their parents are.  But I wouldn't count on that as a general trend.   The promotion of aggression in the media has made life a heap of a lot worse than it needs to be, it gives such jerks permission to be even bigger jerks and to be competitive jerks trying to be the bigger asshole.

Blogs, social media, unmoderated comment threads, it was the naive hope I joined in around the turn of the millennium that they would become a new and free medium to replace the corrupt corporate media that had given us the worst president in our history and the corrupted government we have now.  But that was the same idiocy that believed that an encyclopedia that could be edited by "everyone" would produce reliable knowledge.  I had to read the results to believe how bad it could be.

P.S. I singled out ET but it was even earlier that I had someone gull me into going to see "My Life As A Dog" which I hated for the same reason, those kids were brats on their way to being adult assholes of the kind who make movies promoting that kind of behavior.