Saturday, May 7, 2016

Boulevard (from IMAGO) 1963 Alwin Nikolais Dance Theatre

Dancers - Simonetta Bucci, Karen Safrit, Stephanie Scopelitus, Donna Scro, Joelle Van Sickle, Kay Andersen, Clarence Brooks, Alberto Del Saz, Eric Dunlap, Peter Kyle

I love this piece but while watching it I suddenly was reminded of the texture and content of some particularly inbred, long-standing online communities.  Only they don't move that much.

Alwin Nikolais was a genius.

Diana Price - Address Given April 24, 2016

Hate Mail From Duncan's Daycare For The Seriously Senescent And The Eternally Adolescent

I don't care.  You're boring.   And isn't it time for you guys to tell each other what you're having for lunch?

Some Early Style Clavichords And The Music They Were Made To Play

Jerry Korsmit, clavichord

The piece is a Magnificat on the Sixth Mode by Conrad Paumann d. 1473, one of the earliest known composers for specifically instrumental keyboard music.  He was a blind organist and lute player - said to have invented the German lute tablature.  He also composed the first treatise on how to ornament and improvise keyboard music, I wrote a paper about it when I was in college, who knows where it is now.

The instrument is made after the drawing and description in the treatise by Arnaut de Zwolle, only the one in the manuscript is a somewhat larger instrument with fewer strings so more of the keys shared a pair of strings.

Here are a group of pieces, the first is Paumann's setting of Mit Ganzen Willen, then an anonymous piece from the Buxheimerbuch Organ Book and a piece by a slightly younger composer, Hans Kotter.

Ernst Stolz, clavichord

Here is Bernard Brauchli playing a Pavana Italiana by the great Spanish keyboard composer Antionio di Cabezon

They're a far cry from the much larger, unfretted instruments of J.S. and C. P. E. Bach's generations, not to mention the even bigger instruments that continued to be made and played into the 19th century.

Here is a concert given by an excellent player, Bruno Forst  on clavichords and virginal that shows the difference in older and later clavichords.

I'm pretty sure the instruments were amplified in the hall, the microphone is close.   He gives some explanations in Spanish.

Platforms Are For Posing Impotently Presidencies Are For Real

According to John Nichols at The Nation the big reason that Bernie Sanders is hell bent on having a "contested convention" is for that stupidest of all election year exercises, getting the party platform written to his liking.   Political writers in magazines of the left have a really silly fixation on party platforms.  Maybe you do that when your job essentially involves writing that will have little to no effect in the real world.  You wonder why Bernie Sanders, an independent who has not, to my knowledge, ever felt the need for a party platform during any other decade of his long career in public office is suddenly so enamored of one.  Platform fights are all about posing for the camera and the audience, maybe that's something that leftish political writers also like about them, they give them something to write about.   I've seen platform fights before, there is no bigger waste of time, effort, resources and good will in the political process.   I have never known of a politician who allegedly ran on one who felt bound by any of its provisions that they wouldn't have supported anyway or who wouldn't abandon planks in it as was necessary or expedient.   Their primary use is made by the opponents of the candidates who need to run away from the thing when it's an unhelpful burden or ballot box poison.  

A far more productive use of any clout which Sanders has gained would be in private negotiations with Clinton over his support, negotiations which will never be made public during the campaign.  Considering that their voting records in the Senate were not all that different, it should be easy to get something accomplished.  But the price of the loser in a nomination battle to have influence is the one thing that Sanders seems to be loath to put up, his full endorsement and support of the person who won the most votes of Democrats.   His continuing on could sour any potential for him to have major influence on the course of her possible presidency.   If he doesn't support her and she wins she will, rightly, conclude that she didn't need his support.   If she loses, it discredits him and his supporters, which would be far worse than if he'd never run in the first place.

The best thing for the left is if it is seen and felt to be a dependable margin of victory for Democrats and a reliable force in both presidential and mid-term elections.  It is the ability to ensure someone's election that gives you influence, not blackmail that you will defeat them.  Unless you prove that you can provide a politician with success, you're not their potential supporters, you're their opposition and they will have to go elsewhere to find support.  If the left had been the reliable margin ensuring election instead of the lunatic, tantrum prone, third-party deluded numbskulls they have too often been, they would have a far greater role in making laws and policies and putting those into effect.

Sanders isn't giving me much reason to be optimistic about what he and his campaign will do, I am afraid there is going to be a lot more reason to wish he'd never made the run in the first place.  But that is up to him and the extent to which HE will convince his supporters to vote for Hillary Clinton.  It is his campaign which has whipped up the Hillary haters on the left, many of whom, when you question them, don't know anything about her other than Republican lie-machine talking points.  He is the one who encouraged that, he's a long way from his statement that no one cared about her e-mails.  If he'd kept on that track he'd be in a position to have far more influence on something that really matters, what her administration will be.

Dump the stupid posing on the platform, the platform is a stupid exercise in posturing.  It is more likely to be politically counter-productive than important.  Holding office and making laws is what's important. but you've got to win the election, first.

Update:  If I were going to hire a copy editor I wouldn't start the hunt with an idiot of an Atriot.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Tent - Company 1968 - Nikolais Dance Theatre

Dancers: Murray Louis, Phyllis Lamhut, Carolyn Carlson, Michael Ballard, Emery Hermans, Gale Ormiston, Wanda Pruska, Sara Shelton, Robert Solomon, Jeanette Stoner Tech: Jon Garness, George Gracey, James Van Abbema Recorded in Germany for TV 1969

I assume the music and choreography is by Alwin Nikolais, the music composed on his early model Moog synthesizer.

During the same period, Seawright came to Nik and told him of a young man who had invented and constructed a simplified synthesizer and insisted that Nik visit the electronic fair currently being held in New York. Nik did so and met Robert Moog. He was completely taken by the new machine and after making some suggestions to Moog, (which Moog made), Nik bought the inventor’s first machine, through aid of a Guggenheim Fellowship. All of the Nikolais’s scores from 1963 to 1975 found their sources primarily from that synthesizer.

Bang On Stupy, Stupy Bang On

The range of electroacoustic instruments is extremely wide and can only be surveyed here briefly (more details can be found in the author's article 'Electronic instruments in The New Grove Dictionary of Musicial Instruments, 1984).  Keyboard instruments include electric pianos (with strings, struck reeds, plucked reeds or struck rods, amplified by one of the three main types of transducer), harpsichords and a clavichord (the Clavinet). 

Music and Technology in the Twentieth Century

By Hans-Joachim Braun, International Committee for the History of Technology



An acoustic clavichord whose sound is amplified by electronic means.  By amplifying the sound of an instrument whose remarkably soft volume level can be obliterated by the sound of the human voice, the clavichord can be projected (by microphone and speaker) to an audience and can therefore be used in halls larger than a recital room. 

Margaret van Dijk: The Harpsichord and Clavichord: An Encyclopedia
edited by Igor Kipnis

I could go on, but I doubt anyone but a total boob would think that the combined wisdom of Stupy and the Eschatots is more credible than the man who wrote the relevant article in the Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments, one of the the standard references in the English Language,  and Dr. Margaret van Dijk.  Though the "brain trust", of course, has no idea about credibility.

See Also:

and, also:


The clavichord, perhaps even more so than the piano has undergone extensive modification, first in the difference between the fretted forms, in which more than one note is played on some strings, to the unfretted form, in which each set of strings plays one note.  There was the experiment of having the tangents hit the strings at the exact halfway point to increase the volume by having the entire length of the string sounding.  The invention of forms that use electronic amplification is still a clavichord - which the Hohner company that developed the Clavinet said was their original intention.  They didn't expect it to be taken over by popular musicians.

And there have been jazz recordings that use unamplified clavichords, well they used microphones, of course.  Which, of course, will be used in any recording of clavichord music.  I don't think Stupy has more "street cred" or any other kind of cred than Oscar Peterson did:

Update:   Imagine me knowing more about the history of the electric bass than the pops of power pop, himself, the self- coronated   pope of pop.   The electric bass was invented precisely for pop music.  It was certainly not invented as a replacement for the bass viol as its flat bridge prevented it from being bowed.

You know, Stupy, I think your problem is you and the kollege of musical knowledge at Duncan's don't know the difference between electronic and electro-acoustic instruments.  There is a difference.  Anyone who worked in electronic music would know that.  Heck, anyone who thought about it for a few seconds would know that.

Last Update:   I mentioned the intention of the inventor, not what someone else does with something they invent.  If they intended an electric bass to be a replacement for a bass viol they would have given it a curved bridge and fingerboard.

C. P. E Bach Fantasia in f-sharp minor - Different interpretations.

Dora Petry - clavichord

A live performance that makes you want to kill the idiots who had their cell phones on and who coughed loudly, but a fine performance.

Robert Hill, fortepiano

Sofya Melikyan, modern piano

Dmitry Shelkin,  marimba  (Warning, the recording is at a very close, loud volume level, don't use earphones and you might want to turn the volume down.)

All of them are good performances, the one for clavichord is the most idiomatic, I think.

Update:  Oh, and I can almost guarantee you that the clavichord, if it is a new reproduction,  is likely the least expensive of the instruments of that quality and, by far, the smallest of them.  Though it's quite possible if it's an historical instrument it might be more expensive than the marimba.  A fine, concert hall quality Steinway is mighty pricey these days, as is even a fine reproduction fortepiano.

Now We Know How Much Better A Woman Has To Be Than A Man To Get The Job - Infinitely Better

Thinking more about what I wrote late last night,  it is literally true that Hillary Clinton is the most thoroughly vetted candidate for the presidency of the United States in the history of the office.  With many tens of millions of dollars spent BY HER POLITICAL ENEMIES investigating her record in the most minute of detail, looking for any crime they could pin on her, any instance of malfeasance or misfeasance in office, anything they could bring her down with.  AND THREE DECADES INTO THAT EXERCISE THEY HAVE GOT NOTHING BUT THE LIES AND ACCUSATIONS THEY AND THE CORPORATE MEDIA HAVE PUSHED ABOUT HER.  

I would like to see how any of the other candidates in the history of the presidency, how many of the MEN this year would stand up to, literally, decades of the same scrutiny running to the tens of millions of dollars by Republican politicians AND JUDGES and their hired guns such as Ken Starr, the Republican serving media, from the New York Times and Washington Post down to the cabloids and the gutter media such as FOX and Breitbart levels of lying filth.  

That Hillary Clinton is a woman is certainly a factor in why AFTER EXHAUSTIVELY ANSWERING ACCUSATIONS, SOMETIMES TESTIFYING FOR LONG, LONG HOURS BEFORE HOUSE AND SENATE COMMITTEES, PROVIDING HER RECORD FOR THE MOST EXACTING DISSECTION LOOKING FOR ANYTHING TO USE AGAINST HER, she is still having to answer charges of corruption and criminality.   I would like to see the man who has had such a campaign mounted against him,  I don't even think the second most investigated politician, Bill Clinton has had to endure such a test of suitability for office.   I don't think any man in the history of the country ever has had to go through what she has, STILL STANDING AND STILL WILLING TO PUT HERSELF THROUGH IT IN ORDER TO TAKE PUBLIC OFFICE AND SERVE THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES. 

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Hate Mail - NOT from the Eschatots For A Change

The Republicans spent from 1992-past 2000 trying to dig up some crime or other to pin on Hillary Clinton, they spent tens of millions of dollars of tax money on just some of those witch hunts and they found nothing.  And that's not counting what the Republican-fascists spent in in congress in the past several years.


Nguyễn Thanh Tùng - To The Woods - Dan Bau solo

Nguyễn Thanh Tùng is apparently one of the most accomplished player of the one-string monochord, played by a combination of sounding overtones found at nodal points on the string and changing the tension on the string using a flexible rod at one end of it.   Today the instrument is usually amplified with a single pickup but for centuries it was played unamplified, other than the hollow body of the instrument and, sometimes, a resonator on the flexible rod.

Nguyễn Thanh Tùng was born blind and with other disabilities due to his mother having been exposed to agent orange during the war.  Better living through chemistry, science and the wisdom of the West.

Update:  Night of Prayer -  Sister Chan Khong

Sister Chan Khong is one of the six original members of Titch Nhat Hanh's order of socially engaged Buddhists in Vietnam.  This was recorded at their community in France, Plum Village.

What's The Matter With The Media Left?

Thomas Frank, best known for his book, "What's the Matter With Kansas?" has a new book out, "Listen Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People?",  in which he bashes the Democratic Party as it is, a book which is being taken up by the Bernie or Busters in his rump effort to defy mathematics and the voters, and which is being excerpted and featured in many of the organs of the "liberal" press and pixels.

Obviously its publication was planned to take advantage of the political climate of a presidential election year,  it was published March 16,  I don't think there is any other explanation of why it would be brought out now.   Obviously, now,  in May,  what was likely to be the case is set in stone, that Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee facing a would-be fascist strongman,  Donald Trump, the main impact of the book will be to drive people out of voting for her and either wasting their vote on someone who will never be president of the United States or not voting or, in a rather disturbing number of declarations, voting for Trump.  

Thomas Frank is clearly hoping to benefit from this scenario or he would have published his book after the election, when it would probably have gotten far less buzz and sold fewer copies.   I think that in this election season his book of would-be idealism is made into an act of cynical and irresponsible exploitation of the time and a sacrifice of the realistically achievable better alternative in favor of what will not be if Democrats don't win this election.   

I have come to see that a lot of the institutions of the left are like that, the magazines, the webazines, the publishers, the few and far between figures in the electronic media, to one extent or another a lot of them are more interested in their own careers and media presence than they are in the very real reality that American politics are in 2016.  

By the time the votes for the nomination have produced the real nominees who will go on to have a real chance at becoming President of the United States next January, the situation is set, the real issues determining who will be president are the only ones that matter.   

The corruption in our politics is the creation of the Supreme Court in its "free speech" and money=speech rulings - those rulings cemented the role of millionaire and billionaire money into the determining factor in who is elected to office. They were aided in that by such allegedly liberal institutions as the ACLU and the free-speech absolutists - many of whom work in the corporate media.   Those rulings are the real reason that Democrats CAN'T WIN ELECTIONS UNDER A MORE IDEALISTIC SET OF RULES, THOSE RULES ARE WHAT THE SUPREME COURT ABOLISHED AFTER DEMOCRATS PASSED THEM INTO LAW.   To complain that Democratic politicians are forced to raise an effective amount of money by the mixture of pudding-headed sloganeering by "liberals" of the past and the REPUBLICANS on the Supreme Court, is to blame the only people who have any chance of fixing that.   What it will take are Supreme Court justices who will overturn those rulings AND THAT DEPENDS ON A DEMOCRAT APPOINTING THEM TO THE COURT.   And, the rules being in place, that depends on someone who is willing to game the system for that kind of change but you have to have the ability to fight by the rules as set, as they are.  

Frankly, the people on the left who pretend that isn't the case are even stupider than Douglas Feith, the man who General Tommy Franks famously deemed, "the dumbest fucking guy on the planet."  It is one of the lessons of the past sixteen years, confirmed in this one that a lot of the people on the alleged left are stupid enough to risk putting people like that in office again, not even a decade after they were voted out.   I certainly put Thomas Frank in that category as well as those who are providing him with his book tour bookings and PR.  

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

C.P.E. Bach, Sonata in D minor, Wq 62/4

Ryan Layne Whitney


There is no doubt that C.P. E. Bach, the most famous of J. S. Bach's sons favored the clavichord for those of his works on which didn't require a louder instrument.  He said so, explicitly.

An idiot has mocked my posting of music on clavichoard as some kind of elitist practice.  Which is pretty funny in that clavichords are probably the least expensive of keyboard instruments, the keyboard instrument most likely to have been found in many of the more humble homes when a more complex harpsichord would have been too expensive and likely too large.  For instruments of fine quality they are, even today, generally far less expensive than a fine piano or harpsichord.

Update:  The idiot has misspoken.   My guess would be that the clavichord playing Stevie Wonder has more "street cred" in his note bending little finger than Stupy Stales would have if he had any in his entire body.   Not to mention any number of other musicians who have played it.  As I remember the smart mop head recorded at least one piece on it.   Maybe he doesn't know that.

Update:  C.P.E. Bach, Sonata in C, W. 62/10,


Update:  A clavinet is to a clavichord as a piano is to a forte-piano.  The main difference is the tangent that makes the string sound is not metal and the use of electronic amplification of volume.  It was invented to be a modern clavichord.  It's not an electronic instrument, it's an amplified instrument. It's like an electric guitar.

You know, you can look things like that up.

Update 2:  So, Stupy Stales doesn't know how a Hammond B3 works either.  Amazing he was able to hoodwink his way into a career on the outskirts of one of the minor suburbs of musical journalism for so many years.

You know, there's this thing called a "search engine" that is just amazing for looking up stuff online.  I know you're too lazy to look stuff up in the paper version of Grove's or even the Harvard Dictionary of Music.

Update 3:   Let's see, a clavichord has keys which someone depresses which push  tangents into  strings to make it sound, a clavinet (the original instrument, not the later thing that goes by the same name)  has keys  which someone depresses to push a tangent into  strings to make it sound.  A clavinet is a clavichord with pickups to amplify the sound.  That was what it was originally invented as being by Hohner.   While Wikipedia is so often corrupted I don't generally like to quote it, this is the first sentence in its listing for Clavinet,  The Clavinet is an electrically amplified clavichord that was manufactured by the Hohner company of Trossingen, West Germany from 1964 to the early 1980s.  This is one of the instances in which what it says is entirely accurate.

A pipe organ has pipes which, when you push keys make air pass through the pipes to make it sound, a Hammond B3, when you push the key, has NO PIPES THROUGH WHICH NO AIR IS PASSED THROUGH TO MAKE IT SOUND but the quite distinctively different sound is produced in an entirely different way with an entirely different character.

I would love to see what your score on the Miller Analogies would have been.

Update 4:  You know, having experienced the puerile tactics of Stupy Stales I've come to identify a method of how the little mind tries to wriggle out of things, he pretends, contrary to his entire line of argument, that when he has to face that he's lost he pretends that the very refutation of his line of bilge was his, not mine.   It's something you might be familiar with from the kind of arguments people had in 7th grade.  People of average intelligence, maybe lingering into the 10th grade.

"Leftists" For Trump

As if to prove my point that, now, Bernie Sanders is essentially campaigning for Donald Trump, I just heard a bit of what he said last night.   He is, in effect, going to continue to attack the only candidate who will stand between the country, the world and a President Donald Trump and his appointees.  At this point he isn't pushing any agenda to the left, he's running the risk of handing the agenda to the Republicans.   That was the biggest fear a lot of us had about the potential of his candidacy from the start of it, he is repeating an all too familiar history of what the left has become in American politics*.

And while he might, at times, pull back a bit on the Hillary hatin' a lot of his fans use his continued campaign to repeat old lines of Hillary hatin' much of it written by the worst of Republican-fascist propaganda mills.   I'm beginning to think that the talk of there being a cross-over between the Bernie Sanders voters and those who will vote for Donald Trump in the fall is becaue there is a percentage of his supporters who only know about Hillary Clinton what they absorbed from the Republican-fascist hate campaign against her.

This has certainly been the year that I've had to face in a very hard way that the media of the left has learned absolutely nothing from the past sixteen years.   If they didn't learn from the disaster of 2000 they are not going to learn from anything.  I looked at the front pages of The Nation, Mother Jones, The Progressive, In These Times, Alternet, Salon and a few other web sites and see they are, as well, still promoting anti-Hillary hit pieces, now, today, when it is clear that it is either going to be her or it's going to be Donald Trump who takes office next January.

I think one of the reasons that the leftist media in the United States doesn't do better is far removed from it talking against the corporate-oligarchic interests, those with the money to control the media.  I think one of the reasons the leftist media in the United States doesn't do better is because their frequent immaturity and counter-productive publications discredit themselves among rational people who are more interested in reality than theory.   The academic left which writes a good part of leftist media is too lazy to do something that will really change things, it's all academic to them.  And the media is too busy trying to attract the attention of the lazy, immature element in the left with click bait.  And there are few topics this year that bait them like Hillary hate.  Then there are the idiots who dream of revolution magically coming from fascism as they write from their writing desks and their faculty offices and work stations,  the kind who Samantha Bee so realistically noted would shit their pants if they were dropped down in a real revolution.  The romance about revolution is the most lunatic of all loony and widespread ideas of the play-left.  It is ubiquitous in leftist media.

The so-called leftist media has also lost credibility this year.   And I don't think they deserve to regain any of it, at this point.  We need a responsible leftist media, one that won't be full of the typical names and bylines.

*  Not just this year in the United States and not just here.  One of the greatest boons for the right, even the overtly fascist right, here and elsewhere, is the willingness for egotistical and irrationally ambitious and, or, vindictive leftists to cut the legs out from under those closest to  themselves who have a chance to win elections.   I think it's far more likely to happen on the left than on the right for any number of reasons,  all I can prove is that it happens far more often than makes maintaining such a "left" reasonable.  We need to dump those who do that.

At This Point Everything That Bernie Sanders Does Against Hillary Clinton Is, Effectively, Campaigning For Donald Trump

It is one of the conceits of many on the left that their ideological enemies refuse to accept the products of science and math.  I've gone into that conceit more than a few times here.

Reading around the net, there are a few of the Bernie or Busters, many of whom mistake themselves as the definition of the left, whining about a bit of analysis of the results in Indiana last night.  Especially that of Harry Enten at FiveThirtyEight.   The part that set them pouting was this.

The Democratic race remains fundamentally unchanged after tonight’s win by Sanders. Yes, his victory was somewhat surprising, given that all of the polls had Clinton winning and by an average of 7 percentage points. And yes, Sanders has promised to fight on in the primary until perhaps the convention. The problem for the Sanders campaign remains delegate math and demographics.

Right now, Sanders looks like he’ll earn about five to 10 more delegates than Clinton in Indiana. That means Clinton will have an elected delegate lead by the end of the evening of around 280 to 285 delegates. In order to catch Clinton in the elected delegate count, Sanders would need to win over 65 percent of the remaining elected delegates. That’s actually higher than it was before Indiana voted.

To repeat a point I've made before, I don't buy FiveThrityEight's predictive function based on polls but I don't think there is any source which does a better job of analyzing the numerical facts that are established.

Apparently some of Saunders supporters don't understand that under the rules, Democrats don't do winner-takes-all as the Republicans do and, at this point, Sanders has to not only win but has to win by an increasingly high percentage and gain an increasing percentage of the remaining delegates to just catch up with Hillary Clinton's lead.   He failed to do that in Indiana.  That's not surprising, what he needs to do would be something he's only managed to do in a few caucuses and he's run out of those.  The percentage of the remaining delegates he must win grows, making that a more daunting problem for him than it had been.

I noted the other day that the Sanders campaign seems to want to change the rules to a "winner-takes-all" system for super delegates but it now seems that some of his supporters want to change that rule for the pledged delegates too.

The problem isn't that the math is crooked, it's that it's too complex for a lot of people on that left.  I know that isn't everyone who has and still supports what Bernie Sanders is doing, I've read some of them facing the fact that he is not going to be the nominee of the Democratic Party.

The problem is that from now on everything he does against Hillary Clinton is that he is attacking the presumptive Democratic nominee, which is, in effect, campaigning for Donald Trump.   Donald Trump is the only alternative to Hillary Clinton, today.  One or the other will be sworn in as president in January and will be president for four or, more likely, eight years.  As Reagan and Bush II have shown, a Republican will be supported by the media no matter how criminal, no matter how incompetent, no matter how dangerous they are.   We really don't need someone who is asking for the Democratic nomination helping them.

Stéphane Galland & Nelson Veras duet: Saidas E Bandeiras (Milton Nascimento)

Couldn't sleep, worried about what Trump will do to the world.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Why Schools Have Failed or Happy Teacher's Day

It is Teachers Day in the United States, which many in the profession must find to be rather bitterly ironic.  That's a day when it is pretended that the country respects teachers even as they are undercut, under paid, education undermined and the task of educating is made next to impossible.   The idiotic Jeffersonian localism that governs schools in the United States results in an ineffective network of local systems, weak and dependent on the income level of the area or neighborhood schools serve, the local culture of support for schools and the extent to which they and their budgets can be turned into a political football by politicians and media in order to put those who would crush the public schools into nonexistence into office.  And I could talk about the huge role that football and other school sports play in the diminution of education.

And then there is the political motive in attacking the teachers' unions which sprang up due to the disrespect, lack of support, low pay and bad working conditions.   That is in the states where teachers' unions are not banned by law. 

But that's not the worst of it.  In the United States the stupid, late 18th century model of local school districts has lost out to the national system of entertainment media, movies, television and the internet.  The measly few minutes several days in the week that a teacher has to try to teach their subject to students already trained in how to watch TV by the time they start is swamped by all of that other entertainment media, geared to attract eyes and, so, geared to appeal to the most facilely won, least challenging, lowest and basest of the weaknesses in our collective character.  And that was something also allowed under the Jeffersonian slogan of "freedom of the press".  I have got to say, the more I think hard about why we are in the mess we are, the more I think Madison, Jefferson and the other founders were remarkably short sighted in the system they produced, not to mention we in the quite different 20th century who still like to play late 18th century dress up and doll houses with the Constitution when it couldn't be clearer than that the beliefs and expectations of that generation just don't work today.   Sorry, but it's unavoidable that that system is why sit-coms and teen pleasing media wins over public education.   There is a reason that the enemies of public education are the biggest fans of our frequently fat-headed founders.  If they weren't fat-headed when they lived, their ideas imposed on us like an enlightenment era corset are today.

One of the worst things that has been done is to fall for the confusion that the separation of church and state mandates that the schools have no role in educating children in the moral standards that are the actual bedrock of a democratic or, in fact, any decent society.   The idea that that can be safely "left to the parents" means that a dangerously large number of children will grow up to be functional sociopaths if not psychopaths, the roles they are instructed in by the media.  Since we make no demands in that area in the media - "freedom of the press" don't ya know - our country devolves ever more into the kind of place where Donald Trump,not by any accident as seen on TV,  could quickly be elected as the fascist strong-man of the United States.  He will certainly be no friend of public education, he never set foot in one as a student for even one day.  Something he has in common with way too many of our politicians.   It did nothing to make him respect education or civic responsibility. 

So the teachers in our public schools have my respect, they have my sympathy for trying to do a next to impossible job, producing a cohort of children who end up being educated to live in a democratic society in which they will cast informed votes that will produce a better society than that imagined by the worst of Hollywood.  And they do it while under attack and while under paid and unsupported and disrespected.

Hillary Clinton, this would be a great day to announce that your Secretary of Education will be someone who is a product of public schools, public universities and who has a stake in the future of public education through their children or grand children.   There are certainly many people of that description who could do the job.  Though I doubt you'll find them in the higher eschelons of the DC-academic education establishment.  I think the history of that department proves that no one less than a stake holder in public education could ever work there.  No Democrat should ever appoint a Secretary of Education who is a product of the prep-Ivy equivalent system, ever again.   They don't get it.

Though even that would still leave public education to die at the hands of the media that has become the de facto school and church of the majority of people in the United States.

I think I'll go read a Jonathan Kozol book to celebrate.  It won't be a pleasant celebration but it will be an appropriate one. 

Monday, May 2, 2016

Vladimir Ussachevsky: Suite from "No exit" (1962)

People seemed to like the avant-garde pieces I posted so here's one that I found ... well, I can't exactly say moving.  Compelling, maybe.   It's electronic music made for a film production of Sartre's dead depressing and oppressive play No Exit.

Here's a production in English from 1964, Harold Pinter appears in it as an actor, which is pretty interesting, itself.  I can't say I like the play which, like everything I ever read of Sartre seems to be geared to depress and oppress and which goes nowhere.  Existentialism is one of the list of ways of thinking about life in the universe, "the human conditions" in Walter Breuggemann's book  The Bible Makes Sense, which I'm still engaged in studying.  Existentialism is a philosophy for depressive adolescents and young adults when you have time to waste on that kind of thing.  That is if you don't fall in a hole and decide to end it all.  In the end, I like the music more than the play though it is kind of scary in a claustrophobic way.

Here is a French movie from 1954 with music that is even more depressing.

Update:  Stupy Stales thinks that No Exit is a comedy.  I am guessing it's another case of him reading the Cliff Notes instead of the play.   It's one of the bleaker visions by one of the bleakest authors of the last century.  I'll bet he thinks La Nausée is a laugh riot too.  Or at least he'll fake it, like he does pretty much everything that didn't happen right under his nose in NYC in the 1960s and 70s.   And I wouldn't take his word for any of that, either.

Update 2:   I could be standing at the bottom of the Quechee Gorge and Stupy wouldn't be able to produce anything that could go over my head from the bridge across it.

Stupid Hate Mail From A Stupid E-tot

If Duncan Black didn't host a person who lies about what I say on practically a daily basis, I would like nothing more than to ignore his blog, his commentators and him.  If he didn't do that the existence of all three would be a matter of complete indifference to me.   As it is, all three give me material and if they do that voluntarily I'm going to use it.  

Freki-Jr is as big a liar as Simels but she isn't as OCD about what I write here.  And, for the record, When I began the blog Crush Seth MacFarlane's Nuts it had nothing to do with Steve Simels, it was a response to MacFarlane's assholish behavior when he hosted the Oscars.  It was when I realized that in the response of his fan boys in the days after that We Saw His Assholes.   I merely chose to write about Simples there because I had the idea that I'd rather not junk up this blog with it.  The other one was put up to do the same when I started having problems with CSMNs.  

Update:  Simels is incredulous that I would begin a blog with a title that mocks Seth MacFarlane in the days after his assholish, sexist behavior at the Oscars was the topic of conversation and that that blog with MacFarlane's name on it could be devoted to anyone but Steve Simels.   As someone who has had years to observe Simels, one thing is clear, he's at a loss to understand anything that isn't all about him. 

Update 2:  Simels proved my last point by thinking that the blog in response to Seth MacFarlane's being a sexist prick was about Simels.   If the guy's ego got even a little bigger there would be a black hole open up somewhere in the lesser NYC area.  

Update 3:  Eschatonian Special Post 

These are words.  For them to work you have to read them all. That may be hard work for you but that is too bad.  They will not work unless you do. 

Will The Bernie Sanders Campaign Be The Death Of The Left?

As I do now, from time to time, I look in at Salon webazine to see what the play-left is up to.  The answer is unsurprising, doing what the play left always does and has done pretty much since Eugene McCarthy brought stunt candidacies into its present form and Ralph Nader proved that they are a grotesquely irresponsible act of ego.  They're enabling Republicans.

Up today is an invitation to tantrum by Sophia A. McClennen, Bernie Sanders is not a sore loser: Our democracy is screwed unless we fix the unfair rules  which is extending the Bernie or Busters lines about alleged corruption sinking his campaign,  lines which I'm sorry to say Bernie Sanders is encouraging with his complaints that super-delegates are not pledged delegates, and, apparently, not only that but wanting them apportioned on a winner-take-all basis instead of the proportional basis that pledged delegates are awarded in the Democratic Party.   The closed primary issue as opposed to open primaries is being used which is odd because- Bernie Sanders won more than a few closed primary and caucus states, he and his supporters seem to forget that, but, then, this isn't about intellectual honesty it's about twisting slogans in any way needed to make it come out the way you want.

I am convinced that, contrary to the title of her piece that Bernie Sanders is proving he is not only a sore loser but has the potential to act as a spoiler even as he proclaims that he would never risk putting Donald Trump or Ted Cruz in office.   If he doesn't realize that is what he has been doing even as recently as this weekend, he is a lot less politically savvy than I'd always figured he was.  His continued twisting and turning and churning over the rules of the process as a means of trying to coerce super delegates to flip for him even as it's obvious he can't do that has no other explanation than that he is willing to do exactly that.

If he hasn't noticed, whenever he or Jeff Weaver or Tad Devine, Susan Sarandon, Michael Moore or his other surrogates do that, it sets off the Bernie or Busters who will reinforce and extend whatever they say into, frankly, stuff that sounds like the insane anti-Clinton stuff from the 1990s.  I can't believe that this would continue if the man at the top of his campaign doesn't want that to.  A responsible presidential candidate asking for the Democratic nomination wouldn't be doing what Bernie Sanders is continuing to do.

If Sanders blows this election for the Democrats he will have confirmed the worst case for why the left can't be trusted.   AND I DON'T MEAN THAT HE WILL HAVE DONE THAT FOR THE DNC OR OTHER ESTABLISHMENT DEMOCRATS.  If he blows this election for Democrats he will have confirmed that even his left can't be trusted by those of us whose rights and lives depend on the defeat of the Republican-facist, corporate machine.  He and his campaign will have shown us that we can't trust the left and need a real left that cares about the reality we live in as opposed to the fantasies of the play left.

I have been a long time fan of Bernie Sanders because I thought he was not a member of the play left, His talk has certainly not been the typical bull shit that play-leftism, much of it issuing from mildly discontented academics and those - especially those in the social sciences - whose job doesn't depend on having a connection with real reality.  Such a "left" is more of a life-style statement than it is anything real.

But talk is cheap as compared to offices won, laws changed and policies enacted.  Reality is real, posturing is easy.

I thought Bernie Sanders understood that winning an election meant something and making sure someone like Trump doesn't win means at least as much.  I'm not convinced of that anymore.  He's going to have to make some big changes if he's going to convince me that he's what he's sold himself as being.  Firing Weaver might be a good way to start.  I can imagine all too well what kind of a Chief of Staff he'd make.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

I'm Not Going To Give In To That Black Mail

To paraphrase Lewis Black,  Steve Simels has antisemitism Tourette Syndrome.

I said why I said that the state of Israel has no rights, I said it over and over again, I said that no state has rights, including the one I live in, including the Nazi state, including such other self-declared "states" as ISIS(L) and a number of others.  I said why that is the case, over and over again.  I also said why I would not make an exception for the United States or Israel because to declare that states have rights has been one of the most dangerous venues through which those who govern and mistake themselves as being the embodiment of that state use an assertion of such "rights" to murder and oppress people in huge numbers.  I would certainly include the United States in the list of countries in which that has been done, is done and will, no doubt, be done.  I will not pretend that Israel is not also a place where that has happened and happens now.   I'm under no obligation, personal or moral to carve out the unique exception in that for Israel,   I think the large majority of those who acquiesce in allowing that exception are caving in to a form of blackmail which Simels is attempting to practice on me. 

I would certainly not say that Israel is the worst of the offenders but it is far from the least offending state.  I have no illusions about its special status as a moral force, it's a country which, after decades of constantly being in a state of war is, unsurprisingly, devolving into a military state.  Whenever a country is as beleaguered as Israel has been, that is almost a certain result.  It's no surprise that the same is true of Palestine, the Palestinian people have certainly been beleaguered for as long and not only by Israel but also its patron, the United States.   

If an American tried to force me into granting an exceptional moral status to the United States, using similar forms of thuggish coercion, I'd tell them to go soak their head, or something like that.  I'm certainly not going to say anything less to an American who tries to pull that same black mail on me over Israel, a country which certainly has no more of a claim to my allegiance than the United States does.   No country in the Middle East, Europea, Africa,.... has the right to make those kinds of demands.  They're certainly not going to get me to give in to such an attempt.

In his essay, Vietnam The Logic of Withdrawal, the American historian Howard Zinn devoted a chapter going into extensive detail about the fact that no nation can be trusted, every government practices immorality. The United States becoming enmeshed in the civil war in Vietnam was a result of the same kinds of moral postures, made far more of phony, sentimental, even cloying assertions of moral rectitude sold with the most vulgar of PR tactics.  The appeal to the experience of the fight against fascism and Nazism was put to some of its most horrible use in the campaign to sell that war to the American people.   It did so at the very same time it was engaged in one of the most sustained series of moral and legal atrocities in 20th century American history.  And considering that history, that's saying a lot. The same tactics are used to silence the critics of the Israeli government and military and to coerce the silence of most people on that topic through some of the most thuggish intimidation there is.  I will point out that there is probably more robust discussion of what the Israeli government does wrong in Israel than is allowable in the United States, the country which provides so much of what the Israeli government uses to commit what would be called a crime if any other country did it.  

To assert that states have rights is extremely dangerous.  To assert that a country has rights very quickly turns committing crimes and even the most appalling immorality into a pose of moral rectitude.  

I am not morally obligated or required to like the state of Israel or the Israeli government, those have no rightful claim on my love or devotion.  The people who live there do, the people in the occupied territories, in Palestine, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, etc.  all of them can claim a moral right to my respecting their rights, not the governments that rule them, not the state.   I don't especially like any of the governments in the Mid-East, Israel included.  But my liking any of them or even disliking any of them less than others is of exactly no importance in preventing people getting killed and having their rights violated in appalling ways.  The only people who have benefitted from the status quo are the lowest, dirtiest of politicians, war profiteers and terrorists. Frankly, I don't like any government that tries to maintain that status quo because of that, including the government of the United States. I'm fed up with it, the least I can do is stop lying about it because some asshole like Simels is going to accuse me of antisemitism over it.

Hate Update:  Lewis Black knows you?  He has my condolences. 

Rest In Peace Daniel Berrigan 1921-2016