Saturday, July 2, 2016

Saturday Night Audio Drama - Brian Friel - Translations

This is a real masterpiece by one of the most significant English language playwrights of the last fifty years. 

Carl Ruggles - Sun Treader

Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra
Michael Tilson Thomas - Conductor

Sun Treader is, indisputably, Carl Ruggles' greatest piece, one of the greatest pieces of music composed in the first half of the 20th century, one of the most intense pieces of music written in a century of intense music.  It stands up beside any other work I know of.  Whatever reservations his biography might give you about the man, his small body of music is as good as that written by anyone.

Michael Tilson Thomas may be his foremost champion, having conducted all of the authorized orchestral works and recorded them.  One account I read said that a pre-release tape of his first recording of Sun Treader with the Boston Symphony was the only time Ruggles, then very old, very deaf and, reputedly, somewhat mad heard his masterwork when Thomas put some headphones on him at his nursing home in Vermont.

I would encourage you to buy the recording of this piece, I believe both of the Boston Symphony (the great Vic Firth playing the all important tympani part) and Buffalo Symphony recordings have been issued on CD because you really don't get nearly the full impact of the music from an mp4 with computer speakers.  Though you can get a good idea of what you are missing.

You can consider this my 4th of July Weekend Contribution

P.S. There is another recording of it that was issued but the liberties taken by another conductor are so drastic that I can't recommend that one.  It wasn't Bernstein but another notorious distorter who conducted it.

Update:  Yeah, Marilyn J. Ziffrin, who knew him very well and who is his biographer once said to a class I took with her that he was a foul-mouthed bastard who eventually ended up bad mouthing pretty much everyone but she loved him.   For all of the accusations of antisemitism it is remarkable how among musicians such as Lukas Foss, Michael Tilson Thomas, Donald Berman, Marilyn Ziffrin .... most of those who have championed his music seem to be Jewish.   Um, I'll go with them and their opinion instead of your ignorance.

His music may well have been the best thing about him.  You, on the other hand, if there were to be any such a thing, your silence would have to be the best thing about you.

Update 2:  I don't care what you come up with Stupie.   You haven't come up with anything no matter how much you pretend you have.  What you don't know about music is just about everything.

Update 3:  Considering, Stupy, that within the past six months you defended the likely child rapist, Gore Vidal, on the basis that he was allegedly a great author, you are blowing smoke.  You want me to come up with a list of racists you adore?   How about we start with Mick?

Why don't you give Mr. Thomas a piece of your mind on the topic.  The postage on it shouldn't be very expensive, even if you send him all of it by Priority Mail.

Update 4:  As I said, Michael Tilson Thomas is probably the greatest proponent and performer of Carl Ruggels' music.  He has recorded all of his authorized music, a number of other pieces which were not authorized having been performed by the magnificent, no, not strong enough, truly great pianist Donald Berman his albums of Ives and Ruggels are some of the finest recordings of recent decades.   I have merely played the 4 Evocations in private, though no where near as well as Berman or Thomas (he conducted and recorded the hardly ever heard orchestrated versions as well).  Go give them a piece of the Simels mind I'd imagine they might have a magnifying glass strong enough to see it. . You can throw in accusations of betrayal.  You do know that M. T. T. is the grandson of the legendary Boris and Bessie Thomashefsky,   I ask doubting that you do.

I haven't kept in touch with Marilyn Ziffrin the past 20 years or so but I knew her well enough that she would tell you what to do and where to go if you lectured her on the topic.  She didn't put up with nonsense.   I won't tell you what another of her students said about her after she dressed down a third student who got mouthy with her but it was accurate, surgical, even.  She was a great teacher a fine composer and a very good biographer.

Nancy Isenberg Interviewed On Her Book "White Trash: The 400 Year Untold History of Class In America"

Haven't read her book, yet, but if the interview is anything to go by it sounds like an important study of where some of the worst of our present day politics and social class snobbery come from.   I especially like what Isenberg says about how the hatred of poor people is an inheritance of the British class system and that the mythology of America is largely false.   Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, two of the icons of democratic myth weren't that much of an advance on the worst of British class snobbery.   Also important is how the attitude of the elite is related to their considerations of the utility of other people for their purposes.   That is something which even so much of the left is saturated with, there is no more oppressively utilitarian view of poor people than that of the Marxists and the stinking, British Fabians.

You can contrast the attitudes of the enlightenment era "liberal" founders concerning poor people with that of the Mosaic Law and see that the allegedly harsh and unforgiving Old Testament was, in just about every way, not just miles but light-years ahead of them.  

Friday, July 1, 2016

Saturday Audio Drama A Day Early - Stevie by Hugh Whitmore

Glenda Jackson - Stevie Smith 
Mona Washburn - The Lion Aunt

I figured after mentioning it in a post the other day you deserved to hear what I was talking about.  The same actors were in the movie they made of it.   I'd listen to Glenda Jackson in anything.  Can't say it has made me eager to go over her poetry again but it has made me curious about her novels.  

Won't be around tomorrow, though if I'm back in time I might post a bonus play.  
Simps, if your head were any fatter it wouldn't fit in the Holland Tunnel.  It wouldn't fit in the Big Dig.   It wouldn't even be able to fit into your ego. Though it might still manage to squeeze through your mendacity and ignorance. 

Big Deal

Naw, I didn't see that. It's a safe bet that when JR-Freki claims to have read something that she's lying, it's only slightly more safe a bet than to figure that when she says anything that she's lying, it's what she does.  

I said that I wouldn't take the Wall Street Journal seriously on topics of religion until it became their editorial policy that what we do to the least among us we do to God.  And she says that what I said sounds like Trump with a vocabulary.   Since Simps seems to have left that out of his cherry picked and edited passage, that's probably the most she read of what I said.  

In the end it's all about Brit-style class enforcement to her.  Britatheism is one of the most superficial of all pseudo-intellectual traditions.   She's a bourgeois Lady Bracknell who just spouts a slightly different line of  ignorant and bigoted categorical statements.   

Such stuff is what turned Eschaton from what it was a decade ago into the tight little cult of true believing dolts it started to become about that time.   It's not an uncommon phenomenon of comment driven online media, it is probably unsurprising that that is what a lot of that turns into.  Especially when the owner makes money by serving the audience he attracts.  Atrios is the one who doesn't like it when people upset the in-crowd opinion of those who click onto his site with something they don't like.   In the end he tries to balance who is going to decrease his revenue more against who is going to be next to leave.   It's a Black hole. 

Update:  Oh, who cares, it's Stupy, nothing he says is significant.  He's just sore that I kicked his ass last week.  Again.  Nothing any of the Eschatots say is significant.  There are more people listening to the crappy AM station out of the tiny town next to mine that no one listens to right now than read what Stupy says in a given week.   

Answer To Two Hate-Notes In One

The alleged morality of the atheist, alleged, left is rather hilarious.   From reading around the lefty blogs and mags and webloids I think it's fairly clear that among the most serious of all sins for them is one I'm constantly accused of, of dissing or denying "science".   And, in my direct experience, one of the most serious of all sins is accusing the sacred idol of atheism, Charles Darwin of having said what he undeniably and unambiguously said as scientific fact - though even ol'  Chuck observed the niceties of using the language of theory even as he obviously intended his reader to take what he said as fact.   And it was taken as fact to horrifically violent and oppressive results in history.

The fact is that nothing enrages the moral sensibilities of atheists so much as pointing out what Darwin said what he said, unambiguously, and that the confirmation of what he said is knowable because his most sophisticated followers among his direct scientific colleagues and the next two generations of scientists knew he said the very things that today's post-WWII, revisionist Darwin cult are enraged to have pointed out about him.

The "science" based moral propriety of these jokers is far more a matter of popular-cultural in-crowd conformity than a matter of intellectual integrity.  It has absolutely nothing to do with science or the status of well-founded science.  When desired, even science which has achieved near absolute fact can be denied when it violates their social, cultural habit-based thinking.  It's also been my experience that there is absolutely nothing that can mess with their sense of moral uprightness like mentioning that sexual promiscuity is scientifically established to be among the common practices mot dangerous to your health and life.  The Center for Disease Control invariably lists sexual promiscuity and having sex with anonymous strangers as one of the highest risk factors in just about every one of their advisories on sexually transmitted diseases.   That is something I think about this time every year as it was in early summer that the first of my friends who died of AIDS died.  That is something that is, apparently, not to be considered to be a significant matter when considering the morality of popular media that promotes both promiscuity and casual sex among people who don't know each other.  And, heaven help even the gay man who saw dozens of his friends die of its consequences who mentions that, among sexual practices, anal sex is about the riskiest sexual practice there is for spreading HIV and other sexually transmitted pathogens.

Yesterday I was asked to address a question about whether science supported the idea that God created the universe, well, that question isn't something science can deal with, it isn't equipped to more than provide intimations useful to support your belief in The Creator or not, as you prefer.  But there is no question that science supports the practice of strictly faithful sexual monogamy as a means of avoiding dying of sexually transmitted diseases and that practicing anal sex is a really bad idea unless you want to die or get sick or suffer other problems associated with it.  There is nothing anti-gay about that, there is nothing oppressive of liberty in that, there is everything about it that is an affirmation of the most basic of all rights, of the worthiness of all people to respect and, yes, loving consideration.  In its opposite, the encouragement of sexual promiscuity, the encouragement to practice risky sex is the opposite, the treatment of other people objects for use, the violation of their rights, a denial of respect and loving consideration of their status as an equal.  

Real LGBT rights aren't going to be found in any sustainable way in the current concepts of sexual propriety, not those in traditional hatred of sexual minorities but no more so in the currently held alternative to that in hook-up promiscuity and the declaration that monogamy is "unnatural"... getting back to the current habit to attribute morality to some tale of natural selective forces and evolutionary psychological bull shit.  One of the more controversial things I wrote on that:

Certainly, even among those who disdain monogamy  as "unnatural" they would prefer it if their husband or wife were not having sex with other people, exposing themselves and their spouse to the possible infections that increase with the number of sexual partners.  That is a desirable goal in a marriage, to not give someone a fatal sexually transmitted disease.  Talk about your right to minimal expectations of an institution.  Not to mention the possibilities of being rejected in preference to another person and abandoned.

What use would there have been to the struggle to achieve marriage equality if what was gained were bad marriages that carried those as a foregone conclusion?  I don't think it would have been worth anyone's interest, never mind struggle.  I don't know why straight people would want those kinds of marriages.   Marriage equality, in order for it to be more than an empty slogan has to be for the optimal view of marriage, of a committed, faithful, monogamous sexual relationship as well as the full range of mutual support in other ways.  It is an idea that, apparently, those who hate Lesbians and gay men can't stand the idea of us having.  But neither can many of those who pretend to believe in marriage equality as a matter of counter-cultural in-crowd fashion.  They don't want it themselves so they insist that it is "unnatural".  

When You Say "It Exists" What Do You Really Mean?

One of the thing that should have come from the past couple of decades in popular discussion of atheism vs. religious belief but which has not come about is the exposure of the total inadequacy of the popular understanding of some of our most often used terms.  High among those are "science" "proof", "evidence" and, perhaps most of all "existence".   I would throw into that grouping of casually thrown around term fraught with unrealized problems, "probability".  I would doubt that one in a hundred of the people who use those terms, or, more often, misuse them, in arguments don't begin to appreciate that none of them are simple concepts, none of the are exactly fixed and all of them, when misused, are liable to produce nonsense dressed up in the liturgical language of science which, in itself, is able to produce an assumption of rigor and precision where there is none.  And, as listening to and reading them has shown, there is no reason to expect any given scientist to have any more of an appreciation for the problems of using such terms than any average high school drop out. Some of them are not only incredibly uncomprehending in their ignorance, they are entirely indifferent to the issues involved.  It's my experience that they can be downright hostile to someone raising them in a discussion.

If you want to look at how badly the casual use of such terms can go, look at what happens when a clever but ignorant person writing some paper or book in the humanities tries to frame their very likely crap theory in that same language.   I could have used the prime example of that, psychology, which should never, in the first place, have gotten into the category of science because it could not and still does not have the ability to practice scientific methods on its subject matter.  None of the "social sciences" can, nothing dealing with the internal mind does.

Here is something I posted three years ago dealing with just one of those misused words.

When You Say "It Exists" What Do You Really Mean?

Or, more often these days, when someone says something "doesn't exist"?

I think it was a hot afternoon in the fourth grade, in a room silent except for the rubbing of graphite on paper, that, as I wrote the word, I suddenly realized I couldn't say what the word "when" means.   It stopped me short as I started trying to think of how I would explain what the word means.  As I came up with several attempts, only to realize they weren't adequate,  I started laughing uncontrollably.   I never explained why.  Luckily, our teacher had a rather sharp sense of humor, herself, so I didn't get into trouble.  Maybe she thought it was the heat.

We throw around so many words we couldn't possibly define, many of those as common place and high up in the corpus of words by frequency of use.  I'd guess a lot of those would be as hard to define, many, such as the articles, are especially abstract in denotation though seldom misused.  Except in writing.  It's my experience that, looking at something a week after your final edit that it will be the prepositions and conjunctives that you neglected to change.    Here is part of what Eddington wrote about one of those words in his lecture, "The Concept of Existence"  from The Philosophy of Physical Science

I find a difficulty in understanding books on philosophy because they talk a great deal about "existence",  and I do not know what they mean.  Existence seems to be a rather important property, because I gather that one of the main sources of division between different schools of philosophy is the question of whether certain things exist or not.  But I cannot even begin to understand these issues, because I can find no explanation of the term "exist".

The word "existence" is, of course, familiar in everyday speech;  but it does not express a uniform idea - a universally agreed principle according to which things can be divided into existing and non-existing.   Difference of opinion as to whether a thing exists or not sometimes arises because the thing itself is imperfectly defined,  or because the exact implications of the definition have not been grasped;  thus the "real existence" of electrons, aether, space, colour, may be affirmed or denied because different persons use these terms with somewhat different implications.  But ambiguity of definition is not always responsible for the difference of view.  Let us take something familiar, say an overdraft at a bank.  No one can fail to understand precisely what that means.  Is an overdraft something which exists?  If the question were put to a vote,  I think some would say that its existence must be accepted as a grim reality,  and others would consider it illogical to concede existence to what is intrinsically a negation.  But what divides the two parties is no more than a question of words.  It would be absurd to divide mankind into two sects,  the one believing in the existence of overdrafts and the other denying their existence.  The division is a question of classification, not of belief.  If you tell me your own answer,  I shall not learn anything new about the nature or properties of an overdraft;  but I shall learn something about your usage of the term "exists"  -  what category of things you intend it to cover.

It is a primitive form of thought that things either exist or do not exist;  and the concept of a category of things possessing existence results from forcing our knowledge into a corresponding frame of thought.  Everyone does this instinctively;  but there are borderline cases in which all do not employ the same criteria,  as an example of the overdraft shows.  A philosopher is not bound by traditional or instinctive conventions to the same extent as a layman; and when he similarly expresses his knowledge in this primitive frame of thought, it is impossible to guess what classificatory system he will adopt.  It would be rather surprising if all philosophers adopted the same system.  In any case I do not see why such a mystery should be made of it,  nor how an arbitrary decision as to the classification to be adopted has come to be transformed into a fervid philosophical belief.

I do not want to make sweeping charges on the basis of a very limited reading of philosophy.  I am aware that in the recondite works the meaning of the term is sometimes discussed.  But, after all, philosophers do occasionally write for the layman;  and some of them seek to repel the scientific invader in language which he is supposed to understand.  What I complain of is that these writers do not seem to realise that the term "exist", if they do not explain the meaning they attach to it, must necessarily be as bewildering to the scientists  as, for example, the term "curvature of space", if left unexplained, would be to the philosopher.  and I think it is not an unfair inference from this omission that they themselves attach more importance to the word than to its meaning.  

It is not every sentence containing the verb " to exist" that troubles me,.  The term is often used in an intelligible way.  for me ( and, it appears, also for my dictionary) "exists" is a rather emphatic form of "is".  "A thought exists in somebody's mind," i.e. a thought is in somebody's mind - I can understand that.  " A state of war exists in Ruritania,"  i.e. a state of war is in Ruritania -  not very good English, but intelligible.  but when a philosopher says "Familiar chairs and tables exist", i.e. familiar chairs and tables are....,  I wait for him to conclude.  Yes:  What were you going to say they are?  But he never finishes the sentences and I do not know what to make of it. 

Speech is often elliptical,  and I do not mind unfinished sentences if I know how they are meant to be finished.  "A horrible noise exists"  presumably is intended to be completed in such form as " A horrible noise is- disturbing me".  But that is not how the philosopher intends me to complete his unfinished statement. "noises actually exist " - and I really have no idea what completion he does intend.  I myself, when I am not intimidated by the existence* of critics determined to make nonsense of my words if it is possible to do so, often say that atoms and electrons exist.  I mean, of course, that they exist - or are - in the physical world,  that being the theme of discussion in the context.  We need not examine the precise ellipsis by which a mathematician says that the root of an equation exists, when he means that the equation has a root;  it is sufficient to say that he has no idea of putting forward a claim to include the root of a mathematical equation in the category of things which philosophers speak of as "really existing".  

In the preceding chapters I have discussed a number of things which exist in the physical universe;  that is to say, that are in, or are parts of the physical universe.  We have seen that "to exist in",  even in the equivalent expression " to be part of", is not free from ambiguity,  and is made definite only by the conventions discussed in connection with the concept of analysis.  The question whether the physical universe itself exists has not arisen.  I have, in fact, avoided saying that it exists - which would be an unfinished sentence.  Ordinarily it would be unnecessary to be so particular.  The existence or non-existence of things is a primitive form of thought; and, if I had used the term, it would mean no more than that I was forcing our observational knowledge into such a frame** as it is forced into several other frames that we have discussed.  Knowing, however that as philosophers we must seek to get behind these forms of thought,  I have thought it best in this book to avoid introducing it even temporarily.

* No;  you have not caught me this time.  The critics intimidate me just as much, whether philosophy concedes to them "real existence" or not.

** If we wish the assertion to mean more than the expression of a primitive form of thought, we say "really exists". 

Of course, my motive in typing this out is related to the past several posts on the debunking of morality, free will and consciousness.  It is also related to the frequently angry or mockingly derisive claims of the non-existence of God or any other entity that the materialistic atheist takes up so much of our attention with.   In her popular book, A History of God,  Karen Armstrong introduced many people to the rather startling fact that many religious mystics have held that God doesn't exist, or, rather, God doesn't merely exist, that to say that God exists is to put the category of existence over God,  they reject the human practice of assigning a defined limit to God who is held to be above all possibilities such as those.   I am sure that atheists with a broad enough corpus of locutions would mouth the logical positivists' pat phrases declaring that idea to be nonsense and so meaningless.  I take that to be a demonstration of their being naive of the fact that logical positivism died a rather definitive death as a viable intellectual frame years and even decades before most of them were born.

In what I've been interested in, the moral and political entities - equality, rights, moral obligations, free will, consciousness - all of those are non-material entities, all of them, admittedly, not demonstrable with science or mathematics, none of them having any physical, but moral consequences in the world, which also entirely elude the one and only net that modern atheism asserts exists,  causation as can be demonstrated with physical science.   Their one and true oracle whose decisions are absolute and true.

Only, as Eddington pointed out the variable rigor with which people make definitive statements about things existing depends on context.  If those same materialists have a notion that they are the victims of an infringement on their rights, the reality of those things are asserted by them to be so concretely existing that everyone must act, now, to grant them relief.  They demand their rights to everything from suppressing all public talk of God and religion,  parents talking to their own children about religion  and to their right to have you cast your next ballot for an atheist candidate, whose right to your vote, even against your will, seems to be held to have an absolute existence.  Though, as I've mentioned, that would seem to be a right that is, somehow, absent from Biblical fundamentalists or even moderate or liberal evangelicals.  I'd love to have someone assert their rights to public office in an appropriate grouping of atheists.

Funny how often it's "different" when it's their preferences in question.  Where do their strongly held, scientifically asserted negations go then?  Did their rigorous assertions that free will, morals, etc. are illusions if not delusions,  really exist?

Update:  When I say that equality, rights, moral obligations, have no physical effects in the world, I didn't mean that there weren't the most obvious physical effects which the human species have produced when the reality of those is denied.  Piles of corpses result when the existence of those is rejected, though the possible non-existence of the similarly immaterial motives in murdering tens and hundreds of millions don't seem to trouble materialists or alleged non-materialists to the extent that they prevent murders.   I have come to find that it is far easier to disbelieve that the allegedly religious mass murderer's professions of faith are sincere than that they somehow forget what they allegedly believe to obviously violate it.   People who don't follow the words of Jesus to not kill and oppress people should be suspected of not really believing he spoke with divine authority.  That murderers might have no scruples about lying when it serves their purpose doesn't seem an unreasonable idea, to me.

Update 2016:  Why should I be embarrassed about having a really good ear and a really vivid memory of what I heard in the 4th grade?   I seldom forget what I heard, that's a good thing, except when it's crappy pop music of the kind that Stupy can process. 

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Andrew Hill - Eris


Andrew Hill - piano
Freddie Hubbard - cornet
Joe Henderson - tenor saxophone
Richard Davis - bass
Joe Chambers - drums

I've only covered a small part of Andrew Hill's music this month of concentrating on him.  He was one of the really great jazz composers and players of his time but not one who ever got the wider recognition he deserved.   I think part of that is that unlike some of the bigger names his output of original music is so large that it's hard to get your mind around it easily.

Not Hate Mail - "Have You Seen William Lane Craig On The Metaxas Article?"

I don't read the Wall Street Journal very much.  I don't like their editorial policy and I'm not impressed with their reporting.   I'm not especially interested in what it has to say about the teleological argument or other, similar arguments.  I don't think the Wall Street Journal will be credible on religious questions until they hold that "What you do for the least among you, you do unto the Lord."  While I don't think that the improbability of that is nearly as much as the improbability of our life-sustaining universe arising out of random probability, I'm not holding my breath.  My belief doesn't hinge on the proclamations of current cosmology - I don't have any faith in the durability of ANY proclamations of cosmologists, anymore.  I don't have that kind of childlike faith in the completeness of human knowledge of physics in our time anymore than I did the proclamations of the Baltimore Catechism.  I'm sure they've gotten some things close to right but not enough to construct an entire system out of.

That isn't to say that, now that I've listened to the Youtube and read the transcript and read the articles discussed [I also don't go to The New Yorker for light on these issues.] that there aren't interesting things said in it.   I did think this point made by Craig was interesting, very interesting

In fact, I want to highlight a point in Metaxas’ original article that is not addressed by Krauss, and it is this question – Metaxas writes, “At what point is it fair to admit that science suggests that we cannot be the result of random forces?” At what point does the evidence suggest that there is more than just chance going on – that this is a result of design? I think that for somebody like Krauss who is committed to scientific naturalism, there is no point at which he would admit that. That just becomes question-begging. That is just an example of closed-mindedness. I want to know an answer in principle to Metaxas’ question. What point needs to be reached in order for it to be rational to say this is the result of some sort of designing intelligence? If you can’t give us some sort of idea of at what point the improbabilities would so accumulate that you would say all right this is where I think an inference to intelligent design would be tenable and legitimate. Then you are just begging the question against it assuming it cannot be true. That is just an exhibition of closed-mindedness.

Which isn't a question of science or of cosmology, it's a question that goes to the heart of the atheist-ideological use of science to promote atheism at the expense of religion.  The fact is that there is not ever going to be a final closing of these question in terms of physics or science but short of taking the dodge into agnosticism, that is more of a problem for atheism than it is for religious belief.  And, since it all boils down to what people are going to accept as convincing, if atheism rests on that kind of question begging in which they insist on including their own conclusion in the issues raised, that, itself, impeaches the credibility of atheist arguments about the presence of life, probabilities, and everything up to and including the ultimate creation of atheists, the multi-verse creation fable.  There has never been a more stupendously pretentious and outlandish creation of something by human beings as there has been in 20th century cosmology by atheists pretending what they have made is science.  The strongest evidence coming out of that is that there is and never will be any level of evidence of design that such people would accept.

I suspect this may generate many follow ups so I'm going to leave it here, for now.

Eating A Piece of Civil War Hardtack - In case you think you're the one who's nuts

I didn't think he was really going to eat it.  I don't know if this qualifies as cool but it was so weird I had to post it.

Mal Waldron - Warm Canto

Mal Waldron, piano
Eric Dolphy, alto sax, clarinet
Booker Ervin, tenor sax,
Ron Carter, cello
Joe Benjamin, bass
Charles Persip, drums

Bernie Sanders Is Turning Himself Into Someone Responsible People Can't Believe Is Responsible

I am beginning to wonder if his rather idiosyncratic career in Vermont politics has made Bernie Sanders clueless about the issues of this national election, this year.  His continued refusal to endorse the only person between us and a Trump or other Republican presidency over the entirely superficial and symbolic platform is dangerous.  I don't think he has much of a clue as to the responsibility he has built for himself by his conduct and the conduct of those who have spoken for him in the past year.  He continually claims that he has no responsibility, over and over again.  Even today when he is asked about him endorsing Hillary Clinton in time for this election to be won, he disclaims any responsibility to support her candidacy. .  At this point, in his recent interview with Andrea Mitchell,  his refusal to suspend his campaign and to endorse her is most explainable as willful irresponsibility.  In some ways he is still sounding a lot like he did when he talked to Andrea Mitchell talked to him on May 11th.

If he thinks this is good political strategy, he is nuts.

Bernie Sanders' sudden desire to have a platform when, as an independent, he pretty much never had any need for one before, only reinforces that only use of platforms is for people to grandstand over. You would think through his years in the House and Senate, he would understand that a platform has exactly no meaning in real life, that you've got to win a majority in the legislative branch and the presidency to do anything, that is what's important.  There have been great sounding platforms in many parties in the past that have gone absolutely no where because the politicians necessary to make them more than hot air have never been elected.  Look at the Greens and their platforms as they have elected no one to a single office to make those real.  

Sanders is still talking down Hillary Clinton, going into July.  When Mitchell asked Sanders why, when such great liberals as Elizabeth Warren are giving her their full endorsement, he is still talking about contesting conventions over a platform that almost no one will vote on the basis of except a handful of wonks and they probably don't care what it says, anyway.  This is his excuse for not stepping out of the lime light and it has the very real effect of diminishing his status among anyone of any seriousness.  I certainly don't take someone who is running as big a risk with the country and the world as he is,  posing on the platform to do it, as someone who is serious and trustworthy.   His continued implications of mounting a contested convention is grotesque and disgusting.   He is discrediting the left, not promoting it, at this point.  The only reason I can see for him doing that is gratifying his own ego at the expense of, not only the left, but the lives and futures of all of us. 

Hate Mail

In mentioning the traditional, typical framing of "religion vs. liberty" practiced in most of the media, academia and in pop culture today, I didn't mean to imply that for the majority of the people who frame their discourse and thinking with it that it was any deeper than that clear self-contradicted BBC report on the Supreme Court's abortion decision this week.  I think for most of the people who use that frame it is a superficial and facile substitute for real thinking and dealing with the substance of an issue.  It has been a framing that is anything but a real and deep way of addressing issues.  It's not different in that from the framing of the pro-Brexit side or the Trump side that our problem come from some "foreigners" getting privileges handed to them that are kept from them.  Or that if only terrorists didn't keep using powerful military style automatic and other weapons that having the country awash in guns would be no problem at all.  There really is a lot in common between Voltaire and the French Encyclopedists and the NRA.  When either of them say "liberty" you'd better watch your ass.

That kind of superficial thinking is endemic and it is a problem, not especially or even most dangerously among those without a college degree or a high school diploma, but with every level of our allegedly educated class, from your lower-mid-brow scribblers right up to the robed, secular clergy of our federal courts who can say, essentially, the same thing as the most vulgar idiot on the street in the language of the judicial arcana that they learn to spout.  Their kind of bullshiteese is learned at Ivy League law schools and the equivalent.

The problem is one, far more, of a rejection of the exigencies of honest thought and speech than they are ignorance, stupidity or, in so many cases, a considered and determined desire to do evil.  In a lot of cases it is that they learned their lessons in framing so well that they aren't even aware that that's what they are doing, themselves.  Even the most intelligent of elites often merely rearrange their prejudices instead of really thinking about what they're babbling or scribbling about.  I do think the demotion of the truth among them and the normalized convenient lie is the central issue of their superficiality.  No one of their own class is likely to point out their lapses to them, it's the mother tongue of their profession.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Andrew Hill - Poinsettia

Andrew Hill – piano
Bennie Maupin – flute, tenor sax
Ron Carter -  bass
Mickey Roker – drums
Sanford Allen – violin
Alfred Brown, Selwart Clarke – viola
Kermit Moore – cello

Did You Know the Lionized Boston Globe Spotlight Team Has Been Publishing An Enormously Important Scandal Over The Past Week?

Yesterday, while listening to the BBC news the story about the Supreme Court abortion decision striking down the Texas attempt to ban abortions, the news reader put it into terms of "religious belief verses liberty".   That was during a straight news report, not commentary.  The BBC then went on to talk about allegedly religious people who yell at women who go into clinics, taking their license plate numbers so they can identify them.   But then, considering how they had chosen to frame the issue, they talked about the murder of Dr. George Tiller, who was murdered by an anti-abortion fanatic as he ushered at his Reformed Lutheran church.  Ok, among other things that sequence of reporting should have informed whoever wrote the copy that the "religion vs. liberty" framing was contradicted within their very reporting and so there was something rather wrong with that use of the issues involved.  And I do think that the use of the issue by people at the BBC is important to consider because so much of current allegedly liberal culture is formed by such uses of issues to push agendas, most of them devolving, eventually,  into hostility to religion.

By chance, looking for another audio-drama to post this weekend, I listened to the radio play "Stevie" by Hugh Whitmore, also originally produced at the BBC.  I'd seen the movie made of it when it first came out, not especially because I was much interested in the poetry of Stevie Smith but, of course, because it featured the great Glenda Jackson in a chance to see her not play some cleaned up version of Queen Elizabeth I.   I had remembered the anti-Christian diatribe contained in the film which is also contained in the radio-play full of absurd pathologized characterization of Christianity.   So many literary works, especially those from Britain, seem to contain some kind of similar obligatory anti-Christian or anti-Religious or, more typically, anti-Catholic screed.  I guess it fills in for what used to be casual racism or anti-semitism in earlier periods.  Apparently Stevie Smith felt the need to include some of it in her literary output, which makes Whitmore's inclusion of it somewhat more understandable.   But it certainly shouldn't stand as a meritorious feature of her thought anymore than if it had been an anti-Jewish rant.  Increasingly, I think that the actual nature of Christianity being what it is, that anti-Jewish ranting has to be considered an attack on Christianity and, in that the central figure of Christianity was a Jew whose teachings are absolutely saturated with Jewish law and prophesy that you can't consider an attack on Christianity without addressing that fact.  There would be worse things than for Christians to conclude that an attack on Judaism was an attack on Jesus and Christianity.

The casual anti-religiosity of such British institutions as the BBC, its upper-middlebrow popular culture is really just an extension of its past casual anti-semetic and anti-Catholic traditions.  Why those shouldn't be seen as being as wrong and stupid as any other form of bigotry is something I intend to keep addressing.  And I will continue to go into the motives of those who both practice them and those who don't have a problem with it.

The movie "Spotlight" got a lot of play as did the really admirable journalism of the Boston Globe Spotlight team of investigative reporters.  Though I long suspected that the real reason that story has gotten the enormous coverage it has was due to the opportunity it gave people to attack Catholicism and the Catholic Church, indiscriminately targeting the totally innocent no less than those entirely guilty of the crimes and the cover up and, worst of all, those instances when people in the hierarchy allowed sex criminals to continue to victimize people.  That issue is one which was certainly deserving of being exposed, as are those in it who are guilty.  But you have to wonder how it got legs that so many, even far bigger stories don't.  I think it is clear that it was the opportunity to attack religion that gave it the push to send it into orbit.

This past week the Boston Globe Spotlight team has been publishing an even bigger scandal with far more victims damaged and dead and a far more widespread pattern of official negligence and abuse.  Only, in this case, it is state governments, the psychiatric industry and various other, secular institutions and institutions and professions that have victimized individuals and destroyed lives and families.  And its something that has been happening in just about every state, with every town and huge numbers of families being harmed to a huge cost in pain and in money.   Have you heard it mentioned even once?

I am planning on going over this Boston Globe investigation as I get the chance to digest the coverage, it is a huge amount of information to go through, absorb and do justice to.   I don't expect that it's going to get much mention in the media,  I suspect this scandal won't get the legs that other one was given.

Hate Update:  Stupy, if you were to try to list all of the things that never occurred to you before there wouldn't be enough room in the visible universe for the paper it would take.  Not to mention the time it would take to deal with your propensity to lie about things would take longer than the total accumulated past.  You've bored me past the point of caring.

Dump Salon And The Rest Of The Republican Enabling Media

It is good that Salon webazine tells us that "Peter Gaffney is a professor of philosophy, visual culture, and the public sphere at University of Pennsylvania and the Curtis Institute of Music, and also editor and co-author of “The Force of the Virtual: Deleuze, Science and Philosophy (2010, University of Minnesota Press)" because when I saw his piece up at Salon which encourages Democrats to defect to vote for Jill Stein and the Greens I thought he might be Reagan era Republicanratfucker Frank Gaffney's stupider brother who can't be entrusted to do more than write Republicanfascist ratfuck pieces for idiot webazines based by the San Franciscan la la land left to help get us the worst Republicanfascist presidency yet in between teaching bull shit crap about "visual cultue and the public sphere" so undergrads can get an an easier humanities credit than a real course in real philosophy or real art.    Maybe I should never write immediately after watching John Oliver. 

I recently made a remark about open primaries, that if that's the way the Bernie Sanders faction wanted to go - something that I've heard Greens echoing -  that Democrats should use open primaries to take over the Green Party which functions as a part of the Republican election strategy and dismantle it.

I am entirely serious about that now.  Democrats should have a four year goal of swamping the Greens and getting rid of that fraud which has played a role in several disastrous election cycles as they continually lend a hand to Republicans.   The Green Party has turned into just another, though more demonstrably dangerous, phony third party which has, mostly, attacked the effective political left of real government, the government that can win an American election and take office and make laws better than the ones Republicans give us and appoint judges and justices who won't overturn those laws.  

Jill Stein is an ego-maniacal fraud and the Green Party is something that should be relegated to the past.  It should have been after the role it played in the Republican putsch of 2000 which installed the worst president in our history and one of the most massively corrupt and criminal adminstrations.  We don't owe sweet, lovely, Dr. Stein any consideration in this.  What she proposes to do this year makes the Cheney-Bush II regime look like it has a real possibility of going to number 2 on the list of worst presidencies in history.  

A while back I read a piece that said Salon had devolved into a piece of crap which even some of its recent former writers disdained.   I think it's little more than a cynical, sleazy webloid that will put up this kind of crap to generate clicks so their revenue will go up.  I've come to see a number of the magazines of the alleged left that way, the kind of magazines who used to advise the left to do the same kind of stupid stuff in ink on paper.   I have subscribed to just about all of them in the past and when I look at the waste they and the groups they promoted have made of the American left, I think we'd probably be farther ahead if they'd never existed.  Look at their archives on the topic of Marxism in its many and never democratic various forms if you want a clue as to how they advised people into turning the left toxic when it never had to be that.  The real, electable left has got to cut those guys out because they a. will never win elections in more than scattered handfuls, b. will lose elections to Republicanfascists, c. were never a part of the real left to start with.  Salon was started after any rational person could have seen that Marxism was something even the Communists were giving up, that it was finished.  So Salon has had to promote other idiotic ideas and futile quests to fill the same role in political journalism.  A lot of blogs have functioned that way.   But they are never going to go anywhere, any real left with any hope of winning elections will have to fight against them, not work with them.  

The left will either leave this kind of stupidity in the past or it will be irrelevant to real politics at best, a prevention of progress, more likely.  

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Hate Mail

Who cares?  

Vice And Virtue In The Garden of Twilight

If there is one thing that this last few months shows it is that Bernie Sanders is not someone who could be trusted as a vice presidential candidate or as a vice president.  He would constantly undercut the presidential candidate and the president.   He may have been seriously considered as vice president but I doubt any serious consideration would keep him in the running.  He should go back to the Senate where he might do some good.  He does only one thing, play the gadfly, it's his one true talent.  

The sooner he leaves the main stage, the better. 

OK, If She Were Not Already Married and I Were Not Already Gay And If I Were Not Sure She Could Do Way Better I'd Propose to This Woman

She's the gutsiest, smartest, most important person on TV today.

Update:  OK, that "loud windbags" comment makes me wish it could work even more.

And with David Tennant .... OK, if he were not already married.....

And The Band Played On And On: Getting Past The Stonewall Era

I believe it was 47 years ago tonight that the storied Stonewall rebellion started against a police raid on a gay bar in Greenwich Village, New York City.  Though lots of people believe it is the beginning of the LGBT rights movement, there were efforts before that, though it helped to mobilize people in various cities to more organized and, over the next forty years gradually effective demands for, first, the decriminalization of consenting sexual behavior between adults and the decriminalization of gatherings of LGBT people.   Second for equal rights of LGBT people.  But even that movement didn't spring fully developed, a lot of the early post-Stonewall organizing was plagued by sexism, racism, mutual dislike and distrust among the various groups included in the acronym and disagreements about tactics and goals.  And, to some extent, some of those problems remain though, especially in the past decade, things have improved for all of the groups, transgender people have experienced a slower change than gay men and Lesbians certainly still face the resurgent sexism of the general culture.

I have long been rather ambivalent over the Stonewall narrative and much of the subsequent identification of gay identity with sexual promiscuity, alcohol and drugs and other encouragements to self destruction.   Those are rather too well symbolized by a pick-up bar as a substitute for some kind of better life.  I remember going to so many meetings, participating in so many discussions about facing the problems of alcoholism and other addiction, STDs, people being raped or beaten up or robbed by people they'd picked up at a bar or cruising spot, sometimes killed.  Eventually, of course, the flamboyant flowering of gay sex in the 1970s, the shift in sexual practice to make anal sex the definition of "real gay sex" turned into the AIDs epidemic of the 1980s and after with many of those who had participated in that normalized. legalized demimondaine atmosphere dying of the resultant infections that were an inevitable result of it.  And, with somewhat effective treatment to diminish viral loads and some of the worst of the symptoms, the return to the hook-up pattern that enabled and still does enable a horrifically high transmission rate of the HIV virus and other viruses, some of them almost as uniformly deadly as HIV.   Of course, for those who die of them, often painfully and with promise and hope as shattered as the lives that led to it, it is exactly as fatal as AIDS was before the first effective treatment was found.  So, still, is AIDs in numbers that would shock those who aren't witness to it.

But, I've been through that here a number of times.

When I look at the particulars of the Stonewall rebellion I see a mix of things, good, not so good and some tragic.  As this month has involved thinking a lot about Walter Brueggemann's warnings about the dangers of both forgetting and of romaticized nostalgia, I think it would be immoral to not talk about both aspects of that iconic event and the ongoing tragedy that the lives of LGBT people are blighted by the lingering aspects of our past and present discrimination against by the wider society.  The reason that, LGBT life was so associated with pick-up bars and illicit cruise spots is that we were prevented from having committed marriages, marriages equal to traditional marriage in both the eyes of society and, vastly more important to our equality and dignity, ourselves.  The bar wasn't a symbol of liberation and equality, it was a symbol and an actual settling for far less than equality with a DIGNIFIED, SUSTAINABLE AND MUTUALLY SUPPORTIVE LIFE.  For many, perhaps most LGBT people, that still eludes us, partly thorough lingering discrimination, partly through us buying into the very legend and habits derived from past discrimination and partly through the general deterioration of human relationships and marriages that plague different-sex marriages in the corporatized, televised, dominant culture.

The ideal to be agitated and struggled for and to be achieved isn't the right to get drunk and pick up strangers without the cops being involved, it is for that dignified, sustainable and mutually supported life for everyone.  And that isn't specifically an LGBT issue, it is an issue in the entire population. The extent to which that is denied to everyone is the extent to which LGBT people will not have what we deserve.  I doubt you're going to see much about that or for that in your typical pride parade, Parades are cheap and meaningless compared to what needs to be done, parades are a lot less work and easier to fob off on people as a goal and a substitute for real progress.  We don't need symbols, we need realities made real in the real lives of everybody.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Hate Mail

What makes you think I'd approve of Tony Robbins?   As far as I'm concerned anyone who talks people into walking on hot coals belongs in jail just like people who talk people into drinking poison or abusing and frightening snakes by handling them.  Especially if they're taking advantage of people too gullible and naive to decide they're being sold a bunch of nonsense. 

And don't get me started on Crossfit.  

ANDREW HILL - 30 Pier Avenue

Andrew Hill. piano
Richard Davis, Eddie Khan, basses
Roy Haynes, drums

Bill Watterson As A Prophet

Last night, my nephew called my attention to the hilarious but pretty frightening practice some people have taken up of taking old Calvin and Hobbes cartoons and pasting Donald Trump's head on Calvin's body to horrifically uncanny results.  It is so frightening because we could be facing the prospect of someone with Calvin's worst personality traits and none of his charm could be the president of the United States and a terrifyingly large percentage of Americans are OK with that, including much of the media.  

The media created Donald Trump, they've earned our distrust, fully and completely.

You can find them online, there are lots of them.  This one, I hope, is a portent of what will happen by election day.

Only Trump won't be the one who admits that's what he's been doing his entire life.

I liked Bill Watterson's strip while it ran and I have a lot of respect for his choices to step entirely out of the spotlight of fame.   I admire his choice to not commercialize his characters.   I hope this is OK with him because it is a tribute to his insight.  If it isn't I'll take it down.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Hadda Brooks - I've Got The World On A String

From what I can figure, this was when she was in her mid 80s, about a year before she died.
I don't care what people who rely on inaccurate distortions of what I said think they think about what I said.  It is of no importance to me. 

Hadda Brooks - What Have I Done?

Out of the Blue 

Bully Wully Boogie

She was certainly a versatile artist, performing very well in many styles.  I'm just starting on reading Walter Mosley's Easy Rawlins books, this helps get me in the mood.

"..we have to make a difference between depression and sadness"

There is so much that is good in Krista Tippett's discussion with Pauline Boss that the only way to do it justice is to listen to the entire, unedited thing.  Here are a couple of things from the transcript that are especially good.

... DR. BOSS: That's part, again, of a culture of mastery, a culture of problem-solving and wanting to move on with things. Elizabeth Kübler-Ross found those five stages to be relevant to people who are dying, who are fading into death.

MS. TIPPETT: Right. Not someone who's at the loss end of that death.

DR. BOSS: No. She did not mean that for the family members, but, in fact, it blurred over into that. And I don't know if that was her, or I think it was more so her followers. Today, the new research in grief and loss does not recommend linear stages. We like linear stages, though — and the news media really likes it — because, in fact, it has an ending. It has a finite end.


DR. BOSS: If you start with stage one, and you move on through stage five...

MS. TIPPETT: You'll finally get to acceptance.

DR. BOSS:'re done. You're no longer grieving. Well, we now know that this is not true and that human beings live with grief and, in fact, are able to live with grief. They don't have to get over it. They don't obsess with it five years down the road, but they occasionally remember and are sad, or go to the grave, or have some thoughts about the person who died. And this is normal. So, we now know that living with grief is more oscillations of up and down. And those ups and downs get farther apart over time, but they never completely go away, the downs of feeling blue, of feeling sad.

MS. TIPPETT: Mm-hmm.

DR. BOSS: And in order to understand this, though, we have to make a difference between depression and sadness.

MS. TIPPETT: Right, right. To say that sadness is not depression.

DR. BOSS: And so far, that hasn't been made. [laughs]


DR. BOSS: Yes. Depression is an illness that requires a medical intervention. It's the minority of people who have depression. And yet, with the ambiguous loss of let's say Alzheimer's disease and 50-some other dementias, caregivers are said to be depressed. Most of the caregivers I have met and studied and treated are not depressed; they're sad. They're grieving. And this should be normalized. And sadness is treated with human connection.

[When is the last time you heard someone admit to being sad instead of depressed?   You have to wonder how we were talked into medicalizing our every day, non-pathological experience and what the motive for us accepting that was.]

MS. TIPPETT: Mm. So, one of the things that you say — and this makes so much sense, but it's the kind of thing that makes sense — we have to say it — that people can't cope with the problem until they know what the problem is.

DR. BOSS: Yes.


I think there is some really awful aspect of the worship of science that we try to fit stuff into the language of science that doesn't fit and never will fit into it.   We have learned to feel uneasy and dissatisfied and scared of things that we can't stow away into neat categories.


... DR. BOSS: Yes. We just have to stop pressuring people to get over it. It's cruel, actually, to do that. I was critical of the news media about their yearning for closure. They like the word “closure.” But I have to say that once, listening to CNN, Anderson Cooper stopped the other reporters and said, “That's a bad word. There is no such thing as closure.”

And I just loved him for that. And I know from his own biography that he knows what loss is, and he understands that there is no closure. So he's the only reporter I've ever heard explain that in the line of his work. And I think the rest of us have to do a better job of it too.

MS. TIPPETT: Mm-hmm.

DR. BOSS: There is no such thing as closure. We have to live with loss, clear or ambiguous. And it's OK. It's OK. And it's OK to see people who are hurting and just to say something simple. “I'm so sorry.” You really don't have to say more than that.