Saturday, June 27, 2015

Marilynne Robinson Reads From Gilead

I remember reading the first passage but don't think I caught the humor in it like she puts into it.

Guillaume de Machaut - De Toutes Flours

Ensemble Organum, dir. Marcel Pérès
Gérard Lesne,
Josep Benet,
Josep Cabré,
Malcolm Bothwell,
François Fauché,
Marcel Pérès

Celebrating Legal Equality For Lesbian and Gay Families Shouldn't We Celebrate This Pioneering Institution?

I want to thank, among others, the United Church of Christ, the first mainstream Church, one of the first large, culturally significant organizations to call for full equality for me and for other gay men and for all LGBT folk.  Here's the record in time, beginning in the years when gay relationships were illegal in all but one or two states and discrimination entirely legal and, in almost every context, to be expected.  Young people can't begin to understand how that was but a lot of us still alive remember it.   If the fundamentalists who still support discrimination are to be condemned, those who opposed it well before it was safe and popular to do so are to be celebrated.

From repeal of ‘sodomy laws’ to advocacy for marriage equality: a history of faithful witness for LGBT rights

Beginning in 1969, the United Church of Christ has advocated for the LGBT community. From the campaign to decriminalize same-sex relationships to support for marriage equality, the UCC has made a difference in the lives of LGBT citizens and their families. The issues have changed over the decades, but the basic commitment to full inclusion and human rights remains the same.

Hate Mail - The Internet's Idea of An Athenæum

Apparently Simels' buddies at Duncan's blog figure people used to buy 45s to not play them.  But, then, they believe what he says without bothering to find out that he's lying.  Such is what passes as a "brain trust" c. 2015.  

Among the depressing facts about that dopey dirge is that, today, a vintage 45 of Lennon's best selling single, the dreadful "Imagine" goes for more than 100 dollars in some sales.   But, then, Duncan's brain trust apparently believes people buy it for the B side, "Working Class Hero".  Fast,  how many of the words to that can you recite off the top of your head?   

I just wanted to get to use a digraph, only reason I posted this. 

Update:  For What It's Worth 

Simels' claim that in the late 80s he was paid $5000 for that unpublished piece mentioned in the second update to last night's post.  I have no idea if that's true but I found this on  Who Pays Writers?  "An anonymous, crowd sourced list of which publications pay freelance writers, and how much." 

Search Results for: Rolling Stone

Rolling Stone

Report: $250 for 500-1000 word news item online in 2014. Medium reporting.

Rolling Stone

Report: $75 for 1000-2000 word feature online in 2014. Medium reporting.

Rolling Stone

Report: $150 for a 500-word Web piece

Rolling Stone

Report (print): “I have heard from an editor that Rolling Stone pays about $4/word.”
Report (online): “Event coverage, Q&A-style interview: $150”
Update 2:  Sims the Dim is now relying on the claim that they bought the single of "Imagine" for the B side, "Working Class Hero"  oddly, enough, in those places I've seen the old 45s being sold at such inflated prices, the disc is identified as the disc for "Imagine" not the song he alleges is more popular.  I've never, once, heard anyone sing at events like the stupid ball drop or other contexts.  I wonder what its recording history would reveal as opposed to covers of Lennon's dreary dopey atheist hymn.  

Update 3:  After a while it gets to be boring trading comments with Steve Simels.  With someone like him, who has no qualms about misrepresenting what people say to people who, as well, don't care if something is the truth, it becomes an endless attempt to bring things back to the topic.  

The rump of regulars at Eschaton obviously don't care about honesty. 

Where Benedict and Bernie Would Probably See Eye To Eye And Barack Wouldn't Not To Mention Brownback

Thinking about Richard McBrien's column that was posted yesterday, I had to conclude that, in economics, at least, even the arch-conservative Benedict XVI was closer to Bernie Sanders than he was even Barack Obama.  Though, of course, not in other matters dealing with sexuality and women's rights.  That is, of course, to do with the church's holdings on birth control and the status of embryos and fetuses as fully human.  Which isn't a small consideration, though I think it is used by the media to ignore the radical call for economic justice.  That was a main point in the second part of McBrien's writing on Benedict's 2009 encyclical Caritas in Veritate.  I decided to post it today instead of next week.

Pope Benedict XVI's new social encyclical, Caritas in Veritate ("Charity in Truth"), is in the tradition of previous social encyclicals, going back more than a century to Pope Leo XIII's landmark encyclical, Rerum Novarum ("Of New Things"), published in 1891.

What is remarkable about this latest social encyclical is that Benedict XVI suggests that the new starting-point for Catholic social teaching in this modern age is Pope Paul VI's Populorum Progressio ("The Progress of Peoples"), published in 1967 (see n. 8). Indeed, Caritas in Veritate is filled with praise for Paul VI and for the encyclical he authored.

While it is surely the case that Pope Benedict XVI reaffirms traditional Catholic teaching on various issues related to sexuality, marriage, and human reproduction, the preponderance of attention is given to other elements in Catholic social teaching.

Thus, the encyclical rises strongly to the defense of labor unions, which are still vehemently opposed by large numbers of politically conservative Catholics. The Pope notes that unions "have always been encouraged and supported by the Church" (n. 64). 

He also acknowledges the great difficulty that labor organizations encounter "in carrying out their task of representing the interests of workers, partly because Governments, for reasons of economic utility, often limit the freedom or the negotiating capacity of labor unions" (n. 25).

The Pope cites the "repeated calls issued within the Church's social doctrine, beginning with Rerum Novarum, for the promotion of workers' associations that can defend their rights," and insists that these statements of papal support "must therefore be honored today even more than in the past, as a prompt and far-sighted response to the urgent need for new forms of cooperation at the international level, as well as the local level."

"In comparison with the casualties of industrial society in the past," Caritas in Veritate continues, "unemployment today provokes new forms of economic marginalization, and the current crisis can only make this situation worse. Being out of work or dependent on public or private assistance for a prolonged period undermines the freedom and creativity of the person and his family and social relationships, causing great psychological and spiritual suffering. I would like to remind everyone, especially governments engaged in boosting the world's economic and social assets, that the primary capital to be safeguarded and valued is man, the human person in his or her integrity..." (italics in original).

Later the Pope writes: "Lowering the level of protection accorded to the rights of workers, or abandoning mechanisms of wealth redistribution in order to increase the country's international competitiveness, hinder the achievement of lasting development" (n. 32).

Pope Benedict also chastises those who think that a "market economy has an inbuilt need for a quota of poverty and underdevelopment in order to function at its best." On the contrary, the market is not merely "an engine for wealth creation." It must also function "as a means of pursuing justice through redistribution" (n. 35).

In the most recent presidential campaign in the United States, the concept of redistribution was hung around the neck of one of the major-party candidates as if he were a Socialist. If so, that term of opprobrium would apply to Pope Benedict XVI as well. 

But the new encyclical is not without its critics on the left. In a statement released by Jon O'Brien, president of Catholics for Choice (7/7/09), the encyclical was applauded for its "dedication to improving development," while at the same time faulted for "some serious omissions." 

According to Mr. O'Brien the encyclical "fails to show a true compassion for women, who often are the last to benefit from development aid."

While decrying infant mortality, Pope Benedict XVI "never mentions maternal mortality [and] fails to fully address the impact of HIV and AIDS on developing economies...."

The bulk of the press release focuses on issues that have always been at the heart of Catholics for Choice's moral agenda: family planning and sexual and reproductive health and rights.

The statement criticizes not only the encyclical, but the Catholic hierarchy generally, which is "swayed not by a call to serve the common good, but rather the fear of losing authority on moral issues."

The statement also questions the Pope's assertion in the encyclical that the Church does not "interfere in any way in the politics of States." Over against this claim, the press release points out that the bishops lobbied the U.S. Congress "to strip life-saving family planning measures from the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) bill that would have reduced mother-to-child transmission of HIV."

To be sure, no encyclical can hope to please everyone. Caritas in Veritate is no exception. 

Catholics For Choice, like all advocacy groups will, naturally, focus on what they stand for, the media in general doesn't have that excuse.  The reason they ignored the majority of the document's calls for what is considered a radical redistribution of power and resources downward is clear.  It's the same reason they have disappeared and weakened liberal Protestants and other religious liberals, they know they have the power to weaken their impact and, eventually, to destroy them.  In so far as liberal religion is concerned, the media has been following the neo-atheist strategy for decades.   Just about all of the liberal Protestant denominations and even many evangelical denominations are far, far stronger on economic justice, civil rights, etc. than is permitted by those who control things.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Hate Mail - Apparently Simels Enjoys Me Humiliating Him Over And Over Again

Steve Simels, blog malignancy  5 hours ago
And in happier news, it's official -- you know who has penned the worst essay about music in world history.


Here's a clue numbnuts -- the vast majority of Beatles fans/Lennon fans think "Imagine" is a saccharine piece of shit. Has nothing to do with the God thing, BTW.

Oh, yeah, because imagining no religion has nothing to do with "the God thing". Since you put the last nail in the coffin of something which might have been taken as your integrity with that one, I can move on to the rest of it.

Really, readers,  the boy has never said anything more ridiculous and he a former paid scribbler, an alleged expert in pop music, the man who flipped out when I referred to the fab four as "mop heads" and he's pretending that "the vast majority of Lennon fans think "Imagine" is a saccharine piece of shit" when it was John Lennons #1 best selling single and the name of one of his best selling albums.  That is unless you're contending that those people who snapped up the 45 were non-fans.  Which would have to be kind of a record for a record, to have been made a best seller by people who hated the thing.  You apparently really believe that.

I think you would have to explain such other things as that obscure little rag called "Rolling Stone" apparently called the drivel John Lennon's "greatest musical gift to the world" (I'd still rather hear Yoko with the dry heaves) and named it #3 in its top 500 songs, ever, some Guiness Book of World Records' survey or other names it the second best song evah! and the saps who organize the stupid ball drop in Times Square have replaced Auld Lang Syne with Lennons dreary dopey atheist dirge since 2005.  I could go on and on and on, like the stupid song goes on and on and on.  And since I didn't really want to do any research on this stupid question, I looked at a few websites and found, all over the place that people who write about pop music calling it one of the most popular pop songs ever written.

The reasons aren't hard to fathom, it is entirely without challenges, musically vapid, intellectually void, harmonically static and conceptually stupid.  It is to song writing what a deep fried Twinkie is to nourishment, only less inventive.  It's more like a Twinkie neet.  Its only achievement is to show that atheists can produce a really sucky hymn as well as anyone and be entirely more pretentious about it than the substance and artistic merit supports.   It is really the same phenomenon that made Jacqueline Suzanne a better seller than Saul Bellows or ... well, take your pick of actual writers who didn't sell as well as a writer of garbage.   In pop culture crap sells, it is popular with people who don't really want to be bothered with actually listening to and thinking about music but who want to sway and feel all drippy and nostalgic for it, maybe intoning its la-la land lyrics and torpid tune, only risking going seriously out of tune for that one high note.

If I really wanted to research the thing I'd try to fit it into his various activities like his cross country heroin bender or his various other sleazy post-mop-head days.  As it is, I saw that I wasn't the only one to note that the smart mop-head wasn't really doing much about that "no possessions" part of the deal.

Really, Simples, do you even think about how obviously wrong you are before you say these things?   This one is so stupid I'm beginning to wonder if you really enjoy me humiliating you by doing what you obviously never included in your, um... "journalistic practice" doing the minimal amount of research so you don't get even the most obvious points wrong.  Or it could be senility, it happens at our age.  That is if you ever had what you have to lose for that to happen.  I haven't seen much evidence that you ever did.  If it's the former, well, ewwww, I really don't want to be involved in that kind of thing, if its the later, get into custodial care as soon as you can.

Update;  Oh, dear.  Simels says in a comment I will only publish if I must prove he made it because, as so often happens, he lies about it, he says:

You're citing Rolling Stone as an arbiter of anything? Seriously -- Rolling Stone? [Name withheld]'s embarrassing fan/groupie magazine? That nobody has taken seriously about music since...oh, since the they humiliated [Name withheld] by running blowjob reviews of albums by Dylan and the Stones because otherwise [Name withheld] couldn't go out to dinner with them anymore? That Rolling Stone? 

Which is so funny because, as well as being an epic name dropper,  Simels' claim to fame is that he was a scribbler for another rag which was primarily an ad vehicle that used to be called, "Stereo Review" that I doubt had nearly as big a readership as RS.   My guess would be that when Simps got dumped from the failing SR he'd have done exactly what he's accusing others of in this comment to get a job at RS.  Hands up anyone who doesn't believe if they'd lavished praise on that book about an obscure mid-western power pop band Sims wrote an intro for, as well as a blurb for the back, that he wouldn't have shouted that fact all over the place.   I don't see any hands out there, don't be shy.  Sir, or madame, I can't tell who you are in the light, it's one person one vote, you'll have to put one of your hands d..... Oh, of course.  Sims, put your hands down, you don't get to vote on this.

The issue YOU SET was its popularity with John Lennon fans, the record sales alone settles that issue.  You lose.  Maybe you should give the benefit of your thinking on that to those Times Square ball drop thing folks.   Being exposed to Lennon's drivel on that occasion was the only reason I wrote about the thing. John Lennon was a total pig of a man, selfish, vain, vastly over-praised, a piece of crap to his son, a user of women whose self worship was only matched by his devotion to Mammon.  That he was ever able to pass himself off as the hippy, peace, love and sweet reason thing was due to the fact that his fans bought the PR campaign, which is what most of the pop music world is really all about.  I actually read someone, on the basis of "Imagine" calling him a hero of rationalism.   Now try and imagine how stupid someone would have to be to claim that.

Update 2:  Being mildly curious, I googled "Steve Simels Rolling Stone Magazine" and found this article from The New York Times.  Note this passage, underlining, mine:

Mrs. Gore, the wife of the Democratic Vice-Presidential nominee, was a drummer in her adolescence and a founder of an all-girl rock band at her high school in suburban Washington in the 1960's, Entertainment Weekly magazine reports in the issue that goes on sale Monday.

"I wanted to play drums," the article quotes Mrs. Gore as saying, "and I got a set when I was 14 and just started to play in the house, to the stereo." About a year later, she said, she helped organize the Wildcats, a band "named after my mother's car, which was a black Buick Wildcat."

The Entertainment Weekly article grew out of one about celebrity musicians written in 1989 by STEVE SIMELS for Rolling Stone magazine, but never printed there. It was revived after Gov. BILL CLINTON chose Senator AL GORE as his running mate last week.

I wonder if that "but never printed there" has anything to do with Sim's bitterness about the magazine that is still publishing.   What are the chances of that, would you think?

Hate Mail - From Tiger Beat on the Delaware

Thank you for telling me he dissed my music writing, coming from him that means a lot to me.  I'll write something else about music tomorrow.

Aaron Copland - Nonet for Strings - There Is Entirely More To Aaron Copland Than Public Radio Lets You Know

This 1960 Nonet by Copland is one of my favorite pieces by him.  The scoring for three each of violins, violas and cellos is pitched lower than many string ensembles and the vast arrays of light and shadows, occasionally bursting into brilliance, joy but the predominance of somber sadness, even stoic endurance is how I see that period, when I was just becoming aware of the wider world.

The Cuban missile crisis was two years in the future, when things would start looking dark, indeed, then the assassinations, the revelations of the foreign policies of the Kennedy administration, the war in Vietnam.  But the extent to the tragedy that America was becoming and which it would bring to other countries wasn't yet known.

Aaron Copland was already sort of the composer laureate of the country, an artist who is entirely misunderstood as people listen to the concert version of Appalachian Spring, the setting of Bonaparte's Retreat in Hoedown and the such, seldom catching the sober evaluation of the quite mitigated good that the country was in reality instead of Chamber of Commerce, military-industrial complex lies and the even bigger and enabling lie that spewed from Hollywood and the pop culture industry.   Aaron Copland was of the political and cultural left, after all, someone who got hauled in front of HUAC in a degradation ceremony, though, from all I can gather, he kept his integrity and dignity in the process.   It has always seemed like a major irony to me that the man who created the "American sound" was a gay, Jewish, leftist intellectual from New York City.  Or, maybe, that is as it should be in America as it should be instead of how it has been.

This is music that can make me cry, as Coplands' sometimes can.  Though seldon the pieces that get a lot of air play on programmed, format and ratings driven public radio in the United States.  

Even Many Conservatives In Christianity Are Radicals in A Secular Context

Guess who the liberal theologian is talking about.

To use John Allen's own list in a slightly modified fashion, in addition to its strong support for labor unions the encyclical warns against the "downsizing" of social security systems, supports the combating of hunger and poverty by increasingly aggressive governmental action, favors a full-employment strategy, advocates protection of the earth's environment, calls for international aid programs that involve a larger share of a wealthy nation's gross national product, urges reduction in energy consumption while investing in renewable forms of energy, supports the opening of global markets to the products of developing countries, especially agricultural, calls for greater investment in education and more generous immigration policies, a strong internal authority "with real teeth," and closer, tougher regulation of markets and financial institutions.

Since I didn't change any words to make guessing harder, you know it's a pope because it's about an encyclical.  Which also makes it easy because there are fewer popes than presidents or prime ministers.  

The answer is that this radical economic and environmental agenda as condensed by Richard McBrien from the 2009 encyclical Caritas in Veritate from  my second least favorite of recent popes, Benedict XVI.   I'll ask you to consider the liklihood of a sitting U. S. president, the most liberal one we could hope to elect,  not even just the entirely disappointing Barack Obama, would lay out such goals for the economy and the environment and the entire society and world.  Which congress in our history would pass a program of bills to make that happen?  Which Supreme Court would let such a radical program of reform happen?     The answer to that is simple, none that could reasonably be imagined would do such a radical thing.  And the reason for that is, under the Constitution and law, both U.S. Law and that British common law that they are so ridiculous in bringing into it, are explicitly in service to Mammon, not to justice, not to the posterity which will depend on the preservation of the environment and the legal enforcement of economic justice. 

I would ask you to search, as well, for any alleged leftist government that has ever come close to delivering on such a radical agenda.  I will exempt the brief Sandinista government in Nicaragua in the 1980s which, I believe, may have made a real attempt to deliver on much of it if it had not been brought down by U.S. terrorism funded and supported by Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush and an effective part of the legal and media establishment.  Not to mention John Paul II.  A government which was, in that period, not so much now, saturated with ideas of liberation theology, including the participation of major figures in that effort as ministers.  

And remember this,  Benedict was/is regarded, with some reason, as an arch-conservative, the opponent of that even more radical liberation theology which his successor holds in much higher regard and the enforcer on a right wing line on issues of gender and sexuality.  I named him along with John Paul II as being two bad popes for the pastoral disasters that they did nothing to prevent or repair as they centralized church power in the Vatican, appointing some of the worst bishops and cardinals in recent history, many of whom are obviously opposed to the current pope, Francis.   

And what you can point out about the unexpected call for radical economic justice from such a right-wing pope is even more true of theologians in the Protestant, Jewish and, some would expect me to say "even" but I won't because it is a bigoted lie, Muslim theologians.   Economic justice, justice to the environment is mandated in scriptures.*  It is an insight that was held by the authors of scriptures centuries and millenia ago.  In the column I am posting today, McBrien, no inconsiderable expert in theology, himself and a frequent critic of the man as Cardinal Ratzinger and as pope, says that Benedict XVI was "the most gifted theologian ever to occupy the Chair of St. Peter".  As a student of the history of the papacy, McBrien's opinion on that is better that of most.   And, remember, he is a conservative, in terms of mainstream Christianity, there are far more radical views of what achieving the justice, the equality, the moral obligations contained in scriptures will require of us and of governments.  

Here is the rest of the column from August 10, 2009.

The first impression one has of Pope Benedict XVI's new social encyclical, Caritas in Veritate ("Charity in Truth"), is that it is long and dense -- too much so in both categories to expect the document to be read by a significant minority of Catholics, not to mention other Christians and non-Christians.

The encyclical is very much the work of someone with many years of careful research, writing, and teaching in his background. Few would question the opinion that Benedict XVI is the most gifted theologian ever to occupy the Chair of St. Peter.

But what of this latest encyclical, apart from its length (some 30,000 words, which is equivalent to a small book) and the intellectual challenges it would surely pose to many non-specialist readers?

One well-regarded Vatican expert noted that there is something in the encyclical for "both left and right to cheer...and something for them to be grumpy about. Liberals will likely applaud Benedict's call for robust government intervention in the economy and his endorsement of labor unions, while conservatives will appreciate his unyielding opposition to abortion, birth control and gay marriage..." (John Allen, "Pope proposes a 'Christian humanism' for the global economy," The National Catholic Reporter on-line, 7/7/09).

I would register a mild reservation. There is far more in this encyclical for liberals to cheer than for conservatives to applaud. With a few significant exceptions, Caritas in Veritate is in the left-of-center tradition of Catholic social teachings, from the time of Pope Leo XIII's landmark encyclical Rerum Novarum ("Of New Things") in 1891 to the present..

To use John Allen's own list in a slightly modified fashion, in addition to its strong support for labor unions the encyclical warns against the "downsizing" of social security systems, supports the combating of hunger and poverty by increasingly aggressive governmental action, favors a full-employment strategy, advocates protection of the earth's environment, calls for international aid programs that involve a larger share of a wealthy nation's gross national product, urges reduction in energy consumption while investing in renewable forms of energy, supports the opening of global markets to the products of developing countries, especially agricultural, calls for greater investment in education and more generous immigration policies, a strong internal authority "with real teeth," and closer, tougher regulation of markets and financial institutions.

Pope Benedict XVI also comments on the current worldwide economic crisis, citing "the damaging effects...of badly managed and largely speculative financial dealing, large-scale migration of peoples, often provoked by some particular circumstance and then given insufficient attention, [and] the unregulated exploitation of the earth's resources" (n. 21).

To be sure, the encyclical also repeats the Catholic Church's moral opposition to abortion, contraception, and similar issues, but these concerns do not occupy a large portion of the document's overall content.

What is striking about this new encyclical is its unstinting and repeated praise for Pope Paul VI's own 1967 encyclical, Populorum Progressio ("The Progress of Peoples"), which in political terms was perhaps even further to the left than Pope Benedict's. 

In that encyclical Paul VI highlighted and deplored the gap between rich and poor nations, and reminded readers that the goods of the earth are intended by God for everyone. The new name for peace, he wrote, is "development" -- a theme which Benedict XVI elaborates upon with renewed emphasis and fundamental agreement.

Pope Benedict XVI even refers to Populorum Progressio as "the Rerum Novarum of the modern age" (n. 8) -- the now-classic encyclical from which all subsequent social encyclicals had taken their own measure.

Thus, Pope Pius XI's Quadragesimo Anno ("The Fortieth Year") appeared forty years after Pope Leo XIII's. Pope Paul VI's Octogesima Adveniens ("The Eightieth Anniversary") was published 80 years after Rerum Novarum, and Pope John Paul II's Centesimus Annus ("The Hundredth Year") provided a centenary observance of Leo XIII's encyclical.

Some commentators had criticized Pope Benedict XVI's previous encyclicals on charity for their failure to link it more clearly with the virtue of justice. He does so in this new encyclical, and early on in the document, where he insists that "justice is inseparable from charity, and intrinsic to it." The endnote reference is to both Paul VI's encyclical and to Vatican II's Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, n. 69.

Later in his new encyclical Benedict XVI cites Paul VI's apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Nuntiandi ("Of Proclaiming the Gospel," also known as "On Evangelization in the Modern World"), to the effect that Christ's charity, through works of justice, peace, and development, "is part and parcel of evangelization," and that the Church's social doctrine is "an essential element of evangelization" (n. 15).

More next week.

* For anyone who may have missed the posts about Marilynne Robinson's essays on the radical liberalism of the Mosaic Law, she makes that point brilliantly and conclusively about what is presented to be taken as the harsh and oppressive "Old Testament".   I hope to go into what is translated as "slavery" in the Jewish law, the law for which the pre-conversion Paul was a zealot and the Anglo-American version of slavery which is anachronistically imposed on the ancient Jewish culture.  But it will have to wait till after the frost.  I'm so swamped with work that I don't have the time to put it together.  

In the mean time, here is a version of another of Robnison's essays, the one in her book, When I Was A Child I Read Books,  Austerity as Ideology, posted in The Nation in a somewhat secularized version as, Night Thoughts of a Baffled Humanist.  Robinson, informed by her study of scripture and theology was against austerity long before it became a radical position among secularists I'm aware of.  Even while some of them were still fighting off pimples if not younger. 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Jimmy Dorsey Band - I Got Rhythm

Wish this were available in a better recording because the performance is blazing.

With Louis Armstrong playing Dippermouth Blues 

Sonny Stitt - Lover Man

Sonny Stitt Alto Sax,
Walter Bishop Piano.
Tommy Potter Bass,
Kenny Clarke Drums.

Just Friends

Sorry, the players aren't listed at Youtube and I can'd find this in his huge discography on short notice.

What a musician he was, mixing such a beautiful tone with improvisational skill.

Southern Heritage My Ass

The reenergized furor over the status of what is commonly called "the Confederate flag" in the wake of the terror murders at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church has missed a telling point, its use by people in the North and other areas of the country who have no connection to the Southern states in their personal experience or in their families.   I live in Maine, the home of the legendary Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain of Gettysburg fame, the northern most state on the East Coast, about as unsouthern as it's possible to be and I've seen it on cars with Maine license plates, on leather jackets owned by men whose accents couldn't be more downeast and who have never set foot outside of New England.  I've seen it on New Hampshire Yankees and others with no experience of the South or any claim to have any heritage or sentimental attachment to any southern state.   And there is no ambiguity as to what it stands for, it is an emblem of white supremacy, of racism and of right-wing politics.  I don't believe I have ever seen it used, in any context, by a supporter of equality, equal justice and economic justice, I've never seen it used in any context that was remotely unrelated to racist politics or by non racists.

Frequently, in the period after the Civil Rights struggle of the 1950s and 60s, it has been seen in association with the German Iron Cross by people who had no German heritage and for whom the symbol could not have possibly escaped association with the German military, and in the post WWII era, Nazism.

I have never seen the Confederate flag used by a person I knew to be Jewish, no doubt them knowing its association with, not only such things as the Iron Cross but with the Klu Klux Klan and other groups which have targeted Jews as well as black people, Latinos and other racial, ethnic and religious minorities.

The Confederate flag isn't just any symbol of Southern identity or it wouldn't be so often seen in the contexts and displayed by the people I identified above.  Nor is it a symbol universally recognized as such by all Southerners.   A large percentage of Southerners are the very people who were oppressed and murdered by, first the government which raised that flag and, then, by the people who continued that practice into the period when official, legal slavery was abolished. Certainly it's no symbol of anything positive about their homeland for them. The nine people murdered at the Emanuel AME Church were certainly not represented by that flag.  And there are, I am absolutely certain, many white people in the southern states who would like the thing taken down and never used as anything but a reminder of an evil period in which they were the last of the states to give up slavery.

By the way, slavery was practiced in every one of the original states and people every much as in favor of slavery, who profited from it directly and indirectly were as northern as it was possible to be were found all over the North during the war and after.  I heard the stupid joke about "everyone owning two" here in the very period when Southern states were reintroducing the flag in question. Within two miles of where I'm sitting as I type this, in Maine, there are graves of people held in slavery, the families who held them in slavery, still here.  One of the members of one of those families, I know had that flag on his bedroom wall as young adult.  I used to buy pot from him in the 60s.  Back when a nickle bag cost five bucks.   With his Maine Yankee accent, I don't suppose he'd have won universal acceptance among those who used that flag in the south.  I know some of his ancestors' names are on the Civil War roll as having fought for the Union.   That's one of the benefits of living all of your life in the same small town, you get to see the limits of heritage in action and such lessons on the endurance of history.

The Confederate flag is a symbol of racism and hate and injustice.  From where I sit and from the identity of those who are bent on retaining it.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Jimmy Dorsey - So Rare

Yeah, I know I've posted it before but I was thinking about my father and I always associate this recording with him.   He loved the Dorseys and this was the last thing Jimmy Dorsey recorded.  He probably played his heart out because he knew it was about the last thing he would be doing as he was dying of cancer.

I once read that the Charlie Parker said that Jimmy Dorsey was his favorite sax player.  I don't know if that were true but it's quite possible, I'd think.  Dorsey had already survived Parker, who was one of the most miraculous and brilliant musicians who ever lived, even in his own self-destruction.  I hope he knew that such a giant respected his playing.

Sorry, just letting my molecules work themselves out, it's nothing to do with me. Really, I had to do it, my smart genes made me do it.