Saturday, September 3, 2016

Dusan Bogdanovic - Six Balkan Miniatures

Dimitar Daskalov, guitar

When I'd posted these pieces in another performance I didn't know that they were composed as a kind of protest against the wars among the former districts of Yugoslavia.  They are from different districts and dedicated to peace.  Which, considering what those wars were like, is about as unsappy a thing as can be imagined.

Hate Mail - My But They're Really Getting Pissy This Week

"There's no romance in television: it's just the Wal-Mart of the mind." - Garrison Keillor

Radio drama requires imagination, you have no imagination, therefore go watch cartoons. 

Update:  It wasn't your comment I was answering but if they put your imagination on a rack to stretch it it wouldn't go anywhere.  You can only imagine things other people have presented in a hard and concrete form but only of the most simple of simplified simulations of sameness to what you've already guzzled down in the past seven decades.  You're so imagination deficient you think "Imagine," a series of the most conventional of predigested Britatheist prejudices presented in an entirely banal sentimentality is a brilliant act of imagination.   About the only act of imagination it could inspire is trying to come up with a sufficiently bathetic description of it. 

Saturday Night Radio Drama The Mystery Project from the CBC - Gordon Pengilly - Bailey's Way - Simply Judy

The mechanisms different authors use to write a 30 minute or hour long drama are interesting. One of the ways they can move things along fast is by using narration.  It's interesting to hear the difference between those series that use narration and those that don't and to hear the different ways to move things along. 

There might be a few skips in one or both, I can't remember if this is the site with or without those.  I can tell you one thing, they never came in this clearly on shortwave. 

You Are A Nazi Revisionist - Hate Mail

To pretend that the Nazis' only or even first group of people on their list of those to be entirely slaughtered were the Jews is to distort the history of the Third Reich.  

Leaving out ANY of the groups of people whose murder the Nazis held as policy is a revisionist history of the Third Reich. Including gay men. 

Your "definitive" historian of the Third Reich obviously and deliberately DID leave out gay men from his telling of the Rise and Fall of The Third Reich so it can't possibly be "a definitive" work on that period of history and those events.  

I've been through this before with people like you.  Your practice of assigning value to different people based on which groups they belong to is, definitively, the kind of thinking the Nazis engaged in.   I won't do that, I won't think like a Nazi does. 

Update:  YES!  I do mean that Jews who hold that only the murders of Jews by the Nazis is significant or that it has some kind of special significance ARE thinking exactly as the Nazis did, assigning value to human beings on the basis of group identity.   Anyone who practices that is thinking like a Nazi.  Before the infamous Wansee Conference the Nazis had put into place policies of murdering all of the disabled, Hitler had given orders to his officers to kill all of the Polish people, he did that on the eve of the invasion of Poland in 1939.   You can't hold that one of the groups the Nazis tried to exterminate is more significant than the others without inviting members of those demoted groups to practice the same thing and it's all Nazi style thinking, based in their understanding of natural selection.  

Update2:  Ah, Duncan's douchebags won't read the whole thing so I don't care what they say about the pieces clipped out of it. Anyone who puts higher and lower values on people on the basis of their identity IS thinking exactly how the Nazis thought. And, wouldn't you know it, just as they did, their group is more valued than some others.  

Duncan's remnant rump aren't especially bright or good at finding out what they're talking about.  They don't even read what he wrote so he stopped writing. 

Friday, September 2, 2016

Hate Mail - A Definitively Dumb-assed Thing To Say

None of Williams Shirer's books on Germany during the rise of Nazism and on to its fall are nearly "the definitive account of the Nazi period".   While he certainly had important observations to make, especially while he was there, on the ground, working as a reporter, the fact is that the most influential of them is more than a half-century old, huge areas of research into that period were either unknown or uncovered by him.  The one you refer to is three-quarters of a century old and it is based, pretty much entirely on either his first-hand observation or what he was told by others before the war.  Some of it is useful and it is well written but it hardly "defines" the period in the period it covers.  Considering how much of what happened in that period which had to await the fall of the Nazi government and finding records and gathering testimony from eye-witnesses, the idea that such a book could be what you proclaim it to be is extremely stupid.

As a gay man I've got to say that this criticism of his major work, The Rise And Fall of the Third Reich must be considered as crucial in evaluating the "definitive" nature of his work.

Shirer portrays homosexuals as protagonists in the fascist state, while remaining silent about the gay victims of Nazism. This is to turn history upon its head. The truth is that only a handful of senior Nazis were gay and most of them were murdered on Hitler's orders in 1934.

Yet the book is regarded as being authoritative. Since it was first published in 1960, critics have been unstinting in their praise: "Documented, reasoned, objective ... The classic history of Nazism", Hugh Trevor-Roper (now Lord Dacre) wrote at the time of first publication. "Perfectly balanced ... a great record", Bernard Levin wrote.

It cannot be argued that Shirer did not know about the persecution of homosexuals. As a foreign correspondent in Germany from 1926 to 1941, Shirer was an eyewitness to Nazi terror. For example, the ransacking of the headquarters of the German homosexual rights movement by fascist students and stormtroopers on 6 May 1933 made headlines in the national press, yet it does not rate even a footnote in The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. Shirer does, of course, cite the notorious Nazi book burning in Berlin four days later, but he fails to acknowledge that most of the 20,000 volumes consumed in that particular fire were stolen from the trashed headquarters of the homosexual movement, the Institute for Sexual Science.

Shirer ignores the outlawing of gay rights groups, the closure of gay bars and magazines, the criminalisation of the intent to commit homosexuals acts, the creation of the Reich Office for combating Abortion and Homosexuality and the compiling of "pink lists" by the Gestapo. Also missing from his history are the mass deportations of homosexuals to concentration camps and the introduction of the death penalty for gay sex.

It would have been easy for Shirer to slip in a few brief references to these acts of terror, but he never bothered. The persecution and mass murder of such people did not apparently constitute either an outrage or a worthy historical fact.

We know that Shirer had access to source material which detailed the Nazi policy of terror towards homosexuals. His own bibliography cites Eugen Kogon's book, The Theory and Practice of Hell, published in 1950. Written by an ex-Buchenwald political prisoner, it documents the fate of homosexuals. They "had to slave in the quarry", Kogon wrote. "This consigned them to the lowest caste in the camp during the most difficult years ... virtually all of them perished."

Shirer should also have been aware of the recollections of Himmler's doctor, published in 1947 and again in 1957 as The Memoirs of Dr Felix Kersten. This devotes a chapter to Himmler's obsession with the extermination of gay people.

In 1959 Rudolf Hoess, a leading Nazi, explained in his book Kommandant in Auschwitz how he sought to "cure" homosexuality by forcing gay inmates to undertake hard labour and compelling them to have sex with female prostitutes.

Shirer would surely have read these books, yet he makes no reference to the slaughter of gay men that they document. He describes the gruesome medical experiments carried out on concentration camp inmates, but he never mentions the experiments on homosexuals in Buchenwald. These included castration and hormonal implants by the SS-Sturmbannfuhrer, Dr Carl Vaernet (medical abuses which were never cited during the Nuremburg doctor's trial and for which no-one was ever prosecuted).

It is difficult to believe that all Shirer's omissions are mere oversights. All writing, even historical writing, is a reflection of the time in which it is written, and the 1950s were more intolerant of homosexuality than the 1990s. But Shirer's choosing to ignore the horrors Hitlerism inflicted on gay people is more significant than that; taken together with his disparaging references to homosexuality, it must be seen as a homophobic bias.

If Shirer had excluded the destruction of the Jews from his book, few people would have hesitated to condemn him as a revisionist historian, and his enormous study would be both notorious and reviled. Yet when he excises from history the Nazi persecution of homosexuals, his revisionism passes unchallenged. At the very least the publishers of the new edition, Mandarin, should withdraw the book until it is amended to present an accurate history of the Nazi terror.

No one book about that period can be considered "definitive."   That word, "definitive" when applied to one or two or a series of a dozen books about something so huge, so complex, so incomprehensible in its evil is most likely to mean "it's the only book I've read on the topic".  Given the fact that Shirer, as any author has their particular point of view and that there are other, legitimate points of view, which will include things they don't - especially after more than fifty years of work by professional historians and others with more knowledge than Shirer had available to him, calling his works "definitive" is just plain dumb.   Considering the criticism in this article, it is also offensive to those whose role as targets of the death machine were left out of Shirer's account while leaving in those few Nazis who were gay, most of whom were, indeed, murdered shortly after Hitler took power.

Hate Mail - A Cineaste Denies that Birth of a Nation Had A Major Influence In The KKK Revival Of The 1920s

My dog took another turn for the worse, but isn't in pain.  I can't justify euthanizing my loyal dog just because taking care of him is inconvenient so I'm nursing him.  He's an old man's last dog after having been an old lady's last dog and I don't want to betray his trust.

Anyway, that's a long way of saying I don't have time to deal with this topic, myself, in the way I'd like to.  So, here, from PBS's American Experience website.  I'll point out the money quote because I know it's too much for someone like you to read two short paragraphs
 ... the Klan disbanded.  Nearly 50 years later, in 1915, "Colonel" William Joseph Simmons, revived the Klan after seeing D. W. Griffith's film Birth of A Nation, which portrayed the Klansmen as great heroes. 

The Ku Klux Klan was founded in 1866 by ex-Confederate soldiers and other Southerners opposed to Reconstruction after the Civil War. In the waning years of Reconstruction the Klan disbanded. Nearly 50 years later, in 1915, "Colonel" William Joseph Simmons, revived the Klan after seeing D. W. Griffith's film Birth of A Nation, which portrayed the Klansmen as great heroes. Simmons made his living by selling memberships in fraternal organizations such as the Woodmen of the World, and looked to the Klan as a new source of membership sales. In his first official act, he climbed to the top of a local mountain and set a cross on fire to mark the rebirth of the Klan.

In its second incarnation, the Klan moved beyond just targeting blacks, and broadened its message of hate to include Catholics, Jews and foreigners. The Klan promoted fundamentalism and devout patriotism along with advocating white supremacy. They blasted bootleggers, motion pictures and espoused a return to "clean" living. Appealing to folks uncomfortable with the shifting nature of America from a rural agricultural society to an urban industrial nation, the Klan attacked the elite, urbanites and intellectuals.

So, boo, hoo, The KKK revival of the 1920s was a direct result of that first big Hollywood epic.  It was a terror movement reborn in the movie industry.  

Update:  And from the BBC:

“It [also inaugurated] the use of certain kinds of racial stereotypes which then became repeated again and again, right up until the 1960s and even beyond,” says Rice. As a case in point he cites a particular moment in the film that showed black lawmakers in South Carolina “as certain bestial simians eating fried chicken and bananas, leering at white women in the galleries”.

But the film’s racism was heightened because critics and film historians have judged it to be so brilliant in its use of cinematic techniques. “I don’t think we would remember this film as we do had it not been for the way [Griffith] uses parallel editing and shows us the KKK [rushing] in to save [the heroine], on horseback no less,” Ellen Scott says. “And he cross-cuts that image with the image of [a] black man attacking various people. So we have these two images cut together and in some sense the suspense that creates is the main impact of the film. I think that the film’s techniques were woven in with the film’s racist power.”

But the film’s racism was heightened because critics and film historians have judged it to be so brilliant in its use of cinematic techniques. “I don’t think we would remember this film as we do had it not been for the way [Griffith] uses parallel editing and shows us the KKK [rushing] in to save [the heroine], on horseback no less,” Ellen Scott says. “And he cross-cuts that image with the image of [a] black man attacking various people. So we have these two images cut together and in some sense the suspense that creates is the main impact of the film. I think that the film’s techniques were woven in with the film’s racist power.”

So, the same tropes that FOX "news" uses, that Donald Trump mines for his hate-campaign speeches are also descended from Birth of A Nation.   That's one of the really bad things that mass media-entertainment can do, it can misrepresent history and reality in a way that convinces even college educated people that its malignant fiction is reality and it becomes an immediate cultural influence and part of the common heritage of large numbers of people.  It influences their political thinking and their voting.  If the word hadn't been used already, what the movies do just about every single time they touch on history could be called "deforming" their audience.  The movies are some of the most destructive spreaders of malicious and false history in the history of our species.  

Perhaps on some better day I can get round to giving this a fuller treatment.

Update:  Well, dear, apparently it's too complex for you guys to fathom but let me point out something about how that thing called "time" works.  1915 came before the 1920s.  An event that happened in the 1920s couldn't have an effect on events in 1915 but an event, a major event, a major event in the culture would be expected to have effects on the period that came soon after that event.  Really, you people are stupider than Gerald Ford was ever accused of being.  I take that back, you're stupider than Dan Quayle, and that's plenty stupid enough to be getting on with.

Didn't they teach you how the counting numbers worked in the early elementary school years?  

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Typing Out Danger, Typing Out Warning

It is one of the rare good things on television these days that people like Rachel Maddow, Bill Moyers and Samantha Bee, in covering current news and issues give Americans lessons in our own history, lessons that were probably not covered in the American History class that, ridiculously, took up only one year of your educations and wasted months on the ridiculous focus on the Age of Discovery romanticism as it neglected to tell you anything important about The People, the politics and the real character of the United States you have to live in and govern through your vote.

The history lesson as a means of covering the vicious racism and anti-Latino campaign of Donald Trump covers the collapse of the Whig party over the issue of slavery, the rise of the party of Abraham Lincoln (which almost immediately collapsed into the corruption of subsequent administrations) and the anti-immigrant Know Nothing movement which spread across the country, scapegoating recent immigrants on behalf of the continued empowerment, enrichment and rule of the previous waves of immigration, especially the Anglo-Scottish WASP ruling class, with some of the old line Dutch families mixed in.  I recommend watching it because Rachel Maddow and her staff are very good at these short history lessons and what they mean to us today.

I know there isn't time to cover everything but one thing I would have added was that the rise of the Klu Klux Klan in the 1920s was pushed and empowered by the movie Birth of a Nation, one of the most dishonest and racist movies ever made by D. W. Griffiths, romanticizing one of the most violent and murderous terrorist groups ever to afflict the United States and demonizing Black Americans and the attempt to achieve equality.  It is especially relevant because, like the 1920s Klan the current crop of natavist hate is also a product of the mass media, year after year of Lou Dobbs demonizing Latinos on CNN, The campaign of racist hatred on FOX TV - including shows like COPS, the blanketing of the United States with hate-talk radio.  If that isn't enough to convince you that the great "free speech-free press" of the United States has created the hate group activity that swamped the financial branch of the Republican Party, its nominee is a 100% creation of "reality TV" and scores, perhaps hundreds of appearances on TV and radio shows.  

And, from what I understand, the new owners of MSNBC are trying to empty out the evening liberal ghetto hours in their schedule, gradually, so Rachel Maddow will possibly be out of a job on TV.  And I don't know where Samantha Bee has gone.  And eventually the perpetual presence of the elderly but energetic Bill Moyers will be as gone as Ruth Bader Ginsberg will be from the Supreme Court.

The interpretation of the First Amendment that has allowed American media to turn this country into a country where it could definitely happen here and may well as soon as January of next year, is extremely dangerous and no one is sounding the alarm.   Donald Trump is the giant corpse lily that is the flower of a compost of lies, paranoia, hatred, racism and bigotry which has flourished in the American media, cross country in the past fifty years, starting with the legalization of lies by the Sullivan Decision, gaining momentum through the 70s, accelerating in the period after Ronald Reagan abolished any kind of standards for obtaining a broadcast license and in the rise of the cabloid 24-7-365 "news" cycle and on to today.  

You won't hear that from the media which is enriched and empowered by that system, you certainly won't hear professional journalists talking about it because they know it is taboo to mention it, you certainly won't hear the Know Nothings, right or left who do know it isn't to be mentioned or who are so ignorant that they couldn't begin to understand that these decisions have real consequences in real life.

You certainly won't hear it from the New York Times which is proud of its role in kicking the septic tank down hill in 1964.  They're apparently trying to get Trump elected through their continuing quarter of a century of Clinton hating.  The Associated Press has done a lot to bring up Trump's chances with its own and newer campaign of whipping up phony scandals made of entirely routine, entirely legal and even admirable actions.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

You Won't Fix Maine's Elections Without Getting Past The Fairness Folly

In puzzling over how Maine got Paul LePage as governor the generally sensible Charles Pierce said this, 

It is possible that LePage has cracked up. If so, you can't do anything but hope he quits and gets whatever help he needs. But Maine has to look deeply into its political culture to see how this guy got elected in the first place and then, hilariously, got re-elected, and why enough people were so enamored of a) LePage's tough-guy bluster, and b) the purity of third-party candidates, that the state found itself in the mess it's in now.

I will start by noting he leaves out the major role of Maine's media ownership and control, which had more than a little to do with it.  And that would include the Republican control of the only state-wide network, Maine Public Broadcasting.  "Public" radio is a major force in Maine and their news operation has been skewed to favoring Republicans for decades.  Their morning guy who does the local news reports during Morning Edition may as well be Paul LePage's unofficial press secretary.  

But Pierce almost got there in his "b", only the spoiler who got LePage elected with a less than majority of the votes, twice, Elliot Cutler wasn't running as a party candidate, he was a millionaire who ran vanity candidacies, I would imagine trying to do what Angus King did when he ran, successfully, for governor and later the Senate, both King and Cutler are former Democrats who were too conservative to get the Democratic nomination, though King, to his credit, at least tried to.   I will point out that Angus King became widely known in Maine due to his long running show on Maine Public TV, just to show you how influential it is. 

There are more than a few reasons we got LePage, the most easily fixed would be to have automatic run-offs whenever the candidate with the most votes fails to get a majority of the votes.  In a head to head match-up between LePage and the second biggest vote-getter in either race, he certainly would have lost.  No one should become the head executive of a state or the federal government without the support of a majority of the voters, though I doubt that our absurdly anachronistic, 18th century Constitution would allow that to be fixed on the federal level.  Either you believe that the legitimacy of the government depends on its acceptance by a majority of voters or you get this kind of thing.

The other reform would be to repeal the absurdly easy ballot access that was imposed as a result of liberal niceness and fairness campaigns in previous decades.  That is part of one of the stupidest habits of posing, posturing, process liberals, they want to be fair while their ideological opponents want to win no matter what.   Democrats got suckered over and over again by some of the emptiest of platitudes into enabling their opponents by making nice to and extending a fairness to them that they had no intention of reciprocating.   It shouldn't be so absurdly easy to get on the ballot that even ridiculous candidates can get on them, never mind self-financed millionaires who never ran for anything.  The list of candidates on our ballots, the Greens, the myriad of never-could-win independents is a long one.  My personal favorite was Thu People’s Hero Phillip Morris NaPier who got a purportedly serious hearing from elections officials, demanding the right to have his name appear on the ballot that way.  As I recall he legally changed his name to that so he could run as such for Governor.  As I reported at the time, he came in fifth, right after the Green candidate Pat Lamarche, another never-could-win independent and the paleo-Republican Chandler Woodcock who lost but who Paul LePage would make look like a beacon of light.  As I also noted, the national Green Party touted Lamarche's 4th place finish as some kind of great victory.  I have to admit I really loathe the Greens. 

That we pretend this is good or important for democracy is ridiculous. 

I don't see any reason for Democrats, who have been the ones to pay the price when spoilers ran against them should remain suckers for the idea that making it easier for spoilers to run is a good thing.

The election ballot, though, is not a place for absurdist entertainment, personal posturing, or pointless political symbolism.  To pretend that it's not possible to discern those from serious candidates who have a chance at winning the major office is just irresponsible and dishonest.  But to fix it we have to cut the bull shit about a lot of the stuff we've been sold since the 60s.  The last liberal governor Maine had was Ken Curtis who retired from office in the 1970s.  If those "reforms" were good for democracy we'd have had liberals elected since they were imposed. 

Whether Freedom of the Press Matters Is Entirely Up To The Press And They're Proving It Doesn't

As I've mentioned before, of the rights in the First Amendment to the Constitution "freedom of the press" is an artificial, man-made "right" which is given to an artificial corporate entity, not a natural right which we all share equally as an endowment of God.   "The press," in modern terms, "the media" doesn't have any absolute right anyone has to worry about.  The "right" of the Home Shopping Network to sell junk to shop-a-holics to run up their credit card bills isn't any "right" that I have any reason to care about, the "right" of FOX to show Family Guy is nothing that a drop of blood should ever have been shed for in battle or struggled for in any way.

If I thought it would get a serious, honest, deeply considered answer I'd ask the members of our armed services though history if they thought their life was worth sacrificing, the pain and loss and hole in the lives of their family and loved ones so that whatever piece of crap TV show or radio show or supermarket tabloid lie could be told and sold.

I will tell you without any hesitation that none of those and most of what is put out by the American media is not worth breaking a fingernail over, never mind the lives of soldiers, most of what our media puts out is definitely, positively and intentionally damaging to democracy and a decent life,  A lot of the lies put out by the media in the past two decades have been explicitly with the intention of inciting disasterous wars which have gotten lots of people killed for the basest of reasons, the enrichment of oil oligarchs and their ilk and the destruction of democracy.  And that is true from the New York Times down to those basest and most disreputable tabloids, hate talk radio shows and neo-fascist websites - which have provided content for the most allegedly reputable of them.

The only reason to have put "freedom of the press" on the same level as real, natural rights of people is the theoretical, ability of private media to serve the function of accurately informing The People in order that they can cast accurately informed votes, and, it is seldom mentioned, in maintaining the good will, good intentions and sense of moral obligation on which democracy and a decent life depend. Unfortunately, all too often that has been so theoretical as to be a fiction. That's the only reason for people to give the media any kind of freedom, at all.  And it doesn't work when the media is allowed to violate that obligation.  And allowing that is not only foolish, it is extremely dangerous. 

Freedom of the press, the media is not like mere freedom of speech by individuals, the media amplifies whatever it chooses to put out, it is heard or seen or, far more rarely, now, read by many people who have been given the habit of believing that the media, the press, should be considered to be of enhanced reliability.   There is no such requirement placed on our media and they have, mostly, used the recent Supreme Court dogma of press freedom to violate any obligation to serve democracy by not only telling the truth but to refrain from telling even the most self-interested of lies.  The only positive role the media plays in democracy is in telling the truth and experience shows when you relive the media of that role held to be an obligation, they will turn around and do everything in their power to trash the truth, to tell the lies and to damage and destroy democracy.

The New York Times was one of the primary venues through which the Bush II putsch was normalized and made acceptable, they sold his illegal invasion of Iraq, the most disasterous of recent military and foreign policy actions of the United States government through reporting planted lies as if they were fact.  The New York Times has carried on a vendetta against Hillary Clinton and her husband for the past quarter of a century, it is still doing so today even as it risks putting Donald Trump in the same office it helped install George W. Bush in.   And what you can say about the New York Times you can say about the rest of the media, even more so the cabloid and online media which lies with complete abandon.  The Associated Press is carrying on that vendetta as it turns entirely routine contacts to the State Department during Hillary Clinton's time as Secretary into phony scandals in which nothing improper happened and no laws or ethics rules were broken. 

I think the media handling of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton is one of the most blatant examples of how our media has made "freedom of the press" as practiced by them, not only unimportant for democracy but a positive danger to it.  I mentioned, yesterday, that Donald Trump is Paul LePage on a national and world level and, just as the media here not only didn't inform The People at a level so as to make a Govenor LePage impossible, the national media is pivoting to try to either put Trump in office or, if she wins, to destroy Hillary Clinton's presidency before she has even been elected.  If they do that they will certainly ensure that whoever the Republicans choose in their primary next time will stand a good chance of being elected by the lied-to electorate who have been subjected to the press which has been freed to lie about and assassinate the character of Hillary Clinton about whom even the most unselfish and even noble activity can't be turned into something to attack her with.  That, friends, is what a free press relieved of even the obligation to not lie will do.  The past half century has been an experiment in what happens and those test results are in.  

Update:  Simps, you're a lazy, ignorant putz.  I've given you enough time because I've been stuck inside a lot.  September will be Simps free at this blog.  Who knows, I might get use to not dealing with the stupidity and I'll make it Simps free all the time.   I don't want to go the same route as Duncan and find myself posting content free threads for putzes to putz around on. 

Dušan Bogdanović - Reversible Cowboy

Dorian Avila, guitar

I needed something to make me smile this morning. 

This is one of the "7 Easier Polymetric Studies"  The time signature is one I've certainly never seen before it is 3/16/2/4, as written in the music. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Dusan Bogdanovic - Nuovi Ricercari

Dusan Bogdanovic and Bor Zuljan, guitars

I don't have the music but I suspect Mr. Bogdanovic uses time signatures you're unlikely to have seen before in this music.   These pieces are in line with the renaissance ricercar but they are thoroughly modern and, in line with the intent of the form, fantastically adventuresome, searching out the music. It is just incredible music which you know a hundred hearings will only scratch the surface.  I would put Bogdanovic in the same category as my favorite living composers and I've only been listening to his music a little over two weeks.  .  

The National Media Is What Made The Trump Pivot Not Trump - Paul LePage Is the Head On The Septic Carbuncle That Is Republican Fascism

My immediate response to the news stories this morning that Paul LePage had hinted that he might resign was that I'd believe it when it happened and his replacement was in office.  This afternoon The Shame of Maine is walking the idea back.   Looks like I won't be making that celebration cake just yet and I'm not saving up eggs for one, eventually.  

With Paul LePage you have to understand that the man has no morals, no sense of honesty, no sense of responsibility, no sense of decency and no fear that his core supporters will care.  He has no fear of any Maine media holding him responsible. Almost all of it is owned by Republicans or controlled by them -Maine "Public" Broadcasting, for example.  

They are, essentially, the Republicans who will vote for anyone with an "R" after their name and such louts with an "I" after theirs who might as well have an "R" there.  A minority of those are the traditional Yankee Republicans whose ancestors joined up during the Civil War if not before but I suspect they are a minority of his supporters.  His supporters are unvarnished fascists who want a right-wing bully boy, strong man as a leader.   He is only one of a series of Republican governors you could say the same thing about, Scott Walker in Wisconsin, the openly fascistic Rick Snyder in Michigan, such people as Meldrim Thomson in New Hampshire in the past.  What sets LePage apart is that he has no governor on his mouth.   I've heard from people who knew him that he is a mean drunk of an alcoholic, which might account for the periodic eruptions of foul-mouthed racist filth that issues from him.  He was never fit to be Mayor of Waterville, he was never fit for anything but a bouncer in the kind of seedy dive you wouldn't consider going into.  Only he's a coward as well as a bully so he wouldn't have done that.  

There are a whole host of things in his past, his stint in Canada as a draft dodger, his Canadian family which is never mentioned, etc.  Those would have made him unacceptable to Republicans of the 60s or 70s, though with the steady march of Republicans to fascism, there is no bottom beneath which someone can be found unacceptable, no hypocrisy too massive and foul for Republicans of the kind who will vote for a LePage or a Trump, Walker, Snyder, Cruz, .... to not do it.  

The fact is all of this is a product of a media which will serve money and tell any lie.  The media was talking all summer about a pivot in the Trump campaign after which he would stop with the trash talk.  Well, the pivot was made and it was the media that pivoted to making believe that Hillary Clinton did it too when she doesn't, that it doesn't matter that Trump is Paul LePage writ large on a national and world stage.  Like those Maine Republicans who elected him, twice, the national media has no real sense of moral responsibility that would stop them from doing what they are.  People who ask how LePage could happen in Maine had better keep an eye on things because if you don't think it can happen nationally, there were people here who didn't believe LePage could win. 

If You Insist On Classifying People Geographically

You know, if you insist on classifying people geographically as you do, I'm a lot more impressed with more of the people I've met and read and heard from the Midwest and South than those in NYC.  Both in terms of intellect and in things such as practicing of standards of scholarship and honesty instead of fads and fashions.  And if I'm not as impressed with NYC on that count, I'm also really unimpressed with San Franciscans, at least those on the lefty-left, I say after just having come from the Mother Jones website.   

That's not so shocking when you figure the number of people in the Midwest and South, the number of fine universities and colleges as compared to your relatively puny cities.  Your impression depends on density, both of numbers of such institutions per square miles and the denisity of the skulls which refuse to believe other places have smart people living in them.

I know you guys figure the place where you reside is the center of the universe - it isn't, get over it - but there's a lot more to the universe and even the country than your home towns.   

Come to think of it, you can throw in Madison with NYC and S.F,  I looked at The Progressive magazine the other day.  I'm a lot less impressed with Madison than the people who figure it's the pole star or something.  Though there seem to be fewer people living under that delusion given the experience of not being able to prevent or get rid of Scott Walker.  As so often happens, the lefty, left stuff coming from places with a sort of lefty establishment looks rather old and dated.  Following old fashions of a left which thinks Marxism isn't dead and that 18th century mechanistic science is the ever and eternal truth instead of just an oversimplified, reductionist view of the physical universe which it became apparent was inadequate more than a century ago. 

In comparison, native Mainers have long been somewhat famous for not getting all that impressed with ourselves or our state.  I've been telling you guys, for years, that it isn't a liberal state, though it's a lot more liberal than your state is in some ways.  I don't know of anyone who is stupid enough to figure it's the hub of the universe.  Those guys in Massachusetts had that idea about Concord, then Cambridge, only no one really believes that outside of Harvard, now.   Maine escaped the direct domination of those guys in 1820, though they have certainly lorded it over us to the extent they could. 

Really, you vainglorious, chauvinistic dolt, classifying people geographically is an expression of bigoted ignorance and conceit.  I suspect there are fewer people inclined to do that in places that haven't generated propaganda about their own greatness than in THE CITY, or other such embodiments of chamber of commerce style self-promotion.  

Monday, August 29, 2016

Dušan Bogdanović - Sonata no. 3 Encore

For someone who began the month never having heard of Dušan Bogdanović and having spent the last two weeks listening to his music and looking at a few of the scores I have managed to get hold of, I'm amazed by his music.  It started by my clicking on that recording of his 3rd Sonata played by Xavier Jara and as the opening lines of counterpoint started I don't think the first phrases of it were over before I was amazed.  As I've been reading and posting, I'm not the only one who is astonished by his music.  I've never heard guitar music quite like it before and I've listened to a fair bit of it.  I think that he, along with composers such as Leo Brouwer the guitar is gaining some of its most significant repertoire in its history.  None of it is easy, all of it is original and, far more important, entirely sincere and audacious, musicially,  technically tight and entirely fearless in its aspirations and its pursuit of those.  I've listened to several recordings of the 3rd Sonata since then and am still most amazed at Jara's interpretation.  Here it is again.

Just Dumb Mail

You don't know how funny it is to me to find out that apparently a couple members in good standing at the Baby Blue Brain Bust don't believe there are Jewish people in Southern New Hampshire or maybe they figure that there is some prohibition on mixing syrup, milk and soda water outside of the greater or lesser NYC area.  As if that's some kind of occult alchemic act. 

What was I saying about some New Yorkers being some of the most isolated and geographically ignorant people there are?   Not to mention some "Brain Trusters".  

Anthony Weiner Shouldn't Become Hillary Clinton's Problem, If His Wife Decides To Keep Him Her Problem Is Another Matter

It's not fair but that's not my fault but I think Huma Abedin's eternally assholish 12-year-old husband Anthony Weiner is going to inevitably harm her employability, at least as long as her work is with politicians who need to be elected.   If Anthony Weiner's latest sexting scandal turns into a big problem for Hillary Clinton, Abedin's boss, as the media is clearly trying to make it into one,  if it either endangers her electability or her effectiveness in office then, no matter how blameless she is for it, then I think someone has to make a choice.   It's none of my busines whether or not she chooses to stay with an asshole who is clearly not inhibited by considerations of how damaging his juvenile escapades have been and are, how he is dishonoring and shaming her to a world-wide audience, but if I were her boss I'd say that if she sticks with him then she should find work outside of politics.

It's too bad because from everything I've read about her Huma Abedin is remarkably talented and intelligent but it's not as too bad as her being married to a man who has, repeatedly, embarrased her and made things harder for the woman who employs her.   And it's really unfortunate, but a fact of life, that when her employer is Hillary Clinton the Republican loving media is going to throw everything against her that they can dig up or make up.  If there were a hundred such incidents in the Trump campaign, right now, the media would decide that was different.  NPR had a segment on with Cokie Roberts and Jonah Goldberg(!) this morning that was typical of that.  It's so funny how the American media's "both sides are to blame" always seems to come down with Democrats, especially Hillary Clinton always being more to blame for more than Republicans are.  That is the political and corporate media reality that Hillary Clinton has to operate in and which her staff must understand as a condition of their being part of her staff.  And so should their spouses, especially one like Weiner who destroyed his own political career through his assholish exhibitionism.

With Plenty To Apologize For, That Accusation Is Something Someone Like An Ignorant Yokel from New York City Would Make

"Maine is Missisippi (sic)north"

Um, well, if you overlook such things as it being the first state to vote in marriage equality AT THE BALLOT BOX,  having one of its two members of the House being Chellie Pingree who is among the most liberal members of Congress, things like that, well, not really.   Idiots from places like New York City who have only the vaguest sense of what life outside of their center of their universe is really like might know that we are suffering under a Republican-fascist governor, who was elected with the decisive help of a millionaire who ran vanity independent candidacies, splitting the opposition and so was elected without a majority of the votes in either election but they don't know much else.   

Considering some of the politicians they have contributed,  scummy, slimy guys like Rudy Giuliani, Ed Koch and lest anyone forget, Donald Trump, not to mention being the home of so much of the media that has enabled, no, encouraged American fascism to take hold, you can soak your head. 

Update:  LePage hasn't gotten the majority of votes in either of the state elections he's won.  He would never have won without the help of the millionaire spoiler, but that's what happens when some dopey liberals put in laws making it easy for such guys to run.  It seemed like such a liberal idea at the time.  Unfortunately, like so many of those ideas, it turned out to enable fascists.  And for a state such as yours that has elected the likes of George Pataki, who won three times with the backing of lots of NYC big shots like your illustrious Senator Al D'Amato, winning over Mario Cuomo in his first run, you can go soak your head, again.    

Oh, and, among other things I could add, Maine abolished the death penalty in the 19th century and has not reinstated it.   Even when LePage had Republicans in control of the legislature, he couldn't do that.  

Update 2:  I don't care what the non-readers of  Tiger Beat on the Delaware might appear to themselves to think about anything.   I can't imagine any of them were honors students given their non-reading habits and indifference to documentation.

Update 3:  Wow, you really didn't get the point about the death penalty and you live there.  It was one of George Pataki's big selling points with the people of New York State, reinstating the death penalty, it was one of his most important issues used against Mario Cuomo AND HE DID GET THE LEGISLATURE TO REINSTATE IT.   Fortunately, they did so in a form which the state courts later found to be unconstitutional but it wasn't because the majority of New Yorkers were opposed to reinstating it.

It is so funny that a guy from the backwoods of Maine would seem to know more about your recent elections than you do.  No wonder you figure my state is defined by that one thing, you don't even know what's going on where you live. 

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Hate Mail - 1

Who would sight-sing the Mikrokosmos?  

Well, if you open to page 4 you will read the account by the person it was first written for, Peter Bartok, in which he says.

His teaching program did not follow an accepted "piano school" technique.  At first I was to sing only.  .... In the course of our lessons he sometimes asked me to wait while he sat down at his desk, and I would hear only the scratching of his pen.  In a few minutes he would bring to the piano an exercise, or a short piece, that I was to decipher right away and then learn for our next lesson.

So were born some of the easier pieces in these volumes.  

So, if you bothered reading the front material in the New Definitive Edition of them, the answer would be, apparently, someone the composer taught them to.   I've followed his practice ever since that edition replaced the older one without Peter Bartok's account (Good, Lord, already almost thirty years ago!)  but with his father's foreword that mentions the desirability of the student singing the vocal pieces as they play.  The first two volumes make excellent early sight-singing and ear training exercises, especially if you play the part you're not singing.   I always teach fixed do in the form in which each flat, natural and sharp have a specific syllable assigned to them.  It's more useful and less confusing.

Einstein's Superior Understanding In His Essay On Racism 1946

I read this blog post by Trent Gillis this morning, most of it a short essay written by Einstein.  It is tempting to note that even as the great physicist was pointing out the injustice and irrationality of racism, many - though certainly not all - of the leading figures in biology were still supporting such ideas.  Scientific racism didn't die with the defeat of the Nazis, it took a short sabbatical and has been making a gradual comeback ever since.  Less than five years after the crimes of the Nazis started to be made public R. A. Fisher felt comfortable enough to assert, as part of a UNESCO study group that races were not equal and that it was futile to attempt to try to achieve political and economic equality due to that, even though he admitted that his declaration would defeat the entire purpose of trying to achieve equality.  Not too long after that the widespread private racism of many in biology, especially in genetics, would start being expressed openly and even, in evolutionary psychology, presented as science.  Even including some of the most basic of anti-Semitic assumptions which Nazism took as science.

Ah, but it said that going there was a temptation right now.   What I wanted to point out was this insightful passage.

What soon makes the new arrival devoted to this country is the democratic trait among the people. I am not thinking here so much of the democratic political constitution of this country, however highly it must be praised. I am thinking of the relationship between individual people and of the attitude they maintain toward one another.

Einstein was entirely right to elevate the "attitude" of democracy as it is expressed in daily relationships among people as more important and essential than the constitutional and legal apparatus. Without that attitude being common among The People, the words in those documents are just words.   That is something that the academics, the lawyers, the politicians and the professors and, worst of all, the mass media and what passes as the arts in media don't get or have lost sight of.  The People and their ideas, beliefs and practices are the only basis on which democracy can rest, not the legal doctrines and dogmas emanating from Ivy and Ivy equivalent law faculties and graduates.

Those so often derided, disdained, mocked "masses", The People are what all of it depends on first, middle and end.  You can hardly go a day in hearing and reading the news, of reading people online where someone doesn't mock the ignorant masses on their ignorance.  Newspapers and networks do stories on that theme with a remarkable regularity, it is clearly a point, AN ATTITUDE, they want to promote in the general public, that "the masses are asses".  As an aside, that the mass media does so, heedless of the fact that it is they who have taken up so much of the thinking time of said "masses" with mindless, false, misleading crap instead of information, never seems to enter into their self-regarded superior minds.

The collapse of confidence in public institutions in the United States, in our political institutions, is a direct result of a conscious campaign by snobs and elites to both dumb down the American People and to then, glorying in their own self-asserted superiority, mock the great unwashed, ignorant masses of humanity.  Democracy couldn't help but be destroyed in that process.  We won't get democracy back in even its highly imperfect form until both that dumbing down for profit and the conceited vainglorious attitude of elites is ended.  The People aren't so stupid that they don't realize they don't have to put up with those elites.  If there is one thing the past fifty years have shown, it is that they know when they're being insulted and they won't play along with the people who are doing that insulting.  The results aren't good.  Donald Trump is just one result of that. 

Hate Mail - Post Literacy Is The Problem Not Post Modernism

All I did was take what Steve Weinberg claimed to its logical conclusion. If you don't like that conclusion, your problem is with your shared ideology, not what I said it forced as a conclusion. 

What I noted in that post reposed yesterday was a logical conclusion based in what the celebrity atheist, nuclear physicist, Steven Weinberg said.  He said, in response to other atheists gathered at Sean Carroll's summit of celebrity atheist thinkers, things such as, "I think in the end we have to live with not having a moral philosophy that really works in a decisive way." and  "there  is no way of deciding moral issues on the basis of - well there is no way of deciding moral postulates which should govern our actions.  And in fact we don't have moral postulates that govern our actions when we behave morally. "

I took Steve Weinberg - often cited by atheists as an authority on the matter of morality - at his word,  I even noted that his assertion was an inescapable conclusion from the shared ideology of those in the discussion, materialist atheism.  If what he said is held to be true there is no moral absolute that - as his profession has made possible - even the conscious act of bringing about the extinction of life on Earth cannot be held under their ideological framing to be an act which is absolutely morally forbidden.

That fact is one which atheists have tried to squirm around ever since their ideological stand was first articulated, especially in its modern, scientific form.  Other celebrity scientist-atheists have stated the same thing.  Ernst Haeckel denied the immorality of even the, then, quite technologically possible intentional extermination of other racial groups by those he held were their superiors, it was part of his glorying in the "final triumph of materialist monism" which he held was the result of Darwin's theory of natural selection which he took for the final refutation of religious morality.  Richard Dawkins was even more explicit in his famous, or infamous declaration that;  In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won't find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.

The citation of prominent atheists inside and outside of science who asserted that kind of thing can go on and on.  I'd certainly go next to Frederich Nietzsche who was the most honest about the logical conclusions of atheist materialism in philosophy and how that ideology must lead to the destruction of all morality, replaced by the very human manifestation of physical force in stronger people taking advantage of their superior ability to apply force and force weaker people to serve their purpose or to destroy them respecting no moral prohibition on their ability to do so.  That is the real, ground floor level holding of Darwinism as applied to the human species and human societies in which we live.

And from Nietzsche I'd go to his admirers among atheist political thinkers who agreed with him, even such figures as Emma Goldman* whose antipathy for religion led her to champion a man whose philosophical conclusions supported strong-man dictatorship and the oppression of weaker people not her rather badly thought out anarchism.  As I said in the first sentence of my piece, atheist materialism is the universal acid that eats up all of morality, it also eats up all other intellectual distinctions, when applied to the idea of human thought, it even eats up all of science and even its own ideological status as a truth.  Materialism is the only ideology that must be false if it is to be true, it cannot even maintain the most basic, definitional status of logical cohesion if taken to its logical conclusion.

You might not like it that amorality is the logical result of believing in atheist materialism but that conclusion has been reached BY ATHEIST MATERIALISTS OF HIGH INTELLECTUAL STATURE over and over again.  All I did was explicitly state an extreme but logically inescapable conclusion that would have to be drawn BY TAKING THEM AT THEIR WORD AND SERIOUSLY.

You can check what I said if you don't like the basis for what I concluded, you can check my transcript against what Weinberg said.  You can even argue that he was wrong, though I defy you to point to any argument Rebecca Goldstein or any of the others made at Carroll's atheist weekend jamboree that definitively refutes Weinberg's logic given atheist materialism taken as THE given, as they all did.  But you'd have to do what the block-headed rearrangers of their prejudices at Duncan's didn't do, read what I wrote and follow up on the links.

* I don't think there is a figure held to be of the left who has fallen farther in my esteem than Emma Goldman in the past decade.  That is due to having the ability to have easy access online to full texts written by her.  What can seem so lucid and so persuasive in excerpted sentences tumbles into an angry, irrational and even dishonest muddle in so much of what she wrote. YOU HAVE TO GO TO THE BOTHER OF READING THOSE THINGS IN CONTEXT TO SEE WHAT SHE WAS REALLY SAYING AND IF WHAT SHE SAID HELD TOGETHER.  That idea would seem to have come to seem odd to a lot of people who have been to college in the last half-century.

I think her life and career, her waste of her brilliance and passion is an excellent warning of the futility of anarchism as a political theory.   I think her taking that path into wasting her life - as even she came to suspect she had done - was through her materialist-atheist ideology which, in turn, was an emotional choice made because she hated religion so much.  You can try to discern what her hatred of religion was based in, including her obvious disdain for anything she held to not be intellectually reputable and the status as a thinker that she so obviously craved but the results are undeniable that she wasted her life advocating an irrational ideology refuted by logic and observation of reality, based on moral stands which that ideology would have to conclude were delusions.  As the futile attempts of the few atheists in the discussion linked to show, they couldn't really refute Weinberg from the basis of their ideological framing.  You can't achieve morality through materialism, you have to exit materialism to even make assertions of its reality.  As can be seen at Sean Carroll's convention of big atheist thinkers, they didn't really like what their ideology leads to. Only a sociopath or a psychopath would.  I think that's really why Nietzsche went nuts.  But, as we see in this election season, sociopaths and psychopaths can have a really good chance of achieving political power even in a democracy.  Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot. etc. are even better examples of where this can lead in real life.