Saturday, December 1, 2018


Lingering cold symptoms, exhausted from being awake too much.  Those are my excuses and as there is no one to punish me, I've taken the day off. 

It's A Little Early But I Thought This Needed To Be Seen

Friday, November 30, 2018

Tombeau Without Sound For The Broadway Composer Micheal Friedman

I sometimes wish I'd copied more of the arguments I've been involved with online at times.  The one that makes me say that was quite funny, it was one with a big, bold, no doubt loud,  irreverent, anti-religious, barroom style atheist who was deeply shocked and offended when he found out that I, by then a re-aspiring Christian, have no problem discussing sex in very raw and explicit detail and language, far more uninhibitedly than many like him who prove to be quite conventional prudes by comparison.   In his outrage, his "how dare you say that!" outrage, he sounded like my third grade teacher would if she'd caught one of the naughty boys cussing on the playground.  I didn't, by the way.  I didn't say dirty words till I was way too old to need them.

There is nothing quite so gratifyingly funny as the spectacle of a big, bold barroom atheist scolding you over talking naughty about sex.  As if being a Christian meant pretending such things don't exist.  If only I'd realized I would want to have copied it to post today.  It could have been as useful to have, in my own modest way, as Donald Trump's written answers to Robert Mueller are speculated to be, to Muller.  I love that Trump and his stable of legal studs insistence on writing the answers instead of him babbling his lies to Mueller might be the actual perjury trap which those idiots set, themselves.

That someone who is deeply skeptical about many aspects of sexual libertarianism as a matter of life, as opposed to the law*, could be opposed to the practice of anal sex was the center of the argument.  Something which I was reminded of twice, yesterday because, first, I listened to this episode of The Bible For Normal People a discussion of The Bible and gay sex with Matthew Vines.  It wasn't much of anything that would surprise most people.  He said he thought that the prohibition of male same-sex relations was, specifically a prohibition of anal sex, though not a prohibition on other forms of same-sex sex, something which I believe is somewhat widely held to be true by Masorti Jews and which I find quite persuasive.   Vines points out that male rape was a frequently engaged in way of shaming males defeated in battle or an expression of upper-class, upper-caste male supremacy over men of lower financial and social status.  He noted the same is used in prisons today, something which some especially evil prison establishments use as a means of control and punishment and, I am convinced, edification of the people who run prisons. 

I never practiced anal sex because I knew it was extremely unhygenic, an excellent way to give and contract infections and illness I knew that when the illness foremost on that list was hepatitis.  And that was apart from the dynamics of dominance and submissiveness which are an enduring aspect of, especially, that form of sex, both gay and heterosexual.  That, along with my refusal to engage in promiscuous sex in the swinging 70s, was probably why I'm alive now. 

I have pointed out before that every gay man I knew who lived in New York City in the 70s died of AIDS, all of them I know of contracted the infection through anal sex, all of them were either men who engaged in promiscuous, often anonymous sex or were the partners of men who did.  I believe the last one I knew who died contracted it from his long time companion who worked as a male nude model and in porn of the time.   The youngest of those men whose age I knew would have been in their 60s now some would have been in their 80s. 

The other reason I am writing this is because I found a section of the New York Times I had set aside and just found again, dated October 15, 2017, the Arts & Leisure* section  The title is 'Brilliant' 41, And Lost To Aids:  The Theater World Asks Why.  

It was about the death of the youngish musical theater composer-lyricist Michael Friedman who had died the previous September of AIDS nine-weeks after he was diagnosed.  I will point out that to put "brilliant" in even single quotes strikes me as kind of dickish.  And I say that having, since, listened to his stuff and finding it rather pedestrian and predictable though I will say his heart was entirely more in the right place than not. 

But this isn't a critique of his music and lyrics.  He was diagnosed with AIDS thirty-six years after its origin in the HIV virus was announced, he would have been about eight when that was announced.   The cause of AIDS was known for his entire adult life and adolescence and puberty,  its means of transmission either known or suspected from the time he was six, for gay men who contracted the virus, that unprotected anal sex was the most common way they got it.  I would guess that's as true for "the theater world" which the NYTimes is saying is asking themselves a question the answer to which has been known their entire adulthood.

Since I slammed the product of elite Catholic schools yesterday (which the estimable Charles Pierce pointed out is far different from the diminishing number of blue-collar Catholic schools) I'm going to ask why someone with Friedman's education, The well known Germantown Friend's School and Harvard, wouldn't have understood that the HIV virus,  AIDS is contracted through easily avoided means, the exchange of bodily fluids with someone who might carry the virus (in practical terms, anyone) through sharing needles in drug use, through unprotected sex, especially unprotected anal sex. And, given those, that the more people you share needles with or have unprotected sex with the higher your likely your chances of being infected.  Of course, you can just be unlucky and share a needle or have sex with someone who is extremely promiscuous or who was, like yourself, merely unlucky in who they had had sex with. 

Before reading the article, I'd only known of Michael Friedman through having watched a discussion between him and Tony Kuschner and found him to be an attractive and more interesting than average guy from the world of musical theater, so I was predisposed to think well of him.   I listened to some of his music and was not impressed with it, it's typical Bway stuff of the "message" variety in which I might agree with the message to start with so I didn't need the musical to instruct me about it. I wonder what the percentage of people who have had their minds significantly changed by watching a message musical was.  I wonder what percentage of their audience wasn't convinced of it to start with, paying for the privilege of being the choir so preached at. 

But his theater work was anything from harmless to maybe helpful maybe entertaining.   I still think I'd have liked him, I think I'd have encouraged him to put his talent to something less facile and more subtle.  He well may have had the potential for theatrical brilliance in his future which he, as so many others like him, didn't get to have.

However,  I'm sorry to have to tell you,  there is nothing brilliant about someone with his intelligence and educational opportunities doing those things which are the only ways in which to become infected with HIV .  Certainly not in the years after the means of being infected were universally known among people of his education and opportunities.   I thought that more than two decades ago when I found out that the scummy, slimy Andrew Sullivan declared in 1996 "The Plague Ends" when the first effective treatments to temporarily suppress the virus was discovered.   I thought that when he was exposed as advertising for anonymous sex partners online, knowing he was HIV positive.  It was something he reiterated (with whining about the criticism he received a decade earlier) in 2007.  I'll bet even that was earlier than Michael Friedman was infected.  I can't imagine he, as politically astute as he was, as much a guy of the gay left he was, didn't know about all of that as he was infected. 

As a gay man who lived through the "plague" that Sullivan declared over, as a person who lived through it and watched scores of people I knew and knew of millions I didn't die of AIDS, I am at a complete loss to understand how someone like Michael Friedman didn't avoid the ways of contracting AIDS that he certainly knew could give him what, with treatment, can be a devastatingly awful illness to live with, something he could have infected someone else with in the same way he got it, and which he was smart enough to know, does still kill even people who are receiving treatment for it. 

I am at a loss for how the New York theater world, which lost so many thousands and thousands of members to AIDS could be asking "Why?" when they've known that answer better than most other identifiable communities for going on four decades, as they put on play after play*** for decades  which took up that theme.  I wonder if he'd seen Angels In America before he was infected.  

*  There's a world of difference between thinking private sexual behavior is immoral and people shouldn't do it and holding that it should be a felony that will get you jail time.  That should hinge on whether or not there is bodily harm or coercion or force that violates consent.   Of course, if someone is not old enough or mentally competent to give consent, that's rape and it should be severely punished. 

**  As someone who works in the arts, whoever called it that can go fuck themselves.

*** For crying out loud, Larry Kramer's The Normal Heart opened 33 years ago.

I found out while looking up the citations for this post, I'm not the only one who has pointed out how the arts, so ravaged and decimated by AIDS has not seemed to teach the world how to change our behavior to avoid it.   I never had any use for Robert Mapplethorp's staged photo presentation of some of the most negative of  stereotypical images, reinforcing racism as well as gay-bashing but that's for another post.   It taught the methods of contracting the virus that ended up killing the picture snapper, but even that taught his audience nothing. 

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Stupid Mail

I'd tell Freki to bite me but I can't because Duncan blocked me from commenting on his ever dwindling comment threads.   She certainly remembers I had no hesitation to say the equivalent to her before June 2012.  

She's a liar, there's not much more to her than arrogance of a very British variety.  The rump of Eschaton's once far larger commenting community doesn't care that she is. 

Separated At Birth

Image result for edward gorey the beastly baby

Image result for trump baby blimp

Brahms: Sonata for Cello & Piano in F

Cello: PERÉNYI  Miklós
Piano: KOCSIS Zoltán

The Youtube posting gave the names of the soloists in the Hungarian manner, so I listed them that way.   I'd never heard of Miklós Perényi before, what a cellist.  Zoltán Kocsis was probably the best Bartok interpreter of his generation and a great pianist in other literature.   It's a shame the sound isn't better because the performance is nothing other than spectacular. 

Trump's Not Just Two-Faced, You'd Have To Use A Hyperpcube To Just Start Charting His Hypocrisy

Listening to the hype about Trump's freaking out over Michael Cohen's appearance in court this morning, listening to them talking about Trump's accusations and dismissals of the Mueller investigation, of "McCarthyism," I have yet to hear anyone note the irony of that considering Joe McCarthy's right hand man was ROY COHN, Trump's mentor and facilitator in corruption, the guy Trump is always lamenting he can't find a suitable replacement for, THE GUY WHO HE THOUGHT HE HAD IN MICHAEL COHEN AND FOR A WHILE JEFF SESSIONS. 

Update: Checking on things, someone notifies me that Simps copied my point made here at Duncan's and got four upvote from Duncan's dyspeptic decrepits.  Ha!

What The Hell Is Wrong With Jesuit (and other Catholic) Schools?

During the revelations of the degeneracy of the jocks at Georgetown Prep during the Kavanaugh hearings I tried overcoming my disgust at the likes of Kavanaugh being the product of elite Catholic education by beginning to notice other such products of elite Catholic educational institutions.   Other Jesuit and other prep-schools and universities such as Georgetown seem to produce levels of Republican-fascist depravity that I generally associate with the Ivy Leagues and the secular, private Ivy-equivalent universities and, especially their law schools.

In addition to Brett Kavanaugh, a Republican-partisan political hack in service to the formerly worst president in our history,  then a judge who has amassed a record of cruelty as well as service to Republican-fascism, an open and public perjurer, during his travesty of a confirmation process, so many other really disgusting lawyers seem to come from that world of elite Catholic education, though Kavanaugh is also a Yale product.   There are many graduates of Catholic prep-schools and colleges who also are formed by the elite Ivys.

The criminal and decades long international tool of mass murderers and gangsters, Paul Manafort is a product of  the now closed St. Thomas Aquinas High School and the renowned Jesuit university Georgetown, where he got both his undergraduate and law degrees.

The most recently exposed Kevin Downing went to a Jesuit school,  Saint Joseph's University, where he got a degree in accounting,  though he got his law degree at New York University School of Law.   I will confess that he is one of a large and growing number of lawyers I'd love to see disbarred and imprisoned.   The revelation of his professional misconduct (may he be disbarred for it) with Rudy Giuliani (St. Annes School, Manhattan College) and other lawyers working for Trump was what inspired this post.

You could probably produce a very long list of that quality of graduates of Catholic schools where, presumably, the students are supposedly given a Christian, Catholic education in line with such figures as Ignatius - lying scumbag and criminal, Jerome Corsi is a Harvard product, though he went to a Jesuit prep-school, Saint Ignatius High School, in Cleveland -  schools which proudly claim to be heir to the long tradition of Catholic scholarship as well as a program of moral development.   Well, that list proves that they are doing a really shitty job of doing what they claim to do. 

There is some evidence that the exposures from, at least, Georgetown Prep during the Kavanaugh hearings were enough for some Jesuits to raise questions about the character of the schools they run but I doubt that those who are made uneasy about such revelations will be the majority of the faculty, administration and graduates of such institutions.  Honestly, considering the prominence of such sports as American football at such institutions, a sport which is all about violence, sex and entitlement* (you can also say "money"), considering their pride at maintaining football programs, selling their schools through that, their athletics programs instead of their moral and intellectual excellence, that proves they are part of a particularly corrupt racket. 

You wonder how their practice of Ignatian sprituatlity could have failed to produce a crisis of conscience over decades of witnessing what they were turning out.  That failure is a legitimate impeachment of their claims both in terms of morality and intellectual honesty.  They, like so many other elite institutions are not genuinely educational, if character formation is considered to be a vitally important aspect of education, they are the conferrers of credentials for future crooks, gangsters, servants of dictators and dictators.

I think the best thing the Jesuits could do with elite institutions like Georgtown Prep is to sell its grounds and buildings and use the money to found a free open-to-all high school in some blighted urban center where the kind of people who the Kavanaughs of the world delight in holding down and beating up would be served.  There should be no sports program, those are a waste of money and too prone to the kind of corruption that almost always comes with sports.  Their idea of how to produce "men for others" has failed the test of time in many different institutions.  It doesn't work to produce better men and women, only better off ones.

* Kavanaugh is only one of many, many such prep-prepared men with a grotesque sense of entitlement who bring up having played football as a claim to that entitlement in such entirely irrelevant contexts.  That they would feel that was some kind of claim to privilege is all anyone needs to know about the real nature of it.   And what can be said of football is, to some extent, true of all school sports programs.  That point is one I first figured out when I heard a defense of the part of Title IX which covered women's sports.  One of the big selling points for equality in funding for women's sports was that sports were a building block in that kind of life of personal entitlement and empowerment through networking, creating an old-girls net to go with the existing old-boys net.  Which, I have to say, doesn't strike me as a proper goal of egalitarian democracy.   I think the United States would be a lot better off if the connection between team sports and education was cut off entirely.

Happy To Disappoint My Critics

Nope, just a bad cold, not dead yet. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Hate Mail - The "Classical Liberals" Who Want To Leave The Oppression To the Private Sector Because They Won't Have To Pay For It

There is a reason that ex-professional virgin, alleged brains of the young right, little Benny Shapiro is often called a "classical liberal" to describe his Republican-fascist cum libertarian line of bull shit.  It's because it is, actually, in line with the aristocratic aspirations of the rich white men who wrote the Constitution, including the amendments and other provisions I've criticized. 

I have pointed out that it was Marilynne Robinson in her great essays on the Mosaic Law and the writings of John Calvin in relation to the genuinely American tradition of decidedly non-"classical" liberalism who convinced me of the difference between genuine American liberalism based on things like the commentary in the Geneva Bible, out of which the great reform of the Constitutional order arose,  abolitionism, the anti-wage slavery of the Lincoln period, Women's suffrage, etc . and the 18th century, French-British conception of liberalism which was constructed on such people as John Locke who had no problem with slavery and its extension to poor whites, trying to introduce aristocratic feudalism into the Carolinas and virtually all of the great heroes of 18th century liberalism who had no problem, in fact, with slavery, genocide, class inequality and the subjugation of women. 

I think a good part of the idiocy of secular liberalism in the United States, informed not by the Mosaic Law, especially as interpreted as egalitarian benevolence through Christianity, but by the 18th century "enlightenment"  is not really all that far from the crap Li'l Ben Shapiro and bull shit artists like Jordan Peterson peddle.   I think their lack of faith in something better accounts for why they have been so notably impotent in the face of Republican-fascism  of and how so many of them end up on the actual right.  Their greatest acts of piety surrounding "free speech-free press" and the suppression of Christianity in public life have been a boon, not for the egalitarian, common-good goals of the genuine American style of liberalism but for "classical liberalism" which is more like that Lockean feudal order.

On A Mainstay Of Ersatz Secular Morality

Since there was a small brawl in regards to imperatives here the other night, I think the most insane and ubiquitous belief on the left is that there is some moral or intellectual imperative that we must accommodate overtly anti-egalitarian and anti-democratic ideologies out of some incredibly loopy conception of fairness.

As I've pointed out before, given the history of the 20th centuries, a century of genocides,  in what would become Namibia, in what would become the Central African Republic,  in Turkey, in Russia, Ukraine, various other lands ruled under Soviet Marxism, under the Nazis, under Mussolini in Ethiopia, and elsewhere, under Imperial Japan in China and other countries they invaded, under Maoism and in too many smaller Marxist states to quickly name.  In various places the United States, France,  Britain, etc. maintained puppet state dictators (often on the excuse of fighting communism). in Gaza,  etc. etc. etc. etc. it is insane for anyone who claims to believe in egalitarian democracy or even just claim a moral repugnance for genocide to maintain that, nevertheless, we must tolerate those who advocate and promote the bases on which such genocides happened promoting them, now, for their advocates to have a fair chance at convincing people of the rightness of their ideas.   If I had a dollar for every piously posed, self-righteous declaration of that kind made by some self-regarding liberal!   And the sickening sanctimony of those who would trade the very real possibility of it happening again, it happening here for one of the stupidest articles in 18th century liberal idiocy has led to me feeling like punching the conceited asshole in their mouth.

There is absolutely no intellectual or moral case to be made in 2018 that Nazis should have a chance to do it again.   There is no intellectual or moral case to be made in 2018 that Marxism just hasn't gotten the chance to really do it right and all it needs is a chance to really work, this time, ignoring that both of those ideologies were given their test of time and the results are in in the form of scores of millions dead, certainly more than a billion oppressed and enslaved, their lives blighted, their cultures distorted in terrible ways for generations to come.  I had thought that West Germany was the example of a society which had successfully gone from the lowest depths of depravity to an impressive recovery of morality and sanity, though it certainly didn't happen in the Communist East.   I don't know how you can tease out the various strains in the recurrent fascism-neo-Nazism in Germany so as to see which part of the reunited Germany it comes from, but my guess is that it wasn't from the West Germany which had become, compared to the United States, a hope for the continuation of egalitarian democracy.   I think it would be an incredible and tragic irony  if the progress made in West Germany in casting off the legacy of Nazism was defeated by the legacy of Marxism in the "German Democratic Republic" , though I don't expect lefty or 18th century liberal style academics to be the ones who notice that.  They'll probably be too busy defending the rights of Nazis to try it here, too.

If there is a moral and intellectual imperative for egalitarian democrats in 2018, it is to junk the Jeffersonian slogans that lead to the idiocy that all expressions no matter how hostile and endangering to egalitarian democracy they are had have proven to be, over and over again, including IN THE UNITED STATES UNDER THE FIRST AMENDMENT, must be allowed its fair chance to win.   Jefferson didn't believe that, himself, slavery would never have existed if slaves had been allowed the rights enumerated in the First Amendment or any of the others.    None of the founders believed in it.   They didn't believe in it out of their extreme devotion to their own wealth and power, their intellectual and financial heirs did their best to suppress abolitionism, either by law or by fact. 

It is an irony in the United States how many flaky lefties and liberals (of the 18thcentury secular type) are devoted to slogans that have become the rallying cry to neo-Nazis and fascists, white supremacists, "Proud Boys," incels and cult-figure asshole psych profs from the U. of Toronto on the make when those guys are the ones for whom the "founders" made such slogans.

Subsequent history proves that the facile words of the First Amendment which are so easily mouthed are too simplistic, they are too stupidly, lazily an impediment from learning even the hardest of lessons from history, lessons taught in the form of scores of millions of dead, hundreds of millions and billions enslaved and oppressed and blighted for generations.   

Anyone who maintains that the advocacy of inequality and denial of rights and the things essential to sustain life must be allowed out of some kind of moral or intellectual imperative should be held discredited by the history of those ideas succeeding in the 20th and now into the 21st centuries.  They are amoral idiots who learned a few lines like some ham actor who uses them for make believe.  Only life isn't a made-for-TV movie.

Monday, November 26, 2018

An Important Lesson For The American Left From An Evangelical Pastor

Someone recommended the podcast The Bible For Normal People to me, perhaps they thought I could achieve normalcy,  perhaps they thought I'd just find it interesting.  The second one happened.  I've just started listening to it, the first is the hosts talking with the different sort of evangelical ex-preacher Rob Bell who is infamous among conservative evangelicals as someone who went from founding and building an evangelical church with amazing speed to having thought about what  The Bible really says and quickly leaving a lot of that behind.  I'll let you listen yourself if you want to, I'm going to focus on one small thing he said in passing.

He said that Jesus and the early Jesus movement, what turned into Christianity, confronted an extremely powerful official narrative about Roman domination and Roman power and the centralized authority of Rome, the Pax Romana, the Roman order, a kind of imperial order that was so habitual at the time that anything that didn't go along with it must have seemed like insanity.  A little like how secular lefties are so stuck in their 1950s-60s rut only instead of the flop that secular leftist orthodoxy is,  it was the dominant narrative which almost all people probably used to lead their lives.  We, of course, confront something similar in the dominant corporatist, Mammonist United States, the habit of thought most people are caught up in to one extent or another,  what any American left will have to present an alternative to.

Rob Bell pointed out that if you're going to go against such an ingrained and powerful narrative, you had better present a more convincing and more appealing narrative or you're not going to have any chance of changing peoples' minds into adopting your way of thinking.  That, I have come to be convinced over the past fifteen years or so, is one of the major reasons that the secular left in the United States and elsewhere have failed to either gain or hold success in politics or in society because their counter narrative is a reversion to the kind of deterministic fatalism that was part of the dominant pagan narrative which Christianity overcame.

In one of his lectures I posted a long time ago David Bentley Hart noted that one of the pagan critiques of Christians was what they took as their giddily positive view of life based in the promise of salvation and eternal happiness and even the idea that life on Earth could be better than it was, that people were not destined to live out whatever fate the gods or, in the case of the early atheists, chance had cast as their lot.  Especially the intellectual pagans were in love with that gloomy view of life, no doubt they thought it manly and adult.  A similar critique of Christianity is certainly contained in the contemporary propaganda of atheism and secularism, it is certainly contained in materialism.

Even if the prospective convert to the secular left doesn't confront that ultimate downer of atheist-materialist-secularism, even if they aren't let in on the secret that materialists view them as objects with no transcendent significance or reason for living, on a political level the loud and frequent assertions of the Marxists who told Americans who got cheated of their wages and were discriminated against that the good news was that Soviet or, later, Maoist or even Cuban communism was their good news.   As I've pointed out before, even the hard core American Stalinists didn't believe that, even as they preached it, since just about none of them gave up life in the1930s-50s American hell hole for life under their hero.

I came to realize from an accelerated program of reading and listening to and considering what the secular left says and offers made possible by the internet that secularism is a total flop and there was never any rational reason for any rational person to ever believe it would ever be anything but a flop.

In the United States the greatest success of leftist politics was in first the Abolitionist and then the Civil Rights movements and both of those, in the 19th and early 20th centuries were mostly a manifestation of religious, of overtly Christian activism.  The same can be said of the movement for Women's Suffrage which, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and a few others, aside, was almost entirely dominated by an overtly Christian membership.

That may make even some nice non-Christian lefties unhappy to have that pointed out but that is the history of it.   It was in the 1960s as that Christian activism started to be swamped by the largely college and university based "new left" which was overtly non-religious and overtly anti-Christian that things began to go bad for the left.   They continue to be bad.   Of the people I knew in the "new left" or who were active at that time, I can tell you that those who worked from religious organizations were far more likely to keep it up and far more likely to persist and convince other people than the anti-religious people were, though the anti-religious people were better at one thing,  grabbing the mic.   I think a lot of that was that the media, never all that unfriendly to the established economic and political order, disappeared the religious left because they knew the secular left would more likely turn into the useful tool of the established order by alienating people through their crappy alternative.

Just a comment on what Rob Bell said.   I might have my disagreements with him, I don't know that much about him, but he got that right.  And it shouldn't be forgotten that he was the one who built a megachurch from the ground up in a few years.  The guy understands messaging has to be based on offering people the possibility of something better.  Why should they welcome the dismal, deterministic and nasty view of secularism as articulated by atheists and anti-Christians?

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Dusan Bogdanovic - Over the Face of the Waters and Michael Tippett Sonata No. 4

Nada Kolundzija and Katarina Radovanovic, piano 4-hands

Dusan Bogdanovic's piano music is interesting, hearing his ideas in a medium other than guitar.  The multiple levels and lines of this piece are unusual for piano.  For some reason it reminds me of Michael Tippett's 4th Sonata, while not being much like it.  I wonder if the title refers to the movement of God's spirit over the waters in the first Chapter of Bereshit. 

Oh, why not, here's Micheal Tippett's 4th Sonata, too.

Thomas Ang, piano

The Great Eastern Season 1 Episode 5

I loved this show from the 1990s.  This one was particularly funny for the satirical send-up over the CBC 2's way-too frequent elegiac pieces on Glenn Gould (call Morris Jesso, they're still raking that over today) and so many other things which have an uncanny resonance today.   It's not seltzer in the pants, shaving cream pie in the face.  jokes so old Morris Jesso wouldn't touch them stuff so the troll won't get it. 

There was a  somewhat similar program on Vermont Public Radio in the 1980s done by The Panther Players as I recall and as the vestigial remnants as can be found online indicate, they got dropped by VPR when they got antsy about their political humor. 

Robbie Alomar Say He Sorry

I won't link to the tiny clips of some of the pieces I found online, funny as those are, they don't do the show justice. 

Absurd Man

Simps, a straight, white, mid-to-upper middle-class pseudo-lefty white boy calls me "Sparkle" or "Sparky" because he figures a working-class gay guy must be effeminate.  There isn't a stereotype he can resist thinking in, he thinks in such chunks of prejudice instead of observations and ideas.  That this gay working class guy who gardens and splits wood all year could probably whip his pasty white-collar white ass any day of that year doesn't make an impression on him.   The remaining rump of Eschatots are not much better than that, give or take a few.   They do run true to type.  It's one of the few true things about the place, now. 

Update:  I don't talk about Stupy's "imminent  death" becuase a. Stupy is already brain dead, b. as I told one of my oldest friends who recently, bemoaning the gone-hell-in-a-handbasket state of the world said "Well at least I don't have long to put up with it" that he's been telling me that for a quarter of a century and he could live to be 106, c. I don't want to get anyone's hopes up too much.  I figure it would be a jinx.   I have no interest in being involved with his war with one of the very few regulars at Eschaton who came after I left.  I would guess that the new regular, getting little to no backup from the inbred-incestuous daisy chain of Duncan's rump regulars will follow the adults out of it.  

The concept of "historical imperative" is fraught with a racist and dishonest history of that and similar concepts, such as "manifest destiny".   Coming out of Simps who probably couldn't come up with a definition of what it meant that wasn't pulled out of his ass on the occasion of a challenge of that sort, is funny.  Just who issued this "imperative"?   The God he doesn't believe in?  

When people start talking "historical imperative" I'm expecting a lot of people are going to be robbed, cheated and, or murdered to steal their land and other stuff.  The Nazis believed in such an imperative, it was based in their belief in natural selection. 

Who Needs A State Religion When You Have The Never Ending Duty To Worship A Movie

I'm beginning to feel it's turned into an obligation or at least a sort of passionate hobby to prod the mandatory common-received POV as a means of understanding the secular religion that secularism has imposed on modern life.  I find out so much.

Last night the benighted volunteer test dummy of this blog, in a state of  mid-brow high dudgeon over me saying I preferred audio drama to the movies and TV and some of the stage plays I'd seen, came up with a real mixed bag of sacred objects from show biz and some admitted art.  I give you the list because it's kind of hilariously hodgepodged together:


It strikes me that there might be some diagnosis contained in that list,  I mean Vertigo and Hamlet?  The Sopranos and A Streetcar Named Desire?

Oh, well.  I'll concentrate briefly on the chief object of mid-brow cineastes' sanctity, Orson Welles Citizen Kane, which I blasphemed by saying it was good, just not as good as the hype around it.

It is a good movie, it is beautifully filmed, beautifully structured, well to greatly acted, very well written and the score is very effective, though I am unaware of anyone excerpting the music to stand on its own.  So much of movie music is so much less without the movie to support it.

The problem isn't the movie as a movie or even as art, which, unlike almost all of movies called "art," it actually is.   The problem is the ridiculous hype which, I'd guess, managed in less than fifty years after its creation, to outdo in ridiculous volume and extravagant claims  all of the hype surrounding Wagner's ring over a longer period.  Though when it comes to the most extravagant of superlatives, it's hard to distinguish among them because the attempt to top that degree of comparison is repetitious and accumulative, not progressive.

That practice reached its ridiculous pinnacle, at least in my reading, when some idiot 19th century anarchist - since they tend to be repetitive, I can't recall which one - proposed demolishing every piece of music before Beethoven's 9th Symphony.  That an anarchist proposed that extravagant act of authoritarian destruction, it shows you the level of intellect that markets in the traffic of coning competitive superlatives.

Orson Welles is someone who I have to say, the more I know about him, the less I like him.  The bitchy interviews he gave over many lunches near the end of his life, when he went from making movies to doing commercials for mid-market wines, are often entertaining and occasionally insightful.   We shared a lot of the same non-enthusiasms for many of the ridiculously over praised people who went on the movies.  But they are a sad way for a great genius to spend their declining years.  He is one of those guys who have enormous talent, who achieve an early peak and never develop from there.  I have to wonder if he hadn't been so taken up with the incredibly complex mechanisms and financial compromises of making movies if maybe he'd have had more to say.

He will almost certainly be known for Citizen Kane, to a lesser extent for the criminally mutilated  Magnificent Ambersons (a lesson in the damage Hollywood is bound to do to the non-commercial aspects of art, as Bernard Herrmann also learned with that movie) and to a lesser extent his other early work.  I think it's because he was making movies that he developed into a lesser instead of greater artist.

Steve Simels, is someone who made a living writing criticism, who is in that market I mention above.  He, as we all know, knows we are duty bound to repeat the common received mandatory POV about IT, the GREATEST OF ALL MOVIES over and over again, nothing but the stream of threadbare superlatives about THE movie are supposed to be repeated about it, IT IS TO BE HELD AS NONPAREIL, to even mention the rules of that unbreakable law of laudation is probably to violate it.

One of the funniest things I read about Donald Trump was his effort to uphold the mandatory praise of Citizen Kane whose problems he seems to hold were a result of him getting the wrong woman.  As some of those who were aghast at Trumps take on Kane admitted, Citizen Kane had an uncomfortable amount in common with Donald Trump, only Kane, due to the salvific results of the conventional sexual morality that the movies did so much to destroy, didn't win election while Trump did.  That's a point I'm making, I haven't read any movie reviewers who seem aware of it.

I am not going to go into just how seemingly daffy Trump's take on the movie - which he ritually claims is the greatest of movies -  is.  But one thing he has that virtually all of us don't as a door into Citizen Kane, Trump's view of the movie is from the rarest of perspectives, of someone who has lived the kind of life Kane would have, if he were real. What does that mean about his view of the movie?  That there is any ambiguity over the meaning of this, officially "greatest of all movies"  shows you just how bad the movies are at giving information, intellectual and moral, unless the viewer is already predisposed to receiving that information.  When you look at movies held to have been influential, they are almost never such on the basis of their teaching their audiences much, but on inspiring them in the predilections and tendencies that were already there.

The most important things I know of about the movies is, first, quality is almost either driven out or swamped by crap.  There is art in some movies, a very few considering the enormous cost of producing them, perhaps that cost is the reason there is so little of art in movies.   It would seem to be a losing battle to fight for art against the studios [op.cit. Magnificent Ambersons].   The second is that other than appeals to the most simplistic of sentimentality as moral force, the movies are far better at harnessing the worst in people.  The KKK was revived by the legendary D. W. Griffith's  Birth of a Nation,* his Intollerance would seem to have left not a ripple in subsequent life.  All of the anti-Nazi German theater and film and art was swamped by Nazi propaganda.  The cherished superstition of liberals and lefties that TV and the movies have had a positive effect in society is disproved by the revival of fascism and Nazism in the period when free-speech, free-press and anything goes in the movies reigns.   Virtually everything said in that regard is media corporation hype and slogans told by the civil liberties industry and lawyers in the pay of big media of the kind that Citizen Kane discussed and warned of.  In all its vaunted greatness, it taught us nothing.  Trump as a politician is 100% a product of movies and TV.

*  Today is the infamous 103rd anniversary of the revival of the then dying KKK.  As I've pointed out before, William Joseph Simmons directly attributed his inspiration in doing so to Birth of a Nation, one of the most useful propaganda tool of white supremacists, racists and our indigenous form of fascism-Nazism in the century after it was made.