Friday, July 5, 2019

Summer Rerun Repuroposed (Presented In Nostalgia Font)

One of those recent robo-spam-comment things called my attention to this piece I wrote almost six years ago.   It seems to me to be rather soundly argued so I'll use it to answer a hate-comment-spam from an all too human, if all too infantile person named in it.  Only I've removed his name to annoy him, he just hates to be deprived of attention.   Hentoff was still alive when I wrote it and the Village Voice was too.  Both have now gone the way of all flesh and ink on paper.

In attacking me over the porn issue, the pop-music critic [Name of someone otherwise know as "Stupy" removed] , formerly with Stereo Review magazine, quoted a pro-porn alicublog post by the Village Voice columnist Roy Edroso.   As pointed out Thursday, the old claim was made by both that pornography is harmless, that it has no effect on the behavior of those who consume it.

"No one can prove that oceans of internet porn have done anything worse to humanity than give Goldberg another opportunity to embarrass himself..."

The Goldberg in the quote is that blight on humanity and the same to their profession, journalism, Jonah Goldberg, one of the numerous legacy hires of opinion journalism, someone for whom I have no respect and with whom I agree on little to nothing.  Even our opposition to pornography is from an entirely different perspective.  On the other hand I agree with much of what Edroso has said in those columns of his I've looked at, even as I really believe his political orientation is fundamentally based on different and quite flawed foundations.  On the porn issue  those different foundations make a complete difference in the end.

I can't remember where I first heard the ever repeated claim that pornography is harmless, that it has no effect on the behavior of those who consume it but I am certain of one thing, I certainly read it being said in either a newspaper or a magazine.  It may have been Nat Hentoff,  it may have been some other now ex-liberal columnist.  I certainly have heard it and its variations most often from journalists, especially what later were sold as "opinion journalists".   The claim being that repeated exposures to descriptions and images of sex, of sexual practices have no influence on behavior.   And that is about the most obvious lie told by journalists who would have to know it is a lie even as they say it, if they thought about what they were saying even in the absence of survey figures or other fictoids usually fluffing out the discourse on this issue.

Porn isn't a non-participatory entertainment like watching a half-hour sit-com, its consumption is a participatory act, probably most often, the act is one that is harmless enough, solo masturbation.  So even in its most typical use, porn has psychological and physiological effects on the person using it.   Masturbation, in itself, isn't any more harmful than the person doing it to themselves is willing to make it.  Whether the things presented by pornography which the person finds will most effectively elicit those psychological and physical gratifications of arousal and eventual orgasm will be extended into what its consumer does to other people is less clear and harder to "prove" but the claim that pornography has no influence on that,  made by journalists, is hypocritical.   Given the business end of the media that Hentoff, Edroso and[Name of someone otherwise know as "Stupy" removed] work in, the idea that repeated media messages have no further effects on behavior is obviously self-serving and entirely undeserving of belief.

This morning, looking at alicublog to get that quote, I saw an advertisement in the sidebar, for a moving company on this page view.  I'd expect if I refresh the page some other ad will appear.  So Edroso's blog posts advertising.  Advertisments are media messages sold by media companies with the claim that they will effect peoples' decisions and change their behavior, leading to them buying things.   It would be the rarest of American adults who have not been subjected to hundreds of thousands, possibly millions of ads in their lifetime.  And anyone with something more than a vestigial brain would have to have noticed one of the commonest advertising strategies, selling it with sex appeal.  The oil industry hired the once alleged journalist Brook Alexander on the basis of her sexy, cool blonde appearance and voice in order to sell their lies about the extraction industry.  Those ads are placed in news programs for the purpose of using her to change beliefs and how people vote in order to change laws. You can't avoid them on the liberal ghetto hours on TV, the nighttime lineup on MSNBC, on programs where you will also hear the line that porography has no important effects on behavior.

I'll emphasize that point, even as their advertisers are using sex to effect political behavior, journalists claim that sexual messaging has no effect on sexual behavior.

They say that even as their advertisers are using sex appeal in order to elicit a rather complex and important action, of using sex to cause a political behavior.   And, if you know that ad campaign, you'll have seen scores of thousands of other ad campaigns using sex to have the same effect, using images of sexy women and men and, disgustingly, children to effect buying behavior.  The very same media companies that have major departments to convince corporations that they can use sex to change behavior, are then in the business of claiming that even stronger and more targeted use of sex in the media will have no effect on behavior.  And if you don't see a conflict of logic, not to mention total hypocrisy in that, you may have a future in "opinon journalism"

Roy Edroso's newspaper, The Village Voice, used to be the home of the annoyingly self-appointed biggest champion of free speech-free press in the world, Nat Hentoff.  It has been one of the more influential voices promoting the idea that pornography should be freely available.  That it also had one of the early and more infamous personal ad sections in which ads for commercial sex figured rather obviously, everything from non-commercial hookups to rather openly and formerly, slyly phrased ads for prostitution or "escorts" made money for the company.  The contention that those media messages had no effect in the real world are absurd.

A couple of years back there was a lawsuit brought by a teenage victim,  trafficked by a convicted pimp who advertised for business in the Village Voice.   While the Village Voice got the lawsuit thrown out by a federal judge and they dispute some of the allegations on rather technical issues, the fact that people are pimped by pimps in The Village Voice doesn't seem to be in dispute, some of whom like Latasha Jewell McFarland are in the business of prostituting minor children,.

But there is an even more basic hypocrisy on the part of those who have endlessly recited the unfounded claim that pornography doesn't influence the behavior of those who consume it.   Edroso is an "opinion journalist" who is in the business of changing minds and behaviors, that is the basic reason for the existence of his profession.  For him to sell his writing on the basis of its ability to change hearts and minds, political choice and voting on one hand and then to claim that media messages have no effect in line with its content is absolutely hypocritical.  As he is the one who insisted that there is no proof that pornography, the act of turning women, men, children, into objects to be used has no harmful effects based in its content, he should be required to prove that there is a difference in effect between what he gets paid for and what pornographers get paid for.

[Name of someone otherwise know as "Stupy" removed] was paid for writing about pop-music for a magazine that those of us who worked in music often regarded as an advertising vehicle.   Music reviews, especially of recordings, are written to effect opinions of the readers but they are also published to effect behavior, the purchase of records and concert tickets.   If they don't have that purpose the same magazines and other media that pay people to write them wouldn't be able to sell advertising space and time to the very companies their journalism covers in its content.  Well, they might be able to sell it but it would be an act of fraud, their claims of being able to produce those effects on behavior, fraudulent.   That many people who have worked in music have considered the kind of commercial music [Name of someone otherwise know as "Stupy" removed] specialized in a form of musical prostitution is for another post.

So, even before getting into the distractions of dubious to improbable to ridiculous surveys and psychological claims, it's a closed case that journalists making the claim that pornography has no effect on behavior are hypocrites with no leg to stand on.  If they never got paid for influencing behavior they might have at least personal integrity to make those improbable claims but, then, no one would ever hear them through the barrage of commercial media that is in the business of selling the eyes and ears and minds and actions of their readers and watchers to people trying to sell you something.  Or, more to the point, to get you to do something, probably more often than not, something you shouldn't be doing, something that will do you, those around you and the entire ecosystem, no good at all.

Update 2019:  I should have pointed out that the fact that the advertising industry, show-biz, TV, radio, magazine, print on paper and pixilated webloid media sell everything else with sex, claiming to their ad buyers they can change the non-sexual buying behavior or people with sex, getting their attention for other areas of life with sex makes the claim that presenting violent, abusive, involuntary sexual acts has no effect on the sexual behavior of those so appealed to an even more blatant long-standing lie of the porn advocates absolutely clear.  The claim that you can't sell sexual behavior with the very thing they sell everything else with deserves to stand as the quintessential secular-pseudo-liberal-lefty lie of the post-war period.  It is one of the essential pieces of evidence that such a definition of "liberalism" is not really any difference from right-wing ideology once the right-wingers on the Supreme Court decided that "free speech - free press" was more useful to them than old-fashioned opposition to porn.   The more I look into the hypocrisy of that secular-pseudo-left as opposed to the traditional American form of liberalism, which is truly radical, the more I am convinced that secularism will always, in the end, work against the freedom and dignity of People and the possibility of sustained life in a decent world.

Harvard The Nation's Most Respected Whore House (With Apologies To Those Who Are Forced To Prostitute Their Bodies)

If it were not so hot and I were not so tired and if I didn't have so much work to get to, I'd write a really long article about what a friggin' whore house Harvard is, especially the hilariously named "Kennedy School Of Government" for adding to the long, long list of oligarchic prostitutes and pimps and worse criminals it has given "fellowships" and who knows what other honorific titles and positions to.

The latest one to make a sensation in the media, since they gave one to Sean Spicer, was the criminal against humanity, the poisoner of Flint Michigan, the imposer of state imposed dictators on many a mostly Democratic and, especially, Black majority municipality - his means of poisoning Flint - The Shame of Michigan, Rick Snyder.   Only, as rarely happens, The World's Greatest University (in so many a status seeking mind)  sucking his cock as they kiss his ass and shining his shoes, simultaneously, in this case created such a furor that Snyder bypassed the honoring.   

The guy who has been trolling me pretty much every day since sometime in about 2012 was first offended when I noted that so many of those who disappointed Democrats so badly in the Obama Administration were Harvard Products, not least of whom was, of course, Barack Obama.   I sinned against the whore house filled to overflowing with oligarchic liars and prostitutes that proclaims as its motto "Veritas" even as it was among the Ivy class institutions that specialized in producing amoral liars of the ruling class and its lackeys.  It's one of the defects of having an ersatz left that is so dominated by the college credentialed that it is so bound up with the kind of whoring after status and a respect for that status that comes with a degree in so many cases.

I don't know, maybe it's because I'm an ornery farm boy in New England where even in my state Harvard products are thick on the ground but I've known lots of them and know their educations haven't made them especially wise as it has allowed so many of them to make a lot of money out of being especially amoral.   Not a few of them aren't all that competent, either.

But before someone points to Elizabeth Warren, SHE'S NOT A PRODUCT OF HARVARD, SHE'S A PRODUCT OF PUBLIC EDUCATION, INCLUDING HER LAW DEGREE FROM RUTGERS.   And her public career as well as her academic work proves that Havard may have hired her but they didn't corrupt her.   There are even Harvard grads - the legitimate ones, not the Kennedy School types - who aren't whores of oligarchy but I would guess that numerically they're the exception, not the rule.  It certainly isn't the case with the administrators who would all seem to be servicers of oligarchic fascist rule.  How else would the Kennedy School get away with honoring so many criminals of the worst type going on decades.  Get a load of this

“The people of Flint, Michigan — and especially low-income black residents — have suffered acutely because of their poisonous water supply, and I have been deeply moved by the personal and thoughtful messages I have received from people in Flint,” Douglas Elmendorf, the Harvard Kennedy School dean, wrote in an email on Wednesday to students, faculty and staff members.

“We appreciate Governor Snyder’s interest in participating in such discussions in our community,” he continued, “but we and he now believe that having him on campus would not enhance education here in the ways we intended.” 

That's the kind of blatant dishonestly shamelessly spouted by Ivy products of the kind who rise at Harvard,  Elmendorf is a product of two, Princeton and Harvard.   You almost get the feeling that he really doesn't understand the problem of having someone who belongs in prison for killing people and other crimes against humanity and democracy when you know very well that Dean Elmendorf knows exactly what they were honoring Snyder for, service to the worst of Republican-fascist oligarchy.   

Later in the NYT piece linked to, it says:

Tiffani Ashley Bell, the founder of the Human Utility, a nonprofit organization that uses crowdsourcing funds to help low-income residents in Michigan and Maryland pay their water bills, started the online petition. In 2017, she served as a technology and democracy fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School.

“It would have been another slap in the face to the people of Flint,” if Mr. Snyder had taken the fellowship, Ms. Bell said in an interview on Wednesday. “The Harvard community deserves better.”

Passing up writing the long, long piece that the concept of "Human Utility"  is begging for, for the moment,  no "The Harvard community" doesn't deserve better, as someone who is, no doubt, familiar with the place and the Kennedy School as she must be would know.  Harvard's "community" is full to the top of people who are as thick as the thieves they are with the Rick Snyders of the world and people like Ms. Bell pretending that the place is any better than it is are a big part of the problem of why it is allowed to maintain a status that makes criminals like Rick Snyder and the myriad of other such "fellows" value an association with it, why stupid, status seeking mid-brows with no association with it fall for that bull shit.  Harvard and its fellow elite institutions need to be taken down enough notches till they stop being a danger to democracy and decency, which are the same thing. 

I'm surprised they haven't offered one to The Shame Of Maine, Paul LePage, yet.  Maybe he's too down-market for them.  They at least like them presentable, no matter how deep the gore stains on them are. 

Update:  Now that I see I expressed myself ambiguously, I will get around to writing that piece about "Human Utility" if for nothing else than to apologize to Ms. Bell.  The group apparently doesn't conceive of human beings in terms of utility but in utilities such as a municipal and regional water system being things humans have a right to.  

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Betty Carter - Geri Allen - Stardust Memories: Memories of You

The only time I got to hear Betty Carter in person was in the same period when she did this recording.  It was as wonderful as she was.  Geri Allen is someone I never did get to hear in person.  Two giants, the memory lingers on.   Memories of You is one of my all time favorite songs.  I don't think anyone ever sang it more effectively to a more effective accompaniment.

The Parade For The Majority

Where's The Parade?

I have a moratorium on celebrating national holidays until our national government is cleansed of Trumpian-Republican-Fascism and I see Bill Barr being perp-walked to prison.  That includes doing something about the fascist domination of the Supreme Court, too.

It Just Might Work - Prison's Too Good For Them

I think this is called pitching an idea or something. 

Seeing the footage, listening to the babbleage of Ivanka  Trump in Korea, I longed to hear a really well done skit of her in the prison she so richly deserves to be in, spouting her minor-Ivy, PR bullshit babbleage to a bunch of tough gal prisoners menacing her in real prison . . . 

I can imagine the staff at Samantha Bee's show or Seth Meyers' show or some others might come up with something worth watching. 

Unfortunately, I'm not up to writing it, myself and I couldn't produce it.   

I can imagine it with Jared being behind bars too.  

If you think that's too mean, let me remind you of what their criminal administration is doing to entirely innocent babies and toddlers and children in concentration camps as you read this. 

A Thought On July 4, 2019 The Day Of Trump's North Korean Style Parade

As ancient narrative and as history, this story of conquest is certainly the least remarkable part of the Bible, and a very modest event as conquests go, the gradual claiming of an enclave in a territory that would be utterly negligible by the lights of real conquerors  such as Alexander the Great or Augustus Caesar or even Ashurbanipal.  The suggestion that God was behind it maybe makes it worse than the campaigns of self-aggrandizement that destroyed many larger cities though it is not clear to me that it should.   A consequence which follows from God's role in the conquest of Canaan, asserted with terrible emphasis in Leviticus and elsewhere, is that God will deal with the Israelites exactly as he has dealt with the Canaanites, casting them out of the land in their turn if they cease to deserve it.  Abraham is told in a dream that possession of the promised land will be delayed an astonishing four hundred years until, in effect, the Amorites (that is Canaanites) have lost their right to it.  We Anglo-European invaders do not know yet if we will have four hundred years in this land. 

Marilynne Robinson, The Fate of Ideas: Moses

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Making "Never Again" Into A Disgusting Opportunistic Descecration - Hate Mail

I will not do what the Nazis did and neo-Nazis and America's indigenous racists did and do, classify different groups of People on the basis of valuation.  Nor will I do that on an individual basis which is the same thing.  THAT is the foundation of what the Nazis did to all of those People and groups they targeted for obliteration, if there is any more fit way to remember, to make "never again" more than an exercise in morbid antiquity but a living memorial to those who died, that is it BY NOT USING THEM TO DO WHAT THE NAZIS DID TO THEM BUT TO OTHER PEOPLE.  That is true of the groups in the 1930s and 40s who were murdered by the Nazis, beginning with their opponents and rivals in politics, then with Disabled People, then with Jews and the many other named group they targeted for obliteration.  But that isn't only true for those years.  Only as an example, it is as true of the Herero and Nama People murdered three decades and more earlier by Germans more than a decade before the Nazi Party was formed, some of the very same people involved in that were also involved in those later Darwinian murders, some of the most appalling scientific practices committed by the Nazi scientific officers were repeating what scientists like Eugen Fischer did during that slaughter.   And that is as true of other non-Nazi slaughters of the century of murder, the catalogue of which and the numbers of People targeted is staggering in its size and scope. 

And what is true of the refusal to think like a Nazi in putting different valuations on the lives of People long ago murdered among various groups murdered by various groups is as true across time.  To compare the treatment of People by governments here and now to those murdered by the Nazis is not to, in any way, dishonor those who were murdered by the Nazis, IT IS TO SANCTIFY THEIR LIVES BY MAKING THEM OF CONTINUING VALUE - NO OF PUTTING THEM BEYOND A SCALE OF VALUATION - , ALL OF THEM, TO OBLITERATE THE RACIST, ETHNIC CHAUVINIST, ECONOMIC-DARWINIST THINKING THAT GOT THEM KILLED, TO CALL OUT THE IDEOLOGIES, THE SCIENTIFIC JUSTIFICATIONS, THE ROMANTIC ERA-"ENLIGHTENMENT" PSEUDO-SCIENTIFIC LINGUISTIC-NATIONALIST THEORIES, THE ORIGINAL SIN THAT IS ENDEMIC TO THE HUMAN SPECIES THAT KILLED THEM, TO PREVENT WHAT HAPPENED THEN FROM HAPPENING AGAIN.  

Unless you are entirely on with that means of honoring those murdered by the Nazis, your "never again" is a bullshit desecration of all of those murdered, especially the ones you care about.  You're doing what the Nazis did, what Stalin did in his pogroms, what the Czars and various monarchs and princes and local thugs did, you're using them for your purpose, not honoring their lives.   If you don't think the Latin Americans, the Palestinians, the Uyghurs,   etc. etc. etc. are in danger of turning into the next genocide, you are screwing the memory of skeletons for your own ends.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Just Mail

It doesn't surprise me that Duncan Black is slamming Democrats when he should be slamming Republicans nor that his rump of lazy, affluent self-selected commentators are doing the same.  It's so much easier to slam Democrats for not being able to do anything with Republicans in control of the Senate than it is to try to contribute to flipping it.  They can all continue to fuck off and it wouldn't have any effect on things for the worse.  They're so entirely 2006*.  They do nothing, they think nothing, they do nothing.  Just about anyone who thought and had any inclination to do left a long time ago.  The only one I saw at that link I'd exempt from that was Hecate who thinks and does.  Why she bothers with those buffalo butts, I couldn't begin to guess.

* The date of the apotheosis of Atrios of Eschaton when, reportedly, he was mentioned without name but with a walk-on role in the most annoyingly anachronistic and unrealistic political fantasy show, The West Wing.  

The Uses of Verbal Prohibitions In Promoting Evil - When "Never Again" Means "Always Again"

It must have been in the 1980s that I heard The Woman Who Can't Open Her Mouth Without A Cliche Coming Out,  National Public Radio's Susan Stamberg mouthing the idiotic slogan "The first one who says 'fascist' loses" (the argument) which, certainly, would mean that as long as fascists didn't call themselves fascists that they could exist in the official DC-NYC-Atlanta (home of THE cabloid 24-7 "news" CNN) media environment without anyone daring to call their fascism what it is and, so, the fascists were the only winners in that asininity. 

Closely related to that is the right-wing Jewish- American zionist practice of knocking down even the most apropos of references to what the Nazis did, on the basis that we should learn nothing from that long crime that applies to today's repetitions of those things, nor should we take any lessons on how they ratfucked German-Austrian politics of the 1920s and 30s to take lessons from or it is presented as some kind of an affont to their victims.  See the use of that phony moralistic pose against Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez when she called the concentration camps being run by the Trump-fascist regime what they are, CONCENTRATION CAMPS. 

With the news that along with ICE, the Border Patrol has people fascistic enough so they will tell little children they are not providing water to to drink out of toilets - Nazis did similar stuff in death camps - the continuing intimidation campaign and the cowardly intimidation of the media and establishment by those cover ups should be met with rejection and calling them out as enablers of fascism, of neo-Nazism here and now practiced against Latin Americans fleeing gansters who have taken over countries in Latin America whose chances for democracy were crushed by American foreign policy over centuries.  

As with the refugee crises in Europe - much of that a result of European geo-politics of the colonial era and in the division of landmasses and people as the colonial system was breaking up - divisions done for the benefit of Europeans and with the explicit motive of making sure the people of those regions would be continually engaged in internal and regional struggles, America is experiencing the consequences of choices made by American governments, corporations, establishments of the past.  It would be grotesquely irresponsible to not note the part that the Bush II and Bush I administrations played in the current disaster that the Middle-East has gone through as well as the gangster rule that is driving so many people to flee their homelands for the United States, risking their lives because the reality they face from America's exported gangs is far more of a risk to them. 

The proposal that Julian Castro made for a Marshall Plan for Central America is one of the best ideas anyone has had on how to solve any "problem" that there is with illegal immigration into the United States, which will only get worse until people can live at home in peace and a very good chance at having a decent life in El Salvador, Honduras Guatemala, etc.   The United states owes the People of that region more than it owed the People of Europe after the Second World War. The Original Marshall Plan was a matter of humanitarian good sense and morality, one which helped lead to one of the longest periods of peace and prosperity in Europe in its history.  In Central America, in the Western Hemisphere, the United States not only has a humanitarian or common sense reason to promote equality, democracy and a decent life in those countries, it owes an huge debt of moral responsibility for its past exploitation and despoliation from the period after the colonial period when it replaced European colonizers working through its agent governments and puppets.  

Doing that would heal everything except the self-interest of billionaires and many millionaires who have profited from the evil status quo, them and the crime bosses who are the de facto rulers of those countries, now.  We will never get there until we face the fact that the Republican Party of the United States is and has been a fascist party, first promoting the fascist status quo elsewhere and now overtly bringing that fascism home, working with billionaire oligarchs to cement their fascist rule into place here with the help of the Supreme Court Republicans.  

You'll never get there until you overcome those slogans and prohibitions on calling things what they are.  

I Know He Doesn't Know Stravinsky's Music But He Knows You're Not Supposed To Diss Him Or "Modernism" - Stupid Mail

 Ja, wer tommerlt denn da?
Das ist ja der kleine Modernsky!
Hat sich ein Bubizopf schneiden lassen;
sieht ganz gut aus!
Wie echt falsches Haar!
Wie eine Perücke!
kleine Modernsky vorstellt>, ganz der Papa Bach!

Hey, who's drumming there?  
That's little Modernsky! 
He's got a bubble hair cut, 
looks pretty good! 
Like real false hair! '
Like a peruke! 
(Just as little Modernsky imagines him), 
quite the Papa Bach!

Arnold Schoenberg: Drei Saterien  1925/26 : 2 Vielseitigkeit (Versatility)

In the context of music at the time, clearly referencing a Russian (Modernsky) there was no one Schoenberg could have been making fun of but Stravinsky and, as Eduard Steurmann noted, Stravinsky knew that he was Schoenberg's target. It took "little Modernsky" more than three decades and a world war to get over the pinch and give up the neo-classicism which was an explicit feature of fascist and Nazi ideology as well as that of so many a modernist. 

"Modernism" was always a category that ill fitted what would be called "classical" music in the 20th century and I don't think it's more than a ill conceived categorization that even many of the composers, writers, painters, etc took on as a superfluous ideological identity.   The impulses that led to what would be called "the liberation of dissonance" went from that incredible innovator, Debussy to all kinds of directions, some of it, indeed, took the misdirection into self-conscious neo-classicism, I think a lot of the composers were afraid of what they were participating in and sought to find order in a largely imaginary past.  The commentaries that precede the score of  the Three Satires,* the one on this movement, notes the falsity of that "progress" was really a retreat into a phony, imaginary past
Yet in himself he remained as sensitive as ever; “ I wrote [the Saitres] when I was very much angered by attacks of some of my younger contemporaries at this time and I wanted to give them a warning that it is not good to attack me,” he explained in a letter to the American composer Amadeo de Filippi. His words were aimed at four groups he wished to target, as he writes in the foreword of the piece; those “who seek their personal salvation in the middle of the [compositional] road,” those who are oriented to the past, who look backwards instead of forwards,” the “folklorists” and lastly, “all the ‘…ists’ ** in whom I can only see mannerists.”

The discussion of what Schoenberg meant in the lyrics he wrote, in the explanation in his published introduction to the score, in the harmonic and formal structure of the music proves that the "modernism" (of which, Schoenberg was considered the ultra-modern of the ultra-modern of that decade) was based in harmonic and other structures of music, even the self conscious "neo-classicists" Stravinsky and his imitators, Karl Hindemith and his students (who almost to a person couldn't escape being his imitators) and others couldn't help but break out of the restrictions of neo-classicism, the "classical" in music being tied to the specific tonic-dominant harmonic pattern which by then was more a specimen pinned to a card and labeled than something you could center a composing career around.  

The vitality in Stravinsky's music came from its adoption of rhythms he heard in jazz and those he had gotten from Russian and Eastern European folk and popular music, raising something kind of like classical structures on that foundation.  I think it's the most self-consciously neo-classical pieces that tend to be the less successful ones.  Certainly, ironically, it's the most floridly romantic of the pieces that get played the most, along with the Symphony of Psalms.

* I don't mind translating the lyrics but the micro essays of Schoenberg aren't things I'm going to try to translate. If I find them translated I'll crib that translation later.

**  I'm quite sure that eventually would have included the "serialists."  Though many of the "ist" composers produced good works, occasionally great ones, the various "isms" that they adopted as a pseudo-intellectual platform contributed little good to those and not infrequently hampered them.  I think in the case of Hindemith and some others, their ideology made their inspiration less effective.  I do think that even for all of his inspiration, many of the monuments of neo-classicism that he produced were some of his least effective pieces.  There's a reason that he's still best known for his earliest works, the ones before he adopted the pose of classicism in the same period he was flapping his lips in disdain of democracy and adoration of Mussolini.    In music any self-consciously adopted "ism" is stupid, it's seeking intellectual status either before the creation of work that would justify that status or it's a futile attempt to hitch your wagon to some star who can carry that off better.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Hate Mail

Oh, I don't care what the superannuated twerp says about me.  No one who finds him credible is anyone whose opinion about anything matters.   Last time it motivated me to do some research into Noah Webster who turns out to have been a far more admirable person than I was brought up believing and who had to settle for an important but merely incremental reform in written English.  It was interesting.  

Thank heavens for free internet libraries that have old books, the kind your public library is throwing out to make space for computers.   I don't know, maybe it's for the better that those books will be read, if at all, in pixels instead of ink on decaying paper.  The simpleton in question, though, won't read anything comprising evidence because, as the favorite whine of the lower level Frosh goes, "that's haa-aaarrrrrrd!

And if this didn't allow me to make that point about Noah Webster and free online internet books, Project Gutenberg,, etc. I wouldn't have bothered. 

Update:  Is it any wonder that a simpleton can't understand it?  Two Sentences 

The stupefaction  of the American People through the New Speak of TV level small words and short sentences has led to college credentialed mid-brows not being able to recognize longer sentences with longer words as English.   That largely PR created mental debility, created by the official and stupid adoption of Strunkian-Whitian dogma has become endemic in the American untellectual class, many of them one-topic highbrows, everything else not above a sadly lowered average, who  have positions at even elite universities and other venues of establishment repute. 

Update 2:  From Geoffrey Pullum's article just linked to: 

I am quite convinced that The Elements of Style harms students more than it helps them. Yet the Google search term {Strunk White "Elements of Style"} calls up nearly ninety hits. Replacing by yields more, about 140. At Princeton it's 23. At Stanford it's about 95. The finest universities in America continue to insist that this awful little compilation of century-old peevery is an important accessory for today's literate student. It isn't. The difference between carrying around The Elements of Style in your backpack and carrying around a slide rule is that slide rules gave accurate answers.

Republicans Wanted To Do Business With Hitler Too

Over the past dozen years I've pointed to the tiny little baby-step between Marxism and fascism that so many an alleged lefty has taken in the 20th and 21st century.  The old generation of neo-conservatives, the Kristols, Podhoretzes, Decters, etc. as Marxists of the Trotsky cult, most of them from New York City,  not all of them.  And they were preceded on that tiniest of roads by those such as Max Eastman and many of the first generation Marxists in the United States and elsewhere.   The idea that there is a whole world of political identities between fascism and Nazism on one end and Marxists on the other is one of the most absurd ideas that there ever were.   They are kissin' killin' cousins who favor gangster rule, oppression, slavery, and, most salient of all salient features in a political ideology, murdering many, many thousands and millions of people, cementing their gangster rule into place through terror, intimidation, robbing people of hope or even the expectation that more can be hoped for.  Being overtly political forms of gangsterism, opting for the more efficient means of controling instead of merely buying off the government, they have a cover story, an alleged ideology* which may or may not have some actual connection to their activities but which, if there, is at least secondary to it.  In Nazism it was an overtly Darwinist biological ideology centered in national identity, in Marxism it was allegedly internationalist and, when it bothered, opted for something closer to behaviorism, creating a new man through behavioral modification (by terrorism) and not breeding.  

This is something I have argued, now, with several of what I'm pretty sure were Putin regime rent-boy-trolls.  Their slightly imperfect English eventually trips a lot of them up.   With his  overt attack on "multiculturalism" and egalitarian democracy the Putin crime family is dropping more and more pretenses, working with America's indigenous criminal class, the Republican Party, to destroy democracy and to sell out the United States and Europe to Putin's plan to dominate as much of the world as he can.   You might want to watch this recent report from The Guardian to get the vibe

Remind you of something?   Clearly, in Putin, Hitler won that war.  It just took a few decades.  And through Republicans and our own Billionaire gangsters, the total idiocy of the Supreme-Court-ACLU line on "free (lying) speech, free (lying) press"  and the destruction of Christian morality, he might just conquer America, too.

* I am increasingly fascinated and disgusted to discover one after another of what was sold to me in my youth as the heroes of modernism were often overt supporters of fascism and Nazism, the rarity of modernists who were overt supporters of egalitarian democracy are very few and often not the most moderny of modernists.  Stravinsky was overt about his disdain for democracy as he supported Mussoilini in the 1930s - before he decided that arranging the Star Spangled Banner was in his interest (in what I now think was the mockery that some believed it to be, at the time) as he saw that the United States and democracy were the only alternative to depravity.  I've written at length about Gertrude Stein's not only expressed adoration of Hitler - she is credibly accused of nominating him for the Nobel Peace Prize - she was an active collaborator with the Nazi puppet Vichy government, translating Petain's speeches for an American audience and writing an adoring introduction to them in which she compared the Nazi puppet to George Washington - I think her modernism must have made her especially stupid by the time she wrote that. 

Over the years of considering the close relationship of modernism with fascism and, in some instances, Marxists of every flavor of poison from Lenin to Putin (now that we know there's no real difference between commie apparatchik Putin and neo-Nazisky Putin) I've come to conclude that modernism is, as the great American painter Jack Levine noted, an expression of elitist snobbery.   Modernism's history, in almost every one of its major figures, has been elitist and superficial to one extent or another, it is no surprise to me, anymore when I find out that they were and, to the extent there still is modernism, are anti-democratic and prone to supporting gangsterism, especially those gangsters that will provide them with luxury and money and security.  Or they will cravenly do that. 

Sunday, June 30, 2019

42 Years Ago Today - Marian McPartland,Mary Osborne,Vi Redd, Lynn Milano, Dottie Dodgion

I'll Remember April 

Vi Redd, alto sax
Mary Osborne, guitar
Marian McPartland, piano
Lynn Milano, bass
Dottie Dodgion, drums

Walter Brueggemann - Continuing Through The Disruptive Conjunction - Here's a clue, the conjunction in question is "but".

It's from a decade ago but so much of what he said is even more true in the Trumpian-fascism we are in today.   I have yet to hear Brueggemann say much of anything I can find any fault with.   I am constantly finding my hand going to the Brueggemann section of my bookcase, a section that grows steadily longer as I find more of his books in used bookstores, online and off.   I've even bought a few of them new and as yet uncherished.   It might be more of my Catholicity than a Brueggemannian idea, but I like to think the previous owners used them as road guides to heaven.

Stupid Mail

Apparently the idiot who trolls me finds Vi Redd's music to be excessively intellectual, telling me that until I experience music on an emotional level that I should stop posting music.  While her music is far from facile and mindless, you'd have to be the latter to not experience the emotion of her performance and improvisation.

I told you, addressing him would be like exploiting the retarded.  Only he's only got the excuse of being lazy and superficial, a guzzler of the easily consumed and unchallenging.  With him it's a chosen, not an involuntary limitation of intellect.  Unlike most of the mentally slow people I've known, he's got no compensating excellence of character to make up for it, either.