Monday, April 08, 2013

Surrounded by Time Bandits

Still no time for timelessness, so I guess this is an open thread.


Blogger Open Trench said...

There is a question regarding time:

What is the best of use of my time right now?

Keep asking every 30 minutes until the night closes in.

Results may vary.

4/08/2013 09:51:00 AM  
Blogger Brian Spears said...

The Declaration of Independence is a contract with no severability clause.

4/08/2013 10:49:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

I like that one.

4/08/2013 11:46:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

It was bad enough losing Lady Thatcher, but Annette?

God is not happy with us.

4/08/2013 11:51:00 AM  
Blogger Magister said...

Sad day. RIP Baroness, and Annette.

In other news:

Knowing some successful techies, this article pretty well nails it.

Walking through the Art Institute of Chicago's modern wing, it's hard for me to resist the feeling that much of modern art is simply a con that is then used by self-hating westerners to break down any impulse to feel good about beauty and skill.

A sort of spiking of the artistic economy, you might say.

4/08/2013 12:57:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Well, an art that is based on hatred of art consumers will eventually meet customers with taste and little desire for prestige.

Funny though, I think modern artists in our time have perhaps forgotten that all of their schooling is based on things like Dada, so they may be more than normally dismayed when people don't buy their junk.

4/08/2013 01:11:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

I dunno. Having spent much time in various arts-related pursuits, to a certain extent the mentality - that people with money should be supporting the arts, simply because they are the arts - is much the same at all levels. When I was on the board of my choir, there was a longstanding complaint/ concern that not enough young people (somehow, it's always the fault of the young for not knowing what they ought to like doing with their free time) were coming to our concerts. I always kept my lip zipped in those discussions, being just the sort of contrary person who generally enjoys *doing* artsy things far more than *watching* somebody else do them. Anyway, I always figured that people like what they like. You can tell them about it til your lungs bleed and your budget is busted, but if that's not their bag you can't force them to be interested.

In the case of snobby elitist modern art, they can eye those fat young techie bank accounts all they want, but they can't force anyone to fork over the dough, and trying to get geeks who'd probably rather see a collection of anime fan art than some abstracted monstrosity strikes me as an exercise in pure futility.

4/08/2013 01:50:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Considering that Japanese artists have a more intuitive grasp of beauty - both in its elegant and grotesque forms - this is naturally unsurprising.

For young guys, there are obviously certain aspects to Anime that are attractive (As BNL put it, 'it has the BOOM Anime Babes, that make me think the wrong thing...') but beyond that, it has its own aesthetic which even when it absorbs Western 'comic' art remains itself.

The weirdness/creepiness sometimes associated with it has more to do with the structure of Anime as an economic whole in Japan - meaning, what sort of things the fandom demands.

4/08/2013 01:58:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

That wasn't a dig at anime, by the way - just that most tech minded people I've known have pretty specific interests, generally influenced by their personal entertainment preferences, and that modern art or even classical art tends to be pretty low down on that list.

4/08/2013 02:07:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

In other news, shocker: gay student "comes out" at Jerry Falwell's University, and nothing much happens.

Shocking, that is, unless you've been paying attention to how most Christians believe we should treat each other...

4/08/2013 02:19:00 PM  
Blogger JP said...

"When I was on the board of my choir, there was a longstanding complaint/ concern that not enough young people (somehow, it's always the fault of the young for not knowing what they ought to like doing with their free time) were coming to our concerts."

I like being in a choir much more than watching a choir.

The only kind of concert that I'll generally attend is an orchestra concert.

4/08/2013 02:48:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Been reading the copy of Thus Spake Zarathustra (somewhat cautiously) on Gutenberg, and I must admit it is quite funny at times. I can't yet recoonmend it of course (for what my recommendation might be worth) but reading it makes me wonder how many people really have read it.

4/09/2013 12:26:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Do you think it would be entertaining to bring Nietzsche back and turn him loose some place like Harvard?

4/09/2013 01:48:00 PM  
Blogger ge said...

C'mon Nietzsche is hip, a great read who should not be missed or second-handed!
-Who else could charm the spectrum from Steiner to Foucault/Deleuze/Bataille?
He & Schopenhauer are known for being exhilarating not deadening 'sophers

4/09/2013 02:53:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

River, it's probably been fifteen years since I tried reading Nietzsche, but I remember thinking much the same; funny, and most people didn't read it that way.

It later occurred to me that he was a pretty warped person, though, and maybe he was being serious...

4/09/2013 03:15:00 PM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

River, I enjoyed Nietzsche. If you haven't read his essay on Tragedy(? I know what I'm thinking of, not sure of the name & I can't look it up at the moment) is very thought provoking, and dead on in many spots... just keep a firm grip on your perspective.

I disagreed with him, but he's well worth reading... just keep an I out, he's good at snatching the rug out from under you.

BTW, he was a big Emerson fan (there's an interesting C-SPAN interview with a lady who wrote about that... also can't think of the name). So was I, for a decade or two.

4/09/2013 04:07:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Nietzsche is a hoot, and he would have absolutely detested everything about the progressive left. He'd probably see it as a secularized version of an already devitalized and bloodless Christianity -- sickness upon sickness, as it were. Don Colacho said something to the effect that he was waylaid by dementia on the road to Damascus.

4/09/2013 04:51:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Obama groovin' to Justin Timberlake. Final proof that he's not black.

4/10/2013 07:39:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Wow. Does that make him America's first tween girl president?

4/10/2013 08:17:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

re "Obama groovin' to Justin Timberlake"

Haven't watched it, but I'm already reminded of this book that came out a couple of decades ago. It was titled "If you're talking to me, your career must be over."
I remember the author was on Imus describing how he was interviewing Susan Sarandon and all she wanted to do was talk about saving the whales and not at all "getting the joke" of the book.

4/10/2013 09:36:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

A lifetime spent pretending to be cool, obliterated in three awful minutes of musical whitebreadery. Proves that Obama is no superficial phony, but fake right down to the core.

4/10/2013 09:42:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I remember when the media gave Bush hell for merely preferring the early Beatles over the late Beatles. But in reality, the early Beatles are way cooler.

4/10/2013 09:43:00 AM  
Blogger JP said...

So, as I am wont to do, I was reading the Archdruid Report (one of the few blogs that even touches on historical analogy or metahistory out there), and here is his take on "Scientism":

"Jason, no, scientism doesn't worship nature. Nature is what science is supposed to conquer; nature is the Devil of scientism, the old enemy who will eventually be bound in chains and made to drag the glorious chariot of humanity wherever "we" (however defined) want it to go. Scientism is an anthropolatrous religion; it worships the reified abstraction of Humanity."

Anyhow, I figured that I would throw that definition up here.

4/10/2013 10:07:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

ZST, XI The New Idol is great.

A state? What is that? Well! open now your ears unto me, for now will I say unto you my word concerning the death of peoples.

Also earlier you get:

I should only believe in a God that would know how to dance.

And when I saw my devil, I found him serious, thorough, profound, solemn: he was the spirit of gravity—through him all things fall.

Not by wrath, but by laughter, do we slay. Come, let us slay the spirit of gravity!

N. says 'God is dead' and the left read no further.

4/10/2013 10:45:00 AM  
Blogger ge said...

Leave it to Uncle Al to capture the following injoke: [see last line]

"On the contrary, my lord, the ridiculous Sa Mon, who would never go to sea because he was afraid of being sick, although his genius for naval strategy had no equal in the Seven Abysses of Water, after a month as stowaway on a fishing boat (by the order of Kwaw) assumed the rank of Admiral of the Fleet, and has inflicted a series of complete and crushing defeats upon the British Admirals, who though they had been on the water all their lives, had incomprehensibly omitted to acquire any truly accurate knowledge of the metaphysical systems of Sho Pi Naour and Ni Tchze..."

4/10/2013 03:28:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Does that make him America's first tween girl president?

I like that. Al Green and mom jeans to Justin and Jeggings.

4/11/2013 12:07:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Yes, but didn't Bush have "My Sharona" on his playlist? Even for workout music, the lowest I'll go is "The Heat is On" -- and only because I'm taking a shower afterward anyway.

4/11/2013 12:11:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

Bob, anything like this?

4/11/2013 12:45:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

That's about right. Somehow, remodeling the bathroom has led to repiping the house, and resurfacing the pool has metastasized into a Jacuzzi, waterfall, and separate water feature... Lots of questions, like: do I need a new roof that will last longer than I do? And should we tear up the floor in the kitchen, so we can run a hose to the back of the fridge, just in case we someday get an ice maker?

4/11/2013 01:01:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

I thought I felt a disturbance in the force. I'm a recovering remodeler.

4/11/2013 01:08:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Reminds me of that flick The Money Pit, Bob.
A remodelling nightmare.

Did you hafta get "permits" from any CA. bureaucracies before remodelling?
That's another nightmare.

4/11/2013 01:21:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Bob, that all sounds like pure torture while it lasts. I hope the end results make it all worthwhile!

Re. the kitchen floor, they really need to pull it up just for a refrigerator water line? Those things are usually pretty simple to attach to your sink plumbing, and run through the cabinets. Unless of course you're tired of your floor...

4/11/2013 02:13:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Apparently I just caught the end of the conversation, which was something like, "okay, just don't tear up the floor."

I'm trying to stay out of the loop, just occasionally vetoing a design element that clashes with my newfound architectural expertise...

4/11/2013 07:08:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

For example: windows. Totally unobstructed, or small panes? Alexander prefers the latter.

4/11/2013 07:13:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Hm. Good question. On the one hand, if there's a good view a picture window can be nice, but on the other if there's breakage a small pane among many is easier to replace than a big one. Also, there's a certain framing effect with a bunch of smaller panes that can be rather pleasing. Funny that adding obstructions to a clear view should make it nicer to look through, but it does seem to be so.

Big windows seem kind of industrial somehow, as well.

Re. the ice maker, since you don't have one here's a great recipe for ice.

(Read the comments...)

4/11/2013 07:21:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

I have this horrible feeling that sometime in the future one twenty-something will turn to another and say, "You know, my mom always made the best ice cubes."

4/12/2013 08:58:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Oh the ice recipe. What a scream. Wouldn't have been funny 1000 years ago, though.

"You mean you people not only have cold water whenever you need it, you make fun of people who don't know who to make water cold?"

"Sir, maybe you should time travel to another era. I'm just sayin'."

4/12/2013 09:00:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

What? No library expansion, revolving bookcases, or trap doors?

4/12/2013 09:29:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Speaking of architecture and humanity, Lileks had a good screed yesterday:

"In the latter example of public housing, these boxy Mordors were brought to us by theorists who believed they could build a new type of authentic community, based on architectural forms that combined density with monstrous size and Corbu-inspired idiocy about isolated superstructures intentionally made remote from the urban fabric. They also hoped a new man would arise from these structures. They were awfully big on New Men. "

4/12/2013 12:51:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

I read that. Community requires that we share something other than the present physical space.

4/12/2013 02:25:00 PM  
Blogger ge said...

anyone landed here:?

4/13/2013 11:54:00 AM  
Blogger Jack said...

Strong words:

How Miles Davis and John Coltrane Ruined Jazz.

4/13/2013 06:19:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

His analysis of what "caused" smooth jazz is not even simplistic. No cultural phenomenon is that simple!

Besides, smooth jazz existed from the moment jazz existed. Look at Armstrong. His world-changing music was all recorded in the 1920s. Then he decided he wanted to make a living.

Miles too: he was doing smooth jazz in the 1950s, e.g., Miles Ahead, or the endless versions of My Funny Valentine for the Playboy After Dark contingent.

4/13/2013 06:44:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Coltrane's first albums with Impulse were mostly easy-listening: e.g., Ballads, or the ones with Ellington and Johnny Hartman. Likewise, Monk's first two albums on Riverside in the mid '50s were both very tame affairs, in the effort to reach a wider audience.

Why not blame Stan Getz and the Girl From Ipanema? Or Brubeck and Take Five? Or all the bad swing music in the 1930s?

4/13/2013 06:57:00 PM  
Blogger Leslie Godwin said...

For the record, I absolutely wouldn't tear up the floor for ice. I was making sure they weren't considering that. There was a language barrier, so I had to be really clear. I can see where Bob was alarmed at the possibility that the floor would be torn up for an ice maker, though.

But panes vs. no panes... the backyard will be the nicest room in the house, so I want to have a relatively unobstructed view. Like if you have an ocean view, you put as much glass and as little stucco as possible between you and ocean. Unless you have a French cottage, I guess.

My favorite line of the week:
"The water, she is on!" said in an Armenian Russian accent :) The plumber's accent reminded me of Chef Picscetti's from Curious George... very catchy!

Mrs. G

4/13/2013 06:58:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

It's like the old Carlin joke:

Anyone driving faster than you is a lunatic. Anyone driving slower than you is a moron.

4/13/2013 07:00:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Exactly: there will always be moldy figs and avant gardians.

4/13/2013 07:07:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

Besides, for some reason it is verboten for certain musicians to make a good living. It's almost as if they are expected to represent a purity few people themselves ever attempt to live up to.

4/13/2013 07:08:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

And that whole definition of art was only invented by pampered intellectuals with too much time and not enough religion: the artist as Misunderstood Truthbearer and Crucified Conscience of the World.

4/13/2013 07:16:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

I haven't investigated this but it seems that this view of art and music is a legacy of Romanticism. Beethoven--as great as he was--being the grand archetype.

All the Romantic talk about "the will" leading to the will to power, the triumph of the will, etc. It seems to me to converge with a God-complex and artistic messianism. Even leading into Fascism.

But, admittedly, I am kind of winging it here.

4/13/2013 07:25:00 PM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

Jack, try reading Rousseau (strong stomach and clear eyes a necessity), he was the first modern to understand how to destroy the world, and look good doing it.

In the age of Mozart, he sought to standardize the writing of music around his own theory of musical notation that eliminated, as much as possible, the use of harmonies.

While exalting the wonders of children, and childishness, he ripped his own 6 newborns from their mothers breast and sent them to their deaths.

In the age that was discovering how central Property Rights were to Individual Rights, a strong family and Liberty, he idealized the 'noble savage', the elimination of private property and liberating mankind of such barbaric oppressions as marriage, family and more.

In the age that was discovering what Education truly was, and what Civilization could be, he proposed a new theory of education with his 'Emile', which guaranteed the infantilization of those educated from it. That angsty 'Romantic' ideal, exemplified his ideal.

While making nice words about 'Freedom!", he created a concept of Rights that required enslavement of humanity.

I could go on and on and on... but I'll leave it with this:

Kant broke his OCD-like obsession with a precisely timed afternoon walk which for years townspeople set their clocks by, only once - when wrapped up with reading Rousseau's 'Emile', under the only decoration in his drab home, a portrait of Rousseau. Rousseau provided the inspiration, Kant provided the philosophical 'substance' to legitimize it, and Hegel developed it even further into forms that even finer folk like Marx, Lenin & Hitler could put to real good use.

Rousseau of course wasn't the only person or cause, but he was the indispensable virus at the heart of nearly any modern illness you'd like to trace back to source, or as Voltaire said on reading his "The Social Contract":

"I have received your new book against the human race, and thank you for it. Never was such cleverness used in the design of making us all stupid. One longs, in reading your book, to walk on all fours. But as I have lost that habit for more than sixty years, I feel unhappily the impossibility of resuming it."

4/13/2013 08:47:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...


Thank you. I am still groping my way towards trying to understand this aspect of our intellectual history. It seems to me that this Romantic view of Art pervades the unexamined assumptions of many (if not most) of those who call themselves artists. I don't think the influence has been largely positive.

I do have a copy of Rousseau's "Basic Political Writings" which includes "Discourse on the Sciences and the Arts"; "Discourse on the Origin of Inequality"; "The Social Contract" etc.

I have not read it yet. Many indicators point to Rousseau as a key figure in the propagation of the disease that is now seen as the picture of health.

It does seem that the Romantic notion of the "Great Artist" who transcends the petty concerns of us mere mortals can easily be transposed to the "fuhrer principle".

4/14/2013 06:13:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Say, why aren't more people repelled by the left, anyway? I would say because they are either repellently stupid or just repellent.

4/14/2013 08:48:00 AM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Our Anglican (now being "disciplined" by The Episcopal Church) Bishop confirmed young people today, prayed for every individual who asked, and prophesied over not a few.

But when he preached on the Good Shepherd and the five promises Jesus makes in John 10, he quoted A Man For All Seasons. You could tell he is a man who loves poetry. His every breath today was a poem of lovely truth and twinkling good humor. Not bad for a man out of favor with his "betters."

One bit of fun: he posited that God has our DNA on the hardest of the Eternal hard drives, and no one can hack into it and wrest us out of it. When we leave this earthly shell our DNA will be uploaded to a new body! Said his will probably be about 30 years old. LOL!

But he did, all in 20 minutes, inflame my imagination, stir my spirit, and encourage my heart to seek the Eternal.

Afterwards I said that when he concluded with, "let us pray" I told him he should have closed with, "let us shout!" I reminded him of the last sermon he gave in our church, about Uncreated Light. His eyes shone and he asked if I liked poetry. Indeed, he knew all the best ones worth knowing. And after a few more minutes one could see our Bishop of SC not unlike the prophets of old.

And now I must away to catch up with Charles Williams and Gerard Manly Hopkins. If they inspire such a man, I must sit at their feet and learn, too.

4/14/2013 12:19:00 PM  
Blogger Magister said...

Say, why aren't more people repelled by the left, anyway?

Because the left gives people excuses to be sexually irresponsible.

4/15/2013 12:21:00 PM  
Blogger Magister said...

Robert Spencer is tilting at windmills with that article of his on who killed jazz.

Artists are free to do whatever they want. Hawkins, Bird, Tatum, Miles, all those guys just made the best of their situations. They wanted to work out the music because working out the music was their need (like drugs). Coltrane had a need to make all his musical knowledge explicit, even if Miles told him he didn't have to play "every damn thing" in a single chorus. It was a compulsion.

Now all that is largely done. The terrain of swing, bebop, postbop, and hard bop has been mapped in exhaustive detail. We're in the museum phase, however cool it is to play museum music. And in my opinion, it *is* cool because that kind of music elevates your musical game, period. You *rise* to that level. Kudos to those who dedicate themselves to that.

But let's not kid ourselves about innovation and "killing jazz" and all that. Music now is all about the horizontal collision of musical traditions. That, and using new tech, is where the real innovation is.

Justin Timberlake is an entertainer and to my mind pretty interchangeable.

Otis Redding was a man, and one of a kind. When he sang "Dock," it signified something more than just a sing-along at a party.

I hope for the booze was good at that WH gig, because it's not worth watching.

Politics and art don't mix. Art is about skill, freedom, and creativity. Politics is about enslaving all three to some narrow agenda.

4/15/2013 12:53:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...


No, I think he's probably right on the money here.

But it's probably more of a statement of the decay of the culture of the West itself, unable to generate and maintain any more new art forms. Rock and roll is dead now too, you know. So no hard feelings, right?

4/15/2013 01:41:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Part of the problem is that Jazz feeds off of and energizes other living musical forms, but they must be simple forms like folk, blues, and so forth. Rock and roll is too stylized and mixed already to be jazz material. The result is just a muddle of 'smooth jazz'.

Coltrane I think ascends too quickly, attains a kind of 'Overman' musician status that disconnects him from his audience, and creates a cloud of wannabe followers who imitate without understanding, and their followers then do not understand and can hardly imitate.

Bill Evans warned 'em all, didn't he: "Better to play a simple improvisation you understand than a complex one you don't."

A musician can bring any of these forms back to life *if he wants to*. Most though are more concerned with building the big idol they have of themselves, Davis and Coltrane may have been subject to this attraction as well.

4/15/2013 01:47:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Slow motion implosion begins today. We pray for the families affected by the Boston Marathon Bombing.

4/15/2013 02:40:00 PM  
Blogger ted said...

I live in Boston. I've been to the marathon countless times. And I am saddened and outraged by all of this. Yet, I feel so blessed to be part of a country that stands for such goodness - despite any evil that dares to tear it down!

4/16/2013 04:24:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

If they can be compared, there is something different from 9/11. There was an attack also on our unique sense of leisure, this time. Our Sacred Slack. What is more useless than running in a marathon, except perhaps standing there watching one, as one watches a parade. It is an end in itself. And we "do" slack like rolling out of bed in this country.
And they hate that.
They are precisely 180 degrees from us now.

4/16/2013 05:44:00 PM  

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