[...] I feel sorry for Sarah [Palin]. McCain has sucked her into an "opportunity" akin to a sub-prime mortgage situation on a house she cannot afford.
some guy named Larry on a forum
His new film is titled "Slacker Uprising" and he's made it available for free streaming on ITunes and at Amazon. It's a pretty good film that documents his failed attempt to register enough voters and to rally enough support to defeat Dubya in the 2004 election.
A particularly memorable moment in the film for me is a brief interview with Joan Baez, who with very few words contrasts the past with the present, eviscerating Dylan in the process. "Dylan is not here.", she says, highlighting the complete lack of outrage toward—or even of simple honest commentary on— an inept news media that refuses to do its job. The journalists didn't ask the hard questions that needed to be asked regarding the intelligence reports which lured us into this misguided war. Her point is that we need more dissenters to shout out loud and clear that the emperor is in fact naked (and ugly to boot) and that his hands are anything but clean.
Anyway, the film is definitely worth a view.
Hey, it's free, after all, so I doubt greed is Michael's prime motivation. I think he genuinely cares about the fight he fights and about the people he tries to speak for, his proclivity for hyperbole notwithstanding.
Did you know? . . .
Did you know? . . .
Did you know? . . .
Did you know? ...
I attended a performance by the Phoenix Symphony last night. It was my first time in at least two or three years and my first time since they completed construction of the new Symphony Hall. Nice place. Good acoustic design. The sound of the orchestra was clear, focused.
The concert was part of the inagural World Music Festival. First up—a gesture of patriotic solidarity:
The audience was encouraged to sing along, so I did, timidly at first, but more forcefully by the time the rockets red-glared.
I was previously unfamiliar with the work of this Japanese-born composer. I particularly enjoyed the film music pieces, one of which reminded me of Gerwshin harmonically and melodically, but with an understated rhythmic vagueness which made it delightfully ambiguous. The waltz piece was interesting in that it was simultaneously traditional (none of the motifs would have sounded out of place in 19th century Vienna) yet harmonically adventurous, modulating between keys freely.
I quite enjoyed watching Ms. Wu Man play her pipa, a pear-shaped four-stringed fretted Chinese lute. I love to watch a musician really get into it like she does. The concerto was written especially for her and her flawless confident execution shows an intimate familiarity with it. Particularly notable is the fact that this is not a patchwork quilt of traditional Chinese folk melodies accompanied by orchestra; this is a texturally-rich piece which utilizes chromatically shifting harmonies in a way that evokes Chinese music while expanding its traditional pentatonic palatte. I suspect that the tone of the instrument itself is a major contributing factor in this evocation of the far east in the listener.
A master of her instrument, Wu Man's playing is nuanced and complex.
Romashka played several tunes from the eastern European traditions, including Romania, Transilvania, Hungary and Russia. Although I enjoyed their enthusiasm and I am a big fan of Easter-European folk music, the ensemble had to be amplified (unlike the orchestra, needless to say) and it felt like the sound was not quite dialed in at first. This was a slight distraction but once whoever was mixing sound got it together they pulled off a pretty good performance.
This being the only one of the pieces that I was familiar with before the concert, and considering that it's already a standard of many (if not most) orchestra repertoires, I won't say much about it, except to say that I was impressed by this orchestra's range and control of dynamics. Well done.
For an encore, the orchestra was joined by Romashka AND by Ms. Man (who approached the music with the same verve as she did in the concerto which featured her) for a rendition of an old Hungarian folk tune arranged for both the ensemble and the orchestra. At the end of the piece, Romashka continued playing, segueing into what sounded like the familiar klezmer theme that opens "Fiddler on the Roof" and proceeded to keep playing as they walked off the stage toward the lobby where the audience was invited to join them for another set of music and dance.
I recently perused Tal Ilan's catalogue of naming frequencies in ancient Judea after reading Bauckham's "Eyewitnesses" book. The fact that the people in that place and at that time seemed to have held to a traditional naming convention with a relatively limited pool of names to choose from makes an interesting contrast with a list of names in use by the English Puritans of the late sixteenth/early seventeenth centuries. They were so obsessed with scripture that they chose words and phrases from Holy Writ as names for their children. Lower's English Surnames reports that a jury list from Sussex County included these specimens:
I can't help but imagine some somber plainly-clad parishioner opening the good book and randomly pointing to a verse to use as a name of his/her newborn child.
My mom recently told me that there's a Dominican immigrant couple in her neighborhood that, although they don't speak English, decided to name their child "Christophertwelveseventeen" just because they liked the sound of it. The couple's name-choice seems a strange decision until one stands away a step or two and realizes that it is essentially a cargo cult-like expression of their hope for their child. Its "sounds" like success in the American dream to this couple and so they go with it. I've often wondered how much the names we give our children can affect their lives. I have a friend whose name is Dowell (do-well) and he's done pretty well, I must say, so maybe there is something to it.
In a 2007 advertisement celebrating Black History month, the Coco Cola company appealed to a sense of solidarity with the Afro-american community with this nostalgic tour of the many bottle shapes that were in use by the company at various significant events in the history of the civil rights movement in the United States:
"[we must] always anchor our external direct action [...] So as a result of this we're asking you tonight to go out and tell your neighbors not to buy Coca Cola in Memphis (...loud applause)"
Coca Cola would have you now believe that MLK was their homeboy, that they've been down with civil rights all along.o_Ó
Coca Cola has revised history to achieve their marketing ends. As far as Coca Cola goes, that's just the tip of the iceberg, so extensive is the magnitude of their sins against mankind (their evil is international). But I'm not here to slam Coca Cola today; I'll save that for another post.
Fast forward now to the focus of my rancor, namely, the current electoral season.
The McCain campaign is trying to revise history for their own marketing ends. In the last couple of weeks the campaign has been repeating—despite its being continually reputed at every turn—that McCain and his running-mate Sarah Palin have always been staunch opposents of earmarks and of bridges to nowhere. As a matter of fac, they're courageous mavericks, don't you know?
But the fact is that Governor Palin clearly and undeniably lobbied for earmarks AND for the bridge in question. It's right there in the public record for all to see, if they would only look into it.
Yet they continue to hammer away at the lie, hoping that the American people will start to believe it out of sheer repitition (lamentably, the technique seems to work with the average American lemming, as past elections have shown).
But a lie is still a lie.
If I may quote a very wise man:
"You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig."It's an eminently applicable and appropriate metaphor, if you ask me.
Oh wait! . . . It's been used this week already?? . . . Damn!
The passion narratives contain a little detail which I'd like to focus on: the high priest tears his own garments upon hearing Jesus blaspheme.GMatt's version (26:62–65 . . . c.f. GMark 14: 60–62)
"And the high priest stood up and said, "Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?"
But Jesus was silent.
And the high priest said to him, "I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God."
Jesus said to him, "You have said so. But I tell you, hereafter you will see the Son of man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven."
Then the high priest tore his robes, and said, "He has uttered blasphemy. Why do we still need witnesses? You have now heard his blasphemy."
I first heard this story as a child and have always thought that this was an expression of righteous indignation on the part of the high priest, that it was a response to Jesus' blasphemy, and indeed, it is just that in the gospel narrative. However, I recently searched the Hebrew scriptures for instances where this symbolic gesture appears. It turns out that in the Tanach there are many places where people tear their garments, but in every single case this act is an expression of deep sorrow—(1 Samuel 15:22–23, and 1 Kings 11:29–35 for a couple of examples). Never is it an expression of anger or indignation.
So I come to yet another crossroad: