Category Archives: Art

UPDATED (11/30/022): Complex, Masterful Music Is Not Marxist; Atonal Arnold Schoenberg Is

Art, Cultural Marxism, Culture, Music, The West

Schönberg’s music sounds as ugly as it looks—behold the the sheet-music heading this blog post

People throw about the term “Cultural Marxism” with abandon, without always understanding what it means. Like antibiotics, the overuse of  the term diminishes its potency.

About the virtuoso progressive metal band “Dream Theater,” a reader wrote on Twitter:

It is not MUSIC, it is the INSIDIOUS cultural Marxist degradation of music into a WALL OF NOISE that passes itself off as progressive. In actual fact, it is a step backward for civilization.

The reader is confused. Highly accomplished and polished progressive rock groups like “Dream Theater” or “Symphony X” follow Western rules of harmony, which go back hundreds of years. Layers of complexity in composition are being conflated here with Cultural Marxism.

The fact that it takes some dedication to listen to music that isn’t all of three chords—as is the blues or the country music twang—doesn’t make it Marxist.

What the reader is hearing in Dream Theater is, again, complexity. Highly accomplished and polished progressive rock groups like Dream Theater and Symphony X follow Western rules of harmony. And, odd time signatures, “irregular, complex, asymmetric or unusual time signature,” (my fav) are not Marxist.

While Dream Theater uses exceptionally complicated rhythms, their music is at its structural core traditional Western music.

What the reader says about Dream Theater—some would say about the genius of Béla Bartók or Igor Stravinsky. They would be wrong.

I was trained by a tough father, no longer with us, to listen to classical, in particular, chamber music, starting at a tender age. No option was given. The love followed the discipline, hence the ear for complexity.

If we wanted to spend time with dad, Friday, it was 5 hours of nonstop music. One night it’d be Bartók, the other Beethoven, but dad also introduced us to The Beatles. (Western civilization, parent. Do it up, not Kanye West.)

The routine dad enforced seemed awfully oppressive then. Today, I am grateful for the gift of knowing—nay, seeking out—the greatest music, which is, indubitably, Western music. Thus transitioning from Schubert’s “Death and the Maiden” to gifted progressive rock guitarist Tony MacAlpine is organic.

Dad, a rabbi, once whispered sheer blasphemy to me as a kid, “Don’t tell anyone, but Bach is really God.”

Without going into Cultural Marxism and doing the hard work of applying the concept to music, let me say only that the music mentioned is not Marxist as it adheres to traditional scales and structures.

WHAT IS MARXIST is the G-d-awful Arnold Schönberg and his atonal technique. Schönberg’s  music sounds as ugly as it looks—check out the sheet music heading this post.

The reason he’s Marxist is that Schönberg treated all 12 semi-tones as equal, seeking to weaken harmonic progression. This rigidly ruled out patterns and familiarity, and with it the pleasant sensation that comes with beauty and symmetry.

MORE here:
http://barelyablog.com/category/music/
www.ilanamercer.com/category/music/

UPDATED (11/30/022)

Arnie Schönberg would think “Brother Of Mine,” a sublime piece by “Yes,” kitschy in the extreme.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5LNojKALxc

https://youtu.be/U5LNojKALxc

While it has plenty odd time signatures; it also has exquisite compositional complexity, masterful execution, top-notch musicianship. AND THIS IS LIVE. Indistinguishable from the studio version.

Most so-called musicians today, other than classical, are inaudible and tuneless live without the mighty Auto-Tune: the “holy grail of recording,” that “corrects intonation problems in vocals or solo instruments, in real time, without distortion or artifacts.”

UPDATED (8/23/022): Jennifer Lynn Affleck In Love

Art, Celebrity, Feminism, Hollywood

“Love is beautiful. Love is kind. And it turns out love is patient. Twenty years patient.” So wrote performer Jennifer Lopez last month about the storybook ending to the romance between herself and actor Ben Affleck.

Outwardly, media shallows like to depict this successful woman as a feminist powerhouse, even though there is a vulnerability and warmth about Ms. Lopez. She has often said she’s just “Jenny from the block,” as in the Bronx.

Ms. Lopez signed her simple, sweet note as Jennifer Lynn Affleck—which is a touching confirmation that she’s just a woman in love. She dropped her surname and took on her husband’s.

If you recall, these two had a love affair that lasted from 2002 to 2004:

“We were so in love… But also, there was this other thing happening where we were being criticized, and it really destroyed our relationship from the inside out because we were just too young to understand at that time what were really the most important things in life… Having a second chance at real love…We learned a lot. We know what’s real, what’s not real. ” Jennifer told Rolling Stone.

Lopez had bedded some unsavory characters like P. Diddy.

Maybe the more patrician Jennifer Garner, Ben’s ex, was the answer. Clearly, however, the love and chemistry Lopez and Affleck shared did not dissipate. And more importantly, both seem to value the gift of love and to want to do it justice. When you are in your 50s and 60s, you are no longer searching for the perfect mother or father of your future children; you can simply treasure, enjoy and explore the gift of love between a man and a woman.

Mrs. Affleck, clearly a passionate woman, is right. Love is beautiful and precious if one is so lucky as to fall in love. And love ought to be kind.

UPDATE (8/23/022):

UPDATED (9/23/022): The Genius Of Erik Larson

Art, English, Environmentalism & Animal Rights, History, Literature, Science

Thanks are owed to the good friend who introduced me to the genius of author Erik Larson.

I’m finishing up Thunderstruck, so am learning more about Marconi than my old man, a PhD RF (wireless) engineer, knows. I do appreciate now the magic and mystique of the rather rarefied field of wireless. In fact, I’m quite captivated by it.

Isaac’s Storm: A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History is riveting—it taught me about the Galveston Hurricane, the most lethal natural disaster in US history, instantiating the arrogance of US climate scientists even in 1900. The state’s scientists dissed and cancelled (as in banned) the Cubans–who understood the science of hurricanes well before us–sacrificing about ten thousand souls.

I learned so much about the intrigue—and role of the British Empire, the Admiralty, in particular—in leading Lusitania, a luxury British passenger ship, right to the German, U-Boat assassins. The book is Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania.

And who knew Chicago had such uniquely problematic soil? Larson does! Just as he conveys a solid grip of wireless technology in Thunderstruck, or the science of hurricanes in Issac’s Storm, Larson goes into the geology of the city and the great architecture and architects of fin de siècle America, all in The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America. (George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr. wanted to best Gustave Eiffel, so he gave us the American version of  the Eiffel Tower, the Ferris wheel, which, during the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, carried up to … 2000 people. All new and wondrous to me.)

There are always parallel murder plots, where you learn about the mass murderer du jour or wife killer on the cross-Atlantic lam. These are made all the more suspenseful if you DO NOT GOOGLE them.

Larson weaves gorgeously written, multi-layered, primary-source based yarns about epic historic events. And he never visits the Internet for his research, but, rather, works in libraries and wherever rare artifacts and documents are stowed.

On LinkedIn, a variety of people keep propagating on my page with fluffy effusions about their writing careers. Having sampled a paragraph or two of these people’s “prose”—and then promptly unfollowed the particular umbrella association that represents them (us “writers”) and advances the careers of these scribblers—I would advise these producers of piss-poor prose, first to quit assaulting the eye. But if they wish to improve, study Larson: structure of plot and sentences, syntax, how he starts a sentence; his use of adjectives, how he builds tension.

Still, there should be a guild that pays most “budding” writers not to write.

UPDATED (9/23/022): One of our readers is a descendant of brave survivors of the 1900s Galveston Hurricane. What tough, admirable people American were. Many still are: MAGA.

NEW COLUMN: ‘Tarded’ Medical Idiocrat Won’t Treat ‘Unscannables’ Like Me

Art, Comedy & Humor, COVID-19, Healthcare, Intelligence, Left-Liberalism And Progressivisim, Pseudoscience, Science

“Why come you don’t have your Covid tattoo,” he yelps, cowering in the corner, “where’s your bar code”

NEW COLUMN is “‘Tarded’ Medical Idiocrat Won’t Treat ‘Unscannables’ Like Me.” It’s currently featured on WND.COM, The Unz Review, and on The New American.

Meet Doctor Lexus (diploma via Costco):

In Idiocracy, Mike Judge’s genius of a satire (really a documentary, if you think about it), Luke Wilson plays Joe Bowers, frozen by the military in 2005, “who accidentally wakes up in 2505 to find a broken-down, thuggish America, where language has become a patois of football chants, hip-hop slang and grunts denoting rage, pleasure and priapic longing, where citizens are obese, violent, ever-horny and narcotised by consumerism.” (As I said, a documentary. Citations here.)

The “dumb-a** dystopia” depicted in “Idiocracy” has evolved (devolved, rather) because low-IQ individuals, so robust, have out-bred the intelligent (yes, Judge openly references IQ as a measure of intelligence). Consequently, nothing gets fixed. There are garbage avalanches. A Gatorade-like drink has replaced water in irrigation. Because growers don’t know better, nothing grows. …

The most watched show on the “Violence Channel” is “Ow, My B-lls!” The “highest grossing movie of all time is called ‘A**,’ and consists of 90 minutes of the same naked, hairy butt on screen.” Audiences are enraptured. All enterprises are sexualized; Starbucks offers a “full body latte.” Costco is an Ivy-League law school.

Or, a medical school, in my tale of woe. Idiocracy is the perfect metaphor for my own visit to a Washington State doctor’s office. …

And the doctor’s office has become its own obstacle course. Combine endemic, Idiocracy-like institutional rot, with the control Covid has bestowed on some exceedingly mediocre and malevolent minds—and one can never be too prepared.

In the case of this grubby little shop, the pronoun slot alone on the attendant patient forms ought to have been a portend of what was to come. My choice of pronoun would have been “grammatical” had that option been offered. Otherwise, I never dignify the pronoun charade. See below:

Washington woke would sooner flout the spirit of the  Hippocratic Oath than speak ill of the homeless grotesquerie that is unfolding on our streets. Since the term “virtue signaling” has become a cliché—a term insufficient to the task—let me offer an improvement. The progressive’s preening aims to emphasize his or her own providential purpose in the universe. To that end, progressives like to discredit the rest of us. That’s more like it

When the appointment was scheduled, not a word of warning was forthcoming about the inquisition, the third degree, that would ensue at the front desk on the day of the visit. I’m healthy, masked and without fever. That ought to have been the end of it.

It was not. Shoved in my face on a stark sheet of paper, bereft of the office’s masthead, was the demand for my vaccination status. Well, of course. Doctor Lexus (diploma via Costco) wasn’t owning this disgrace. This was nothing to boast about.

I refused to divulge my vaccination status. …

READ ON. NEW COLUMN is “‘Tarded’ Medical Idiocrat Won’t Treat ‘Unscannables’ Like Me.” It’s currently featured on WND.COM, The Unz Review, and The New American.