Saturday, May 27, 2006

A Warholesque Minimalist Allegory of Love, Love Lost and Friendship.
(Directed by My Bad Self )

Monday, May 22, 2006

Spring Has Gotten Sprung

Tu sais, ma passion, que, pourpre et déjà mûre,
Chaque grenade éclate et d’abeilles murmure ;
Et notre sang, épris de qui le va saisir,
Coule pour tout l’essaim éternel du désir.

You know, my passion, that, crimson with ripe seeds,
Pomegranates burst in a murmer of bees,
And that our blood, seized by each passing form,
Flows toward desire's everlasting swarm.

-Stéphane Mallarmé
(L'Aprés Midi D'un Faun, trans. Henry Weinfield)

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Anyone Down For a Suicide Pact?


Ann Coulter's most controversial (and entertaining) book ever: a withering assault on the established "Church of Liberalism" and its false prophet, Darwin
Inside the Church of Liberalism
Though liberalism rejects the idea of God and reviles people of faith, argues Coulter, it bears all the attributes of a religion itself. In Godless, she throws open the doors of the Church of Liberalism, showing us:
* its sacraments (abortion)
* its holy writ (Roe v. Wade)
* its martyrs (from Soviet spy Alger Hiss to cop-killer Mumia Abu Jamal) * its clergy (public school teachers)
* its churches (government schools, where prayer is prohibited but condoms are free)
* its doctrine of infallibility (as manifest in the "absolute moral authority" of spokesmen from Cindy Sheehan to Max Cleland)
* and its cosmology (in which mankind is an inconsequential accident)

Then, of course, there's the liberal creation myth: Charles Darwin's theory of evolution.For liberals, evolution is the touchstone that separates the enlightened from the benighted. But Coulter neatly reverses the pretense that liberals are rationalists guided by the ideals of free inquiry and the scientific method. She exposes the essential truth about Darwinian evolution that liberals refuse to confront: it is bogus science.Writing with a keen appreciation for genuine science, Coulter reveals that the so-called "gaps" in the theory of evolution are all there is -- Darwinism is nothing but a gap. After 150 years of dedicated searching into the fossil record, evolution's proponents have failed utterly to substantiate its claims. And a long line of supposed evidence, from the infamous Piltdown Man to the "evolving" peppered moths of England, has been exposed as hoaxes. Still, liberals treat those who question evolution as religious heretics and prohibit students from hearing about real science when it contradicts Darwinism. And these are the people who say they want to keep faith out of the classroom?Liberals' absolute devotion to Darwinism, Coulter shows, has nothing to do with evolution's scientific validity and everything to do with its refusal to admit the possibility of God as a guiding force. They will brook no challenges to the official religion.Fearlessly confronting the high priests of the Church of Liberalism and ringing with Coulter's razor-sharp wit, Godless is the most important and riveting book yet from one of today's most lively and impassioned conservative voices.

This is the description of Ann Coulter's next "book", entitled "Godless". It even comes out June 6th (6/6/6='666'= 'Ha. Ha. Ha.'). I always knew Coulter was an evil, stupid person, but I didn't know she was this completely insane. What is sad about this is that she will be all over the airwaves and bestseller list with a book that dismisses the most important scientific fact we have ever discovered*. People will read it. And watch her on TV.

*(Intelligent Design proponent William Dembski apparently advised her on the Evolution chapter. Intelligent Design, in case you don't know and have spared yourself some stupid pseudoscience Creationism dressed up by Christian right wing 'scientists', is the theory that life is too complex to have occured through Natural Selection, and must have been 'designed' by an intelligent being. What seems like a plausible idea to most uneducated Americans who's only knowledge of Darwinism is of the 'Social' variety, is actually quite literally absurd to trained biologists, paleontologists, physicists and geneticists, who have all arrived at Evolution quite independently as the fact that it is. Also, Intelligent Design is not "Science" as you cannot study this 'Intelligent Designer' nor ever know him, see him or touch him; furthermore, if you play the game of theological 'logic' behind the idea you are blocked by the question of who designed the designer, as the designer of life must be more complex than the life he creates, and therefore more improbable. Darwinism is a spectacularly beautiful and brilliant idea-which Daniel Dennett rightly calls the 'greatest idea any one has ever had' as it can explain the diversity of life, its history and even the human mind and consciousness with hard data. It destroys the age-old idea that complex things create less complex things by showing that life is not created from the top down, but from the bottom up. Darwinism however, is also very easy to misunderstand and therfore very dangerous. It also has crushing implications for our solid notions of what it is to be human, and the meaning of life on the planet. Intelligent Design is dangerous too, but only in the sense that it might be taken seriously. As talented Rolling Stone political journalist Matt Taibbi quipped, "Intelligent Design is the philosophical and scientific equivalent of the stoner who looks at the back of his hand on an Acid trip and says 'No way, dude...'").

And of course the subtle workings of Evolutionary Theory will have to be defended awkwardly by Alan Colmes, himself proof of our common ancestory with prehistoric fish, and not a scientist.

Kill me.
Bach's Bloody Heart

Whenever I listen to the mammoth and powerful opening chorus of Bach's St. Matthew's Passion ("Kommt, ihr Töchter"), for some strange reason, I think of whales.
For a while I had no idea why this was, despite the "mammoth" superficialities between Bach's mourning march to calvary and the blubbering Cetaceans of the deep.
But after a re-reading of the wonderful opening collection of whale quotes that act as a spirtual/scientific prelude to Melville's Moby Dick, I hit upon the quote I had always unconsciously had in mind:

"Ten or fifteen gallons of blood are thrown out of the heart at a stroke, with immense velocity."

The unforgettable image of a giant whale's beating dissected heart pumping out massive fountains of blood with heavy force high into the air somehow seems perfect match for Bach's chorus. With its double orchestra, double choruses and boy's choir weaving their stately and heartfelt lines into an immense bleeding tapestry of grief at the loss of the beloved messiah, The Matthäuspassion 's introduction is more than a polyphonic hymn of awe. It's a gigantic, breathing creature that beautifully spews holy blood high into the air.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Webern Picnic

Me and Anton decided to have a little picnic as the sun came over the Dachstein, a craggy wall of sand colored rock guarding loping hills of velvet green grass. Anton was quiet and seemed a little disturbed. He constantly gazed at the mountain and closed his eyes as if in prayer.
I tried to open the basket he had laid out on the grass. I wanted the food and was hungry from the climbing. Anton was in much better shape than I and looked like he could have backflipped over the mountain had I not stopped him to take a breather.
I caught a fly that buzzed on my chin and killed it. Anton looked at me very annoyed as if I had offended him or disgusted him.
The basket would not budge and he saw my trouble and took it to his side of the cloth. He opened it quickly and took out some little sandwiches with jam and bread rolls. He laid them on the cloth between us, taking utmost care to arrange them in a seemingly predetermined pattern. There were 9 sandwiches in all, forming a sort of altered circle, with the rolls being inside the circle at exact points. The jam was in the middle.
"It reminds me of your music" I offered, to break the tension.
He smiled and shook his head.
I ate and he stared at the mountain. After I finished I rested a bit with a book I had brought with. He laid down on the ground.
"Did you like the sandwiches Patrick?"
"I did, Anton. Thanks a bunch. Your wife make them?"
"No. I did. Look at that!" he pointed to something in the sky.
"You missed it."
A bird maybe I guessed. Silence.

When all was said and done, the hike with Webern went pretty well. I didn't learn a lot from him but it was good to a get a little excercise. He was a nice fellow but quiet and serious.

I took the little road back to town. He took another way back to his lodgings. Right when I walked by the little white church I realized I had left my Gatorade in the woods on a log we both sat on.
The sun was going down and I retraced my steps through the woods. I found the Gatorade on the log and noticed a dark pond a few yards by in a clearing of brush and tangled branches. Seeing as my Gatorade was warm, I realized the unnecessary nature of my dusk trek. I poored out the ultra-blue liquid into the pond and some red-eyed fish rose to the top.

The next day I was in the town and I tripped on the curb. Webern appeared from behind the church and helped me up and brought me back to his room to bandage the knee (which was badly skinned).
That was awfully nice of him, I thought.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

A Scientific Materialist Life is Beautiful

For those who see scientific materialism, and evolutionary biology as depressingly labeling humans, among them Plato, Da Vinci, Beethoven and Jeremy Jackson, as nothing more than beasts who've simply made up fluffy notions such as "love" and "compassion" to hide our primitive genetic desires to continue our lineage and survive, I give you this:

The Homo georgicus. A fairly recent hominid preceding Homo erectus that lived in what is now Russia about 2 million years ago, Georgie had only one tooth, which is no fun for a primate who feasts on tough flesh. Yet, as studies of his skull show, he lived most of the final years of his life with the one tooth.

What does this mean? It means the friendly comrades in his family/travelling species group kept him alive by probably breaking down food for him into easier bites, enabling him to get the sustenance he needed with his lone chomper (which I remind you, is not much bigger than one of our teeth). Although nature sadly abounds in cats ruthlessly playing with mice and so forth, it also abounds in good ol' fashioned brotherly respect and charity.

Perhaps we can learn from George and his friends that us Homo sapiens sapiens not only benefit our selfish genes, but with our reason and intellect benefit our environment and universe by treating each other and nature with love and respect.

Thank you and Goodnight. And yes it is only 3 pm. But I just ran around the lake, and am going to take a nap.

Friday, May 12, 2006

My Favorite Composers (an ongoing series sorta moving through history chronologically like a mathematical bluebird flying through a grandfather clock)

Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643)

"Claudio Monteverdi, in moving the affections...becomes the most pleasant tryant of human minds."

-Aquilino Coppini (1608)

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Sylvia Plath: Half-Baked

I love me some woman. They make me happy. Women are the absolute summit of life on Earth, a mantle once occupied by Baleen Whales and Bengal Tigers. They smell nice, are exceptionally loving and smart, gorgeous and compassionate, bold and complex.

Being a lover of women, and some forms of what is known as "feminism", I have been told I am really supposed to love the writing of Sylvia Plath. I don't. Apparently this means I hate women. No, no. I have nothing against women. I just have a brain and taste and have realized that Plath is one of the most laughibly bad poets and writers to ever acheive eminence.

I'm told that The Bell Jar is the ruby in Plath's little crown, a painfully harrowing look at the female psyche streched to its limit by an evil male-dominated society. I myself do agree that almost all human societies are evil and male-dominated, and women have borne the brunt of the bullshit. Yahoo for me.
I can be understanding to the trials of being a woman with mental problems in a unfeeling environment, but do you have to be so dull and self-absorbed? If Esther is Sylvia Plath, we should all sigh a little knowing such mediocrity in every area of life (mediocre poet, painter, lover, woman who ends it all with a sloppy suicide) is the bar to which so many young teenage girls aim for after putting down this book in a trembling state of sterile euphoria. All while ignoring true great female writers, of course: Barrett Browning, Dickenson, Sappho, Bishop, Woolf, Anne Carson, the Brontes, Eliot.

Let's look at Plath's most famous poem, a delicious little slice of awful word setting, awkward phrasing, ugly and silly metaphors, all dancing in whimpering tropes of x chromosomal flem known as "Daddy". Dim, unoriginal feminists everywhere, start wetting your engines!.

The first stanza alone is a laugh riot:
You do not do, you do not do Any more, black shoe In which I have lived like a foot For thirty years, poor and white, Barely daring to breathe or Achoo.

Get it? She's being stepped on by her daddy! He doesn't even give her a chance to "Achoo" (which means "sneeze"!)!

A couple stanzas later she's comparing herself to the 20th century's greatest victims:
An engine, an engine Chuffing me off like a Jew. A Jew to Dachau, Auschwitz, Belsen. I began to talk like a Jew. I think I may well be a Jew.

Oh Sylvia! What a pompous and self-absorbed piece of shit you are! I'm sorry, dear. I know your Daddy might have been mean to you, he might not have supported you when you got to go to Cambridge and mingle in high-society, he may have not respected the lion's roar that bellowed from the reccesses of your little stomach. However, I really, really, doubt, it was as bad as being rounded up in the middle of the night, stuck in a cramped train, brought to a rural camp, shaved, shot at, and then gassed with your family and friends, naked bodies falling on top of each other, screaming and coughing blood. Again, that's just me! Perhaps you are deliberately exaggerating how bad whatever happened with you and Daddy, or you and that guy who felt you up at the drive-in in 47, to give the "feeling" of what it "can" be like to be in such a situation of dominance. If this is true, so be it, but it's truly awful poetry and not interesting or profound in any way.

Later, she talks of her Daddy as a "fascist", a blackbooted Nazi, Hitler even! As Jon Stewart pointed out, comparing someone you don't like to Hitler is more of a disservice to Hitler than anyone. Hitler earned the right to be "Hitler". No one comes close. Not even your mean ol' daddy, oh troubled Sylvie.

How ironic that in the end, Plath ended up being gassed just like the millions she exploited for her winey burps of righteous rage. She too became a martyr, but for shitty feminist writers everywhere. Her verse is poorly written, hackneyed and absurd. Her attraction is her romantic death, and "troubled" life, comfort for middle-class white women who want to be victims and artists, but have neither the insight nor the talent to convey any of true horrors of the feminine experience (which I admit, I'm not an expert on).
My favorite female poet who committed suicide is still Anne Sexton. At least there is some depth in her poetry, with none of the hate or limp wristed fury of Plath's. Both died pathetically and meaninglessly (Sexton CM'd herself), but where Sexton left a corpus of fascinating and stylish work, Plath wrote verse with training wheels.

Bye Bye Syvie
You never never understood
How to write good
I hold my big daddy's hand
I am like a negroid slave
Something something you taught be how to behave.

And so on.

Over the Rainbow

Computer being fixed again. It's krazy, I know. In the mean time, enjoy this performance by my secret inner child:

Saturday, May 06, 2006

"Forever an ever. Aman."

James Wolcott had an excellent post two days ago on Moussaoui and the renewed discussion of the death penalty/life after death/punishment in Hell/love and peace in Heaven shenanigans. The death penalty is one of the most pointless, and positively evil creations in history, and it works on very shoddy logic that can be totally dismantled in every area (morally, politically, spirtually, economically etc.) with the breath of a butterfly and a working, ethical mind:
I'd like to believe in Hell. For other people, of course. I'd rather not have my admission ticket punched for that particular ride, thank you very much. My vision of Hell isn't the Satrean void but the old melodramatic studio set of a fiery pit with bubbling lava photographed through a red gel. Like you, perhaps, I can idly daydream about this scheming warmonger or that taking turns blowing Satan, as Louis C.K. might say, while Roy Cohn turns on a spit and everyone who was ever cruel to animals is used as a chew toy by the creature they endless feast of just desserts, fit for the gruesome imagination.
But the truth is, I just can't bring myself to believe in Hell, or find it a suitable venue for revenge fantasies. And I don't believe others do either. I think they're just mouthing. Acting vehement to convince themselves and others, mostly themselves. I look at the tabloid headlines and editorials decrying the life sentence administered to Moussaoui and vowing that whatever the jury's decision, this miserable specimen of inhumanity is doomed to rot and roast in hell, and agree with
Steve Gilliard: "Oh, fuck all this dramatic bullshit. Moussaoui was a half-wit, someone Al Qaeda barely trusted to get trained, and he fucked that up. State murder would have given him a dignity he never deserved."
I don't believe for a moment anyone derives any satisfaction from the distant prospect of Moussaoui experiencing everlasting torment, I think it's the flip side of the false sentimentality to leads people to say, after a child has tragically died, "Heaven has a new angel now" or, after someone has suffered through a long, agonizing illness, "(S)he's in a better place now." No, they're not; they've simply been released from their suffering, which ought to be enough. Such cliches intended to comfort which provide no real comfort or consolation because the truth is that the grievous loss of a young child is a tragedy without any redeeming aspects, and for those who prize life there is no better place than among the living, here and now, not in some reserved space on the dry-ice clouds. Pretending otherwise is putting cake frosting on a wounded heart. Heaven and Hell are the good cop/bad cop headquarters of a religious theology that people cleave to in order to believe that earthly injustices are rectified in the hereafter--that the dictator who dies peacefully in his sleep gets his karmic payback in the infernal depths. The truth is that I don't entertain any great visions of Rumsfeld, Cheney, Bush, Richard Perle, and the rest suffering medieval torment; it would be bad faith of me to place them in a Hell I don't believe in, and goes against the spirit of the Tao. I'd be quite happy to settle for the fantasy-come-true of the architects of the Iraq war being arrested, convicted, and warehoused in a secure prison; like Moussaoui.