Saturday, March 25, 2017

And a newer artist, John Mayer, seeks redemption...

Across four hectic days this month, as Mr. Mayer, lucid and optimistic, finished his big-budget new album, “The Search for Everything,” and filmed a music video for what he hopes will be his next hit single, he seemed to especially relish reflecting on his 2010 undoing. Recalling the consequences of those infamous magazine articles — in which he used the phrase “sexual napalm,” chronicled his onanism in horrific detail, referred to his male anatomy as David Duke and somehow separately used a racial epithet — Mr. Mayer was vivid and virtuosic in his self-laceration.

The answer my friend, is...

The Nobel Prize winner talks about his latest release, Triplicate
Are you concerned about what Bob Dylan fans think about these standards?These songs are meant for the man on the street, the common man, the everyday person. Maybe that is a Bob Dylan fan, maybe not, I don’t know.
Has performing these songs taught you anything you didn’t know from listening to them?I had some idea of where they stood, but I hadn’t realized how much of the essence of life is in them – the human condition, how perfectly the lyrics and melodies are intertwined, how relevant to everyday life they are, how non-materialistic.
Up to the sixties, these songs were everywhere – now they have almost faded away. Do they mean more to you when you hear them now? They do mean a lot more. These songs are some of the most heartbreaking stuff ever put on record and I wanted to do them justice. Now that I have lived them and lived through them I understand them better. They take you out of that mainstream grind where you’re trapped between differences which might seem different but are essentially the same. Modern music and songs are so institutionalized that you don’t realize it. These songs are cold and clear-sighted, there is a direct realism in them, faith in ordinary life just like in early rock and roll.

Friendship has its burdens....


...Sometimes I get lucky and there’s a real-life event I can use as an excuse, like that time in ’93 when an accident in the Lincoln Tunnel had traffic backed up so bad I wouldn’t have been able to make it to his MTV Unplugged taping even if I’d wanted to,” Gilman said. “But for the most part, it just gets harder over the years. There are only so many ways I can change the subject when he asks if I’ve gotten around to checking out ‘Built To Run’ or whatever.”
“I do occasionally feel guilty,” he added. “I mean, Bruce and his bandmates have helped me move like half a dozen times.”
It's Onion Saturday!

Faith in a secular age …

… Charles Taylor and the Communion of the Saints | Dale M. Coulter | First Things.

Taylor’s prescription for our secular age remains connected to his reading of Christian tradition, in particular his understanding of the communion of the saints. Within this communion, Taylor notes, there are a variety of models for how conversion unfolds in the life of a person. By “communion of the saints,” Taylor means: “a communion of whole lives, of whole itineraries toward God.” The church consists concretely of diverse peoples with different itineraries toward God that will be finally resolved only at the eschaton. Given that the desire for the transcendent remains embedded within the constitution of the human person, what helps the late-modern self to break out of the immanent frame is to see the rich tapestry of conversion that the church embodies in her life. It is no longer the relationship between the great Gothic cathedrals on the medieval landscape and the scholastic cathedrals of the mind; rather, it is the messy, sometimes chaotic, flow of men and women toward God.

Hardly surprising …

… Why College Graduates Still Can't Think — The James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.

In 2010, the Noel-Levitz Employer Satisfaction Survey of over 900 employers identified “critical thinking [as] the academic skill with the second largest negative gap between performance satisfaction and expectation.” Four years later, a follow-up study conducted by the Association of American Colleges and Universities found little progress, concluding that “employers…give students very low grades on nearly all of the 17 learning outcomes explored in the study”—including critical thinking—and that students “judge themselves to be far better prepared for post-college success than do employers.”
Well, it's hard to think critically if you aren't interested in views different from your own.

Disadvatageous …

… Language Log — Aphantasia — absence of the mind's eye. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Public and private …

… Listen NPR, the Market is Already Saving PBS - Foundation for Economic Education - Working for a free and prosperous world. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



I have been linking to different views on this debate precisely because there are different views.

Grief …

… “The Sharpened Shears He Plied” by Rhina P. Espaillat | Rattle: Poetry. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Motions of bodies …

… Zealotry of Guerin: Star Travel (Matta), Sonnet #343.

Some thing to think on …

It is only through shadows that one comes to know the light.
— Catherine of Siena, born on this date in 1347

Friday, March 24, 2017

Blogging note …

I have an appointment with a Jesuit friend and counsellor today, and have errands to run after that. So, once again, my blogging will resume sometime later. I am an unusually busy old man.

Worth serious attention …

… Collected Essays on Philosophers by Colin Wilson | Issue 119 | Philosophy Now. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Wilson never disassociates a man from his ideas; a core component of his theory of Existential Literary Criticism is that a study of the author’s character is an essential part of interpreting their thought. As he notes with regard to Spinoza, “any attempt to judge him must start from Spinoza the human being” (p.205). His view of Herbert Marcuse is similarly tempered: “I am less interested in condemning Marcuse than in finding out ‘how he got like he is’” (p.80). Similarly, for Wilson it is Foucault’s sexual dysfunction which induces the negative inertia of most of his writing; while Wittgenstein was “a strange, tormented man” (p.233). In fact, Wilson is at his most critical when dissecting Bertrand Russell in three pieces here, again because personality flaws in the man dissipated his philosophy: “I am not attacking Russell on grounds of morality, but on his blindness to his own shortcomings. He liked to think of himself as a philosopher in the traditional sense of the word… yet he failed to see any inconsistency in 

In case you wondered …

… Website vs. Social Media: Which Path Should You Take? | Bill Peschel.

Those '50s …

… About Last Night | Replay: Mary Martin appears in Our Town.

Remembering …

… “A Titan”: Caribbean poet Derek Walcott’s last voyage, 1930-2017 | The Book Haven.

RIP …

… Requiescat in pace: poet, novelist, translator Okla Elliott, 1977-2017 | The Book Haven.

Q&A …

… Exploring Beauty in the Bible: PW Talks to Sarah Ruden. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Conversation …

… Paul Davis On Crime: My Q&A With Nelson DeMille, Author Of 'The Lion's Game' And 'The Panther'.

Something to think on …

The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life.
— William Morris, born on this date in 1834

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Letter without spirit …

 Really Modern English by Anthony Esolen | Articles | First Things. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Someone had to eventually …

… Someone Organized All 403 Of Bob Ross' Paintings On One Happy Little Website | The Huffington Post. (Hat tip, David Tothero.)

Appreciation …

… About Last Night | Jamming with Byron Janis.

Little to learn here …

… Deaths of the Poets review: A superficial take on ‘self-destructive’ poets. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Preview …

… Introducing The Gray Area | Reluctant Habits.

Remembering …

 Derek Walcott: the “colonial upstart” who remade the world.



… Derek Walcott and the Poetry of Liberalism.



… Remembering Writer Derek Walcott.



Rains.



(Hat tip, Rus Bowden,)

Conversation…

… Q&A with Bill Flanagan | The Official Bob Dylan Site. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Take a look at these …

… Lowell's Grotto of Our Lady #01 Photo by Rus Bowden — National Geographic Your Shot.



This gives me an opportunity to once again sing the praises of Franz Werfel's novel, The Song of Bernadette, which really is great.

Sad news …

… Informal Inquiries: Blogging Note: responding to God's summons.

Textual analysis …

… Some Fake News About Me from Bloomberg | Scott Adams' Blog. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)




FYI …

… Call for Submissions: Global Dystopias | Boston Review. (Hat tip, Dan Bloom.)



A simple description of contemporary society ought to do.

Too much truth for power …

… check out the review of Isaac Babel's Odessa StoriesWe Reviewed March's Best Books, Music, and Movies - Vice. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Babel wrote his Odessa stories during the 1920s, and the tales set after the Russian Revolution depict with ironic skepticism the new government's efforts to impose a communist system on gangsters and religious Jews. … Although Babel welcomed the revolution, he saw the Soviets as violently opposed to the code of honor that existed among the Odessa gangsters and recklessly indifferent to Jewish history. 

Mark thy calendar …

… Lineup for 25 March 2017.



Paul Robeson Center for the Arts

102 Witherspoon Street
Princeton, NJ 08542
p: (609) 924-8777

Something to think on …

'Emergencies' have always been the pretext on which the safeguards of individual liberty have been eroded.
— Friedrich von Hayek, who died on this date in 1992

Merriam-Webster...

....Into the "word factory" we go

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Travel plans postponed …

… Informal Inquiries: Crime-detective-mystery fiction is now on the menu.

RIP …

… Hey, it was the Seventies…Chuck Barris, ‘Gong Show’ creator (and, maybe, CIA assassin) dies at 87 – 5 Feet of Fury. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Once again …

… I must be about others' business. My blogging will resume later in the day.

Mix and match …

… Beyond Ideology: Poetry and the Conservative Mind — The James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

No matter its stripe, ideology subdues the imagination, the artistic spirit, and the intellect, which give life to culture itself. Besides, true conservatism is not ideological; it will be wildly distorted in the long run if its intellectual sustenance comes only from the dogmatists in its midst.
This is certainly true, which is why literature in general and poetry in particular ought to be read disinterestedly, for their own sake, and not for any ideological reason.

Something to think on …

Nothing is worth more than this day.
— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, who died on this date in 1832

Recommended reading …

Dystopian fiction is big now. But here’s a book for people worried about fake news. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
Ranked by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best novels of the 20th century and by Robert McCrum of the Guardian as the 60th best novel written in English, “Scoop” is, as Christopher Hitchens put it, “Waugh at the mid-season point of his perfect pitch; youthful and limber and light as a feather.” Waugh biographer David Wykes says it “radiates enjoyment and happiness” — tonally, then, it is quite different from the despairing visions that dominate today’s reading lists. But the novel’s depiction of an insular, gullible and sometime dishonest press will strike a chord with many readers in the Age of Trump — or in the Age of the Anti-Trump Media.