Thursday, January 23, 2014

a linkathon

Tom Englehardt asks, "Are We Living in the Golden Age of Journalism?"

Over at Internet Monk, a jaded assessment of the jaded response to how evangelicals need to get up to date. It's quite possible that the quest for missional relevance will be what further drives evangelicalism into decline rather than resurgence.  It's even possible to imagine that despite a call for resurgence from this corner of the United States that if some guys get what they think they want they won't be creating a resurgence of evangelical Christianity so much as transforming an ostensibly least-churched region into another Burned Over district.  Not that anyone cares what Wenatchee The Hatchet's opinion about that is, obviously. :)

More musings on the oft-predicted death of classical music.  It's been a niche market for quite some time but it's not like millions of children don't sing John Williams tunes from the Star Wars soundtracks.  Not suggesting that an artist like Hilary Hahn stop doing what she does and go into crossover music but as Leo Brouwer has put it, many academic musicologists and theorists have underestimated the significance of fusion.

And since I didn't just so happen to mention Hilary Hahn ... Alex Ross has a little to say about her 2 Encores project.  Her 2009 performances of the Charles Ives violin sonatas still ranks as one of the most electrifying concert experiences of my life.  After hearing her play Ives I abandoned my old violin and guitar sonata ideas and reconceived everything about my planned project with Ives' sonatas in mind.

And Alex Ross also has written some interesting stuff about Carlo Gesualdo, the surreal, disturbed late Renaissance composer whose music was conservative compared to Monteverdi even though by modern ears it's Gesualdo's work that sounds stranger and more radical.  That may just go to show that our entire conception of pitch organization and major/minor tonality is not nearly as old as certain people claim it is (and they're more apt to throw in terms like "robustly Trinitarian" to show their theologically predetermined musicology does not necessarily reflect the views of all musically interested Calvinists.  I've got a great Mass for double chorus by Frank Martin to revisit some time ...

To stick with the thread of violent and/or crazy, James Fallon talks with The Atlantic about psychopathy and the mysterious distinction between a socially well-adjusted person who is nevertheless fairly psychopathic and the more stereotypical, Batman villain type psychopath we're likely to imagine first.

I couldn't be bothered to listen to the song "Blurred Lines" that inspired so much cultural punditry any more than I could be inspired to watch whatever it was Miley Cyrus did at the MTV VMAs.  Last year was the centennial of Igor Stravinsky's Rite of Spring and the bicentennial of Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice so what point would there be for me to explore the contributions to culture at large by the offspring of Alan Thick and Billy Ray Cyrus?  If not even the Lennon or Zappa kids can attain more than niche fame what can we possibly expect of Thicke or Cyrus variations 2.0?  Well, anyway, somebody decided to comment about the song and its attendant video.

Maybe we celebrate sexuality as an animalistic power of attraction but blanche at the animalization of humanity (and particularly women) for any number of great reasons.  Sometimes I wonder if we have realized what kinds of opportunity costs and criteria have to be met when we have a society in which mutual consent is prized and sexuality for recreation rather than reproduction is celebrated.  It's not that people can't marry and have sex for the fun of it, it's that when we embrace that path maybe we can't be completely shocked or offended that "What is sexy" and Victoria's Secret models on the one hand and athletes celebrated for moving small objects large distances get compensated what can often seem to be crazy amounts of money.  There might be some kind of blog post about that ... somewhere.

But not today.

If you'd like to read a piece about theories regarding human domestication of the camel, however, biblioblogger Jim West has something for you to read.

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