Saturday, September 12, 2015

Boeing unveils Dreamliner painted to resemble R2-D2

http://www.seattletimes.com/photo-video/video/video-boeing-unveils-star-wars-r2-d2-plane/

stuff for the weekend (i.e. links) a general theme of rich white women writers, ruminating on class disparity, second wave feminism, and the curation of childhood by status-conscious adults

Lawrence Krauss at the New York declares "All Scientistis Should Be Militant Atheists"

from the same magazine, The War on Sugar, which may be the newest dietary scapegoat for American failures to embrace a balanced diet and exercise lifestyle.

Even though Mark Driscoll once tweeted "No one ever made a monument to a critic." D. G. Hart over at Old Life is observing that it's the anniversary of the birth of famous critic H. L. Menkcen today. So, of course, Hart has blogged a little bit about it here.

Thanks to the friends at Mockingbird, here's "The decline of play in pre-schools and the rise of sensory issues".
...
Like many other American parents, I had an obsession: academic success for my child. Only, I was going about it completely wrong. Yes, my daughter would later go on to test above average with her academic skills, but she was missing important life skills. Skills that should have been in place and nurtured during the preschool years. My wake-up call was when the preschool teacher came up to me and said, “Your daughter is doing well academically. In fact, I’d say she exceeds expectations in these areas. But she is having trouble with basic social skills like sharing and taking turns.” Not only that, but my daughter was also having trouble controlling her emotions, developed anxiety and sensory issues, and had trouble simply playing by herself!

Lo and behold, there's also this piece over at Jacobin "The Privitization of Childhood", with a subtitle "Childhood has become a period of high-stakes preparation for life in a stratified economy." Of course, it's Jacobin. :)  And as with a Doug Wilson post from time to time it's not possible for there to be an article in Jacobin not framed in terms of class warfare.

...
Through the consciousness-raising of second-wave feminism, the joys and struggles of parenting have been brought from the privacy of the home into the fore of public life with eager irreverence.

The young children of the wealthy are increasingly diverse portfolios of applications to private schools, enrichment classes, play dates, and nanny shares. These little Einsteins go on to attend prestigious high schools and Ivy League colleges. But it starts in preschool.

A whole culture has risen around the cultivation of the child into a successful adult, equipped for the global economy. Its language is English plus Spanish or Mandarin; its literature is the mommy blog.
Working-class children, on the other hand, are objects of suspicion defined by what is perceived, within the economic superstructure, as a lack — of high-enough test scores, of self-confidence, or the inclination and facility to self-regulate behavior.

Childhood is now a curated experience for the rich, and a desperate challenge full of lotteries and high stakes for the middle-class and working-class families who aspire toward upward mobility. But it is not a particularly pleasurable one anymore. [emphasis added]

and it might come with sensory integration issues now, in some cases.

This in term, reminds me of Hanna Rosin's "The Patriarchy" is Not to Blame for Your Juice Cleanse.
...
I am a rich white lady. So are the people responding to me. Rich white ladies are generally the ones who bother with feminist showdowns. We rich white ladies get very worked up about our own can-we-have-it-all concerns: how hard it is to make it to the top, how much harder it is to do that and raise a family. These are real problems that affect real power dynamics. But they are only urgent to a small percentage of people. And for the most part, they tend to blind us to the vast changes happening in the rest of the country.

Rosin took some time to observe that the women who seemed most likely to complain about the patriarchy via website writing had the socio-economic luxury to do so.  And, of course this is something she's written quite a bit since the Mancession. Paradoxically the women least able to abide the notion that patriarchy as it has appeared in feminist discourse has been on decline have not been working class women "in the college, professional class" Slate.
...
But most of the resistance to the idea that men have ceased to be the dominant sex has come from women—not from working-class women, who seem to find what I’m describing painfully familiar, if not totally obvious, but from women in the college, professional class. ...

... as I sat through the conference, I realized that the study of inequality has an occupational hazard: After decades of looking for certain patterns, they may become all you can see. The phenomenon reminds me of the famous study in which researchers asked subjects viewing a video clip to count how many times basketball players wearing a certain color shirt passed a ball. A giant gorilla walked across the screen in the course of the video, but many subjects failed to see it, so focused were they on the patterns they’d been instructed to watch. 

Rich white women with progressive sympathies who are curating the childhoods of their offspring may feel a great deal of perfectionist pressure but the extent to which they are victims of the patriarchy ... well ... compared to all the people who never finished high school or went to college people who live in New york and/or write for Slate can look like fat cats in the big city.  Rosin pointing this out did not necessitate her being considered a traitor to feminism.

Then again Joan Didion, absolutely no one's idea of a feminist, has been writing over the last decade or so about things like politics.  Back to the New Yorker, Louis Menand has written about Didion's shifts on politics and class over the decades.  Didion famously wrote that by 1970ish the rhetoric and ideals of what has been dubbed second wave feminism treated the drudgeries of married life as if it were imprisonment and that the drudgery of married life was held in contrast to fantasies of self-realization Didion regarded, literally, as juvenile.  Didion declared that the women's movement had ceased being a cause and had become a symptom.  So it's fun this weekend to cycle through a Jacobinian observation that childhood has become a status game of affluent parents curating the experiences of their children for participation in future economic life.

Menand describes Didion as coming around to rejecting the pioneer/wagon train mythology of California in favor of a story in which California has come to exist through federal subsidization.
 http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/08/24/out-of-Bethlehem


After the Old Sacramento moment, Didion came to see the whole pioneer mystique as bogus from the start. The cultivation of California was not the act of rugged pioneers, she decided. It was the act of the federal government, which built the dams and the weirs and the railroads that made the state economically exploitable, public money spent on behalf of private business. Didion called it “the subsidized monopolization” of the state.

Big business had always run California. First, there were the ranches, then the corporate agribusinesses, and then, after the Second World War, the aeronautics industry, Boeing and Douglas, Lockheed and Rockwell. Defense contracts and government-funded infrastructure kept these businesses flush. Everyone else was a pawn in the game, living in a fantasy of hardy individualism and cheering on economic growth that benefitted only a few.

As big business goes, Menand advises against framing debates over intellectual property in terms of philosophical arguments. It's not really a battle for artists getting compensated for their work so much as a battle between two types of industries

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/10/20/crooner-rights-spat
...
At bottom, the argument about copyright is not really a philosophical argument. It’s a battle between interest groups. Baldwin points this out—although, like everyone who takes a position on copyright, he also thinks that his is the philosophically defensible one. In the copyright wars, there are many sets of opposing stakeholders. Much litigation involves corporate entities, which have the financial resources to pursue cases through the courts. In these copyright battles, the main antagonists are the businesses that own copyrighted goods and the businesses that don’t.

Let’s call the first type of business Hollywood and the second type Silicon Valley. Hollywood, along with the music industry and the publishing industry, which are the other major analog-era corporate interests, makes money by producing and distributing content. Silicon Valley makes money by aggregating other people’s content. Hollywood fears pirates; Silicon Valley fears paywalls. Silicon Valley accuses Hollywood of “monopoly” and “artificial scarcity,” and talks about the democracy of the Internet. Hollywood accuses Silicon Valley of “free riding” and “contributory infringement, ” and talks about protecting the dignity of the artist. But each side is only trying to defend its business model. [emphasis added]

Freelancers versus salaried content creators is another interest-group antagonism. Most of the people who are critical of the length of copyright protection today are academics. (Patry is an exception, but he’s the senior copyright counsel at Google.) This is probably not unrelated to the fact that academics have almost no financial stake in copyright. The research and writing they do is part of their job as employees of universities, or as the recipients of external, usually taxpayer supported grants. They don’t depend on sales to survive.

Freelancers, on the other hand, are unhappy with what they regard as the erosion of their right to control copying, which they see, for example, in the legally sanctioned practice of posting “snippets” on sites like Amazon, iTunes, and Google Books. Musicians and other artists tend to regard the Internet as a place where anything goes, an ungovernable Barbary Coast. On the Web, the general rule—known as a “take-down notice”—is that you can post almost anything as long as you take it down when the rights holder complains. No harm, no foul. There are some technical preconditions that the poster has to meet to earn the protection, but this does not seem to freelancers to be a very effective way to discourage copying.
Put that way, it's never been about philosophy as financial interests.  Or as Jonathan Haidt's axiom puts it, the decision based on an intuition comes first and the rationalizations purporting to be compelling and coherent philosophical arguments come later. The way Menand presents the situation there aren't, and even can't be, "good guys" here. When the side that owns the copyrights seems to monopolize and the side that innovates distribution seeks to gain control of access there's not a team out for "the little guy".  Maybe you've seen people writing about how Apple's incentive and end-game is to get people to keep buying hardware. So long as they've done that what they pay in artist royalties is something to think about later. Not even the best-staged publicity gambit of a Taylor Swift will change that.

If Hanna Rosin still wonders how well-off white women who make their livings as writers in New York can see themselves as victims of patriarchy ... someone at the Atlantic recently wrote ...

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/09/the-rise-of-victimhood-culture/404794/

..

Per their discipline, the sociologists offer structural explanations for why college students are addressing conflicts within the framework of “microaggressions.” Victimhood culture “arose because of the rise of social conditions conducive to it,” they argue, “and if it prevails it will be because those conditions have prevailed.”  

Those social conditions include the following:

  • Self-help in the form of dueling or fighting is not an option.
  • “The availability of social superiors—especially hierarchical superiors such as legal or private administrators—is conducive to reliance on third parties.”
  • Campaigns aimed at winning over the support of third parties are likeliest to occur in atomized environments, like college campuses, where one cannot rely on members of a family, tribe or clan to automatically take one’s side in a dispute.
  • Since third-parties are likeliest to intervene in disputes that they regard as relatively serious, and disputes where one group is perceived as dominating another are considered serious by virtue of their aggregate relevance to millions of people, victimhood culture is likeliest to arise in settings where there is some diversity and inequality, but whose members are almost equal, since “a morality that privileges equality and condemns oppression is most likely to arise precisely in settings that already have relatively high degrees of equality.”  
This interesting theory offers a lot of fodder for reflection––indeed, it is broader in scope and more nuanced in its particulars than I’ve been able to convey in this article, and interested readers should read Jonathan Haidt’s treatment for more detail.

I ponder microaggressions as “a form of social control in which the aggrieved collect and publicize accounts of intercollective offenses, making the case that relatively minor slights are part of a larger pattern of injustice and that those who suffer them are socially marginalized and deserving of sympathy,” I certainly see their emergence on college campuses, but I wonder about other possible iterations.

For example, the emergence of “the blogosphere” in the early aughts––something I participated in to some extent–– was rife with examples of conservative, progressive, and libertarian bloggers calling attention to minor slights against their respective ideological groups by mainstream media outlets. In “Fisking” the MSM, the aggrieved seized on these slights, often exaggerating them in the process; tried to garner the support of third parties (an ombudsman, the public at large); cast themselves as victims of unfair treatment; and demonized adversaries.

While exploring the last decade and half of blogosphere activity as part of the emergence of a culture of victimhood could be a fascinating project to blog about there's other stuff a person can do over a weekend.

So, anyway, there's some links for the weekend. There's some musical review stuff I hope to get to in the next few days since there's a new album of music by Ferdinand Rebay out through Eudora Records which I've been listening to in the last week and a half, sonatas for violin and guitar and a sonata for viola and guitar.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Mark Driscoll announces that The Rebel's Guide to Joy is back (though it's redacted). Revisiting after & before for selections from 2007 sermons

http://markdriscoll.org/philippians-is-back-whatcha-want-next/

...

In 2007 I had the honor of preaching through the entire Bible book of Philippians, verse by verse. The sermon series, “The Rebel’s Guide to Joy,” has been offline for a while, and this week we are glad to bring it back. The series is 10 sermons long, and today we are posting the sermons in audio and transcript form!
 
I want to thank those of you who asked for this series. As people tell us which series they want back online next, it helps us choose what Bible teaching to release next

 Unredacted sermons would have been interesting.  Actually, in the case of "Joy in Anxiety", let's see what's up at the new site:

http://markdriscoll.org/sermons/joy-in-anxiety/

...
So when there is something going on, Paul’s not shy about pointing it out. He doesn’t mention sin. He doesn’t mention heresy. Then the question that all the commentators wrestle over is, “Well what’s the reason that they have this division?” The answer is, “It doesn’t matter.” If it did matter, the Bible would tell us. But it doesn’t tell us because it doesn’t matter. Sometimes the issue really isn’t a big deal, or sometimes the issue isn’t the issue. The division is the bigger issue. I don’t know what the issue was. Maybe they had new bylaws. Maybe somebody was opposed to the Belltown campus. Maybe somebody just took a pay cut. Maybe somebody was leading the worship team, Euodia and then Syntyche, took over and then, she had to sing backup and she’s all bent out of shape and blogged about it, and then other people commented about it.

That squares with what has been preserved by Wenatchee The Hatchet here in the past.

http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2012/06/joy-in-anxiety-driscolls-gloss-on.html
Joy in Anxiety
Part 9 of The Rebel's Guiide to Joy
Pastor Mark Driscoll
Phillipians 4:2-9
December 9 2007


So when there is something going on, Paul's not shy about pointing out. He doesn't mention sin. He doesn't mention ehresy. Then the question that all the commentators wrestle over is, "Well what's the reason that they have this division?" The answer is, "It doesn't matter." If it did matter, the Bible would tell us. But it doesn't tell us because it doesn't matter. Sometimes the issue really isn't a big deal, or sometimes the issue isn't the issue. The division is the bigger issue. I don't know what the issue was. Maybe they had new bylaws. Maybe somebody was opposed to the Belltown campus. Maybe somebody just took a pay cut. Maybe somebody was leading the worship team, Euodia and then Syntyche, took over and then she had to sing backup and she's all bent out of shape and blogged about it, and then other people commented about it. Then they sent a press release to The Stranger, and then the Seattle Times called and then KOMO 4 got involved, and next thing you know, it was mars Hill Church Phillipi. I don't ,know. Right?

Pretty much the same except that the earlier version continues with "Then they sent a press release ..." before moving on to
For those not already up to speed the blog post from June 2012 provides more background.


As for "Joy in Humility" ...
http://markdriscoll.org/sermons/joy-in-humility/
...

God opposes the proud. That should sober us, should it not? But he gives grace to the humble. God is a God who loves to bless, and loves to serve, and loves to help. He just told us that he has the posture of the humble slave. Ours is a God who wants to give grace, but he only gives it to humble people.
 
So in closing, I’ll give you ten recommendations that I have taken from my friend, C.J. Mahaney, and I share them with you as various ways to clothe yourself in humility so that God might give you grace.  ...
 
four guys got mentioned in that sermon some of whom get discussed at the following links:
http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2012/06/mars-hill-shoreline-and-pastor-tim.html

http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2012/06/mars-hill-selling-city-overview-of-role.html

http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2013/01/a-confluence-of-situations-andrew-lambs_6931.html
http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2012/06/mars-hill-west-seattle-campus-and.html

But you can also read for yourself what was sliced from the earlier sermon.


God opposes the proud. That should sober us, should it not? But he gives grace to the humble. God is a God who loves to bless, and loves to serve, and loves to help. He just told us that he has the posture of the humble slave. Ours is a God who wants to give grace, but he only gives it to humble people

I’ll give you an example. In the middle of our reorganization as a church – we go to multiple campuses – we’ve just reconstituted what we’re calling a Board of Directors. It is sort of a senior level of eldership that oversees a lot of the policies and procedures for the whole church, and I was meditating on it this week. And I could tell you about all the men on the board. I’ll just tell you of a few. These are new men that were recently added to this board, and the one common thread which I see weaves all their stories together is this, humility. Not that they are humble, but they are pursuing humility by God’s grace.

First story is a man named Steve. He’s our campus pastor up at Shoreline, and he is a Board of Director member of our eldership. The first time I met him, he was at the Ballard campus after a service with a trash bag. He and his son were picking up garbage. Didn’t know who he was. The church was smaller at that time. I walked up to introduce myself. Took him out to coffee and said, “What’s your story?” Had to sort of pull it out of him. He was very humble. Come to find, he had two master degrees in theology, a great family, and 15 years plus experience as a Senior Pastor in a church.

I said, “What are you doing picking up trash?” He said, “Well somebody needs to pick up the garbage.”

Now he’s a campus pastor on the Board of Directors for your eldership. Why? Because God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble. That’s how it works. God needs someone to lead. He would rather have someone who is humble – that thinks of others and Jesus, not just themselves. That has the posture of a humble servant and a slave, not just a king who wants to rule.

Another man we appointed to that board is a man names Tim. I’ll tell you his story. He has an MBA in not-for-profit management. He has 20 or 30 years, I can’t remember, of not-for-profit manage experience. He’s run some very large, very significant ministries. He’s consulted for very large, very significant ministries. He nominated himself for eldership. Was a faithful member of this church. And he said, “You know, I think I can help. I think my management background will help organize Mars Hill.” We said, “Okay, well what’s your proposal?” He said, “I’ll work 50 hours a week for six months free of charge. I’ll quit my well paying job. I’ll shut down most of my consulting business. I’ll reduce my expenses, live off of my savings. I’ll nominate myself for eldership. I will work for free for six months, and I’ll come under Pastor Jamie, who’s young enough to be my son, and has none of the experience or education that I do so that I can humbly serve him so that Mars Hill can become a better church.”

God opposes the proud. Gives grace to the humble. The elders vote and say, “He should be an Executive Elder and on the Board of Directors.”

Third man I’ll tell you about is Zack Hubert. He’s working at Amazon.com. I think he has a master’s degree in physics and a master’s degree in theology. He’s smart. He was making very significant money writing code and doing programming for the Amazon.com website. Loves Jesus. We approached him. He was an Elder candidate. Said, “Would you take over all of our web development at Mars Hill Church? To do that, you would need to finish the eldership process. You would need to resign your job. You need to take a significant pay cut. And Mars Hill has a nice website, but it’s not nearly as cool on your resume at Amazon.com. And it will come to you and your family at the expense of your life’s earnings. Millions of dollars – you will give up millions of dollars.”
Here’s what he said. “It’s best for Mars Hill Church. That’s my church. I love that church. I’d love to do that.” Resigned, walked away from a prominent job, millions of dollars, to humbly serve at Mars Hill. We make him an Elder at the level of Director. Why? Because God opposes the proud and he gives grace to the humble. That’s how he works.

The last one is James. He was running a drug and alcohol treatment center, I think for the Union Gospel Mission. He was an elder at Doxa Church in West Seattle. He and Pastor Bill were there and I approached them and said, “I think we should partner together,” and turned that building into Mars Hill West Seattle. I don’t know what the building’s worth – $4 million, whatever. He said, “Well what’s the deal?” I said, “Give us the building, resign as elders, work through the membership process, work through the eldership process. I guarantee you nothing – no power, no job, no eldership. If you meet the qualifications and the men vote you in, we’ll make you an elder, but I guarantee you no job. Nothing. If you believe it’s right for Jesus, give us the building, resign, give up all power of authority, give up your position. Walk away from it all for the cause of Jesus.”
He said, “Okay, I think it’s best for Jesus.” He resigned, voted to hand us the building and the people. Humbly went through the eldership process. After he finished the membership process, oversees our drug and alcohol addiction recovery. We just voted him onto the Board of Directors. Why? Because God opposes the proud and he gives grace to the humble.

I want you to know that this actually works. I was a guy who was very skeptical. In some regards, this sounded like God talk to me. It actually works. God opposed the proud and he gives grace to the humble. And so 1 Peter 5 says, “Therefore clothe yourself with humility, and God will lift you up when he feels it’s the right time.”

So in closing, I’ll give you ten recommendations that I have taken from my friend, C.J. Mahaney, and I share them with you as various ways to clothe yourself in humility so that God might give you grace.  ....

So if you compare "Humility" for the before and after you can see a substantial amount of material got cut out that was very specific to Mars Hill.  For "Anxiety" the redactions don't initially seem nearly so severe. Whatever sermons come back it's not unrealistic to expect those revived sermons to be mostly purged of any references to Mars Hill.

It's a rather sad and funny irony.  After having regaled the public with "6 Reasons Why I'm Not Going Anywhere" back in 2010, discussed earlier this year at ...

http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2015/07/mark-driscoll-from-july-6-2010-6.html

not only has it transpired that Mark Driscoll resigned membership and eldership at Mars Hill nearly a year ago, now that the sermons are being brought back online they're turning out to be pretty thoroughly scrubbed of even the mention of the church Mark Driscoll left behind.

POSTSCRIPT
For those who want linkage to original sources, as the corporation known as Mars Hill Fellowship keeps dissolving this year they've removed robots.txt (for now at the very least) and so you can atrawl up things from here and there.

The Rebel's Guide to Joy in Humility
http://web.archive.org/web/20120119100318/http://marshill.com/media/rebels-guide-to-joy/the-rebels-guide-to-joy-in-humility

The Rebel's Guide to Joy in Anxiety
http://web.archive.org/web/20120720115428/http://marshill.com/media/rebels-guide-to-joy/the-rebels-guide-to-joy-in-anxiety
http://web.archive.org/web/20120720115428/http://download.marshill.com/files/2007/12/09/20071209_the-rebels-guide-to-joy-in-anxiety_en_transcript.pdf

HT Ethan Richardson at MBird, Aeon piece on "The Dangerous Idea that Life is a Story"

http://www.mbird.com/2015/09/deconstructing-the-story-of-your-life/
http://aeon.co/magazine/philosophy/the-dangerous-idea-that-life-is-a-story/


...
But when the English dramatist Sir Henry Taylor observed in 1836 that ‘an imaginative man is apt to see, in his life, the story of his life; and is thereby led to conduct himself in such a manner as to make a good story of it rather than a good life’, he’s identifying a fault, a moral danger. This is a recipe for inauthenticity. And if the narrativists are right and such self-storying impulses are in fact universal, we should worry.

Of course Aeon being what it is there's a LOT more where that came from. There's a bit that could be unpacked from just the idea that a person can live in such a manner as to make his or her life a good story rather than a good life, living for the narrative drama rather than the ethics of relationship.

If nearly everybody is supposed to be living narratively as Narrativists might have it, then perhaps we can play with an idea here, Jesus' confrontations with the Pharisees and the teachers of the law could be read as a process in which Jesus revealed that a bunch of people who thought to themselves and told each other they were living one narrative were really living another one or several different ones that didn't match up to their collective self-image. Not everyone who was confronted by Jesus and told "the story of who you are is a sham" was open to hearing that

D. G. Hart asks if what's good for Kim Davis would be considered equally good for Charee Stanley

http://oldlife.org/2015/09/move-over-kim-davis-say-hello-to-charee-stanley/

...

If only Christians could lower the stakes. Turn this into a simple case of religious freedom, then you don’t need to baptize Kim Davis as the most devout follower of Jesus Christ. You simply point out the problems of the recent Supreme Court decision for all people who might object to same sex marriage. And if it’s only about religious freedom, maybe you also defend Charee Stanley and gain some street cred with non-Christians.

But when the forces of Christianity, the Constitution, and the GOP line up in one seamless whole of goodness and truth, more than Houston has a problem.

Jazz at Yale (or not) various people sound off on whether jazz is/should be in the Western canon and whether it's neutered itself from having any political viability

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/30/nyregion/yale-students-campaign-for-all-that-jazz.html?_r=0

http://www.newmusicbox.org/articles/homage-to-captain-swing/?utm_campaign=coschedule&utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=newmusicbox&utm_content=Homage%20to%20Captain%20Swing
http://dothemath.typepad.com/dtm/2015/09/credo.html
Ethan Iverson also links to a few features on George Walker, whose string quartets and piano sonatas I've been listening to thanks to the blogging Iverson's done at Do The Math.
http://www.michaellewanski.com/blog/2015/8/30/education-jazz-canons

http://www.jacobinmag.com/2014/09/jazz-after-politics/
John Halle's title for his piece at Jacobin telegraphs a bit.

While the decisions people make over at Yale about whether or not jazz counts within the Western canon is not a decision I have any influence over, the permeability and synergy of all musical styles influencing each other seems beyond dispute. Earlier this year I blogged about how it only takes a little bit of listening and observation to see how you can transform themes from early Romantic era guitar music into the kinds of riffs you could hear in a ragtime for piano a century later. Kyle Gann has blogged about how one of the pitfalls of musicology and music education as academic activity is that the teachers tend to teach the music that makes it easiest to understand abstracted forms rather than what was actually going on. 

One proposal as to how and why that happened was that the 19th century theorists and music historians tended to simplify the forms and styles as molds into which things could be pressed rather than as thought processes--if the 18th century composers made use of fugue and sonata as a kind of musical thought process 19th century theorists transformed these things into scholastic models and molds.  Eventually, a century later, scholars emerged who had time and energy and the will to make a corrective gesture. George Oldroyd, for instance, in the Technique and Spirit of Fugue, could point out that a fugal subject for which Bach would provide a tonal answer might be one for which Handel would provide a real answer. The idea that there was even a "form" for a fugue would be to misunderstand the nature of the art.

Academics with ideas to defend tend to double down on those ideas even when they may or may not connect to music at large. Some ideas survive thanks to the academy even when they don't add up.  In his monograph on the narratives of David in the Old Testament canon Jacob Wright pointed out that there are a lot of scholars who sincerely think the whole aim of the OT canonical narratives was to whitewash the legacy of David. Wright wrote quite a book to show that the only reason that theory keeps any traction with those who actually know the primary sources would be the weight of academic tradition. There's no way to read the account of how David did nothing to right the injustice of what Amnon did to Tamar and think that that narrative's sole purpose is to vindicate the reputation of David. That was not the way despots in ancient near eastern empires tended to work. Thanks to academic inertia and defending ideas once formulated, the notion has taken hold.

A comparably ridiculous idea is that you can teach the Western canon of music in the 21st century while pretending jazz hasn't become part of it.

But schools can only cover so much and if schools are really in the tradition of teaching students to think critically then the tools of criticism and analysis can be applied as readily to an episode of My Little Pony as to a sonnet by Shakespeare. Sure, you could say that one will yield different results and interests and mileage varies from person to person but that's not the point.  In theory an academic life can give a person the intellectual tools and foster the intellectual interests to take either the MLP episode or the Shakespearean sonnet and bring the same care and interest to both enterprises.

Then again ... some folks are suggesting lately that with endowment being in the zone of 24 billion dollars Yale could ostensibly afford a few things, right?

http://www.slate.com/articles/business/moneybox/2015/09/harvard_yale_stanford_endowments_is_it_time_to_tax_them.single.html

links from here and there

Politico piece from last month "How Google Could Rig the 2016 Election". That sample of about 4,500 voters means it has a study that doesn't instantly get vitiated by the sampling bias, at least.

Noah Berlatsky writes at the New Republic about how ...

http://www.newrepublic.com/article/122709/kermit-has-new-girlfriend-good-his-last-one-was-domestic-abuser

Berlatsky riffs on how for some authors the angle is Kermit was faithless and two-timing Miss Piggy.  He suggests that this might be in good fun and all but the single most salient element of the Kermit/Miss Piggy relationship was her beating him up, e.g. domestic violence. Berlatsky's writing is more serious than playful overall and he proposes, basically, that now is the time that the Muppets can be improved by Kermit's physical abuse at the hands of Miss Piggy is no longer a punchline.

Sherman Alexie's gotten himself into an interesting controversy about authorship and authenticity issues lately.  Looks like a white guy passed himself off as an Asian American poet whose submitted poem was published in a volume Alexie edited.  For a run-down on what happened, including Sherman Alexie's own blog post on the matter ...

 http://www.slate.com/blogs/lexicon_valley/2015/09/07/yi_fen_chou_is_michael_derrick_hudson_the_best_american_poetry_from_2015.html
http://blog.bestamericanpoetry.com/the_best_american_poetry/2015/09/like-most-every-poet-i-have-viewed-the-publication-of-each-years-best-american-poetry-with-happiness-i-love-that-poem-je-1.html
  http://www.slate.com/blogs/lexicon_valley/2015/09/07/yi_fen_chou_is_michael_derrick_hudson_the_best_american_poetry_from_2015.html
http://blog.bestamericanpoetry.com/the_best_american_poetry/2015/09/like-most-every-poet-i-have-viewed-the-publication-of-each-years-best-american-poetry-with-happiness-i-love-that-poem-je-1.html

Over at New Music Box Kenneth Kirschner mentions plans to start writing about a new approach to indeterminacy in music exploiting digital technology

" ... With digital music, it’s possible to build complexity, chance, and intelligence into the recording itself, to create a music that is ever-changing and open-ended, indefinite in duration and indeterminate in composition—to create an indeterminate recording. A listener can press play on a piece of recorded music that will be different on every listen, that can be heard for as long or as short a time as they wish, and that will continually grow and evolve for as long as they choose to listen."

Of course anyone who has looked at figured bass knows there was a whole lot left to the imagination as to how something would be realized.  Cadenzas in pre-Romantic music were not written out and in the Classic era composers like Haydn and Mozart played dice games to compose music for amusement. While it may be popular for some people in the 21st century to imagine that things have somehow been fixed by things like scores and recordings that's part of the story.  Sure, if you're going to the trouble of engraving, printing and publishing music or issuing a vinyl record you want to make sure you've got something you're willing to live with but that's just a part of any era's musical history.

Actually, the music of indeterminacy 2.0 could eventually be thoroughly at home in the video game where a player's input and decisions could directly contribute decisions that impact the sonority or trajectory of a musical texture. 

For folks who aren't into Morton Feldman, John Cage and the New York school of composers from the mid-20th century Kirschner's music is ... probably not going to be quite your taste.

Also potentially not to your taste ... Bob Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited turned 50 years old this year.

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/happy-birthday-highway-61-dylans-weirdest-funniest-album-turns-50-20150827