Saturday, May 26, 2018

links for the weekend

Well ... Alexa does what Alexa does ... which can include recording a conversation between husband and wife and then sending it along to some contact of theirs


it's looking like harvesting the blood of the horseshoe crab doesn't "have" to happen based on some innovations that have taken place in the last several years.  An update on the topic for those who remember "The Blood Harvest" from the same publication years ago.

Over at Slate there's a feature about how black men get sexually harassed in the workplace and most notably in the medical profession.

There is no doubt that the #MeToo movement has introduced major cultural change. It’s not that this marks the first time women have publicly tried to draw attention to mistreatment from powerful, high-profile men. But it may well be the first time in modern memory when women’s accusations have had swift, concrete consequences for the men in question, rather than the women themselves being summarily dismissed, disbelieved, or disregarded. It is long overdue for women to receive the benefit of the doubt and for institutions to stop defending and protecting those who create unsafe work environments. But while women are finally being believed, sexual harassment and violence isn’t gender-specific. A 2017 poll conducted by PBS News Hour, NPR, and Marist reported that 22 percent of American workers reported being sexually harassed or abused at work, with 35 percent of women and 9 percent of men alleging harassment. Women’s stories are finally being taken seriously. But what happens when men get harassed? And what about when those men are also marginalized themselves, like black men or other men of color?


One of the ironies of Sherman Alexie's situation is that about a year ago he was commenting about how he came from "warrior culture" backgrounds that were hyper macho, a "fundamentalist Christian" one and an Indian one.   That he could be in some sense extricated from either or both of these yet still have his moment of being challenged about the way he treated women suggests that celebrity and power can inspire people to abuse and misuse their celebrity and influence regardless of what their formally professed views may be, or have been.

Tidal has been accused of gaming its numbers, specifically, it seems, of data connected to Beyoncé and Kanye West.


Should you want to read a bit more about early microtonalist composer Ivan Wyschnegradsky's  Manual of Quarter-Tone Harmony  go over here for an introduction.

which, if you want to go get it for yourself is ...

I have gained an appreciation for microtonal composition from composers like Wyschnegradsky and (even more) Ben Johnston.  I doubt I'll get into microtonal composition myself because I'm a guitarist and I work within the constraints of equally tempered fret instruments.  That said, it's interesting to share stuff about the microtonal direction in music because I do think it's an element we should be aware of as musicians.  Kyle Gann has written that an awareness of microtonal possibilities as at least being theoretically possible goes back even beyond Franz Lizst to his teacher Anton Reicha, the Bohemian composer whose woodwind quintets alone merit sustained study.  I like quite a bit of Reicha myself and feel that if we want an alternative path from the often stultifying effects of post-Beethoven German idealism that Reicha's path could be taken as a possibility.  Of course I've had a lot of fondness from composers from central and eastern Europe and if there's a vibe I get reading Adorno it's that he could be virulently anti-Slavic in his musical judgments.  But that's something to save for some other time. 

Over at Slate there's a feature on how the C-section went from absolute last resort to, arguably, the most overused medical procedure in American childbirth.

Over at The New Republic ... a not too surprising take on what's regarded as the quasi-fascist tendencies of, of course, Jordan Peterson.

Peterson’s footnotes are almost as vintage as his wardrobe. The field of experts he likes to cite are all scholars who enjoyed their greatest vogue in the middle decades of the twentieth century: Aside from Jung, Peterson draws heavily on the work of literary scholar Joesph Campbell, literary theorist Northrop Frye, and religious historian Mircea Eliade, who form the bedrock of Peterson’s mythological analysis.
Jung, Campbell, and Eliade believed that mythology contained the core truths of human culture, and shared an affinity for reactionary politics. They flirted to some degree with far-right politics in the 1930s. Eliade had the most extensive ties, being a supporter of the Iron Guard in his native Romania. Campbell was an anti-Semite and Jung was sympathetic to the fascist dictatorships of Francisco Franco and Benito Mussolini. After the age of fascism ended, the three men became more conventional conservatives. [emphasis added]
It was no accident that these leading mythologists were men of the political right. They were trying to use comparative mythology to replace natural theology (which had been undermined by the rise of science). Showing that there was a common set of myths underlying all human cultures was a way of shoring up the claims of tradition, which were under siege by political challenges from the left and by social changes fostered by modernity.

A fairly straightforward guilt-by-association poisoning the well approach, I suppose.  Stravinsky was openly sympathetic to Mussolini before the outbreak of World War 2 and then he had a sort of gruff concession that by comparison Truman was the better option, if memory serves. 

That men were trying to use comparative theology to replace natural theology is something even a conservative of a Francis Schaeffer could have pointed out.  In the demise of feudal Christendom attempts to come up with some socially unifying alternative or replacement has been an intellectual and social aim for, well, probably centuries.  That Peterson can be thought of as some kind of Tyler Durdenish figure has been broached via Rod Dreher's blog.

As a friend of mine who read Fight Club put it, a lot of people misunderstand that Durden wasn't heroic and was a sign that the main character was losing his mind and becoming a crazed violent person.

and ...


chris e said...

I have some sympathy with the view that Jung and Campbell were calling on myth to shore up a particular right wing take on traditionalism. That said, Peterson is doing something slightly different - [if only because he gives the impression of reading someone else's Cliff Notes of Jung and Campbell].

On the other hand, a lot of the critiques of Peterson distract from the fact that some conservatives really need to think what they are doing before they embrace him so readily (presupppositionalists I'm looking at you).

Wenatchee the Hatchet said...

I haven't actually read Maps of Meaning yet but I may get around to it since he's made that available as a free PDF. It's still impossible to shake the sense that Peterson's got the tweedy upscale version of Mark Driscoll's Pussified Nation. I'm more committed to reading through Campbell himself at this point.

heh, yes, critiques of Peterson do distract from the fact that some conservatives have no idea how significant it is that they've embraced him in the presuppositionalist camps. Since I reject the bromide that "ideas have consequences" at this point I am not sure I'm a presuppositionalist but Francis Schaeffer was clear that Jung was NOT someone to embrace. He may have been wildly wrong on his history but he was at least consistent in his presuppositionalist apologetics warning Christians to not embrace Jungianism. Which is why, in a lot of ways, I wish Schaeffer had set his sights on guys like Campbell. Triangulating a Schaeffer/Adorno critique of Campbell's monomyth as the bedrock of the culture industry wares is something I'm trying to incubate an essay or two about.