Saturday, August 29, 2020

Chadwick Boseman 1976-2020

Read the news this morning.  Don't have much to say other than it's sad news.  If Marvel studio suits recast that will be a pretty bad mistake is about all I have to say at the moment.  You could no more recast T'Challa at this point than you could recast Tony Stark. 

I hadn't spotted that Boseman was in a film with Delroy Lindo!  Da 5 Bloods is going to have to get on my to-get-to list of films. 

Fredrik deBoer's "is the second coming coming" some brief thoughts on the overlaps between apocalyptic literature, eschatological crisis, and religious and Marxist apocalyptic

Before it probably self-destructs I wanted to shared this post from DeBoer because he has some brief but significant comments on post-apocalyptic fiction as a genre and fulcrums of cultural change that happen in those kinds of stories that never seem to happen in reality.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

John Halle's take on the Ewell presentation, two of the three claims about Schenker are easily proven but the third is more debatable

John Halle's apparently initial response to Ewell is moderately long but a relatively quick read.  While I suspect that liberals, progressives and leftists may differ on a number of points Halle makes I try to keep the three categories very distinct, much like I try to maintain a distinction between Buckley style conservatives, Pat Buchanan types, Glenn Beck types, Ayn Rand types, etc.  Halle's overall case that Ewell's approach to Schenker misconstrues which invidious ideology is most responsible for Schenker's most ghastly ideas (I couldn't resist pulling a Taruskin by using "invidious", sorry); and that rejecting Schenker's hierarchical presuppositional approach in music analysis risks becoming what Chomsky has called "a gift to the right" could certainly be subject to spirited debate.  That's obviously not what I plan to have go on here, just to be clear, but I want to mention that preliminary summary of Halle's writing before getting to extensive quotation after the break:

Sunday, August 23, 2020

is there any other kind of populism in the arts today than "authoritarian populism"? Some thoughts on Ian Pace's comments on Stuart Hall and authoritarian populism

Charles Rosen, in theThe Classical Style (ISBN 0-393-31712-9 PBK), stated that by the 1790s Haydn had developed and refined a style that was both deliberately popular and steeped in the intellectual and practical riches of learned technique.  

Only for one brief historical period in the operas of Mozart, the late symphonies of Haydn, and some of the Schubert songs, has the utmost sophistication and complexity of musical technique existed alongside—or better, fused with—the virtues of the street song. (page 329)

I'm aware that there are cases made that the "canon" of dead white guys is racist, however, I am not quoting Rosen's work as a boilerplate defense of dead white guys in music.  I happen to love Haydn's music and think Mozart is over-rated and over-played.  My primary point in quoting Rosen is to point out something he said about Haydn's work, even if (and perhaps especially if) we're confining discussion of music written by the "canon" of dead white guys, that there was a brief historical period in the operas of Mozart and the late symphonies of Haydn as well as in Schubert songs where there was no opposition between the popular and the learned.  

Contemporary academic discussions of populism since 2016 have a strong current of defining "populist" and "populism" in authoritarian terms.  I've discussed Jacques Ellul's "populist agitator" propagandist in the past yet in the arts one of my concerns in the last four years has been that populist ideas have been defined in such strictly pejorative terms the very idea that there can be any positive populist impulse has been moved off the proverbial table.  Thus ... I'm half skeptical of Ian Pace's skepticism about authoritarian populism not because there's nothing to the concern as stated but because I'm wondering if there's any other kind of populism these days in the minds of academics than authoritarian populism.  I'll proceed to quotes from Pace on that topic.