Commentaries - November 2007

Rock & the Right redux

"To argue against rock and roll is now as quaintly irrelevant as arguing for the divine right of kings."

So writes Mark Steyn in the right-of-center New Criterion. He is commenting--interestingly--on conservatives' views on rock 'n roll. He looks back on Allan Bloom (the late Closing of the American Mind guy) who hated rock.

Steyn: "The 'Music' chapter is the most difficult one for young fans of The Closing Of The American Mind — because it’s the point at which you realize just how much Allan Bloom means it" when he said he loathed popular music.

But royalism as merely "quaint." It's a cute analogy but think about it long enough and it starts to seem more than a little disturbing.

Here's the whole article.

each little phrase a sub-property (Mailer 2.0)

Earlier I mentioned how dazzled I was when I re-read Norman Mailer's Miami and the Siege of Chicago. I'm still dazzled. I love the way his figures (windy, awkward conceits) run amok. Here's one...about styles of speechifying:

Where Lyndon Johnson spoke and wrote in phrases which could be hyphenated like Mayor Daley's temporary fences on the way to the Amphitheatre, making you keep your eye off the weeds in the vacant lot, and on the dual highway ahead, so Hubert Humphrey's phrases were like building plots in sub-developments, each little phrase was a sub-property - the only trouble was that the plots were all in different towns, little cliches from separate speeches made on unrelated topics in distinctly different years were no plumped down next to each other in the rag-bag map of his mind. He went on for many minutes planting shrubs in each separate little plot.... (p. 119)

And about the Yippie experience in Chicago:

Some went out forever, some went screaming down the alleys of the mad where cockroaches drive like Volkswagens on the oilcloth of the moon, gluttons found vertigo in centrifuges of consciousness, vomitoriums of ingestion; others found love, some manifest of love in light, in shards of Nirvana, sparks of satori.... (p. 135)

second greatest generation blah blah

When did the Sixties really start? Go here and find out.

Darfur now (not later)

Darfur NOW tells the story of how the crisis in Darfur developed and it follows six individuals who in their own ways have worked to try to stop the genocide before more people die and more are displaced. These six include the actor Don Cheadle, who also served as a producer on the film, and Adam Sterling, a young, recent graduate of UCLA who became involved in fighting the genocide partly because he knew the stories of how his grandparents had fled the Holocaust in Europe.

Watch this film. If you can't see the information on the image above, click on the image and you'll get a larger view.