Victory in Connecticut

Tuesday, March 10, AD 2009

christ-victor

Lawlor and McDonald, the two anti-Catholic bigots behind a bill to tell the Catholic Church how to operate in Connecticut, have tucked their tails between their legs, cancelled the hearing on their bill, and their hate note to the Catholic Church, disguised as a bill, is dead for this legislative session.  Massive publicitity worked the trick, and endless outraged calls, e-mails and faxes to the legislators.  Kudos to State Senator John McKinney (Republican, Fairfield) who called 24 hours ago for the hearing on this bill to be cancelled and announced that every Republican in the state senate was against this bill, and that the bill was blatantly unconstitutional.  I am sure the bigots will be back, but so will those of us who oppose them.  A good day in Connecticut.

Update: Hmmm.  The bigots were apparently in alliance with members of Voice of the Faithless.  Surprise!

Continue reading...

6 Responses to Victory in Connecticut

Res & Explicatio for A.D. 3-10-2009

Tuesday, March 10, AD 2009

Salvete AC readers!

Here are today’s Top Picks in the Catholic world:

1. There seems to be a growing counter-movement in U.S. politics aligning itself against the Catholic Church.  We see it happening in Connecticut where state legislatures want to control Church property.  We also see it in the higher echelons of government where President Obama are using Catholic pawns such as Douglas Kmiec and Kathleen Sebelius.  It isn’t being orchestrated by anyone, but the common theme seems to be to neutralize the effectiveness of the Church.  Dave Hartline of the Catholic Report wrote an excellent column tieing all these loose ends together and explaining the consequences of this growing counter-movement.

For Dave Hartline’s columnn click on counter-movement above or here.

2. Speaking of Connecticut, Archbishop Charles Chaput has this to say concerning SB 1098 that would remove the bishops authority over each parish:

“legislative coercion directed against the Catholic community in one state has implications for Catholics in every other state. If bigots in one state succeed in coercive laws like SB 1098, bigots in other states will try the same.”

The bigots Archbishop Chaput is referring to are Senator Andrew McDonald and Representative Mike Lawlor, who are both homosexual activists that opposed the local Church’s efforts to defend marriage between a man and a woman.

For the article click on SB 1098 above or here.

Continue reading...

One Response to Res & Explicatio for A.D. 3-10-2009

  • What Hath Prop 8 Wrought. More annoying little bedbugs like these two will pop up all over the country. Nothing organized as an anti-Catholic conspiracy, but effect is just the same. Much of this stuff bubbling up since November 5. We hope and pray that the sheer ineptitude of these forces allow them to trip up themselves. As King David prayed about ex-advisor Ahithophel, who jumped to rebel side of angry son Absolom. King prayed O Lord turn their counsel against them. We should too.

Raise Your Hands

Tuesday, March 10, AD 2009

In a future time, free of the moral chaos in which we are currently engulfed, people will look back in horror at our age of abortion and wonder why so many people supported it or did nothing to stop it.  In that age groups like Priests for Life will be hailed as the champions of innocent life in a time period when the destruction of innocent children in the womb was celebrated as a “right”.  Here is a video on Priests for Life.  God grant them success.

Continue reading...

2 Responses to Raise Your Hands

  • And organizational founder Father Frank Pavone as full-blown hero for our age. Tireless speaker, organizer, friend of the babies. Wouldn’t know how to travel if he wasn’t constantly running against the tide of the culture. Bravo to him and fellow Melchizideks for Babies.

  • I am just speechless at that video. It makes my heart wrench.

To Further Divide Us

Monday, March 9, AD 2009

President Obama has signed an executive order lifting restrictions on embryonic stem cell research, as he promised in his campaign speeches.  For anyone who doesn’t see this as yet one more blow in a long string of anti-life policies, consider the chilling words at the end of the article that people are using to justify the research:

“This was already life that was going to be destroyed… The choice is throw them away or use them for research.”

I wonder how long it would take before we use such arguments on, say, criminals sentenced to life in prison (or who are on death row, even). Or the elderly. Or the sick. Or the mentally deficient. Or…

Continue reading...

27 Responses to To Further Divide Us

  • What you’ll get is everything that FOCA contained but chopped up and passed separately. That way those who voted for him can still claim FOCA didn’t happen.

  • The legacy of Bush, who opened the doors to ESCR…

  • Mark D.,

    No that’s the line over at Vox Nova. Here is my comment from there:

    Henry,
    I believe the funding under President Bush was for stem cell lines already established. The rationale for this is that such line continue to divide and grow and new embryos are not destroyed in their production. From your link:
    “Because stem cell lines divide continuously in culture, these lines can be used by hundreds of individual researchers.? One line alone has already resulted in 136 shipments to researchers.”
    That is significantly different than what Obama has done today.

  • It’s painful to see him undoing everything that was done by the previous administration. I am not keen on this stem cell research….

    http://kellenebishop.wordpress.com

  • Well, Bush is not the president. Barack Obama is and contrary to much of what he said on the campaign trail, he is not really playing any sort of “new” politics.

  • Mark D.,

    Mark DeFrancisis Says:
    Monday, March 9, 2009 A.D. at 3:19 pm

    The legacy of Bush, who opened the doors to ESCR…

    Back at it again? A little more of your partisan and empty rhetoric?

    The NIH could have funded ESCR until he banned it for any new lines, thus, perhaps funding immoral research on already dead embryos, he banned any funding which new research, thus discouraging the destruction of new embryos even more than if he had banned any funding at all.

    Bush did not open any doors, even if he failed to close all of the doors that we might have wanted.

  • My statement stands. Bush’s legacy is ESCR funding.

  • Mark,

    explain your logic?

    oops… I forgot, partisanship and empty rhetoric needs no logic.

  • Bush was the one who closed the door on ESCR funding. Without him and his vetoes we would have had full blown funding long ago. Blaming him for this is Orwellian.

  • Orwellian. Vox Nova. What’s the difference?

  • Okay, trying to score rhetorical points. But it was fun.

    Anyway. Morally I believe the Vatican has pronounced that using STEM CELL LINES is not per se immoral as it does not involve the ONGOING destruction of embryos. From the National Catholic Bioethics Center:

    “What support is there in Church teaching for this position?

    A statement from the Pontifical Academy for Life issued in 2005 holds that one may use these products, despite their distant association with abortion, at least until such time as new vaccines become available”

    Here’s the link to the Vatican document:

    http://www.ncbcenter.org/vaticanresponse.pdf

  • Phillip,

    That is incorrect, the use of vaccine carries a different level of cooperation with evil than the development of same:

    As regards the preparation, distribution and marketing of vaccines produced as a result of the use of biological material whose origin is connected with cells coming from foetuses voluntarily aborted, such a process is stated, as a matter of principle, morally illicit, because it could contribute in encouraging the performance of other voluntary abortions, with the purpose of the production of such vaccines. Nevertheless, it should be recognized that, within the chain of production-distribution-marketing, the various cooperating agents can have different moral responsibilities

    This would be doubly illicit because the embryos are not voluntarily aborted, but typically created for the purpose of destruction. If this research were restricted to “discarded” embryos (which it is not) then it would still be illicit as noted above.

  • The question of Bush’s funding of ESCR I suppose depends on where you’re looking. I don’t like the fact that he permitted any research at all, for the scandal it causes, but at the same time he did put some limitations on the research. I suppose this goes back to the problem of whether or not the perfect is the enemy of the good. In order to claim that ESCR is Bush’s legacy, one must show that his policies increased in the amount of ESCR, which I don’t believe it did (though I’m open to references to the contrary).

    Nevertheless, regardless of scandal, one’s actions are still one’s own. It was Obama who made an executive order lifting restrictions on ESCR, another in a list of nearly daily events that cater to the culture of death and snubs the pro-life crowd.

  • Ryan,

    by way of clarification, Bush did not ban any sort of research, he only banned Federal funding of such.

  • Pingback: Res & Explicatio for A.D. 3-10-2009 « The American Catholic
  • Matt,

    Thanks. I need to work on being more precise in my posts and comments. The gist of my argument still stands, though, in terms of the effect. Private funding tends to be slightly more discriminating than federal funding, with the effect of the latter providing opportunities for ventures that would not receive private funding. ESCR is one of those areas, especially as it has led to little success and many gruesome results. Cutting the public funding was effectively a ban, but not technically one.

  • Matt,

    I think what Bush allowed funding of was research on already established cell lines and not on continued production of embryos for subsequent destruction to produce new cell lines. Therefore the analogy with vaccines derived from cell lines. I would agree with the potential for scandal even with this policy as Ryan notes. As I asked on Vox Nova, does anyone have a link to what the Vatican said about Bush’s 2001 policy?

  • Phillip,

    I see the connection you’re making, but I think it needs to be recognized that the Vatican response makes a distinction between consuming of the vaccines and producing them, the latter being immoral which would apply to experimenting on the pre-existing lines.

    I don’t believe the Vatican made comment on the Bush 2001 policy, but I think the Church’s position would be that all ESCR should be banned (not just the funding of them).

  • Ryan,

    especially as it has led to little success and many gruesome results. Cutting the public funding was effectively a ban, but not technically one.

    precisely why we need to vastly shrink the size of the federal government… it has had the double effect of crowding out private investment, and wasting taxpayer dollars on boondoggles that no private person would consider investing.

    That the ban was effective, and not technical is not really an issue.

  • Matt,

    I think I cover your point under the sin of scandal. Scandal being defined ccording to St. Thomas (II-II, Q. liii, a. 1) as:

    “a word or action evil in itself, which occasions another’s spiritual ruin. It is a word or action, that is either an external act—for an internal act can have no influence on the conduct of another—or the omission of an external act, because to omit what one should do is equivalent to doing what is forbidden; it must be evil in itself, or in appearance; this is the interpretation of the words of St. Thomas: minus rectum.”

    The Vatican document seems to see this as the sin involved in the production of cell lines in vaccine production. I continue to wonder what the Vatican take on the Bush policy was.

  • Phillip,

    I wasn’t talking about scandal, I was talking about the moral licitness of ESCR even with existing stem cell lines, it’s pretty clear to me, from the Vatican letter that it is immoral, period.

    That said, Bush’s action was not to allow such, but to ban the most offensive forms (which involve the destruction of human life presently, as opposed to in the past). Such an action is morally good. Whether one is culpable for not taking more action, such as an outright ban, or eliminating all funding is a more involved question, especially since Bush is not Catholic.

    Either way, none of this a defense of Obama’s formally evil action.

  • Actually though, that’s the specific sin that the Vatican is addressing in the question of immunizations. Scandal is a specific sin.

  • It seems Obama may have also cut funding for adult stem cell research:

    http://www.lifenews.com/bio2786.html

  • If the debate about ESCR was really about curing diseases like Parkinson’s and diabetes and the like, then the tremendous and overwhelming success that adult stem cells, especially skin cells have had in pursuing goals like these would be widely celebrated. Federal research money for the use of adult stem cells would be poured into research facilities with the kind of reckless abandon.

    Instead, Obama rescinded an executive order President Bush put into place funding adult stem cells and new research with iPS cells. The order was intended to ultimately fund research into alternatives” to destructive embryonic stem cell research such as altered nuclear transfer (ANT), “regression” (reverting differentiated cells into stem cells), and other methods. Bush could be said to have been ahead of his time since regression, also known as direct reprogramming, has taken off and the new induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) are the talk of the scientific world. Last November saw that huge advance in stem cell research when scientists announced they had found a way to produce the biological equivalent of embryonic stem cells without creating, using, or destroying any human embryos.

    So given we are able to completely sidestep all of the moral and ethical concerns about destroying human embryos and still have all that “scientific promise” of breakthrough cures, why do people chose to keep on destroying embryos?

  • At least Obama admits it’s life (and surely he knows it is human)…I don’t know if he has admitted this before…when asked by a reporter when life begins, he said he didn’t know…so I guess he knows now.

They Came For The Catholics

Monday, March 9, AD 2009

thomas-nast-anti-catholic-bigot

Anti-Catholic bigots are busily at work in the Connecticut state legislature.   Raised Bill 1098 would effectively place any corporation connected with the Roman Catholic Church in Connecticut under lay control.  The sponsors of the bill, Representative Mike Lawlor, ironically a law professor, and State Senator Andrew J. McDonald, a lawyer, generously allow the local bishop or archbishop to serve on such a board of directors but without a vote.

Continue reading...

11 Responses to They Came For The Catholics

  • Ironically, it’s been argued (Jeffries and Ryan 2001) that the Establishment Clause was incorporated primarily because of anti-Catholicism; specifically a resistance to state funding of Catholic schools. Here, incorporation of the Establishment Clause makes this law almost certainly unconstitutional.

  • Ironically, it’s been argued (Jeffries and Ryan 2001) that the Establishment Clause was incorporated primarily because of anti-Catholicism;

    There’s an interesting history of the Establishment Clause and anti-Catholicism, and I’m kicking myself because I’m forgetting the name of a great book that explores that topic. It may simply be called “Separation of Church and State,” and it discusses how Jefferson’s bit of dicta was used in the late 19th and early 20th century almost primarily as a way of hurting Catholics.

    At any rate, this bit of nonsense will most likely fail, but that doesn’t mean it should not ring alarm bells for all of us. This is just the opening salvo in the new round of anti-Catholic legislation.

  • It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out. Especially with Proposition 8 out in California that may soon be rescinded, one way or another.

  • The homeschool list was trafficing a lot on this over the weekend. One bit of information that sounded odd to me was the claim that this was just an update of a law on how Catholic parishes were to be run in Conn. which was passed back in the 50s. This was allegedly just an “update” of that law.

    Why in the world would there be a law specifically on how Catholic parishes were to be run? I’d think the Church would have to figure out how to make use of existing means of incorporation and administration and let the state know what it was doing.

    Any of you legal gents know anything about that?

  • Darwin,

    I suppose that the proposed bill is an “updating” of the prior law, in the same way that changing one’s will to disinherit one’s son in favor of one’s new girlfriend is an “updating” of one’s will.

    The law actually dates a lot farther back than the 1950s (exactly how far back I can’t say, but I suspect that the original version of the provision in question has been around since the colonial era). Apparently the way it works is that when Connecticut first set up the state’s corporate law governing religious institutions, it did so based on Congregationalist principles. At some point, they realized that this wouldn’t work for other sorts of religious denominations, so they passed special legislation relating to those churches.

  • I certainly gathered that the proposed law tries to force an absolutely unacceptable rule-by-lay-elected-parish-board structure on Catholic parishes.

    I guess what confused me was that there was even a special set of legal structure having to do with religious institutions. I had assumed (which of course made an ass of me) that states just had one set of non-profit incorporation structures available, and that religious institutions such as Catholic diocese picked whichever of these seemed most appropriate to them. (Drawn, I guess, from reading somewhere or other about how diocese differ as to whether each parish is incorporated or the diocese as a whole is incorporated with all parishes held by it.)

    Interesting…

    On an only semi-related note: I’d always been curious what would happen in regards to property fights and civil law if there was a full out schism in the US with two claimants to a number of diocesan sees (one bishop who had gone into schism versus his replacement appointed by Rome.)

    Would the sort of ruling cited by Donald above mean that the US would refuse to take a position on which bishop actually had control over diocesan property until the Catholic sorted it out and reached some sort of consensus?

  • Why do you presume it is anti-Catholic in intent? Some think it was in fact pushed by Catholics upset at the lack of accountability in their churches.

  • It’s on. Full scale persecution. What with this silly bill. Plus the nakedly bigoted appointment of Sibelius to HHS. For laffs, picked up the Inquirer this morn- have not received it at domicile since about Our Lord’s Birthday. Not just approving pic of Dear Leader and Crew after signing of Embryonic Stem Cell Approval Bill. But op-ed from KC Star from writer Mary Sanchez praising Sibelius and telling Catholic Church in effect to shut up and go away. Away went paper in nearest trash can.

  • “Some think it was in fact pushed by Catholics upset at the lack of accountability in their churches.”

    Rubbish. The anti-Catholic intent is clear. Catholics do not want any government telling them how to conduct their Church affairs. This is all payback on the gay marriage issue.

  • Pingback: Victory in Connecticut « The American Catholic
  • Pingback: Res & Explicatio for A.D. 3-11-2009 « The American Catholic

Childish Mentalities

Monday, March 9, AD 2009

Here’s a question.  If, when you were a teenager, your parents had taken you aside and explained that sex before marriage is wrong, sinful, against the Catholic faith, carries the risk of sexually transmitted diseases, and might end in a pregnancy, but if you intend to do so, please protect yourself, what would your interpretation of that lecture be?  Let’s keep in mind that the intent behind this discussion is not to focus on the contraceptive aspect, but the (limited) protection that some contraceptives (namely condoms) afford against sexually transmitted diseases.

My wife had the fortune of having this lecture and, being the obedient child she was, she understood that to mean, “Okay, no sex before marriage.  No problem.”  Listening to her explain this, though, I realized that as a teenager, I would have interpreted the lecture much differently.  Maybe because I’m male, or because I was already fascinated by sex, I would have translated the lecture into saying, “We disapprove, but it’s okay to have sex as long as you use a condom.”

Continue reading...

5 Responses to Childish Mentalities

The First

Monday, March 9, AD 2009

BE031319

James K. Polk, President of the United States, had a problem.  The year was 1846 and the US was at war with Mexico, a Catholic nation.  A large fraction of the American army was Catholic, usually fairly recent Irish immigrants.  Mexican propaganda portrayed the war as a wicked onlslaught by Protestants against a Catholic people and appealed to Catholics in the US army to desert to them, promising them land and a position in the Mexican army.  Some troops took them up on their offer, with deserters eventually forming the San Patricios Battalion and fighting for Mexico during the war.  To stem such desertions, Polk wanted to appoint Catholic chaplains to the US Army.  Although Catholic chaplains had served informally in prior American wars, none had served officially in that capacity.  To remedy that, Polk had a quiet private meeting with Archbishop John Hughes of New York.  While Dagger John suspected Polk’s political motivations, he agreed to recommend two priests to serve as chaplains:  Father Anthony Rey, vice-president of Georgetown and a Jesuit, and Father John McElroy, also a Jesuit, who went on to found Boston College and who will be the subject of a future post.

Continue reading...

6 Responses to The First

  • Thank God for folks like that.

  • What would Ignatius, the former soldier who gave it all up, have to say about the choice of ‘his’ men for such an expedition?

  • Probably nothing since Jesuits were serving as military chaplains during the lifetime of Saint Ignatius. Google Nicholas Bobadilla and James Lainez.

  • Oh, and although I can’t find it online, Saint Ignatius wrote a long letter of advice to Emperor Charles V in which he encouraged him to launch a naval offensive against the Turks in order to stop their raids on the costs of Christian nations.

  • By the Catholic Encyclopedia, it seems he approached the life of a saint as a logical extension of his life as an officer.
    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07639c.htm

    So far Ignatius had shown none but the ordinary virtues of the Spanish officer. His dangers and sufferings has doubtless done much to purge his soul, but there was no idea yet of remodelling his life on any higher ideals. Then, in order to divert the weary hours of convalescence, he asked for the romances of chivalry, his favourite reading, but there were none in the castle, and instead they brought him the lives of Christ and of the saints, and he read them in the same quasi-competitive spirit with which he read the achievements of knights and warriors. “Suppose I were to rival this saint in fasting, that one in endurance, that other in pilgrimages.” He would then wander off into thoughts of chivalry, and service to fair ladies, especially to one of high rank, whose name is unknown. Then all of a sudden, he became conscious that the after-effect of these dreams was to make him dry and dissatisfied, while the ideas of falling into rank among the saints braced and strengthened him, and left him full of joy and peace. Next it dawned on him that the former ideas were of the world, the latter God-sent; finally, worldly thoughts began to lose their hold, while heavenly ones grew clearer and dearer. One night as he lay awake, pondering these new lights, “he saw clearly”, so says his autobiography, “the image of Our Lady with the Holy Child Jesus”, at whose sight for a notable time he felt a reassuring sweetness, which eventually left him with such a loathing of his past sins, and especially for those of the flesh, that every unclean imagination seemed blotted out from his soul, and never again was there the least consent to any carnal thought. His conversion was now complete. Everyone noticed that he would speak of nothing but spiritual things, and his elder brother begged him not to take any rash or extreme resolution, which might compromise the honour of their family.

    Please pardon the extensive cut-and-paste!

  • Betsy,

    not to pile on, but, the mission of those priests was not military but spiritual.

191 Responses to It's. Only. A. Rock. Band.

  • Indeed. They are musicians, albeit with talent. Enough is enough.

  • There are more theologically significant bands than U2. Definitely.

    Bonnie Prince Billy
    Radiohead
    Nick Cave

  • Ask Hans Urs von Balthasar. Aesthetics + poetry lead to theological reflection, and show something of the soul.

  • I’m not disputing Balthasar’s essential point.

    Sometimes I do, however, wonder if some of these fans imbue U2’s lyrics — or every jot and tittle from Bono’s lips, for that matter — with greater theological weight than they can carry. =)

  • I would suspect, for the most part, they don’t go far enough with the theological possibilities involved with U2 (or any other band; U2 being the one which gets the most, granted, but perhaps it is because others are not given sufficient treatment that U2 seems to be given too much). I expect one of the reasons why U2 is the one which is taken seriously on this matter is because of Bono’s intentions, which is clearly religious, and I think similar to many of the playwrites Balthasar DID write about (such as Reinhold Schneider). Clearly, I think U2’s lyrics are the kinds which Balthasar would pick up and use if he could do an “Apocalypse of the English Soul” today. But I also think Nirvana would be there, too.

  • Clearly, I think U2’s lyrics are the kinds which Balthasar would pick up and use if he could do an “Apocalypse of the English Soul” today. But I also think Nirvana would be there, too.

    Perhaps, but despite all your rage I suspect that you are rather more than a rat in a cage.

    De gustibus non disputandum but more and more as I move on in life it strikes me that rock is only actually good at conveying a certain and rather limited range of thought and emotion. It’s a range one spends most of adolescence and one’s early 20s in, so it can seem rather all consuming at that point. It seems natural, as one grows older, to mostly transition to real music.

    Not that I don’t still enjoy turning on the Beatles or Metallica or Coldplay or occasionally even U2 (from the October – Atchung Baby era), but for a magazine like America to be writing Deeply Serious commentary on a rock band is, frankly, a bit embarrassing.

  • I have often thought that much of the commentary at America was written by drunken rock fans.

  • Darwin

    Your comments remind me of the silliness that one finds with some critics of Tolkien, who said all fantasy is “fit for children only.” Indeed, it just reminds me of someone who wants to desperately pretend they are grown up by giving away what they consider to be the “chidlish things in life,” proving they lack real maturity.

  • I am both a fanatic of classical music (I own about 3000 classical music discs ( I worked in a record store and got tons of promos) and listen to such music about 25 hours a week) an absolute apologist for U2.

    One simply cannot say enough about No Line On the Horizon. Bravo to America Magazine.

  • Well, I certainly can’t dispute that my comments remind you of something, since that is, after all, something only you can know. Still, that some things are wrongly described as being only for the young does not mean that nothing is best suited to the more angst ridden periods of one’s life, but not to maturity.

    Be that as it may, my own experience (and hardly, I gather, a unique one) is that from my current vantage point in life rock music (not just in particular, but in its musical structure) is able to reflect only a small portion of what the human experience has to offer — and not necessarily the best or more interested parts.

    It now strikes me as rather thin broth compared to orchestral on choral music (or in the standard rather than technical usage of the term: classical music). Very suitable to certain moods, but generally not worth taking too seriously.

  • Mark

    Right, I love so many styles of music (though my favorite is world folk, and of them, Vartinna is one of the best). I’m still adjusting to the new U2 CD, so I can’t interpret it yet; I do like the tunes but it takes me a month or so before I absorb the rest of the content. Anyone who would say this isn’t “real music” to be taken seriously is absurd, to say the least.

  • I love U2. I love Beethoven. Heck I love Metallica. One can appreciate all sorts of music, appreciate the deeper meanings where they are to be found, and still believe that some forms of music (even amongst the kinds of music that one likes) are simply better and much more provocative.

  • At the risk playing the prosaic neanderthal, I think the article is a little silly. Much as I love U2 and ‘Beautiful Day,’ the lyric ‘You love this town, even if that doesn’t ring true, you’ve been all over, and it’s been all over you’ is not exactly Tolkienish in its depth and complexity.

    And, while U2 is serious about their work, they don’t wax this pretentiously about their music either. I remember watching an interview with them several years back after HTDAAB came out, and they were asked about the creation of a song I liked on the album. Bono laughed and said, actually, we were drunk that night and I don’t really remember what we were thinking when we wrote that one.

  • Much as I love U2 and ‘Beautiful Day,’ the lyric ‘You love this town, even if that doesn’t ring true, you’ve been all over, and it’s been all over you’ is not exactly Tolkienish in its depth and complexity.

    Actually, now that you mention it, John Henry, perhaps there’s much more in this than I though. If we could get our boy Origen on the topic, we could probably start off with three to four pages on “You love” before moving on this “this town” for the following chapter. It’d be like Commentary on The Song of Songs all over again. Good times…

  • Did I mention I like the new album?

    I don’t doubt that Bono put some thought into his lyrics (he always does); I have to wonder, however, at the enthusiasm among some fans for detecting allusions to the thought of Edward Schillebeeckx or David Tracy or Bonhoeffer’s “cheap grace.”

    America‘s are reminiscent of a student my father knew who tried to submit a paper on the philosophical implications of Trent Reznor (something I might have done impishly … two decades ago).

    If I put effort into it I can detect (imbue?) Balthasarian themes in a few lines from the hazy ramblings of Lungfish — but I wonder if my effort wouldn’t be better spent reading Balthasar instead.

    Here’s a related example of a theologian who deems U2’s album “the most overtly Christian album they’ve done YET” (clap hands in resounding joy):

    The basic message of No Line is that earth is not yet heaven, and therefore the album summons us to “Get On Your Boots” and work toward the day when things will fully be on earth as they are in heaven — when heaven and earth will be indistinguishable, and there will at last be no line on the horizon.

    Moving in that direction requires the triumph “of vision over visibility” (“Moment of Surrender”), an echo of an earlier formulation of the same insight: that the things that last and that come at the last constitute “a place that has to be believed to be seen” (“Walk On” from 2000’s All That You Can’t Leave Behind). It also requires an inner transformation wrought by a receptive hearing of the voice of God (“Unknown Caller”) and a faithful reception of the love of God which requires that one both “stand up” for it and “sit down” to receive it (“Stand Up Comedy”).

    The central eschatological metaphor of No Line is the sound of the divine song, heard only by those who have the ears to hear it, yet unconsciously sought by everyone, for all people were created to hear and sing this song.

    Is this theological explication or theological wanking?

  • Contrary to the tone of this post, the article’s author is rather humble and kindly in his assessment of U2, as positive as it may be.

    And I think this segues with what Henry (and I), I believe, are saying:

    The yearning that U2’s music exemplifies and elicits need not be assumed to stand in for the whole of a theological life in order to be the pleasure that it is as both harbinger and holder of hope-in-the-wanting. Whatever salvation is, through such finite formations is it allowed.

  • And how so many of you seem to be embarassed by the incarnation…The Word dwelt amongst us….

  • I love U2. One of my favorite bands.

    This is still absurdly over the top: a releasement to worldly fragility, contingency, beauty, unpredictability, and the gorgeous strangenesses that we make, and that we are.

    Darwin didn’t say that rock music is worthless, just that it’s not as deep or rich as classical music. If you want to use Tolkien in an analogy here, a much truer analogy would be this: John Grisham isn’t as deep or rich as Tolkien and Shakespeare, even if he writes some darn good page-turners.

  • And the America article is wrongheaded: If you were going to pick out a moment in the Fordham concert as particularly religious in its implications, it wouldn’t be the inane lyrics “it’s been all over you.” It would be Bono assuming the orans posture in the song “Magnificent” as he sang the words, “I was born to sing for you.”

  • Tom Beaudoin is no theological “wanker.” Anyone familiar with what is going on in contemporary theology knows this.

    So many ridiculous definitions of what “real music” and “real theology” are in this thread. I’m guessing most of those making such definitions here are not theologians nor do they have much knowledge of music beyond mere personal preferences. The “rock music” (whatever that is) vs. “real music” binary is, as Henry said, absurd, but it fits right in with all of the other dualisms that haunt the thinking of those who frequent this place.

    Theological reflection on rock music — and popular culture in general — is not new. The prejudices here simply flow from the standard high culture vs low culture, often classist, biases. We see it in the way you people talk about liturgy and liturgical music as well. That’s all it is — a more or less classist dualism. (“I used to like rock music, but I grew up.”)

    I agree that U2 is “just a rock band,” not because I don’t think rock should be taken seriously as art or even as a theological source, but because they are, in my opinion, boring and most importantly, they act like any other rock band. There are much more challenging and important artists through which to do theological reflection, both in terms of the music and lyrics themselves AND the way the music is made.

  • Darwin didn’t say that rock music is worthless, just that it’s not as deep or rich as classical music.

    Which is still a ridiculous comment. Some “classical” music is indeed rich and deep (I like it, as well as other types of “real” music you might have in mind), but a good bit of it was just the pop music of its day.

  • Michael I,

    Nick Cave rules!

  • Let me amend my “U2 is boring” comment. I love U2 also, but much prefer their older stuff. War and The Joshua Tree in particular. Those records were no less “Christian,” and they had more bite. Now they pretty much write adult contemporary happy-Christian rock. Even when they’re “rocking,” it’s polite.

  • Some “classical” music is indeed rich and deep (I like it, as well as other types of “real” music you might have in mind), but a good bit of it was just the pop music of its day.

    That’s completely illogical. The fact that there exists some non-rich classical music (most of it, in fact) doesn’t change the fact that there is no piece of rock music ever written, or that ever could be written, that would compare to Bach’s B-Minor Mass in its depth and profundity. Nor that there will never be a rock/pop song written that could even conceivably compare to Bach’s Goldberg Variations in the sheer complexity and range that they exhibit. (If you’re not a trained musician, I doubt you would even be able to understand how unbelievably complex the Goldberg Variations are: every third variation is a canon beginning with an increasing interval, and yet it’s done with such skill that most people wouldn’t even notice.)

    I really like both John Grisham and Tolkien, both U2 and Bach, both Norman Rockwell and Rembrandt. Doesn’t mean I have to fall into the mindless and indiscriminatory relativism in which all works of art are equal.

  • I love U2. It happens to be my favorite band (my wife’s as well). I also happen to love their bluegrass roots and have a deep appreciation for Appalachian folk music. Michael Iafrate and I are in total agreement on the albums (although All You Can’t Leave Behind is a close third).

    That said, I have to agree that rock, as a musical genre, doesn’t have the capacity to carry the grandeur, subtlety, or depth that music in an orchestral style does. That’s not demeaning to rock, it’s just saying that, as a vehicle, it doesn’t have the ‘cargo room’ that some other types of music (which include a wider variety of instruments, longer pieces of music, and therefore the capacity for a more diverse arrangement of sound) have.

  • S.B. – There is nothing illogical at all about what I said. You’re merely expressing aesthetic opinion. There is, however, a lack of logic in your own view, as you reduce musical “richness” and “depth” to technical complexity. There is certainly more to music than that. Also, I never said all works of art are equal. But it would not be an S.B. conversation if you didn’t deliberately attempt to misrepresent what I said. At least you are consistent.

    Aside from the utterly stupid “rock music vs classical music” binary I am seeing here, I am concerned, too, about the elevation of Western “orchestral,” “classical,” etc. music over non-Western music, as if it were the pinnacle of music.

    Such views show a lack of exposure to other “real” music, a very narrow view of what music in fact is, and a reductionistic view of what makes music “good.”

  • I never said all works of art are equal.

    Then you should have no problem with the claim that some genres of art are on a different level than others.

    But it would not be an S.B. conversation if you didn’t deliberately attempt to misrepresent what I said. At least you are consistent.

    Back at you. I didn’t “reduce” richness and depth to “technical complexity” — I just pointed to one example of Bach’s technical mastery that would be unimaginable in rock music (if any rock musicians could even comprehend what Bach did, none could imitate it). That wasn’t my only example of “richness and depth.”

    There is nothing illogical at all about what I said.

    Yes there was. The claim was made that rock music, while delightful in many ways, doesn’t have the capacity for richness and depth that one finds in classical music. Your answer was that a lot of classical music was the pop music of its day — which is true but illogical, because the fact that some classical music is non-deep does nothing to refute the point that other classical music is deeper than rock music.

  • Then you should have no problem with the claim that some genres of art are on a different level than others.

    Why? They are not equivalent statements.

    Your answer was that a lot of classical music was the pop music of its day — which is true but illogical, because the fact that some classical music is non-deep does nothing to refute the point that other classical music is deeper than rock music.

    Nothing “illogical” at all. Initially you said, simply, that rock music is not as deep or rich as rock music. That’s an utterly simplistic, stupid statement. I replied saying that not all “classical” music is deep or rich. Nothing “illogical.”

    You are using empty terms like “rich” and “deep” and not explaining how you would judge whether or not a piece of music is “rich” or “deep” other than by technical complexity. I called you on it, and you said that’s not the only way you would judge a piece of music, but fail to mention any other criteria.

    All you are doing is speaking from your own aesthetic preferences. Which is fine. But don’t claim that you are speaking objectively in any sense.

    …because the fact that some classical music is non-deep does nothing to refute the point that other classical music is deeper than rock music.

    All one need say,then, is that some pieces of music are “deeper” and “more rich” than other pieces of music. As you would no doubt now admit, after I called you to clarify your points, some pieces of rock music are much more deep and rich than some pieces of classical music. By your own admission, your blanket claims about the superiority of certain genres are absurd.

  • All of this to avoid the point: I can imagine someone waxing eloquent about Bach’s B-Minor Mass. But waxing eloquent about U2’s line, “it’s been all over you”? Come on.

    As you would no doubt now admit, after I called you to clarify your points, some pieces of rock music are much more deep and rich than some pieces of classical music.

    Do you understand the concept of an average? Some U2 songs are richer than some pieces by Vivaldi; but there are many other pieces of classical music with a depth and range of emotion that simply isn’t expressed well in the limited format of guitar/bass/drums/4-minute song. If you’re not denying THAT point, then I’m not sure why you’re arguing at all. But if you are denying that point, then I think you’re guilty of mindless relativism — or just the incapacity to appreciate music.

  • I called you on it, and you said that’s not the only way you would judge a piece of music, but fail to mention any other criteria.

    Have you ever even heard Bach’s B-Minor Mass? Brahms’ 4 symphonies? Beethoven’s late string quartets? Mozart’s Requiem? vaughan Williams’ “Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis”?

    If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then you need to educate yourself. It’s impossible to write to an ignorant person and to convey, via mere words, the depths that can be expressed in great music, just as much as it’s impossible to truly describe the color red to a person blind from birth.

  • Hey, Michael Iafrate and I agree on something.

    I like U2 as well, though I never thought about the deeper theological implications of it all. I just like good music.

    Wierd Al Yankovic rocks!

  • If we could get our boy Origen on the topic, we could probably start off with three to four pages on “You love” before moving on this “this town” for the following chapter. It’d be like Commentary on The Song of Songs all over again. Good times…

    heh. In retrospect, a second year college seminar was probably not the best place to appreciate Origen’s commentary.

  • The question of the translatability of the Christo-form into various musical genres seems to be a different, much more complex issue than the battle over the purported superiority of the Bach to Brahms (plus a few post-extras) element of the Western classical canon.

  • We really need to get back to non-controversial topics like abortion, Obama, homosexuality, etc. Obviously rock touches a nerve with a lot of readers!

  • I’d say Billy Holiday’s “Strange Fruit” has as much, if not more, “depth” and “richness” to it as/than anything that came out of the classical tradition in America between 1900-1935.

    It is also evidence of a non-classical genre’s high suspectibility to communicating the Christo-form musically.

  • All of this to avoid the point: I can imagine someone waxing eloquent about Bach’s B-Minor Mass. But waxing eloquent about U2’s line, “it’s been all over you”? Come on.

    Here, you are talking about two particular pieces of music. Fine, compare them. Of course that particular U2 song has less depth than that particular Mass from Bach. But your generalizations are not helpful.

    Do you understand the concept of an average?

    Yes. But I don’t like it if it’s used to make ridiculous generalizations.

    Some U2 songs are richer than some pieces by Vivaldi; but there are many other pieces of classical music with a depth and range of emotion that simply isn’t expressed well in the limited format of guitar/bass/drums/4-minute song. If you’re not denying THAT point, then I’m not sure why you’re arguing at all.

    What I am arguing with is your previous blanket statement that classical music has more “depth” and “richness” than rock music.

    And here I would take issue with your reductionistic view of rock music, i.e. “guitar/bass/drums/4-minute song.”

    If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then you need to educate yourself. It’s impossible to write to an ignorant person and to convey, via mere words, the depths that can be expressed in great music, just as much as it’s impossible to truly describe the color red to a person blind from birth.

    I know all of those pieces of music, of course. I love music. I’m a musician. You’re telling me I’m “ignorant” when it comes to music, but you’re the one who seems to have difficulty talking about music in any sensible way, making blanket statements along genre lines and then retreating into “you just can’t convey these things in mere words” territory.

  • And here I would take issue with your reductionistic view of rock music, i.e.“guitar/bass/drums/4-minute song.”

    But you wouldn’t take issue for any particular reason that you can state . . . which is why it’s difficult to “talk about music,” eh? Anyway, that’s what U2 does. Always. They have a guitarist, a bassist, and a drummer, and they write songs. Sometimes they add keyboard sounds for a little sweetener. Sometimes they use an automatic drum sound (Pop album, anyone?). There’s not a lot of variety in the format here.

    I know all of those pieces of music, of course. I love music. I’m a musician.

    Great! Then maybe you do know what I’m talking about after all.

  • What’s behind the impulse of leftists to bristle with such indignation at the notion that some genres of art have a wider capacity and range of possibilities than other genres of art? Do they get just as mad if someone suggests that Shakespeare is more sophisticated than Danielle Steel?

  • How about a nice Anglicanesque compromise.. anyone ever heard the live version of “One” with orchestral accompanyment?

    How about “Strung out on U2”? (admittedly, I enjoy the “Pickin’ on U2” tribute album..)

  • But you wouldn’t take issue for any particular reason that you can state…

    Um, perhaps because rock music is not limited to these characteristics? Thought it was obvious what I meant. But it is YOU we are talking about. I’ll spell it out for you more clearly next time.

    Anyway, that’s what U2 does. Always. They have a guitarist, a bassist, and a drummer, and they write songs. Sometimes they add keyboard sounds for a little sweetener. Sometimes they use an automatic drum sound (Pop album, anyone?). There’s not a lot of variety in the format here.

    “Keyboard sounds for a little sweetener”? You clearly have no idea what you are talking about.

  • I can only pity someone with such a reductionist view of Danielle Steel’s oeuvre.

  • In retrospect, a second year college seminar was probably not the best place to appreciate Origen’s commentary.

    Indeed. Education is wasted on the young.

    All joking aside, I really enjoyed Origen’s commentary, but we certainly weren’t well equiped to discuss it at that point.

    On the actual point now being disputed at length:

    If anyone took me to be suggesting that all classical music is inherently superior to all rock music, that was certainly not my intention. There is a great deal of classical music which is mediocre — though since much of it is a couple hundred years old, a great deal of that has been mercifully forgotten by now.

    However, I do think there’s generally a quality ceiling above which rock music is highly unlikely if not downright unable to reach, and that ceiling is lower than the ceiling for classical music. To make an analogy which will doubtless annoy some people: There are certainly some very good comic books (or to be artsy “graphic novels”) out there, and there are a great many very poor novels, but the best comic books will never be as good as the best novels because the genre itself has limits imposed upon it the form.

    Also, on a side note, I’m not clear how one can simultaneoously claim that classical music is just the pop music of the past (which leaves aside why there are to this day composers in the classical genre — again “classical” in the looser, popular usage of the term) and at the same time argue that the preference for classical music stems from a high versus low culture prejudice.

    In regards to this being a Western-centric view of the question: It’s probably significant in this regard that it is mainly only the West which has a tradition of writen/composed music going back for around a millenia. Without both the means to write down how complex music is to be performed and the cultural idea of composership (as opposed to a more tradition-guided approach to music in which particular performers are celebrated but composition is not seen as an individual enterprise) even those with the natural ability to produce such works will not find themselves able to fulfill those gifts and share the results with others.

  • Keyboard sounds for a little sweetener” You clearly have no idea what you are talking about.

    Of course I do. They often don’t have keyboards at all, and if they throw in keyboards on a few songs, it’s usually as background. In the music business, that’s known as “sweetener.” A little jargon there, so sorry if that threw you off.

  • And I heard it described that way when I happened to be in a studio owned by a producer who has worked with Celine Dion. I’m guessing that he knows quite a bit more about the music business than you do, so it might be wise to ditch the “you don’t know what you’re talking about” attitude.

  • “And I heard it described that way when I happened to be in a studio owned by a producer who has worked with Celine Dion.”

    Now, that is laughable.

  • Darwin, I think part of what I have a problem with is that your view (and that of SB, etc) makes a lot of unstated assumptions about what music is for, for example, that music is like a text one reads or that it is generally a non-participatory activity where the audience “takes it in,” etc. It does not so justice to that variety of world musics, particularly those forms that are participatory.

    Interestingly, more and more parallels between ya’ll’s musical tastes and your liturgical tastes are emerging as this conversation continues.

    They often don’t have keyboards at all, and if they throw in keyboards on a few songs, it’s usually as background.

    Right. That that’s all they do, eh? Write guitar/bass/drums 4-minute pop songs and “throw in” some “keyboards” here and there. Their albums, despite getting more and more boring IMO, are actually much more complex than that in terms of their instrumentation as well as the musical traditions from which they draw.

    In the music business, that’s known as “sweetener.”

    Not where I come from.

    A little jargon there, so sorry if that threw you off.

    What “throws me off” is your “thought” process. But I’m learning to anticipate the gaps, overstatements, generalizations, mischaracterizations and flat-out lies with time. Do be patient with me.

  • Now, that is laughable.

    Indeed.

    And yes, S.B., that’s why that comment “threw me off.” Musicians and producers who actually give a s**t about music (as opposed to Celine Dion) would never talk that way.

  • Sure, snicker and chortle about Celine Dion, the only point is that someone who has worked with her is likely to know what a particular piece of jargon means in today’s music business. That’s all.

  • Write guitar/bass/drums 4-minute pop songs and “throw in” some “keyboards” here and there. Their albums, despite getting more and more boring IMO, are actually much more complex than that in terms of their instrumentation as well as the musical traditions from which they draw.

    Not really. To someone who knows something about music (as I do from many years of study and multiple degrees), talking about the complexity of U2 — as much as I love them — is like talking about the overwhelming dramatic complexity of Spiderman 2. Or, to put it in theological terms, it’s as if someone went on and on about the complexity of Rick Warren’s books.

    It’s a sign that you need to broaden your education and understanding.

  • That does not entail that U2 too simply splashes
    in some keyboards as background-filler, in the same manner.

    Kitsch is kitsch. U2 is not that.

  • Do you have the same relativist and indiscriminatory mindset when it comes to theology? We can’t tell any difference, can’t make any distinctions, between Joel Osteen and Gutierrez? No one is any more complex or profound than anyone else, right?

  • S.B., that you have some “insider info” on a piece of jargon used by certain producers within the corporate music industry (probably dudes in their 60s — such terms are used by producers geared toward selling “sweet” sounding pop songs and are not used by people who actually make music) has little to do with my point which is that you don’t seem to understand that rock music can be much more “deep” and “rich” and “complex” than you make it out to be when you reduce it to “4-minute guitar/bass/drums songs.” I mean I understand that you probably don’t listen to rock music very widely, and that’s fine. That’s why I’m taking the time to challenge your generalizations.

  • S.B.,

    How about a pic for your profile. It’s not important, just wanting to jazz up the commentary column a bit.

  • No one is any more complex or profound than anyone else, right?

    No, I certainly don’t have a relativistic view of music. I’m one of the more discriminatory music fans that I know (my wife calls me a music snob regularly, and part of me takes delight in it). I believe in objective criteria for what makes music better than other music. But I think it’s much more complex than you make it out to be when you draw such lines simply according to genre.

    Your U2-Spiderman 2 comparison is absurd. Of COURSE there is rock/pop music that is comparable to such films. I just don’t think you’re giving U2 enough credit for the actual music that they make.

  • To someone who knows something about music (as I do from many years of study and multiple degrees)…

    You have multiple degrees in music? In what areas?

  • That does not entail that U2 too simply splashes
    in some keyboards as background-filler, in the same manner.

    They do too use keyboards as background. Listen to “Magnificent.” There are a couple of keyboard lines in the intro, but when Bono starts singing, the main focus is the strumming guitar, the bass, the drum, and way in the background, you can barely hear some sustained chords on the keyboard. Same with “No Line on the Horizon.” That’s sweetening the sound.

    Geez, I never thought I’d get so much disagreement from pointing out that U2’s songs often consist of guitar, bass, and drum. You guys ever check out the lineup? A guitarist, a bassist, and a drummer.

  • Classical guitar performance. B.M. and M.M. degrees, involving lots of study of music theory, music history, etc.

  • The point, SB, is that there is more artistic integrity to the final product of a Lanois/Eno/U2 collaboration or a Radiohead song than the stuff that makes its way onto a C. Dion album.

  • Testing for daylight savings time.

  • TEST. (had to reset the blog to central time, apparently WordPress doesn’t do this automaticaly)

  • Absolutely, and I never said otherwise. Good grief, I wasn’t comparing U2 and Dion! I was just pointing out where I came across a bit of jargon.

    And I wasn’t even criticizing U2 on that point either . . . I was just using the term “sweeten” in a purely descriptive sense: sometimes keyboards are there in the background, but come on, you wouldn’t expect keyboards to be the main focus in a band that has no keyboard player.

    You guys are just jumping at the bit to disagree with anything and everything.

  • That’s cool. My dad plays classical guitar (among other instruments) and a fellow musician friend of mine finished a masters in classical guitar performance. We were in a metal band together and when we were on tour he had me turned on to Leo Brouwer for a while. Our lineup was 2 guitars, bass, drums, and keyboard but the latter was not used as “sweetener” but as an integral instrument.

    Geez, I never thought I’d get so much disagreement from pointing out that U2’s songs often consist of guitar, bass, and drum. You guys ever check out the lineup? A guitarist, a bassist, and a drummer.

    Yes, of course that’s the core lineup. What I disagreed with was your flat description of their music and your claim that they don’t stray too much from “the” rock format. It does not do justice to the traditions from which they draw, the variety of other instruments they use, or the variety of ways they use the “core” rock instruments. (We could spend days talking about The Edge’s guitar sounds, for example.)

  • OK, fair enough. I love The Edge’s guitar sounds.

    Look, maybe we’re all talking past each other. How about this:

    On a scale of 1 to 1,000 — with 1 being artistically worthless and 1,000 meaning “capable of representing everything about the human experience” — different genres are going to be at different levels.

    So, for example, 1980s hair metal is at about a 10 or 20; the human experiences it can represent are rebellion (“We’re Not Going to Take It”), sex, and occasionally sadness (power ballads). Indeed, it’s probably better at expressing rebellion than is classical music. But still, its overall rating is lower.

    Same for rock music as a whole. Let’s say that its rating is 200 (there are rock songs that express transcendence, or longing, or awe, or social discontent, or whatever, and some rock songs do this much better than classical music). But the best classical music is capable of representing a broader range of human emotions and experiences — maybe 300 or 400.

    That’s all. I’m not saying that rock music is a zero. I’m not saying that ALL classical music is at a 300 or 400 level (some is practically zero). And I’m not denying that there is great musical creativity involved in some of the best rock songs. I’m just saying that rock is a more limited genre — it is limited by style, by length, by the types of compositional techniques that are used (ever hear a rock song in sonata form? fugue form? etc.), and more.

  • What aspects of “human nature” are not able to be represented in rock music?

  • It’s hard to put into words. Listen to the “Variations on a Theme of Thomas Tallis.” You can’t do that within the confines of rock music, any more than you can make a cathedral out of a cubic foot of stone. If you did try to do something that long and sweeping and orchestral in rock music, it wouldn’t be a rock song any more.

  • “Listen to the “Variations on a Theme of Thomas Tallis.” You can’t do that within the confines of rock music, any more than you can make a cathedral out of a cubic foot of stone.”

    You pick a strong example. The is an achingly beautiful, extended piece of music.

  • Let’s start here: What aspects of “human nature” do you think are expressed in “Variations on a Theme of Thomas Tallis”?

  • You keep saying “human nature,” which isn’t the term I used. Not that it’s important. In any event, I already said that it’s hard to put into words . . . an ineffable sense of sadness and yearning, perhaps. There’s no rock song remotely like it; and if a rock song DID try to imitate it, it wouldn’t be a rock song any more, because it would now be a lengthy orchestral piece instead.

  • Pardon me. You said human experience, not human nature.

    Thing is, S.B., you seem to have no problem putting your musical sweeping generalizations into words, but when asked to get specific, you retreat into “you can’t put it into words.”

    I’m not familiar with the piece of music you are citing. I’d be happy to check it out tonight at home. But if what makes it distinctive is a sense of sadness and yearning, I’m puzzled as to how you can say that that quality is more present in that piece of music than any “rock” music you can think of. I could rattle off albums and albums of, broadly conceived, “rock music” that have that quality. Most of Radiohead’s music, for example.

    You also say that no rock song is like it (I’m assuming you mean the feelings it evokes) but then get into the question of imitation, which irrelevant. Of course rock songs would not imitate classical music, generally speaking. What is at issue is the question of whether or not rock music can express the same range of human experience as rock music. You say it can’t; I think it can. I think it can because I cannot think of a human experience that rock music is not able to speak to, and I don’t think you really can either. You might, subjectively, think that a piece of classical music does so, but I think this is more a matter of preference and familiarity rather than something objective.

  • Reading the discussion is a fascinating past-time for the first [or second] afternoon of daylight savings time. But what is interesting is a failure to recognize that if you can express something musical in words, it is not music.

    And discussions about musical taste run into the dictum De gustibus non est disputandum. You cannot argue someone [including yourself] into liking one form or other of music, no more than you can argue someone into liking zucchini.

  • Gabriel,

    On your first point, certainly. But we can certainly talk about music. S.B. tends to make gigantic claims about music and then when called on it says that he “can’t put it into words.”

    On your second point, I also agree. And I’m not at all trying to get S.B. to like “rock music” any more than he does. In fact I think much of what he says is coming from his personal musical tastes, but he makes his claims as if they were based on objective facts.

  • As has been pointed out by several people, we’re in part talking about something in which taste and perception play a great role. Even taking it (and I would argue it to be the case) that are are elements of objective quality and range of expression at play here, that doesn’t mean that everyone is going to be fully attuned to them or that everyone will enjoy a thing equally.

    I would argue that it’s pretty clear that novels and short stories are, as a matter of form, capable of greater power, beauty and range of expression than comic books. But that doesn’t mean that individual people may not enjoy comic books more and prefer to read comic books to prose. Nor does it mean that there aren’t good comic books — it just means that the best comic books will necessarily fall short of the best novels and short stories.

    There’s always an element of apples to oranges comparison involved in these discussions, and I think SB is right that rock is better at evoking certain emotions than classical is. Perhaps it’s that rock is better at expressing stronger/blunter emotions.

    Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis which I tend to think of in pairing with his Lark Ascending (in part because I have them on the same CD, but also because I tend to associate the former with sunset and the coming of darkness while the latter with sunrise) both play out a subdued range of imagest of longing, loss, hope and also I think a strong sense of place: one feels the English countryside and the love for quiet and natural things while listening to these two pieces.

    I can think of rock songs with somewhat similar emotional palettes (flipping through the stuff I have on my work machine I’m sampling through Coldplay’s “Clocks” and “Rush of Blood to the Head”, Fastball’s “Sweetwater, Texas”, some Everclear, Dave Matthews, etc.) but we’re talking a much blunter or broader presentation of emotion — kind of like how even in comic books characters always seem to SHOUT one word out of every sentence.

  • I can think of rock songs with somewhat similar emotional palettes (flipping through the stuff I have on my work machine I’m sampling through Coldplay’s “Clocks” and “Rush of Blood to the Head”, Fastball’s “Sweetwater, Texas”, some Everclear, Dave Matthews, etc.) but we’re talking a much blunter or broader presentation of emotion — kind of like how even in comic books characters always seem to SHOUT one word out of every sentence.

    Well, if that’s the kind of rock music you’re talking about (Coldplay, Dave Matthews, Everclear, etc.) then I wholeheartedly agree with everyone here that classical music is far more deep and rich than these bands. No comparison. But I would encourage you to listen to — um — better rock music. I suppose it’s a futile conversation indeed if this is the sort of taste in rock music that you have! (See, S.B., I am a music snob and hardly a relativist. Not all music is equal!)

  • And I’m not at all trying to get S.B. to like “rock music” any more than he does. In fact I think much of what he says is coming from his personal musical tastes

    That’s completely missing the point. I love rock music of all styles; pop music; country music; bluegrass, jazz, big band, classic spirituals, you name it. I even enjoy Winger (Beavis and Butthead allusion there).

    So it’s not a matter of not “liking” rock. It’s just a matter of recognizing the limitations of a relatively narrow genre from a relatively narrow time period from a relatively narrow cultural framework, compared to a genre (classical) that encompasses everything from solo piano sonatas, songs, string quartets, medieval motets, Gregorian chant, Italian operas, classic and romantic symphonies, atonal modern music, and more, across 1,000 years and widely differing cultures.

    Like Darwin said, you don’t have to dislike comic books to think that as a genre, they don’t have as much possibility as novels and short stories.

  • Well, I can never claim to have been a rock snob. Even when I listened to it almost exclusively, I never really thought it was as good as classical music, it’s just that I never felt like sitting still long enough to listen to it. Except for an early love for Brahms, most classical music struck me as “borrrrrring” until I hit around 24 when gradually found myself switching.

    However in my slight defense, the only rock that lives on my iPod at this point (and thus that I had available to compare with Vaughn Williams while finishing up at work) is the “workout mix” which doesn’t include the “serious” rock that I used to listen to: Beatles, Metallica, Pink Floyd, U2, and (only the very early) Elton John.

    Still, that’s all very standard stuff. I was never one of those who could claim that he knew of all the groups that no one had yet heard of. One can’t be a snob on everything, though I try hard… 😉

    [Looking up Michael’s list of theological bands above on iTunes, I find that my junior year roommate was apparently a big Radiohead fan. Creep, Karma Police and High and Dry prove to be _very_ familiar.]

  • S.B. – You obviously cannot follow a conversation very well. Look: I am challenging the claims you are making about musical genres. I realize that you like rock music. I am saying that your claims, however, are based more in your personal tastes and experience with music rather than in any objective set of criteria.

    For example, you seem to have developed a differentiated consciousness about classical music as a complex genre. You don’t seem to have developed a differentiated consciousness with regard to rock music, which is also a complex genre. When you take into consideration the complexity of both “genres” (if we can even speak of them as “genres” at this point) and the fact that all genres of music are open to the expansion of possibilities, are always in motion and never fixed in one place, your simplistic claim that one genre of music, by its nature and/or history, has a greater “possibility” is exposed as nonsense. Real music, of any genre, is itself the questioning and opening up of possibilities.

  • Well, it’s certainly less plausible (and less objective) to try to suggest that rock music (a ridiculously recent invention in one human culture) is as wide-ranging and complex as the classical genre that I already described (existing in many different forms for many centuries in different cultures). If someone doesn’t have the capacity to see the vast differences that I described in my previous post, then it’s like trying to explain the color green to someone who is color-blind.

  • …it’s like trying to explain the color green to someone who is color-blind.

    Here you go again. Oh well. I guess you won’t be able to explain the color green to me, and I won’t be able to explain the color red to you.

  • Michael I,

    Real music, of any genre,

    now you’re going to make an objective judgment as to what is and is not “real music”? If you can make that objective judgment then it is entirely reasonable for SB to make an objective judgment about rock music’s qualities.

    This argument is ridiculous. We all, you included, recognize that there is objective qualities which we can use to discern the quality of any musical genre, those same qualities can be used to judge quality between genres. These qualities are not necessarily going to determine the popularity of a particular performance, as we all know there is far more to popular rock than the music itself. Rock is a genre which ranges from jazz/blues to what most people will call a clanging din, not music at all. Are you going to argue that this last category is of equal quality to the first?

    SB’s analogy to comic books is poignant… so poignant that Michael must ignore it.

    I believe Michael’s problem is personal taste combined with a relativistic worldview. SB shows a great deal of objectivity in his discourse, Michael’s is void of it.

  • Michael’s view smacks of musical bigotry. He’s disagreeing with the claim that a huge and capacious genre of music (encompassing everything from solo songs to massive symphonies) from across the world and many different centuries isn’t any broader than a new genre of modern and mostly American music. It’s quite a provincial view.

    It’s as if one were to claim that the American sitcom has just as much capacity to represent the human experience as the entire history of human playwrights (encompassing plays written in many different countries stretching back to Sophocles). “Why, of course, I can’t think of any human emotion that can’t be represented in a sitcom. Sad? Sitcoms have an occasional sad episode. Poignancy? Why, did you see the episode of Friends when Joey, etc.”

    Well, the point is that sitcoms (like rock music) are usually in a pretty limited range. It’s fine if a sitcom tries to do poignancy or if rock music tries to create a sense of awestruck wonder, but they’re going to be inadequate compared to other and more sophisticated genres.

  • You people are seriously claiming that all rock music is comparable to american sitcoms and comic books? Bob Dylan is like a comic book? Springsteen? Joni Mitchell? Rock music is “mostly American”?

    I ignore such remarks because they speak for themselves in revealing your ignorance.

  • SB’s analogy to comic books is poignant

    Poignant. Ha!

  • Bob Dylan is like a comic book? Springsteen? Joni Mitchell? Rock music is “mostly American”?

    So are you suggesting that a few American artists from the 1960s to the 1990s are able to match the best works from many different classical genres from the past thousand years from many different countries? Again, that’s a narrowminded and bigoted suggestion.

    Nothing those artists have ever done can even begin to compare to the best of Bach. So that proves my point.

  • Comparing Springsteen to Bach would be like comparing a comic book to War and Peace. Or comparing a kindergarten fingerpainter to Rembrandt. They’re not even remotely in the same league of accomplishment, skill, etc.

  • You people are seriously claiming that all rock music is comparable to american sitcoms and comic books? Bob Dylan is like a comic book? Springsteen? Joni Mitchell? Rock music is “mostly American”?

    Of course, there are also those who insist that comic books (or to use the artsy term, “graphic novels”) are just as good as novels and short stories.

    I think it’s actually a pretty good comparison. There are some very good comics out there, from the classic works of the turn of the early 20th century like the full page, full color Prince Valient spreads from Sunday newspapers, to modern graphic novels like From Hell and Sin City or graphic short story series like Optic Nerve.

    However, the genre simply lacks range and subtlety of prose forms.

    Now, I would assume that you take it as a possibility that one artistic genre could have less possible expressive range (even in its best examples) than another similar genre. Do you, for instance, agree that comic books are a genre with less range than novels and short stories?

    Or that the violin is capable of expressing more than a tuba.

    So if I understand the state of conversation right it would seem that SB and I are asserting:

    1) Different artistic genres can have differing abilities to express artistry and human experience.
    2) In the specific case of rock vs. classical music, classical music has a wider range than rock.

    If I understand right, you agree with 1), but would hold that in fact rock has at least as wide a range of expression as classical.

    Is that right?

  • DC,

    You surprise me throughout, considering your liturgical preference for the more “elemental” chant.

  • If I understand right, you agree with 1), but would hold that in fact rock has at least as wide a range of expression as classical.

    I sort of agree with #1. I think S.B. (and you I guess) is defining genres is different ways at different times to suit his arguments, defining them broadly at one moment (“rock music”) and narrow in another (“’80s hair metal”). OF COURSE ’80s hair metal has a narrow “artistic range” but rock music as a whole does not.

    Does rock music (widely conceived, to me, because I listen to a lot of “rock music” that does not fit S.B.’s narrow descriptions) have “at least as wide a range of expression as classical”? I think it does. I have asked S.B. to give me some type of human experience that classical can express that “rock music” cannot, and he can’t do it. All he does is say “I can’t put it into words.” I think he has a narrow view of rock music and that’s part of the problem with us being able to understand one another.

    I’ll also point out once again that S.B. is making assumptions about what music is for and how it is experienced, and drawing the conclusion that rock music ultimately “lacks” something that classical music “has more of.” But there are multiple ways in which classical music “lacks” something that rock music “has more of,” and that this is every bit as important as S.B.’s concerns.

    So are you suggesting that a few American artists from the 1960s to the 1990s are able to match the best works from many different classical genres from the past thousand years from many different countries? Again, that’s a narrowminded and bigoted suggestion.

    Match them HOW? Again, you are working with unstated assumptions about what makes music good.

    Nothing those artists have ever done can even begin to compare to the best of Bach. So that proves my point.

    You “prove” nothing. They don’t compare HOW?

    I can’t take S.B. seriously when he says that Bob Dylan is like a comic book or a kindergarten fingerpainter. These are obviously statements of his personal taste, not objective facts.

  • Or that the violin is capable of expressing more than a tuba.

    Another example of problematic comparisons. Each instrument’s purpose is different. Violin is designed to be able to function as a solo instrument, where the tuba is not. Of course the violin can “express more” than a tuba. But we’re not talking about individual instruments. S.B. is making gigantic blanket statements about widely conceived musical genres.

  • I’m pretty sure Bono and the lads have a good laugh at the midrashic readings of their lyrics.

  • I think S.B. (and you I guess) is defining genres is different ways at different times to suit his arguments, defining them broadly at one moment (”rock music”) and narrow in another (”’80s hair metal”). OF COURSE ’80s hair metal has a narrow “artistic range” but rock music as a whole does not.

    No, wrong. I used 80s hair metal as an EXAMPLE that would prove the point (and it seems you agree) that some genres are more limited than others.

    I have asked S.B. to give me some type of human experience that classical can express that “rock music” cannot, and he can’t do it.

    I gave you an example: Vaughan Williams’ “Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis.” Listen to it (check Youtube for live versions). Now name a rock song that even remotely do the same thing as that piece . . . create as much of a sense of foreboding ominousness combined with lyrical beauty.

    I can’t take S.B. seriously when he says that Bob Dylan is like a comic book or a kindergarten fingerpainter. These are obviously statements of his personal taste, not objective facts.

    These are comparisons that try to point out how much greater classical music can be. In any event, I can’t take anyone seriously who thinks that Bob Dylan represents some great achievement of human culture. He was a decent lyricist, an average tunesmith, and an unspeakably bad vocalist. No more than that.

  • I gave you an example: Vaughan Williams’ “Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis.” Listen to it (check Youtube for live versions). Now name a rock song that even remotely do the same thing as that piece . . . create as much of a sense of foreboding ominousness combined with lyrical beauty.

    Though to be fair, the “listen and you’ll see” approach can be difficult in that one sometimes needs an appreciation of a genre in order to understand everything that’s going on with a piece — even a clearly very good piece.

    If you’d challenged me to listen to Fantasia on the Theme by Thomas Tallis ten years ago, I might have acknowledged that it was “good music” because I knew it was supposed to be, but if you’d asked me to pick something that had “a sense of foreboding ominousness combined with lyrical beauty” I would have picked something from a soundtrack where I could hear that sort of thing evoked more bluntly.

    Which is not to compare Michael to the 20-year-old me, (he clearly knows far, far about music than I did — and indeed probably more than I do) but to emphasize that just tasting something doesn’t always solve the matter.

    Not that it’s completely a matter of taste. I think you’re right that classical music (in part because of the time available, types of instruments, number of instruments, and the subtlety of style is able to be significantly better than rock ever can — but I’m not sure that even asserting that’s objectively the case means that everyone would necessarily recognize it as such.

    You surprise me throughout, considering your liturgical preference for the more “elemental” chant.

    Well, I like polyphany as well — but actually I’d tend to say that one of the great advantages of chant is that it does have a limitted (or at least, very subtle) emotional range and generally puts the text first and sense of verticality foremost.

    While I love listening to mass settings by classical composers, I’m not sure that they’re actually well suited to liturgical use — certainly not on a regular basis — in that they turn the mass into too much of a performance.

    I would think very simple chants for most masses, and then bringing in more complexity and polyphany on high feasts and such. But though both liturgy and music involve active listening, it strikes me they’re of different sorts — though I’d have to think for a while about how.

  • As a side note, hitting on a vein of the argument awhile back, one need not employ the whole (or even most) of the orchestral palette to exploit the full expressive potentialities of the classical genre.

    Think of the Messiaen’s “Quartet for the End of Time”,or, more radically, even Bach’s “Chaconne” (Partita #2).

  • The Chaconne, w/ Hilary Hahn:

  • The Chaconne is wonderful; I’ve played it on classical guitar.
    For someone who is sensitive to music and capable of appreciating its beauties, listening to Bach’s Chaconne is an amazingly powerful experience. There is no piece of rock music that even remotely compare. Rock music has its own emotional powers, to be sure, but it’s not the same.

  • Mark DeF:

    How do you manage to catalogue that many CDs? I can’t keep the ones in my car in the right cases…

  • I think you’re right that classical music (in part because of the time available, types of instruments, number of instruments, and the subtlety of style is able to be significantly better than rock ever can…

    Again: “Better” how? “Better” than rock music at doing what?

    No, wrong. I used 80s hair metal as an EXAMPLE that would prove the point (and it seems you agree) that some genres are more limited than others.

    Some genres are more limited than others, of course. As I said, I am no relativist. But “hair metal” is a limited genre. It’s also a much narrower genre than “rock music” which is a HUGE genre and not a helpful category, in my opinion, and yet it is THIS genre that you keep talking about. This is PRECISELY why I am arguing with your blanket claim that classical music is some kind of higher art form than “rock music.”

    In any event, I can’t take anyone seriously who thinks that Bob Dylan represents some great achievement of human culture. He was a decent lyricist, an average tunesmith, and an unspeakably bad vocalist. No more than that.

    I rest my case that when it comes to rock music, you know little.

  • Dale,

    Binders without the CD cases, which hold 250 each. It’s only 13 binders overall. That’s when I am fully organized. 😉 (Otherwise, there are cases everywhere).

    I regret that I did not give first the Nathan Milstein version of the Bach Chaconne, whhich I just found:

  • Nah, I’ve heard plenty of Bob Dylan, but never anything that interested me in a second listen . . . his voice is just too scratchy and out of tune. It grates on the ears. Other people like him, I know, and I can well understand how mediocre rock musicians would think he’s wonderful (because he’s far above them). But it reminds me of how when I would tell someone that I played classical guitar, and they would say, “Ever hear that tune ‘Classical Gas’?” or “Ever seen that movie ‘Crossroads’?,” and I would be thinking, “Wow, how can I convey to this person that there’s a whole world of music that is light years above and beyond anything they’ve ever heard.”

  • And anyway, are you purporting to offer an “objective” opinion that Bob Dylan was a great musician of some kind?

  • His voice is “scratchy,” eh? Is that another bit of jargon that Celine Dion’s producer taught you?

    More evidence that, although you have degrees in classical guitar performance, you aren’t very thoughtful about what music is and what makes it good.

    Of course Dylan’s voice was not the best in terms of a particular dominant set of Western musical values. And no, I’m not suggesting at all that Dylan “was” (he still makes music, you know – might want to catch up) a great musician. But it is objectively true that he made, and continues to make, great music.

    Are you able to catch these distinctions? Or is it just that you are intentionally misrepresenting me again?

  • His voice is “scratchy,” eh?

    No, it’s just an observation that would be shared by anyone who knows anything about vocal technique.

    But it is objectively true that he made, and continues to make, great music.

    No, it’s not “objectively true” in any sense whatsoever. He makes often-amateurish-sounding music that somehow seems to appeal to a particular subset of Americans in a particular cultural framework at a particular time and place. That’s not objective. If his music is still idolized in many different cultures in 300 years (as is Bach’s), then maybe he’ll have created something of value, but it’s too early to know that yet. And even if that were to occur, it would still be objectively true that his music isn’t very complex or difficult to replicate (no one could say the same about Bach), and that his only appeal (such as it is) derives from his lyrics.

  • No, it’s just an observation that would be shared by anyone who knows anything about vocal technique.

    Oh, ok. “Scratchy.” [rolls eyes]

    And even if that were to occur, it would still be objectively true that his music isn’t very complex or difficult to replicate (no one could say the same about Bach), and that his only appeal (such as it is) derives from his lyrics.

    So what if it’s not “complex” or “difficult to replicate”? You have already admitted that such things do not automatically constitute “good music.” Oh, unless you “admitted” it but don’t actually believe it. Which I could see you doing, considering you seem to have taken on a set of musical values that comes from academic study of instrument performance. But such values are not the only values involved. Technical complexity does not equal good music. Simplicity can indeed be better than complexity. (An example: the recent sub-genre of “math rock” within post-rock circles is largely a bunch of garbage.) You — simply, objectively — have a narrow view of what “good” music is.

  • What’s your deal with Dylan’s voice? No one who is remotely competent or knowledgeable thinks that Dylan has a good voice. It’s just awful — scratchy, thin, etc. It lacks power, range, depth and quality of tone, ability to create different vocal sounds, and everything that you find in a good vocalist. This is as objectively true as anything can possibly be about music. Just as objective as pointing out that someone who fumbles around trying to play Chopsticks isn’t as good at the piano as Vladimir Horowitz.

    The point about “difficult to replicate” is that any number of songwriters (myself included) can come up with tunes (just the music now, not lyrics) that are every bit as good as anything that Dylan wrote. His tunes just aren’t that creative or memorable. Think of “Knockin on Heaven’s Door” — the tune mostly consists of two notes. I could write a tune like that in my sleep. The only reason anybody pays any attention to it is because it’s “Bob Dylan.” (There are experiments where people can’t tell the difference between a cheap and expensive bottle of wine unless they see the label first.) If Dylan hadn’t written that song, and if Britney Spears came up with the exact same tune, you’d think the tune was crap.

  • I feel Admiral James Stockdale in the ’92 Vice-Presidential debate just reading these comments.

  • As I said, I agree that Dylan does not have a “great” voice. Can you not read? Or is your memory just bad?

    The point about “difficult to replicate” is that any number of songwriters (myself included) can come up with tunes (just the music now, not lyrics) that are every bit as good as anything that Dylan wrote.

    But the music as a whole is not reducible to the “tune.” The tune, the accompaniment, the lyrics, the performance (and even aspects beyond these, like the personality of the artist, etc) are all part of what makes music music. So what if the tune is simple? The music as a whole is good music. Paul Simon wrote classic songs that have ridiculous lyrics. It doesn’t mean the music is bad. If Britney Spears came up with the tune of “Knockin’ of Heaven’s Door” but sang her type of lyrics to that tune, with her style of instrumentation and production, and her style of performance, the music as a whole would be transformed and not at all the same as the music that Dylan made.

    Are you serious that you actually studied music academically?

  • Yes, that’s why I have the intellectual capacity to analyze whether someone has written a beautiful or interesting melody, without being unduly biased by the fact that he’s famous, or the fact that he wrote interesting lyrics, or all the rest. (And good grief, the “style of performance” isn’t something to compliment Dylan on . . . talk about something where Dylan was mediocre at best.)

    As I said, I agree that Dylan does not have a “great” voice. Can you not read? Or is your memory just bad?

    No, I read the posts in which you’re sneering at my criticism of his voice as “scratchy.” Why are you doing that, if you agree with me on that point?

  • And again: The music as a whole is good music.

    Says who? That’s not an objective judgment. The more I look at YouTube videos of Dylan in the 1960s, the more I’m baffled that he ever became famous. There’s nothing there worth further attention. Just mawkish screeching.

  • Also, the “difficult to replicate” phrase applies to the performance and instrumentation . . . in terms of performance and instrumentation, I haven’t seen anything from Dylan that couldn’t be equaled or outdone by thousands of cover bands across America.

  • …without being unduly biased by the fact that he’s famous…

    I actually listen mostly to music by artists who are not famous. As a good deal of my musical roots come from participation in local, independent and/or punk rock communities, it’s safe to say I am relatively free of bias that might be inspired by the fame of musical artists.

    On a side note, do you think you might have a bias or two at work in your musical opinions?

    …or the fact that he wrote interesting lyrics, or all the rest.

    The fact that he wrote interesting lyrics is not something apart from the music Dylan made/makes. It’s part of the music. If one recognizes the strength of his lyrics and considers this aspect when making a judgment about Dylan’s music as a whole, this is not a “bias” but part of the process of judging his MUSIC.

    Why are you doing that, if you agree with me on that point?

    I don’t think “scratchy” is a helpful term. Leonard Cohen’s voice might be kind of “scratchy.” Dylan’s is certainly whiny, nasally, out of tune, etc.

    Says who? That’s not an objective judgment.

    My judgment is certainly debatable, but the burden of proof is probably on you considering the fact that Dylan is held in high regard almost across the board. My judgment contains both subjective and objective aspects and I don’t claim that such judgments are easy to come to. I do believe in objective criteria and that some music is surely better than others, but I think such judgments are debatable, obviously.

    I don’t see much objectivity in your judgment on Dylan. You criticize him for “screeching” (see, now that’s much better than “scratchy”). Does screeching equal “bad” music? Why? Should music always be pretty? You admit that he wrote good lyrics. Where do you draw the line? What sort of calculus do you use to add all these things up?

    Enjoy YouTube.

  • Also, the “difficult to replicate” phrase applies to the performance and instrumentation . . . in terms of performance and instrumentation, I haven’t seen anything from Dylan that couldn’t be equaled or outdone by thousands of cover bands across America.

    Well that’s just silly. I’ve heard countless covers of Dylan and most of it is trash. Ahh… maybe we’ve found the root of your dislike of Dylan. You;ve heard one too many cover versions of “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.”

    Personally, I don’t like that song much either.

    How old are you anyway, S.B.?

    I’m surprised more folks aren’t sticking up for Dylan here.

  • I’m still waiting for someone to tell me what is the supposedly objective reason that I or anyone else should think that Dylan is so great. His tunes are simplistic, his voice is pretty awful, his performing is nothing special. I don’t see anything about his “music” that is objectively good, except that he has interesting lyrics. So why am I supposed to be impressed?

    Again, if anyone else came up with the average Dylan song, no one would care. It would languish on some unknown MySpace page. It’s only because it’s “Bob Dylan” that anyone pays attention. Same as with the wine experiments . . . tell people it’s an expensive wine, and they ooh and aah; tell them it’s a cheap wine, and they don’t like it.

    But if an unknown came up with something like the Goldberg Variations, the classical world would bow in awe.

  • I’ve heard countless covers of Dylan and most of it is trash.

    I’m not talking about Dylan covers necessarily. I’m just saying that in terms of technical skill at playing instruments and singing, or stage presence, or anything that you supposedly like about Dylan’s performances, there is nothing that sets him apart from thousands of bands across America (whether they’re playing their own music or whatever).

  • I’m surprised more folks aren’t sticking up for Dylan here.

    I think Dylan’s great as a lyricist. But his voice, arrangements, and performance skills are nothing spectacular. Dylan’s importance, imo, is very contingent on timing and the influence he had on other bands. I know that’s sacrilege among people who think rock is the. greatest. music. ever., but, then, I think rock is inferior to classical music as a genre. I listen almost exclusively to rock, play rock, and prefer to listen to it. But I think it’s a limited medium. I read (and enjoy) blogs more than I read papal encyclicals in an average week; that doesn’t mean the former is superior to the latter.

    I think Dylan’s poetry falls short of the best poets, and his melodies, harmonies, etc. are child’s play compared to the best classical composers. Granted, part of the point of rock is that the music as a whole is better than the sum of its parts. But I still think classical music is superior, although I see no need for either rock or classical enthusiasts to speak ill of each other.

  • But I think it’s a limited medium.

    AGAIN: Limited how? In its ability to do what?

    I read (and enjoy) blogs more than I read papal encyclicals in an average week; that doesn’t mean the former is superior to the latter.

    Papal encyclicals are “superior” to blogs? This is comparing two things that do different things. You can’t really say that encyclicals are “better” than blogs. What remains unspoken, in this case and in the musical debate we are having, is what they are “superior” at doing No one is addressing this point.

    It’s only because it’s “Bob Dylan” that anyone pays attention.

    I definitely think that’s true of many rock music “stars.” As I said, I am highly critical of the mainstream rock music world. I don’t think you are justified in saying that Dylan is just like any run-of-the-mill rock musician.

  • A good way to think of it would be this:
    Listen to hundreds of rock songs, and think how often you hear something musical that can’t be done within classical music. Maybe the feeling of rebellion, maybe the feeling “this rocks!,” maybe something else. Not much.

    Listen to hundreds of hours of Gregorian chant, Italian operas, Renaissance motets and masses, Romantic symphonies, 20th-century Russian composers, atonal music, solo piano sonatas, string quartets, Bach cantatas, violin concertos, piano concertos, etc. With every new piece, try to appreciate what the music is doing, and think to yourself, “Is there anything within the comparatively much narrower genre of modern American rock music that can do the same musically?”

    If you have any capacity to appreciate music at all, there will be many more times when you realize that the classical genre is much broader, much more varied and representative of different cultures and places and times, etc.

  • I’m too low brow to get into classical music, but am a bit of a rock snob. I can appreciate the argument that classical as a whole is more sophisticated musically speaking than most, even all rock – even the rock that I find brilliant and moving. However, I was hoping Michael Iafrate would be able to make a case that would bring rock a little more credibility because there really are some rock artists who know music and can stretch the capacity of rock and/or supply some very poetic lyrics that are accompanied by appropriate musical arrangements. Sorry, Michael, I don’t think you’ve made much headway – but then you sort of really lost me when you cited Dylan and Springsteen. Dude, it’s hard to escape tastes when evaluating any form of art, and it’s admittedly hard for me to give those guys more credit than my personal taste will allow, but if you’re going to convince someone that there exists rock that is worthy of consideration by classically trained musicians or has power to move in profound or not-so-base way, you missed the boat. I was really pulling for you on this one…

  • With every new piece, try to appreciate what the music is doing, and think to yourself, “Is there anything within the comparatively much narrower genre of modern American rock music that can do the same musically?”

    I hope you would do the same with various types of rock music. You might find that some rock music evokes more than feelings of “rebellion” or “this rocks.”

    I’ll cite two examples of rock music that evoked for me, in a live setting, the same feeling. I saw Radiohead a few years back. Not sure if you’re familiar with their music or not. You might call it “post-rock.” The other band is called Godspeed You Black Emperor. They would also be considered “post-rock,” but even more so than Radiohead, as they play long, instrumental “pieces” rather than songs. The latter, at the time, was a band of about 10 members. Called themselves a “collective” rather than a band. Various instruments, including guitars, basses, drums and various percussion, cellos, violins and violas… maybe other things. Both bands evoked for me, through the music itself (and lyrics in the case of Radiohead) as well as through the way it was played (incredibly loud), a sense of apocalyptic. Both bands push the boundaries of rock music in their instrumentation, the structure of the music itself, use of electronics and sampling and sometimes visual imagery. Despite what you might think (without any evidence, of course), I have pretty wide musical tastes. The apocalyptic feeling of these two bands, especially the live experience, I have not experienced with any other type of music.

    I can appreciate the argument that classical as a whole is more sophisticated musically speaking than most, even all rock – even the rock that I find brilliant and moving.

    Now THERE you go. I would definitely agree that classical music as a genre is more sophisticated than rock music. I don’t know, though, whether this means that it can express a great deal more of human experience than rock music, or that classical music, as a genre, is better than rock music.

    Sorry, Michael, I don’t think you’ve made much headway – but then you sort of really lost me when you cited Dylan and Springsteen.

    Well, they’re not my favorites by any means, but they are names that are familiar and certainly artists that I think are among the greats of rock music. I am certainly not suggesting that either artist’s entire canon is perfect or consistent in terms of quality. Who, then, would you cite, Rick? Help another rock snob out! 🙂 The Beatles are an obvious possibility… I’ve already mentioned Radiohead who I think are one of the most important rock bands of all time, and still in their prime.

  • I checked out the Godspeed group. Many of their pieces sound exactly like stuff that you’ll hear from modern classical composers. It’s not really helping your case to point to so-called “rock” groups whose musical talent seems to consist of importing sounds, instrumentation, etc., from classical music!

  • An intervention for the health of “American Catholic”.

    2+2 always makes 5:

  • Pingback: Serious Musicians « The American Catholic
  • Both bands evoked for me, through the music itself (and lyrics in the case of Radiohead) as well as through the way it was played (incredibly loud), a sense of apocalyptic.

    I’d defer to SB and Mark, who both probably have wider experience than I, but I’d tend to say that apocalyptic is something that rock music is going to be better at than classic. (While classical is probably able, for instance, to be far more pastoral — as in countryside, not running a parish — than rock.)

    However, it’s always interesting to try a challenge. The two things I first thought of in regards to apocalyptic is the sacrifice section from Rites of Spring:

    And the Dies Irae from Karl Jenkins’ Requiem:

    I have the feeling there some other very obvious 20th century piece which is right beyond my memory at the moment, but thus it goes.

    I’d be curious what others thought of, if anything.

    And Rick, I’d be curious to hear what bands you would consider outstanding rock. (I confess, Michael, that while I basically enjoy Radiohead I’m not deeply moved by it. Though the fact it strongly evokes a roommate I didn’t get along with doesn’t help any…)

  • Many of their pieces sound exactly like stuff that you’ll hear from modern classical composers. It’s not really helping your case to point to so-called “rock” groups whose musical talent seems to consist of importing sounds, instrumentation, etc., from classical music!

    No genre of music is self-contained. If you studied music, you should know this!

  • Here’s one:

    Mahler 2, 5th movement

  • Michael I

    Correct; no genre is self-contained; indeed, most of my favorite bands are quite diverse (world folk rock tend to be). I wonder, for example, how one would go about describing Hoven Droven.

    You get some rather heavy tunes like KOTTPOLSKA

    Somewhat lighter with their Vasen

    Turbo is interesting

    Some of their songs are more jazzy (perhaps Malort works for this, though not the best example

    And they do their own covers, like Wish You Were Here:

  • Michael and Darwin,

    Maybe I’m not qualified to speak on the subject because I’m not an accomplished musician – unless being able to play Smoke on the Water on anything from a guitar to a child’s xylophone counts for something. 😉

    But really, the whole genre of Progressive Rock was (or is, as far as it can be found these days) about was expanding the scope of rock as a musical vehicle. Most of my taste lies in that genre. Among my favorites are Pink Floyd, old Genesis, Supertramp, Rush, Yes, etc.

    While Pink Floyd has been at the top of my list for decades if I decided what my favorite band was by both appreciation and how often I listen to them, then that would be Marillion from the Fish years (first four albums – mid-1980s). I don’t argue that they’re better than Pink Floyd, Genesis, et al (in fact they were influenced by those bands), but they were awesome and there is an extreme personal connection in my case.

    Anyway, I’d argue that in the Prog Rock genre there is a wide variety of talented musicians pushing the envelope of Rock and Roll. In some case you might find it done in sophisticated structures that would have more in common with classical than average rock, other times you might find some hard core jazz influence (you know, the kind of stuff you pretty much have to be a musician to appreciate), other times you may find that orchestral arrangements are an integral part of the work (but that really says something about the capacity of classical to transcend too).

    And Mark D., personally I didn’t like that Radiohead tune you posted, though the imagery in the video was reminiscent of Pink Floyd in a number of ways – almost seemed a rip-off of them, in fact. Pink Floyd had an album called Animals, which was based on the Animal Farm thing too. Notable songs, Dogs, Pigs, and Sheep. Anyway, many of the images in that video seem to have been deliberate mock-ups of the animation in Pink Floyd’s The Wall. I can’t help but to wonder if that was intentional – a tribute, so to speak.

  • http://www.thecedar.org/hoven_droven_brekken_0

    That has a good sample of Hoven Droven with hammond organ rocking away; I was looking for it on youtube, but didn’t find it. It is on the heavier side of their music.

  • No genre of music is self-contained. If you studied music, you should know this!

    At the edges, yes, but genres are obviously different, or else we wouldn’t be able to talk about “genres” in the first place.

    Anyway, what you’ve done here is as if I talked about the superiority of classical music, and then my example of good classical music consisted of a modern so-called “classical” group that consisted of an electric guitar, bass, drums, and that sounded just like the Eagles.

  • By the way:

    I’m surprised more folks aren’t sticking up for Dylan here.

    Well, I’m continually surprised when certain members of the Vox Nova crowd, who supposedly agree with the Church’s teaching on abortion, can’t bring themselves to criticize Obama with even a thousandth the same fervor that they have when criticizing SUVs or Sarah Palin’s preacher — or just about anything, for that matter.

    But everyone has different priorities, I guess.

  • A: “Chairs are nice, but couches seat more people than chairs.”

    B: “No, they don’t.”

    A: “Huh? Obviously they do. Have you never seen a couch?”

    B: “Check out this great example of a progressive ‘post-chair’ that is 15 feet wide, and that seats more people than a couch.”

    A: “Um, that’s actually a couch. That doesn’t prove your point at all.”

    B: “So what? Genres aren’t self-contained.”

    A: Sigh.

  • Henry,

    Your comments aren’t being moderated. AC’s spam filter automatically moderates comments that contain three or more links.

    You’re good to go!

  • S.B. – Congratulations on your pathological ability to bring every conversation — even one about rock music — back to abortion.

  • You’re right, my priorities are totally out of whack. Anyway, it’s just an offhand comment; just move right along to more important subjects.

  • Yes, onto more important things… Amazing that you are now attempting to cast Godspeed You Black Emperor as classical music.

  • Michael I

    When all else fails, and the conversation isn’t going so well, bring it back to abortion and if people complain, tell the world “it’s the most important thing in the world to talk about.” The question of course is, why didn’t you say so in the first place?

  • Amazing that you are now attempting to cast Godspeed You Black Emperor as classical music.

    Why? The tunes I heard all have classical instrumentation, and sound exactly like oodles of stuff that I’ve heard from modern classical composers (maybe a little less adventurous). They’re clearly knock-offs of modern classical music. So it’s just funny that one of your best examples of good “rock” music consists of a group that makes modern classical music but, for no apparent reason, seems to have some followers who use the label “rock.”

  • To be fair, it could well be more an example of convergence than immitation. Perhaps both are being formed by the same post-modern artistic sensibilities.

  • Is classical music? I didn’t know!

  • That must also be classical music, now. Don’t tell John Taverner.

  • Yeah, that first clip clearly sounds like classical music (i.e., modern experimental music, although this wasn’t very experimental), much more than it sounds like the typical rock song. So you’re absolutely right: you didn’t know.

  • So, Hoven Droven is also classical music?

  • Another Hoven Droven video, this time, if you skip beyond the intro, with a full orchestra.

  • Must be the heaviest classical music I’ve ever heard!

  • Stop trying to be a smart***, Henry; you’re just showing that you don’t know anything about modern classical music.

    And what’s the point of this, anyway? It’s like amateur philosophers who think that because they’ve identified a particular point in the day where the sun has set but it’s still somewhat dusky in the sky, therefore there’s no difference between day and night. The fact that a few fringe bands at the edge of a particular genre borrow heavily from other genres shouldn’t deprive us of the intellectual ability to see how the majority of one genre differs from another.

  • SB

    So in other words, your answer is, “I don’t have an answer.” Got you.

  • I don’t have an answer to what? I don’t see an intelligible or intelligent question anywhere. If the question is whether the boundaries of genres can be blurry at the edges, I already said that of course they can . . . that’s why you see modern classical composers using electric guitars, or why you see wanna-be rock bands using a violin. That doesn’t change the fact that we can still distinguish between genres, nor does it change the fact that when a supposed “rock” group uses classical instrumentation and musical structure and style (along with the absence of anything resembling a typical rock song), it’s really closer to modern classical music than anything else.

  • I’m not sure if either one of you is going to be able to cast much light on the topic by examining the muddy intersections of the question.

    After all, Paul McCartney is a rock musician — but he released a couple of explicitly classical albums.

    Apocalyptica uses only instruments generally used in classical music (four chellos) but their music is pretty clearly rock.

    Back in the late 80s the rock group ELP did a very faithful cover of Holst’s “Mars, Bringer of War”, a classical piece.

    One could play with muddy examples all day, but unless we assert that the terms are meaningless (and that hardly seems to be the case since I think most people could successfully divide 99% of classical and rock pieces into the appropriate buckets if asked) there must surely be a basic set of characteristics that most “classical” shares and another that most “rock” shares.

    Given that, even if there are a few weird cases where one could make arguments that a group’s music is either rock or classical (and settle it only based on what the group self-identifies as) it should still be possible to make general statements about both groups of music. And some of those statements might have to do with subtlety and range of expression.

    (Though to be honest, I find most of the really experimental classical stuff rather un-involving — so the middle ground is hardly something I feel like fighting for anyway. I was listening to a 28 minute a-tonal piece for asian flute and orchestra the other night on the classical station and simply had to turn off the radio after ten minutes. There’s only so much a-tonality this fellow can take.)

  • That’s just a semantic label; it doesn’t change the underlying reality that their music sounds much more like classical music than “rock.” Deal with it.

  • And again, if the best you can do is say that music labeled as “rock” is interesting to the extent that it sounds like and/or draws from classical music, then that proves my point. The lesser genre is having to draw on the greater genre in order to expand its range and capacity.

  • Whereas when classical performers try to draw on pop influences, it just looks like they’re slumming, selling out to try to appeal to the young and ill-educated.

  • “That’s just a semantic label; it doesn’t change the underlying reality that their music sounds much more like classical music than ‘rock’ Deal with it.”

    And there you have it, folks. The tautology. Rock can’t do it, because if it does, it “sounds like classical so it is classical.” Get it? If it has the depths, it’s not really rock!

  • I don’t think bands that fuse classical and rock really prove a point one way or the other in this discussion. Sure, some music is both, but that doesn’t mean the genres don’t exist or that we can’t discuss the relative merits of the genres in general terms.

  • That’s just a semantic label; it doesn’t change the underlying reality that their music sounds much more like classical music than “rock.”

    You must not have listened to very much of it.

    And again, if the best you can do is say that music labeled as “rock” is interesting to the extent that it sounds like and/or draws from classical music, then that proves my point.

    Well, that’s just it. I didn’t say that. As usual, you’re putting words in my mouth. Fact is, Godspeed draws from a lot of influences. I’m not really even convinced that they’re drawing much from “classical” music. I mean, they use violins. So does bluegrass. Regardless, Godspeed is clearly a rock band.

    Whereas when classical performers try to draw on pop influences, it just looks like they’re slumming, selling out to try to appeal to the young and ill-educated.

    Well this is clearly the most direct statement you have made. And it reveals you to be a classist prick.

  • A better word would be “elitist.”

    Anyway, if you asked me to provide examples of the beauties and wonders of classical music, it would be rather pathetic if one of my chief examples was Luciano Pavarotti’s duets with James Brown and Sting.

    Henry:

    The tautology. Rock can’t do it, because if it does, it “sounds like classical so it is classical.”

    How stupid. It’s not a tautology at all to point out that if a supposed “rock” group in fact consists of instrumentation that imitates classical music, melodic lines and structure that imitate modern classical composers, and nothing that resembles a traditional rock song, then it’s closer to classical music regardless of whether some people prefer (for inscrutable reasons) to use the label “rock.”

    Again, if I come up with a “pop classical” group that consists of an electric violin, an electric guitar, drums, and a bass, and that plays covers of Sting and the Police, only a complete idiot would think it tautological to point out that the group’s music was more pop/rock than actual classical music.

  • And it reveals you to be a classist prick.

    Find a more polite way to state your opinion or take it elsewhere.

  • And again:
    Well, that’s just it. I didn’t say that. As usual, you’re putting words in my mouth.

    Not so. I’m just pointing out the logical implications of the fact that in attempting to point to artistic rock music, you come up with examples of so-called “rock” groups that are imitating modern classical music in terms of style, melody, instrumentation, etc. You couldn’t do a better job of proving my point: Music given the label “rock” can be broad . . . when it cribs from a superior genre.

  • It’s not a tautology at all to point out that if a supposed “rock” group in fact consists of instrumentation that imitates classical music, melodic lines and structure that imitate modern classical composers, and nothing that resembles a traditional rock song, then it’s closer to classical music regardless of whether some people prefer (for inscrutable reasons) to use the label “rock.”

    For those who aren’t as familiar with the really modern composers (I’ve heard some stuff on the radio that sort of fits your description here, but there are only a few pieces I actually have copies of which were composed since 1965 and most of them are fairly traditional) what might be some examples of the sort of modern classical you’re talking about?

  • 157 (now 158) comments. Is that an American Catholic record? On a post about music no less – and it’s not even about liturgical music!

  • I’m thinking of a bunch of avant garde stuff that my fellow music graduate students composed and performed (sometimes I was in on the performance).

    Henry would be right about the tautological point IF, and only if, I had said something like this: “Rock music can’t be emotional [or deep, or lyrical, or whatever.] Oh, here’s something that is emotional, and therefore by definition it’s classical, not rock.” But of course I said nothing even remotely like that.

    What I’ve said — and this isn’t a complicated point — is that labels matter less than reality. If something is given the label “rock,” but its melody and structure and instrumentation resemble some modern classical music, then that reality is more important than the mere semantic fact that some people have, for no apparent reason, fallen under the spell of the four letters “r” “o” c” and “k.” Conversely, if something is given the label “classical,” but the musicians involved are playing electrified music, with lyrics, in verse and chorus form, and that sounds more like Johnny Cash than anything classical, then that reality is more important than the mere label “classical.”

    That’s not even arguably a tautology.

  • 160 posts on Rock. Crazy kids with their crazy music! (Crotchety Don goes off muttering to himself.)

  • Henry would be right about the tautological point IF, and only if, I had said something like this: “Rock music can’t be emotional [or deep, or lyrical, or whatever.] Oh, here’s something that is emotional, and therefore by definition it’s classical, not rock.” But of course I said nothing even remotely like that.

    Actually, that’s a great summary of what you did actually say.

    If you think Godspeed resembles “classical music” because it features strings, then I need to question your claim to have done academic work in music.

  • What an illiterate. I never said that “Godspeed” is classical because of its emotional power or anything even remotely like that. I said repeatedly that it sounds like modern classical music because it does — as a matter of musical substance, as a matter of listening to it and thinking, “Gee, that sounds like modern classical music I’ve heard before,” as a matter of not just instrumentation but of structure and form.

    Anyway, parsing the details of one obscure wanna-be “rock” band is neither here nor there. As I’ve said — to no disagreement — the mere fact that a few fringe bands are hard to classify tell us nothing about the rest of the genre, any more than the existence of dusk makes it impossible to tell the difference between day and night, or the existence of hermaphrodites makes it impossible to speak of men and women.

  • Interestingly enough, SB never answered my questions. I asked what genre one would place various bands and songs— from Hoven Droven’s work, to the song “Clubbed to Death.” No answer. His tautology would have to classify them as classical, I am sure. But that is also patently ridiculous, so… here we are.

  • There’s no tautology, and you know it. And are you still not grasping the point that classifying fringe bands is a pointless exercise? There can be blurry boundaries between genres, but that doesn’t change the fact that we can still tell the difference between genres the vast majority of the time. What you’re doing is as stupid as saying, “Look at this hermaphrodite! Therefore we can’t say that male anatomy on average differs from female anatomy.”

    (How would I classify “Hoven Droven”? They’re not nearly as close to modern classical as Godspeed; they use a mixture of folk melodies and rock sounds with acoustic/classical instrumentation. Big deal.)

  • “…there must surely be a basic set of characteristics that most “classical” shares and another that most “rock” shares. ”

    For rock’s basic characteristic, let’s go to Magister Berry himself: “It’s got a backbeat/You can’t lose it.” That, the fundamental lineup of guitar/bass/drums, and electronic amplification are what make rock rock, imho. Since the Beatles started messing with the form in 66/67, the backbeat will occasionally disappear, other instruments will surface, and the volume will vary, but music entirely without these three features generally is not categorized as rock. I think that it’s these characteristics which gives rise to the belief that rock, as a genre, is more limited than classical, since overriding, propulsive rhythm and volume tend to overwhelm sonic subtleties and nuance commonly found in orchestral, choral, and chamber music. Of course, since classical rarely partakes of these features, rock can definitely go to places which classical does not. But I believe that a case can be made that a fairly metronomic backbeat and high volume can be seen as limiting factors of the style.

  • Interestingly enough, SB never answered my questions. I asked what genre one would place various bands and songs— from Hoven Droven’s work, to the song “Clubbed to Death.”

    I’m not sure I fully agree with SB’s comments here (though I’m not in a position to know either way for sure since I generally avoid the modern exprimental classical stuff) but you’re overly simplifying his position. To run down:

    Clubbed to Death: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pt-NvcuDVBc
    No, I wouldn’t see this as sounding very classical. The percussive bassline and some of the other repetition/development elements strike me as sounding more like your standard electronica/instrumental rock/new age cross-over area.

    Godspeed You! Black Emperor live: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6nUml7Ijznw
    This does, despite the use of traditonally rock instruments, strike me as sounding fairly similar to some modern/experimental classicla music. Though it’s more melodic and less dissonent and abrasive than much of the stuff that I was hearing looking around through experimental classical stuff last night. However, if you asked me to classify it, I’d certainly put it in the rock category due to the eventual take over of the percussion and guitar line, and the ending which strikes me as a very rock-like close: hit a crescendo and then fade out with an electronic interference noise.

    Hoven Droven with orchestra: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4LlELP3gzc
    The first couple minutes sound in some ways like some experimental classical, but once they settle in the main themes are clearly derived from folk, jazz and rock. No question there.

    I don’t think there’s a lot of insight to be gained either way by looking at the muddy fringes between genres — but at least don’t simplify SB’s point to “if it has strings, it’s classical” because that’s not remotely what he’s saying.

    That said, I can hardly blame anyone for not being familiar with experimental classical because (having spent yesterday evening browsing around through examples) I am re-enforced in my idea that it’s mostly pretty un-likeable stuff compared to “real” (used as prejudicial term) classical music.

  • DC,

    This Steve Reich piece, Music for 18 Musicians, once considered pretty experimental, as was his tape-looped stuff is moving into the ‘mainstream.” Try it:

  • Darwin is right about the “Clubbed to Death” link. Not that it matters: Classifying whatever obscurity you dig up is a waste of time. Doesn’t affect the fact that genres differ enough that the overwhelming of the time, we can tell them apart. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be different “genres” in the first place.

  • And what are you trying to prove, anyway? That cheesy folk rock groups or tedious electronica are as profound as Bach? Or what?

  • This Steve Reich piece, Music for 18 Musicians, once considered pretty experimental, as was his tape-looped stuff is moving into the ‘mainstream.”

    That’s a really interesting piece, Mark. Thanks.

  • Let me take an amateurish approach to see we can (especially the warring parties) reach a mutual consensus that doesn’t necessarily negate anyone’s thoughts but incorporates the nuances.

    I’m not a musician, nor a music scholar, but I do appreciate music. My understanding is that there are recognized three major components of music. Rhythm, melody, and harmony. Each has it’s own primary effect on us (but that doesn’t mean they can’t work in concert). Rhythm primarily affects us at a physiological level (we want to tap our feet, might make our pulse rise, etc. – it’s primarily what makes rock moving, though rock can move us with harmony and lyrics, etc.). Harmony moves us on more of an emotional and intellectual level (a major part of classical music. This is why in movies when they’re trying to move the audience on an emotional level like sadness, jubilation, etc. there’s a sweeping harmonic score playing. It’s so effective you really don’t need to have been involved in following the movie or identifying with the characters to feel the jubilation of a homecoming or victory – or the sadness of a charecters loved one, etc.)

    Am I on track so far – more or less? If so, let’s proceed further, if not disregard me and call me an idiot.

    I think examining these elements and traits of the two genres in question we find why Michael can honestly question SB as to the ability of rock to move vs. classical. We also can see why SB claims and can claim that rock will never be able to move like classical does.

    I think SB is mostly right in that while rock can certainly move at a physiological level (very powerful thing, but rather base) and can and does utilize harmonic structure to move, the nature of rock still can’t make as effective use of harmony as classical can.

    If convincing y’all can say, I can agree to that characterization and be done with the conversation. If not, you can call me an idiot, and proceed to run up the comment count to the 200 mark.

  • DC,

    If you appreciated that, then you’d like John Adams too:

    Try this:

  • If not, you can call me an idiot, and proceed to run up the comment count to the 200 mark.

    I agree with you, but I will call you an idiot just because I wanna see if this puppy can make it to 200. 😉

  • DC,

    Or “Short Ride on a Fast Machine”, by the same composer:

  • A better peformance and rtaping (Berlin Philharmonic) of Short Ride on Fast Machine:

  • Check this out: a full video of Aaron Copland’s Third Symphony, a magnificent work. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=1838768546135838793&ei=hE65SY39JY2grwKMmfTfBA&q=copland+third+symphony You’ll have to fast forward to 1:11:50, at which point you’ll get to hear the conductor’s comments about all the feelings that the music evokes in him. I was impressed with the brass; this is a difficult piece. (Trivia: I once got roped into playing the bass drum for an orchestra rehearsal of this piece, because one of the percussionists was absent. It was quite challenging: you had to count for interminably long periods of time, and then suddenly bang the heck out of the drum on an off-beat.)

  • Don’t miss out on 1:42 and following, where Copland introduces the “Fanfare for the Common Man” theme. Simply majestic.

  • Mark,

    Interesting. I quite like the Short Ride on a Fast Machine, but I think Shaker Loops gets too “weird” for me if you’ll forgive the non-technical term. 🙂

    Being a pretty traditional kind of guy, I usually don’t get much past someone like Hovhaness. He’s his Alleluia and Fugue:

  • Heh. Listening to Copland piece in the background as I work. They said in the beginning that it was a reflection of life in bustling NYC in the 1920’s. I’m just not getting that. While listening, what’s going through my mind is a stuff like coyote getting an ACME anvil dropped on his head, a duck getting his bill blown off by a shotgun, and a mouse pulling the tongue of a cat. oops… I just heard the sound of a bulldog getting smacked in the head with a garbage can lid. Pretty violent music there, SB!

    🙂

  • Hmm, just fast forwarded it a bit. Maybe I wasn’t listening to the right piece (it was the first one I was listening to).

  • Right, the Copland starts after 1 hour and 12 minutes into the video. (John Williams wishes he was Copland.)

  • DC,

    I love Hovhannes.

    Try this beautiful piece by the Estonian composer, Arvo Part, Spiegel im Spiegel (Mirror in the Mirror):

  • Well, this one heckuva a thread. Let me go on record as saying that both U2 and this new album are great.

  • BTW, I finally purchased No Line On the Horizon off of Itunes. Great album.

    Still, it’s no Ninth Symphony.
    :)-

Mad Men

Saturday, March 7, AD 2009

Mad Men is an American Movie Classics (AMC) television drama series is set in the early 1960s at the fictional Sterling Cooper advertising agency on New York City’s Madison Avenue.  The show centers on Don Draper (played by Jon Hamm), a high-level advertising executive, and the people in his life in and out of the office. It also depicts the changing social mores of 1960s America.  Mad Men has received wide critical acclaim, particularly for its historical authenticity and visual style.  Mad Men is the advertising term for people in the industry that work on Madison Avenue, ie, Madison Avenue Men shortened to Mad Men.

Continue reading...

2 Responses to Mad Men

6 Responses to Congratulations American 'Catholics'

  • Do I see little pentagrams on the altar tablecloth? How appropriate.

  • By the way, Casey cast a pro-life vote in the last week. Perhaps he heeded his Bishop’s advice and repented.

    Just in continuity with my already mentioned (I think) desire to be more optimistic, I think we should spend twice as much time praying fervently for these people than we do criticizing them because the latter involves a huge temptation of succumbing to internal negative energy and focusing on the faults, however grave, of others and doesn’t reap as much good for humanity as the other option.

  • Perfect example of why this blog cannot be taken seriously.

  • Michael,

    Please, if you cannot find anything positive to say, none whatsoever, perhaps you should refrain? What does it gain you? It only manifests as negative energy and people fight and argue, throwing ad hominem attacks and calling each other pseudo-Catholics while we all say we’re so in love with Jesus.

    Resist the temptation. If it’s so horrible, then pray.

    I also think that you should potentially reflect on your words — for if they were true, ask yourself, why then do you frequently visit and feel compelled to not only engage, but occasionally — not always — do so in a manner that is negative, which seems to be something that you’re condemning at the moment.

    I would happily discuss criticisms with you constructively.

  • Eric – I don’t know what you mean. My comment was positive.

  • I agree. They are all Republicrats first. For Brownback, being from Kansas is 2nd. Catholic is so far back in distant 3rd place, it doesn’t register unless it’s election year.

    We’ll know Brownback is running for national office again when he shows up at a pro-life rally.

What's This Doing On American Catholic?

Saturday, March 7, AD 2009

Something for the weekend.  I have always loved the Internationale, while detesting almost everything about the old Soviet Union (the government, not the people who suffered under it), Marxism in all its meretricious manifestations and all Communist states.  The video above is filled with the type of agit\prop scenes that bored to tears Soviet citizens for generations.   My love for the Internationale extends only to the tune and not to the lyrics which I find banal beyond belief.  Good tune-hideous nightmarish movement, that had succeeded in killing a bit under 150,000,000 human beings as of 2006.

Continue reading...

6 Responses to What's This Doing On American Catholic?

Res & Explicatio for A.D. 3-6-2009

Friday, March 6, AD 2009

Salvete AC readers!

Here are today’s Top Picks in the Catholic world:

1. Unlike many bishops in America, Coadjutor Archbishop Dennis Schnurr of  the Archdiocese of Cincinnati prayed the Rosary with other protesters outside an abortion mill on Wednesday, March 4.  Archbishop Schnurr will replace Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk upon his retirement.  Among the protesters came this comment referring to Archbishop Schnurr’s presence:

“It’s tremendous,” Ferraro said of Schnurr’s presence. “He’s the head of the flock. It certainly affirms (the church leadership’s) commitment.”

For the link click on Archbishop Schnurr’s name above or here.

Updated: Archbishop Pilarczk actively leads Rosary prayer vigils in front of abortion mills as well!

2. Doctors who performed and directly assisted in the abortion of twins to a nine year old rape/incest victim have been declared excommunicated by Archbishop Jose Sobrinho of the Archdiocese of Olinda e Recife in Brazil.  The nine year old girl was not excommunicated for many reasons, most likely due to her age.  Where are these bishops in America?  Probably hiding behind the USCCB Faithful Citizenship document thus failing to lead their flocks.

Dr. Ed Peters volunteered his sentiments on this case, “as for the perpetrator of the rape, there isn’t a mine shaft deep enough on this earth for him.”

For the link click on excommunicated above or here.

Continue reading...

8 Responses to Res & Explicatio for A.D. 3-6-2009

  • Got another fave on this Lenten Friday- posted on both Drudge and Lucianne. From St. Lou Post Dispatch. Handwringing about Catholic hospitals and how their administrators- hint, their local bishops- may close facilities rather than assist Dear Leader’s plans for abortions more common than Happy Meals, in event of FOCA becoming law. Poor thing. Libs always overreach when in power. Often in ways that bite them in the schnozz. But fun to read as in one corner of MSM trying to counsel Dear Leader in more discreet judgment on the matter. Oh- like approaching Kathy Silbelius- Friend of Tiller The Killer- as HHS Secretary.

  • It should be noted that Archbishop Pilarczyk has prayed at the same abortion mill, and celebrates Mass for the Cincinnati branch of the Helpers of God’s Precious Infants on somewhat regular occasions.

  • Fr. Schnippel,

    That is wonderful news!

    Deo gratias!

    I pray and hope that my good bishop joins us in prayer as well, to lead his flock to victory.

  • It is also worth noting that Bishop Jackels of the Wichita diocese also leads the rosary at least once per year at George Tiller’s abortion facility. We also have a regular first Saturday rosary with priests from various parishes assigned to lead. I believe that three or four parishes are assigned per first Saturday–there are always priests present as well as parishioners. Anyone know of any other diocese with this sort of program?

  • You people really need help. You’re seriously praising Sobrinho for his vicious heavy-handed excommunication? You make me feel ashamed to be a Catholic – isn’t it time you left the Church to take your poison elsewhere?! If you think adopting a brown-nosing attitude to everything many idiot bishops do and say is following the mesage of Christ then you are wrong. Problem is that your in america – you smell the incense and see the ritual and it affects your mind and reason.

  • “You make me feel ashamed to be a Catholic – isn’t it time you left the Church to take your poison elsewhere?!”

    Who can argue with that blinding logic? The Archbishop was absolutely correct. The nine year girl had been through hell, and it was a terrible situation. The doctors killing the twins she was carrying changed none of the evil that was done to her, but merely added two more names to the innocents put to death by abortion.

    The vatican backs the excommunication.
    http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,23739,25155346-954,00.html

    Maybe you think the Pope should leave the Church?

  • You’re seriously praising Sobrinho for his vicious heavy-handed excommunication?

    And why not? These doctors looked at this unspeakable crime, and proceeded to kill two of the three victims.

    If someone is to be killed as a result of this crime, it should be the rapist-father-grandfather — not the innocent children who resulted from his crime.

  • it’s not really even the bishop who acted here, it was the doctors and parents themselves who excommunicated themselves by virtue of their actions. The bishop simply declared what the universal law of the Church is… those who procure abortion are automatically excommunicated.

Expect to be Offended

Friday, March 6, AD 2009

My wife subscribes to the local Catholic homeschooler email list, and although I don’t usually dip into the innumerable messages that pour in (most of them more lifestyle and education focused, so far as I can tell) I occasionally read a thread that catches my eye.

This week there’s been much discussion of an Envoy magazine article about how a mother took her twelve-year-old in for a check up and was shocked and angered when the doctor asked if he could speak to the girl privately for a few minutes, and during the course of that asked the girl if she was sexually active and if she needed a prescription for birth control. The moms on the list exchanged similar stories, and were indignant not only that birth control was offered but that their teenagers were routinely asked if they did drugs, had sex, etc. Why, everyone wanted to know, would any reasonable doctor ask to speak to a teenager alone about these topics? Surely a mother should always know everything there is to know about these topics.

Needless to say, I’m not crazy about the idea of my three daughters being offered birth control and quizzed about their experiences when they become teenagers.

Continue reading...

3 Responses to Expect to be Offended

  • I agree – but it still sucks, just like it sucks that you have to be super careful about what sort of TV programming you let your kids watch (I limit my kids’ TV time compared to when I was young, but at least when I was young there wasn’t much that was broadcast that would be problematic for a youth – now just about everything has something objectionable). More to the point though, it sucks because, cultural differences, it’s not the place for a doctor or the government to be meddling in – it is truly a violation of the natural order and the right/duty of parents to raise their children and I find it very offensive. So, regardless of our acknowledging that we’re really aliens in this culture and should expect these differences, I think it’s understandable that this group of mothers make a big deal about it – they’re sincerely viewing these things as an assault on their children – and that it is.

  • I would absolutely refuse to allow a doctor to speak privately with my child at that age. I will not permit the “school nurse” to have anything to do with them either, if their hurt, call me or my wife, if their really hurt call 911… no contraceptive pushing liberals touching my kids.

  • The problem I see with the situation is that the doctor told her to absolutely avoid drugs and alcohol, but then offered to enable her to have sex.

    Abstinence education is readily employed for drug use, smoking, underage drinking, drinking & driving, carrying firearms, etc., but not for sex.

    Hmmm.

Second Thoughts

Friday, March 6, AD 2009

second-thoughts

Hmmm.  David Brooks and Christopher Buckley, both of whom supported Obama last year are now having second thoughts.  The indispensable Iowahawk supplies the laugh track these two geniuses require.

Update I:  Brooks has now had third thoughts.  Hattip to Ed Morrissey at Hot Air.  The value of the support of weather-vanes like Buckley and Brooks is summed up by the comment of Winston Churchill on hearing that Italy had declared war on the Allies:   “Seems only fair.  We had them last time.”

Update II:  Buckley says he would still vote for Obama.  The money quote:  “Maybe I’m obtuse.”

Continue reading...

2 Responses to Second Thoughts

  • As for the third thoughts, I’d be highly comforted, too, if I just went by those assuring statements from the administration. However, I don’t think it is overly cynical to doubt both the effectiveness of those statements, if they are made honestly, or even the honesty of those statements. I lean towards doubt on effectiveness; I think that Obama and his ilk mean well, but that’s hardly soothing.

  • The Brooks and Buckley self deceptions and revelations strike me as fulfilling the dictum that, “You have to be terribly smart to be this stupid.”

    Reading Brooks’ latest piece, I noted especially, “The White House folks didn’t say this, but I got the impression they’d be willing to raise taxes on the bottom 95 percent.” It strikes me, actually, that their very reassurances give credence to Ross Douthat’s suggestion that the Obama budget consists of a sort of reverse “starve the beast” approach — in which Obama hopes to get people hooked on a higher baseline of government services before the great fiscal reckoning when we realize we need to either cut spending or raise taxes. The idea being: If he can get people hooked on broad programs now without figuring out how to pay for them, he can then push through the “necessary” tax increases to pay for them later.

Christian Hipsters: A Tool For Self-Diagnosis

Thursday, March 5, AD 2009

This has already been making the rounds, but the weekend is almost here, and I thought it would be an opportunity to focus more on the culture part of AC. Per Brett McCracken, here is a partial list of the common traits of Christian hipsters:

Things they don’t like:
Christian hipsters don’t like megachurches, altar calls, and door-to-door evangelism. They don’t really like John Eldredge’s Wild at Heart or youth pastors who talk too much about Braveheart. In general, they tend not to like Mel Gibson and have come to really dislike The Passion for being overly bloody and maybe a little sadistic. They don’t like people like Pat Robertson, who on The 700 Club famously said that America should “take Hugo Chavez out”; and they don’t particularly like The 700 Club either, except to make fun of it. They don’t like evangelical leaders who get too involved in politics, such as James Dobson or Jerry Falwell, who once said of terrorists that America should “blow them all away in the name of the Lord.” They don’t like TBN, PAX, or Joel Osteen. They do have a wry fondness for Benny Hinn, however.

Continue reading...

4 Responses to Christian Hipsters: A Tool For Self-Diagnosis

  • Well, having looking through the criteria, I’m definitely not a hipster, though I share some of the likes a dislikes. For example, I don’t like megachurches, but I am increasingly in favor of door-to-door evangelism. I think Catholics might consider doing a little more visible activity like that. I think our laity (though it might just be me) are pretty lazy about spreading the Word. I do like Mel Gibson, and I think the bloodier I picture the Passion, the better. Christ suffered the weight of every single sin of mankind. That extent of suffering is absolutely mind-boggling. I love the Pope, the liturgy, and Lent. Incense is not so much a concern (because my wife reacts violently to it), and I feel incredibly awkward with the timeless phrases.

    The worrisome thing is that a hipster likes what is hip. That might be good for the moment, if the perspective if that there is something “hip” about Christianity, but on the other hand, if that perspective ever changes, will these hipsters dump Christianity as yesterday’s fad? Moreover, is their interest in Christianity a matter of status, of being in a particular crowd, rather than in Christianity itself? (Well, these questions aren’t limited to the hipsters. I ask these of myself continually.)

    Anyway, I don’t know much about it, myself. I’ll simply try to reserve any judgment, because the temptation is always to ask, “Are they genuine?” And that does them a great disservice.

  • I am increasingly in favor of door-to-door evangelism. I think Catholics might consider doing a little more visible activity like that. I think our laity (though it might just be me) are pretty lazy about spreading the Word….Moreover, is their interest in Christianity a matter of status, of being in a particular crowd, rather than in Christianity itself?

    I agree, and you’ve highlighted one of the reasons I found the list somewhat puzzling. On the one hand, the term ‘Christian hipster’ seems to denote an interest in aesthetics and artistic integrity. For example, old Cathedrals really are beautiful; Chesterton, Lewis, O’Connor, etc. are phenomenal writers and thinkers; CCM is generally bad because it is a contrived imitation of popular music.

    On the other hand, it seems to denote a sort of guarded and deliberate detachment from committing oneself entirely to Christ. For example, door-to-door evangelization is out (we wouldn’t want to feel uncomfortable!); as are altar calls (a public commitment to Christ). And, while there are plenty of reasons to dislike Jerry Falwell, the 700 club etc., the fact that hipsters like the equally political Jim Wallis suggests it is the zeitgeist rather than a dislike of the mixture of faith and politics that may be motivating their behavior. Either way, it’s an interesting list.

  • I interviewed with Brett McCracken on video about his views on Christian Hipsters:
    http://www.conversantlife.com/life-with-god/interview-with-brett-mccracken

  • I generally fit into much of this list’s criteria, but I hardly think “hipster” is the right term. Not being into Christian music and manufactured pop-Christian culture, and preferring some intellectual rigor does not a hipster make. But it’s still a generally good thing, I suppose….

Res & Explicatio for A.D. 3-5-2009

Thursday, March 5, AD 2009

Salvete AC readers!

Here we have today’s Top Picks in the Catholic world:

1. I discovered today that Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas was the only obstacle that would have prevented the nomination of Pro-Abortion Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius  to be nominated for Secretary of Health and Human Services.  President Barack Obama did not want to nominate Governor Sebelius without the support of Senator Brownback.  President Obama made a personal phone call to Senator Brownback last week to ensure his support, which would have pre-empted any problems with Governor Sebelius nomination in the Senate.  So Senator Brownback had the opportunity to strike a blow for the Pro-Life movement, but instead succumbed to worldly praise of his president.  Senator Brownback you have advanced Satan’s agenda of the increase in the murder of innocent children, shame on you!

Here is the link:

http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/mar/09030405.html

2. Late last night His Excellency Most Reverend Joseph Naumann of the Archdiocese of Kansas City was quoted by the archdiocesan blog, The Catholic Key Blog, that he is “concerned personally” for Pro-Abortion Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius.  He has also said that “she is a very bright and gifted leader“.  Archbishop Naumann has called her nomination for Secretary of Health and Human Services “particularly troubling”.  He further goes on explaining the problems associated with her public stance by quoting the great film A Man for All Season, “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul, but for Wales?”.

Here is the link: http://catholickey.blogspot.com/2009/03/archbishop-naumanns-column-on-sebelius.html

Continue reading...

11 Responses to Res & Explicatio for A.D. 3-5-2009

  • 1. Brownback’s support of Sibelius- inexplicable. Inexcusable. Keep in mind. Always.

    2. Bravo Archbishop Naumann. Appears to be job requirement as Archbishop of KC- lay down smack on Sibelius. He does it well.

    3. So which bloody lab coat does Tiller the Killer wear at the confirmation party?>

  • Brownback is eyeing the KS governor’s mansion. With Sebellius in DC, his path is now clearer.

    What profiteth a man, indeed.

    Good news on all the other points.

  • Tito,

    Why don’t you use “et” for “and (&)”?

  • Mark,

    I was thinking of that, so I’ll be using “&” for now, then switch to “et” for next week.

    Good catch buddy.

    Tito

  • Actually, my bad, I think, as the font you chose appears to give an “E” blended with a “t”.

  • Mark,

    I just learned something new today, thanks!

    I went on Wikipedia to confirm what you said and I’m impressed.

    Cool.

  • Still trying to wrap my head around Brownback … American Papist speculates here:

    So what’s going on here? Politics.

    Brownback and Sebelius are home-state rivals from Kansas: she the pro-abortion governor, he one of their two pro-life senators. Speculation has been going for months that in 2010 Sebellius and Brownback could well collide for an elected office: either Sebellius challenging Brownback for his senate seat or Brownback trying to become Kansas governor.

    Brownback, therefore, can be personally relieved that it appears Sebelius will be “kicked upstairs” by this HHS nomination (presuming that all goes well). It saves him two worries.

    But I think it was a wrong move.

  • But I think it was a wrong move.

    Morally wrong, cowardly.

  • Tito,

    My friend, please I know it is hard but cut Senator Brownback a bit of slack, he has done more for the pro-life movement than any other senator I can think of.

    Just because Brownback is a Catholic though, doesn’t mean he can’t be pragmatic. Even the great Thomas More knew that sometimes you have to play politcs and pick your battles.

    No matter what Obama is going to pick a rabid pro-choicer for this spot. Even if Brownback and the whole of the Republican party drew a line in the sand and made this into an epic battle Obama would just keep picking pro-choicers until he got what he wanted.

    As to people implying that Brownback just wants Sibelius out of the way so he can run for gov. She already is out of the way, she is in her final term by the laws of the state of KS. If she didn’t get this cabinet job though she planned to run (and probably win) Brownback’s old seat (as he has pledged to not run again for senate.)

    The fact that Brownback probably will end up as Gov. of KS in 2010 is a very good thing for the pro-life movement in that state but should not be misread as mere oportunism. Trust me, Sam Brownback would not sell his soul to be Gov. of KS.

    What he is doing is being smart and looking down the road, in 2010 do you want KS to have a pro-choice dem senator? The KS seat is one of the few the Republicans can probably hold based on current trajectories. Trust me you don’t want Obama to have a super-majority in the senate.

    Brownback has put it all on the line before for truth and justice, the fact that Catholics are turning on him so quick for this bothers me.

  • FD,

    My friend, please I know it is hard but cut Senator Brownback a bit of slack, he has done more for the pro-life movement than any other senator I can think of.

    he just undid it. We have to be non-partisan here and criticize soundly any politician who support the abortion lobby directly or by providing them cover like Brownback has done.

    Trust me, Sam Brownback would not sell his soul to be Gov. of KS.

    he already has. This IS mere political opportunism.

    Thomos More did not endorse evil, he did at times refuse to speak and condemn evil until the right time, that is NOT what Brownback is doing.

    Of course Obama will get his nominations through (at least the ones who aren’t scofflaws), what you’re missing is that when they get support from conservative Republicans it weakens our ability to oppose their evil policies, it also undermines the Church which is attacking this nomination, to have a Catholic endorse her.

Sister Colonel Doctor Dede

Thursday, March 5, AD 2009

 sister-dede

Hattip to A Catholic Mom in Hawaii.  Here is a fascinating article which ran in the Washington Times on January 25, 2009, about Deirdre Byrne, who is a Sister of the Little Workers of the Sacred Heart, she has not yet taken her final vows, an Army surgeon with the rank of Colonel, and a Doctor for the poor.  The article is fantastic, although the author incorrectly reported Colonel Dede’s rank as Captain rather than Colonel, and any summary by me would not do it justice.  Read it if you want to be inspired to do good.

Continue reading...

One Response to Sister Colonel Doctor Dede

  • Such magnificent work and thanks to Don and Catholic Ma for resurrecting this article. Indicates that 95 per percent of what we think and write and talk about is so much blahblahblah. While those like Sister Colonel Yes Ma’am Dede are busy about their Father’s business. Almost too awesome to assimilate.