Occasional Notes: As the World Turns
Leitmotif: “What are the characters that I discern most clearly in the so-called Anglo-Saxon type of man? I may answer at once that two stick out above all others. One is his curious and apparently incurable incompetence… The other is his astounding susceptibility to fears and alarms…” — H. L. Mencken
Zodiaca: As you probably know by now, there’s a good chance that your astrological sign has recently been changed. For example, I went from being a Virgo (meticulous, fussy, analytical, given to worrying) to a Leo (generous, warmhearted, creative). Surely this is a clerical error.
I once read that more people know their sun sign than their blood type. This disturbs me a bit. After all, your blood type can really make a difference in your life. For example, I’m blood type A+, which makes me meticulous, fussy, analytical, and given to worrying.
(Obligatory rationalist tweak: During the Christmas season, I saw here and there the argument that teaching kids to believe in Santa Claus was good practice for teaching them to believe in God. Let’s set aside the rank polytheism of believing in a demigod like Santa. Do the faithful hold that belief in astrology is a similarly good practice for belief in God? Why or why not?)
No Sexe Please, We’re French: Here’s further proof that the world’s gone mad, as if we needed any.
This Is Awesome:
K-97 is well aware of the dangers of censorship and the effect it has on Canadian’s Freedom of Speech. K-97 has had many censorship attempts, but through it all the microphones are turned on everyday giving the announcers the freedom to say whatever is on their mind.
Earlier this week the CBSC ruled that the song “Money For Nothing” has violated broadcasting decency standards because of the use of the word “Faggot”. The Dire Straits song was originally released in 1985 and has since aired tens of thousands of times across Canada, has won a Grammy and has been performed by GLBT supporter, Elton John. If you listen to the context of the term, you will realize it is an artistic portrayal of a bigoted person looking at the riches and excess of the music industry.
While some of K-97’s content may be controversial, we respect the right to free speech for all Canadians and songwriters. That’s why K-97 has decided to go against the grain…yet again, and hold a “MONEY FOR NOTHING HOUR”. From 8pm – 9pm on Friday, January 14th, 2011 K-97’s Todd James will be playing the Dire Straits “Money For Nothing” unedited and non stop for the entire hour to express our deep concern about this decision and the precedent it sets.
Ressentiment is a sense of hostility directed at that which one identifies as the cause of one’s frustration, that is, an assignment of blame for one’s frustration. The sense of weakness or inferiority and perhaps jealousy in the face of the “cause” generates a rejecting/justifying value system, or morality, which attacks or denies the perceived source of one’s frustration. The ego creates an enemy in order to insulate itself from culpability.
But hey, if the bigots are rocking out to Dire Straits, we can’t be too careful, can we? There could be kids around! (Let’s not start in about Pink Floyd; R.E.M., which basically revisited “Money for Nothing”; or, for the love of mom, Eminem. We could go on, of course.)
A Quick Thought on Generative Culture: Here’s something I’ve wondered about regarding the commercialization of culture, the reaction against it, and the like. Triggered partly by this month’s Cato Unbound. And yes, you’re going to hate me for it.
Does anyone appreciate how much better commercial culture is than bottom-up generative culture?
I mean, I can write a competent bit of prose, but I work at that. I spend much of my waking life thinking about how to write clearly. I get paid for it, too, so it’s not really amateur culture. In my spare time I like to cook, and I don’t get paid for that. I’m okay at it, I think. People ask for seconds. They even show up for repeat dinner parties. But beyond writing and cooking, I just can’t produce all that much culture. Do you really want to hear me stumble through a bunch of half-learned Flaming Lips or Belle & Sebastian songs? On a guitar that I struggle to tune? Do you want to hear me sing them? Not if you know what’s good for you.
It’s worse than that. I can’t sew, can’t dance, can’t paint, can’t even draw. Never threw a pot. I wove a basket once (don’t ask). If the back-to-basics maker ethos were held at all consistently, there wouldn’t be much left to like about any of us.
 Mencken may have been a racist, but if so, he was an equal-opportunity racist; he appears to have hated all the races more or less equally.