Thursday, January 14, 2010

Girl Groups and the Apocalypse

Just came across this interview with David Tibet of Current 93, one of my artistic heroes... it's a good one, containing, among other things, the astonishing fact that there are people who never figured out that he's a Christian [!!!!!], the story behind the making of Black Ships Ate the Sky [my least favorite C93 album, but I need to give it another listen], and Tibet's rather low opinion of finnegans wake and Ulysses... and this marvelous take on 1960s girl groups (shout out to Sophia! ♥):

Pitchfork: Finally, I have a question a friend of mine supplied. Someone at her college had a radio show called “Songs of the Apocalypse”, and she was curious what would be on your show, if you put together something called “Songs of the Apocalypse”.

DT: Funny, instead of the obvious choices, the song that immediately comes to mind is "Be My Baby" by the Ronettes; that and “Remember (Walking in the Sand)” by the Shangri La's. I love girl groups-- I particularly love Ronnie Spector-- and the idea of apocalypse, the original Greek word meaning, “unveiling,” is where everything is revealed. Now, of course, it has the sense of Armageddon and total destruction, but I still look at it as a total unveiling, the taking off of all masks, and the return, perhaps after the Armageddon, to that state of pristine purity and innocence and love, which is the natural human condition.

When I listen to "Be My Baby" I hear such yearnings and such love and such beauty-- that absolutely simple, uncynical love that can and should exist between people-- it makes me think of everything [being] stripped away. It's an absolutely naked, heartbreaking plea for love.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Kid Buddha

So it's 6:15 in the morning and Sophia's daughter is shrieking in anguish upstairs. Her mother has cruelly, cruelly told her for the 29th time to please get out of bed and come down and eat.

Molly is very sweet and is miraculous in uncountable ways, but she doesn't do mornings. Well, she does 'em, but she does 'em the way Mitch and Murray do a sales meeting, the way Republicans lose an election, the way Al Capone chats about baseball.

The shrieks continue. James, 7, is already at the table. He says, in a calculated tone of (mock?) compassion, "That's her level of consciousness."

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Did I Say "Nuance"?

Well, not every song is a hit. I do like Sam Harris, but here's his dumb-assed response to a Karen Armstrong piece in Foreign Policy--which also has its problems, but is that any excuse for this kind of sub- college newspaper schmuckality?

After all, it would be absurd to criticize witchcraft as unscientific, as this would ignore the primordial division between mythos and logos. Let me see if I have this straight: Belief in demons, the evil eye, and the medicinal value of a cannibal feast are perversions of the real witchcraft - -which is drenched with meaning, intrinsically wholesome, integral to our humanity, and here to stay. Do I have that right?

Dude! That's all, uhh, philosophical and shit! Are you like, an English major?

Predictably, the boys in the dorm are slappin' the Sam-meister on the back--yeah! YAYuh! Go us! Karen Armstrong's a day-um cannibal!

It's true that she's the new whipping girl for the Skepticism Lite™ crowd, who, like delirious drunks at a pep rally who glimpse the straw effigy of the Bad Guys' mascot, are whoopin' and hollerin' for blood... well, Blood Lite™, as is obvious from the passage above. Like gridiron combat, it's blood sport for couch-jockeys... but Foreign Policy??? Didn't that used to be sorta like a wonk analogue of Masterpiece Theatre??? But it's all turning into NFL Fox Sunday, the whooooole culture...

Oh: Armstrong never mentions witchcraft. Or cannibalism. Or the evil eye. Or mythos, or logos. But you knew that.

UPDATE: I just got around to reading Armstrong's response to Harris. She makes the very good point (one we apparently will have to repeat until Doomsday, or after) that "To identify religion with its worst manifestations, claim that they represent the whole, and then demolish the straw dog thus set up does not seem a rational or useful way of conducting this important debate."

And then, unless I'm having a very bad dream, Armstrong asserts, of Harris's admittedly wacko screed, "Historically, this kind of attack only serves to make religious fundamentalists more extreme." Um--like they need someone to "make" them "more extreme"?

I think I get what she's saying... I know she's not saying that critics of religion are responsible for the excesses of fanatics, that cartoonists whose homes are invaded by would-be axe murderers actually invited the attack... is she? The Atheibots are united in their claim that Armstrong sometimes blames the victims of religious extremism, but she doesn't really... does she? She's not unwittingly agreeing with atheists that religious people are mindless hosts to mental viruses... is she?????????

Friday, January 1, 2010

UPDATE: Brain Doc Diary Does Boffo Biz

Carl Jung's The Red Book, a compilation of journal entries and artwork concerning his HGA experiences that began c. 1913, is apparently selling quite well--considering: the thing is a monstrous 11.6 X 15.4 inches, weighs a staggering 9.6 pounds, and lists for a humongous $195.00. You can get it for less--if you can get it. The first three print runs sold out, and even the fourth printing is getting scarce. I'm glad I reserved mine early, but I've barely even looked through it, so busy have I been or so preoccupied with other reading matter...

Sophia said today, after reading of the purges at the Washington Times, "I guess the Zeroes were the last gasp of the newspaper industry," and certainly it's a little disturbing to see Old Media toppling like so many Ozymandiases. Then comes a boutique title like this one, something only a geek could love, with painstakingly reproduced color drawings and a scholarly introduction, and, saith the Times (NY), said tome is "partly hand-bound" and "uses two different kinds of custom-made paper." The Red Book, despite the ascendancy of POD and the pdf, is, for now, the kind of artifact only an old-school commercial publisher could have created...and no, as the Times points out, its sales aren't anywhere near, not in the same galaxy as the sales of schlock icons such as Dan Brown and Sarah Palin. But their books would lose nothing on a Kindle or as a pdf or e-book, while The Red Book's complexity could only attain accessible form as a -- real book.

Hmmm... maybe instead of running away from irrelevance, book publishers should try embracing it more often.

Earlier on WiHW: Jung's HGA Diary