A little more than 125 years ago, there was no recorded music. The only way to hear music was for some living person or group to sing and play. Music was real, raw, not digitally mastered, not enhanced, or echoed out, or mooged. It was not only the actual sound of music, it was the only sound of music. Music was not that common, not performed that often. Music must have been, for the most part, a delightful experience.
Then Thomas Edison invented the phonograph in 1877. A decade later Berliner invented the record disc. The rest is music forever, eternally, and always. Non-stop. Around the clock. 24/7. Everywhere. All the time.
One hears it in elevators, in stores, on the beach, in the hall, upstairs, downstairs, on TV and on the radio, in the background, in the foreground, driving, walking, jogging, camping, hiking.
During the news, during the movies, in greeting cards. During war, parades and funerals. Heavy metal bands blare out their anthem for the shiny faced killers in helicopters pursuing their tasks on the streets of Araby.
For those who have a favorite song, or a favorite artist, or a favorite band, one can have access to it anytime and for as long as one desires. How familiarity doesn't breed contempt after the three thousandth hearing escapes my poor mind but apparently it doesn't. Still, it must weaken the impact a little.
Could Jimmy Joyce wake The Dead in today's sound surfeited world? Poor Gretta! How painful would her memories of her lover's death be after hearing The Lass of Aughrim sung a hundred times?
During a recent interview the Dalai Lama revealed he never listens to music. But that doesn't mean he can't hear it.
"It is merely a fact that the land, here and everywhere, is suffering. We have the “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico and undrinkable water to attest to the toxicity of our agriculture. We know that we are carelessly and wastefully logging our forests. We know that soil erosion, air and water pollution, urban sprawl, the proliferation of highways and garbage are making our lives always less pleasant, less healthful, less sustainable, and our dwelling places more ugly.
Nearly forty years ago my state of Kentucky, like other coal-producing states, began an effort to regulate strip mining. While that effort has continued, and has imposed certain requirements of “reclamation,” strip mining has become steadily more destructive of the land and the land’s future. We are now permitting the destruction of entire mountains and entire watersheds. No war, so far, has done such extensive or such permanent damage. If we know that coal is an exhaustible resource, whereas the forests over it are with proper use inexhaustible, and that strip mining destroys the forest virtually forever, how can we permit this destruction? If we honor at all that fragile creature the topsoil, so long in the making, so miraculously made, so indispensable to all life, how can we destroy it? If we believe, as so many of us profess to do, that the Earth is God’s property and is full of His glory, how can we do harm to any part of it?
In Kentucky, as in other unfortunate states, and again at great public cost, we have allowed—in fact we have officially encouraged—the establishment of the confined animal-feeding industry, which exploits and abuses everything involved: the land, the people, the animals, and the consumers. If we love our country, as so many of us profess to do, how can we so desecrate it?
But the economic damage is not confined just to our farms and forests. For the sake of “job creation,” in Kentucky, and in other backward states, we have lavished public money on corporations that come in and stay only so long as they can exploit people here more cheaply than elsewhere. The general purpose of the present economy is to exploit, not to foster or conserve.
Look carefully, if you doubt me, at the centers of the larger towns in virtually every part of our country. You will find that they are economically dead or dying. Good buildings that used to house needful, useful, locally owned small businesses of all kinds are now empty or have evolved into junk stores or antique shops. But look at the houses, the churches, the commercial buildings, the courthouse, and you will see that more often than not they are comely and well made. And then go look at the corporate outskirts: the chain stores, the fast-food joints, the food-and-fuel stores that no longer can be called service stations, the motels. Try to find something comely or well made there.
What is the difference? The difference is that the old town centers were built by people who were proud of their place and who realized a particular value in living there. The old buildings look good because they were built by people who respected themselves and wanted the respect of their neighbors. The corporate outskirts, on the contrary, were built by people who manifestly take no pride in the place, see no value in lives lived there, and recognize no neighbors. The only value they see in the place is the money that can be siphoned out of it to more fortunate places—that is, to the wealthier suburbs of the larger cities."
"For human nature is such that grief and pain - even simultaneously suffered - do not add up as a whole in our consiousness, but hide, the lesser behind the greater, according to a definite law of perspective. It is providential and is our means of surviving in the camp. And this is the reason why so often in free life one hears it said that man is never content. In fact it is not a question of a human incapacity for a state of absolute happiness, but of an ever-insufficient knowledge of the complex nature of the state of unhappiness; so that the single name of the major cause is given to all its causes, which are composite and set out in an order of urgency. And if the most immediate cause of stress comes to an end, you are grievously amazed to see that another lies behind; and in reality a whole series of others."
Primo Levi, If This Is A Man, (Abacus, 1987), p79.
"There are many perils, both for our nation and for the world, inherent in this situation - and they do not all come from abroad. We are exasperated by the ironic incongruities of our position. Having more power than ever before, America ironically enjoys less security than in the days of her weakness. Convinced of her virtue, she finds that even her allies accuse her of domestic vices invented by her enemies. The liberated prove ungrateful for their liberation, the reconstructed for their reconstruction, and the late colonial peoples vent their resentment upon our nation - the most innocent, we believe, of the imperial powers. Driven by these provocations and frustrations, there is the danger that America may be tempted to exert all the terrible power she possesses to compel history to conform to her own illusions. The extreme, but by no means the only expression, would be the so-called preventive war. This would be to commit the worst heresy of the Marxists, with whom it is dogma that they can compel history to conform to the pattern of their dreams by the ruthless use of force."
C. Vann Woodward (The Irony of Southern History) (1953)
When the candidates and their toadies tell us how many jobs they will 'create', I want to spit in their stupid lying faces.
The reason the recovery has been slow is because the jobs are gone.
Mort Zuckerman has stated that the industrial base of the 1950's & 1960's has been reduced by 90% and that those jobs are never coming back. Is he correct? If so, why? The candidates should be talking about that.
Pat Buchanan has stated that 50,000 factories with 5.5 million jobs have been transferred abroad. The Americans who worked those jobs did not go abroad. They are still here, and jobless for the most part. Is he correct? If so, why? The candidates should be talking about that.
The American economy has been looted by the multinational corporations. Traitors couldn't have done more damage to our nation.
“If the Golden Rule were generally observed among us, the economy would not last a week. We have made our false economy a false god, and it has made blasphemy of the truth. So I have met the economy in the road, and am expected to yield it right of way. But I will not get over. My reason is that I am a man, and have a better right to the ground than the economy. The economy is no god for me, for I have had too close a look at its wheels. I have seen it at work in the strip mines and coal camps of Kentucky, and I know it has no moral limits.”
Wendell Berry (Hat Tip, John Pattison)
At the start of 1962 (and for sometime before) I had been living a wasted life. In February 1962 I met a girl who saved me from self-destruction. I married her. Somehow it worked. Looking back, I see that we were like injured animals who found each other, licked each other's wounds and brought healing.
On Labor Day weekend, Patti and I celebrated our fiftieth wedding anniversary. The album shown above was issued that year (1962). It was one of our favorite albums then, perhaps the first we bought together although I believe the purchase was made early in 1963. It doesn't seem that long ago.
The song sung here is appropriate for the occasion.