Saturday, June 15, 2013

 The soul selects her own Society ––
Then shuts the Door ––
On her divine Majority
Obtrude no more ––
Unmoved –– she notes the Chariots –– pausing ––
At her low Gate ––
Unmoved, an Emperor is kneeling
Upon her Mat ––
I've known her from an ample nation
Choose one ––
Then –– close the valves of her attention ––
Like stone.

~ Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

On this the First Anniversary of the day FreeThinke’s Blog began, our days of active participation in the blogosphere have come to an end. We have been planning for some time to cease operations altogether on this date.

The atmosphere throughout the blogosphere is malignant. It is bound to have a deleterious effect on our health both mental and physical, if we remain involved with it much longer. The blogs have become nothing but a repository for childish hatred, extreme cynicism, insolence, bilious rhetoric, malevolence, spite, and lunacy.

What we have learned about human nature through this experience is frankly horrifying. The recent spate of moronic hate mail in response to our efforts to foster an atmosphere of amity, comity, relative sanity and good humor has been enough to gag a maggot.

More and more we feel soiled by this process.

There have been a small handful who've shown understanding, kindness, appreciation and support, and for them we shall always be thankful, but a small handful is not enough to warrant our continuing to pour effort into an obvious exercise in futility. 

Our best efforts here have been largely ignored –– or perverted by willful misunderstanding. 

Only a seriously ill person would continue to drink from an open sewer on a daily basis. 

We wish you well, as we retire to pray our country may one day begin to grow and prosper mentally, morally, culturally and spiritually once again.

~ FreeThinke


  1. I lament this blog closing its doors, but I understand.

    Reading, writing, playing music and passing time with family and friends is time much better spent.

  2. Farewell and Good Luck , thanks for the time well spent,

  3. That's certainly bad news, FT.

    You've had a quality blog and I've enjoyed it over the brief time that I've participated here.

    Sorry to see you close the doors.

  4. Thanks to all three of you. I hope we run into each at other sites. I haven't stopped making comments elsewhere -- yet.

    The blog will remain visible. Please feel free to revisit any of the 435 items we posted in the past 12 months.

    We'll stay on Comment Moderation to screen out the torrent of abuse, but reasonable observations on any item are still welcome.

    Thank you again for your kind thoughts.

    Till we meet again.

  5. Well Free Thinke, the loss of your voice in blogistan is indeed unfortunate. However, having considered the same I understand perfectly your decision to close up shop.

    You are the saner one methinks.

    Good luck in all your endeavors, whatever they may be. Be well...

  6. Your unique perspective shall be missed. Cheers!

  7. I'm sorry to see this close down, FT.

    I hope I didn't come off as overly bilious. I try to play nice as best as I can on other people's blogs.

  8. This has truly saddened my heart, but I completely understand why you are doing this. I, myself, have contemplated shutting down my blog, but I just feel I need to keep going.

    God bless you and I hope that you will pay me a visit occasionally at My Daily Trek.

    Farewell and be blessed.

  9. Hate mail? Some people need to get a life if they go overboard and take things so seriously. Sorry this happened.

  10. Your efforts to encourage civility is much appreciated.

    As well, sadly, because you have so many talents I know little about, my education will be blunted.

  11. I hope you're having a happy Fourth of July, FT?

    I'm so sorry you closed your blog. I enjoyed it a lot, as I told you more than once.

    I would have written sooner, but we've had a health crisis in our house that kept me away from the computer for several weeks. Things are better now, thank God.

    Take good care of yourself, and don't let anybody get you down. I understand why you stopped blogging, but stull wish you hadn't. Selfish of me, maybe?

    Anyway, good luck to you, and thanks again for all your good work.

    Helen Highwater

  12. I hope you have a wonderful summer

    I'm so sorry you closed your blog. I enjoyed it a lot, except the part where you all but destroyed Shaw’s integrity and reputation. So as they say, beware of Karma. it will come back to haunt you..
    I understand why you stopped blogging, who wouldn’t with the amount of attacks that were thrown at you, but like I said, Karma will bire you in the ass.
    Take good care of yourself, don’t eat too much as it looked as if you were geetin ready to enter that TV program , “The Biggest Loser” and don't let us poor little liberal folks get you down.

  13. Back again after a long break, but just to thank Helen, who has always been so extraordinarily kind to me and others. I wish you had a blog of your own, Helen. Maybe your gentle, calming, common sense attitude might help to soothe the savage beasts, et al.

    Anonymous, I thank you too for your mostly good-natured observations and good wishes. I am compelled to say, however, that you -- and everyone else -- who thought that "HAte Week" was intended to insult Ms. Shaw, and impugn her character couldn't have been more mistaken -- as Ms Shaw, herself, stated more than once both here and abroad.

    The "trouble" started when I took it upon myself to WELCOME Ms Shaw, and to make a point of showing RESPECT for her right to hold views totally divergent from my own on any number of major issues.

    What "HATE WEEK" proved conclusively was simply this: Extreme partisans of both the left AND the right are absolutely intolerant of any mode of thinking that differs from their particular playbook.

    Fundamentalists, absolutists and those simply addicted to perpetual dispute and the unending expression of rage and contempt have cluttered the landscape with so much confusion and improperly focused hostility the entire nation is now involved in the moral equivalent of a barroom brawl.

    After enough heads get bashed in and corpses dragged out, maybe we'll come to our senses, and begin a new Rule of Reason.

    It can't happen, however, until the master baiters and manipulators who have riled up the "peasants" -- to everybody's supreme disadvantage -- are exposed, deposed, brought low and discredited.

    Very hard, of course, when that irksome elements now holds most-if-not-all the cards.

    In the end, however, NOTHING trumps Truth.

  14. FT,
    I really miss your blog -- especially the fine music. **sigh**

  15. See where your friendship with Shaw got you!

  16. Franck or Saint-Saens.

    Your recommendation would be useful. I miss aspects of your blog.

  17. I wish I could say I missed it, Ducky, but I really don't. Commenting elsewhere is generally less stressful and more rewarding.

    I'm glad you and AOW appreciated the music I tried to share.

    Must we choose between Franck and Saint Saens? They are as different from one another as pears and pomegranates.

    Saint-Saens generally wrote very showy music brilliant, tuneful, lots of fun, but rarely profound. His Christmas Oratorio and a curious Solo Cantata called The kettledrummer's Bride (so rare it's practically unknown and almost impossible to find) are notable exceptions.

    César Franck was a more more sober, earnest sort of composer. I think his three "Chorales," for solo organ, the Prelude Chorale and Fugue for piano and the Symphonic Variations for piano and orchestra are magnificent works. I admire the D-Minor Symphony for Orchestra, but less than I do the others.

    Now, Spidey, only Ms Shaw and I understand the relationship we have such as it is, and it's no one's business but ours. Just because we are poles apart politically (and believe me we are!) should not mean that we can't be friends. I had hoped to demonstrate that here, but hyper partisans from BOTH sides of the fence turned the place into a shambles, and so we shut up shop.

    As I've said several times, I was made for bigger and better things than to muck out stables and sanitize outhouses all day every day.

  18. Thanks, FT. I have a couple bucks to sped at iTunes and thought about downloading a French work from the romantic period.

    Your description of Saint-Saens matches my experience. I know little of Franck but it sounds good.
    The D-Minor Symphony it is.

  19. FT,
    hyper partisans from BOTH sides of the fence turned the place into a shambles

    Well, it's a damn shame.

    You should create a blog that posts only music. YouTube offers so much!

  20. I know that Shaw is the one who is responsible for your demise.
    So Shaw if you are reading this, I just wanted to say that we have heard liberalism (aka Democrat-ism) described as a mental illness. one only has to read your blog or comments to prove this observation.

    You are a very stupid women. Either that or a mentally sick one.

  21. No, sir, it was an unprecedented fusillade of comments such as the one you just made -- and worse -- that was responsible for my closing the blog.

    The reports of my "demise" are greatly exaggerated. I am alive, very well, and enjoy posting at other blogs where the atmosphere is less thick with irrational spite and malice.

    Ms Shaw for all the profound disagreements we have on public policy is a FRIEND of mine. We like and RESPECT each other. Why that should be so difficult for others outside our relationship to understand I can't imagine. I take it as a sign of emotional immaturity and lack of sophistication.

    If we can't summon up a modicum of RESPECT for those with whom we disagree, we do not qualify as civilized human beings in my never humble opinion.

    There's a great deal more to life than partisan political wrangling. It's time to grow up and fully realize that.

  22. Off topic....You have been NOMINATED! Participate or not -- your call.

  23. Oh well, FT, you had some effect. I'm listening to classical (and some jazz) almost exclusively these days.

    These contentious times require an escape that is both soothing and challenging. It does have a curative effect.

    Thinking about what you said about Saint-Saens I tried for something light with more body and listened to the first two Borodin quartets. Found them very vibrant and to my novice ear well structured.

  24. Hey, Ducky! I thought of another indispensable Franck masterpiece for you -- The Sonata for Piano and Violin in A-Major. Like the Beethoven sonatas for those two instruments the Franck is much more a piano piece with violin obbligato than it is a virtuoso showpiece for the violin. In other words it's a work of tremendous substance. After much plaintive musing, a ferociously energetic, raging, rampaging second movement that rivals Chopin's B-Minor Scherzo in intensity, the final movement ends triumphantly on a note of exuberance optimism.

    I did mention The Symphonic Variations for Piano and Orchestra to you, but you chose the D-Minor Symphony, instead. I highly recommend the Variations -- another buoyant, brilliant, expressive-but-basically-lighthearted romp that ought to be able to cheer the heart of even the most captious, perennially dissatisfied leftist. ;-)

    I've performed the sonata any number of times with violinists of varying caliber. It's always a challenge, but also a tremendous joy provided you've done sufficient preparation.

    Unfortunately, I never had the chance to perform the Variations, but I've thoroughly acquainted myself with them anyway. The more we learn about things that strike us as important as well as appealing the better off we must be.

    If you want to explore Saint-Saens, start with his so-called "Organ Symphony." It is a great orchestral work.

  25. Thank you for the "nomination," AOW. I did answer a set of questions related to the "award," but I'm afraid it was wrong set.

    If I've have had any significant impact on the blogosphere, it would be a surprise to me, but thank you for the recognition, AOW, -- and thank you too, Ducky, for being so good as to say the comments here on music have meant something to you. Good news like that us always welcome.

  26. hi there..I just came across you...what karma...sigh...Keep believing in the goodness of man..there are many fools and tyrants out there but many kind hearted as well...Bless u and yours:)

  27. I seem to have made a turn to the Baroque, FT.

    Boccherini Cello Concert no.9
    Handel's Water Music (love the brass)

    I'm having a great time trying to get a grasp on the basic repertoire. Your proselytizing seems to have done some good.

  28. Duck,
    Of all the periods of music, Baroque is my absolute favorite. Bach may have been the master of Baroque, but certainly there were many other wonderful composers during that glorious period.

    I also enjoy Gregorian Chant and Renaissance.

  29. No composer has ever surpassed the achievements of Johann Sebastian, AOW, his "Great Organ Works" -- particularly in the Preludes and Fantasias -- exhibit all the exuberance, variety, vivid imagination, wild harmonic experimentation and expressive mysticism of late Beethoven and the great Romantics. At times Bach brilliant use of chromaticism verges on atonality.

    HOWEVER, I hasten to add that each important composer from each period made UNIQUE contributions that make it impossible for me not to recommend all of them.

    ALL the truly important composers tapped directly into The Light of Truth -- i.e. The Source of all inspiration, passion, mirth, compassion and creativity energy, -- then refracted the Light through their own unique prism.

    This is true not just in Music, but in ALL fields of creative artistic-scientific endeavor. That's why -- at root -- ALL THINGS are ONE.

    What Carl Maria Von Weber, Robert Schumann, Johannes Brahms, Richard Strauss, Gustave Mahler, Cesar Franck, Hugo Wolf, Francis Poulenc, Prokofiev, Frederick Delius, Olivier Messiaen, Bela Bartok, Benjamin Britten, Paul Hindemith, Ned Rorem, Samuel Barber, Gian Carlo Mennotti et al. offer is -- to me -- as vital and as indispensable as Bach, Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven.

    There is just SO MUCH to know in this one field, it would take several lifetimes to encompass it all and even begin to and understand it. And then there are all those OTHER fields. ;-)

    How anyone could ever feel bored -- or waste time being angry -- when there is so much wonder and delight to contemplate I cannot imagine.

  30. FT,
    I agree with your comment -- except about Hindemith.

  31. Is it just Hindemih that bothers you, AOW, or could it be most of the dissonant, atonal music that came in with Stravinsky, Berg, Schoenberg, Bartok,et al.?

    I used to resist atonal music, and have learned very little of it -- partly because it's extremely difficult to memorize, -- but the more I hear, the better I like it -- not ALL, mind you, but works by Berg, Schoenberg, Bartok, Britten, Messiaen, Hindemith, and Prokofiev have intrigued, moved and excited me greatly, so I have grown to love them.

    Just lately I have discovered Janacek'-- through his charming, whimsical, allegorical opera The Cunning Little Vixen, which I highly recommend.

    A major flaw in the development of Western Culture has been the departure almost en masse from a growing interest in music of complexity, wisdom and great beauty to the simple-minded, neo-primitive crashing, bashing, grunting, groaning, howling, blatting, bawling, whining, snarling, droning that took over the realm of popular music c. 1955 and has only gotten progressively worse ever since to the point where it has now saturated the land with mental, moral,and aesthetic poison. Very frankly I see it as a major influence that has led to our downfall.

    By taking the paths of least resistance and kowtowing to whatever the enemedia tells us is "hip," "with it," "ahead of the curve," etc. we are in effect taking dictation from Satan.

    So-called "classical" music [a ridiculous term, because it covers over 800 years of incredibly diverse development in many different societies] may not be for everyone. Like anything worthwhile it is challenging. It takes an innately discriminating ear and a certain type of intelligence to be able even to begin to appreciate it, and it requires a certain amount of EFFORT. One must prepare to meet it at least halfway in order to benefit from the encounter.

    It's a challenge well worth meeting. The rewards are infinitely greater than whatever "suffering" may be entailed. After all, nothing truly worthwhile ever comes without effort, isn't that right? ;-)

    I believe serious music should be taught as a discipline on the same level with literature, foreign languages and higher mathematics. It is certainly NOT a "frill," but a vital part of who and what we are. Taught as part of History studying the development of Music could be invaluable.

  32. FT, you've done it again.

    I noticed your mentioning Elgar a few times and I wondered what the fuss was about. I've always associated him strictly with Pomp and Circumstance which never did much for me.

    Well, I got hold of his Cello Concerto (Jacqueline Du Pré) and got a better perspective. Quite exhilarating.

    Now, if I can just get you to rethink the Japanese cinema.

  33. FT,
    I prefer tonal to atonal music. That said, I like the works of Stravinsky and Britten.

    After years of singing Bach, Mozart, Handel, etc., in a choral arts society, when the director had us sing Hindemith's Apparebit Repentina Dies , I wasn't happy at all with having to pull those pitches out of thin air, and I didn't like the overall effect of that particular piece, either.

  34. The Japanese cinema thing is a running joke between us, Ducky. Don't take my negative comments so seriously.

    To be perfectly honest I wouldn't be averse to taking a course in Japanese cinema -- or other "foreign" films. I have enjoyed Ingmar Bergman's stuff when it was new, but never the way I enjoy British and American films from the 1930's and 40's.

    When I want to RELAX, I don't want to be CHALLENGED.

    The other side of that is my habit of spending several hours each day learning NEW repertory at the piano, and reviewing pieces I've known all my life as well. BIG challenge there always.

    ALSO, as you know, I write poems and light verse CONSTANTLY. Whether they're worthy of critical acclaim or not is unimportant. The point is that writing poetry in strict forms is a DISCIPLINE. Yes it's also recreational -- call it an avocation -- but it is not "relaxation."

    It's the same -- for me -- with foreign films. They require STUDY.

    Nothing wrong with that, BUT when I turn n the Idiot Box, and click on TCM, I want to see Bette Davis, Barbara Stanwyck, Cary Grant, David Niven, Deborah Kerr, Greer Garson, Marlene Dietrich, Roz Russell, NOT "Rashomon," or films starring Sonali das Gupta -- or whatever.

    You may thing that rather low of me, but that's the way it is. I love pate de foie gras, but I can enjoy a McDonalds Quarter Pounder with Cheese too. Depends on the occasion. ;-)

  35. Well, FT, I wouldn't quarrel with the suite of actors you name, especially Grant, Stanwyck and Dietrich --- The Lady Eve, one of my absolute faves.

  36. Still here, FT?

    I need to add a selection of the Beethoven sonatas to my basic library.

    I assume 8 and 14 are mandatory, what others do you suggest?

    Seymour Lipkin has a collection that looks like a good value. Any opinion on his performance?

  37. It's the same -- for me -- with foreign films. They require STUDY.

    Hmmm, well some certainly do. But many would say that most classical works require study (I would say reward study). But it's not hard and fast.

    Require study:

    Marketa Lazarova
    The Red and the White
    Le Gai Savoir
    Celine and Julie Go Boating

    ... but they reward study

    Don't require study:
    Bob le Flambeur
    Band of Outsiders
    Tokyo Drifter
    The Apu trilogy

    ... but they all reward viewing

  38. I have been thinking of you. I have not been able to post because my account was compromised but I certainly miss your posts.
    Hoping you are well, my beautiful friend!



  39. Sorry to see you go FT and that I haven't been around in awhile. I will look out for your comments over at Geez. Be well. It's been a sweet pleasure.



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