Monday, April 21, 2014


On Listening to Leopold Stokowski Conduct the Good Friday Spell from Wagner's Parsifal
Leopold Stokowski (1882-1977)

Wagner was so capable of building and sustaining the highest degree of serious musical contemplation imaginable it challenges credibility. I still have never experienced Parsifal in its entirety, and after all the time already elapsed realize it may never happen, but I place Wagner among the greatest of the greats and revere him for his passion, devotion to the fullest possible realization of his genius, and for his unquestionable sincerity. Only God, Himself in the person of Christ Jesus gave the world more than the finest and noblest creative artists have given humanity.

And, even as dwindling numbers bother to pay lip service to His Sacrifice for our sake, so does the great bulk of the world's population fail to take proper notice and express appropriate gratitude for the glorious achievements of the small handful of men like the anonymous artists who painted the inside of caves in France aeons ago, those who designed and built the temple at Karnak, those who designed and built the Acropolis, Pericles, Plato, Aristotle, Phidias, Praxiteles, Socrates, Sophocles, those who conceived and built the great cathedrals, Giotto, Gutenberg, Palladio, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Wagner, Michelangelo, Bernini, Christopher Wren, Shakespeare, and on and on.

Christ sacrificed Himself so that men of that high a quality could continue to develop and flourish, despite all the proud ignorance, arrant stupidity, and brutal hostility militating against them in every era, and thus bring light and joy to all with eyes to see, ears to hear, and minds filled with curiosity.

Rarely is this point of view articulated, but the true artists are always in the avant garde –– far ahead of the crowd –– and it is THEY who function as the greatest missionaries –– the greatest bearers of Holy Writ, –– because it is they who best shed light on the true nature of God-Christ who IS Life, Truth Love, Principle, Light, Beauty, Spirit, Joy, Understanding, Compassion, Creativity and Intelligence.

"Be not conformed to the uses of this world, but be ye transformed through the renewing of your mind ..." (
Romans 2:12)

Great Music, Art, Literature and Architecture speak directly to our souls, and reveal more of God's Essence than all the fear based teaching, preaching, admonition and pretensions to piety we've ever inflicted on each other, and somehow managed to endure
Richard Wagner (1813-1883)


  1. You'd love this guy's writing

    ... but remember, bubba, you're also just a consumer.

  2. You're right, Ducky, I do like Dalrymple's views, and his mode of expression very much. I was aware of Dalrymple before before, but hadn't seen anything from him in a long while. Thanks for getting me back in touch.

    The entire article was worthwhile, but these snippets stood out:

    “There is, as every petty official knows, a great deal of pleasure to be had from the obstruction of others, especially if they appear to be more fortunate, better placed, richer, or more intelligent than oneself. ... there are many jobs, meaningless in themselves, in which the power to say no is the only non-monetary reward.”

    “I saw many such people, scurrying like the White Rabbit in Alice from one meeting to another — meetings which medical staff were required to attend, thus diverting them from the main purpose of having medical staff in the first place. ...”

    I agree with everything he said about pervasive, penetrating ugliness of Nouveau Vulgarité (my term, I m afraid) -- I think we've come to refer to them as "Walmart People" here in the U.S., but unfortunately, they appear everywhere -- even clerking in decent stores and serving in formerly decent restaurants, and sitting in waiting rooms at doctors' offices and diagnostic laboratories.

    So, yes, I like Dalrymple. I hope, however, that doesn't mean that you necessarily dislike him? Please tell me that's the case. ;-)

  3. By the way, I have no idea why you added that crack about my being just another consumer, but let me say that every one of us, rich, poor, great and small, haughty and humble alike is a "consumer, if only because we must eat, and find some sort of clothing to wear and some sort of shelter from the stormy blasts, however rudimentary or elaborate.

    I, however, as I believe you must know, I am a great deal more than that, despite never having achieved fame or an official rank of importance.

    Most of us are far greater than we probably appear to others in our daily walk. I make a point of graciously acknowledging worthy behavior in others I happen to encounter along the way, an try not to complain about it's opposite, unless egregious.

    I realize it sounds sanctimonious, but the more I look for the good in others, the more of it I'm apt to find, which is why I wage this one-man war against excessive and undue captiousness in the blogosphere -- a problem shared more or less equally by members of the right and left. I don't see it as a partisan problem. I'm as continually appalled by what I hear from so-called conservatives as much as I am by leftist cant and rhetoric. The paucity of imagination and intelligence in both camps should concern every person capable of logical thought.

    Even the Truth becomes trivialized, emasculated, and apt to act only as an irritant when reduced to the level of mindlessly hurling canned slogans and shibboleths designed to express rage, resentment and discontent.

    This is where Jesus -- and Art -- ought to come in, but too many fail to invite them preferring to continue their childish "war games," instead. And so, we have what we have, and it is what it is. ;-)

  4. I can't show much if any appreciation for someone who uses culture, as Dalrymple does, merely as a means of class division and distinction.

    Makes me wonder just what edification all his culture has brought him.
    He needs to feel justified but he's no better than the slackers in a Godard film who consume high and low culture (if we must have labels) but never rise above their alienation.

    Dalrymple thinks he has because he's drinking a better vintage. What a stooge.

  5. Those "divisions" are not man made, Ducky, they are just the product of a perfectly natural stratification -- cream rises to the top and all that.

    We are more like the creatures who build HIVES than we like to believe we are. Some of us are simply destined by Nature to play certain roles. The disgusting, degenerate cultural phenomena he notes with appropriate disgust and disdain is the product of the very foolish attempt by people much like yourself who strive incessantly to "shake things up" and destroy the natural order with the hope in mind that somehow enforced "equality" could cure society's ills. Instead it has multiplied and greatly intensified them.

    Not to wax trite, but Jesus-God-Holy-Ghost (the embodiment and perfect expression of Truth, Love, Intelligence, and Beauty) IS the answer to what all of us need.

    Persuading the multitudes to see it is the work of millennia. I would certainly agree that the institutional Church has gone about it entirely the wrong way, but that does nothing to obviate our desperate need for Redemption which now seems stronger than ever.

    1. Building hives... does that fall in the collective or the individual?

      Personally, and perhaps it is just me, I always viewed Christ (and religion) as a collectivist.

      I could be wrong and would welcome someone proving me so. But, so far no one has been able to.

  6. Not to wax trite but if your God condones Dalrymple's tripe and limits people's humanity then your OBLIGATION is to rebel and defy that God.
    Mine is nothing like yours so the lectures aren't going to penetrate.

  7. "... the lectures aren't going to penetrate."


    It's a rather terrible thing to regard Truth as Tripe and Tripe as Truth, which is what you tend to do, Ducky. Perhaps if you could give cogent reasons to support your point of view, I might listen, but that never happens, all I ever get from you is overt detestation for mine, so we shall very likely remain at an impasse.

    I'm glad we can at least talk about music.

  8. A Worker Reads History

    Who built the seven gates of Thebes?
    The books are filled with names of kings.
    Was it the kings who hauled the craggy blocks of stone?
    And Babylon, so many times destroyed.
    Who built the city up each time? In which of Lima's houses,
    That city glittering with gold, lived those who built it?
    In the evening when the Chinese wall was finished
    Where did the masons go? Imperial Rome
    Is full of arcs of triumph. Who reared them up? Over whom
    Did the Caesars triumph? Byzantium lives in song.
    Were all her dwellings palaces? And even in Atlantis of the legend
    The night the seas rushed in,
    The drowning men still bellowed for their slaves.

    Young Alexander conquered India.
    He alone?
    Caesar beat the Gauls.
    Was there not even a cook in his army?
    Phillip of Spain wept as his fleet
    was sunk and destroyed. Were there no other tears?
    Frederick the Greek triumphed in the Seven Years War.
    Who triumphed with him?

    Each page a victory
    At whose expense the victory ball?
    Every ten years a great man,
    Who paid the piper?

    So many particulars.
    So many questions.

    --- Bertolt Brecht

  9. Ducky, you are no different from any other fundamentalist. The God you worship is Karl Marx, and you are as much a prisoner of the orthodoxies of the religion he founded as any follower of Mohammed, Savonarola, Oliver Cromwell, the New England Puritans, the Zionists, or Osama bin Laden.

  10. Worship any doctrine formulated, packaged, and sold to the masses and your are a prisoner of another's thoughts and ideology.

  11. FT,
    Great Music, Art, Literature and Architecture speak directly to our souls, and reveal more of God's Essence than all the fear based teaching, preaching, admonition and pretensions to piety we've ever inflicted on each other...

    Amen to that!

    In addition, great music, art, literature and architecture are food for the soul.

  12. Thank you for that, AOW. I am always happy when at least one person sees my point.

    Most of us are eager to say what we have to say, we rarely take time to listen to others with honest curiosity, and make the necessary effort to try to understand what they are trying to tell us, and why.

  13. To Ducky and to you too, Les, I can only bear down in what-should-be obvious.

    An army cannot be made up entirely of Generals.

    A school cannot be made up only of Principals.

    An orchestra cannot be manned solely by Conductors.

    An edifice cannot be constructed solely by Architects.

    No worthy symphony, concerto, sonata, song cycle, opera, ballet, string quartet or piece for wind ensemble or marching band was ever produced by a committee.

    Fire will burn you.

    Water will make you wet.

    No one's body can function without the presence of Life and at least a modicum of Intelligence.

    When we die, what precisely is missing from the body we once inhabited?

  14. I would add that government, even our republic can not consist of all Speakers of the House, Senate Majority Leaders, or Presidents. Government of the people, by the people, and for the people requires people, some who lead and the majority to follow. In that an arguement I think can be made that humans in FAITH, RELIGION, and GOVERMANCE tend towards the COLLECTIVE desires and will to function and maintain cohesiveness.

    When we die one, or more of our vital organs and the process of sustaining life (even the single sell carrying nutrients has life) ceases to function and the entire system of life shuts down.

    One of my grandfathers held that since matter cannot be destroyed, it merely changes form he would live forever in the cosmos. Who knows? He was an atheist.

  15. I would only add that every army, every corporation, and every nation needs a name. That name does not need to be, but often is, synonymous with the primary elements that shape it. G_d included (for the "atheists" like Les' father).

  16. The Lacanian principal is called "in-the-name-of-the-father"

    Thus, one might say that the Lacanian zero-point in terms of infant development is precisely at the point of introduction to the symbolic order by the father. The pre-constructed and already extant Symbolic order represents a sort of structural field that is the phallic signifier. In other words, the Symbolic order represents that which is the Name-of-the-Father. It appears to the child as the ‘In-between’ in the transition from “nature” to “culture”, because the Symbolic order introduced by the father represents the immediacy of signifiers, codes, language, and law. As Lacan writes: “It is in the name of the father that we must recognize the support of the symbolic function which, from the dawn of history, has identified his person with the figure of the law …/ as distinct from Imaginary, narcissistic relations, or even from the real relations, that the subject sustains with the image and action of the person who embodies it” (Lacan, 1985). - RC Smith, The Ticklish Subject: A Critique of the lacanian subject and Zizek's notion of political subjectivity, with emphasis on an alternative"

  17. Cosima Fan Tutte said

    This blog is an affront to human dignity. You should be ostracized.

  18. ...AND duck-walked through the market place!

    Lighten up, Cosima. You're beginning to speak with a Liszt

  19. Historicism, as a critical insight, is today only still suitable for certifiable Red Diaper babies like ducky.

  20. "The problem is a more general one, it concerns the core of German ideological identity."

    Does no one ever consider the "problem" of JEWISH ideological identity? Their millennias-old insistence on living as a separate people within each and every group, country and region they've inhabited, and maintaining attitudes, mores and values contrary to those of the majority everywhere they live is the primary source of all the woe they have in fact brought on themselves.

    It's reminiscent of the old story about the grandmother watching Johnny, her teen-aged grandson march in the Memorial Day Parade with his scout troop. The young men were all marching along LEFT-right LEFT-right, LEFT-right ... except Johnny who was doing the opposite, RIGHT-left, RIGHT-left, RIGHT-left etc.

    The grandmother, however, wasn't fazed a bit, nor was she in any way embarrassed. Instead she proudly shouted out loud enough to be heard above the band, "Oh, LOOK!" she cried, "everbody's out of step, but Johnny!"

    If you don't "get it," no amount of explanation on my part-- or anyone else's-- would be of any use.

    It only stands to reason that looking at life through the wrong end of the telescope is bound to give you a hopelessly distorted view of reality.

  21. You ever read Paul Goodman's Growing Up Absurd, FT?

    I'm struck by how much that left winger and you see so much congruently.

  22. Less Jesus and More anti liberal-progressive blogs.....Please

  23. Jenna, my dear, if we paid more attention to Jesus and less to all the divisive nonsense that seems to beset us, most of the problems we encounter in politics and elsewhere would, as Shakespeare's Hamlet put it, "thaw, melt, and resolve themselves into a dew."

    So, while we will continue to traipse around in the world of Art, Music, Poetry, Religion, Popular Culture, and the too-often-vile subject of Politics, you will probably hear moire and more about Jesus -- as I understand Him -- not less.

    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  24. As America becomes more secular religoon will play an ever more diminished roll in politics.

    True believers will fight hard to maintain the influence of faith in politics.

  25. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  26. Ducky, you READ a great deal more than I do, but I'm fairly certain that i THINK more than you do.

    I've often been accused of sounding like so-and-so, but it's equally true that so-and-so could be accused of sounding like me, but I assure you there has been no collusion between us. I have always drawn my own conclusions from long observation, and articulate them in my own way.

    Of course I've been heavily influenced by my background, but I am very proud of my forebears and very grateful for the teachers and schooling I've had -- warts and all.

    I used to be a malcontent too, but fortunately, I learned long ago that indulging in tantrums, falling prey to anxiety attacks while griping incessantly about reality does nothing to change or ameliorate it.

    Of one thing I am certain: Expressing too much "concern" over the plight of others far removed from oneself isially indicates that one is giving ineself short shrift, and failing to meet the real needs of family, friends and employers. "Activism" is either a Power Trip or a Copout on the part of the activist.

    Alruism rarely-if-ever has anything to do with it, unless you're in that very rare category that belongs to such as Albert Schweitzer, Mother Teresa, Florence Nightingale, the men in battle who gave their lives to save those of their fellow soldiers, and a host of others less prominent who put their lives on the line for the sake of others without calling attention to themselves or descending to the level of a chronic scold.

    There is a world of difference between SAINTS, BUSYBODIES and those carping, whining, caviling, scoffing souls who spend their lives endless accusing others of malfeasance, poor judgment and moral deficiency.



We welcome Conversation
But without Vituperation.
If your aim is Vilification ––
Other forms of Denigration ––
Unfounded Accusation --
Determined Obfuscation ––
Alienation with Self-Justification ––


Gratuitous Displays of Extraneous Knowledge Offered Not To Shed Light Or Enhance the Discussion, But For The Primary Purpose Of Giving An Impression Of Superiority are obnoxiously SELF-AGGRANDIZING, and therefore, Subject to Removal at the Discretion of the Censor-in-Residence.

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