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Monday, April 12, 2004 - 1:57pmSanction this postReply
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May I post a copy of this article here: www.freedominion.ca

Or an excerpt of the article with a link to it here?

Jason Kauppinen




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Post 1

Monday, April 12, 2004 - 5:34pmSanction this postReply
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Jason - the latter option: excerpt & link, if you wouldn't mind. Anything to encourage "principled conservatives" to visit SOLOHQ! :-)

Linz




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Post 2

Friday, April 16, 2004 - 9:19amSanction this postReply
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I am not willing to surrender the world to the jerky contortions of self-inducedly brainless bodies with empty eye sockets who perform in stinking basements the immemorial rituals of staving off terror, which are a dime a dozen in any jungle - & to the quavering witch doctors who call it art.

Oh dear. I hope she wasn't talking about the highly skilled jazz musicians of her era with their complex rhythms and improvised melodies?

 

I would have thought that Jazz and Blues, Rock and Roll, and Rock would have been the natural musical choices for an Objectivist because of their emphasis on the individualist improvised solo performed by a freebooting self-employed musician, as opposed to the collectivist harmonies of classical music performed by insitutionalised specialists on a payroll, usually in a highly state-subsidised context.

 

In general, the scattergun assault on popular music contained in this article fails to distinguish between form and content.

 

If music grabs people viscerally because of its form, then I think it is objectively good music: it's fit for its intended purpose. By that standard, Hendrix is as good as Wagner.

 

You can, of course, make moral judgments about the content - the lyrics- of the music. But you can find life-embracing messages in Chuck Berry, and death-loving messages some rap, but also in "great opera" - e.g. I seem to recall an Egyptian princess who preferred to be walled up to starve with her lover. And, let's not forget that some of the greatest Classical music is to the glory of what we know to be a non-existent God.

 

So please, no more sweeping negative statements about modern music. It just makes Objectivists seem like socially conservative fuddy-duddies!
O










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Post 3

Saturday, April 17, 2004 - 2:07amSanction this postReply
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Some gutless nincompoop, posting anonymously above, says:
_______________________
'I am not willing to surrender the world to the jerky contortions of self-inducedly brainless bodies with empty eye sockets who perform in stinking basements the immemorial rituals of staving off terror, which are a dime a dozen in any jungle - & to the quavering witch doctors who call it art. Oh dear. I hope she wasn't talking about the highly skilled jazz musicians of her era with their complex rhythms and improvised melodies?"
________________________

She might well have included purveyors of pointless, meandering musical masturbation. But as I said in my speech, folk should wear any crap that fits.

___________________________

Gutless Nincompoop: "I would have thought that Jazz andBlues, Rock and Roll, and Rock would have been the natural musical choices for an Objectivist because of their emphasis on the individualist improvised solo performed by a freebooting self-employed musician, as opposed to the collectivist harmonies of classical music performed by insitutionalised specialists on a payroll, usually in a highly state-subsidised context."
_____________________________

Irrelevant to the quality of the product.

_______________________________

Gutless Nincompoop: "In general, the scattergun assault on popular music contained in this article fails to distinguish between form and content."
_______________________________

Au contraire. It points out that form & content are usually entirely consistent. Nincompoop clearly missed the point of the Eminem/Strauss comparison.

________________________________

Gutless Nincompoop: "If music grabs people viscerally because of its form, then I think it is objectively good music: it's fit for its intended purpose.By that standard, Hendrix is as good as Wagner."
_________________________________

Actually, Wagner is as awful as Hendrix.

__________________________________

Gutless Nincompoop: "You can, of course, make moral judgments about the content - the lyrics- of the music. But you can find life-embracing messages in Chuck Berry, and death-loving messages some rap, but also in 'great opera' - e.g. I seem to recall an Egyptian princess who preferred to be walled up to starve with her lover. And, let's not forget that some of the greatest Classical music is to the glory of what we know to be a non-existent God."

________________________________

Maybe Aida knew that some values are worth fighting & dying for? And maybe the great God-glorifying music is man striving after "the total passion for the total height"? In both cases, an apologist for contemporary nihilism couldn't be expected to comprehend. It all comes down to romance in the soul.
________________________________

Gutless Nincompoop: "So please, no more sweeping negative statements about modern music. It just makes Objectivists seem like socially conservative fuddy-duddies!"
______________________________

In case you hadn't noticed, Nincompoop, we have freedom of speech here, the website of an organisation *I* started - so you are not entitled to prohibit the expression of thoughts by me that you don't like. And *this* Objectivist is most assuredly *not* a "socially conservative fuddy-duddy. Just shows you know as much about me as you know about music.

Linz



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Saturday, April 17, 2004 - 3:17amSanction this postReply
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Observer wrote:

I would have thought that Jazz and Blues, Rock and Roll, and Rock would have been the natural musical choices for an Objectivist because of their emphasis on the individualist improvised solo performed by a freebooting self-employed musician, as opposed to the collectivist harmonies of classical music performed by insitutionalised specialists on a payroll, usually in a highly state-subsidised context.
 
What a load of crap! You couldn't find a more "freebooting self-employed musician" than Beethoven - a man who most certainly would have told your deadbeats where to go, and cuffed them about the ears at the same time. "Collectivist harmonies"?? Give me a break. What symphony has even been composed by a committee? The act of composing a great piece of music is an extraordinary feat of individualism.
 
Your suggestion that classical music is somehow inferior to rock & its ilk because it is often state-subsidised is a red herring - and you know it. No Objectivist would ever demand state funding for anything, let alone music. (Plenty of rock musicians & their advocates would, though. Wellington rate-payers were recently forced to subsidise David Bowie's recent concert in that city. And in New Zealand, at least, the Arts Council is extraordinarily generous with other people's money in paying for rock videos and the like of new "artists." So don't give me that "institutionalised specialists on a payroll" crap.)

 

If music grabs people viscerally because of its form, then I think it is objectively good music: it's fit for its intended purpose. By that standard, Hendrix is as good as Wagner.

 

So if I declare myself a rocker & stand on a stage, screaming hideously off-key with a timbre that would embarrass even Tom Waits, and someone in the audience is turned on by my vocal crimes, then I've somehow produced "good music"? That's the same argument that says that if someone performs a bowel movement in a museum & and another person acclaims it as "great art" ("haunting & provocative," no doubt, like the award-winning semen-stained sheets), then it must be so. But then, you probably already agree with that.

 




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Saturday, April 17, 2004 - 5:58amSanction this postReply
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Bravo Linz and Derek!! 

MH  (and I say that as someone who does like *some* progressive rock in addition to classical/operatic works)




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Post 6

Saturday, April 17, 2004 - 12:02pmSanction this postReply
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What about the JAZZ!!!

Jazz apparently makes conservative objectivists uncomfortable because of its unique structure and lack of rigidity. How can any MUSIC LOVER honestly claim jazz to be "musical masturbation"? The fact that jazz musicians were INNOVATIVE makes them stand apart from all previous musical forms, but inferior is not an accurate description. Listen to all of the orchestral arrangements Miles did with Bill Evans (Porgy and Bess etc.) and then claim him to be some musical novice. I don't see it. I have to side with Observer on this one. I have never felt such exuberantly passionate expressions of a rational sense of life than out of the horns of Miles, Sonny Rollins, Charlie Parker, and many other GIFTED musicians. If there is a question of musical prowess just read the book "Kind of Blue" which talks of the creative explosion surrounding one of the most influential musical compositions of all time.

Dave



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Sunday, April 18, 2004 - 12:22amSanction this postReply
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Dave: I freely admit it: I hate jazz. I find its "unique structure" nothing more than an excuse for pointless meandering, and warning bells go off in my head when that grossly overused word "innovative" is dragged out in its defence. How often have we been told that Eminem is "innovative" - and therefore worthy of praise? Or the Sex Pistols? Or any of today's "musical" scumbags? Miles, Sonny & Charlie, and their respective horns, may well have been "influential" on contemporary musicians, but that doesn't automatically mean we have to be grateful for their legacies.  

Jazz, for me, contains neither soaring climaxes nor moments of heartfelt tenderness. You want innovation? Listen to a singer like the young baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky as he stands alone & unmiked on a stage, singing a passionate Russian song a cappella, & dumbfounding his audience with the intensity & beauty of the human voice at its best.     




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Sunday, April 18, 2004 - 3:50amSanction this postReply
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Whenever my roomate puts on some Miles Davis (usually in an attempt to impress whatever hipster girls may be hanging around), I try to actually pick out some kind of meter or melody.  I find the task impossible: I can discern neither measures nor any structure to the progression of notes. For all I know, Miles is just playing completely random notes on his trumpet. And don't tell me it's because I'm not experienced enough with music, I've played piano for 14 years now.



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Post 9

Sunday, April 18, 2004 - 7:02amSanction this postReply
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Oh, Jesus, what is it with you guys?  :)

Look:  There is good and bad in jazz, just as there is good and bad in so-called "classical" music, and virtually every other genre.  There are great musicians, conductors, composers, and arrangers in jazz who have influenced the American musical idiom, from Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett to today's R&B singers.  And jazz is certainly as diverse as classical:  from the great Dixieland and Swing sounds of Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman, and the Big Band era to the Bop era to Cool jazz (yes, "Kind of Blue" is a milestone) to orchestral jazz (Gil Evans, Michel Legrand, Eddie Sauter, Gerald Wilson) to bossa nova (Getz, Jobim, Gilberto) to fusion.  You just can't throw out a whole genre of music because of the meanderings of a few instrumentalists or because of those who play "free jazz" with no melodic structure or sense to what they play.

Why can't you just say, "Hey, it's not my thing, I don't like it, I'm not a fan, but I can appreciate the talent"---or, at the very least:  "I can appreciate the fact that other people appreciate the talent"? I'm no great fan of Bob Dylan, but I appreciate the fact that he's a good poet.  I'm not a fan of Eminem, contrary to popular opinion, but I honestly do appreciate the humor and biting satire he sometimes displays (especially when he aimed it at Bill Clinton).

Of course, I come from a jazz family.  My brother and sister-in-law (Carl and Joanne Barry) are jazz artists ... so maybe that's why I take criticism of jazz a bit personally.  (In fairness to Lindsay, he actually has heard my brother and sister-in-law and his reaction was precisely what I am asking for here:  It wasn't his thing, but he did express appreciation for their talent.)  I know I've had countless discussions on SOLO about this, but I do find sweeping judgments of this sort to be a bit much.




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Sunday, April 18, 2004 - 11:37amSanction this postReply
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I sort of agree with Chris (what's new? ;-)). Seems to me that there are two extremes here - on one extreme classical music "purists", on the other are those who think that no music should ever be judged at all.

Objectivists ought to look for music that appeals to us, that is life affirming and heroic as well as technically skillful. In general I agree with Linz and Derek in that I think classical music is more heroic and life affirming than most modern stuff. BUT life affirming and heroic music does cut across genres. I'm not much of a jazz fan but some of the hard rock group Rush's repertoire appeals to me greatly in terms of life affirmation and heroic themes (unsurprisingly, they are strongly Objectivist-influenced!). That doesn't alter the fact that groups such as Slipknot are the opposite of life affirming or heroic - and I'm sure there is some bloody awful classical stuff around as well.




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Sunday, April 18, 2004 - 6:01pmSanction this postReply
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I, of course, do not like any genre of music, as per my post on the "Great American Songbook" thread!



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Monday, April 19, 2004 - 2:33amSanction this postReply
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Daniel Barnes has a post which refuses to budge from the moderator's queue for some reason, so I'm copying, pasting & posting it now (holding my nose as I do so :-)):

_____________________________________________________
Chris wrote:
>Oh, Jesus, what is it with you guys? :)...Why can't you just say, "Hey, it's not my thing, I don't like it, I'm not a fan, but I can appreciate the talent"---or, at the very least: "I can appreciate the fact that other people appreciate the talent"?

Because that means accepting a *subjective* viewpoint, ("Hey, it's not my thing...")and that's a total no-no! (or so they believe). The minute you let any subjectivity in, no matter how minor, you're not being Truly Objective - and we can't have that, right?

I don't think human intelligence works that way at all. Subjectivity is *vital* - it provides you with the unique point of view critical to innovation. This is the meaning of the saying "perspective is worth 10 IQ points". The beginning of all creation is the phrase: "I see it *this* way". Try to eliminate it entirely and you will eliminate all creativity. (It can't be eliminated anyway - it's a futile effort - rather like trying to eliminate "the market")

So subjectivity is very important. Where it goes wrong is when it gets overrated, as in: "Everything is subjective". Because this imaginative flexibility means while it is a great jumping off point, it can also be an very unreliable guide. A brief flash of insight may turn out to be as misleading as it is inspirational. This is where the search for objectivity comes in - to make our imaginative ideas more useful.

So I suggest that what is "with" them is this allergy to any suggestion of subjectivity; and that this is an intellectual error. They're in denial - and this is shown by discussions in areas like music. Because then what you get is a whole lot of very subjective viewpoints.

Daniel Barnes

_________________________________________________________



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Monday, April 19, 2004 - 2:57amSanction this postReply
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I should add that if I'm one of the people Daniel is getting at, he has completely misunderstood my position, & ought to read my SOLOC 1 presentation, from which "Of Excellence & Excrement" is excerpted, in its entirety. Of course there's *oodles* of room for differing preferences. But in a culture of nihilism where excrement is presented as merely one such preference, no different from the others, one is entitled to point out that it *is* excrement, objectively, subjectively, inside out & upside down every which way. You don't have to be a rocket scientist or a fuddy-duddy to be able to demonstrate that a Beethoven Symphony is superior to some raspy-voiced, drugged-out sub-animal repeating "Mother-fucker" over & over. You just have to be a human being. Of the latter, a human being doesn't say, "Hey, that's cool, it's just not my thing." One says it's evil.

I don't consider Miles Davis evil; it's just not my thing & (to me) truly tedious. I consider Slipknot evil. They state their loathing of life explicitly. Read my article again!!



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Monday, April 19, 2004 - 2:34amSanction this postReply
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Its nice to see such a high standard of discourse has prevailed over the weekend!

 

Others have stepped in to defend non-classical music more coherently than I can, so let me just respond to some of the points people have made with respect to my original posting:

 

Aida: The princess could have escaped, but chose to die with her lover, out of love. She wasnt fighting for something worth dying for. She was just dying, and in doing so removed the heros consolation that his true love had survived. Nice music, but not very life affirming.

 

Anonymity (Mine): Is for rational, practical reasons (think Google), and my choice of pseudonym is honest in that it is obviously that. My offline identity should be irrelevant to whether my ideas are any good or not.

 

Bowel movements as art: No funnily enough, I dont think bowel movements in museums are Art because (1) their visceral effect derives from what they are, rather than what the artist has done with them, and (2) they have little appeal of utility to the populace as a whole (as contrasted with a howling rock and roller helping an entire stadium to affirm life and let off steam).

 

Censorship: I wasnt attempting or advocating censorship. I just thought the original argument more rhetorical than rational, and would have expected a higher standard of analysis to prevail on this site.

 

Eminem/Strauss: I ignored this point because it involved comparing life affirming classical music with death affirming popular music, and then generalising from predictable results. Im sure theres term for this kind of argument.

 

Gutless: In what context? Im posting this, which shows that Im not easily intimidated by rhetoric of mass destruction. As for physical courage: irrelevant. (But you would be unwise to attempt to prove your superior valour on my body unless you were a martial artist.)

 

Musical masturbation: Effective improvised solos use the same techniques as classical music e.g. theme and variation, and phrasing. If, say, a jazz solo is musical masturbation, then so too is a classical piece, and a classical score  - to flog the analogy is merely a used tissue, and that makes classical musicians no, lets not go there.

 




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Monday, April 19, 2004 - 2:34amSanction this postReply
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Monday, April 19, 2004 - 4:49pmSanction this postReply
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Post 17

Monday, April 19, 2004 - 11:08pmSanction this postReply
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Of course Miles Davis isn't evil. It's just pointless. As Chris said, there is some good and bad in most genres of music. He brought up Louis Armstrong, and while it's not exactly his "jazziest" piece, I think "What a Wonderful World" is a beautiful expression of a benevolent, optimistic worldview. And there is definitely some crap to be found in the annals of classical music. I must have checked my watch 1000 times during the performance of Walton's "Feast of Belshazzar" I attended. I still say the classical period's best composers created music far better than the creations of even the most skillful jazz artists.

It's interesting that you mentioned Rush Matt, they got me interested in Ayn Rand in the first place!




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Tuesday, April 20, 2004 - 1:23amSanction this postReply
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 Observer Wrote:

Bowel movements as art: No funnily enough, I dont think bowel movements in museums are Art because (1) their visceral effect derives from what they are, rather than what the artist has done with them, and (2) they have little appeal of utility to the populace as a whole (as contrasted with a howling rock and roller helping an entire stadium to affirm life and let off steam).
***********************************


When It comes to rock and rollers helping stadiums to let off steam. we should ask a bunch of questions about whats really going on there.

what steam?  Caused by what? and how does the music play into this? and is it life affirming?

          Are you talking about the completely irrational steam of frustrated and confused youth?  Realize that the majority of the people who listen to the rock and rollers that you are talking about also draw their philosophical views on reality from these very same rock and rollers.  So what is going on isn't that a bunch of angry kids go to a stadium to release frustration.  Its more that a bunch of kids are going to a stadium to be whipped into a frenzy like animals and stomp unfortunate bystandards into the grass while 'letting off steam'.  The nihilistic bands are as Perigo pointed out the cause not the release of these problems.
           To simply see this in action i recomend keeping your eyes on a current day seventh grader and follow him into high school two years afterwards when he is 'socialized' by his high school peers.  He will begin to dress different at first simply to fit in, then he will begin to listen to the music, and accept the cultural premises of his group.  In the case of modern rockers the cultural premise is nihilism.  Now will some kids go generaly unaffected by this? perhaps.  Will you be able to draw some enjoyment from it? maybe there is some value you may draw from it. 

But the point is:  
All human action is rooted in philosophy, 
Music is an expression of philosophy, 
Music in form and content has an influence on peoples outlooks on life.
Whereafter the music becomes the afirmation of their beliefs.

            The kid who listens to Slipknot is more likely to build up that irrational steam than the kid who doesn't because the very content of Slipknot feeds the kid that irrational steam that needs to be blown off in some way. 

************************************

Perhaps I am as you say, a conservative fuddy-duddy.  But I have seen the effects that nihilistic music can have on these kids first hand.  The effect that art has is real, not some intelectual fantasy.  Hence music should be judged and analized for both content and skill.  And its effects recognized as either good or bad. 

*************************************

Incidently I like Jazz and I agree with Chris above when he says that there are good and bad Jazz.

Eric J. Tower


PS:  All this talk of Rush, I have never really caught the Objectivist references in their music.  Can you give me an example to go search out?  Are the members of the band Objectivist or are their songs merely accidently Objectivist in nature?  Nothing on their current website seems to point to Objectivism?
~~E.

(Edited by Eric J. Tower on 4/20, 1:28am)




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Tuesday, April 20, 2004 - 2:41amSanction this postReply
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Eric,

Rush lyricist Neil Peart is by all accounts heavily Objectivist influenced, and the band have been criticised for their political stance in certain left-leaning musical publications.

A few tracks to look out for: The epic "2112" song on the album of the same name is loosely based on the storyline of Rand's novel "Anthem" - the lyrics sheet even acknowledges "the genius of Ayn Rand" or something to that effect (I don't have my copy of it to hand at the moment) "Something For Nothing" on the same album is pretty Objectivist as well.

Another epic track "Hemispheres" (again on the album of the same name) is a mythical allegory for the terrible consequences of the reason/emotion dichotomy and the heroes who overcome it. Note that there is a prologue track to "Hemispheres", called "Cygnus X-1" at the end of their previous album "Farewell To Kings".



I assume the track "Anthem" on their album "Fly By Night" was also named for Rand, their Objectivist influence ought to be clear from the lines:

"Well, I know they've always told you
Selfishness was wrong
Yet it was for me, not you, I came to write this song"

The album "Moving Pictures" has some good stuff as well.

You may enjoy this essay On Rand, Rush and Rock, by our very own Dr Diabolical Dialectical. :-)

Cheers,
MH

(Edited by Matthew Humphreys on 4/20, 8:50am)




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