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Post 20

Tuesday, April 20, 2004 - 2:47amSanction this postReply
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what steam?  Caused by what? and how does the music play into this? and is it life affirming?
Not all problems and challenges in life can be easily solved, and, if you're young, some of them are just hormonal, hence the steam. A good gig, with plenty of dancing and jostling, can be cathartic, i.e. a way of letting off steam (I suspect that the mechanism for this is probably as physiological as it's psychological).

As for life affirming: I think it is life affirming to manage your often irrational emotions so they don't paralize your attempts to control your life.

And, from personal experience, rather negative sounding content can be life affirming in the following ways:

#1. They tell you you're not the only person having a bad time. This only works if you understand that when the singer screams "Life is crap!" he's not really saying that life is crap, he's saying, "I feel that life is crap", which is probably where you're at at the time if you're a sex-starved 15-year old boy, or a pisse doff 30-something.

#2 Catharsis: Like a horror film. You don't have to believe the lyrics to get a mental kick from them.

I think these hold good for any musical genre, e.g. when everybody dies at the end of an opera, even if we don't have to believe that life's like that, or that the characters were rational in their choices, we still get some sort of emotional catharsis.

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. 
As with film and literature, some people take their scripts from the music they listen to and go on to lead tragic or disruptive lives.

Music is a powerful, useful, but potentially dangerous product. Like guns and alcohol, we must learn to use it wisely, and to pass on that wisdom to our children.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
By the way
Perhaps I am as you say, a conservative fuddy-duddy.
Actually, I was very careful to say:
It just makes Objectivists seem like socially conservative fuddy-duddies!
:)




Post 21

Tuesday, April 20, 2004 - 9:02amSanction this postReply
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Hey, Billy-Bob—play “Misty” for me! Yeee-haaa!

 

                Misty

 

(The most beautiful version I have ever heard.)

 

PS: Keep trying this link at different times if it doesn't work at first.  

(Edited by Rodney Rawlings on 4/20, 12:49pm)




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Post 22

Tuesday, April 20, 2004 - 12:19pmSanction this postReply
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(Seem to have lost a few posts in the digital glitch, so apologies if I repeat myself. Though I must say for such a complex site you have commendably few problems – it must be very well thought through.)

Hi Linz
No, I’m not getting at you. Mr Sciabarra quotes you as saying “It’s not my thing, but I appreciate it” about (some) jazz. That’s starting from an open position, then deciding.

I’m getting at doctrinaire types who at the first touch retreat like snails inside their preconceptions. Let’s call it ideological deafness.

It’s a phoney distinction anyway, because classical music is built on the same principle as jazz anyway: improvisation, trial and error. As my old classical teacher used to remark, how do people think composers came up with the stuff in the first place? What else do you think “Variations” are?

To borrow a phrase, classical music is “frozen” jazz.

- Daniel




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Post 23

Tuesday, April 20, 2004 - 12:29pmSanction this postReply
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Now, Slipknot is shit, no mistake. But there is little that is modern about them. They’re simply the latest exponents of the ancient PT Barnum school:that no-one ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public. It’s just a mass-marketed version of those old two-headed-lady live-chicken-eating-geek shows that used to travel round small towns thrilling the hayseeds. Main difference is the medium – they now have MTV, rather than the back of a rusty cart in Peoria.

How do they fit into the bigger picture of modern cultural nihilism? Here’s my 60sec armchair take on it.

Take a look at the rate of depression in the West. It's been rising along with living standards since the beginning of the century. Is this because the West is inherently evil? No. It’s because this new environment doesn't match the way most of human existence has been, so it doesn't match our mental evolutionary equipment. If you’re under constant pressure to survive, you don’t suffer from angst – in fact, you often feel charged with meaning and purpose. (A recent book called “War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning” contains some interesting examples of this). In the West, however, many of our day to day survival problems are solved for us. Turn on a tap – there’s the water. Our evolutionary design, which is built to deal with constant challenge, finds itself suddenly underemployed. Hence the vague loss of a sense of "meaning" to our lives. Our job now is to find ways of adapting to our new environment – to learn to “drive ourselves” with internal challenges to replace the former external ones.

There are, of course, many other threads to this – for example, two catastrophic world wars, and the constant threat of nuclear annihilation during the Cold War have given us a rather depressingly self-destructive self-portrait as a species. And from a media point of view violent junk (eg: Slipknot) is both cheap and profitable to make, so its commoditisation is entirely predictable.

But overall I think the epidemic of nihilism is an example of the law of unintended consequences - rather like the polio epidemic in NZ that was the accidental result of improved living standards.

Fortunately - I think we’re beginning to get our heads round it!

- Daniel





Post 24

Tuesday, April 20, 2004 - 12:56pmSanction this postReply
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Observer:  Music is a powerful, useful, but potentially dangerous product. Like guns and alcohol, we must learn to use it wisely, and to pass on that wisdom to our children.

Yes, I think so as well.

The question is how is it powerful, useful and potentially dangerous? 

This is the problem I run into when arguing about music...  (Also note that Perigo leaves ample room in his article for preferences while supplying his opinions on groups)  ...until we can really understand the extent to which music influences us and how it does so we cannot do much more than reach about in the dark searching for those things which affirm life for us.
And then let the market take care of the rest. 

So we are stuck between saying "it sounds good to me" and argueing about what the hell 'good' really is in music.

We want to make value judgements and apply an objective standard to music, which i am sure is present somewhere between psychology, physiology, communications and music theory. Yet we cannot yet do that entirely to a degree we wish we could.    In this case Slipknot, something is going on here that effects some of people who listen to it in a negative way.  What is that something?  Don't really know yet.  At best we can observe the effects that the music has on the people who listen to it.

Observer: #1. They tell you you're not the only person having a bad time. This only works if you understand that when the singer screams "Life is crap!" he's not really saying that life is crap, he's saying, "I feel that life is crap", which is probably where you're at at the time if you're a sex-starved 15-year old boy, or a pisse doff 30-something.

Right but their singing perpetuates the whole 'life is crap' thing.  People jump around and get stomped on its all rather dangerous.  ((been there done that))  People take drugs that jump around and OD.  They scream 'life is crap'  I say stop screaming about it and do something about it.  Its crap cause your singing is perpetuating it.

~Eric




Post 25

Tuesday, April 20, 2004 - 10:53pmSanction this postReply
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Matthew,

Very cool, did some looking and reading of Rush lyrics.  I had no idea.  I only have a vague idea of a few of their songs from the radio I will have to go out to get some of their albums to get a full listen to it.

Thanks,

Eric.




Post 26

Thursday, April 22, 2004 - 12:56pmSanction this postReply
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Marathon is my favorite song not just by Rush, but by any popular/rock band.  I first listened to it while I was reading Atlas Shrugged for the first time, just after finishing the maiden voyage of the John Galt Line.  Now the two are synonymous in my mind: Every time I read that scene from Atlas I hear Rush, and every time I hear Marathon I see Dagny tearing across the country on a Taggart Transcontinental train.



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