Friday, January 30, 2009

The Disapearance of Our Friend Hans Lundahl

I'm not upstaging you by posting about the temperaments, Old
Fashioned Liberal, so I'm keeping my promise. :-)

I have noticed that our friend Hans hasn't been around lately;
here or on any of his blogs. Now, due to my mistrust of
governments in general (particularly our present ones), I would
say that he "disappeared" due to the French government disliking
him. But that's just my conspiracy theory. :-) If you're out there,
Mr. Lundahl, maybe you wouldn't mind letting us know? That way,
I wouldn't be falsely accusing the French government. :-)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Where are They?

Happy gender issues day! I've already done a post on wage discrepancies at El Dipudado etc.

In these days of gender equality, it might be surprising to you to find that there is still one occupation that has is still dominated by men for non-physical reasons. This occupation does not require its members to be men, like the priesthood does, nor does it require physical strength. This occupation is the field of music composition. The men/women ratio of composers at UNL is approximately 20/1. Why?

One of the first things antifeminists learn is that men and women have differing brains. To put it simply, the male brain is better suited to the activity of music composition. Here's why:

1. The male brain generally tends to have a stronger right hemisphere compared to the female brain. The right brain controls melody, while the left brain (stronger in women than in men) controls pitch and rhythm. Composers, however, do not need to be especially adept in pitch because they do not perform or sing. If they did perform or sing, they would have to be sensitive to tuning issues, and get pitch very precisely. They do not have to do this; an out of tune instrument can be quite sufficient for the composers purposes. Also, although women's brains may be more sensitive to rhythm, women's brains are also less sensitive to their sensual passions (have you ever met a woman more enthusiastic about eating than a man?). The sensual passions are what rhythm effects. Hence, though women are better at rhythm, men enjoy it more.

2. The two halves of the male brain are very divided from each other compared to the female brain. This makes men more singleminded, systematic, and fit for specialization, but less intelligent. When composers compose, they usually do it by themselves because the process of composition is not appreciated by anybody except the composer, although everyone enjoys the results. This setting permits a massive amout of single-minded activity.

3. I don't know why, but the male brain is more suited for abstract concepts than the female brain. This would seem to make men better than women at music theory because music theory is filled with abstract symbols and vocabulary.

4. Finally, an important part of being a composer is getting over the preconception that composers are special sorts of musicians, that not just any musician (especially one's self) can be a composer. Being more aggressive, men are more likely to view this false but popular idea as a challenge and thus take up composition.

Now for the killer question: should we encourage women to become composers? Should we encourage them to work outside the home, for that matter? Are the two questions even related?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Appendix to the Mideval Aesthetic Article

After that article on the Mideval aesthetic, you may be wondering what my personal views on the subject of unity versus fecundity are. My personal view is that because unity is related to form (putting in elements of a different form destroys the unity), it can have imperfections. If it does not have imperfections, unity is achieved. Once unity is achieved, the artist is better off adding fecundity, not unity, because the addition of fecundity, by definition, is an addition of existence and thus goodness. An increase of unity is just as likely to take away elements (and thus, existence) as to add them, and unlike the addition of fecundity, which would not remove the unity if added properly, the addition of unity beyond lack of imperfection is likely to remove the fecundity. This view is much closer to the mideval aesthetic than it is to the non-mideval one.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Mideval Aesthetic

"The perfection of the work as a whole was sacrificed for the freedom of the
individual craftsman. And yet the many individual and imperfect creations,
which cause the whole building to fall short of perfection, somehow give it a
kind of beauty that is different from perfection."

--Dr. Elizabeth Kantor, speaking of Gothic Cathedrals as an illustration of the
general Medieval aesthetic.

What? Old Fashioned Liberal, why are you telling us this? Whatever happened
to unity, and coherence, and the discovery of exemplars that exist because they
are good and not merely because they are possible? Are you contradicting
yourself? Are you going to satirize this quote? Are you going to downplay the
ideas about art that were believed when art was governed by the Church and its
dogmas rather than the other way around? What ARE you going to do?

I'll tell you, doubtful reader, I will explain, make distinctions, and think
carefully, in all things trying to act sane.

First of all, what are the imperfections of which Dr. Kantor speaks? There
appear to be three:
1. A poorly made element made by an inferior artist within a larger work.
2. An overabundance of elements that "spoils" a work.
3. A disunity caused by such abundance.

For these imperfections to make the Medieval Aesthetic inferior to the
aesthetic based on forms/exemplars (the one we have been exploring in music up
to this point), the two aesthetics must be in fact different. If they are
different, there are only four possibilities about how they can be different.
1. M. Aesthetic must contain all the elements of Non M aes., and then some
2. Non M. Aes. must contain all the elements of M. aes, and then some
3. Each must contain some ideas that the other does not.
4. They are the same, except in what they emphasize.
If 1 is true, M. Aesthetic is superior to Non-M. If 2 is true, non-M is
superior to M. If 3 or 4 is true, we must weigh the differences and decide
which is better in which situation.

Now the idea that Medieval Aesthetic seems to oppose NonMideval Aesthetic is
that Medieval Aesthetic would risk spoiling the unity of something by the
addition of fecundities, even incongruous or inferiorly crafted ones, while
nonMideval Aesthetic consciously seeks after unities, adding fecundities when

The two ideas are not as different as they seem at first glance. Both
acknowledge that both unity and fecundity are artistic goods. Their difference
is that the medieval aesthetic is “Liberal,” willing to take a risk to achieve
its goal of incorporating both elements, while Non-Medieval aesthetic is not
willing to trade unity (which can be had or not had) for fecundity (which is
always had in one degree or another). Hence, the difference is a type 4
difference, and if the Medieval one succeeds, it is automatically going to be
superior in most cases. If they fail, a unity imperfection will be present,
Medieval Aesthetic is not automatically superior. Because we do not know all
possible imperfections, we will limit ourselves to the three imperfections
discussed above. Any artist worth his salt should be able to tell when one of
these three happens for his particular art. Hence, the Medieval Aesthetic
includes all the elements of the Non Medieval aesthetic, making followers of a
Non-Medieval aesthetic objectively inferior, though knowledge of their aesthetic
(which I have been investigating so far, and probably will continue to do) is
quite productive.

#2 deserves some mention. Overabundance does not necessarily spoil the unity
of a work; when it spoils at all it merely makes the unity less noticeable
and/or is repulsive to the observer. Either way, the fault is in us, not in the
art itself, and an subjective merit is traded for an objective one. In art,
this is a wise choice, as we can change our tastes and our level of
understanding, but we cannot change the fact that both unity and fecundity are
good. Any overabundance that does spoil the unity would do so because it is
not in unity, and thus would be incongruous and thus easy to tell.

#1 also deserves some mention. Architecture in the middle ages put the
inferior artists with the superior ones not because it was good for the art, but
because it was good for the craftsman himself. As this is a subjective element,
not an objective one, I will not discuss it here.

In Honor of our new President...

I have re-posted the two posts related to Obama that I posted in the past. Enjoy!

Sarcasm on the Symbolism of a Popular Work of Art

And I mean really really really popular! What is this work, you ask? The Obama O!

And yes, it is art, after a fashion. It is filled with subtle symbols that only the aesthetician would care to read.

In the first place, consider the fact that it is a sun over the horizon. At the Constitutional Convention, George Washington sat in a chair with a sun over the horizon on its back. At the end of the convention, Benjamin Franklin said something along the lines of: "Throughout the convention, I wondered if it were a rising sun or a setting sun. I see now that it is a rising sun." Now, however much we might want to, we don't live on Tatooine. Therefore, the sun has to set after it rises before it can rise again. Therefore, the sunset in Obama's O is a setting sun.

Second, consider the fields below. They are red and white. I can think of two sorts of fields that are that way. Obviously, there are those fields that have blood on snow. Less obvious is are the red and white fields of communist China. (Explanation: in the opera Nixon in China, the proletarians sing "When we look up, the fields are white with harvest in the morning light." White for harvest, red for communism.)

Finally, consider the overall shape of the picture. It is round, and at the core of its being lies the shape that is roundest of all: O. Chesterton says that the snake eating itself in the shape of an O is the perfect symbol of pantheistic fatalism.

Therefore, what does the symbol mean? It means that Obama wants to put America into decline by killing people and turning the country into a Communist agricultural powerhouse. The end result? The eventual taking over of the world by pantheistic India.

It's amazing how much you can learn by reading the inner secrets of art. Or can you? Hee Hee!

The Expressionist Poem
Transfixed, I gaze upon a lovely lemon on the table
That seems an ancient honey-stone from some dark ancient fable.
Across there sits a Man of Night, like a disembodied smile,
Who has with thongs unbreakable chair-bound me for a while.

"The Lemon's booby-trapped" he says.

Then, as I watch in hypno-horror, worrying for his life,
Toward the perilous citrus fruit he moves a Subtle Knife
That is engraved with verbal curves of cultured anarchy
That tries to hide a destroyed thing behind existent being.

"No knife is a punishment" he says.

Just before it breaks ths skin, I am changed suddenly,
At the prospect of a deadly fruit I am filled with agony
Wonder of wonders! Actually two agonies in fact!
An agony that does repel, and one that does attract!

"Are you caucasian?" he says.

For I know that when the yellow ball is touched by the blade,
The resulting effulgence of juice will be as a sculpted jade
Contorting all my features into squinted forms horrendous
For the juice will be in my very eye and cause a pain stupendous.

"Eight hundred million dollars for the man in the Ford!" he says.

But the aspect of the pain-cordial has its fascination
Am I a sadist to desire that juice plus eye equals elation?
Verily, I even see it as a sun-hued reaper grim
Even as in salty joyful draughts my lifted spirit swims.

"Your mother needs a hired helper" he says.

Of this fair free United States I am a full free resident
Shall we have a joyful martyrdom when Obama becomes president?
Posted by Old Fashioned Liberal at 7:31 AM 3 comments

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Just Dance

Sorry to bring up the subject again, but dance is my favorite type of art (not that music and literature aren't amazing, but hey) and I wanted to get some real aesthetical opinions on dance.

Now I definitely favor what I call the "vulgar" dances over current modern "high dance." While traditional high dance in very artistic (a.k.a. ballet and the like) of late most "high" dance seems utterly ridiculous. Case in point is the "ground breaking motion" of the Australian team on Superstars of Dance. I'm still not convinced that doesn't count as gymastics and not dance. It was certainly hard, but this is dance people, not a random aggregate of acrobatic moves without any connection.

By "vulgar" dance I mean dances that were born from people just being social. My favorites are the salsa, merengue, bachata, bomba, plena and the like; however, you are probably more familiar with ones like foxtrot, swing, the lindy, etc... Not only do these dances tend to be very flexible for whatever need (competition, reacreation, etc), they also have morphed into "high" dance which I believe is quite artistic. Case in point the Argentinian duet of the tango on Superstars of Dance. Phenominal! The tango is a perfect example, actually. It began in the brothels of Buenos Aires (what a beginning) and is now the world's most respected form of dance. Granted that there are significant diferences between tango fantasía (show tango) and tango arrabal (salon tango), the high dance was born from the vulgar dance.

I suppose I can summarize by saying that the vulgar dances are all that is left. I attribute the decline of high dance to a) apathy towards aethetics b) a desire to be different no matter what, even if you look like an entire retard doing so, and c) an isolation of dance from the other artistic media and cultural celebration. the "cutting edge" of dance is exactly that - something that I want to stay as far away from as possible.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Sannet 1: the Answer to the Profile Random Question

Read the poem first, then the explanation.

Sa when a mathematician makes a sheet
Of paper black with math-words writ in ink
And then with balance, equalness, mind fleet,
Solves it, jumps up and can't find words to speak;
Sa when a person steps upon a stage,
Encountering the foe most fearfully,
Sits upon his chair, begins, and plays,
He finds that he has won most joyfully;
Sa when the vision-blest souls, as gazelles
Do prance a dance upon Elysian hills
All gazing up upon the brightest wells
Of light Divine; transfixed but with free wills;
So is this small experience of bliss:
Children running through a water-sprinkler's fizz.

My random question was: What would be the name of your ballet inspired by children running through the sprinkler.

The meaning of "Sa"

"Sa" is a clause used only in poetic similies. It roughly means the same thing as "As," but with one subtle difference. In many poetic similies, one half of the simile, the half inside the "As" clause, is a 'common half,' the half that is assumed by the poet to be understood by the reader. The other half of the similie is the uncommon half, the half that the common half sheds poetic light upon. The limitation of this structure is that although many things may be used to enlighten one thing in the same sentence, the use of one thing to enlighten many things is a bit awkward. "Sa" gets around this difficulty by putting the things to be enlightened in the dependent clause.

English Sonnet form
All lines in Iambic pentameter
The GG lines summarize the poem

Another Futile Attempt At Composing

As the title implies, I will expose myself to large amounts of
criticism once again. And don't expect good quality either.
Oh, it also cut out the ending. :-)


Monday, January 12, 2009

A Poem Upon the Letter "A"

As an arrow arcs at an ashen target,
That awaits the attenuating of its life
An Albino Asteroid, named Abby Margaret
Atomizes ale casks in awesome strife.

All the able Albanian allies
Are all afilled with awestruck anger
As they see a life leave, not dally
And the Asteroid anti-fill all the tankards.

In Praise of Aquinas

Take, great tailor in black and white,
A single thread. Guide it aright
Through a maelstrom of sewing swords
(Each knit a thought, each purl a word),
As a diver from above falls
Twisting from airborne obstacles
(Between him and his water-right)
In a seemingly powered flight

Run, O massive lordly dog
Unfailing through the obscure fog
That sits about your seeked Goal
Like earth-tunnels conceal a mole.
Run and smell, and think and run
Until your fair task is done.
For as a Master is your prize:
Lady Wisdom, Truth undisguised.

Sit, O mountain of dizzying height
By hearth and plate, where sits a bite
Of inconspicu's ed'ble grain
(Type matters not: see, eat, be sane)
Have leisure in this thrice-small place
Where there is time to contemplate.
Set your genius upon this road
And be a tailor, mount, and dog.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Another poem

Thought you might want to see this one too. I wrote it, of course. Can you guess what I was doing over Christmas Break? Hee Hee!

A Warrior’s Lament

A Warrior’s Lament

For years I’ve mastered all intricacies
Of truth and falsehood, laughter and tragedies.
For years I’ve slaved in quiet musty book-rooms
Reading, writing, thinking of truths and truisms,
Examining subtle things of human brain
That oil the key that opens soft Lie’s chain.

In seven-circled secret vow we’d forged
Ourselves to Jesuitish vassal-lord
In ancient days the heroes pledged their sword
We are bounded by and to the Word

The Word of God, the word of Holy Writ,
The word of subtle rhetoric and wit
The word of truth, of Lady Goodness fair
Against the Unword: our foes everywhere.

In thought we fought the deepest darkest wars
That ever waged against barbarian hordes.
Of whom Berserkers were a pale conceit:
The Soft Liars, with anarchic poisons sweet.

And here I am in midst of great contest
Where worst of lies meets up with Truth’s most best
I tremble, for I fear not shame or fall
I fear (help!) that I fear them not at all!

What happened to the days of Charlemagne
Where vassal-kings and warriors of fame
Would heed their king and die rather than fail
Would avoid shame before killing travails?

My modes of thought have sadly crippled me
That I cannot in fights of int’llect see
The honor of soldiers, the dream of simple boys.
Is it for the saints who but destroy?!

I know I am irrational, I know that I complain.
I know that honor truly flows in my debates’ veins.
But without sense’ble honor, God’s standard seems a trifle
Would that I could merely be Be’wulf’s shield-man for a while!

A Poetic Riddle

This is my first (and quite possibly only) attempt at free verse.

Guess the title of the poem

Armed with knife and trident I advance
Toward the freezing dragon with icy jaw of death
Where dead things lay, their rot stayed by mankind’s spell-dance,
I seek a grain-offering for the God of Life, but foes wait with bated breath.

Bravely I wrench apart the iron jaws and teeth
Searching for the sacrificial food from Ceres’s fields
Heeding not the nameless muck that stagnates at my feet
Only hoping that my courage shall not yield.

For behold, as I search, my passions assail me
Aided on by the magic that surround my being
Enticing charms are set by fearsome creatures that don’t heed
The good and bad, the laws set down by Perfect Being.

(At any other time, I need not turn aside,
On any other day, these things would have no peril
But at the sage decree of my God’s Perfect Bride
These things now are the death of me, a mortal, sinful, swirl.)

I gaze in fear and wonderment and desire
At the casters of the magic: The half-dead boars, unclean swine
The pagan entrails and tripe, the undead chickens fried by fire
And worst of all, seductive cows, bovines that craze like wine.

I cannot fight these phantoms pre-killed!
Not with mere carnal weapons bright!
I need a weapon of wizard skilled
A potion magic-bright!

No scholar am I of wizardry, but I know enough to see
That only one thing will save me: a sort of food of plant
Will no vegetables come and save me
From my hunger for domesticated vampirants?

Of Boredom

When on soft waves of waking thought our small minds undulate
It seeing every single thing with spirit full and sate
With full and true awareness of the goodness of the land
That God-All-Good does always give us from his mighty hand.

When the fullness does proceed from some absence of care
That is the everlasting lot of humans everywhere
When nothing pressing urgently does force one to a point
Requir’d for action. When one may see All Counterpoint

When this soul’s awareness is both all a-restless and awake
When in its deepest recesses it feels that it will break
With longing for the infinite blest vision beatific
But faint enough to not disturb thought-process scientific

When one is free to full indulge in mystic pink profession
When one has the liberty to have a mad obsession
With the fair slowed-down sanity that all our hearts desire:
Contemplation; the act that is a calmant, ice, and fire.

When all these fair requirements are fully now fulfilled
And when this blessed, blessed, state is unwilled yet not unwilled
He who does in truth observe this blessed state: he can
In all truth and honesty say “There goes a bored man1”

Many will say that this small mind is growen smaller still
And that it has in passing lost all blessedness of will
For boredom is a strangely land, not widely understood
And has the double fate of being quite evil or quite good.

And when all these fair requirements are fully now fulfilled
And when this blessed, blessed state is unwilled yet not unwilled
One can see with clearest eye, as through clear air afar
And close as well, one can see things as they are.

Without mental word or thought, but with only mental sight
That with all intuition knows eternal wrong from right
The boreded man can truly see all good things as he should
And discover with surprised delight that all good things are good!

And when all these fair requirements are fully now fulfilled
And when this blessed, blessed, state is unwilled yet not unwilled
Some sometimes, only sometimes, a Someone Quiet comes
Bearing Divine Gift of Joy for privileged boreded ones.

And seeing a cup of champagne, though place and time be formal
The thrice-bored one picks it up, and, not caring for the normal,
Places it upon his head, though it might well break,
And shows it to all in the place, for blessed laughter’s sake.

They say that sleepy, idle hands the devil’s workshop are
And through them myriad evil demons tempt us from afar.
But when the modern foolish child cry-complains “I’m bored.”
Tell them “Well-trained, idle minds are the workshop of the LORD.”

Alphabet Poetry

I would like to do a poetic series on the Alphabet. Here's some to get you started


When one whiffling wind wends its way
Through windpipe within wilted neck
Withered under wild whim
Of white and willful water-death
Then we work out why we wish
When death-wilderness will win in while
To wrap our writing hand around
Whate’r, with unwavering will.

You may have thought that was a little immoderate. Well, it gives pleasure, doesn't it? And non-sinful pleasure is a legitimate end of a human activity. Here's another:

Grammatically correct Nonsense.

Questing Axle’s zithering Baxter
Zooms towards quorums in zany tracker.
For waxing quorums’ zillion flaxes
Is what Baxter quells for Maxes.