All posts by honestcharlie

Noam Chomsky — Who Rules the World ?

THE ABSURD TIMES

From the Great Latuff

Who Rules the World?

Malaise is strong in our minds today and during the last few weeks. Few things seem amusing and the thin line between the ludicrous and the insane no longer exists. There is little point in talking about our election here when the future of the planet, much less individual nations, seems extremely grim.

There are a few encouraging signs, however. Since optimism is needed, we have the cheerful outlook of Noam Chomsky below, and we say this without any trace of scarcasm. Indeed, his outlook on what things are like is about as cheerful as possible these days.

He also mentions an article worth reading (see below). It discusses how Germany, at the pinnacle of cultural and intellectual history during the 1920s was able to descend into barbarism within a decade. While such comparisons are often disparaging to barbarians, it is probably time to accept the vulgate definition of this term as it is handy in describing activities we see all-too-often recently.

Some important points are the analysis of the Clinton/Sanders debate over whether Israel’s response was disproportional. Clinton essentially said “no” and Sanders “yes”. Corporate media frames the discussion in such a way that the reality, that there should have been no response, and that whatever the provocation was, it was driven by Israel in the first place, such a reality can not be acknowledged. The same applies to the settlements in the occupied territories. Are they expanding too rapidly or not, when the truth is that they are all illegal, the fact is that the occupations are all directly in violation of every conceivable law.

So, to stop the diatribe, here is Noam[1]:

President Obama has just passed a little-noticed milestone, according to The New York Times: Obama has now been at war longer than any president in U.S. history—longer than George W. Bush, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. Obama has taken military action in at least seven countries: Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. Just last month, President Obama announced the deployment of 250 more Special Operations troops to Syria in a move that nearly doubles the official U.S. presence in the country. As war spreads across the globe, a record 60 million people were driven from their homes last year. Experts warn the refugee crisis may also worsen due to the impacts of global warming. Over the weekend, NASA released data showing 2016 is on pace to be by far the hottest year ever, breaking the 2015 record. Meanwhile, many fear a new nuclear arms race has quietly begun, as the United States, Russia and China race to build arsenals of smaller nuclear weapons. These multiple crises come as voters in the United States prepare to elect a new president. We speak with one of the world’s preeminent intellectuals, Noam Chomsky, institute professor emeritus at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he has taught for more than 50 years. His latest book is titled “Who Rules the World?”

our primaries

THE ABSURD TIMES

Tom Lehrer explaining Math, link below.

Our Primaries

By

Chicago Thought

There seems to be a great deal of confusion as to the “Democracy” pervading the United States. Now this can only be cleared up by realizing that when the political parties use the term democracy it does not mean “one man, one vote”. Once you get that absurd notion out of your head, things become more understandable.

Donald Trump (hey, a broken watch is right twice a day, eh?) is quite right when he says that the system is “rigged”. As a matter of fact, for you mariners out there, the rigging is as elaborate as you ever saw, and it is so rigged that the two-party system will protect its interests and keep sailing on as if the people have no power over it whatsoever.

Now, the Republican system is beyond description in its complexity. For example, you may hear about the delegates in Pennsylvania amounting to, say, 85 or thereabouts. However, not told is the fact that only 17 of them are chosen by the voters. The rest are just there and can do whatever they want. In addition, two of those 17 that are running against each other both are Cruz supporters. That really means 15 are left.

Enough of the Republicans as I have no intention of writing a 300 page book in two days. Let’s look at the Democrats.

Whenever you see the delegate count, it probably says, as of April 21, 2016, that Clinton has 1,930 delegates and Sanders 1,189. 2383 are needed to win. This means that Clinton only needs 453 while Sanders needs 1144. When those numbers are presented, it looks as if the primary is over.

However, 540 of those delegates are so-called “Super Delegates” (hereafter referred to as SD to distinguish from STD) and really have not been elected by anyone as a delegate. Now, Clinton has 502 SDs while Sanders has 38. Let us just take the whole population and see what happens.

If those 540 SDs were to all support Sanders, he would have 1691 and Clinton would have 1390. (The 540 is a fixed number and all will vote and not go away so if one person leave one and goes to the other, it makes a total difference of 2) Why not? Now Sanders is leading and on his way to victory.

I’ll tell you why not: “The system is rigged”. Where have I heard that before?

One final fact: many Democratic, not as many Republican, states hold primaries that EXCLUDE independents. In other words, unless you pledge allegiance to the Democratic Party, say in New York, 9 months before the election, you can’t vote. Of course, in the real election, once the parties decode on their nominees, Independents can vote. So, one man, one vote? Don’t be silly.

Here is a link that will help you understand how the math works:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wIWaJ0sy03g&feature=em-share_video_user

Apologies for the commercial (something about divorce – just click the x in the upper right-hand corner of the insert).

Define Thug

The Absurd Times THUGS? RACE? OR KAPITALISM? or Capitalism

by @honestcharlie

THE ABSURD TIMES

May 1 is workers’ day around the world. It was changed in the United States in order to disassociate it from its purpose which is to unite and affirm the rights of every human being to a decent standard of living, along with everything else that goes along with it. The day keeps going on around the world with demonstrations and celebrations while in the United States it is remembered by massive consumption of alcohol and traffic jams and death on long distant commutes on the highway system.

The main problem right now, however, is all of the so-called “coverage” of the demonstrations against racism and police brutality, lately such an issue in Baltimore. Such demonstrations have been conducted in solidarity in many other large cities around the country. Extensive and exhaustive attention has been give to every detail on the killing in Baltimore, but no coverage has pointed to the real issue.

The first issue to be confronted, however, is the stupid misuse of the word “thug,” as a replacement for the “N Word”. This is palpably stupid on all fronts. Having grown up in Chicago, I know what the word “thug” means, and it DOES NOT MEAN BLACK. No, there are several sorts of thugs, but none of the has to do with race or color. Anyone who has seen the Godfather has seen countless thugs, almost all white. Of course these were professional thugs. They are the ones who beat up people who do not pay for “protection,” or pay off on their bets to bookies, or do not replay the money due to loan sharks. These are the professional thugs. The amateur thugs are those who beat up people weaker than themselves for any reason. The police that beat up the black man in Baltimore were thugs, The people looting the stores were thugs. And so on. At least the people looting the stores got some free beer and such out of it, some even got pharmaceutical grade narcotics. But they were all thugs.

We have to discard the notion of race as a real factor here. What is at work is poverty and capitalism. There is enough on the subject of the inequitable distribution of wealth on this site to clarify that. What isn’t that clear is that the notion of color is used to keep the lower income whites eager to beat up the lower income blacks. Now blacks also fall prey to this invention. One of them, in an effort to prove that they were not trying to ruin their own neighborhoods said “We try to loot the stores own by Arabs and Orientals, not blacks.” Just to pop overseas for a second, Israeli cops beat up an Israeli soldier (who was Ethiopian) because he was guilty of the same crime the man in Baltimore committed: HE MADE EYE CONTACT. How dare people lake that (you know what I mean) make eye contact with every white person he meats? Wow, he had it coming.

About the only comments we’ve heard to the roots situation were made by Jessie Jackson, so here they are (among with some not so pertinent ones):

TUESDAY, APRIL 28, 2015

National Guard Deployed as Baltimore Erupts After Years of Police Violence, Economic Neglect

For the second time in six months, National Guard troops have been deployed in response to police brutality protests. Baltimore erupted in violence Monday night over the death of Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old African-American man who died of neck injuries suffered in police custody after he was arrested for running. Police say at least 27 people were arrested as cars and stores were set on fire, and at least 15 officers were injured. Baltimore public schools are closed, and a weeklong curfew is in effect from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Also Monday, thousands gathered to pay their respects during Freddie Gray’s funeral, including our guest, Rev. Jesse Jackson, civil rights leader, and president and founder of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition. Jackson says the violence “diverts attention away from the real issue” that West Baltimore is an “oasis of poverty and pain” where residents have long suffered from police abuse and economic neglect. We also speak with Lawrence Bell, former Baltimore City Council president. He grew up in and represented the impoverished area where Freddie Gray was arrested, and argues the “chickens are coming home to roost.”

TRANSCRIPT

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AMYGOODMAN: We’re on the road in The Hague in The Netherlands, but we begin today’s show in Baltimore, Maryland, where National Guard troops have been deployed following violent protests over the death of Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old African-American man who died of neck injuries suffered in police custody after he was arrested for running. His family has said his spine was “80 percent severed” at the neck. Police say they arrested at least 27 people on Monday night. At least 15 police officers were injured during the uprising. Overnight, cars and stores were set on fire, including a CVS and a portion of an historic Italian deli that’s been in the city since 1908.
Following Ferguson, this marks the second time in six months the National Guard has been called to restore order after police brutality protests. This time, protests erupted in the West Baltimore neighborhood where Gray was first arrested for making eye contact with a lieutenant and then running away. On Monday night, Maryland Governor Hogan declared a state of emergency. Today, Baltimore’s public schools are closed, and a week-long curfew is in effect from 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake addressed the city Monday night.
MAYORSTEPHANIERAWLINGS-BLAKE: What we see tonight that is going on in our city is very disturbing. It is very clear there is a difference between what we saw over the past week with the peaceful protests, those who wish to seek justice, those who wish to be heard and want answers, and the difference between those protests and the thugs, who only want to incite violence and destroy our city.
AMYGOODMAN: Earlier on Monday, thousands gathered to pay their respects during Freddie Gray’s funeral, including Maryland Democratic Congressmember Elijah Cummings, a delegation from the White House, and the family of Eric Garner, the Staten Island man who died after a New York City police officer put him in a banned chokehold. This is Gray family attorney Billy Murphy.
BILLYMURPHY: You know, most of us are not here because we knew Freddie Gray, but we’re all here because we know lots of Freddie Grays. Let’s dont’ kid ourselves. We wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for video cameras. Instead of one cover-up behind that blue wall after another cover-up behind that blue wall, and one lie after another lie, now we see the truth as never before. It’s not a pretty picture.
AMYGOODMAN: Baltimore police say they expect to present a report on Gray’s death to the state’s attorney’s office by Friday, but officials have not said when the report will be made public. Six officers involved in Gray’s arrest have been suspended with pay.
Well, for more, we go to Baltimore, where we’re joined by two guests. The Reverend Jesse Jackson is with us, civil rights leader, president and founder of Rainbow PUSHCoalition. He spoke at Freddie Gray’s funeral Monday. And Lawrence Bell rejoins us, former Baltimore City Council president. He represented West Baltimore, which is the area where Freddie Gray was arrested.
We welcome you both back to Democracy Now! Reverend Jackson, let’s begin with you. Your reaction to what took place last night, as well as your message in the funeral of Freddie Gray?
REV.JESSEJACKSON: Well, what happened last night was very disturbing. It was a expression of hopelessness and self-destructive violence, which diverts attention away from the real issues. For example, Fred Gray was the 111th [inaudible] killed by a policeman since 2011—one-one-one, not just the first one. Secondly, in that same area, unemployment is 30 percent. There are 18,000 vacant homes or abandoned lots, because government—because banks ran subprime lending and predatory lending on people. The banks got bailed out; the people got left out. So the abounding poverty, because you have the most people in that area who have been to prison who come out and can’t vote and then can’t get the job because they’ve been to prison. So you have—you really have this oasis of poverty and pain, and you must, beside last night, address the structural crisis in Baltimore and urban America, period.
AMYGOODMAN: Lawrence Bell, the area that you represented when you were in the City Council is the area where Freddie Gray was arrested—arrested, again, according to the lieutenant, she made eye contact with him, and he ran away, and that was grounds for arresting him. Can you talk about this community where—that you have represented for so long?
LAWRENCEBELL: Well, in fact, I was actually born a few blocks away from where the incident occurred, so it really touches me personally. You know, I think that there have been years of neglect, not only of West Baltimore, but all over the inner city of Baltimore. And I think that the chickens are coming home to roost. I mean, this is a tale of two cities. This has been going on for a long time, not only the police abuse, which escalated in the early 2000s under the zero-tolerance policy of Martin O’Malley, but also just the economic violence that has been committed against a people. And you have a lot of young people, many of whom have already been arrested because of the mass arrests that have gone on in Baltimore City. They see no hope. They see no way out. And they’re acting out, unfortunately, and it says that we’ve got to wake up and do something.
REV.JESSEJACKSON: Amy, I think also, we were in church yesterday, where governor noticed that the gangs were coming together, and they want to shoot a police. Immediately there was a kind of panicky move to do a lockdown on the city. There were several schools, when the public transportation stopped, did not have a way home. You had thousands of kids on the streets with no way to get home, because when the city went to lockdown rather than a policeman get shot, transportation stopped, businesses closed, and kids had nowhere to go. In that environment, the whole thing exploded.
AMYGOODMAN: I want to go to Maryland Governor Larry Hogan. This is just after he announced the state of emergency and activated the National Guard to respond to unrest in Baltimore.
GOV.LARRYHOGAN: Everybody believes we need to get to the answers and resolve this situation, the concern everybody has about what exactly happened in the Freddie Gray incident. That’s one whole situation. This is an entirely different situation. This is lawless gangs of thugs roaming the streets, causing damage to property and injuring innocent people, and we’re not going to tolerate that.
AMYGOODMAN: “Lawless gangs of thugs,” Reverend Jackson. Your response?
REV.JESSEJACKSON: Well, I think such language does not aid the situation. For example, those people, those bankers who engaged in subprime and predatory lending and took people’s homes and drove them out of the middle class into poverty, what is their name? Or 111 killings in three years in one area, what do you call those who did the killing, when there was no camera? When you look at 30 percent unemployment, TIF money spent downtown for the big new Baltimore, and pension money and banking money. So you have, as Brother Bell says, you have downtown blossoming, booming Baltimore, and then you have the rest of them. Now, we did not engage in name calling on that matter, but we do know that that strategy does not work. And we really need to look at, Amy, the Kerner Commission Report of 50 years ago. It says when you have this radical racial divide and economic divide, there must be some remedy, not just reaction.
AMYGOODMAN: Reverend Jackson, can you also respond to Freddie Gray’s arrest? This issue of—this is according to the police, that he made eye contact with the lieutenant and ran away, that’s what they allege. The attorney for the Fraternal Order of Police, the police union, said running in a high-crime area is grounds for arrest.
REV.JESSEJACKSON: Well, you know, it’s interesting enough that police here and firemen have the right to work in the city and live in the suburbs. Some live as far away as York, Pennsylvania. And so they come in as an occupying force, not as neighbors. So, often people are afraid of them, because they’re not taxpaying neighbors whose children go to school with their children. So there is this gap between police and people. And you really ought to have residential requirements for policemen and firemen. Those who get nectar from the flower should sow pollen where they pick up nectar.
AMYGOODMAN: Baltimore Orioles chief operating officer John Angelos, who is the son of the owner, Peter Angelos, took to Twitter this weekend to defend the Baltimore protests after they were attacked on local sports radio. He wrote, quote, “my greater source of personal concern, outrage and sympathy beyond this particular case is focused neither upon one night’s property damage nor upon the acts, but is focused rather upon the past four-decade period during which an American political elite have shipped middle class and working class jobs away from Baltimore and cities and towns around the U.S. to third-world dictatorships like China and others, plunged tens of millions of good, hard-working Americans into economic devastation, and then followed that action around the nation by diminishing every American’s civil rights protections in order to control an unfairly impoverished population living under an ever-declining standard of living and suffering at the butt end of an ever-more militarized and aggressive surveillance state.” Again, so wrote Baltimore Orioles chief operating officer John Angelos, who is the son of the owner, Peter Angelos. Reverend Jackson?
REV.JESSEJACKSON: You can’t get any better than that, because you have this combination of guns in, drugs in, jobs out, and alienation between those who live in the surplus and those who live in the deficit. So there are some causal factors that must not be ignored. We regret that there was the expression of street violence last night, because, one reason, it’s not redemptive; two, it diverts attention from the agenda put on that letter. We should be discussing today the Kerner Report as opposed to what happened last night. But there is a cause-effect relationship. But we should do well not to panic in the face of last night, and move toward the remedies. Since this is so close to Washington, why not make this an urban model for reconstruction?
LAWRENCEBELL: Let me also add to what Reverend Jackson just said. You know, back in the 1930s, my grandfather came from North Carolina to Baltimore with very little education and got a good-paying job at Bethlehem Steel. Now, those—like the grandparents of many of those young people out there yesterday, those jobs have dried up. And this is a generation that—where there are too many people seeking too few jobs in Baltimore City. They are disadvantaged. And then, on top of that—and I do agree with the comments of Mr. Angelos—you know, people on the street in Sandtown, in Mondawmin, in West Baltimore, they know already what happened to Freddie Gray. And the thing that concerns us is that if so many people know what happened, they know the officer that was involved, they know how he was killed, if they know, why don’t the police know? Why doesn’t the mayor know? Why doesn’t—why isn’t that announced sooner? So it says something about the priorities in that area. And something really has to change soon.
REV.JESSEJACKSON: And this blue code of [inaudible], it means that police must—will not police other police. They know who engage in violence and excessive force. And because police will not tell on police—gangbangers will not tell on gangbangers, getting that model from adults. The corruption of the relationship between people and police, that corrupt relationship must end.
AMYGOODMAN: This is a clip from a video report by The Real News Network titled “A Walk Through the Neighborhood Where Freddie Gray Lived and Died,” in which reporter Stephen Janis follows reporter and former prisoner Eddie Conway and our guest, Lawrence Bell, as they visit a rundown basketball court in the Gilmor Homes housing project, where Freddie Gray was arrested.
LAWRENCEBELL: I have a lot of interest in this community, and I’m saddened to see how things have gone downhill.
STEPHENJANIS: This week, Bell joined The Real News correspondent Eddie Conway to talk about politics, crime and punishment, and what needs to happen to improve the city he loves.
LAWRENCEBELL: This city has been socially, economic and politically subdued and downtrodden so much in the last several years that people don’t even complain about it anymore. And they’re afraid to.
STEPHENJANIS: The discussion took place against a symbolic backdrop for both men: a dilapidated basketball court in the Gilmor Homes housing project in West Baltimore, left in disrepair by the city for nearly 17 years. Conway has raised money to fix the court, but the city has blocked his efforts.
EDDIECONWAY: So we’ve got a company that’s certified, that does this, that’s donating some of the stuff.
LAWRENCEBELL: OK.
EDDIECONWAY: And they’re going to be in from the beginning to the end to make sure it’s done.
STEPHENJANIS: The city told us the community was divided on whether they wanted the court rebuilt. But residents we spoke to said they supported fixing it.
GILMORHOMESRESIDENT: Look at it. This court ain’t been up since I was about three. I ain’t seen these goals up—
EDDIECONWAY: Yeah, yeah.
GILMORHOMESRESIDENT: From my own visual eyes, I ain’t seen them up yet.
AMYGOODMAN: That report from The Real News Network. Lawrence Bell, if you would like to elaborate further, and also, can you talk about the calls for the autopsy report to be released, and what more you feel needs to be done?
LAWRENCEBELL: Well, you know, the great irony is that that walk that I did with Eddie Conway happened just a few days before the incident. You know, it’s amazing.
REV.JESSEJACKSON: Before?
LAWRENCEBELL: Right before that happened. We didn’t know that was going to happen. We happened to be there. And it just underscored what we were talking about. People are very upset. There is a lack of interest in just valuing the people that live in the neighborhood. And it’s been exacerbated by this situation, because we think information needs to come out a lot sooner. You know, people have seen these shows like 48 Hours, where they’re told that within the first two days or so, law enforcement should have an idea of what happened in a homicide. And here we see, nearly two weeks after this incident—everybody in that neighborhood and all the people in the street know. I’ve talked to people. I’ve talked to police officers. And as Reverend Jackson said earlier, one of the problems we have—and this is something here in Baltimore and all around the country that needs to be dealt with—is that even when we have African-American police and even well-intentioned white police officers, who see something that goes wrong, and they know somebody, as in this instance—and matter of fact, in this instance, the primary perpetrator was known to be racist. He was known to be negative in that neighborhood. Everybody knew it over in Western District, and he was still—he’s still been there. Now, when so many people know what’s going—
REV.JESSEJACKSON: Other incidents on tape.
LAWRENCEBELL: On tape. And there are people who saw it. They know where the paddy wagon stopped, when they took the young man out, they beat him up again. They have all these people who know this. Why has it taken two weeks to come out with a report, with an autopsy? If this had happened right after the incident, and someone was being fired immediately, OK, and people were let go, this would not have escalated to this point. So I think it’s a lesson for all of us here—
AMYGOODMAN: We just have 20 seconds.
LAWRENCEBELL: —and throughout the country.
REV.JESSEJACKSON: That’s what the man in Charleston, South Carolina, did.
AMYGOODMAN: We have 20 seconds. I want—
REV.JESSEJACKSON: He moved quickly.
AMYGOODMAN: I want to thank you both for being with us. Reverend Jesse Jackson spoke at Freddie Gray’s funeral yesterday, founder, president of PUSH now. And thank you so much to Lawrence Bell for being with us, former Baltimore City Council president, represented West Baltimore, which is the area where Freddie Gray was arrested.
This is Democracy Now!
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Amadeus Reconsidered

Amadeus as I See It 

Salieri in the Asylum, expressing the eternal "Why?"
Salieri in the Asylum, asking the eternal “Why”  F. Murray Abraham
Poetrait of Mozart at the age in question.
Poetrait of Mozart at the age in question.

A friend whose judgment and taste I respect greatly, recently pointed out that Tom Hulce had reduced Mozart in that film to a silly, tasteless fool, and obviously held him accountable for desecrating Mozart’s memory, as bland as he seems today as a composer when compared to Bach or Beethoven.  It made me realize, after quite a while, that many people do not interpret the film as I do, nor as it was meant to be seen.

I did not know at the time that the movie was based loosely on something that Pushkin wrote, but I did know the German romantic tradition quite well.  As an undergraduate, I had studied German intently.  I also felt a great sympathy, even empathy, with the Weltschmertz of the period.

One of the works I read, in the very original German, script-type and all, was Edward  Mörike’s Mozart auf der Reise nach Prag, a short novel of the period with which I greatly sympathized, thinking of Mozart as the struggling artist and the protagonist.  I was not even aware that it was supposed to be somewhat humorous, but German Romantic humor is easy to miss.

Strangely enough, I had one of the most jocular of Professors I had ever studied under, before or since.  He was, to me, elderly, balding, with thin horn-rimmed glasses, and had a thick accent but perfect syntax and an impressive English vocabulary.

The assignment was to write a review and summary, or a paper, on the book.  I remember one sentence I wrote then almost verbatim: “Mozart was a creative genius with a cabal of practitioners of the vapid and artificial pastoral torpor that passed for art at the time.”  That’s telling them, I thought.

I did get an “A” on the paper, but Professor Ernst had written the following in the margin: “There is a certain charm in the poetry of the Baroque and Rocco Period, believe it or not!  Your professor has spent years re-editing such poetry!!!”  When he saw me reading his remark, he was laughing a hearty Bavarian sounding chuckling smirk and said “So Zere. Ho Ho!”

On another occasion, I informed him that I had just acquired a recording by Glenn Gould, the outstanding pianist most know for his interpretation of J. S. Bach, particularly The Goldberg Variations (1955), that had Mozart’s #24 on one side and Schoenberg’s #1 on the other.  He asked, “Dozen’t zis make loud noize during ze night?” and put his hands to his ears.  I assured him that I kept it in a plastic bag and that no sound was emitted unless I actually took it out and put it on the player.  He found that not only hilarious, so indicating with raucous laughter and slapping me on the shoulder, then himself on his thigh.

At any rate, Peter Schaefer who wrote the screenplay in the 20th Century, using accounts from the 19th, to describe events in the 18th, placed the entire story in the mind of Antonio Salieri, who is confined in an insane asylum in Vienna.  So, we have an insane 18th century figure, a rival of another 18th century genius, as related by a 19th century tradition, as interpreted by a 20th century playwright, using as a model the writing of Pushkin, a 19th century Russian, reflecting the views of an 18th century Italian living in a German insane asylum.

Salieri is convinced he murdered Mozart as God, remember the word in Latin, Amadeus, as a major part of this delusion, endowed Mozart with the talent he, Salieri, desired and for which he gave his chastity and that God cursed only with the ability to recognize.

F. Murray Abraham does a magnificent job of portraying him, the man who considered himself the patron saint of the mediocre.  Sir Neville Mariner was an excellent choice as conductor and musical director of the score.  Needless to say, any resemblance between the characters in the film and anyone who ever lived was entirely avoided.  Nevertheless, it is a delightful film.

Some of the more scintillating and rewarding lines and scenes come as a reaction to Mozart.  The Emperor has only one reservation to one of Mozart’s operas: “Now and then, how shall I say, hmmm, too many notes, yes, that’s it, too many notes.”  Mozart is flabbergasted and eventually asked which notes the Emperor have removed.  “It doesn’t matter.  Just snip a few here and there and it will be perfect.”

Or when an opera fails, Mozart complains to Salieri about it and asks why it happened.  “You overestimate the audience, my good fellow, why you didn’t even give them a good ‘bang’ at the end of a song to let them know when to applaud.”

Contemptuously, Mozart says “Yes, maybe I should be taking lessons from you.”

Salieri looks at him with an expression that cannot be adequately described and says “I wouldn’t presume.”

At any rate, the key to enjoying the film is NOT to view it as a documentary.  Forget about a pedantic insistence on historical accuracy.  Just remember this is Salieri’s tale of his own revenge against God.

It is worth seeing again.

 

 

 

 

 

Remember Why we dislike Eastwood

THE ABSURD TIMES

dirtyharryiraq Ironyi

Illustrations:  A couple appropriate visual aids.

It’s time just to think about a few things.

American Sniper: This movie makes lots of money and is disgusting.  It has one virtue: it reminds one of why Eastwood has been despised by intelligent people ever since Dirty Harry, and why he had to make spaghetti westerns for so long.  During the time of his first films, they were a reaction to civil rights, demonstrations, civic action groups, etc.  Much later, he made a few worthwhile ones and we wondered why we despised him.  Now we remember.  Chris Hedges suggested that a better title would be KILLING RAGHEADS FOR JESUS.

Football: The deflated footballs cause quite a fuss, don’t they.  Why? Consider how much commercial time costs during the broadcast.  Millions per 30 seconds.  Actually, the New England Patriots’ Quarterback (they are usually the ones with an IQ over 105) said “C’mon, guys, it’s not ISIS. Nobody died.”  This was probably the most astute comment made about this whole situation.  Millions have expressed concern, but anonymous sources tell us that 9 of the deflated and abused footballs will be represented by Gloria Allred.  There is also information that the Patriots’ balls were in a bathroom together and someone was in possession of them.  They may have been abused by one or more accomplices.  While the NFL has shown much interest in Patriot’s balls, it has shown no interest in Pat Tillman being shot in the back.

Russia: As we commemorate the 70th anniversary of projected guilt, let us remember that Aushwitz was liberated by the Russians.  Still, it is no reason to subject so many to Nenteyahoo’s countenance at every opportunity.  Putin is now the President of that country, and it is time to reflect on NATO sending so many neo-nazi troops to support the romantically patriotic figures in Kiev, Ukraine.  The Two billion dollars in loan guarantees given to that neo-nazi regime seems  inopportune at a time when Russia has an enormous amount of nuclear weapons.  There is no record of Putin ever being timid.  Gorbochev, former president, warns that Putin could very well feel pushed into a nuclear war.  Just when we all feared a slow, agonizing death from poison air, comes this good news about possible mass incineration, fast and clean!

Mideast: Reflection is rather preposterous at this time, but facts are always useful.  Our liberation of Libya from its one leader, we now have a mere 1,700 leaders or factions, most of them “Islamist,” which is supposedly bad for business.  In Egypt, our puppet, has killed dozens of civilians since the anniversary of the original revolution.  (On Twitter, #jan25 still is used for messages.)  Journalists, evil folks all, are in prison, and our puppet makes agreements with Israel as if they were brothers.  Israel attacked Syria and Lebanon, killing at least one Iranian general and several members of Hezbolla.  Some Israelis died as well, apparently.  Isis wants Jordan to release a woman who has been of death row in exchange for a Jordanian pilot and some Japanese guy.  Fox disapproves which would endorse the exchange.  Iran has made more progress in fighting ISIS than has the US, although Kurds have apparently won some town on the border with Turkey. The woman wanted in the Charlie Hebdo matter is in Syria and was in Turkey during the attack.  Still, she is guilty because she made many phone calls before the attack, and to another woman involved as well.  Michelle Obama did not cover her hair in Saudi Arabia, so people did not shakes hands with her, although they did perform a beheading on the day Obama landed, so the thing did have its upside.  For more on Lebanon and Israel:http://medhajnews.com/article.php?id=NjMxNA==

Beheadings:  If you ever get to hear Hayden’s 85th Symphony, you are treated to Marie Antoinette’s favorite symphony, ever.  She was beheaded, but not for that.  ISIS beheads many, but Saudi Arabia is still the leader in decapitations.  Guillotine invented his machine as a “humane” measure, and certainly it is more “humane” than the 21st century methods that usually involving cutting and hacking away.  It may even be more humane that or current lethal injections that sometimes string out the actual death to 45 minutes or so, writhing and screaming in pain.  Still, we have gitmo, so we still may be the world’s leader in painful death.  On the subject, the first lady sans headgear did stand in that receiving line and no-one would shake her hand. Reports that he has been beheaded are certainly premature, most like false, but not unfounded.

ZARATHUSTRA (GERMAN)

‘ve always found Nietzsche’s work rewarding. My first philosopher, the one I first read with any pleasure and reward was Arthur Schopenhauer, and he remains a great influence.

Nietzsche, however, has obviously had the most influence during the twentieth and twenty first Centuries and will continue to do so. This is despite the fact that most people discussing him have only heard about him and, of those who have read him, perhaps only one percent have ever read all of this work, and of them, perhaps only 40 percent have read him in the original
language. It is not surprising, then that he is so much misunderstood.

Without attempting to make more of the point (I have an article on the site about him that goes into some death), I am presenting the first few passages on the book, ending with the first statement on the death of God. The fact that the first person Zarathustra meets on
his way down from the mountain has not heard that God has died surprises him greatly. He thought everybody had hard about it.

L

Produced by Peter Bellen, derived from HTML files at

“Projekt Gutenberg – DE”

Erster Theil

Zarathustra’s Vorrede.

1.

Als Zarathustra dreissig Jahr alt war, verliess er seine Heimat und

den See seiner Heimat und ging in das Gebirge. Hier genoss er seines

Geistes und seiner Einsamkeit und wurde dessen zehn Jahr nicht müde.

Endlich aber verwandelte sich sein Herz, – und eines Morgens stand

er mit der Morgenröthe auf, trat vor die Sonne hin und sprach zu ihr

also:

“Du grosses Gestirn! Was wäre dein Glück, wenn du nicht Die hättest,

welchen du leuchtest!

Zehn Jahre kamst du hier herauf zu meiner Höhle: du würdest deines

Lichtes und dieses Weges satt geworden sein, ohne mich, meinen Adler

und meine Schlange.

Aber wir warteten deiner an jedem Morgen, nahmen dir deinen Überfluss

ab und segneten dich dafür.

Siehe! Ich bin meiner Weisheit überdrüssig, wie die Biene, die

des Honigs zu viel gesammelt hat, ich bedarf der Hände, die sich

ausstrecken.

Ich möchte verschenken und austheilen, bis die Weisen unter den

Menschen wieder einmal ihrer Thorheit und die Armen einmal ihres

Reichthums froh geworden sind.

Dazu muss ich in die Tiefe steigen: wie du des Abends thust, wenn

du hinter das Meer gehst und noch der Unterwelt Licht bringst, du

überreiches Gestirn!

Ich muss, gleich dir, _untergehen_, wie die Menschen es nennen, zu

denen ich hinab will.

So segne mich denn, du ruhiges Auge, das ohne Neid auch ein

allzugrosses Glück sehen kann!

Segne den Becher, welcher überfliessen will, dass das Wasser golden aus

ihm fliesse und überallhin den Abglanz deiner Wonne trage!

Siehe! Dieser Becher will wieder leer werden, und Zarathustra will

wieder Mensch werden.”

– Also begann Zarathustra’s Untergang.

2.

Zarathustra stieg allein das Gebirge abwärts und Niemand begegnete

ihm. Als er aber in die Wälder kam, stand auf einmal ein Greis vor

ihm, der seine heilige Hütte verlassen hatte, um Wurzeln im Walde zu

suchen. Und also sprach der Greis zu Zarathustra:

Nicht fremd ist mir dieser Wanderer: vor manchem Jahre gieng er hier

vorbei. Zarathustra hiess er; aber er hat sich verwandelt. Damals

trugst du deine Asche zu Berge: willst du heute dein Feuer in die

Thäler tragen? Fürchtest du nicht des Brandstifters Strafen?

Ja, ich erkenne Zarathustra. Rein ist sein Auge, und an seinem Munde

birgt sich kein Ekel. Geht er nicht daher wie ein Tänzer?

Verwandelt ist Zarathustra, zum Kind ward Zarathustra, ein Erwachter

ist Zarathustra: was willst du nun bei den Schlafenden?

Wie im Meere lebtest du in der Einsamkeit, und das Meer trug dich.

Wehe, du willst an’s Land steigen? Wehe, du willst deinen Leib wieder

selber schleppen?

Zarathustra antwortete: “Ich liebe die Menschen.”

Warum, sagte der Heilige, gieng ich doch in den Wald und die Einöde?

War es nicht, weil ich die Menschen allzu sehr liebte?

Jetzt liebe ich Gott: die Menschen liebe ich nicht. Der Mensch ist mir

eine zu unvollkommene Sache. Liebe zum Menschen würde mich umbringen.

Zarathustra antwortete: “Was sprach ich von Liebe! Ich bringe den

Menschen ein Geschenk.”

Gieb ihnen Nichts, sagte der Heilige. Nimm ihnen lieber Etwas ab und

trage es mit ihnen – das wird ihnen am wohlsten thun: wenn er dir nur

wohlthut!

Und willst du ihnen geben, so gieb nicht mehr, als ein Almosen, und

lass sie noch darum betteln!

“Nein, antwortete Zarathustra, ich gebe kein Almosen. Dazu bin ich

nicht arm genug.”

Der Heilige lachte über Zarathustra und sprach also: So sieh zu, dass

sie deine Schätze annehmen! Sie sind misstrauisch gegen die Einsiedler

und glauben nicht, dass wir kommen, um zu schenken.

Unse Schritte klingen ihnen zu einsam durch die Gassen. Und wie wenn

sie Nachts in ihren Betten einen Mann gehen hören, lange bevor die

Sonne aufsteht, so fragen sie sich wohl: wohin will der Dieb?

Gehe nicht zu den Menschen und bleibe im Walde! Gehe lieber noch zu

den Thieren! Warum willst du nicht sein, wie ich, – ein Bär unter

Bären, ein Vogel unter Vögeln?

“Und was macht der Heilige im Walde?” fragte Zarathustra.

Der Heilige antwortete: Ich mache Lieder und singe sie, und wenn ich

Lieder mache, lache, weine und brumme ich: also lobe ich Gott.

Mit Singen, Weinen, Lachen und Brummen lobe ich den Gott, der mein

Gott ist. Doch was bringst du uns zum Geschenke?

Als Zarathustra diese Worte gehört hatte, grüsste er den Heiligen und

sprach: “Was hätte ich euch zu geben! Aber lasst mich schnell davon,

dass ich euch Nichts nehme!” – Und so trennten sie sich von einander,

der Greis und der Mann, lachend, gleichwie zwei Knaben lachen.

Als Zarathustra aber allein war, sprach er also zu seinem Herzen:

“Sollte es denn möglich sein! Dieser alte Heilige hat in seinem Walde

noch Nichts davon gehört, dass _Gott todt_ ist!” –

***

3.

Als Zarathustra in die Nächste Stadt kam, die an den Wäldern liegt,

fand er daselbst viel Volk versammelt auf dem Markte: denn es

war verheissen worden, das man einen Seiltänzer sehen solle. Und

Zarathustra sprach also zum Volke:

Ich lehre euch den Übermenschen. Der Mensch ist Etwas, das überwunden

werden soll. Was habt ihr gethan, ihn zu überwinden?

“Alle Wesen bisher schufen etwas über sich hinaus: und ihr wollt die

Ebbe dieser großen Flut sein und lieber noch zum Tiere zurückgehen, als

den Menschen zu überwinden?”

Was ist der Affe für den Menschen? Ein Gelächter oder eine

schmerzliche Scham. Und ebendas soll der Mensch für den Übermenschen

sein: ein Gelächter oder eine schmerzliche Scham.

Ihr habt den Weg vom Wurme zum Menschen gemacht, und Vieles ist in

euch noch Wurm. Einst wart ihr Affen, und auch jetzt ist der Mensch

mehr Affe, als irgend ein Affe.

Wer aber der Weiseste von euch ist, der ist auch nur ein Zwiespalt

und Zwitter von Pflanze und von Gespenst. Aber heisse ich euch zu

Gespenstern oder Pflanzen werden?

Seht, ich lehre euch den Übermenschen!

Der Übermensch ist der Sinn der Erde. Euer Wille sage: der Übermensch

_sei_ der Sinn der Erde!

Ich beschwöre euch, meine Brüder, _bleibt der Erde treu_ und glaubt

Denen nicht, welche euch von überirdischen Hoffnungen reden!

Giftmischer sind es, ob sie es wissen oder nicht.

Verächter des Lebens sind es, Absterbende und selber Vergiftete, deren

die Erde müde ist: so mögen sie dahinfahren!

Einst war der Frevel an Gott der grösste Frevel, aber Gott starb, und

damit auch diese Frevelhaften. An der Erde zu freveln ist jetzt das

Furchtbarste und die Eingeweide des Unerforschlichen höher zu achten,

als der Sinn der Erde!

Einst blickte die Seele verächtlich auf den Leib: und damals war diese

Verachtung das Höchste: – sie wollte ihn mager, grässlich, verhungert.

So dachte sie ihm und der Erde zu entschlüpfen.

Oh diese Seele war selbst noch mager, grässlich und verhungert: und

Grausamkeit war die Wollust dieser Seele!

Aber auch ihr noch, meine Brüder, sprecht mir: was kündet euer Leib

von eurer Seele? Ist eure Seele nicht Armuth und Schmutz und ein

erbärmliches Behagen?

Wahrlich, ein schmutziger Strom ist der Mensch. Man muss schon ein

Meer sein, um einen schmutzigen Strom aufnehmen zu können, ohne unrein

zu werden.

Seht, ich lehre euch den Übermenschen: der ist diess Meer, in ihm kann

eure grosse Verachtung untergehn.

Was ist das Grösste, das ihr erleben könnt? Das ist die Stunde der

grossen Verachtung. Die Stunde, in der euch auch euer Glück zum Ekel

wird und ebenso eure Vernunft und eure Tugend.

Die Stunde, wo ihr sagt: “Was liegt an meinem Glücke! Es ist Armuth

und Schmutz, und ein erbärmliches Behagen. Aber mein Glück sollte das

Dasein selber rechtfertigen!”

Die Stunde, wo ihr sagt: “Was liegt an meiner Vernunft! Begehrt sie

nach Wissen wie der Löwe nach seiner Nahrung? Sie ist Armuth und

Schmutz und ein erbärmliches Behagen!”

Die Stunde, wo ihr sagt: “Was liegt an meiner Tugend! Noch hat sie

mich nicht rasen gemacht. Wie müde bin ich meines Guten und meines

Bösen! Alles das ist Armuth und Schmutz und ein erbärmliches Behagen!”

Die Stunde, wo ihr sagt: “Was liegt an meiner Gerechtigkeit! Ich sehe

nicht, dass ich Gluth und Kohle wäre. Aber der Gerechte ist Gluth und

Kohle!”

I have no knowledge of the film HEAT, but the general point about Mann is viable.

alterities

“..Mann’s heroes almost always end up alone and isolated. However, they are not simply alone, but alone because they adopt a sense of duty that brooks no compromise with the exigencies of society or even survival.” – Their ethical drive leads them to refuse the false satisfaction that the symbolic order offers. Their ethos consists in a drive to abandon everything that would confine them within a symbolic identity. .. While watching a film such as Heat, our enjoyment derives in large part from this excess, which allows us to see the enjoyment in duty itself, ..the enjoyment ..for the sake of duty rather than for any pathological motivation. ..The film also makes clear that this enjoyment does not imply happiness.

The Real Gaze. – TODD MCGOWAN – On the neurotic side of film heroes

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