September 4, 2010 archive

Original v. Cover — #41 in a Series

Bo Diddley Pictures, Images and Photos

This week’s featured selection was written by a pioneering rock ‘n roll icon, and released in June, 1955 as the B-side of the songwriter/performer’s hit single, the title of which was identical to his name. Both songs, even if you don’t immediately connect the title and the music, are likely to sound familiar. The writing credit was listed under his real name at the time, Ellas McDaniel, and was based at least in part on Muddy Water’s 1954 song, “Hoochie Coochie Man”, which had been written by Willie Dixon. The B-side is ranked #369 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.  Although neither side advanced to the Billboard Hot 100 charts, both achieved a #1 ranking on the Billboard R&B Singles charts.

Photos from the Manhattan “Outstanding in the Field” Dinner

This diary is about a farm dinner on the Lower East Side of Manhattan that took place on Tuesday. This is my fourth time writing about Jim Denevan and Tuesday was my third time attending one of his local food art events.

I have photos and thoughts from this special evening to share below the fold but first the fascinating story of this man who educates people about food issues by uniting the farmers and dinner guest. Martha Teichner offered my introduction to Outstanding in the Field a couple of years ago and it’s a good start for understanding all the things Jim does.

That old video that ends in the same Manhattan garden where I had dinner on Tuesday touches most of the bases but there is so much more about Jim that makes him “Outstanding in the Field.”    

Popular Culture 20100903: Wingnut Mythology

Every culture has its mythology, almost without exception, to explain why things happen the way that they do.  Before the scientific method, mythology “explained” everything.  Zeus threw down “thunderbolts” because he was displeased or to intervene with some human event.  Poseidon caused tsunamis for the same reason, and so forth essentially forever.

Then the monotheistic folks got ahold of it, and Yahweh destroyed the Earth by water because he was unhappy.  The same one destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah in a rain of fire because only Lot and his family were godly.  Of course, after their mum was transmogrified into into a pillar of salt, the daughters decided that the only way that their clan could survive was to have incestuous sex with their father, and did so, and “brought forth” offspring.  Oddly, the deity did not punish them for incest, but killed their mum for looking at something.  Go figure!

This post is about other myths that are current in our culture now.  Some of them are extremely pernicious.

Doctor; Your Diagnosis. My Death


copyright © 2010 Betsy L. Angert.

Dearest Doctor, I have come to my senses.  Days ago, when you offered your diagnosis, I died.  No, not literally.  Had you done me in, I would not be here to write what I hope will help inform your bedside manner.  Well, in my case only the way in which you approach a patient who merely sits in an examining room chair near you is the concern.  You may recall our time together began so innocently. We sat down to review the results of annually scheduled blood-work.  I had not felt sick all year or on that day.  You had even expressed, it had been so long since we last saw each other.  You scanned the pages, and proclaimed, that I must have returned to my bulimic ways. My spirit perished.  I had done nothing of the sort!  Yet, you said you were sure I had.

Revolution Through Good Vibrations?

This feels like a crazy time. Almost nothing political in this country seems to make sense. I feel a little crazy too. Maybe this whole diary is nuts but it comes from my heart.

I think there are reasons for this crazy time here are a few of them:  

  1. There is little correlation between what is reported in the mainstream media and anything we might agree to call “reality”. This fact is true because there has been a deliberate attempt to mislead the public through mind-control techniques which are partly engineered and has partly emerged from the logic of public relations and advertising.
  2. We have,right now, a population that is, for the most part, addicted to “entertainment” and amusements almost as if they were the essence of life. This creates a need for meaning as a matter of fantasy. If it feels cool then it is true or desirable. We take positions on public policy, for example, based on messages from our lower brain. While this is normal for human beings the fact that the stakes are so high right now makes this a catastrophe. We are headed for a world described by the movie Idiocracy
  3. Those people who ought to know better and who have had a liberal education and are reasonably cultured have lost, as Yeats said, “lost all conviction.” In other words the educated are dealing with the influence of modernism and the scientific view of the world where you cannot, by definition, be convinced of anything. You must hold all judgement until you have all the facts and it is hard to know when that point arrives. So the point gets pushed somewhere far away and that becomes a habit. Ultimately this form of modernism is value-neutral. It is hard for a modernist or post-modernist to say “here I stand” even when the question is to abolish the modernist project. This can be seen by the astonishing quiet on the part of the American intelligentsia (other than derision and wry asides, with some notable exceptions) in the face of several decades of active and unrelenting work on the part of the right to institute a return to religious fundamentalism, American Exceptionalism and feudalism with all its comforting certainties.

Friday Philosophy: Clutter – Three Poems

I recently had to empty one office and move all my shit into another one in a different building.  As often has happened when I have done this sort of thing, I uncovered an old scrap of paper.  On it were three poems.  Searching my data banks has revealed that two of them were micro-planed into poems which I have published before, in slightly different form.

Because of the start of the new semester, that’s about all I’ve got to share this evening.

Originally I was going to write a piece entitled In the good old days, they just called us perverts, but I didn’t find the time to flesh it out.  If anyone wants to discuss the topic, I’m game to do so in the comments.

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