by Andrea Elizabeth
Hipster Barbie Instagram is popular for “perfectly mocking every annoying person on Instagram”. I bet the people who like it could be mocked too. I remember hearing someone say about my “perfect” friend who could sing solos, was valedictorian of her class, and was beautiful, “doesn’t she make you sick?”. No, perfect people don’t make me sick. I am glad that there are accomplished people in the world. They make me aim higher and inspire me. People who make excuses depress me. And so do the type-A judgmental people. There is a time to binge-watch and a time to hike. You don’t know if it is that person’s time. Let’s assume it is, ok?
If the day of the crash that killed Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and The Big Bopper (Jiles Perry Richardson, Jr.) was the day the music died, then the death of Robin Williams is the day comedy died. Maybe it tells more about Don McClean than Buddy Holly, and maybe saying that tells more about me than Robin Williams.
“Except to acknowledge that he first learned about Buddy Holly‘s February 3, 1959 death when he was folding newspapers for his paper route on the morning of February 4, 1959 (the line “February made me shiver/with every paper I’d deliver”), McLean has generally avoided responding to direct questions about the song lyrics, such as saying, “They’re beyond analysis. They’re poetry.” He also stated in an editorial published in 2009 on the 50th anniversary of the crash that writing the first verse of the song exorcised his long-running grief over Holly’s death and that he considers the song to be “a big song (…) that summed up the world known as America.” McLean dedicated the American Pie album to Holly.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Pie_(song)
If that’s the criteria, then Robin Williams’ death couldn’t have been the day the comedy died because I don’t remember what I was doing when I heard the news, and my grief over it hasn’t been that long-running. My uncomfortable affection for him has been, however. So maybe Mork’s hatching from the egg was the day comedy was born. But wouldn’t my earlier memory of Groucho Marx glasses and wax big lips be that day? And what about the Elephant’s Child schlooping up a schloop of mud so that it ran trickly all behind his ears? Or when the hippie said to the Ghost with the Bloody Fingers, “Cool it, man, go get some bandaids.” Or when the guy said to the other guy after not hearing him repeatedly say, “Did you know you have a banana in your ear?”, “I can’t hear you, I have a banana in my ear.”
No, those weren’t the days. It was Mork’s power to resurrect people after the 60’s wore off and we were stuck in the 70’s disillusioned love of tear-jerkers. But didn’t Star Wars do that? No. Star Wars wasn’t funny. Well, Han Solo was, but in the same way Indiana Jones was when he shot the ninja samurai guy. It was because he was sick and tired, like Dirty Harry was. Robin Williams wasn’t.
Until he was.
That’s the day the comedy died.
up to page 70 of Either/Or by Søren Kierkegaard.
Music is posited by the aesthetic speaker, A, to be demonic in its spiritual, abstract, sensuality. Words are concrete and superior, though tend to the lyrical and musical. Indeed where words leave off, music begins. Nature, architecture, paintings, and sculpture are silent. Their medium is the sensuous, and not an instrument as words are. Music was categorized as above only after Christianity, which detached itself from the sensual.
I’ll not quibble with the possible implication of anti-material dualism, but maybe the neoplatonic law of diminishing completeness. The pro column could include that
Jesus is The Word.
verbal thought necessitates a certain detachment from what is being experienced, leaving room for a free will response.
Although we seek to put the mind in the heart, this does not include a negation of the mind, and there is also the teaching that the senses are to be subject to the rational soul.
However, and maybe he’ll get to it when he talks more about the spiritual or the eternal, and I wonder if he’s intimated at it with his discussion of psychic immediacy, the teaching on the nous is that
Human reasoning is not enough: there will always remain an “irrational residue” which escapes analysis and which can not be expressed in concepts: it is this unknowable depth of things, that which constitutes their true, indefinable essence that also reflects the origin of things in God. In Eastern Christianity it is by faith or intuitive truth that this component of an objects existence is grasped. Though God through his energies draws us to him, his essence remains inaccessible. The operation of faith being the means of free will by which mankind faces the future or unknown, these noetic operations contained in the concept of insight or noesis. Faith (pistis) is therefore sometimes used interchangeably with noesis in Eastern Christianity.
Regarding the silent mediums, could he be exaggeratedly rendering silent meditative contemplation unnecessary?
I suppose there is a time to speak, a time for silence, a time for music, and a time for painting. Who knows what it will be like when we enter timelessness.
After criticizing excessive form in overdecoration, and he did live in Victorian times, he says this,
“Like so many others, however, this effort found its subduer in Hegel. It is a sad truth about Hegelian philosophy that on the whole it has by no means achieved the importance, neither for the past nor for the present age, that it would have achieved if the past age had not been so busy scaring people into it but had rather possessed a little more calm presence of mind in appropriating it to itself, and if the present age had not been so indefatigably active in driving people beyond it. Hegel reinstated the subject matter, the idea, in its rights and thereby ousted those transient classic works, those superficialities, those twilight moths from the arched vaults of classicism. It is by no means our intention to deny these works the value that is their due, but the point is to watch out lest here, as in so many other places, the language become confused, the concepts enervated. A certain eternity may be readily attributed to them, and this is their merit, but still this eternity is actually only the eternal moment that any true artistic production has, but not the full eternity in the midst of the shifts and changes of the times. What these productions lacked was ideas, and the more formally perfect they were, the more quickly they burned themselves out. As technical skill was more and more developed to the highest level of virtuosity, the more transient this virtuosity became and the more it lacked the mettle and power or balance to withstand the gusts of time, while more and more exalted it continually made greater claims to being the most distilled spirit. Only where the idea is brought to rest and transparency in a definite form can there be any question of a classic work, but then it will also be capable of withstanding the times. This unity, this mutual intimacy in each other, every classic work has, and thus it is readily perceived that every attempt at a classification of the various classic works that has as its point of departure a separation of subject matter and form or of idea and form is eo ipso a failure.” (p. 53, 54, Either/Or, Soren Kierkegaard)
Kierkegaard speaks of form and content as a marriage, and I would add, similarly to the language of the two natures of Christ in Chalcedon that I always have to look up, but love hearing, “One and the Same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten; acknowledged in Two Natures unconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably; the difference of the Natures being in no way removed because of the Union, but rather the properties of each Nature being preserved, and (both) concurring into One Person and One Hypostasis; not as though He were parted or divided into Two Persons, but One and the Self-same Son and Only-begotten God, Word, Lord, Jesus Christ; even as from the beginning the prophets have taught concerning Him, and as the Lord Jesus Christ Himself hath taught us, and as the Symbol of the Fathers hath handed down to us.“
I read that Kierkegaard did not think Hegel had it, but the above is somewhat of a tribute anyway for ousting superficiality. Perhaps he is referring to Hegel’s thesis, antithesis, synthesis in that Hegel acknowledged some sort of balance? But synthesis could be likened to saying Christ is a hybrid, which Chalcedon denies. It puts two things at odds with each other and they both have to change in order to inhabit the same place. I listened to Ken Burns on NPR the other day talking about his new documentary on the Roosevelts and he said that it is better to let two contradictory things sit in tension with each other than to make a single judgment about them that is ultimately untrue and dismisses them to find a false peace or relief from the tension. In the paragraph before, Kierkegaard says, “Although paradoxes are otherwise detested, the paradox that the least was actually art was not dismaying.” In other words, less is more.
I know Brother Sun, Sister Moon was filmed in Italy, but the actors and singer were American. While watching this video of one of the songs where St. Francis finds the Church ruin,
after thinking about how it probably was supposed to represent the Catholic Church’s corruption at the time, I thought how the Orthodox take a more personal view, that I am in such a state and in need of repair by grace in the Church. Then I thought while watching this similarly toned John Michael Talbot video,
that perhaps American Christianity has a naturalistic quality that springs from the reports from the early European explorers that its pristine nature was indeed heaven on earth, Eden, the promised land; as well as from the Protestant Reformation that took the institutional Church out of the picture, so that one was left with beautiful landscapes from which to draw inspiration and see the glory of God.
I think Cowboy Churches may be the closest to maintaining this idea about America.
Kubla Khan had Xanadu, Coleridge had German idealism. Did they both have the truth? The truth of another country? Apparently Hegel was a German idealist, which brings us to the dialectic method. Wikipedia says
“The purpose of the dialectic method of reasoning is resolution of disagreement through rational discussion, and, ultimately, the search for truth. One way to proceed—theSocratic method—is to show that a given hypothesis (with other admissions) leads to a contradiction; thus, forcing the withdrawal of the hypothesis as a candidate for truth (see reductio ad absurdum).
It is also possible that the rejection of the participants’ presuppositions is resisted, which then might generate a second-order controversy.
Fichtean Dialectics (Hegelian Dialectics) is based upon four concepts:
The concept of dialectic existed in the philosophy of Heraclitus of Ephesus, who proposed that everything is in constant change, as a result of inner strife and opposition. Hence, the history of the dialectical method is the history of philosophy.”
Back to Coleridge’s “Kubla Khan” and Coleridge’s violently dialectical relationship to paradise (also from Wikipedia),
“Although the Tartars are barbarians from China, they are connected to ideas within the Judaeo Christian tradition, including the idea of Original Sin and Eden. The account of Cublai Can in Purchas’s work, discussed in Coleridge’s Preface, connects the idea of paradise with luxury and sensual pleasure. The place was described in negative terms and seen as an inferior representation of paradise, and Coleridge’s ethical system did not connect pleasure with joy or the divine.
“… The narrator introduces a character he once dreamed about, an Abyssinian maid who sings of another land. She is a figure of imaginary power within the poem who can inspire within the narrator his own ability to craft poetry. When she sings, she is able to inspire and mesmerise the poet by describing a false paradise. The woman herself is similar to the way Coleridge describes Lewti in another poem he wrote around the same time Lewti. The connection between Lewti and the Abyssinian maid makes it possible that the maid was intended as a disguised version of Mary Evans, who appears as a love interest since Coleridge’s 1794 poem The Sigh. Evans, in the poems, appears as an object of sexual desire and a source of inspiration. She is also similar to the later subject of many of Coleridge’s poems, Asra, based on Sara Hutchinson, whom Coleridge wanted but was not his wife and experienced opium induced dreams of being with her.
The figure is related to Heliodurus‘s work, Aethiopian History with its description of “a young Lady, sitting upon a Rock, of so rare and perfect a Beauty, as one would have taken her for a Goddess, and though her present misery opprest her with extreamest grief, yet in the greatness of her afflection, they might easily perceive the greatness of her Courage: A Laurel crown’d her Head, an a Quiver in a Scarf hanged at her back”. Her description in the poem is also related to Isis of Apuleius’s Metamorphoses, but Isis was a figure of redemption and the Abyssinian maid cries out for her demon-lover. She is similar to John Keats’s Indian woman in Endymion who is revealed to be the moon goddess, but in Kubla Khan she is also related to the sun and the sun as an image of divine truth.
In addition to real life counterparts of the Abyssinian maid, Milton’s Paradise Lost describes Abyssinian kings keeping their children guarded at Mount Amara and a false paradise, which is echoed in Kubla Khan.”
It seems to me that Coleridge and Milton hate loving earthly, temporal, muse-inspired paradise. They can’t seem to get over it. I am wondering if there is a way that they are “fearing fear where there is no fear”. C.S. Lewis seemed to make peace with the Abyssinian maids in his Space Trilogy and The Great Divorce. Let them sing, I say.
I know I didn’t impress anyone when I revealed I watched Dancing With the Stars this season. I justify it by saying, it’s because of the respectable Olympic skaters, Davis and White, whom I’ve followed for 5 years, that I watched it. But watching people deal with asceticism/hard work mixed with interpreting music, has actually made me think I shouldn’t dis the other contestants either. As with skating, or almost any art-form actually, one has to turn away from the more salacious aspects.
Now I will let my reputation sink further by revealing that I have now succumbed to watching the Bachelorette. This doesn’t have hard work to justify it, except for how hard it is to have a relationship. I’ll tell you that my fascination is to find out why men love women. I’ve always wondered. My observations after watching 3 of the 4 episodes so far:
They want acceptance, if not being impressed, comfort, and encouragement, simultaneously with that beautiful girl needing them for protection. I’ve often thought that a love interest is someone who somehow doesn’t shatter your suspension of disbelief that they are a suitable object of devotion. It almost seems unreal, misplaced, or even idolatrous how a person can expect everything to be ok if that man or woman will connect with him on a certain level. Many of the men seem wounded, and look to Andi to heal them, not that people can’t be instrumental in that. A sad case was a contestant who revealed to another contestant how devastating it was that his dad had never been in the picture, his sister died of an overdose, then his brother had a tragic accident and was in a coma before dying. The saddest part to him was the total devastation of his mother who was left prostrate on the hospital floor beside his IV. He broke down telling it, then said he really wanted Andi to know about it. When he finally gets his chance, it’s anti-climactic. He’s already told the world “what few people know about him,” and I can’t see how she wouldn’t have already known, as well as known how it was almost too important for him to tell her in particular about it in that he was one of 25 guys that she’s barely spent any time with. She seemed very nervous about her reaction being therapeutic enough. But it seems to me like most of the guys, as well as her, are genuinely putting their hearts out there.
Enter Eric Hill. He had the first one-on-one date with her. Ok maybe I’ve seen all 4 shows? It was a very adventurous snow boarding, sand-castle beach building, helicopter ride adventure in which they both hit it off. They were cute together. Then she had to give everyone else a chance and he never understood why. He was very hurt by this. They had one good conversation the last evening where she felt like they cleared the air and after saying he wasn’t open enough. He then, almost desperately, revealed that he had been raised Mormon, but had left the Church, had been afraid his family would reject him, but was very glad they didn’t. She asked some good questions, but you could tell by her stiffening and facial expression that someone who considered religion so seriously wasn’t her cup of tea. He finally had had it later last night and accused her of being “poker faced”. She lost it and pretty much told him to get lost. I have found that conversations where you want someone to like you better usually don’t go well. You hold on to a moment in the past where they seem to have liked you like you want to be liked, and you can’t believe it didn’t last. He took it personally, but really, he was too deep for her. He was a missionary and Peace Corp type person. She seems like a corporate human resources type person, which can be helpful to a point.
There is someone whom she seems the most relaxed around, but I don’t remember his name or what his background is.
Back to Eric. I thought he seemed too desperate to recapture their moment, but if you think it’s the culmination of all your hopes and dreams, I guess you can’t let it go until it’s hopelessly dashed. He seemed to realize that and wanted to be in control and reject her before he didn’t get the rose that night. That way he left under his own steam. That was the last scene before they made the announcement that that was his last appearance on the show, and that he tragically died a few weeks later in a paragliding accident where his wing collapsed in Utah. Shocker after shocker. Here’s a tribute to him from his sister.
Is it just romantic idealists who set such stock in their dream life? Is it just the ones who have a lot going for them, or likewise the arrogant ones, who aim their expectations too high?
Andi does sort of have a poker face around the ones she hasn’t let go yet. I think she genuinely likes them and wants to give them a chance. But you can’t really help who you gravitate towards, as insulting as that may be.
If dancing is not personal, but about the essence of man and woman together, is that not defying the ordo theologea of person, then activities, then essence? The question becomes do people define the essence, or the other way around?
I’ll also say that presuppositions and loyalty define arguments, and I am loyal to the ordo above ordered, and will defend it because I believe in it, therefore I think it is higher than my own personal logic, but I will use my logic and innate loyalty to the truth and not deception or spinning to explore the subject. Perhaps the premise that dance is not personal, but about the essence of male and femaleness, is not correct. I’ll not say I’ll ditch the idea because Maks’ words ring true to me and my current development of the idea. Without further ado…
First, are we restricted by human nature? Given that the Calvinists are wrong and human nature is good, I’ll still say we are not restricted to human nature, or essence because we are given free will to go against it. If a person goes against it, are they changing human nature? No. their are living a lie that is not real. This is why no one likes to see two men or two women dancing in a face to face way. It is why we have chorus lines where same sex people are side to side and in unison doing the same thing. Then why do gay dancers do it? Their desires are warped and unnatural.
Therefore, person is first in that they must choose to engage in the natural. But nature does pre-exist person, in that Adam was created before anyone else, and Christ was crucified (it doesn’t say incarnated, but how can a bodiless person be crucified?) before the foundation of the world.
But dance evolves. That is because individuals haven’t explored all the boundaries of the essence of male and femaleness. Here we get into traditional vs. modern. Versus is an adversarial word, but I prefer “distinction”. I will not say traditional, or classical dance was fated to be the standard, but when we say classic, we mean timeless, and if something stands the test of time, I believe it rings true to the deepest essence of human nature. Could there have been an alternative? My husband told me a while back after reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance that there was a battle in the beginning of the philosophical tradition between the Sophists and someone else, and the former won. Was it because they were truer to human nature? Maybe not, but we go with it anyway.
Dancing With the Stars seems to be having a debate about how true to the traditional dances a person has to be. One week they criticized a couple for “breaking hold” but then other times they let people be pretty free with the styles. That reminds me that in Davis and Whites short program, where they are supposed to follow a predetermined dance style, everyone else did 20’s Charleston type stuff and they did My Fair Lady, with one commentor saying their dance was to the pace. I didn’t see how it was, and wondered at their straying.
When George and I took ballroom dancing they told us you have to learn the basic, traditional steps, then you put you own moves within that frame. So the essence of male and female is to follow structure, and make it their own. A person has to choose to do this, which follows the ordo. If one of the couple doesn’t, then their dance is disjointed, unless the other person follows suit. What if the woman comes up with something new, like the Cha cha? Then the man can choose to complement her in a masculine way. The male role is to support the female. But what if the female is the expert and has to teach the male, as happens in the show. She teaches him how to support her. It’s kind of funny when the woman lifts the man, which I have seen, usually over her back, not with her arms, so it is still feminine, but commical and playful, and an obvious shocker, and not a natural order. It demonastrates that there are acceptable exceptions and that people do have freedom, but they are most peacefully accepted as exceptions and not a new rule. If the people accept a new dance, and I hope homo couples are never accepted on DWTS, though there was a playful 3 second venture that both men walked away from, then I hope that it is because our basic mass intuition is still trustworthy.
But there are more and more homo couples and their activities on tv. Yes, and ew, but maybe they don’t show them dancing? My underlying statement is that dance, not copulation, shows us the essence of male and femaleness. Why? Because it’s art. Isn’t lovemaking artful? It’s too individual and self gratifying. Dance is for public display, and performance dance is for the audience. There.
I didn’t get to the evolution of dance and how it relates to leadership and conciliarity because my battery is about to run out for one reason.