Wednesday, December 28, 2016

TRUMP'S INAUGURATION, ROCKETTES, AND KULTURE


The Satyr Marsyas being flayed alive by Apollo
because his talents challenged a god.
Truth to power of the artist
by Titian


Under pressure from his liberal masters, Andrea Bocelli has refused to perform for the Trump inauguration. Mark Steyn was talking about Bocelli and the Rockettes on the Rush Limbaugh show this morning opining that liberals were trying to delegitimize Trump but had delegitimized themselves. He’s right. But the truth is much uglier. The liberal media and academically sanctioned culture has delegitimized American culture itself.
The most important qualification for success as an actor, musician, performer, writer, director of any kind in Liberal Kulture is that they be certifiably free of talent and show absolutely no discernible inclination whatsoever to develop any. This must be understood by all conservatives from the past and all future Americans. All real artists have been condemned to the liberal gulag.
Complete lack of talent is the first and most important qualification for any artist that the Liberal masters will support, because any scintilla of talent is liable to arouse a true feeling or thought in an audience, and that is anathema to Liberal Kulture czars. The “common herd” must learn to feel only what Liberals want them to feel and think only what Liberals want them to think.
I am not saying that Bocelli hasn’t got a certain very pleasing facility in his vocal accomplishments. He is certainly skilled and it’s a pleasure to hear him. He’s mildly entertaining and wouldn’t detract too much from the scenery at an event like an inauguration, but he’d never upstage a Donald Trump. He’s a small loss. Surely if Trump really looks he can find someone whose talents will actually enhance the event.
But to understand my point you have only to compare him to the true talent of a Pavarotti, whose voice and the feelings he used that voice to convey cut a path to the human soul and ennobled anyone who could listen. He challenged his listeners to feel life as deeply, as powerfully, as delicately, as subtly, oh for heavens’ sake I could go on forever about Pavarotti, but there it is. PBS needed Pavarotti, he never needed them. He donated his talent to them because he knew a gift like his was from God and meant for all mankind.
Real music lovers would have mortgaged their homes, walked across deserts, swum the English Channel to hear him sing one verse of Nessum Dorma. Why? Because if you loved music, opera and the human voice, his singing filled you with ecstasy of the kind described by Teressa of Avila in her vision: “the sweetness of this intense pain is so extreme, there is no wanting it to end, and the soul isn’t satisfied with anything less than God.” Yeah. I heard him sing and he was that good. You never really recover from hearing Pavarotti if opera is your thing.
Here’s what Vaclav Havel, (the famous dissident playwright/president of the Czech republic jailed by the Soviets when they put an end to the Prague Spring) has to say about the importance of culture to society. “The main instrument of society’s self-knowledge is its culture… It is culture that enables a society to enlarge its liberty and to discover truth.” Liberal censored culture is careful “not to excite people with the truth, but to reassure them with lies… the aesthetics of banality.” “Hamiliton”, Rockettes, Bocelli and Meryl Streep, I’m looking at you.
Havel on liberal induced culture and their power: “it’s a power that sees society as an obedient herd whose duty is to be permanently grateful that it has what it has.”
How important is a belief in the value of art to Western Civilization? Here I make reference to Kenneth Clark’s wonderful BBC series on Civilization. In that series, he speaks of the Abbey Church of Saint Denis in France and Abbot Sugar’s views as he lavishly remodeled the Twelfth Century Gothic Cathedral. Abbot Sugar wrote that “the dull mind rises to truth through that which is material.” This is the first time that the value of art to Western Civilization had ever been written down and acted upon. It is the belief that, as Lord Clark states it, “we can only understand the absolute beauty which is God through the effects of precious and beautiful things on our senses.” God and art are inextricably joined in Western Civilization and fundamental to its survival. Christianity provides the religious and philosophical foundation for the value of all art to humanity. Thus, the suppression of art is agnostic in intent and effect.
My old buddy Vaclav sums up how I feel about Trump’s election perfectly when he says: “But chiefly, I suppose, it was the exciting realization that there are still people among us who assume the existential responsibility for their own truth and are willing to pay a high price for it.” The Rockettes, Bocelli and all Liberal approved culture are nothing but cheap thrills.

Friday, December 23, 2016

PORTLANDIA, THE UPPER WEST SIDE OF MANHATTAN AND BARRY GOLDWATER

An Upper West side Must Have in the Sixties

(Apologies to whole Portlandia crowd because a racist, anti-Semite, islamophobic, sexist, homophobic, misogynist, scary, scary, fiendish monster, horrible, terrible, mean, vicious, hating everyone by merely being a Trump voter watched your show and sullied your pure self with my eyes. Okay, feel better now you jack booted snowflakes?)  

As you already know, if you read this blog, I had my son so late in life that we called him the grandchild. In an effort to breach the huge generational cultural divide, we watch stuff together over brunch and compare perceptions.

The other day, he particularly wanted to share an episode of PORTLANDIA with me. At his suggestion, I had watched many PORTLANDIA shows previously and had enjoyed them immensely. What a funny, inventive pair of comedians the two people who do this show are. But what always strikes me is that even though I've never been there, I feel right at home in Portlandia, because it reminds me so much of where I spent twenty of the best years of my life: the upper west side of Manhattan in the Seventies and Eighties.

The cultural ethos is exactly the way I remember the Upper West Side. I moved to the Upper West Side of Manhattan as a college student at Barnard College, then the women's college of Columbia University. BTW Barnard was much harder to get into than Columbia in those days. Far more applicants, far smaller college. So there, you sexists, in case anybody doubted that women are as smart as men because they're too smart to let men know it. But I digress.

What a wonderful place the Upper West Side was in those days. There was a tiny candy store run by an elderly European couple who made their own incredible candies. There was a crazy man who stood on the street corner singing imaginary opera all day long then yelling, "Hey, Yumke Yumke!" with his hat on the curb for donations. Sometimes, you could find him outside Carnegie Hall.

There were grocery stores with their fresh fruit and vegetables spread across the sidewalk, a fresh fish store, several art house movie theaters, dance studios for classes, small theaters doing all kinds of experimental theater, as well as classical productions on the cheap, and many small, funky restaurants that served highly inventive and unique cuisine. A particular favorite of mine was a Cuban Chinese place. There was Murray's for the best fresh bagels, lox and cream cheese.

There were lots of funky shops with hand made jewelry of intricate leather and beads and strange exotic clothes from far off places. I lived in an Afghan goat skin jacket in the winter. It smelled a bit gamey when it was by a radiator, but it was the only coat that cut the brutal chill wind that seared off the Hudson River in the winter. You know, other than a mink coat, which no one on the upper west side would have ever been caught dead wearing, even if they could afford to own ten of them. Showing off was declassee. 

The entire moral universe on the Upper West Side in those days was the same as I see in Portlandia and I loved it there, never wanted to live anywhere else. It seemed like paradise to me. It was delightful to walk on upper Broadway and visit all the small and interesting shops. The restaurants were filled with professionals of every type who were always genial, polite, family people who believed in patronizing the arts, self improvement, good food, good fun and good company.

So what the heck happened to these liberals? These were people I liked so much and who taught me so much about the value of the good life well lived. They really were tolerant, gentle people who respected culture and were accepting of everyone.

I think the same thing happened to them that happened to the Barry Goldwater Republicans. No one but me seems to remember that Goldwater was against the Vietnam war. He was the guy who said it was wrong to fight these small wars. If you're going to ask men to die for their country, then the whole country goes to war and sacrifices, otherwise fogettaboutit. Yes, he really said that. I remember it well because all the young men in my high school were terrified of being drafted and sent to Vietnam. But no one voted for Goldwater. No one. I don't think anyone even remembers that he ever ran for president. He was a great guy. What a crush I had on him! He was such a tall, elegant, western cowboy kind of guy and a very successful business man.

I just sometimes wonder what the heck happened to everybody in this country. How did we reach the point where the PORTLANDIA crowd has turned into rabid haters and Republicans are welfare state bureaucrats and war mongers. I mean, am I just getting too old to get it?










Thursday, December 22, 2016

JOY TO THE WORLD



Communism, fascism and so many religions and belief systems are so perversely and willfully joyless, and in fact absolutely and tyrannically forbid joy, that Christianity and Christmas stand out in stark contrast by comparison. Christmas is earthly joy of every kind celebrated in every way: generosity to friends and everyone you deal with, singing, rejoicing, feasting and being with family. Even the angels are filled with joy at the birth of Christ.


It took me years of therapy to be able to experience joy because I was always anxious, frustrated and angry. Once I understood myself better and learned to love and forgive myself and others, I begin to experience real joy. How wonderful it was for me to discover that the religion I'd been raised in worshipped a God who also wanted me and everyone to be joyful.

The real and innocent joy of life and joy at the birth of the child in the manger is part of my celebration of Christmas that I try to share with my family and friends.





Sunday, December 11, 2016

RUSH AND OPRAH - AN UNHOLY MARRIAGE

Frankenstein and Bride- Is this marriage doomed to fail?

Rush Limbaugh and Oprah Winfrey are the two pleasantly plump, (see, I'm not fat shaming) over opinionated talk show hosts who defined an era. They are the ying and yang of political sexual hysteria. I respect and admire both Rush and Oprah and have greatly benefitted from both their opinion shows over the years, as I know we all have. But Oprah leans toward the manhating side of things and Rush leans toward misogyny.

Like a bad marriage, Oprah, the epitome of a Democrat, and Rush, Mr. Republican, have been yelling loud and long at each other, with increasing hysteria, for the last twenty-five years. We the public have unwittingly been caught in the middle of this shouting match. Isn't hysteria the result of unresolved sexual problems? Hum.

And here's the kicker. If you had to imagine that unholy marriage producing a talk show child, wouldn't that poor child be a lot like Ellen DeGeneres? How could those two produce anything but a person who seems uncomfortable with the trappings of either sex, but has a terrific sense of humor? And very surely with those two warring people for parents, their offspring would need a superb sense of humor just to survive. It's all makes perfect sense, in an American talk show way.

Trump has been the ideal antidote to both. The primaries were the Rush Republicans having their hissy fit and nervous breakdown. And what a bunch of pantywaist, preachy, chicken hawks they turned out to be, once Trump upset their apple cart. Has a country ever in the history of the world been presented with fourteen sadder creatures running for the highest office in the land?

The Democrats presidential candidate was a woman who seemed to be auditioning for the role of Zombie dictator in the Walking Dead series. Now, they are showing their hysterical true colors. Whipped into a frenzy, the MSM has morphed into the cartoon network, where Boris Badenov has stolen the election for Donald Duck. Next they'll be hunting Elmer Fudd dressed as a Nazi hacker in Argentina as the culprit who stole their imaginary votes.

Trump seems a person happily free of political sexual hysteria. He never uses science to frighten the uneducated, neither global warming nor evolution are boogie men he pops on the unsuspecting. His libido seems in harmony with his biology. And he doesn't care a fig leaf about anyone's sexuality, no matter what it is, as long as they get the job done. He's so friggin American, this guy. Brash, honest, unapologetic Mr. Can do.

What a relief to turn off the howling hysterics. Now I just want to live my life in peace and freedom and make up my own mind about things.

Friday, December 9, 2016

KEEPING CHRISTMAS WELL - SCROOGE

Scrooge and the ghost of his dead partner Marley

As I do every year, I drank deep from the well of sentiment, accompanied by a few draughts from the well of gin, and watched A CHRISTMAS CAROL starring Alastair Sim, again. In spite of my best efforts, I have become an unrepentant sentimentalist, but true sentiment resonates very deeply into our souls, as does this movie.

How do you keep Christmas? It's a question Scrooge is asked several times, and he responds in a way that many of us can relate to, "Christmas is in the habit of keeping men from doing business." And I believe that is exactly the purpose of Christmas, to keep you from doing your usual business.

How you keep Christmas tells so much about a person. Midwinter festivals and merrymaking are as old as mankind. The Romans had Saturnalia, with religious rites and feasting for seven days. Slaves were freed for the period, only cooks and bakers could work, and a mock king was elected.

The Vikings had their Yuletide in honor of Jolnir, father of the gods, and fertility rites to insure a good harvest. There was feasting and food was sacrificed to the ghosts who came back to haunt the living at this season.

There are many customs and celebrations at this time of year, because in agrarian societies, there is not as much work to be done in winter.

Christianity adopted, adapted and refined many of these traditions into their own celebrations. The movie A CHRISTMAS CAROL plumbs the depths of the Christian miracle. Four ghosts visit Scrooge and provide a Pilgrim's Progress for his lost soul to follow to redemption.

The first ghost, his dead partner, comes back in chains, the chains he made himself in life because he didn't allow his spirit to roam free in this world; it was chained to his self obsessed greed. Mankind was his business, but his spirit never rose to that realization. He is sending three ghosts to help free Scrooge from the same fate, while there is still time for him in this world.

When the Ghost of Christmas Past visits Scrooge, the movie and Dickens become unmistakably Freudian. Scrooge endured tragedy when he lost his mother and sister, and his heart became captive of his financial successes. He became a miser. But the ghost revisits his past, much like a modern day therapy session, to reveal to Scrooge that he did have finer feelings for those around him until his greed turned him away from them.

The second ghost of Christmas Present arrives bearing revelry and feasting, showing that even those in poverty are warmed by the spirit of Christmas. He witnesses the happiness of Bob Cratchit's large and quite poor family. Cratchit is a man who Scrooge despises and whose happiness he cannot understand and resents as stealing money from his pocket. Here Scrooge must face the man he is. This is a bitter man who cannot keep Christmas because his heart has become hard.            

He prefers his porridge without the extra bread because he won't pay for it. Here is the very essence of Christianity: to receive the blessings and the bread that is Christ's love, we must forget about the costs and open our hearts.

The third ghost of Christmas Future is one whose face we never see. He shows Scrooge the future and it is very bleak. But the event in the future that most moves Scrooge is the absence of little lame Tiny Tim by the fireside. Here, again, is another essential Christian message. Scrooge must use the wealth his talents have brought him to do good, as best as he can.

Of course, it is the riotous, mad joy of Scrooge when he wakes up Christmas morning, a new man, a man full of the spirit of generosity that is the triumphant climax of the film. He literally dances for joy and for the joy of being able to give freely, without bitterness, envy or selfish motives, to others. After that, Scrooge became "a man of whom it was always said, he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us and all of us. And so as Tiny Tim observed 'God bless us, everyone.'

So how you keep Christmas says a lot about the state of your soul. I confess to having been a Christmas hater for many years. When I met my husband, I hadn't had a Christmas tree for ten years. I felt the sentimentality was a swamp of over emotionality that I preferred to steer clear of. The incessant red and green, and happy songs and bells drove me nuts. Like Scrooge, my spirit had a lot to learn and a lot of bitterness to overcome before I could experience the joy of Christmas. Wishing you the same.










Tuesday, December 6, 2016

HOLLYWOOD, NOW AND THEN

Old time sports bar with swell radio. Spencer Tracy in the mirror.
Like just about everything in the world today, from motherhood, (the tyranny of the patriarchy) to apple pie, (but is it non GMO?) all of classic Hollywood, or Hollywood back then, should have great big yellow crime scene tape trigger warnings all over it.

When I was a teenager, we had a TV show called Million Dollar Movie in the afternoons, just when we'd just gotten home from school. If there was nothing better to do, we watched the old Hollywood classics in black and white on TV. We didn't have color TV. My father despised TV as an animated Hallmark card punctuated with arrogant talking heads. Joe was his name. Irreverence was his game. He'd honed his craft driving the nuns in Catholic school crazy. But they had their revenge by forcing my left handed father to write with his right hand.

But those stolen afternoons watching old black and white Hollywood movies defined my world and my ideals. Later, I sought them out in art house movie theaters on the Upper West side of Manhattan. Now, I own them. Yeah. Sometimes life is magic like that. Get used to it, young 'uns.

I had a son so late in life, we called him a grandchild. He's so much younger than I am that he thinks I make things up when I talk about telephone booths, TV with only three channels and no seat belts. But I've tried to educate him about what America used to be like by showing him those old movies that taught me so much. Whenever he can spare an hour or so away from work or Zombie killing sprees, he comes by and watches one with me.

What a shock I had at his response when we sat down to watch WOMAN OF THE YEAR starring Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, their first movie together and where they began their thirty year love affair.

Here's the opening scene: It's a bar where reporters are drinking and listening to the radio. You know, an old fashioned sports bar; for the mega screen TV substitute a really swell radio turned up loud. So the guys downing booze hear this hot shot female reporter answering impossible questions on the radio. She's Tess Harding, who takes meetings with FDR and speaks Chinese, and seven other languages.

She can answer all the impossible, obscure questions. Then they ask her a sports question and she flubs it. Sam, (Spencer Tracy) the sports writer sipping scotch, knew the answer. But not only does Tess flub the question, she then pompously declares that playing baseball should be abolished while we are at war with the Nazis. Okay, so far my son is bored. Katherine Hepburn is just another feminist know it all girl, the only kind they produce in his generation.

Sports writer Sam is appalled and angrily argues back to the radio for the benefit of his bar buddies, "We're concerned with a threat to what we like to call our American way of life. Baseball and what it represents is part of that American way of life. What's the sense of abolishing the thing you're trying to protect." Then Sam dashes off to write a stinging column in reply.

However, my son grabbed the remote and played that short scene again, telling me he couldn't believe what he'd just heard. What? What? What did I miss? We were less than five minutes into the movie.

"I can't believe he said that." he said, replaying the scene several more times. I was completely mystified about what he found so unbelievable.

"Didn't you hear what he said?" my son asked me incredulously. "You could tell he really loved this country and he wasn't ashamed or embarrassed. You could never say anything like that in a movie today."

Really? I guess I don't get out enough.

But I will tell you one thing. I kept telling him Trump would win. He very gently and sweetly told me that that was never going to happen, so I shouldn't get my hopes up. He was trying to take care of his old mom. Now that crazy old optimist mom turned out not to be so crazy, I just think, get used to it young 'un, sometimes the world hands you a miracle, and all you've got to do is take the ball and run with it. It's your turn to make a grand new world. I think it's gonna be one where it's okay to talk about protecting the American way of life.





MOTHERHOOD, SNOWFLAKES AND FREUD



Just read a great think piece at breitbart.com  ( Political Correctness and The Destruction of Social Order  ) by AWR Hawkins about one of the most egregious patriarchal, white supremacists, evah. This is a guy who would find more dark and devious implications in Pepe, the phallic little green frog, than Hillary ever dreamed of. Or perhaps she does dream of little green frogs. I am referring to and jesting about good old Siggie Freud. I think Freud is terrific and a genius who looked quite a bit deeper at his fellow man than their skin color, although sex interested him strangely. So, patriarchy, but I'm the aristocrat here and will benefit from his best ideas.

The article is about the book "Political Correctness and the Destruction of Social Order" by Howard Schwartz. As I understand it, and I have only read Hawkins article, (the book itself costs a Benny, too rich for my budget.) Schwartz's theory is that the Snowflake generation's problem is that they have a "pristine self" a "self touched by nothing but love." The world and other people exist only to fulfill their desire to be loved and elevated.


Schwartz: "Freud tells us that, in the beginning of psychological life, we do not experience ourselves as separate from mother, but as fused with her. In this state, life is perfect. Mother is the world to us and loves us entirely. We thus experience ourselves as the center of a loving world, a condition Freud refers to as primary narcissism, and whose appeal is obvious. The advent of any degree of separation has the result that we desire to return it. Mother, then, is the unique object of our desire. We want to marry her, as Oedipus did."

Having to leave this paradise results in rage. It seems that Schwartz is saying that Snowflakes rage at others and the social order because they are forced to leave their childhood paradise. My question for Schwartz is when were these Snowflakes ever fused with their mothers and the center of a loving world? "The advent of any degree of separation has the result that we desire to return to it." What child for the last fifty years has not been separated for 8 or 9 hours every single weekday from the unique object of their desire from six weeks old on, so mother can go and have an important career?


Maybe Snowflakes never had the perfect state of life with motherly love. Maybe mother was always too busy running off somewhere, and ignored their needs and desires. Maybe that's why the Snowflakes are in a rage at social order.

And looked at that way, danged if I don't think they're right that the social order has to change. Every child needs to be the center of a mother's love and to have a chance to develop primary narcissism. If your mother doesn't love you, it's going to be very hard to believe that anyone else does. Certainly no caregiver at a daycare center will love you. You're just a job to them. 

Belated trigger warning for Snowflakes, although I hope they realize I've got their back here. They need some serious mother love from some darn body.

Monday, December 5, 2016

THE SECRET BIOGRAPHY OF MRS. SANTA CLAUS

Here is my new short book. It's a Christmas story. I've wanted to write about Mrs. Santa Claus for years, but I couldn't figure out who was good enough for Santa. Then a series of unlikely events crystalized into this story. I hope you enjoy it.



Available on Amazon Kindle
The Secret Biography of Mrs. Santa Claus

Sunday, December 4, 2016

BREXIT AND PROFESSOR GOOCH

Classic Bell Curve


There are teachers who teach us so much more than just the subject of their specialty. Professor Gooch was such a professor. She taught Econ 101 at Barnard College way back when Christ was a corporeal and I was a freshman. A large woman in every way, tall, broad, with a mind that encompassed centuries of economics, history, philosophy and even fashion.

I remember the first day of class when she announced that though she would assign reading in our economics textbook and she hoped we'd read it, but she would teach the principles of economics with class discussions.

Each class covered a certain economic topic like market forces, price, cost, and all the other basic concepts we had to master. But each discussion began informally when she would ask a student to talk about what she'd done yesterday. One discussion I particularly remember was a girl who'd bought mascara the day before. Now Professor Gooch eschewed mascara and all that went with it, but nevertheless it was a topic that interested her greatly. How did the young student decide which mascara to purchase? Magazine ad. Advertising costs and returns on that investment. Advertising industry. Where did she buy the mascara? At a discount drug store. Discounts and how and why businesses can achieve them. Where was the mascara manufactured? It was enthralling to think about all these things.

Well, her classes fairly flew by. We young students were preparing to run the world merely by purchasing mascara. The excitement in Gooch's classes was palpable. No one ever missed her class.

And now we come to Brexit. Clearly the EU bureaucrats never sat in Professor Gooch's classroom or the reason for Brexit would be obvious to them. Economies of scale. This is the principle which shows that you can often achieve great benefits by growing a company larger, benefits mainly like lower cost and more efficiency. However, the economies of scale typical simple graph is a bell curve, which indicates that up to a certain level, yes, bigger is better, but beyond that point, bigger is worse. Past the top of the bell curve, cost goes up and efficiency goes down. It's called the Law of Diminishing Returns.

What the EU and the Globalists haven't noticed is that they've gone way over the top of the bell curve into deep, deep debt. Evidently Globalism is too big to succeed. But the people in the British economy have noticed that they are deriving no more benefits from Globalism's gigantic corporations and want to scale back. This is a very prudent, rational, intelligent decision. One which any of us Gooch students would have reached from our mascara discussion in less time than it took to blow dry our hair. And don't you doubt it. Thank you Professor Gooch!!