Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Talking Sense

“Back when kids just got a good night’s sleep and took the SAT, it was a leveler that helped you find the diamond in the rough. Now that most of the great scores are affluent kids with lots of preparation, it just increases the gap between the haves and the have-nots.’’


Monday, August 14, 2006


There is a review of Slayer's new album in the New York times. It's a good review, and it says something about metal that I have been trying to convince people of for a long time - that metal bands, in all of their violent lyrics, are just singing (screaming, growling) about things that "respectable" people in suits ACTUALLY DO. That is the big difference. The soccer mom can look at a Lamb of God video and be disgusted, but it is the people in suits who are actually doing the things the band is singing about. However, since these brutal things are done by wealthy people in suits, it does not draw the same disgusted response. Metal is an art form that puts all of humanities worst traits on display in a manner that does not ameliorate anything, even if it means venturing into hyperbole. Like the review says, some take comfort in pessimism.

Another point I always try to make is that metal bands, for some reason, have this aura of conservatism even though in all of my time listening to metal I cannot name one conservative metal band. I remember a review of an Opeth (female led, extremely anti-war band) album in the metro which said "in this usually conservative genre, Opeth is anti war," which is not accurate. Metal bands are overwhelmingly left wing. Master of Puppets, considered by many to be the best metal album of all time, is entirely an anti-war album (as is "Justice for All," Metallica's next CD). Lamb of God's last album was also entirely anti-war, and even features a voice over of a marine describing some of things done in Iraq. These are some lyrics:

"Bombs to set the people free, blood to feed the dollar tree,
Flags for coffins on the screen, oil for the machine.
Army of liberation, gunpoint indoctrination,
The fires of sedation,
Fulfill the prophecy.
Now you've got something to die for,
Send the children to the fire, sons and daughters stack the pyre,
Stoke the flame of the empire, live to lie another day,
Face of hypocrisy, raping democracy,
Apocalyptic, we count the days."

Metal was made and flourished in the Reagan years, and some even attribute the rise of conservatism in America with the rise of metal. To this day, Gwar brings the "Reaganator" robot out on stage, which it slays in effigy (as well as George Bush, and at the concert I saw - Pope Ratzinger).

These bands are not trying to save the world, like any other art form, they are merely portraying something.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Fearul Symmetry

“What,” it will be Question'd, “When the Sun rises, do you not see a round disk of fire somewhat like a Guinea?” O no, no, I see an Innumerable company of the Heavenly host crying, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty.”

"The Hallelujah-Chorus perception of the sun makes it a far more real sun than the guinea-sun, because more imagination has gone into perceiving it. Why, then, should intelligent men reject its reality? Because they hope that in the guinea-sun they will find their least common denominator and arrive at a common agreement which will point the way to a reality about the sun independent of their perception of it. The guinea-sun is a sensation assimilated to a general, impersonal, abstract idea. Blake can see it if he wants to, but when he sees the angels, he is not seeing more “in” the sun but more of it. He does not see it “emotionally:” There is greater emotional intensity in his perception, but it is not an emotional perception: such a thing is impossible, and to the extent that it is possible it would produce only a confided and maudlin blur-which is exactly what the guinea-sun of “common sense” is. He sees all that he can see of all that he wants to see; the perceivers of the guinea-sun see all that they want to see of all that they can see.

[...]Blake calls the sum of experiences common to normal minds the 'ratio.”

Northrope Frye, "Fearul Symmetry: A Study of William Blake."

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

A Con

From Today's Email

Good Day,

I hope that this proposal will not be an inconvenience or embarrassment to you. I must not hesitate to confide in you this simple and sincere request business for our mutual benefit. I am James Nimely ,the son of the late Mr. Steve Nimely from Republic of Liberia.My father was a prosperous Gold and Diamond merchant in Monrovia,capital of the Republic of Liberia, my father is a very good friend of our former president Charles Talyor. My family was attacked by unknown assassins .My mother and sister died instantly but my father died after five days in a private hospital. I didn't know that my father was going to leave me after I had lost my mother
and sister. Before my father gave up the ghost,He secretly disclosed to me that he deposited the sum of US$7,000,000.00 (Seven Million US Dollars) in a private finance and security company in DAKAR the capital city of SENEGAL.

I'm presently in Senegal but since I has no experience or interest in this type of business he advised me to seek a reliable and trust worthy business partner who will assist me to secure and transfer this funds abroad strictly for investment purposes and for guidance.Now I am soliciting for your assistance to help me to secure and transfer this fund to your account holding on my behalf and aid me to leave Africa and invest this fund in any meaningful lucrative business in your country. You shall be entitled to a significant portion of the fund..

Waiting anxiously to hear from you so that we can discuss the modalities of this transaction. Thanks for your kind attention and expected positive response.

Yours Sincerely,

James Nimely.