Peter Schickele once quipped that the lute is a beautiful instrument, but that you won’t hear it if there is another instrument in the room—even if the other instrument isn’t actually being played! One seldom hears lute music on classical music programs, probably for this very reason: the delicate sound of the lute is simply not “good radio,” in the same way that a chess match would not be “good TV.”
In his marvelous monograph, Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television, Jerry Mander develops many fascinating points, one of which is: it is in the very nature of the medium to exclude certain kinds of experiences from public attention. Television takes a three-dimensional reality and flattens it into the two dimensions of a screen. Subtleties are easily lost. The senses of touch, smell, and taste are eliminated. Only that which is outsized and overly-dramatic makes for interesting programming: tight shots of faces, fast-paced action, conflict, and exaggerated sexuality. Events full of nuance that might be compelling when witnessed in person lose their luster when televised. A moonrise in the desert, a child and a dog napping together, the waves at the beach—there is no cable channel for these things, unless they were to get juiced up with a soundtrack or frequent jumps to new angles. TV is best for conveying scenes of strife and passionate sex, sports or violence. Continue reading “Otohelminthiasis—Part 2: Not Quite My Tempo …”
I’ve been MIA here at POM over the last couple of months due to an unusually heavy schedule of business travel. A couple of Saturdays back, on the final day of my last trip, I woke up feeling great. I had slept well (rare for me in a hotel), the constant rain of the previous few days had let up and the sky was bright blue. Above all, once I completed my morning commitment, I would be on my way home. I was walking on sunshine …
I ran down to the car to fetch my dress shoes. It was a short walk from my room, down the elevator, through the lobby, and over to my car in the parking lot. By the time I got to my car, I was in a blue funk. “Dear Lord!” I thought, “What just happened?”
I paused for a moment to analyze this sudden emotional turn. Soon enough I determined the reason: the clue was the echo in my mind’s ear of the song that has been playing in the lobby. Continue reading “Otohelminthiasis—Introduction: That Damn’d Ole Opry”
“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
― Albert Einstein
Is there an environmental “rape culture” in the United States? Yes, of course, there is. Most contemporary ecological problems, or “rape the land” mentality, is deeply rooted in Western patriarchal culture.
Rape (transitive verb) definition for this piece: 1a: (archaic) to seize and take away by force b:despoil 2: to commit rape on Continue reading “21st Century Rape Culture”
Several mornings each week I drive to a nearby gym, and on the way pass the massive facility that houses school buses. Even though we live in a mountain community, we are in the heavily populated foothills of Denver. These buses take our thousands of kids to their various institutions each day, a phenomenon our writer Steve Kelly calls “warehousing.” If only they could be set free, but what to do with them?
Continue reading “Buses to mediocrity”