[ExI] Objective standards?

William Flynn Wallace foozler83 at gmail.com
Tue Sep 29 18:35:00 UTC 2015

there is no way to cut and paste to make a reply - too much to catch up on
- just a few thoughts;

I don't decry highbrow.  What did I say?  I do say that the critics seem to
like writers that just don't work for me, like Zadie Smith and Jonathan
Franzen.  Jeffrey Eugenides is a strange case:  I love the way he writes
and have zero interest in the content of his stories.  I'll keep trying.

I simply cannot say what it is about my favorite classical music that so
moves me.  I can recognize great writing in composers who leave me quite
uninterested in hearing more of them:  Schubert, Haydn, Bruckner. I cannot
say why I love some Debussy and some not at all.  Could it be like a
beautiful woman that somehow just leaves you cold?

Case in point:  I was listening to NPR and they were playing a symphony
from the classical period.  It really didn't sound anything like a great
composer at all, and so I concluded that this was another one of those
forgotten composers they are trying to resurrect.  Let them stay dead, I
say.  And then I heard a section that just sang to my soul.  And then it
was back to blah blah.  And then another hint of greatness.  It was
Mozart's Sym. #1, written at the age of nine.  What was it about the great
sections that so contrasted with the blah ones?  I just don't know.  I just
know it when I hear it.  It is as if you described a painting to me -
colors, figures, etc.  I would have no idea whether I liked it or not.
Maybe this just fits the idea of the gestalt - something that cannot be
broken down and analyzed according to its parts.

​Huh?  I have nothing whatsoever against Shakespeare and Beethoven.  The
latter, in fact, wrote the most consistently great music of anyone.  No
blah stuff from him.

Dan, I once has a midyear break of a month in which I read 50 books - all
fiction, of course.  Probably most of them were in the range of Elmore
Leonard, and no nonfiction, which I read much more slowly.  A great
nonfiction book might make me stop and think for half an hour on a page.
So I am probably reading between 250 and 300 books a year, depending on the
percentage of nonfiction. Yes, of course I am retired.  My back won't let
me garden or play golf or much of anything, and so I read.​

​I find it strange, even disgusting and totally missing the point, to have
classical music as sonic wallpaper. It's sort of like speaking in
incomplete sentences or fragments.  The point is to put your entire
concentration to it. ( Dvorak at a party?  Schoenberg.  Now there's one to
put on to make people go home!)  I have taught music to nonmusicians and
can report that most of them have few to no listening skills.  They listen
as a gestalt - they cannot listen to two or more instruments at the same
time, like as in a string quartet.  They are used to listening to a singer
sing a melody and the rest is background, which they would miss if it
weren't there, but which they cannot remember if asked.  Even two
instruments is too much challenge.  One kid said that it was impossible.
No, it's just something you haven't learned because no one tried to teach
it to you.​

As for critics, I read Jacques Barzun and not much else.  I try to get
through Wood's review in the New Yorker and generally I don't, and in fact
already do'nt like the book he is reviewing.  Lit crit is the only course I
lacked to get a degree in English.  I would probably have argued my way to
a F.

maybe more later  bill w

On Tue, Sep 29, 2015 at 11:53 AM, Dan TheBookMan <danust2012 at gmail.com>

> On Sep 29, 2558 BE, at 9:07 AM, Mike Dougherty <msd001 at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Tue, Sep 29, 2015 at 10:35 AM, Dan TheBookMan <danust2012 at gmail.com>
> wrote:
> On Sep 29, 2558 BE, at 6:12 AM, Mike Dougherty <msd001 at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Tue, Sep 29, 2015 at 8:31 AM, spike <spike66 at att.net> wrote:
> We already have excellent objective standards in literature: sales
> receipts.
> I would not consider sales receipts to be literature... though I guess
> your accountant can tell quite a story when all those moments are
> reviewed for a year. :)
> I didn't read that as Spike calling sales receipts literature, but as him
> saying they indicated a piece of literature's quality. Ditto for other
> arts. I'm not saying I agree, but were it true than Shakespeare definitely
> sells. And so does Beethoven. (Not sure what William has against either
> since both are far more popular outside the cultural elites and
> professorial class than, say, Brecht (in drama) and Schoenberg (in music),
> though those two are not lacking in the sales department.)
> haha, yeah... you read it correctly.
> :)
>  I did a double-take and wanted
> to share the idea of sales receipt as a tiny bit of 'literature.'
> Just last night I accepted a receipt at point of sale (cash) and put
> it directly into the trash.  I felt bad for the senseless waste that
> transaction represents.  I knew, however, that the protocol cannot be
> challenged ad-hoc: it must be a cultural change to stop generating
> those useless scraps of paper.
> Many places now ask if the customer want a printed receipt. Places using
> Square also just email a receipt, so nothing gets printed -- unless there's
> a special request.
> Regards,
> Dan
>   Sample my Kindle books via:
> http://www.amazon.com/Dan-Ust/e/B00J6HPX8M/
> _______________________________________________
> extropy-chat mailing list
> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org
> http://lists.extropy.org/mailman/listinfo.cgi/extropy-chat
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.extropy.org/pipermail/extropy-chat/attachments/20150929/3ff3e491/attachment.html>

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list