The new Continental. I like it. So many don’t. At least, on social media. I am co-admin on a Facebook Lincoln and Continental group, and whenever someone posts a 2017-present Continental, the whining commences. Oh yes.
How so Klockau, you may ask. Well, you see, a lot of angry folks on social media tend to foam at the mouth whenever someone, like your author, posts a new Lincoln Continental. “Dagnabit, that’s NOT a Lincoln! A Lincoln should have suicide doors, a stand-up hood ornament, and crushed velour!
“You know, they do some ice racing around here when it freezes up.”
“Oh yeah? Competitive?”
“Yeah, I think so.”
Within days of this conversation, I’m driving someone else’s Honda onto a fairly large oval plowed into a frozen pond by the Lakes Region Ice Racing Club, as an unknown quantity, to evaluate whether or not I’m a hazard.
I can’t say I understood the full extent of the commitment made when I passed, and agreed to come back and race the following year, but I’d learn.
“Truly,” I wrote last year regarding one of my favorite billionaires, “it would be impossible for Mrs. Sandberg to have a tragedy now. Her money is permanent, immutable, too powerful to wither in her lifetime.” Turns out I was wrong. Because what is money, what is power, what is permanent #Blessed status, if you are declared a nonperson by the Deep State and all its tentacular appendages?
Today was the day that Ms. Sandberg became a nonperson, courtesy of a New York Times hit piece that ran yesterday and was immediately echoed everywhere from Vanity Fair to the Post to the Atlantic. “Sheryl’s Facebook Disaster,” brays one article; “Sheryl, We’re Revoking Your Mensch Card” bleats another. CNBC openly called for her dismissal today, as if she were some sullen Starbucks barista who had been caught spitting in Rachel Maddow’s soy latte. Yet I wasn’t completely certain that Sheryl was about to disappear from history like one of Stalin’s disgraced associates until I read that Jezebel had hit her with what I call the “George Zimmerman”: “Sandberg has built her personal brand on a particularly aggravating strain of capitalist-empowerment feminism, one that is built for rich white women…” Emphasis is mine. As long as she was identified by the press as Jewish, as was almost always the case in the past, I figured she had a chance — but the minute the media demoted her to Wypipo it was Game Over. Those whom the media gods would destroy, they first make white.
After today, Sheryl will still be unimaginably rich. She will not lose her home, her remaining family, her permanent ability to do as she likes and to pass that distorting wealth unto the seventh generation and beyond. But she will no longer be welcome in The American Conversation. What happened?
Crossovers are taking over the world. I am not particularly fond of crossovers. But thanks to a gnarly parking brake on my 147,000 mile, 2000 Town Car Cartier last September, I found myself behind the wheel of one. Lincoln’s smallest CUV, the MKC, first came on the scene in 2014 as a ’15 model. So one Tuesday morning, I found myself behind the wheel of one. And…I didn’t hate it.
For all the angry old timers carping about the death of the Town Car in 2011 and that the new Continental doesn’t have suicide doors, the current crop of Henry Leland’s forebears are nice cars-particularly inside.
Last Friday, Deutsche Grammophon released the CD Light Eternal—The Choral Music of Morten Lauridsen. Amazon’s pre-order price for the CD is $12.59, which is a truly excellent price. But this CD would be a bargain at full list. There is also a 24/88 hi-res PCM download from HDTracks, reasonably priced at nearly 90 minutes of music for $20.98 (There are two bonus tracks with the download). The album will also be streaming from Apple Music, Spotify, and Tidal. And if you don’t mind reduced sound quality and the occasional advertisement, the album appears as an authorized playlist on YouTube. That’s right! You can hear the whole thing before you buy it!
My experience in producing and selling classical-music recordings is that most people don’t have formal training in music history or music theory, but they do want beauty in their lives, and they recognize it when they hear it. This is one of those recordings. If you care about choral music, especially contemporary American choral music, or if you simply want to add some beauty to your life, please vote with your wallet and buy this CD (or download), and also please consider buying half a dozen, a dozen, or more, as stocking stuffers (or, as “holiday,” or even non-holiday gifts). Lauridsen’s music is contemporary music that honors the entire tradition of choral singing, from O magnum mysterium‘s soundworld, which to me calls to mind the soundworld of Allegri, to Madrigali—Six FireSongs on Italian Renaissance Poems, which is perhaps best described as modernism—but with a heart and a soul.
Trailer embed and track listing after the jump. Continue Reading →
You can learn a lot about a society by the things it censors. In 1807, Thomas and and Henrietta Bowdler published a “family” version of Shakespeare from which the Bard’s blasphemy, sex, and violence had been carefully, but not always successfully, excised. Ophelia’s suicide became an accidental drowning, while the various curses and foul language were softened. (One example: “Zounds”, which is frequently lampooned as a equivalent to “heck”, or “darn”, was actually a contraction of the blasphemous “God’s wounds”, referring to the Crucifixion, and therefore about the most offensive thing possible to say.) The idea was to make the work accessible to children (and, let’s face it, women) for whom that sort of content was considered inappropriate.
The Bowdlers would come in for a lot of criticism, if not outright vilification, in the years that followed, but they never meant to actually censor Shakespeare. Their intent was to make it available for a broader audience, the same way that Garth Stein wrote a “young adult” version of his successful racing novel, entitled Racing In The Rain: My Life As A Dog. (The primary “bowdlerization” there is the toning-down of the adult story’s central plot point, a false rape accusation from a teenaged girl that proved to be very controversial with, and triggering for, certain male readers who could never imagine a young woman coming on to, or causing trouble for, a handsome older man, largely because they assume their own repulsiveness to the fairer sex is universal rather than a specific product of their own querulous, creepy personalities and Cheeto-dust-stained, fuggernautical miens.) At no point did Thomas and Henrietta suggest that the availability of Shakespeare be restricted. Rather, they hoped that their efforts would increase interest in, and engagement with, the original work — at the appropriate time, of course.
I’ve never particularly disapproved of censorship on moral grounds, within reason. Rabbit, Run was not materially improved when Knopf changed the phrase “Best bedfriend, done woman” found in the first hardcover edition back to Updike’s original draft of “Best bedfriend, fucked woman” in later paperback reprints. This mild evasion, and many like it, smoothed my childhood’s precocious passage through many an adult-oriented book. It wasn’t always evenhanded. When I was nine years old I found my father’s copy of John Toland’s outstanding The Rising Sun; I finished it understanding the mechanisms of Japanese torture, which were related in gripping detail, much better than I understood the idea of rape, which was mentioned when necessary but always held at a discreet distance. Perhaps it no longer matters in an era where even adults restrict themselves to a diet of young-adult garbage, but there was some benefit in not bombarding children with unrelenting grotesquerie, particularly when the grownups were smart enough to know what was being said between the lines anyway.
Those days are long gone, of course. There is now no sexual practice or perversion so disgusting that we will not cheerfully rub the noses of our children in it, particularly if doing so raises our status in a society that is now far too illiterate to usefully read Shakespeare in the original but which exalts sex-positivity to a degree that would make a fourth-century centurion leaving a vomitorium turn back for another round. Yet there is one bit of sexuality too pungent, too controversial to express in the printed (or HTTPed) page today; namely, the notion that there are two biological sexes and that they may be referred to as such in writing.
Originally published October 29, 2013 — jb
Do you like commuting? I certainly don’t. It’s safe to say that nobody likes commuting. Even when you’re driving a car or riding a motorcycle that you absolutely adore, the fact remains that doing almost anything else with the car or bike in question would be more enjoyable than slogging along with a group of similarly condemned individuals down the Long Island Expressway or I-5 or I-75 or the Chicago Loop. Nobody commutes because they want to. They commute because they have identified a need or combination of needs in their lives that require it. Perhaps they’re a dual-income couple with geographically separate jobs. Perhaps they cannot afford to live near where they work. Perhaps they are temporary employees, the foot soldiers in our country’s mostly imaginary recovery, going wherever the work is found while trying desperately to cover their expenses at home.
Just in case, however, that you felt your commute to be a glorious triumph, a veritable quotidian adventure, the Times has commanded that a member of the fabled one percent disabuse you of this ridiculous notion.
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Before a rapport is formed with the Wall, all of the chaotic black marks leading to it are abstract. They’re what happens when one makes a mistake, which of course, the person who has never hit the Wall would never do. That person knows their limits and probes them safely. That person knows what they’re doing.
But that person has never met the Wall, so they know nothing. At some point, the Wall must be there to receive them.
The 1979 to 1985 Cadillac Eldorado was downsizing done right. So many times, when emission standards, fuel economy and plain, simple customer tastes change, the results can sometimes be…awkward. But in the late ’70s, GM had it down pat, thanks to Design VP Bill Mitchell.
Mitchell was one of the best. He took over as head of GM Design when Harley Earl retired in 1958. But Mitchell was an old hand by then. He’d been with GM for decades, and produced some great designs decades before he was awarded the helm.
As Steve Sailer notes, it’s not “cultural appropriation” if the “good” people are doing it. Take Normal Rockwell paintings, turn them into posed photographs, remove all the white people. Presto, you got some “culturally relevant” art.
I’m not as upset by this as Steve is. In a way, this project promotes cultural literacy, which is sorely lacking in America. Some percentage of the people who look at these photographs will no doubt be inspired to seek out Rockwell’s originals, the same way that Steve Harris launched thousands of stoners in the direction of Coleridge and Wordsworth with Iron Maiden’s take on ancient mariners. Furthermore, the freedom to make reference to existing art and/or to re-imagine it is the very foundation of culture as a whole. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about John Milton “remixing” the Bible to create Paradise Lost or The Notorious B.I.G. sampling Herb Alpert’s “Rise”. The notion that art can exist outside of context has been rightly torpedoed in even the most moronic of universities. Even your humble author stands on the shoulders of giants when he writes, often relying on phrases from Updike, Bellow, Roth, and others to get the point across.
All that aside, I have a particular gripe with the new take on Rockwell’s “Freedom Of Speech” painting. Allow me to explain.