When I was a kid, proper musicians were defined as those qualified in and able to play ‘classical’ music, meaning stuff written in Europe from about the time of Bach through to the early twentieth century, after which music ceased (apparently) to require any competence or talent on the part of composer or performer. All … More If I don’t like it, the artist is stupid… right?
I’ve been getting the disturbing impression of late that the default human position isn’t generosity and kindness; it’s selfish malice. I’ve blogged about this before, but it won’t go away. Life, it seems, is a zero-sum game in which all that counts is self, and the way to get ahead is to break somebody else. … More What ever happened to all the good in the world?
Back when I was a kid at intermediate school (‘junior high’ in US parlance) there was an incident involving a trestle table at the back of the class, on which had been placed a lot of craft works. Adjacent to the trestle was a large cupboard in which all the coats and bags were stored, … More The dangers of being a good Samaritan when society is dysfunctional
I am always intrigued by the way that, every so often, western society is seized with a ‘social panic’ in which some recent and usually small-scale event becomes evidence of a supposedly deep-seated problem that is going to bring society crashing down in ruin. The archetype, for me, is New Zealand’s Elbe Milk Bar scandal … More Social panics – when the stupid becomes the normal
When I was a kid, I was always fascinated by the colour schemes of various public buildings around New Zealand – libraries, rest rooms and such like. They were true late-deco era structures, and often they featured late-modernist style mosaics or murals of soldiers and people from the early 1940s, all in period colouring of … More The art deco war – remembered for today
One of the ways we justify going to Mars is that Earth is pretty much on the road to ruin just now, courtesy of human endeavour. We need a new planet. The only problem is that human nature doesn’t change, so we’d probably end up wrecking Mars too, likely while fighting viciously over how to … More Humanity – the scourge of the galaxy
I’ve seen suggestions of late that we shouldn’t call today’s intolerant authoritarians ‘Nazis’, because the word is specific to the political party that came to power in Germany in 1933. Actually, I think ‘Nazi’ is great term to describe such behaviour. Why? Because the underlying forces involved are the same. The crimes against humanity perpetrated … More Why we have to call out intolerance and hatred