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I meant to make a laudatory post last week to the effect that, where other than The New Yorker might you find a smart, funny, informative article on a literary figure as obscure as Alfred Lord Dunsany

I took that test when we applied to adopt! Picture was from the 30's: any idiot could tell that you were supposed to translate the stallion and the shirtless man in the picture into something sexual.

Mitchell is right on this precise point, though: as a classical music fan, I find its use in classical venues to be an outrage.

  • 3 weeks later...

The streak had to end. Three philosophy-related articles in three weeks. First a review of a biography of Ramsey, which judiciously confines the account of his use of probability theory to one tentative sentence, and avoids what he says about truth altogether. Then a competent trot through Kierkegaard. But oh dear, the asides on Sartre in this piece on Kissinger:

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Both Sartre and Kissinger believed that morality was determined by action. But for Sartre action created the possibility of individual and collective responsibility, whereas for Kissinger moral indeterminacy was a condition of human freedom.

I have no idea what "moral indeterminacy (is) a condition of human freedom" might mean, but perhaps Kissinger believed something like that. But Sartre certainly didn't believe either that "morality (is) determined by action" (emphasis added), unless the author really means something like "expressed by action," nor that "action create(s) the possibility of individual and collective responsibility." Responsibility is not a "possibility" for a human being, but an unavoidable consequence of human freedom.  Still, the sentence sounds good if read fast.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Rivka Galchen: “The Jeeves and Wooster stories were made into a television series, which began airing on PBS in 1990.”

Ah, youth.

The Jeeves and Wooster stories were made into a television series which began airing on the BBC in 1965. Dennis Price and Ian Carmichael are my Jeeves and Wooster.

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See, that's forgivable, but then you get the dreadful clanger which an editor should have caught:

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Spode, we learn, is the head of the Black Shorts, a group clearly kin to Mussolini’s Blackshirts, but hampered by a shortage of shirts. 

Mosley's Black Shirts. Spode is Mosley. Not Mussolini.

 

 

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  • 1 month later...

Petrusich is being didactic again. In an article on The Chicks (formerly the Dixie Chicks), she spends five paragraphs explaining the connotations of the term "Dixie." At some point, I think, surely she's going to mention its derivation. She never does. I wonder if she knows.

Further down the article, she helps the reader by defining "gaslighting." I bet she doesn't know where that comes from.

I start wondering if I am being unfair to her when I collide with the assertion, in the penultimate paragraph, that Emmett Till was murdered by "law enforcement." 

Perhaps they furloughed the fact checkers.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello Carrie Battan, writing about the late Pop Smoke:

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In Britain, authorities can place injunctions on controversial lyrics, so musicians are forced to use slang in creative ways.

Really?  Which authorities, and how? Parties can seek injunctions from Courts, but which authorities can "place injunctions"? The Lord Chamberlain used to be able to do something like that with regard to theater performances, like before I was born.

Fact checkers on furlough.

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That helped, thanks. I see police are obtaining criminal behavior orders against rappers sentenced for conspiracy to commit violent disorder. That's a bit different, but I see what she's trying to say. The problem seems be threatening behavior rather than "controversial lyrics," but I see that the lyrics can be vehicles for threats.

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I think it goes further than that, my understanding is that certain artists have a court injunction placed on them that requires a police presence at their recording sessions, and the police have some ability to censor what’s recorded to prevent violence. 

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I'm sure you're right, but "controversial lyrics" is an odd term for inciting or threatening violence. Controversial lyrics, to me, means "Fuck Tha Police" or "My Dingaling." These people are being enjoined because of the actual threats of violence, not because of their songs as such.

I am being picky because it's the New Yorker, of course. 

Edit: Just to be clear, I don't condone prior restraint.

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From the archives...I learned over the the weekend that in July, 1978 John McPhee wrote a piece about the greenmarket called Giving Good Weight. Haven't read it yet, but I printed out all 26 pages. Looking forward to reading it. They used really small type in those days.

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