Jim Names the Beast

I don’t remember Jim ever calling out Gnosticism before, but in his last post he calls it out, loud and clear, in Natural Selection Is Reactionary.

I’d be loathe to call Vox Day full of crap about anything, but Jim’s a big boy ’round these parts, he’s earned the right to argue with him. Also, I’m not really into the Evolution arguments. I believe in Creation, but I’m not going to the mat about it. I’d much rather smart men, like Vox, take on that fight.

What I do find interesting, of course, is Gnosticism. It explains everything. And at the end, Jim drops a flying elbow on it:

Gnosticism is an anti human, and anti this world Christian heresy. 

Advertisements

New Required Reading

A while back I wrote a recommendation to read Ron Unz’s American Pravda. I stand by that recommendation, but only with the caveat that Unz has revealed himself to be a  cucktard. He published a spineless, sniveling, and misguided essay about the Alt-Right, and the mask dropped.

Now, it’s not that I can’t stand criticism, but this was different. It was distancing from deplorables, and that won’t do. It’s also not that I have a problem with people who’re wrong. Ann Coulter (and a whole lot of us) used to be a Civic Nationalist who’s only problem with immigration was the illegal kind. She evolved, and so did we, but Unz made it clear to me that he wouldn’t evolve, and that also won’t do.

That said, I still think Unz is brilliant, driven, insightful, and should have a voice to pay attention to. He’s just not, in the end, an ally, and should be viewed with healthy suspicion.

***

While all that was going on, I read a comment in one of Porter’s poasts that really grabbed me. It was insightful, yes, but that wasn’t what caught my attention. A lot of comments from a lot of people are insightful. It was the style. I’m not good at describing literary style. I feel silly doing it, like describing wine. Silly as in pretentious. I wish I was better at it. What I can tell you is that I’m drawn to wit. Porter has it on steroids, so does Heartiste. Anti-Gnostic, Steyn and Sailer too.

Not being particularly witty certainly isn’t a deal breaker for me. I don’t find Vox Day particularly funny, and I read him devotedly. Not everyone’s a comedian. If someone can write something that literally makes me laugh out loud, though, that person gets my full attention. This commenter did. Sometimes I’ll click on a commenter’s name or icon in one of the blogs on my Required Reading list, to see if he’s got anything interesting going on. Most of the time there’s no blog, and sometimes there is and it’s not too good. Once, I clicked on Sorcery God’s icon over at Heartiste, not because I thought it would be good, but because the guy’s a lunatic, and kept referring to his own blog. Curiosity got the better of me. I felt dirty, reading some of his stuff. Not because of the content, but because it felt like spying on a mental ward. To be fair to Sorcery God, though, I see him now commenting occasionally at Heartiste, PA and other places, and he seems like a different person. Lucid, insightful, and interesting. I’d like to check out his blog now, but I’m a little nervous about it. Sooner or later, curiosity will get the better of me again, and I hope I’m not disappointed. Saucy, keep taking those meds! They’re working!

So I clicked on the icon of this commenter, The Empty Subject. The name seemed familiar to me, and I think I must have read a comment here or there from him before. I visited his sight and started reading. Devoured the latest essay, then the previous one, then the one before that, and here it is a month later and I’m still doing that. I read his latest, then go through his back catalogue. I doubt I’ll ever read all of his previous poasts, because I have the same desire with Porter and Heartiste, and they were here first (for me) and I’m not near done with their old stuff. But I at least intend to keep chipping away at all three like I’m in Shawshank.

TES is damn good, and of all those on my Required Reading list, the most personal. I don’t expect personal information from writers, and TES certainly remains anonymous, but he writes about his life. It’s cultural critique but also privately candid. And so, so funny. Laughed out loud twice reading today’s essay.

See, I told you I suck at describing literary style. I’ll finish with this: here’s the link to The Empty Subject.

 

Goodnight Romeo

Following the lead of the venerable PA (and not shamelessly copying, come on), I’m posting about a music video, this one from Colin Hay, a live video of Goodnight Romeo followed by Prison Time. Way back in the early 80’s, Hay was the frontman for Men at Work, who went really huge for a few years. The band broke up, though, as most bands do, and Hay found his career in shambles and developed addiction problems. He worked his way out of that, and started from square one, playing clubs, touring on his own, and he slowly built up a following, albeit smaller than he had with Men at Work. He’s now in his 60’s, still touring and playing, which reminds me of something Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits once said back in the 80’s, I think. A journalist asked him what he’d do if his music career ever crashed and burned. He said something like “I’ll just find some pub to play at.” That always struck me as a very grounded attitude. It was clear from the context that for Knopfler, it was about playing music, and he’d be just as happy playing at a bar as in an arena. Career failure wouldn’t really mean much, unless it meant he couldn’t play music anymore. He and Dire Straits never really flamed out, they faded away over time, but Hay has lived what Knopfler once said.

While we’re comparing Hay with Knopfler, I’ll note that they’re both conspicuous finger-pickers. Rock and Pop guitarists typically use a flat pick, but for Knopfler his finger-picking style gave him a markedly different sound, especially for a lead guitarist capable of pyrotechnics. Knopfler was phenomenally talented, and, when he wanted to be, flashy as hell. Remember Sultans of Swing? One of the great guitar solos in Rock history. Hay, on the other hand, was never known as a lead guitarist, but as a singer/songwriter, quirky in voice and lyric. That’s on display in Prison Time, but I also want to highlight his guitar work in Goodnight Romeo, which is understated but entrancing, and at times magic.

So take a listen to this video, and afterwards I’ll tell you some of the things that I see and hear, things that you may not have noticed:

First off, for you guitar players, you’ll notice that Hay isn’t in standard E tuning (from highest to lowest EBGDAE). I believe he’s in Open D, in which the 1st string is tuned down to D, the second tuned down to A, the 3rd tuned down to F#, the 4th and 5th strings remain at D and A, and the 6th string is tuned down to D. There isn’t anything remarkable about playing in open tunings, in and of itself, but playing with them you’ll find some very rich sounds. (By the way, I may be wrong about the tuning, in that I’ve never tried to learn this song. There wouldn’t be much of a point. I’m not a finger-picker, I’m a flat-picker, but more importantly I wouldn’t be able to do the song justice. I’m good enough to know when I’m out-classed.) (12/19/18, I now believe he keeps the 3rd string at G)

The 20 second mark, which is the end of the first measure, is where I do find something remarkable. Hay hits a couple of harmonic notes in a way that I’ve never seen before. The easiest way to find harmonic notes on a guitar are to look for the dots inlaid on the fretboard, especially at the 5th, 7th, 9th and 12th frets. You don’t press down on the string to get a harmonic note, you lightly touch the string at the fret, pluck the string with your right hand, and lift off from the string just as it’s plucked. It takes timing, but it can be mastered easily enough with a little practice. Every guitar player I’ve ever seen places the pad of one of his fingers on the string to do this, which means disengaging from any chord or notes that you’re playing. I’ve never seen it done the way Hay does it at this point and elsewhere in the song. He’s not really chording, but he slides up and plays a regular note at the 7th fret on the 3rd string, and uses the tip of his pinkie finger to play the 2 harmonic notes on the 1st and 2nd strings while maintaining the regular note on the 7th fret. This is a delicate, subtle, and extraordinarily difficult maneuver. When I first saw the video and heard this part, I doubted what my eyes saw, because I didn’t see it. I thought “how the hell did he hit harmonics there?” I had to rewind and watch close to see how he did it. Again, I’ve never seen it done that way. Magic.

Another remarkable yet subtle maneuver is found at the 43 second mark, just before the beginning of the 2nd verse. You’ll hear the same notes as in the 1st verse, just an octave lower. Up to this point Hay is finger-picking, but notice his right hand just before he starts the 2nd. Almost like a magician, he flicks his wrist and out slides a flatpick, which he then uses for much of this verse. At 0:53 he slides the pick back into his palm, at 0:58 he slides it to his thumb and forefinger again, and then at 1:08 he slides it back one last time into his palm. Like with the way he hits the harmonic notes, this is delicate, subtle and extraordinarily difficult.

As for the song as a whole, Goodnight Romeo is haunting, sad, and vaguely Celtic. Hay is originally from Scotland. At 14 his family moved to Australia, and after Men at Work hit it big he moved to Los Angeles, where he’s lived ever since. Whether it’s some deep recollection from his childhood memories welling up into song, or whether it’s simply his Scottish blood, or both, I can only imagine Hay shaping the complexities of this piece unconsciously and unbidden, flowing out of his hands like bagpipes.

I won’t go into much detail over Prison Time, except to note a few observations. Musically, it dovetails seamlessly into the ending of Goodnight Romeo, which causes the first song to take the shape of an extended intro without diminishing it’s power. Lyrically, it’s in keeping with Hay’s best works, a playful lyricism that disarms deep sadness. For example, in the last verse he sings:

Nothing’s black, and nothing’s white / I hear the echo of your footsteps in the dead of night.

There’s a kind of skipping rhythm to his phrasing that contrasts the expression of loss. As I’ve read at Le Chateau, Contrast is King.

Final note, I’ve downloaded some of his songs, and I’ve checked out a lot of his videos, and I find that Hay at his most powerful is always when he’s playing solo, just him and his guitar. When he’s playing with a band, somehow he seems diminished compared to when he’s by himself. Solo, there’s an undeniable gravity and a presence, whether on video or audio. If I could, I’d tell him to forget playing with a band. For Hay, less is much, much more.

***

If I ever do this kind of thing again, it’ll most likely be about someone, like Colin Hay, who should be a helluva lot more famous, or rich, or both. I’m talking about Scott Miller.

 

Long time, no see!

Hello Americans! As a rule of thumb, I try to post more often than I have been lately, but I’ve been so busy holding down the fort it’s just about made me a basket case. You may feel you’ve been gypped, but let me tell ya, coming up with solid content ain’t no cake walk. I’ve been wanting to post more, but for the time being, no can do.

I do have time, however to provide a handy link to Colorado State University’s Inclusive Language Guide, and just in time for the holidays! Hip, hip, hooray! I’ll be giving this to family and friends, probably in a nice binder from Kinkos.

Merry Christmas,

Major7

The Gnostics vs. The Remnant

From Roissy, a vividly clear expression of modren Gnosticism: Globohomo’s Next Target: “Sexual Racism”.

A couple of money shots:

“Race and sex are the alpha and omega of humanness.”

We (huwhites) have been marinating in Gnosticism so long, we no longer consider the two most basic elements in our very humanness to be important, and even more, we’ve been taught/encouraged/bullied into being ashamed of them. At least if you’re white. And male. Speaking of which…

“It must be cohencidental that these “dialogues” always focus on White “racism”, when in fact a sexual preference for one’s own race is evident in nonWhite races as well.”

Now, about The Remnant. Reading Porter this morning (This Update Corrects Improper Autonomous Behavior, about the abundantly awesome NPC meme, among other things), I caught a reference to an essay by Albert Jay Nock,  Isaiah’s Job, from one of the outstanding commenters there, Deter Naturalist. When Deter talks, I listen (and when George Orwell snarks, I lulz), so I looked it up on this Web thingy. While reading it, I almost decided to post the whole damn essay here, it’s so good, but that seems like a waste of space when I can just link to it. I highly recommend reading the whole thing:

Isaiah’s Job

I’m a Plagiarist

I’m an honest thief, but at least I steal from the best. Last month I wrote a rambling post about meaninglessness, centering around a (drunken) thought I had: If something is, it is that thing absolutely, because if it’s not, then it could be anything, which means it’s really nothing.

I never claimed that was some kind of original thought, but I had no idea where it came from, or why it came to me so forcefully.

Five or six years ago I read Eric Voegelin’s Science, Politics and Gnosticism, and today I decided to re-read it. There, in the preface, was this:

Voegelin stands firm on ground prepared by Plato, Aristotle, and St. Augustine against the imaginative manipulators of Second Realities of all persuasions. “The nature of a thing cannot be changed; whoever tries to ‘alter’ its nature destroys the thing…”

Now, I don’t know if that’s where I got that thought, because I didn’t remember it, and reading it today surprised me. But who knows? Maybe that planted some seed in my brain five years ago that finally pushed through the rocky soil once it received enough nourishment from whiskey and beer.

I wonder how many thoughts we have that are like that.

Or maybe I’m a giant of intellect like Voegelin, but with superior command of the vernacular.

Probably not. But at least I’m not Alex Haley (for that second link, the reference to Alex Haley is a little ways into the essay, but it’s worth it. RTWT), the dirty thief.

I guess the reason it hit me so forcefully is that it’s another dead giveaway. If someone is willing to alter the meaning of a thing, then you know that person is a Gnostic true believer. For those willing to accept the alteration, Gnostic fellow travelers.