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Advertising series 01: Music

Thursday, April 11th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — trying to gauge the appropriateness of music in TV advertising, and getting the sense that music has a — frankly — higher purpose. And then? ]
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I’ve been trying to figure out, from the poetry plane, just what it is that music does or is, or where, and as I’m watching TV commercials, I’m struck each time classical music is used, and forced to consider the role that music plays — in the ads, in my life, and in our lives. Commercials, like haiku, are highly concentrated affairs, and I’ve been learning a lot.

In brief —

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I don’t terribly mind that you can jazz the greatest of composers IMO, in what feels more like a virtuoso exercise than music as such..

Flying Bach:Red Bull

And when the music is jazzy to begin with, no problem — fun, even ..

Rhapsody in Blue: United

Unh — and ditto, speeded up:

High speed Orchestra: Porsche

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But Ave Maria?

Ave Maria: Planters

I guess that’s arguably a Hail Mary overpass, and the Ave Maria only slips in very briefly while the peanut’s in flight, so I’ll let it slide by..

But then I must admit I do get a bit uneasy about the semi-sacred last movement of Beethoven’s Ninth being repeatedly associated with a somewhat silly sad for a line of sports-car, lovely though they are:

Ode to Joy: Alfa Romeo

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The Hallelujah Chorus comes from a sacred oratorio, Handel’s Messiah, to be sure, but Messiah has been drifting from the sacred towards the social for decades, maybe even a century… Boots, though?

Hallelujah: Boots and Shoes

That seems a bit off-kilter: ads are repetitive things, and the idea that millions of concert-goers may have a less than stellar shoe ad pop into their heads in the middle of Handel’s iconic work — not a great taste to leave in the metaphorical mouth, methinks.

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Compare this commercial using the Lacrimosa from Mozart’s Requiem

Mozart Requiem: DirecTV

— with this paragraph from the philosopher Cornelius Castoriadis:

Remember that philosophers almost always start by saying: “I want to see what being is, what reality is. Now, here is a table. What does this table show to me as characteristic of a real being?” No philosopher ever started by saying: “I want to see what being is, what reality is. Now, here is my memory of my dream of last night. What does this show to me as characteristic of a real being?” No philosopher ever starts by saying “Let Mozart’s Requiem be a paradigm of being, let us start from that.” Why could we not start by positing a dream, a poem, a symphony as paradigmatic of the fullness of being and by seeing in the physical world a deficient mode of being, instead of looking at things the other way round, instead of seeing in the imaginary — that is, human — mode of existence, a deficient or secondary mode of being?

DirecTV? You can count me out.

Kurt Vonnegut quite wonderfully explains:

I am enchanted by the Sermon on the Mount. Being merciful, it seems to me, is the only good idea we have received so far. Perhaps we will get another idea that good by and by-and then we will have two good ideas. What might that second good idea be? I don’t know. How could I know? I will make a wild guess that it will come from music somehow. I have often wondered what music is and why we love it so. It may be that music is that second good idea being born.

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Frankly, I don’t think commercials are up to the Castoriadis / Vonnegut standard.

But let me leave you with a puzzzlement, a koan — assuming you haven’t diverged too far from my perspective thus far. If the Mozart Requiem should be spared participation in TV advertising, what do you think of Bach — remember Bach? — being embedded in a grisly scene from Silence of the Lambs?

Hannibal Lecter plays Bach:

Masterpiece within a masterpiece? Okay?

Chyrons, quotes, etc, 18

Wednesday, March 6th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — CPAC and Fox, Kushner and the Judiciary Committee, India and Pakistan, even a mention of epistemology, still plenty going on ]
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Misc:

BrownPundits:

It puts India and Pakistan on the same moral plane, right?
You talk about India and Pakistan being rivals. It’s just both sideisms of the most mendacious kind.

??:

No doubt Trump‘s dealing with Cohen and Kim are leading stories about now, so this headline deserves to lead this post, but — wait for it —

— it’s the bit about muscling reality into submission that caught my attention. Just muscling into submission would be metaphor enough for me to take notice — but when it’s reality itself that’s being wrestled down, we’re clearly in epistemological territory, perhaps of the variety Michelle Goldberg: talked about the other day:

..The epistemological terrorism that the Trump administration practices on us every day to keep us in this state of kind of derangement and feeling slightly off-center and not being able to get your bearings in this moment.

Terrorism? Not in the usual natsec sense — but hang on, terror itself is a framing of reality, located in the mind-heart-brain complex, and that’s the stage par excellence on which epistemological experience plays…

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If I could access it, there’s a dueling breaking news chyron at the end of Bryan Williams’ 11th hour for February 26th.

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Dom Donilon:

North Korea of course is the combination of a cult and kind of a mob operation

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A Day of Reckoning for Michael Jackson with “Leaving Neverland”

It is admittedly difficult, while watching “Leaving Neverland,” to hold in mind two contradictory but equally imperative ideas: that victims should be believed, and that the accused are innocent until proved guilty. The first is wildly crucial if we wish to protect the disenfranchised from egregious abuses of power. The second remains the crux of the American criminal-justice system. Can these two ideas coexist? Right now it feels as if they have to, which means that we are sometimes required to make personal choices about how we accept or dismiss the information made available to us.

The ability to hold in mind two contradictory but equally imperative ideas is a strong version of F Scott Fitzgerald‘s definition of genius — strong because Fitzgerald didn’t insist on the ideas in question being imperative.

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There’s a lot of balancing, even mirroring, going on here:

Postpone Brexit? Maybe Get a Do-Over? The Negotiations Enter a High-Stakes Game-Theory Stage
By Amy Davidson SorkinF

Brexit, at the moment, is an exercise in game theory. This week, both Prime Minister Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Labour Party, grudgingly agreed to open the way for options that could help to break the current deadlock over the terms of Britain’s exit from the European Union. In May’s case, the option was a possible vote in Parliament to delay Brexit, which is now scheduled, ready or not, for March 29th; in Corbyn’s, it was a new referendum that might overturn Brexit altogether. Both May and Corbyn were acting because of rebellions within their own ranks, which escalated last week—when both Labour and Conservative M.P.s resigned from their parties—and threatened to spread. May reportedly made her offer because three members of her cabinet were about to quit, taking a dozen junior ministers with them.

Z
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3-4-2019 MSNBC, a few items

MTP:

Pres Trump:

Russia, if you’re listening ..

Katy Tur:

It suredoesn’t seem as though the Russians thought it was a joke ..

43: RT is starting their propaganda campaign that mirrors WikiLeaks which then mirrors what Donald TYrump is saying..

Melber, The Beat:

Paul H:

We’re not at Impeach yet, but we’re definitely on the road, the car is on the road. And this is the gas for that car, this investigation.

Paul, if this is a car a lot of people thought Bob Mueller was driving it. Thelasttime people remember an Impeac hment proceeding,we had prosecutor Ken Starr now driving it. ARe you suggesting that Jerry Nadler is now really in that

[more — Clift, Hommer, Prius]

Eleanor Clift:

He knew the game was over ..

The document demand:

Ari:

That’s just Kushner..

Richard Painter:

We don’t haveconclusive proof that the President is a Russian mole, but it sure seems like it .

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Hardball:

Sen Klobuchar: Rail, class one rail, down to four companies, the same number we’re seeing on the Monopoly board. And this consolidation that we’re seein in our country cries out for tougher action on anti-trust.

Hemmer argues that Fox—which, as the most watched cable news network, generates about $2.7 billion a year for its parent company, 21st Century Fox—acts as a force multiplier for Trump, solidifying his hold over the Republican Party and intensifying his support. “Fox is not just taking the temperature of the base—it’s raising the temperature,” she says. “It’s a radicalization model.” For both Trump and Fox, “fear is a business strategy—it keeps people watching.” As the President has been beset by scandals, congressional hearings, and even talk of impeachment, Fox has been both his shield and his sword. The White House and Fox interact so seamlessly that it can be hard to determine, during a particular news cycle, which one is following the other’s lead.

Chris Matthews:

Chris M:

Who’s the toy here, the Presidentt? or Fox?

Chris M:

Why is the President of the United States working for Fox?

Jane M:

Despite the discouragement, Falzone kept investigating, and discovered that the National Enquirer, in partnership with Trump, had made a “catch and kill” deal with Daniels—buying the exclusive rights to her story in order to bury it. Falzone pitched this story to Fox, too, but it went nowhere. News of Trump’s payoffs to silence Daniels, and Cohen’s criminal attempts to conceal them as legal fees, remained unknown to the public until the Wall Street Journal broke the story, a year after Trump became President.

All In

Ken Liu:

We want to connect the dots and really put out a narrative of what happened, why it happened, and how we prevent this from happening again

Wajahat Ali:

That’s my slight concern about Biden and Bernie Sanders and Trump, that 2020 is like going to be the ticket of Bengay vs Vick’s Vapor Rub vs Metamucil .

Last Word, O’Donnll:

Frank Rich:

Well, look, everything that Trump is guilty of, he’s accused somebody else of doing — so he’s accused Hillary of having all the questions when he had them, he accused Barack Obama of playing golf all the time when he plays golf all the time, and many worse sins than that

Anita Kumar:

They don’t like her policies, but they say she (AOC) has political game

Katy Tur:

Is she going to be the white whale?

Seb Gorka:

That’s why Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has introduced the New Green Deal: it’s a watermelon, green on the outside, deep, deep, Communist red on the inbside.

Brian Williams:

One of his legal ppl:

I think she’s showing rmarkable patience. One day, Brian, Roger Stone will be a convicted felon, and this judge will be the one who decides how long he goes to jail. He’s playing a short game, she’s playing a long game.

3/5/2019 Brian Wms:

Gen McCaffrey:It’s amazing what’s available through unclassified commercial satellite photography [***** ourob][ .. ]

We’re being played by the North Koreans, and President Trump is negotiating with himself [ .. ]

Let’s .. talk about those exercises. The President now openly referring to them as war games –

— [Brian contd] It is possible he did not know that that phrase existed until now

Physicists playing Calvinball

Saturday, February 23rd, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — wishing I was fluent in music, and might as well ad mathematics, Hebrew, Arabic, classical Persian, you know the drill, Sanskrit, Tibetan, Japanese.. and their courtly modes and rituals, and could play badminton, chess, dharma combat, go, eh? ]
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Here’s a wonderful description of a game in which the rules — in this case, mathematical languages — change from move to move:

It happens again and again that, when there are many possible descriptions of a physical situation—all making equivalent predictions, yet all wildly different in premise—one will turn out to be preferable, because it extends to an underlying reality, seeming to account for more of the universe at once. And yet this new description might, in turn, have multiple formulations—and one of those alternatives may apply even more broadly. It’s as though physicists are playing a modified telephone game in which, with each whisper, the message is translated into a different language. The languages describe different scales or domains of the same reality but aren’t always related etymologically. In this modified game, the objective isn’t—or isn’t only—to seek a bedrock equation governing reality’s smallest bits. The existence of this branching, interconnected web of mathematical languages, each with its own associated picture of the world, is what needs to be understood.

That’s from A Different Kind of Theory of Everything in The New Yorker, an intriguing rerad, though as a non-physicist, seeing an equivalence with Calvinball — a game in which the game in play constantly changes — is about as far as I can go.

When I was talking with Ali Minai, I said that both music and math were languages I didn’t speak, and that cut me off from much by way of discourse with mathematicians (Ali himself) and musicians (my nephew the conductor Daniel Harding), and Ali commented that music is at least an embodied abstraction, whereas math is a pure abstraction with no embodied component. I hope I’ve understood and expressed that well enough. Anyway, it was a striking comment, and not one that had ever crossed my mind, on a topic of considerable interest and real regret.

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Calvinball:

Richard Feynman would have enjoyed a Calvinball reference, methinks — but for any sober-sided physicists who don’t play bongos, here’s the philsopher Alasdair MacIntyre to much the same effect:

Not one game is being played, but several, and, if the game metaphor may be stretched further, the problem about real life is that moving one’s knight to QB3 may always be replied to by a lob over the net.

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I’d hoped to have more intriguing math or game quotes to offer here, but no luck so far, so I’m gonna post anyway.

Sunday surprise, Joni I — frostbite and sunstroke

Sunday, December 9th, 2018

[ by Charles Cameron — a study in dualities in songs of the wondrous joni m ]
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Okay, let’s start with the source of that supremely compressed universe, frostbite and sunstroke:

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I say, “compressed universe” because those two words represent the two poles of the entire universe from one angle, and wherever two such poles are present, they transcend:

  • breath, death
  • alpha, omega
  • womb, tomb
  • etc
  • Wikipedia:

    The unity of opposites is the central category of dialectics, said to be related to the notion of non-duality in a deep sense

    Heraclitus:

    The road up and the road down are the same

    Nicolas of Cusa [in Joseph Kelly, The Problem of Evil in the Western Tradition:

    God is the principle of unity, of identity, bringing together in himself all opposites and then transcending them. He is the opposite of the opposites. He negates the contradictions of the world.

    He is the opposite of the opposites!

    And Wikipedia again:

    Mircea Eliade, a 20th-century historian of religion, used the term extensively in his essays about myth and ritual, describing the coincidentia oppositorum as “the mythical pattern”. Psychiatrist Carl Jung, the philosopher and Islamic Studies professor Henry Corbin as well as Jewish philosophers Gershom Scholem and Abraham Joshua Heschel also used the term.

    That’s pretty much my reading list for eternity, plus or minus Plotinus, Shakespeare and the Upanishads..

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    So, Joni. Singer-writer in a long tradition.. Vic Garbarini, Joni Mitchell is a Nervy Broad:

    For Mitchell, ordinary life is a semioticist’s paradise, a place where coincidence and synchronicity can be the catalysts that reveal glimpses of a deeper pattern, a unity that underlies and ultimately resolves what appear on the surface to be irreconcilable opposites. In Mitchell’s tales of incredible coincidences on steamy streets or chance encounters with affable drunks in hotel lobbies, vital pieces of the puzzle drop into place, and the whole is glimpsed.

    Oh yes, Joni sees both sides now:

    Threeness games — some back-up materials

    Wednesday, October 3rd, 2018

    [ by Charles Cameron — ternary logic is of special import because it upsets binary oppositional thinking ]
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    In a recent comment, I said that to connect with my various posts on three-player games, there’s this from an episode of Designated Survivor:

    transnational three-way spy trade

    For the record, that’s a win-win-win strategy.

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    While we’re on the subject of threeness games, there’s Brett Kavanaugh‘s explanation of Devil’s Triangle as a drinking game in his testimony:

    Sen Whitehouse: Devil’s Triangle?
    Judge Kavanaugh: Drinking game.
    Sen Whitehouse: How’s it played?
    Judge Kavanaugh: Three glasses, in a triangle..
    Sen Whitehouse: And?
    Judge Kavanaugh: You ever play Quarters?
    Sen Whitehouse: No.
    Judge Kavanaugh: It’s a Quarters game.

    Here’s a more conventional explanation:

    A “Devil’s Triangle” is a widely used term for an act of sexual congress between two men and a woman; but during his hearing, Brett Kavanaugh nonsensically insisted that this was some sort of drinking game.

    Okay, these matters are interesting not because they deal with threeness as in friend or foe games in which temporary alliances (twos) can overcome single ones while new alliances can switch losers for winners — nor as in Konrad Lorenz‘s goose pecking order example, where a > b > c > a — but simply because threeness is involved — three players, three cups &c.

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    For good measure, from MIT Tech Review, The first “social network” of brains lets three people transmit thoughts to each other’s heads:

    In recent years, physicists and neuroscientists have developed an armory of tools that can sense certain kinds of thoughts and transmit information about them into other brains. That has made brain-to-brain communication a reality.

    These tools include electroencephalograms (EEGs) that record electrical activity in the brain and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), which can transmit information into the brain.

    That — apart from the brains themselves — is the basic tech involved.

    In 2015, Andrea Stocco and his colleagues at the University of Washington in Seattle used this gear to connect two people via a brain-to-brain interface. The people then played a 20 questions–type game.

    An obvious next step is to allow several people to join such a conversation, and today Stocco and his colleagues announced they have achieved this using a world-first brain-to-brain network. The network, which they call BrainNet, allows a small group to play a collaborative Tetris-like game.

    That’s the gaming.

    And here’s the pretty diagram that allows those like myself who have only the haziest of ideas where or what the occipital cortex is to nod sagely, acknowledging that we learn something new every day..

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    One isn’t, I’ve argued, even a number: one is one and all alone, and ever more shall be so. Two is the first number, standing as it does both for binary systems (duel and duet, competition and collaboration) and for many or all, as in the one and the many, or one and all..

    But three — ah, three is the first differentiated number, neither two nor two plus two (aka two multiplied by two, two to its own power, two squared, four).. It stands in its own right: three.

    In the number series, it offers us our first hint that there are shades of grey possible between none and one, yes and no, day and night, black and white..

    Three is the tie-breaker, the umpire, balance, justice — three is the liminal number par excellence.

    **

    And one last scrap of detail:

    The proof-of-principle network connects three people: two senders and one person able to receive and transmit, all in separate rooms and unable to communicate conventionally. The group together has to solve a Tetris-like game in which a falling block has to be rotated so that it fits into a space at the bottom of the screen.

    The two senders, wearing EEGs, can both see the full screen. The game is designed so the shape of the descending block fits in the bottom row either if it is rotated by 180 degrees or if it is not rotated. The senders have to decide which and broadcast the information to the third member of the group.

    This is all a bit primitive thus far, but then it’s also a beginning — a window on vast possibilities.

    **

  • Zenpundit, Numbers by the numbers: three / pt 1,
  • Zenpundit, Spectacularly non-obvious, I: Elkus on strategy & games
  • Zenpundit, Spectacularly non-obvious, 2: threeness games
  • Zenpundit, Spectacular illustration of a game of three

  • & no doubt, more..
  • Three — watch out for it, in Hegel, in CS Peirce, in George Boole, in Clausewitz, everywhere!


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