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The Magic in Advertising series, more music, classics, mixes, snore

Wednesday, November 6th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — following on Advertising series 01: Music — maybe I’ll post three today — here’s the second ]
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Ludacris Mercedes– there’s a moment in the middle of this magical commercial where magic transforms opera into rap — the Mercedes driver’s preference, as we see at the end of the commercial, when he instructs the car to play his music:

Opera as luxe:

The aria is — well, here’s how the LA Times puts it, in a piece titled Does Volvo know it’s using opera’s most monstrous villainess to sell its SUVs?:

Volvo’s new spokesmodel for its SUVs, the Queen of the Night from Mozart’s “Magic Flute” (Diana Damrau), ordering up the murder of Sarastro, the High Priest of the Sun, in a production at Covent Garden.(Royal Opera House)

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Ha! For a different take, an opera-rap mix, see Twist of Fate Wines’ Embrace the Unexpected ad:

Like it? Switch modes of culture-clash:

Flight of the Bumblebee:

And go to Calvinball:

Last but not least, give things a sacred twist? Hallelujah:

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Previous episodes in the same series:

Advertising series 01: Music
Eros, the Renaissance and advertising
Authentic, spiritual magic!
The magic of advertising or the commercialization of magic?
Here’s magic!
The magic of miniatures
rhyming, twinning, pattern recognition
the purring, roaring Jaguar

I imagine there will eventually be about twenty posts in the series..

The Magic in Advertising series, the purring, roaring Jaguar

Wednesday, November 6th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — this series has been quiescent, and that’s a pity — so I’ll post two today, to re-kick-start the series ]
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Jaguar:

You’ll likely have seen the jaguar (cat) keeping pace with the Jaguar (e-pace), the cat and the car in parallel..

The cat-car association is embedded in the name: the addition of a beautiful woman never hurt from an ad-man’s perspective. Here’s a 1959 ad for an XK150 Roadster:

The same formula works today —

Eva Green features in an alluring, almost purring commercial in which her cat accompanies her to her car:

As the lady says, It’s just electric.

And in a docu-short, Ms Green tells us:

When I think of Jaguar I think of the power and the elegance of the animal, it’s such an iconic brand..

Cat and brand are no longer running in parallel, they’re merging..

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Previous episodes in the same series:

Advertising series 01: Music
Eros, the Renaissance and advertising
Authentic, spiritual magic!
The magic of advertising or the commercialization of magic?
Here’s magic!
The magic of miniatures
rhyming, twinning, pattern recognition

I imagine there will eventually be about twenty posts in the series..

A magical tale, in three accelerating acts

Wednesday, November 6th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — magic is imagination, see my post Vlahos: violence is the magical substance of civil war earlier today ]
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Act One: Jacob’s Ladder

Jacob’s ladder, on which angels are show ascending and descending, is revealed to Jacob in a dream: sheer magic — and how richly strange to see the ladder emerge from a simple loop of string..

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Act Two: Pavel Tchelitchew, The Concert {via Alabandine]

That the string figure should become a stringed instrument, plucked by the teeth and accompanied by tambourine.. again, we are raised an octave above our grounded selves..

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Act Three: Bob Dylan, Song and Dance Man

And the song and dance musician magician Dylan — his harmonica, making an anthem for us all.

Three stunners

Sunday, November 3rd, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — can’t think why you’d need three stunners, or two six-shooters for that matter — stun once and done, sez I ]
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My first stunner is from an LRB piece about Margaret Atwood, it’s opening paragraph invoking PD James instead, and what a powerful description of what I think I’ll call a Falling Curtain Event — an event such as climate change which offers so great a threat that arguably we should drop all other activities to attend to it.

For a quick dystopia, then — this:

In P.D. James’s strangest novel, The Children of Men (1992), humans stop being able to get pregnant, and no one can figure out why. Scientific research comes to nothing. Years pass without a newborn child. All the nurseries close, then all the schools. With no hope of posterity, landowners let their estates rot; scholars take up golf. Only the richest or best-connected are able to get a place in one of the increasingly rare care homes, run by increasingly senescent carers. Without children or grandchildren, people dote on their pets, and envy them for still being able to reproduce. When a small deer wanders into an Oxford chapel, the chaplain rushes at it, hurling prayerbooks: ‘Christ, why can’t they wait? Bloody animals. They’ll have it all soon enough. Why can’t they wait?’

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Second, a no less stunning foretaste of our current actual situation politically, from the dialog of episode 7 of the TV series, The People v. O.J. Simpson:

I mean, we have hard evidence, and they razzle-dazzle a bunch of conspiracy nonsense into big moments. Now, we need to make our own big moments that land with the jury. That is how we beat the nonsense. Now, can we focus on that?

Do I hear a prophecy here, life about to imitate art? Beware the Jabberwock, my son..

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Let me close with another stunning Falling Curtain Event, this one from a Dylan live performance:

It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there — how’s that for a curtain falling?

On the one hand, it’s night falling, any night. But that’s the lyrics, the musical delivery is fatigued, so, so very weary: as the lyrics say, Time is running away.

More lines that, in their diverse ways, tell you of that fatigue, that flesh, bone, mind, soul weariness:

There’s not even room enough to be anywhere
I ain’t looking for nothing in anyone’s eyes
Sometimes my burden seems more than I can bear
I know it looks like I’m moving, but I’m standing still
I can’t even remember what it was I came here to get away from
Behind every beautiful thing there’s been some kind of pain<

So many ways, running down..

It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there

Superb performance of a great song– and to m=y mind, apocalyptic without ever saying so explicitly — just that sense of thr curtain, falling .

One of the more interesting comments about, well..

Tuesday, October 15th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — reading my daily dose of 3QD again after a health-induced lapse, and glad I’m back ]
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One of the more interesting comments about, well, religion, comes from a review by Robert Fay in 3QD of Chinese science fiction master Liu Cixin‘s novel, the first in a trilogy and the one President Obama so praised, The Three Body Problem, reading it in a wide world context:

Sacrifice used to be part-and-parcel of the western self-identity. Jesus on the cross at Calvary was the central spiritual truth of Christendom. The west, of course, left much of this behind during the Enlightenment. The French Revolution further asserted the rights of individuals. If anything, the consumption of consumer goods is the true religion of the west now, and it demands we all act immediately on our impulses, cravings and desires.

This hasn’t worked out well for the planet.

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Yes, sacrifice, and it’s dual, martyrdom, have all but disappeared, although, well, the Marines understand sacrifice, and the jihadists understand martyrdom.

To take you into the audacity of sacrifice or the self-surrender of martyrdom is beyond me here. Let me just note that the Eucharist is a sacrifice, and the death of Joan of Arc a martyrdom. Arguably, the two ideas are parallel, and meet at infinity, as in the Cure D’Ars observation:

If we knew what a Mass is, we should die of it.

Thus, theologically speaking, the Eucharist (present) cyclically repeats Christ‘s sacrifice on the cross (past), in a transcendent manner which makes of it a foretaste of the Wedding Feast (future) envisioned in the book of Revelation.

But enough!

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There’s a fine alternative vision of the three body problem in Bill Benzon‘s Time Travelers We Are, Each And All, his account of brain, mind and Beethoven, which, like Robert Fay‘s account of Liu Cixin‘s novel of that name, arrived in today’s edition of 3QD. Benzon is quoting the literary critic Wayne Booth describing a performance of Beethoven‘s String Quartet No. 14 in C-sharp minor, Op. 131 as constituting unities out of a string quartet, Booth himself and his nwife, and, somehow, both of those and Beethoven — three bodies as one:

There is Beethoven, one hundred and forty-three years ago … writing away at the marvelous theme and variations in the fourth movement. … Here is the four-players doing the best it can to make the revolutionary welding possible. And here we am, doing the best we can to turn our “self” totally into it: all of us impersonally slogging away (these tears about my son’s death? ignore them, irrelevant) to turn ourselves into that deathless quartet.

That unity of three bodies is found, and can be joined, in Beethoven‘s String Quartet No. 14 in C-sharp minor, Op. 131:

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Reading Benzon‘s piece, we can benefit also from his presentation of neurons, their connections and internal workings:

We have no way of directly counting the neurons in the nervous systems, but estimates put the number at roughly 86 billion with an average of 10,000 synapses per neuron.

To specify the brain’s state at a given moment in clock time we need to know the state of each unit component, such as a neuron. One convenient way to do this is to say that a neuron is either firing or it is not. So it can have two states. Neurons are complicated things; each is a living cell with the full complement of machinery that that requires. There’s a lot more to a neuron that whether or not it’s firing.

This description of neurons is in service to a discussion of clock-time and brain states, which is itself in service to a wider discussion of time itself, as our wrist-watches understand it, and as our experience of Beethoven might cause us to discover it.

Following the musical branch of this discussion, we find Benzon quoting Bernstein on ego-loss:

I don’t know whether any of you have experienced that but it’s what everyone in the world is always searching for. When it happens in conducting, it happens because you identify so completely with the composer, you’ve studied him so intently, that it’s as though you’ve written the piece yourself. You completely forget who you are or where you are and you write the piece right there. You just make it up as though you never heard it before. Because you become that composer.

Benzon‘s three into one is Bernstein‘s two into one, and all paths lead to reliving a keynote segment of the life of Beethoven — Beethoven as a musical Everest, with Bernstein and the quartet as sherpas, Booth and his wife and Benzon and you and I as climbers, some at base-camp listening to the great Chuck Berry, some on the final ascent, some planting flags at the peak..

Peak Beethoven is phenomenological unity. Across time, time travel.

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Oh, the numbers games one can play — Sixteen into forty into one in Tallis’ forty-part motet, Spem in Alium Nunquam Habui — where the very title speaks to the union – I Have Hope in None Other:

Oh and is not religion at the heart of this unity, this unity at the very heart of religion? And is not this braiding of voices, this polyphony, a working of this unity?

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My early mentor and friend, Herbert Warner Allen, wrote of his own time with Beethoven. As I wrote elsewhere:

Herbert Warner Allen, a classical scholar, sometime newspaper editor and noted authority on wines, experienced a timeless moment between two beats during a performance of one of the Beethoven symphonies. Not knowing quite what had hit him, he went on to research the mystical tradition and wrote three mostly forgotten books [of which the first was aptly named The Timeless Moment] situating his experience within intellectual tradition without nailing it to any particular dogmatic structure. TS Eliot, who published the books, inscribed a book of his own poetry to Warner Allen with the words “from the Srotaapanna to the Arhat, TS Eliot”, with a footnote to explain “Srotaapanna: he who has dipped one toe in the river of the wqaters of enlightenment; Arhat: he who has arrived at the further shore”.

Here’s the almost anonymous A.T. writing to The Times, 19th January 1968:

In your obituary notice of the late Mr. Warner Allen you do not mention the books he wrote describing his “journey on the Mystic Way”. The best known of these books was The Timeless Moment in which he gave some account of a visionary experience that for him “flashed up lightning-wise during a performance of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony at the Queen’s Hall “. In this split second of time he received (as no one reading his books can doubt) a flash of absolute reality that broke through the normal barriers of the conscious mind and left a trail of illumination in its wake. Mr. Allen never claimed to be an advanced mystic or profound philosopher. He described himself as an ordinary man of the world. He spent years unravelling the implications of his strange experience. The resulting volumes were and are of extraordinary interest.

Amen. Warner Allen’s was a Timeless Moment, an ego-loss indeed!

I must have been fifteen or so when I had the great good fortune to meet and be befriended by this extraordinary man..


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