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A Dream of Two Headlines

Friday, December 13th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — a meeting of the opposites in the Lutheran and Catholic martyrologies ]
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I dreamed of two headlines, one occupying most of the page with its sub-head, author’s name, and first few paragraphs, enough to tell the tale — “Naval Academy Midshipman Charged With Setting Fire to Historic Documents” — and in the margin, that other — “Scottish church suspects some lillibethians among its martyrs.”

I’m not interested, today, in the Naval Academy outrage, though maybe on another day.. What interests me today is the possibility that some saints, martyrs indeed, venerated by the Catholic church in Scotland, home of my male forebears across the centuries, may turn out to be found to be “lillibethians” — a word I believe I coined, meaning “followers of Elizabeth” in the Catholic times of Queen Mary.: martyrs indeed, but for the wrong, Protestant faith.

Now the thing is, it might be difficult for the current church to admit that some of its venerated saints who, remember, were killed by the hated, heretical Protestants for their fortitude in holding the true Catholic faith even unto death were, in historical fact, martyred one might say, by right-minded, rigorous, righteous Catholics, for their fortitude in holding the true Protestant faith even unto death..

So.

My dream has me wondering, can one switch religions, from Catholic martyr to Protestant martyr, while still retaining the same respect, veneration indeed, for fortitude in holding the true faith even unto death? Can a venerated Protestant martyr become a venerated Catholic martyr (other team), or vice versa?

**

Could a Catholic pope canonize, as one novelist has suggested, a Protestant Johann Sebastian Bach?

Astonishing, the fertility and freshness of his mind, and as the centuries roll on, the fresh brilliance of this virtuoso performance..

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Recognizing that the same tale was told from India along the trade routes to Europe, with Bodhisattva becoming Iodasaph, then Ioasaph, then Josaphat, how can we avoid acknowledging that the saints Catholics have venerated for centuries as Barlaam and Josaphat were originally and thus are in fact, Bodhisattva (the apprentice Buddha) and his teacher?

Thus a priest might call the 27th of November, the Feast of St Buddha… Fr Thomas Merton OCSO would very likely have approved.

**

Oh, and the Scottish martyrs. I recall Jorge Luis Borges‘ story, The Theologians, in which the heresiarch and the arch-orthodox duke it out, the definitions of heresy (a death penalty offense) and orthodoxy even shifting at one point — it’s final paragraph is the killer:

It is more correct to record that in Paradise Aurelian knew this: in the unfathomable divinity of God he and John, the heretic and the rector of the Faith, the abhorring and the abhorred, the victim and his accuser, in God these two had ever been one person only.

So may it be with the damned Lutherans and the blessed Catholics — and their respective martyrs!

The binary advantage

Monday, September 30th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — there’s this word, multi-tasking, but multi-listening would be more useful and to the point — counterpoint, that is ]
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We know that in general, binocular vision allows us to see an additional depth dimension not available to a single eye — but that’s when both eyes are looking at the same object. Now — after a quick F Scott Fitzgerald refresher — this:

Sources:

  • F Scott Fitzgerald, The Crack-Up
  • Anna Antinori et al, Seeing it both ways: Openness to experience and binocular rivalry
  • **

    The F Scott Fitzgerald quote you’ll probably recognize, but the one about more “open” personalities being better able to “see” two opposing images — red shown to one eye, green to the other — merging into one more complex image is intriguing, to say the least..

    We already know instinctively how to listen to several voices when we listen to music — but when two speaking voices are in conflict, or talking right past each other, or one’s going big picture and the other deviles in the details.. let alone when there are three opinions to be heard, or four, or seventeen..

    Below, you’ll find Joni Mitchell singing Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter with lyrics that keep bridging gaps “between yes and no .. altitude and flesh .. some duality .. fire and rain” and summed up in the lines “the eagle and the serpent are at war in me, the serpent fighting for blind desire, the eagle for clarity”. Listening to Joni sing, we can hear her powerful voice and the poetry of her lyrics, her guitar, and at the very least underneath both the driving bass of Jaco Pastorius — three “voices” simultaneously.

    Below, too, I’ve posted Bach‘s A minor Fugue, BWV 904 — with the brilliant graphical scoring of Stephen Malinowski — and again, it’s possible to follow two or even three voices, particularly with the assistance of the graphical score.

    Now, at a geopolitical conference, or a discussion of Presidency and impeachment, or a board meeting — or on the inside of your skull — how many voices can you hold in tension, in counterpoint, or bring into harmony and concord?

    **

    The Joni:

    The JSB:

    **

    Enjoy!!

    The music of snakes and computing machines

    Thursday, September 19th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — with enough joy here for all lovers of classical music, herpetology and the national pastime — but I’m stunned by one most curious herpetology-Bach crossover in particular — and more ]
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    Here’s a fine DoubleQuote:

    I gave you the snake first, in about as amusing a context as I could find: Now here’s the serpentine windings of a Bach melody, as tracked by musical-graphics maestro Stephen Malinowski::

    The music is Bach’s Cantata 140 (Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme), performed by members of the Netherlands Bach Society (s part of their All of Bach project.

    **

    I think of the vaulted arches of Hermann Hesse’shundred gated cathedral of mind as places where science / technology and the arts / humanities map closely to one another — my locus classicus being the analogy between van Gogh‘s night sky and von Karman‘s vortex street, with which by now you are likely all familiar..

    Far more unexpected, yet incredibly rich, it seems to me, is this close correspondence between music and snake. Does this suggest any further explorations to anyone? Ali Minai, anything this suggests for AI? Anyone?

    Ada Lovelace‘s vision of the applicability of the Jacquard loom’s punched cards to Charles Babbage‘s engine is another instance, at the apex of an arch, I think — and it’s interesting to note that Lady Lovelace speculated that Babbage‘s machine

    might act upon other things besides number… the Engine might compose elaborate and scientific pieces of music of any degree of complexity or extent

    Howzzat? as we cry out in cricket.

    Well, since it’s Sunday, here’s a surprise

    Monday, July 1st, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — bright and dancing Bach — a cantata to give you the fresh spirit of Il Gardellino, then the great Mass in B Minor in their brilliant version ]
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    J.S. Bach: Cantata “Wir müssen durch viel Trübsal” BWV 146:

    This recording fairly leaps out at you, it’s so crisp and dance-like! Brilliant!

    **

    And then, enthused by that magnificent cantata, here’s the B Minor Mass in all its glory, with voices that have been hidden, unheard, in all the other renderings I’ve heard — and I love the Corboz, for instance — and those inner voices, clear as bells..

    And if your Sunday evening is almost gone, bookmark this post and return to it when you have time — such a fine performance of one of the three or four greatest sacred choral works in the Western tradition!

    Some chyrons &c as my chyrons series draws towards a close..

    Wednesday, May 1st, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — this post has been lingering while I’ve been slowly adding elements, and with some Bach now firmly in place I think it’s past time to drop it into the slip-stream ]
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    This one’s priceless in a Matrioshka, Through the Looking Glass kind of way:

    Can the Actor Who Ruled Ukraine on TV Do It in Real Life?

    File it under life imitates art?

    **

    I’m tired of chasing chyrons. If I see stunners, I may bring them here, but I’ll be concentrating on other things.

    **

    I was surprised to overhear the words “perfect sacrifice” in a baseball commentary my room-mate was attendinmg to, but apparently the phrase fits in the context of bunts – what those are, I still don’t know – as well as they do in the context of the Eucharistic liturgy, often considered, eg by Pope John Paul II , as a perfect sacrifice of praise..

    What can I say? My ears perked up.

    **

    Three levels of beauty for your illumination:

    Lidia Ksiazkiewicz

    Lidia Ksiazkiewicz at her instrument:

    Lidia Ksiazkiewicz plays Bach’s Fantasia in G major, BWV 572, on the great organ of Laon cathedral in 2012:

    **

    This one’s an almost ouroboros — Chris Matthews on Hardball:

    The Democrats don’t know how to play hardball>>

    **

    From the poets — Walt Whitman:

    both in and out of the game, and watching

    Life, the game, yes. And Shakespeare:

    The southern wind
    Doth play the trumpet to his purposes,
    And by his hollow whistling in the leaves
    Foretells a tempest and a blustering day.

    Marvelous. Those unexpected words can break through the strands of conventional thought that spin their deadly shroud about us every day.

    **

    “IT’S GOING TO BE A GUERRILLA WAR”: THE SANDERS LEFT OPENS FIRE ON BIDEN

    Within a few hours of Joe Biden’s official presidential announcement, the Justice Democrats, the progressive group behind Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s rise to power, brought out the flamethrower.

    **

    So as you see, this is the sort of amount that would have made the first quarter of a chyrons series post a couple of weeks ago, and today it’s all I’ve collected in a week or so. I’m really cutting back on this game, and will be concentrating on other areas..

    **

    Let’s close here with this trio:

    That’s the rough number.

    That’s just this last week.

    And here’s the exact figure, if there’s no margin of error, which seems unlikely..

    I’m leaving some terrorism screen-grabs for a later post.


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