Sunday Open Thread (and Book review)

A weekend of uninterrupted domesticity (read:  youth activities, cleaning and shopping) left me with neither time nor energy to blog.  I’m still rocking and rolling with family stuff, but anticipate that I’ll be back at my computer tonight.

I did read something very enjoyable this past week, though, that I’ll share with the Irving Berlin fans among you:  Philip Furia’s Irving Berlin: A Life in Song. Although Furia is an academic, this was an extremely readable book, that used Irving Berlin’s life as a backdrop to a study of his music. Other books, most notably Laurence Bergreen’s excellent As Thousands Cheer: The Life Of Irving Berlin, focus on Berlin’s life, and note which songs he wrote at a given time.  Furia, however, really examines the music itself:  it’s structure, and the extraordinary way in which Berlin melded the music and the poetry, both of which he wrote entirely by himself.  Despite having a busy week, I gobbled up the book in a few days, and highly recommend it.  (I recommend Bergreen’s book, too, if you’re a Berlin fan.)

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  • Mike Devx

    Book and many of us, me included, came to conservatism relatively recently.  For most of us, the seminal event was 9-11.  For me, pre 9-11 I had held any number of conservative positions on some specific issues, but my worldview was entirely liberal.  In conversation I never mocked liberal positions, yet I relentlessly mocked conservative positions at every opportunity.  In general I was in what we now see as the liberal Utopian camp: We can perfect the world if only we try harder, and we need to do it NOW!  The world is a wonderful, gentle place, full of rational people who think just as I do, and the world is perfectible, so let’s get moving on creating that Utopia.

    Power Line has publicized in recent days a set of articles on playwright David Mamet’s conversion from liberalism to conservatism.  He didn’t follow the same path, exactly, but I found it fascinating reading nonetheless.  Here are the two links.

    1. David Mamet’s 2008 article for the Villiage Voice (Why I Am No Longer A Brain-Dead Liberal) in which he is in the midst of his conversion:

    2. A recent article on David Mamet’s forthcoming book “The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture” (I’ve already ordered it myself), in which he discusses his entire conversion to conservatism.

  • Charles Martel

    Mike, I’ve been following the accounts of Mamet’s transformation, too. I’m sure that at some point liberal venom will kick in and he will come under attack for his treachery. But it will take a little longer for liberals to decide on the best angle of attack since he is a formidably intelligent man who can capably defend himself. 

    Rest assured, though, that when it comes it will be a pack assault.

  • Gringo

    IMHO, some of the best work Ella Fitzgerald did in her  series of Songbooks  was with the songs of  Irving Berlin. She runs the gamut from soulful to playfu. She makes great songs even better- no surprise there.
    Journolist is working right now on how to best take Mamet down.

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  • Mike Devx

    Martel 2 and Gringo 3: Journolist is working right now on how to best take Mamet down.

    It’s a key difference between liberals and conservatives.  When someone decides they’re no longer a liberal, their former fellow travelers all turn on them with a viciousness that is amazing.

    When someone who was conservative turns into a liberal (or turns out to have been deceitful), we just tend to ignore them.  “Fare thee well, o misbegotten fool!”  And we tend to be regretful and sad about it.  Witness Charles Johnson, he of LGF fame.   Those he attacked on his way out defended themselves; the rest of us just muttered, “Hasta la vista, baby.  Now we know thee.”

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  • Charles Martel

    Another Wheel of the AGW Fantasy Comes Wobbling Off

    It’s really looking bad for the AGW fantasists. Most of them—not all of them—are people who needed a religion to carry them through once Marxism had failed or they had demolished traditional religions in their minds. The problem with pseudo-science, though, is that your theologians can be blasted out of the water if the theologians defending the demons you’re attacking have real science at their command.

  • Old Buckeye

    I’m not reading anything  scholarly or political at the moment, but I’d like to put in a plug for a book I just started written by a former college classmate from small-town Ohio. It’s his first fiction, and so far (80 pages in), it’s been captivating. Classic setup: a youthful crime rears its head when the protagonist is eligible for a high-profile political spot. Favorite Sons by Robin Yocum.

  • Ymarsakar

    I finished reading Soul Link, which is about a romantic action adventure story concerning two couples who get stranded on a space station that is being hijacked by terrorists. The space station is both commercial and military in nature, housing a hotel and being owned by a private company yet also co-habitating the space with a military training academy for grades 6-12.

    This gives the couples a chance to bond by having them deal with relationship issues as they face the drama of a hijacking, but it also provides a more battle centric view that appeals to males generally speaking.

    The main protagonist is a real go getter. Someone who tends to see a guy with a gun accosting two college aged girls and will stop to help, and then try to leave them behind as he chases after the fleeing perp. The story is broken into 3 short stories or vignettes, each portraying a different main viewpoint, separated into 3 distinct individuals. So there was a climax 3 times and well worth the time invested where normally you only get a long lead up and one conclusion, with a bunch of strings attached to the cliff hangers.

  • Mike Devx

    So Newt Gingrich has just come out in favor of the Individual Mandate in health care, requiring every American to pay for a government-controlled and government-planned health care system whether they want to participate in it or not.  He even claims it is just like auto insurance.

    Do any of youo have any idea where he’s coming from?  He’s supposed to be one of our “great current conservative thinkers.”  His statements don’t agree with any concept of conservative thought that I’m aware of.

  • Bookworm

    Re Newt:  I think he’s coming from the “I’m an iconoclast who needs headlines” point of view.  If he’d had my vote, which he didn’t, he would have just lost it.

  • Charles Martel

    I like listening to the guy on radio because he’s pretty articulate. But I wouldn’t vote for him.

  • JKB

    Just popped over to Reddit where they had this link to a Californian not afraid to show their conservative side.  Really, someone should follow them and get a video of what road rage in a Prius or Le Car looks like.