Saturday, January 25, 2014

Neil Young: The rhetoric of authenticity.

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YouTube: Neil Young on Q with Jian Ghomeshi.
Watch this interview (clicking on the image above links to it on YouTube - you will have to bear the ad) of Neil Young by Jian Ghomeshi on 'Q' - fairly short, ten minutes - and maybe you will see what I mean by 'the rhetoric of authenticity' as exhibited by Neil Young. Maybe watch a couple'a times until you get it. Or not. You may also see the CBC buddy, wazizname, doing a capable, credible, job of threading the easy-ride/rough-ride needle - his skill being exactly in the threading (and concomitant inauthenticity). Or not.

He doesn't seem to know just what he's said when it slips out: "I guess the question is if it's something that big, that systemic, that revolutionary to change ..."

There are a number of other interviews & press-conferences you can easily find on YouTube; even one of the concerts entire if you're willing to pay for it.

The mainstream press is focussed on the predictable. Easy enough to find them with Google if you want that kind of thing. The only even vaguely interesting ones are the Official Attack Poodles: Ezra 'less-than-a-lawyer' Levant and Rex 'not-quite-a-Rhodes-Scholar' Murphy. One of those late-night TV marketeers should do up a set of $9.99 ceramic bookends of this exceedingly odd canine couple (both spayed) in appropriately apoplectic day-glo colours.

In the (sort of) alternative press: Rabble recycles a piece by David Climenhaga: The 'Petroleum Party' in full cry about Neil Young; and (Wait a sec! Here's something!),
Tyee's Ian Gill actually begins to get a look at it: Neil Young to Harper: Fear Our Emotion!.

Almost all of the political cartoons I come across on-line are uncomprehending and unkind (or, in the case of Ingrid Rice, incomprehensible), and none of them is very funny:
MacKay.Mayes.Ingrid Rice.

Only Brian Gable seems to have a glimmering. This appears in The Globe and Mail (of all places):
Brian Gable.

Is it plain talk or is it entertainment? Is it culture? Is it literature? Myth? Ficção?

Is it cynically anaesthetic television with many layers of manipulation & exploitation cloaked in double & triple & quadruple irony-bypasses selling soap? Is it hits like: 'Dexter', 'Breaking Bad', 'Low Winter Sun', 'Forbrydelsen/The Killing'? There's a long list of 'em. I watch without a TV, without ads, but sometimes an episode will slip through the download with Geico or Froot-Loops or whatever kind of soap it is embedded.

Is it nonsense from the likes of John Gummer/Lord Deben which wouldn't matter so much if he were not the chair of the UK's Committee on Climate Change saying it with an official imprimatur (in The Guardian)?

Is it more nonsense from the likes of Connie Hedegaard, ex-Danish Environment Minister, hysterical hostess of the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in 2009, now the EU Commissioner for Climate Action (in The New York Times)?

Is it more nonsense from the likes of Christiana Figueres, current UNFCCC Secretary (in her post-Warsaw press release)? "Keeping governments on a track towards a universal climate agreement in 2015," say fricken' what?! This is the bottom line on all that bullshit ideology around mandatory positive thinking - is that it?

David Cameron & John Gummer aka Lord Deben.John Gummer aka Lord Deben.Connie Hedegaard, Copenhagen 2009.Christiana Figueres, Warsaw 2013.Christiana Figueres, Doha 2012.

These are supposed to be the good guys?! Bollocks.


(Oops. Sorry. Got carried away.)

The pervasive imagery in Neil's 'Fork in the Road' album is of his automobile as a woman, girlfriend, lover, muse. This reminds me of ee cummings' 'she being Brand-new':

                she being Brand

                -new;and you
                know consequently a
                little stiff i was
                careful of her and(having

                thoroughly oiled the universal
                joint tested my gas felt of
                her radiator made sure her springs were O.

                K.)i went right to it flooded-the-carburetor cranked her

                up,slipped the
                clutch(and then somehow got into reverse she
                kicked what
                the hell)next
                minute i was back in neutral tried and

                again slo-wly;bare,ly nudg.    ing(my

                lev-er Right-
                oh and her gears being in
                A 1 shape passed
                from low through
                second-in-to-high like
                greasedlightning)just as we turned the corner of Divinity

                avenue i touched the accelerator and give

                her the juice,good


                was the first ride and believe i we was
                happy to see how nice and acted right up to
                the last minute coming back down by the Public
                Gardens i slammed on

                brakes Bothatonce and

                brought allofher tremB
                to a:dead.


(ee cummings, 1926.)
I like it, but I'm suspicious of fetishes except as artefacts.
Angeli: Mara Tara.Angeli: Album de Viagem.

A couple of eu-words (cf. correctitude) might help bring some perspective:
        eunoia   (well mind; beautiful thinking)
                which is in Wikipedia but not the OED - Doh? ; and,
        eunomy / eunomia   (a political condition of good law well-administered).

Several additional words, also possibly useful in the context:
        tinge   (a slight admixture of some qualifying characteristic; a touch or flavour of some quality);
        temperament   (constitution or habit of mind; natural disposition).
                Note the spelling - there is an 'a' in there; and,
        poetaster   (petty or paltry poet; rimester).
                I had this last one wrong - thought it applied to critics & hangers-on, not artists.

An exercise to perhaps assist in sharpening the blade:
        Edward O. Wilson   cf.   Jared Diamond   cf.   David Suzuki   cf.   Neil Young.

These assumptions make me uncomfortable, misgivings, gas ...

"Honour The Treaties" he says, but what are native motivations exactly?

Theresa Spence in Attawapiskat going to the wall for a bigger share of the local diamond mine? Aleqa Hammond & Jens-Erik Kirkegaard in Greenland opening the doors wide to welcome in China, BP, Shell?

He is simply wrong about ethanol, and I wonder if it's disingenuous that this Lincoln of his keeps being referred to as an 'electric car powered by biomass'. Is this a euphemism? Did the phrase fall out of some strategy & tactics session with David Suzuki? Is it clever marketing?

And is the disinformation around ethanol he refers to in his speech at the National Farmers Union press conference last year coming to us from the same purveyors as the disinformation around Fort Mac?

"Science is the backbone of our future," he says, seeming to (also) imply that technology's gonn'a save us - which I don't happen to think it's gonn'a do.

Even a booster like Gwynne Dyer has figgured out that geo-engineering ain't where it's at (in the Georgia Strait).

[Sorry to say that our Gwynne has stood himself corrected and is back to being a geo-engineering booster: Mea culpa on geo-engineering; it's not as bleak as I thought. Oh well, nobody's perfect.]

Anyway, I could be wrong, he could be wrong. ... The answer is Thorium! (Not.)

... but that's the kinn'a guy I often am - a nasty & unpleasant quibbler.

So ... listen to 'Fork in the Road' (the tune not the album, lyrics & YouTube link here) a few times, watch the interviews again. What's he sayin'?

See for yourself. Think for yourself. Make up your own mind.
What's left of it.
When I worked for KBR/Halliburton we went to Arlington or someplace for a week of training on a new software package. Over breakfast the first day I met a personable & articulate middle-aged Texan - "Good," I thought, "A friend for the duration." But at one point in the conversation I happened to mention something I had seen in The New York Times the day before. "Oh," he said (with an odd look), "Do you read that stuff?"

And that was the end of it. Not another word during the entire week. Cold shoulder.

And yeah, you will sometimes find the term 'Guardian reader' used pejoratively in British media.

So. Sifting. Winkling out some kind of sense from amongst the apparently intentional bafflegab of
Edward O. Wilson. Putting aside gallons of Indonesian whitewash to hear what Jared Diamond has to say about chimpanzees. Trying to ignore David Suzuki's ... arrogance? snobbery? superiority? - he reminds me of wazzername? John Ralston Saul's wife? ... (ah! - ten hours later - got it!) ... when she was on CBC saying, "Hi, I'm Adrienne Clarkson. And you're not." Maybe it's just bourgeois insecurity.

A-and now our Neil.

I didn't know someone had made a movie about Hannah Arendt. Thinking about her last week I came across it - must'a bin a harmonic convergence - so I downloaded and watched it. Turns out I also didn't know about the controversy surrounding her 'Eichmann in Jerusalem' articles/book. Got drowned out by my own applause when I read it I guess. People do not want to know that they are even potentially complicit, resist knowing at all costs. Evil is not banal, it's ... special.

There it is again. Although I do think that the idea of evil as a fundamental human quality has steadily gained currency in the meantime - even as we are all reduced to Muselman.

I figgure there will be no Nuremberg or Jerusalem trials, no ICC for the climate criminals - seems to me that whatever justice systems there are will be among the first to fall as the house of cards collapses - and they are so numerous, these climate criminals ... a-and anyway, they control the courts.

It's the rhetoric of authenticity - genuine, but it's still rhetoric.

We could ditch the economy and possibly still preserve a civilization. Or we could ditch both.

Ai Ai Ai. Said too much, sorry.

Moudakis (edited by Glenn MacIntosh).
The little frame to the left started out as a shot at the Leafs (hockey team) by Moudakis in The Toronto Star a few years ago.

Glenn MacIntosh of ecoSanity changed it up to 'The Harper Government' adding subtlety and eloquence in the process.

"Who'll remember?" indeed.

I praise him but he don't talk with me. None of 'em do.

Oh well.
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