Thursday, March 22, 2012

Let's Improvise Some Guitar!

Shall we improvise some guitar?

The bass player is playing a low G; what shall we play? We could play a D; that would leave the third undefined, and the listeners' minds would fill in the blanks with whatever they feel right now. Or we could play an F; down low or up high it would create a tension, suggest moving to a comfortable C along a bluesy highway.

We could play a B flat, take it minor, make it a little sad. Or a B natural, move it to a positive feeling, if that's called for. Or an A; the tempered A is a little out of tune to the natural A, but it's still clear enough to suggest harmonic movement. Or an A flat, which would create an almost unbearable tension, and suggest an incompetent punk or a masochistic free jazzer.

But let's keep it simple, and also play a G. Reinforce the bass note, up an octave or two. The note becomes more powerful; perhaps we're rocking out a bit. We could play the open G string: the lowest of the unwound strings, it has the most complex audible harmonics, and might suggest a folky flavor. It sounds almost comical compared to the other open strings. Or we could play the G on the fifth fret on the D string: it's wound, and has a very different sound than the open string, darker, blending better. Or even the G on the A string at the 10th fret; towards the middle of the string, it is full of odd harmonics, and emphatically more bassy, taking us towards a jazzy feel. Or we couFOR GODS SAKE SOMEONE HAND ME A COWBELL!

Don't Bother

I'll bet you don't care about my chronic ambivalence.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Rush versus Women

I've been seeing a lot of right wing chatter comparing Rush Limbaugh's attack on Sandra Fluke to, for example, Bill Maher calling Sarah Palin a "twat".

No, it's not the same thing at all.  You can't take Maher's statement and infer that Maher thinks all women are "twats".  But Rush wasn't talking about Sandra Fluke, really; he was talking about all women who use contraception.  He was calling all of them "sluts".  He doesn't understand how contraception works, and in his opinion, if those women would just keep their legs closed, they wouldn't need someone else's money for their contraception.  It's one of the most heinous anti-woman statements I've ever heard in public media.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Libertarianism, Amen

The thing that bothers me most about Randites, and Libertarians in general, is that they state some things that really seem to be truths, about personal responsibility, the importance of creativity, that the government that governs best governs least, etc. And then they ruin it by making a religion out of it.

 To paraphrase Ambassador Spock in Star Trek VI, these things are the beginning of wisdom, not the end. The only thing that really differentiates us from other animals is a feeling of responsibility for the greater good; if we don't have that, we are monkeys, at best.

 (Actually, the thing that bothers me most about Ayn Rand is that she was a sociopath. A charismatic one, sure, but still just a human being damaged by her upbringing. Instead of trying to fix herself, she created a religion out of her damaged personality. Which is probably not that uncommon, really.)