Art & Culture
R9GjJA Thanks again for the post.Really thank you! Keep writing.
During the Presidential campaign, Gene Healy at Reason wrote up an article about the Cult of the Presidency -- describing the unreasonable faith that many Americans place in the Presidency and its occupant* (covered by John here ). Despite the hypocritical right-wing hand-wringing over the implications of Obama's effectiveness in mass politics, Obama cannot take credit for inventing the Cult of the Presidency.
A number of recent events have vividly illustrated one long-standing aspect of the Presidential cult -- the idea that the President is the ultimate arbiter of cultural worth and the representative of a national consensus on cultural issues. These events showed that Americans expect the President to be the ultimate representative on issues as broad as military valor , piousness , and athletic accomplishment .
Hey there, folks! Here's a completely different diary about the great, golden oldie-but-goody movie/musical classic, West Side Story that's about something that I've recently begun to observe and think about in regards to the music of WSS, whether I'm listening to it or not.
So we went to Barnes and Noble the other day, and I'm sitting on the ground in the children's section with my 8-month old baby looking for a book to read to him. I take my eye off him for a minute or two and when I look back he's reached into one of the lower shelves, pulled off a Spongebob paperback, and is chewing on it. It's one of those cheapo books, with the pages only slightly thicker than newspaper, so by the time I notice we're the proud soon-to-be owners of this $3.99 treasure.
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|Petra , dubbed "a rose-red city half as old as time" by Burgon, is an ancient city in Jordan that served as the capital of the Nabataeans. It was situated at a trade crossroads and prospered due to providing water and protection to caravans making their way across the inhospitable terrain. The most famous sites within the city are literally carved out of the surrounding cliffs, in an amazing display of craftsmanship and artistry.|
Petra fell under Roman rule in 106 AD and gradually declined in influence, then was substantially damaged by an earthquake in 363 AD and never rebuilt to its former glory. The population shrunk and eventually knowledge of Petra was lost to the outside world, until the Swiss traveler Burckhardt rediscovered it in 1812. Today Petra is a World Heritage Site and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
|Chess is an ancient game of mental skill between two players, with simple rules but great depth to the play. In art, chess is commonly used to symbolize either intellectual ability or challenge ("three moves ahead") from the perspective of the controlling player, or else role in the system ("just a pawn") from the perspective of a piece. There is a decent amount of art related to chess, from literature (e.g., Nabokov's The Defense ) to poetry (e.g., Eliot's The Wasteland ) to painting (e.g., Duchamp's "Portrait of Chess Players" ) to film (e.g., Searching for Bobby Fischer ). There are also the great chess games themselves -- do they qualify as art? They certainly inspire with their beauty. Below the fold, some music, paintings, and games...|
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The Kentucky Derby yesterday produced both triumph and tragedy, as favorite Big Brown won going away despite beginning the race in the outside position, and then the second-place filly Eight Belles broke down after the finish and had to be Havlupan euthanized. In honor of the Derby and the beginning of Triple Crown season, we take a look this week at favorite children's books involving horses.
|Roads connect us to family and friends, enable commerce, and open up new vistas. In art they are often the pathway for exploration of the wider world in a manner that provokes introspection in the traveler. These photos show the modern US highway system underneath the clouds, appropriate since roads chart a course towards the horizon where land meets sky and the unknown awaits. I took them recently, the first standing at the side of an entrance ramp to the highway and the second out the window while driving. Follow the road below the fold for more...|
"For sale: baby shoes, never worn."
Flash fiction is short short stories, only a few hundred (or fewer!) words in length. Perhaps the defining masterpiece of brevity is Hemingway's six-word story quoted above -- the reader fills in the details, and the handful of words pack an undiluted emotional punch. Below the fold, some examples of flash fiction, and an invitation to choose your favorite or write your own.
|Finlandia , composed by Jean Sibelius, is a tone poem celebrating the land of the midnight sun. It opens with a harsh brass passage that segues into calm, then a low undercurrent rises in tone and transitions to a fast staccato theme. The tension is maintained by racing strings and the theme pushes forward before suddenly giving way to a quiet but passionate hymn-like melody (shown in the score to the left) that is expressed with a stark clarity. The piece ends with a return to the stormy mood and builds in a crescendo to the finale. Below the fold, some context for the piece and an embedded performance.|
Though it's been awhile since I've written an essay, I've decided that i'm going to write about something a bit different; the meanings of music. This is something that's been on my mind for some time, after listening to a number of older songs that I don't have available to play on my CD stereo, but have been listening to on youtube Although it's taken me quite a while to recognize the meaning of certain songs, especially favorites of mine, I can appreciate them even more.
|This week we look at different perspectives on waves, a source of inspiration to artists ranging from painters to poets. Waves crashing against the rocks illustrate the power of nature. The timeless monotony of waves on a beach forms a comforting pattern, but when we venture into this water world, seemingly secure inside ships, the waves become a threatening force Promosyon . Within a storm the water seems alive, surging forward with no care for those caught in its grasp. Below the fold, a range of interpretations from different types of artists.|
|This edition of weekend art takes you through the musical history of Paul Weller, lead vocalist and songwriter for The Jam, The Style Council, and then his own band. His evolution as an artist covers everything from punk to pop to folk to rock. Below the fold, some of the highlights from his outstanding career, presented as youtube clips with lyric selections and brief commentary.|
I decided to name this thread "Untitled", because it was the only name I could think of at this moment.
I have written here on SwordsCrossed on numerous occasions about my favorite movies, including my alltime favorite movie, West Side Story.
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
From forth the fatal loins of these two foes
A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life;
Whose misadventured piteous overthrows
Do with their death bury their parents' strife.
A glooming peace this morning with it brings;
The sun, for sorrow, will not show his head:
Go hence, to have more talk of these sad things;
Some shall be pardon'd, and some punished:
For never was a story of more woe
Than this of Juliet and her Romeo.
|One of Shakespeare's most popular plays, Romeo and Juliet is the ultimate love tragedy. Even though we know from the beginning how the story ends (the quotes at left bookend the play), the dialog draws us into the moment and we live each scene with the "star-cross'd" pair, from their first encounter (O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!) to their realization that they belong to feuding families (Is she a Capulet? / O dear account! my life is my foe's debt. and My only love sprung from my only hate! / Too early seen unknown, and known too late!) to their rejection of the labels that divide them (What's in a name? that which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet) and embrace of their love (This bud of love, by summer's ripening breath, / May prove a beauteous flower when next we meet.) to, finally, their inevitable but somehow still shocking and heartrending end (Thus with a kiss I die.). The story is a typical Shakespearean labyrinth of conflicting interests and mistaken assumptions, but it is the beautiful earnestness of the language and the innocence of the young lovers that gives this play its timeless power.
There have been many attempts to present Romeo and Juliet for modern popular culture, some more successful than others. Below the fold, a few interesting takes.