random things i’ve been pondering

1. I don’t know if you guys have any familiarity with sacred harp singing, but I’ve developed this bizarre interest in it. It’s a capella four-part harmony, which probably contributed to my love for it, old-school gospel singing that grew popular out in the back country in small-town churches. Baylor holds a sacred harp sing every February, something I’ve never been able to get up and go to, but next year maybe I’ll get there. Here’s why:

2. I have an insane theory that rap music is just the boasting poetry of the medieval bards translated to the inner city–if you’ve read Beowulf, you know that medieval warrior culture was rather prone to having the poets make huge claims about their kings, and eventually about themselves, the greatness of their wealth and power and fame and poetry. (In fact, in some cases we know more about the poets than the kings they served.) Now, in many ways, some aspects of urban culture overlap with those older cultures: They’re both tribal (Crips vs. Bloods, or Danes vs. Saxons), they’re both territorial, power comes via violence and money, leaders and poets alike are revered for the amounts of wealth/bling they have, those faithful to their leaders get rewarded, they have a similar saint/sinner dichotmous view of women, what have you. Now, is it any wonder that the closest thing we have to a warrior caste is talking about their bling and their women? *shrug* Maybe I’m stretching here, but it’s an interesting thought to me.

3. Thesis: Physical books and letters, as opposed to digital media, are more incarnational–the word made paper, so to speak, instead of ephemeral light. Discuss.

4. I bought the latest Patty Griffin CD the other day, and I have to say that it is stellar (which is to be expected), as is Wilco’s Sky Blue Sky, which I borrowed. If you’re into folky, mellow music, you would probably like either of those.

5. Non-Harry Potter nerds, skip this: I have a theory that Harry will go behind the veil in the Ministry of Magic, the one that Sirius fell through, but somehow be able to come back–which makes sense both in terms of the monomyth (the hero dies, whether literally or symbolically, and then resurrects) and in terms of the book itself (all the phoenix imagery can’t be an accident). We’ll see what happens on Saturday, I think.

6. Reader survey:

a. What’s your favorite album by your favorite artist?

b. If the presidential elections were held tomorrow, who would you vote for?

c. What was the last movie you saw in theaters?

d. What color is the shirt you have on?


6 thoughts on “random things i’ve been pondering

  1. David

    Just a warning, from a long-time Sacred Harp singer: if you go to the Baylor singing, you’re not likely to hear what you just heard. This tune [“Ten Thousand Charms”] is from another tune book, *The Missouri Harmony,* which is not normally used there. In fact, I hadn’t heard it before [though I own the book], but I recognized the venue [The annual Missouri SH Convention], and guessed which book they were using. You’re right, though–the tune is a blowout. BTW, it was written in *1996*.

  2. 1. I don’t know how to respond.

    2. Wow. That’s…something. I’d probably argue that rap/hip-hop music leans more heavily to the “sinner” presentation of women (or more accurately, women as chattel), than to the “saint” view (the rare “i love momma” song). But I guess that fits your comparison.

    3. Interesting. There’s something to be said for tangibility. That’s why I don’t buy music or other digital media online. I have to hold it in my hands.

    4. I like the song “What Light.”

    5. *plugging ears* lalalalalalalalalalanotlisteninglalalalalala

    6. A)My “favorite artist” is in flux right now, so instead I’ll give you my all-time desert-island top five favorite albums: “Grace”, Jeff Buckley; “Good Monsters”, Jars of Clay; “Sink or Swim,” Waterdeep; “Abbey Road” The Beatles; “Ben Folds Live” Ben Folds [Yes, all male, I don’t care.]

    B)Fred Thompson. I know he’s not even running. He will, and he’ll probably announce soon. A true conservative whose voting record and written statements most closely match up with my political views.

    C) Harry Potter V. And it was awesome.

    D) Tan with thin black horizontal lines.

  3. hannah

    yay Sacred Harp! So cool.

    a) I’m with Dave on this one; I’m not sure I have a “favorite artist” at this point. Furthermore, I don’t have a “desert island” list ready-made to hand you. Mmph – failure. Here, then, are some of my favorite albums by my favorite artists.
    The Beatles – Abbey Road (definitely the best)
    Arcade Fire – Neon Bible
    Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
    U2 – Achtung Baby
    Over the Rhine – Ohio
    Feist – Let it Die
    There; that’s probably enough. (I’m way too anxiety-prone to be a good list-maker, it seems. :))

    b) Well, if the elections were tomorrow, I’d be more prepared to make this decision! But as of right now, I think I’ll say Ron Paul. Just because.

    c) Ratatouille. I highly, highly recommend it.

    d) Navy blue, with a white tank underneath.

  4. a) OK, I’ll narrow it to five (b/c like the others, I cannot choose just one)
    “Deja Entendu” by Brand New
    “Animals” by Pink Floyd
    “Wish” by the Cure
    “Jar Of Flies” by Alice In Chains
    “Era Vulgaris” by Queens of the Stone Age

    b) Honestly, at this point I don’t know…probably Barrack Obama… *waits for the boos*

    c) “Transformers” and it was everything I was hoping it would be.

    d) Black

  5. hannah

    it’s amazing, right?? I saw them in concert in May, and I was blown away. Did you know the lead singer grew up in the Woodlands?! Manders, if you have not heard that album, let me know and I’ll lend it to you.

    And re. that physical books and letters thing…I still think theatre is the closest thing to incarnation. I know that’s not really adding much to the thought, but I love thinking about it!

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