Anyways, here’s Wonderwall…
The Dr Frank Weakly Reader for 03.06.2020
Welcome, friends, to March, and to another Dr Frank Weakly Reader, wherein I, Dr Frank, compile a an illustrated, annotated index of the past week’s internet doings. It’s a stupid job, but somebody’s got to do it. Otherwise, chaos reigns. And, as you’ll see below it can be hard to find stuff if you don’t do it, or if you miss a link.
I’ve been a bit under the weather this past week. It’s not coronavirus, I don’t think, but if it is, well, it’s been nice knowing you all… But plus I’ve been doing other writing, which gets in the way of random posting of trivia. So this one is going to be on the light side, comparatively. Still, the indexing must go on, so let’s just, you know, index this mother.
— Mtx forever: it’s nearly upon us. Release date is March 13, but pre-orders are open, from Sounds Rad, or from Interpunk, or Amazon, or, you know, Best Buy. Even if you missed out on the fancy de luxe “dibs” edition with the special box and assorted add-ons, there’s still a poster while they last and I think a pin. Anyway, stay tuned for more Mtx forever stuff
MTX GONE WILD
— I lost “Cinthya (with a Y)” but then I found it again. I’m referring to the “minor secrets” write-up, which I’d neglected to add to the video description or to any of the other relevant posts.
It came up as a FB memory but was of course, unlinkable, unshareable, and unsearchable in its full form. Because I’d forgotten to include the “minor secrets” link in the video or in other related items, and because this dates to a time before I was using Medium posts to index my own content (the Weakly Reader) it was very difficult to find. I finally found it at posts-on-google — where I’d been doing the self-indexing thing before they started summarily deleting posts and I switched to Medium for that purpose — with the caption: introducing “Cinthya with a Y” to minds.com.
Social media broke the internet. Nothing is reliably archived or searchable anymore. So I have to create my own searchable thing if I want to be able to find anything. The way I’m doing it, a manually-created weekly link round-up, is time consuming but it basically works. The system breaks down, though, if I forget to include the cross-referenced links, which is what happened here. I found it in the end though, and I’m glad to be able to update the posts so maybe it’ll be easier if ever comes up again. I know no one but me is interested in that. But here’s the bloody write-up: Minor Secrets of “Cinthya (with a Y)” revealed. That oughtta do it.
— Song for Odin: it was me doing a laptop bedroom “I Feel for You” this week:
— …and your Friday morning “She’s Coming (over Tonight)” from a band (or a guy?) called Beefbud’s Comic Ariola, found on bandcamp. (Original here, in case you don’t know it.) As this is not on YouTube, I can’t add it to my YouTube covers playlist obviously, but if you’d like to hear other such covers found on the internet you can follow that link and find some.
FROM THE MIXED UP FILES OF DR FRANK E. BASILWEILER
—I Am Spock: "collective effervescence” and me… reposted this essay on why I can’t “join together with the band” et cetera.
— I’m Polish on my mother’s side, so I get to tell Polish jokes. Actually, I don’t really believe that gives me any special privileges vis-a-vis Polish jokes, of course. Tell the jokes you like, whether or not you’re Polish or whatever.
— Dept. of bons mots: On the occasion of the death of Trader Joe of Trader Joes:
I’ve never forgiven Trader Joe for this one jar of horrible poison mayonnaise that was made to look like it was regular mayonnaise. Like, ten years ago. Not okay.
— “You You You”: my video of this song fingerpicked came up as a “memory” on Facebook because it was done in a brief period where I was experimenting with posting via Facebook video in addition to the usual, often suppressed, YouTube links. (They don’t include links to rival platforms in their “memories” routine, which is why Songs for Odin never pop up.) I stopped doing it because it’s an ugly, cumbersome, only semi-functional system — big surprise — and wasn’t really worth it. Nevertheless, any excuse to re-post it, I will take:
Nothing flashy about it, but it’s one of my best solo guitar arrangements, and that guitar (a 1949 Martin) sounds great.
More on the guitar, once owned or at least played by Furry Lewis, in the original Song for Odin write-up here. And here it is again:
— Behold: women, the female kind; girl with gun and three allegorical monkeys; they are the robots; a girl and her speargun; Frederic Leighton’s Garden of the Hesperides; Alexandra Daddario; Sorry, wrong number; hope; as above, you say potato, I say potato…
— …and finally:
IN THE NEWS
— On not reading Homer: it’s difficult to construe exactly what is being proposed in praxis in this contradictory, slightly bewildering spiel from a “Classical Studies” faculty-er from Brandeis. (He runs a twitter account I follow, featuring quotations from Classical authors, and I first came across this as a lengthy twitter thread.) If it is meant to endorse the idea of awarding degrees in Classics to students who have never read Homer or Vergil I have to say, I’m against it. He has some interesting things to say and I was pretty much with him in the first few grafs — but then he lost me with the mushy, politicized, morally prescriptive stuff thereafter, particularly here:
Homer contains some nasty stuff. Taught in the wrong way, it glorifies violence, perpetuates misogyny, oversimplifies “heroes”, their faults, and gives terrible lessons on life and death.
Well, I’m sure Homer is often taught poorly, but this “lessons on life” standard for how (or whether or not) to teach and read a text is infantile, rather shockingly so. Is this Classical literature we’re doing here or Chicken Soup for the Soul? Criticizing the Greek heroic ethos for failing to live up to our own century’s suddenly woke one, fashionable though I’m sure it is these days, is at best but one of many ways to approach a foundational literary and cultural artifact like the Greek epics. The thing to do on a university level, it seems to me, is to teach students to read the text, after which they may interpret it and analyse it, “nasty stuff” included, as they see fit. Parsing the archaic Greek with minimal comprehension is going to be the hardest part, and that’s going to take the lion’s share of the effort, maybe all of it. (I’ve given it a go: it’s rewarding but far more difficult than the usual reading you probably didn’t do in college.) Denouncing the “nasty stuff” and getting mad at “the patriarchy” and such should come only after that, if at all. And if students fail to draw “life lessons” from it, or draw the “wrong” ones, so be it. That’s what literature is. It comes with some risk of sparking or perpetuating wrongthink. Some, on the other hand, will “right-think” everything rather than wrongthink it, and some will heterodox it. Some may even plunge into the text qua text and take it on its own terms with nary a thought as to its wokeness or lack thereof. It takes all kinds to make a world.
But first, they’ve got to be able to read it. What does a degree in Classics (or even “Classical Studies”) mean if they can’t do, or haven’t done, that? I’m sure I’m hopelessly out of touch here as usual, but it seems like that’s what this guy, whose twitter makes him seem way more sensible than this, is (maybe) proposing regarding teaching Homer “the right way”: politics first, “slogging through the epic” optional. Seems the wrong way round to me but it sounds like a pretty easy A, if you’re a right-thinker or can fake it. Down with this sort of thing; careful now.
And we’ll leave it there. But for those who’ve made it this far down the page, here’s a nice mandolin:
We’ll see you next week.