C Span


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Harold Bloom’s old C-Span Book TV interview reminded me how much I used to enjoy C Span. We can access it via an app from our cable provider so I have been checking it lately. I also checked to see if they were streaming it live online yet. Nope. I understand that Brian Lamb founded C Span with the idea that the cable providers would allow them airtime. But, since it is the only way I know Americans can watch Congress it seems like it should be as available as possible.

(P.S. Looking online just now it appears that you CAN stream C Span online…. )

I did find that the C Span website keeps old stuff up and available (link). So that’s good. I watched most of a recent Book TV presentation in honor of the three year anniversary of the founding of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Lonnie Bunch has written a book about his experience organizing this museum, A Fool’s Errand.

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He tells some cool stories in the C Span video.

I am going to break my pattern of improvising the prelude and postlude every other week. Next Sunday we are singing Orlando Gibbon’s lovely “O Lord, Increase my Faith.” I couldn’t resist scheduling a prelude and postlude by him as well. I tried to find things that would be fun to listen to and to play but wouldn’t require too much prep. For the prelude I am playing a piece entitled Almaine (Almande?) and for the postlude A Voluntary.

I have a new student. He is about my age and has asked me to teach him about improvisation. He is coming today at 3 PM for his second lesson. This is fun for me so it doesn’t feel like work.

“Poem of Names,” by Robert Pinsky | The New Yorker

This is an amazing poem in the latest New Yorker.

Native-Land.ca | Our home on native land

I have always wondered who used to live in the Holland area. I haven’t met many Native Americans living in Michigan but I know there were people here before. This map allows you to zero in on your part of the country and find out who lived here.

Juan Williams: Trump, the conspiracy theory president | TheHill

Bookmarked to read.


In 1996, Rorty predicted we would be looking for a strong man to vote for in the early 21st century


Harold Bloom mentions many different writers and thinkers to check out in his 2003 C Span Book TV appearance. I’m keeping lists of people recommends. One of those persons was the late Richard Rorty. Rorty died in 2007 so he was still alive when Bloom taped this appearance.

So I was surprised when Rorty was mentioned in this week’s On The Media episode. On The Media isn’t very web friendly with its links to its podcasts, but I bet you can easily find the latest one if you want to.  The whole episode is very fine and even better than their usually good fair.

Rorty wrote an article (or was part of an article) in the New York Times in 1996 in which he envisioned looking back at the 21st century from the year 2096. Apparently he also put this his ideas in his book, Achieving Our Country.

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I’ve already requested to see a copy of it via interlibrary loan.

What’s so startling about what Rorty wrote? He predicted we would be in the situation we are now in the USA. After the 2016 election, there was an article in the NYT that I missed.

The date on this article is Nov 20, 2016. That’s shortly after Trump’s startling election.
The above article quotes a quote that says it clearly.

[M]embers of labor unions, and unorganized unskilled workers, will sooner or later realize that their government is not even trying to prevent wages from sinking or to prevent jobs from being exported. Around the same time, they will realize that suburban white-collar workers — themselves desperately afraid of being downsized — are not going to let themselves be taxed to provide social benefits for anyone else.

At that point, something will crack. The nonsuburban electorate will decide that the system has failed and start looking around for a strongman to vote for — someone willing to assure them that, once he is elected, the smug bureaucrats, tricky lawyers, overpaid bond salesmen, and postmodernist professors will no longer be calling the shots. …

One thing that is very likely to happen is that the gains made in the past 40 years by black and brown Americans, and by homosexuals, will be wiped out. Jocular contempt for women will come back into fashion. … All the resentment which badly educated Americans feel about having their manners dictated to them by college graduates will find an outlet.