reading & linking

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Conventional online wisdom sometimes remarks that the internet is for seeking recognition. That we all basically think we are celebrities and need an audience. If this is true for me, it’s not conscious.

I have been blogging for a long time (before the word was coined, actually). My conscious motivation is to seek conversation and ideas. That’s why I was so intent on switching to a template like WordPress. It enables comments. I like comments. I like ideas.

And I do leave comments on other sites.

But mostly I read online.

This morning, I read Edward Kennedy’s NYT obit (link). For many years I clipped obits of people. If they were authors, I would tuck the obit into my favorite book of theirs. Otherwise, I just might slip their obit in my library at where their name would occur if they had a book (that’s right…. I try to keep the books in alphabetical order by author).

Yesterday morning I was pleased to read most of the first chapter of Daniel Leech-Wilkensen’s The Changing Sound of Music: Approaches to Studying Musical Approaches (link). As I mentioned yesterday, I am very excited and encouraged that Leech-Wilkensen has chosen to publish his research online. And to top it off, it’s a fascinating read so far with many references and links to stuff that interests me.

I like his embrace of ambiguity, going so far as to see it as a defining feature of musical performance:

For now it’s enough that we begin to entertain the thought that the impossibility of pinning down the identity and full meaning of a piece of music in one ideal performance might be not a problem but rather a defining feature of music, one of the main sources of its power.

The Changing Sound of Music: Approaches to Studying Musical Approaches by Daniel Leech-Wilkensen (link).

Maureen Dowd’s “Stung by the Perfect Sting” (NYT link) was fun because I think she represents a complete misunderstanding of the internet. One shaped by the fears of parents and the ignorance of other adults. Whew! Just my opinion of course. Heh.

For example, she is writing about the dishonesty one can find on the web and quotes Leon Wieseltier to make her point:

“The velocity and volume on the Web are so great that nothing is forgotten and nothing is remembered,” says Leon Wieseltier, the literary editor of The New Republic. “The Internet is like closing time at a blue-collar bar in Boston. Everyone’s drunk and ugly and they’re going to pass out in a few minutes.

I think this is bullshit. For me the internet has been, from the beginning, a fascinating way to access libraries, information and ideas. Of course there are drunks wandering around the shelves just like you might find in any library.

And then my hero, Alex Ross, had a pretty interesting article: “Taking liberties: the art of classical improvisation” (New Yorker link).

Well, I have to stop and work on picking choral anthems for the upcoming church year. I had planned to write a bit about my own sinking morale at church and how maybe I do seek recognition as a musician and don’t feel that I get it that much. But I think that maybe it’s just self-pity so screw it.

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