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Blind Boy Apollo
and the All-White Astronauts

New Age "Asiatic" thought ... is establishing itself as the
hegemonic ideology of global capitalism. (Zizek)

Tuesday, October 21

Weimar Transforms

The Weimar Republic has been making unusual reappearances in the news of late. Some fairly random examples from Google News... This blog has also included several mentions of the Weimar era -- most long before the current electoral runup and financial meltdown.

Could there be some connection here? I know it's a hard question, Sarah. But c'mon, put on your Thinking Cap!

Changing gears only slightly... Die Dreigroschenoper (The Threepenny Opera) is a Weimar-era musical by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill. The Wikipedia entry says in part...

Premiering on August 31, 1928, at Berlin's Theater am Schiffbauerdamm, Die Dreigroschenoper offers a socialist critique of the capitalist world.
Wikipedia, which just keeps getting better and better imo, once again amazes with its insightful entry on the lead song, Die Moritat von Mackie Messer (Mack the Knife).
The rarely heard final verse -- not included in the original play, but added by Brecht for the 1930 movie -- expresses the theme, and compares the glittering world of the rich and powerful with the dark world of the poor:

German English translation
Denn die einen sind im Dunkeln
Und die andern sind im Licht
Und man siehet die im Lichte
Die im Dunkeln sieht man nicht
There are some who are in darkness
And the others are in light
And you see the ones in brightness
Those in darkness drop from sight

It's interesting (to me, anyway) how the song has morphed to serve other purposes over the ensuing decades -- and how, in the final entry below, it's returned to its proper roots. Go Slut!


American Triumphalist versions

Jazz / Ironic?

Just Plain Weird

Arty & Embarrassing

Back to Weimar: A contemporary cover

Und der Haifisch, der hat Zähne
und die trägt er im Gesicht
und Macheath, der hat ein Messer
doch das Messer sieht man nicht.

And the shark, he has teeth
and he wears them in his face.
And Macheath, he has a knife,
but the knife, one never sees.

~literal translation by RB

Wednesday, October 8

you don't need a weatherman

The New York Times today ran a story called The Reckoning: Taking Hard New Look at a Greenspan Legacy. The basic theme of the piece can be deduced from this...
"Clearly, derivatives are a centerpiece of the crisis, and [Alan Greenspan] was the leading proponent of the deregulation of derivatives," said Frank Partnoy, a law professor at the University of San Diego and an expert on financial regulation.
Now, what I know about financial regulation wouldn't cover the period at the end of this sentence. But I do know a little something about Alan Greenspan. Even before reading the article, I knew it would at least touch on his lifelong "intellectual" relationship with Ayn Rand. And sure enough...
A professed libertarian, he counted among his formative influences the novelist Ayn Rand, who portrayed collective power as an evil force set against the enlightened self-interest of individuals. In turn, he showed a resolute faith that those participating in financial markets would act responsibly.
So hey, in the aftermath of the biggest clusterfuck ripoff in the history of the republic, let's hear it for Virtue and Responsibility and Freedom. Would you like fries with that?

have you seen your mother, baby, standing in the shadows?