Luke serfs the net.

thoughts, doubts, and prevarications about war, perception, comics, television, movies, friendship, ethics, music, writing, and dinosaurs.

Admit it. The first time you heard that Pierre Boulez had recorded Bruckner’s Eighth, you laughed. How could you not? The only thing more ridiculous than Nikolaus Harnoncourt, the high priest of authentically autistic performance practice, conducting the authentically ecstatic music of Bruckner is Pierre Boulez, the high priest of excruciatingly objective cerebral modernism, conducting the profoundly subjective spiritual music of Bruckner. The question was: would Boulez conduct the mighty and majestic Eighth as an exercise in counterpoint or a musical meditation on the numinous? You had to ask? Of course, Boulez does what he always does: he plays it straight. If the Eighth were only a superbly composed piece of music, that would be enough, because Boulez leads the Vienna Philharmonic in a thoroughly lucid performance of Bruckner’s score. Not only does Boulez hear everything in the score, he lets the listener hear everything in the score. But nowhere does the listener hear more than is in the score because Boulez’s objectivity cannot imagine the immensity beyond the score, the immensity that Bruckner heard and which a great performance forces the listener to confront. Although the Vienna Philharmonic plays with great beauty of tone and Deutsche Grammophon’s live digital sound from Bruckner’s St. Florian in Linz is awe-inspiring, Boulez is only conducting the notes. The numinous immensity beyond the notes is silent.

This review is so fiesty and I only have the merest grasp of the particulars! This is what it’s like to look at reviews of comics, movies, television shows, etc. as an outsider. They seem to be drawings in the wind. But I’m also really curious to listen now.

Bruckner: Symphonie No. 8 - Pierre Boulez,Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards | AllMusic

Still, there’s nothing new under the sun and Musgraves’ worldview is just a rehashed version of what the serpent used to tempt Eve in the Garden of Eden. The devil didn’t preach much to Eve. He did something more powerful: He essentially got Eve to question God’s motives, bringing to her mind that perhaps God was trying to keep what really makes life enjoyable and meaningful away from her and Adam. Musgraves has bought into the same “apple,” and would love to have music fans everywhere join her in the fruity snack.

A Real Low Point for the Grammys (And It’s Not What You Think) - Plugged In - Online Community - Focus on the Family Community

Terrifyingly dumb Christian blog post about Kacey Musgraves, the underpublicized temptress of the Grammys. I have so many questions for this guy. Has he ever listened to a country song before? Or any pop song? Nearly all songs are more suited for his ostensible purpose—rooting out the malicious influences in culture—than this one. Wait until these guys discover black metal! While Kacey is singing about making choices that are authentic to who you are, other people are dramatizing actual bad behavior (which is awesome too).
But it wasn’t chosen out of sheer stupidity. It was chosen because it’s not a logical target. The piece is not just a poorly supported interpretation. It also proves that even Christian online mags are slaves to a content farming insta-pinion mindset.

Riddley Walker, arguably the most successful and acclaimed of the two, was also his most reworked, with the archived collection running to over 50 items. The novel is rightly famous for its depiction of a post-apocalyptic English degraded by centuries of entropy following the fall of civilisation. The corrupted language of the novel feels so organic partly because it is: Hoban started out writing in plain English, only to have the work find its true voice as he drafted and redrafted. He watched the language rust like iron before his eyes. One thing more than anything else made me respect him: at one point, with a 500-page manuscript of Riddley Walker ready to go, Hoban pulled the plug, scrapped the whole project and started again, from the beginning.

Archiving Russell Hoban’s work | Paul Cooper’s account of organizing all the belongings in Russell Hoban’s workroom.
Reading accounts like this makes me despair of ever finishing a book. But maybe that’s because it’s positioned as hard work and difficult, not playful and joyous. Love Riddley Walker, though—that’s a touchstone for project #2.

Yet Mann brought all of these elements together and combined them with an absorbing, exhaustive attention to detail that was rare in this type of genre film. Many of the roles in Thief are played by actual criminals, people among whom Mann had done research and whom he’d brought on as technical advisors. The elaborate safe-cracking and break-in tools being used in the film are real ones. With Thief, Mann cracked the code on fusing a music-video-style look with a ground-level authenticity, backing the dreamlike imagery and music with a sense of the real. (In this sense, his spiritual cousin isn’t another narrative filmmaker, but rather Errol Morris, who would bring this type of aestheticism into the documentary form in films like The Thin Blue Line.)

On my first listen to the taut “Fuckymylife666,” I mentally characterized the crisp counterpoint provided by the bass as “strident” — a word typically used to describe women who are unapologetic about their opinions. I only caught my word choice later, and subsequently wondered if I would have picked it had the same furious playing been propelling a song sung by a man.

Against Me!, Transgender Dysphoria Blues | eMusic News & Features (I really like this moment of self-doubt and self-reflection by Maura Johnston as a piece of good writing, because she makes it feel not only seamless but essential to the criticism she’s doing, when it could feel jarring or awkward)

So much of the debate seems to boil down to an argument over one question: Is it possible to respect someone yet still want them? I would think that it’s full-on desired. Certainly if you compare it to, say, the goals and techniques of pick-up artists, who reduce women to notches on bedposts, “Blurred Lines” seems at the very least friendly—in one verse Thicke notes how he won’t try to “domesticate” his desired woman like another man, which seems to mean that he won’t try to put her into a box defined by her gender. (I had someone quote the “try to domesticate you” line to me as its own tautological proof of why the song was horrible and sexist, and had to point that Thicke was saying he wouldn’t engage in that sort of behavior.) And further viewing it through the lens of the pick-up artist, “Blurred Lines” is sensual in a way that isn’t wholly reliant on any sort of consummating act—it fades out before its plot comes to any sort of endpoint, yet the pleasure provided by its music (and, let’s face it, Thicke’s sorta-endearing dorkiness on the “shake your body” bridge) is barely diminished.

—So the whole “Blurred Lines” debate is driving me crazy, being as it is based on half-listens and no-context parachuting into the work of an artist who I have enjoyed for quite some time now. I wrote an essay on my frustrations at Maura Magazine, which includes me asking Ke$ha to save us all from more inanity as the summer drags on.  (via maura)