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Reading, Looking, Listening, . . . Questioning
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John Coltrane, "Wise One" score

By Walter Cummins Distraction and concentration form polar opposites which may be stated as follows: A man who concentrates before a work of art is absorbed by it. … In contrast, the distracted mass absorbs the work of art. — Walter Benjamin, as translated by Harry Zohn   The other day when I asked Alexa […]

Essay

The Atomization of America and Its Popular Music Culture Todd Rongstad   A significant cultural shift in the American community is underway that is reflected in dramatic form by a comparative consideration of popular music and its cultural processes over the last century. A fundamentally singular popular culture of the twentieth century is atomizing into […]

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Asano_Takeji-No_Series-Snow_at_Iwashimizu_Hachiman_Shrine_Kyoto

The Atomization of America and Its Popular Music Culture Todd Rongstad   A significant cultural shift in the American community is underway that is reflected in dramatic form by a comparative consideration of popular music and its cultural processes over the last century. A fundamentally singular popular culture of the twentieth century is atomizing into […]

ZiR

July 16, 2018

Thanks a lot, Steve. And, continuing the segue-ing, here's an old (and traditional) Gary Snyder poem I just came across yesterday: Seaman’s Ditty I’m wondering where you are now Married, or mad, or free: Wherever you are you’re likely glad, But memory troubles me. We could’ve had us children, We could’ve had a home— But you thought not, and I thought not, And these nine years we roam. Today I worked in the deep dark tanks, And climbed out to watch the sea: Gulls and salty waves pass by, And mountains of Araby. I’ve travelled the lonely oceans And wandered the...

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Asano_Takeji-No_Series-Snow_at_Iwashimizu_Hachiman_Shrine_Kyoto

The Atomization of America and Its Popular Music Culture Todd Rongstad   A significant cultural shift in the American community is underway that is reflected in dramatic form by a comparative consideration of popular music and its cultural processes over the last century. A fundamentally singular popular culture of the twentieth century is atomizing into […]

ZiR

July 16, 2018

A very nice piece, William. I am reminded of a Sung Dynasty poem that D.T. Suzuki quotes in one of his books. I'm not sure of its relevance here, but it seems to resonate somehow. Misty rain on Mount Lu, And waves surging at Che Kiang. When you have not been there, Many a regret you have; But once there and homeward you wend, How matter-of-fact things look! Misty rain on Mount Lu And waves surging at Che Kiang.

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Frank Kermode, August 2000, photo by Charlie MacDonald

The Atomization of America and Its Popular Music Culture Todd Rongstad   A significant cultural shift in the American community is underway that is reflected in dramatic form by a comparative consideration of popular music and its cultural processes over the last century. A fundamentally singular popular culture of the twentieth century is atomizing into […]

Essay

June 14, 2018

The time that takes place in stories compared to the time that we actually live is radically abbreviated. It briskly sweeps aside all the commonplace moments that make up the long stretch of toilsome time and focuses instead on the interesting and compelling. With a mere section break or a simple transitional phrase, days, months, and whole years are disposed of as if they had no significance at all. “Then time passed slowly until the day arrived when….” A lot of important living is hidden in such a phrase. From the moment-to-moment flow of time, the storyteller lifts out only those narr...

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