Monday, 10/28/13

    1. Defending anachronism from reality
    2. Your Tax Dollars At Work
    3. Reading Meekly
    4. Creativity in the Seventies


I think I’ve mentioned before that 42-year-old Russell Moore has replace Richard Land, an older somewhat Falwellesque figure, as the Southern Baptists’ chief voice on Capital Hill. It’s a big change in style if not in substance – big enough for the Wall Street Journal to do a profile on Moore.

That profile set off an angry response from conservative Catholic writer George Neumayr, who seemed to think there is a change of substance. I learned of the response through Rod Dreher, as I don’t frequent the American Spectator.

I first read Dreher’s take on all this when I was road-weary after a short trip. It seemed too journalistic in the “she said, he said” sense. But then Dreher retweeted a really nice summary from Michael B. Dougherty:

@roddreher Nailed it. Problem is this hangover idea that moral traditionalists are defending an existing order from outside/foreign attack

I went back, looked again, and Dougherty’s right. In fact, Dreher had brought in the prophetic voice of the late Paul Weyrich to signal journalistically that Moore is being smarter strategically than is Neumayr.

When you’ve lost the culture; when the enemies are within the gates and in solid control; when “Moral Majority” is now a hollow and derisive echo from the glory days America’s pseudo-conservative schismatics being able to get more of their own kind elected (but accomplishing no victories in the culture wars thereby); when the old methods now are accomplishing less than nothing, actually alienating people of good will; then, indeed, it may be time for something deeper than culture wars.


It’s that stage in life where Your Obedient Geezer enrolls for Medicare, including Medigap and Medicare Part D policies. So it makes sense to create an account at

I’ve been using a leading password vault (password-protected cross-platform repository for my hundreds of passwords) for years, and it picks up things from a website and saves them when you first sign up.

I assume, since the program has been very reliable, that it’s the doing of that:

  • The password vault failed to register my true username
  • The password vault incorrectly registered my e-mail address as my username
  • The password vault failed to register my selected challenge question
  • The password vault failed to register my answer to my selected challenge question
  • The password vault incorrectly registered my answer to my challenge question as my password
  • The password vault thus had to be manually taught my username and password so I can log onto with it

So let it not be said that the insurance exchange website SNAFU is unprecedented in kind. It’s only unprecedented in its magnitude and in the hubris and managerial incompetence that let Obama’s signature legislation get stymied by mere technical incompetence.


Putting it in Christian terms, reading as a loser is a habit of spiritual meekness with respect to the ideas of others. It’s a kind of ideological and rational humility, where instead of reading a text in order to discover whether you agree or disagree with it, you read it primarily in order to escape from your own subjectivity, to enter into intersubjective communion with the author. The discipline to put oneself aside in order to get inside a text, what Foucault calls philosophical askesis, provides the written word with the capacity to be transformative rather than merely persuasive. It is not that one is “overcome” by the power of the argumentation, but rather that one enters into the argument in the role of a student who has come to learn, rather than in the role of an adjudicator who has come to judge.

(Melinda Selmys, Reading as a Loser) “In order to escape from your own subjectivity, to enter into intersubjective communion with the author” – I like that.


The most notorious, without question, was “Metal Machine Music” (1975).

Beloved of Mr. Reed and not too many others, “Metal Machine Music” was four sides of electric-guitar feedback strobing between two amplifiers, with Mr. Reed altering the speed of the tape recorder; no singing, no drums, no stated key. At the time it was mostly understood, if at all, as a riddle about artistic intent. Was it his truest self, was it a joke, or was there no difference?

Mr. Reed wrote in the liner notes that “no one I know has listened to it all the way through, including myself,” but he also defended it as the next step after La Monte Young’s early minimalism. “There’s infinite ways of listening to it,” he told the critic Lester Bangs in 1976.

“I was serious about it,” Mr. Reed said of the album more than a decade later. “I was also really stoned.”

(From the New York Times Obituary of Lou Reed) Wish I had a nickel for every LSD-induced work of genius created in the 70s that looked pretty crappy in the morning.

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“The remarks made in this essay do not represent scholarly research. They are intended as topical stimulations for conversation among intelligent and informed people.” (Gerhart Niemeyer)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.