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Thread: Questions for CJ

  1. #521
    Paperback Writer RevForum Administrator Amoeba's Avatar
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    To be, or not to be, that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer,
    Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them.

  2. #522
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    Default Re: Questions for CJ

    Thoughts on Don McLean? I didn't know he was close to Pete Seeger and was politically active, also covered Masters of War.

    Also this song is pretty close to being perfect:

    To be, or not to be, that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer,
    Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them.

  3. #523
    Paperback Writer RevForum Administrator Amoeba's Avatar
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    Default Re: Questions for CJ

    And of course:



    Interesting/amusing parts highlighted:

    Except to acknowledge that he first learned about Buddy Holly's death on February 3, 1959—McLean was age 13—when he was folding newspapers for his paper route on the morning of February 4, 1959 (the line "February made me shiver/with every paper I'd deliver"), McLean has generally avoided responding to direct questions about the song's lyrics; he has said: "They're beyond analysis. They're poetry." He also stated in an editorial published in 2009, on the 50th anniversary of the crash that killed Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J. P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson, that writing the first verse of the song exorcised his long-running grief over Holly's death and that he considers the song to be "a big song (…) that summed up the world known as America". McLean dedicated the American Pie album to Holly.

    It was also speculated that the song contains numerous references to post-World War II American events (such as the murders of civil rights workers Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner), and elements of culture, including 1960s culture (e.g. sock hops, cruising, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Charles Manson, and much more).

    When asked what "American Pie" meant, McLean jokingly replied, "It means I don't ever have to work again if I don't want to." Later, he stated, "You will find many interpretations of my lyrics but none of them by me ... Sorry to leave you all on your own like this but long ago I realized that songwriters should make their statements and move on, maintaining a dignified silence." He also commented on the popularity of his music, "I didn't write songs that were just catchy, but with a point of view, or songs about the environment."

    In February 2015, McLean announced he would reveal the meaning of the lyrics to the song when the original manuscript went for auction in New York City, in April 2015. The lyrics and notes were auctioned on April 7, and sold for $1.2 million. In the sale catalogue notes, McLean revealed the meaning in the song's lyrics: "Basically in American Pie things are heading in the wrong direction. ... It [life] is becoming less idyllic. I don't know whether you consider that wrong or right but it is a morality song in a sense." The catalogue confirmed some of the better known references in the song's lyrics, including mentions of Elvis Presley ("the king") and Bob Dylan ("the jester"), and confirmed that the song culminates with a near-verbatim description of the death of Meredith Hunter at the Altamont Free Concert, ten years after the plane crash that killed Holly, Valens, and Richardson.

    Mike Mills of R.E.M. reflected: "American Pie just made perfect sense to me as a song and that’s what impressed me the most. I could say to people this is how to write songs. When you’ve written at least three songs that can be considered classic that is a very high batting average and if one of those songs happens to be something that a great many people think is one of the greatest songs ever written you’ve not only hit the top of the mountain but you’ve stayed high on the mountain for a long time.”

    In 2017, Bob Dylan was asked about how he was referenced in the song. "A jester? Sure, the jester writes songs like 'Masters of War,' 'A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall,' 'It’s Alright, Ma' – some jester. I have to think he’s talking about somebody else. Ask him."
    Also funny how much Dylan cares about his legacy in old age. Back in the 60s when he was being the ironic asshole he pretended he didn't give a damn and was almost embarrassed of his earlier "political" songs.

    And:

    He turned down a scholarship to Columbia University Graduate School in favor of pursuing a career as a singer/songwriter, performing at such venues as Caffè Lena in Saratoga Springs, New York and The Main Point in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.

    Later that year, with the help of a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts, McLean began reaching a wider audience, with visits to towns up and down the Hudson River. He learned the art of performing from his friend and mentor Pete Seeger. McLean accompanied Seeger on his Clearwater boat trip up the Hudson River in 1969 to raise awareness about environmental pollution in the river. During this time McLean wrote songs that would appear on his first album, Tapestry. McLean co-edited the book Songs and Sketches of the First Clearwater Crew with sketches by Thomas B. Allen for which Pete Seeger wrote the foreword. Seeger and McLean sang "Shenandoah" on the 1974 Clearwater album.
    To be, or not to be, that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer,
    Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them.

  4. #524
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    Default Re: Questions for CJ

    To be, or not to be, that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer,
    Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them.

  5. #525
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    Quote Originally Posted by CornetJoyce View Post
    I found much to admire in Hill, Hilton, Thompson, Hobsbawm, Rude and perhaps others in the communist party historians group and their journal Past and Present. I suppose Thompson and Hilton are my favorites. In addition to Hilton, I endorse the medievalists Kantorowicz, Bloch and Duby (a rightist but a splendid scholar). Pocock and Skinner of course, Maitland, Benny Morris...
    Forgot to reply to this.

    Surprised that Hilton is among your favorites as he's generally regarded as the lesser figures coming out of the historians group (Hobsbawm and Thompson are typically regarded as the most excellent). Maitland is...odd? Also, no Zinn or any of the American historians like the Foners?
    To be, or not to be, that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer,
    Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them.

  6. #526
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    Default Re: Questions for CJ

    Quote Originally Posted by Amoeba View Post
    Thoughts on Don McLean? I didn't know he was close to Pete Seeger and was politically active, also covered Masters of War.
    I wasn't much of a Top Forty fan. The Pie song was the only McLean song I could identify with him, but I had no idea what it was about. I liked "Vincent" but didn't know it was his.

    Speaking of the Top Forty (Is that term still in the dictionaries?), I was surprised when pop star Bobby Darin hit the charts with Mack the Knife. He also did

    Einstein on marxology:
    "In the realm of the seekers after truth there is no human authority.
    Whoever attempts to play the magistrate there founders on the laughter of the Gods."

  7. #527
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    Default Re: Questions for CJ

    This is ridiculous:

    To be, or not to be, that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer,
    Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them.

  8. #528
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    Default Re: Questions for CJ

    So I guess this is when 60s radicalism was shown to be bankrupt:

    To be, or not to be, that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer,
    Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them.

  9. #529
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    Default Re: Questions for CJ

    Quote Originally Posted by Amoeba View Post
    So I guess this is when 60s radicalism was shown to be bankrupt:
    I don't think it was bankrupt, just overdrawn.
    Einstein on marxology:
    "In the realm of the seekers after truth there is no human authority.
    Whoever attempts to play the magistrate there founders on the laughter of the Gods."

  10. #530
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amoeba View Post
    Forgot to reply to this.

    Surprised that Hilton is among your favorites as he's generally regarded as the lesser figures coming out of the historians group (Hobsbawm and Thompson are typically regarded as the most excellent). Maitland is...odd? Also, no Zinn or any of the American historians like the Foners?
    Atypically, I regard Hill as the most excellent of the group, but Hilton's study of the Peasant Revolt is unexcelled.

    Yes, I almost mentioned the Foners but I was trying to focus on the brits. I also omitted Saint Croix and a few other classicists beginning with Herodotus and Thukydides. Also Gibbon, Mommsen, Lea, Huizinga, Michelet, Yates, Ozouf, and Schama (whom I hadn't expected to like).

    In addition to Maitland, I must include Gierke and Maine.

    As you will note, I am not likely to value recentness.
    Einstein on marxology:
    "In the realm of the seekers after truth there is no human authority.
    Whoever attempts to play the magistrate there founders on the laughter of the Gods."

  11. #531
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    Default Re: Questions for CJ

    Have you read Trevor-Roper's review of Hill's Intellectual Origins? Apparently the consensus among historians of the period is that that was the end of Hill's reputation as a credible scholar on the subject, though he still carries some weight in the field of English literature.

    Of those you mention and I am familiar with I can only say that Schama is a cheap Hobsbawm knock off. If I am not mistaken he doesn't speak or read Dutch, yet has written several books on the Dutch Golden Age. A contemptible man who's politics is that of Blair.
    To be, or not to be, that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer,
    Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them.

  12. #532
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    If being attacked by Trevor Roper could ruin one's reputation, the schools of England would not be able to fill their professorships with reputable people.
    I have not encountered this consensus at the only place where I sometimes still attend to catch up on these matters. Quite to the contrary. https://folgerpedia.folger.edu/Cente...626.1510715589

    When Hill was attacked by Kishlansky for being “immune to criticism,” said Keith Livesey, he was in some regards playing him a backhanded compliment given the ferocity of the attacks like the one from Hugh Trevor-Roper he would have needed to very thick skinned. Trevor-Roper complained of that Hill’s ‘scholarship is transformed into advocacy.' It is true that Hill was a partisan historian and was proud of it.

    As Ann Talbot wrote “As a historian, he stands far above his detractors and his books deserve to be read and reread, and if, with a critical eye, it should always be with the knowledge that his limitations and faults as much as his great historical insights and innovations are the product of his time. He may be bettered, but never dismissed, and only bettered by those who have studied him

    Guardian obituary 2003
    "No historian of recent times was so synonymous with his period of study; he is the reason why most of us know anything about the 17th century at all. He was, EP Thompson once said, the dean and paragon of English historians. "

    I'm astounded to hear that Schama does not have Dutch. How on earth does he do it? I've read one of his books on the great age of the Netherlands and one on the Netherlands during the French Revolution, and one on the French Revolution. How's his French?

    As I say, I didn't expect to like his books, but they're well done and address one of my historical interests- I grew up reading Motley- and that's enough to make him a favorite. Clearly, I don't like his politics, but Trevor Roper was a tory.
    Einstein on marxology:
    "In the realm of the seekers after truth there is no human authority.
    Whoever attempts to play the magistrate there founders on the laughter of the Gods."

  13. #533
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    Oh I'm not a fan of Trevor-Roper, I'm just relaying what I've heard.

    If you want to see him being taken apart by an intellectual historian I do like, see: https://www.docdroid.net/zcEAOcK/7286-17085-1-pb.pdf

    But still I quite like Hill.
    To be, or not to be, that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer,
    Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them.

  14. #534
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    Far from taken apart, Hill hangs together rather well. Condren came to lead a seminar a decade or so ago. I think it was all Shakespeare. I trust that Shakespeare also hangs together.

    "Revolution, radicalism and republicanism"* are problematic words, as are some of the words Condren approves and relies upon. The subtleties of the English Renaissance imaginary are best addressed by David Norbrook.

    I certainly agree that historians and consumers of their histories are often prone to confounding centuries. For others, it adds the force of memory to their rhetoric, as when Charles Stuart was dubbed "young Tarquin."

    *Which reminds me of Benjamin Rush's letter to his son, whom he had shipped off to school, urging the boy to remember to capitalize "important words, such as Religion, and Reformation, and Revolution."
    Einstein on marxology:
    "In the realm of the seekers after truth there is no human authority.
    Whoever attempts to play the magistrate there founders on the laughter of the Gods."

  15. #535
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    What do you think about Koselleck and his project of "conceptual history"?
    To be, or not to be, that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer,
    Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them.

  16. #536
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amoeba View Post
    What do you think about Koselleck and his project of "conceptual history"?
    Although I am generally indifferent to theory, I like the concept of conceptual history as an extension of core history. However, I think the only bit of Koselleck I encountered was something on Goethe, and that was back in the days when my German was more or less adequate. He's been rendered into English now, so I should take a look. I may have dismissed him due to his association with Schmitt, whose postnazi success as a "philosopher" I rank with "Springtime for Hitler."
    Einstein on marxology:
    "In the realm of the seekers after truth there is no human authority.
    Whoever attempts to play the magistrate there founders on the laughter of the Gods."

  17. #537
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    There are some Schmittian traces here and there but it's a worthwhile project in its own right. This is magnificent: https://cup.columbia.edu/book/future.../9780231127714
    To be, or not to be, that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer,
    Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them.

  18. #538
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    What are your thoughts on Marcuse? I always thought the lingering Freudian tendencies in his later thought was boring, but aside from that I've always had a fondness for him, particularly compared to others of his generation in the Frankfurt School (Adorno especially, who has occasional flashes of brilliance but is pretty mediocre in general).

    It's like swearing in a church, but One-Dimensional Man is more relevant and better than pretty much anything Adorno and others of that Frankfurt generation wrote.
    To be, or not to be, that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer,
    Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them.

  19. #539
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    I regard One Dimensional Man as the best book in the Frankfurt catalogue.
    I find Freudianism and Marxism boring, but most of the Deep Thinkers - and not just the Frankfurters- were "Marxist-Freudians" or "Freudian Left." Robinson's "Freudian Left" consisted of Marcuse, Roheim and Reich, but there were many others.
    Einstein on marxology:
    "In the realm of the seekers after truth there is no human authority.
    Whoever attempts to play the magistrate there founders on the laughter of the Gods."

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