Sargon of Akkad: The Week in Stupid

If current mainstream pundits, academics and journalists had just 10% of the analytic skills, cultural and historical context, ideological balance and intellectual honesty that the heterodox Sargon of Akkad (a nom de plume of course) provides, my regressive chums (and their bête noires) wouldn’t seem so pompous, dull, and lazy — each polarity participating in the same Platonic form of fuckwittery. Of course, the virtue signalers, by definition, haven’t the inclination to listen closely to more than 5 minutes and based upon that, will offer up some one-dimensional collecting feature (typically a smear and in trying to be hip invoke the terms “troll” or “shitposter”) that they think SoA must fall under — that’s why rationalists are rationalists — they couldn’t give a flying fuck about the fine-grained complexity of sociality. Anyway, here’s a superb example of his work in his The Week in Stupid series. Having listened to many hours of Sargon, I can imagine him and Ricky Gervais hitting it off in sparking, funny and scathing conversation — the way it should be.

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Have the monks stopped meditating?

They all seem to be tweeting

This observation by Herzog is totemic of what seems to me like a mass self-induced autism, immersed in a vortex of banality, that society has sunk into. When I observe how oblivious people are of reality when out and about with their device, it’s easy to understand why many of us refuse(d) to be a compliant bitch at the end of a digital leash (e.g. Bowie, Elton John) — and of course Herzog who uses it for emergencies only. Lo And Behold: Reveries Of The Connected World 

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Pushing ahead of the dame

It just so happens that IMHO, the two greatest musicians of the twentieth century, have the best blogs dedicated to their remarkable work. Louis Armstrong has Ricky Riccardi batting for him — someone whose praises I have repeatedly sung. Now I know that the other artist I refer to may seem a world apart but they are, at least for me, the bookends to 20th Century “popular” music. The other blog, as per the title of this post, called Pushing Ahead of the Dame, is dedicated to Bowie — the man behind it, Chris O’Leary. The blog could have been named after any number of Bowie phrases/titles, but this improbable choice denotes a blog that is very serious in the sense of being analytical, critical, well-researched, insightful, and of course very affectionate and funny. Before talking further about “Dame” a quick observation: “Pops” and Bowie are the only two artists who can so easily, plausibly and unmawkishly (unlike the “Killer” — bless!) be self-referential. Moreover, LA and DB are to my mind the only musicians whose catalog can offer up a great piece for whatever is happening in the world (a la a G. K. Chesterton quote). People with a casual interest in LA and DB may well just enjoy the blogs wherever one may care to dive into — with respect, it’s akin to the best toilet reading. Ricky’s book deals with Pops’ later years — it brought a tear to my eye. As someone who was at ground zero for TRAFOZSATSFM I’ve just gingerly reentered Heathen territory (2002) via DB’s charming “by request” show. The irony is that once the musical genius had ended (let’s be frank, in 1980), DB finally became comfortable in his own skin (he was always insightful, very very funny and well-mannered — even in a snowstorm). Now if you appreciate Ricky’s and Chris’ blogs, buy their books so that they can keep doing what they do — amuse me. Here is a brief interview with Chris. Of course, inevitably Chris is asked what his Bowie “Desert Island Disks” would be: “Ugh. Okay, but this is as of this morning and will likely change tomorrow”. Indeed! So here are my eight choices (in no particular order) and with links to Chris’ entries:

1) Moonage Daydream

2) Subterraneans

3) Lady Grinning Soul

4) Sweet Thing — Candidate — Sweet Thing (reprise)

5) Ashes to Ashes

6) The Width of a Circle

7) Station to Station

8) Changes

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Beyond Radical Secularism: How France and the Christian West Should Respond to the Islamic Challenge

Here is a review by the excellent Gene Callahan of Pierre Manent’s book Situation de la France. (I’d put money on some getting their knickers in a twist about the cover)

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Alice Dreger on Academic Freedom

Alice Dreger talks about the importance of academic freedom and why the corporatization of the modern university threatens free speech on campus. I’ve been aware of the wonderful work of FIRE for some sixteen years ago, an outfit first brought to my attention by the immensely brave Mary Lefkowitz (more on Mary in the near future). The first video acts as an overture to Alice’s full talk, i.e. the second video.