Bayou Maharajah: James Booker Story

I’ve been anticipating seeing this for quite some time now and today was the day. The DVD packaging is superb and of course features a “who’s who” of the NOLA music scene. Two of my favorite clips include the 1973 Don Kirshner Rock Concert with Mac, the Harry Connick Sr. (and 12 y.o. Jr.) segments, and the Scott Billington segment featuring the teeth story.  And Booker in City Hall!!: how improbable was that? What actually was under Booker’s afro was what was in Louis Armstrong’s briefcase, at least according to the famous apocryphal story. The extras on the DVD are not filler either — fascinating hearing pianists talking about Booker’s “technique”. As Harry says, it must have been really tough for Booker in Angola back in 1970: even now it’s pretty grim (I had to inform the museum there that Booker is conspicuous by his absence from the list of musicians that had been imprisoned there).

God lives in music — Hugh Laurie


The Regressives in Action

Maajid Nawaz, Sam Harris and for different reasons, Nicholas Taleb, calling out the unabashed fuckwittery of the perverse regressive mind set.




Sam Harris in conversation with Andrew Sullivan

The Lesser Evil podcast. Well-worth listening to the whole podcast. (Oakeshott is briefly mentioned by Andrew at 17 minutes in). Classic Sam — “Balkanized epistemology!”


Walker Percy Wednesday 107


The point of the test, of course, is that self-consciousness implies that there is a self.


And there was Debbie’s new lingo, her everlasting talk about dialoguing, creativity, community, intersubjectivity, centeredness (her favorite word, centeredness). And her new word, empowerment.

What would happen, I wonder, if I asked them what they thought about God and sin?
I thought they did better, looked better, felt better as Father Kev and Sister Thérèse in the old days, as priest and nun, than as siddha Kev in his new soft Maharishi voice and a NOW Wicca Debbie in her stretch pants. If you set out to be a priest and a nun, then be a priest and a nun, instead of a fake Hindu or a big-assed lady Olds dealer who is into Wicca—this from me, who had not had two thoughts about God for years, let alone sin. Sin?
That meeting was before I went to prison. Prison works wonders for vanity in general and for the secret sardonic derisiveness of doctors in particular. All doctors should spend two years in prison. They’d treat their patients better, as fellow flawed humans. In a word, prison restored my humanity if not my faith. I still don’t know what to make of God, don’t give Him, Her, It a second thought, but I make a good deal of people, give them considerable thought. Not because I’m more virtuous, but because I’m more curious. I listen to them carefully, amazed at the trouble they get into and how few quit. People are braver than one might expect.


Don’t forget Frank Macon, old hunting pal, once a complex old-style sardonic black man, as compact of friendship and ironies as Prince Hamlet, as faithful and abusive as a Russian peasant. Now as distant and ironed out as a bank teller: Have a nice day.


Why Not Viewpoint Diversity?

Social psychologist Clay Routledge guest blogging in Scientific American. The tendency that Routledge points to is tone deaf to perfectly legitimate epistemic possibilities (meaningful viewpoint diversity) but we have long since pathologized ideology in a sad grab for power and influence (I have a chapter on this topic coming shortly). Surely the Overton window must be wide open affording the best opportunity to approach truth — but then again, many academics are typically in the business of activism, not inquiry.

Guardians of the Groove

The best little community radio station around for top-notch music (gig listings, recipes and more) and of course these days you don’t have to be in New Orleans to listen or indeed to watch their regular live video streams — a conduit to the deepest and widest musical tradition, constantly being infused with new talent. Please consider supporting WWOZ during this week’s fundraising drive. A prime mover behind WWOZ was also the founder of the wonderful Louisiana Music Factory — meet Jerry Brock here and here.