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Saturday morning quotes 8.8: At Last

January 1, 2021

Finally, we bid farewell to a year that has been more than problematic for us and others who provide an essential musical antidote to our modern technology-obsessed present. If you have dipped into our blog before, you know that we offer a calm but important reality-check by pointing out that life should be made convenient by technology rather than allowing our lives to be enslaved by technology run amok. We like to remind all and sundry that it is vital for all humanity to retain actual practical skills rather than blithely allowing so many facets of our lives to be rendered insignificant by so-called artificial intelligence.

We like to remind our readers that the music we perform for voice and lute was a staple of domestic entertainment for a few centuries, eventually replaced by the parlor guitar or piano with the format still in vogue as recently as 100 years ago.  The 20th century marked the age when people were effectively re-categorized from the role of citizens to that of consumers, from active creators of art and entertainment to passive shoppers.  The change did not happen by accident, but by deliberate design wrought with intent by the corporate culture and their paid enablers occupying governmental leadership roles. In 1928, then US President Herbert Hoover told a group of advertisers and public relations specialists:

“You have taken over the job of creating desire and have transformed people into constantly moving happiness machines. Machines which have become the key to economic progress.”

Today, we suffer the consequences of a century of relentless corporate control of our lives. We appear to be experiencing a pandemic, but we have neither a trustworthy source of news as to the actual severity of the situation, nor the leadership essential to coordinating an effective response. Let us be blunt: Leadership in the US is ineffective in a time of crisis because leadership is beholden to corporate interests and there is zero accountability to citizens. The only way our leaders are accountable to citizens is through their publicly visible votes on important legislation, and they appear to be expending much more energy on avoiding votes than in acting responsibly in our interest. This is business as usual.

The US, having the dubious distinction of winning the contest of maximum neglect of its population in all categories during a time of crisis, is not the only nation exhibiting completely absurd behavior towards its citizens. The New Year marks the implementation of Brexit in the UK, with the absurd undoing of decades of diplomatic and economic progress, all in the name of corporate convenience. Journalist Nikolaus Blome has written that Britain has been “captured by gambling liars, frivolous clowns and their paid cheerleaders. They have destroyed my Europe, to which the UK belonged as much as France or Germany.”

But all is not doom and gloom. No matter how difficult the circumstances, musicians continue to find ways to make music and touch listeners with deeply felt performances that help take us outside of ourselves, albeit with the aid of technology. An example is an amazing concert of music by two musicians with a high degree of empathy in their performance. Of course, one can always take advantage of technology to dip into wonderful recorded historical examples of music by improvising musicians applying themselves to some of the standard baroque repertory. And we can consciously use technology to offer examples of our alter-ego performing the sort of music that happens at our house from time to time.

We sincerely hope that the year 2021 will mark the return of live music played to live audiences, because we are all in desperate need of it. Happy New Year all, and remember to use technology wisely so it does not use you.

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3 Comments
  1. Christopher Barker permalink

    This morning’s Saturday Quotes was most interesting. I won’t comment on U.S. leadership and politics as everything about that cannot be sanely discussed these days! So… I’m going to pick on somebody else’s. I have a number of British friends. They all wanted out of the E.U. The most often stated reason was they were tired of paying inflated taxes to support social welfare payments to folks on the continent who refused to work for a living even though there were plenty of jobs available. Another frequent comment was the fear that the E.U. was going to try to force the U.K. to drive on the right! (I can imagine Churchill’s reaction to that one.) That’s not my opinion… Just what has floated across the pond to me. Thought you might find it interesting. Oh well, regardless of all the blarney, 2021 has got to be an improvement over last year. Maybe more folks will take up the lute and the vihuela.

    • Thanks for your comments, Christopher. We have different sources of information regarding the Brexit mess. The entire business appears to have been promoted by a compliant and complicit network of news organizations paid to promote a particular point of view. It’s the same situation in the US, and the upshot is that we simply cannot trust mainstream sources of news to report actual fact and unvarnished truth that allows the reader to form his or her own opinion.

      “We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.”

      – William Casey, Director of Central Intelligence, February, 1981

      • Chris Barker permalink

        You are sooooo right about the media. Their change from reporting the news to becoming the national social and political indoctrination source is disheartening, definitely unAmerican, and frightening. There is a possible solution. You might remember that crazy folk singer, Pete Seeger. He said that if every new baby was issued a banjo all would be right. I say… Giv’em a lute or a vihuela and all would be even better! EARLY MUSIC ENTHUSIASTS LIVES MATTER ! Oh well, I’m running off at the mouth again…

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