Crazy Motherfucking Shit on the Internets!

This has been around the musicblogosphere a bit, but I can’t let it go.

The Epoch Times is an independent newspaper from New York. They specialize in China coverage, and, apparently, unabashed wingnuttery.

The article in question is an interview with a German doctor/oboist with the Western-Eastern fusion Divine Performing Arts Orchestra. Excerpts follow:

Even though he played piano and oboe for six hours a day during high school, he was still the best in his class academically.

Even though?

Dr. Trey's first professional choice would have been to become a conductor, but he later decided to go into medicine.

Probably wise, if you like money. But go on…

Since his youth, Dr. Trey has had a deep interest in the history and development of music believing that "music is a major contributor in building societies. It creates a direction in societies."

I would argue, rather, that music (and the arts in general) are a reflection of society. Symptom, not cause. No?

Dr. Trey notes that music has lost its way since the nineteenth century. It has changed from earlier eras—the Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, and Romantic epochs (1600-1900)—to trends starting in early 1900's.

Lost its way? Where were we headed? Utopia?

These earlier eras spanning 300 years represent the pinnacle of classical music in the West and are based on higher principles and values.

Higher principles…values? Counterpoint?

Composers such as Stravinsky, Schoenberg, and Stockhausen composed music from a listener's perspective as if experimenting with noise.

First of all, this sentence sucks. Second, those are all great composers. Right? No? Uh-oh...

When this chaotic music appeared, atomic bombs, communism and cold war also surfaced.

Whoah. We have a serious cause-effect problem. Well, maybe not. It could be that this is utter fucking nonsense. Because: seriously? That is the stupidest fucking bullshit ever written. And I read Atlas Shrugged!

He believes this chaotic music in no small way contributes to the chaos in modern times. Destructive political movements, such as communism, thrived by killing people in its own society.

New Music = Communism? Communism was invented in the mid-1800s. It must have influenced Brahms. Wait...no. Brahms influenced Marx. Is that right?

Europe boasted excellent philosophers and scholars when classical principles were followed. When music lost its classical values, chaos developed in societies and so for 100 years, music has been struggling to find direction.

I guess this is all anti-communist rhetoric? Because it sure isn’t music history. The teleological view espoused is complete nonsense. Where was music going before it got “derailed”? How did Rwanda’s indigineous music promote genecide? What was so violent about Roman music that made them so warlike?

If we all just listened to Mozart all the time, we’d live in paradise!

Whee! Motherfucking crazy shit on the internets!


Empiricus said...

For those of you who read on, you may have encountered this:

"Dr. Trey said that 'Composers did not have the self-confidence to dedicate [themselves to] harmony...'"

Let's see, Mr. Schoenberg. That'll be $5,000 for the stay, $2,000 for the ambulance, $550 for the anesthesia, and $410 for Doctor Dilettante's advice.

Wow, Mr. Schoenberg. Think of it: you could have saved yourself a whole lot of time and money if you only had the self-confidence to read your own book, "Harmonielehre!"

Murderface said...

Those sentences do suck. "Perhaps English is not the author's native language," I thought.

Then I considered that maybe Arepo chose these sentences uncharitably, with a view to undermine the author.

Then I read the source article. Now I am convinced not only that the author's native language is something other than English, but also that the author's training in English is in fact a work in progress.

We should encourage this young scholar to persevere in her studies, and congratulate her on this solid B+ performance on this ESL 220 assignment. Huzzah!

Further, it is no mean feat that the enterprising author was able to get this assignment published, especially in The Epoch Times, which is totally not just an anti-Chinese Communist Party screed.

Look, I have no love for the CCP. They're wretched and indefensible (see: any current headlines containing the word "Tibet"). However, when you describe them as "an Anti-Universe force," even if I agree with you, I have no fucking idea what you're saying.

Now that's just awkward for both of us.

Plus it means I'm not going to be coming to you for critical analysis of anything.

Free Tibet, Free Falun Gong practitioners, and and your music column qua music column could use a little more music and a little less political philosophy.

Smash the State!



Murderface said...

Also, to the editors of The Epoch Times:

Your alleged comic strip "Murphy's In-Law" is the most crushingly unfunny thing I have ever read.

And I read The Plague!

Aaron said...

I still say Atlas Shrugged is worse, but I can see the other point of view.

I was actually interested in this bit, though:

"Since his youth, Dr. Trey has had a deep interest in the history and development of music believing that "music is a major contributor in building societies. It creates a direction in societies."

I would argue, rather, that music (and the arts in general) are a reflection of society. Symptom, not cause. No?"

It seems to me it's a little of both, really. I mean, sure, it's totally fucking nuts to draw a line from Schoenberg to Hiroshima; but music - art, really, I guess - is a response to the world in which it's created. Good art, anyhow. It's supposed to say something back to the world, and hopefully that includes people listening to/reading/watching the art and being changed by it.

People are inspired by music. I think that means that music isn't just a reflection of society; it's part of society coming into being. If I can get painfully existentialist for a moment.

Although I do want to emphasize that the idea that 20th century art music is somehow responsible for the Holocaust, the gulags, and Cheez Whiz is utterly batshit crazy.

Andrew Patner said...

The paper is published by Falun Gong and its supporters. Many of the articles are "translated" from Chinese.