Monday, February 28, 2011

Call Me Curmudgeon

Time to cause more trouble.

Modern music and "literature" in the American and English speaking world stinks. Not everything, but most of it - enough to use that general statement as a working model. To paraphrase Virginia Woolf, on or about a certain day in 1954, American and English song and writing changed. For the worse, much worse: they died.

À Propos Music: Four years ago your writer proved (using abduction*) that no "good" recording for a song has been made since a certain day in 1954; two years ago he posted an update of that proof. See the link following ->

Exceptions are recordings by Julie Andrews, Judy Garland and a few others. Sure, a song might strike an emotional chord with you, it might please you, but most likely, it is be technically deficient - no better than a "C" on any absolute scale of quality. If you disagree, read my proof and expose the errors in my logic. Or provide me a counterexample of a broad class of "good" recorded songs.

*Btw, "abduction" is a $100 Word of the Day from February 10, 2011. See below for its reprise as Word of the Day.

À Propos Writing:

Proposition: No good literature has been written in the American or English language since that same day in 1954. This is also an abductive proof.

1. I like almost nothing written since that day in 1954.
2. Most of the writing of T. S. Eliot and all of the works of W. B.Yeats, H. L. Mencken and Sinclair Lewis occurred prior thereto.
3. Churchill won the Nobel prize in Literature in 1953, Hemingway in 1954. Steinbeck won in 1962, but for works written decades earlier. Beckett won in 1969, but for a work written in 1953. Golding won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1983, but for a work published in 1954. For works written after 1954 - thin gruel indeed.

Little poetry has been written in American or English since WW II. A few novelists won the prize, but their novels seem to lack qualities for greatness. To Kill a Mockingbird was nominated by a friend, but to me, it lacks greatness for this reason: it was written in 1960 when the civil rights issue was already national, unlike Uncle Tom's Cabin, being written before the slavery issue went nuclear, and which is recognized to have caused national recognition of slavery's cruel and inhuman nature. A few other novels might claim greatness, but those of more recent Nobel laureates seem quite forgettable, unlike those of Sinclair Lewis or Mark Twain. The much lauded John Updike mostly adapted ideas of Sinclair Lewis.

No columnist matches up to H. L. Mencken, except possibly Walter Lippmann who retired in the 1960s. William F. Buckley was good, but not great; he was not in the class of H. L. Mencken.

Great nonfiction? None.

Possible counterexamples: most are translations of writing originally done in other languages: Solzhenitsyn, Pasternak, Milosz.

For now, I'll consider the proposition proven abductively.

Please post examples of whatever you think is great writing in American or English.


I own too much silver vis a vis gold, especially silver bullion. It's heavy and has little survival value in 100 oz. bars. My gold-silver ration dropped below 1:1 recently - too low; 3:2 or 2:1 is more appropriate for the long term. I'll sell 1/3 of my bullion in the next few days, and buy gold via GLD to keep the asset class appropriately sized.

Gosh, it's good I moved it to the bank vault a few years ago - the ground is frozen and covered with several feet of icy snow; digging would be impossible.

Word of the Day (a reprise today)

"Abduction" - noun [$100] Logic
Abduction means a syllogism whose major premise is certain but whose minor premise is probably.
Sentence: Much reasoning in life (investing, detective work, historical analysis, policy analysis) is neither deduction nor induction, but is abduction, where one starts with facts and creates a probable scenario / narrative that fits the facts to use in actions. Sherlock Holmes used abduction.


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Bunkerman said...

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Spin-em said...

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Spin-em said...

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