Wednesday, June 20, 2018

My Thoughts on Roseanne Barr

I think Roseanne Barr is legitimately mentally disturbed. I don't know if she could actually be diagnosed with something from the DSM-5 or whatever, but there is something definitely not right about her. It's not just that she's a quack conspiracy theorist and right-winger, although that's a big part of it. But just the way she clearly can't think straight or make sensible decisions like well-adjusted members of society. Her latest thing is that her racist comments on Twitter weren't about Ambien (her first excuse), and weren't caused by ignorance about Valerie Jarrett's race (her second excuse), and weren't caused by her ignorance about the fact that comparing a black person to an ape is considered racist (her third excuse), but rather about how Planet of the Apes was about anti-Semitism and Iran is anti-Semitic.

Now, Valerie Jarrett is an African-American who was born in Iran to American parents. They moved home when she was 5. She is not Muslim. She is not Iranian. She was an advisor to Obama, but not on his dealings with Iran.

But apparently Roseanne is now claiming that she was tying Jarrett to Obama and Obama's handling of Iran's nuclear situation by using Planet of the Apes, which - according to her - is about anti-Semitism, and Iran is anti-Semitic and therefore Obama (and Jarrett, by association) is guilty of aiding anti-Semites.

It's an absurd and convoluted argument, particularly given that Planet of the Apes is not, and never was, about anti-Semitism. It was about racism in the 1960s, with the Apes representing white people who oppressed blacks. The sideways reference to the old racist taunt about black people being apes was an intentional aspect of the story line, attempting to turn it on its head. As anyone who has ever watched The Twilight Zone knows, racism was something Rod Serling worked into many of his stories and teleplays. He also wrote Planet of the Apes.

But apparently only "low IQ" people failed to understand that her tweet was aimed at the Iran regime. Just to keep everyone clear, here's the original tweet: "Muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj." If you don't understand how this tweet is about the Iran regime, consider yourself "low IQ."

It might also be worth noting that Roseanne admitted right after the original tweet, during her initial string of apologies, that the tweet was a "bad joke" about Jarrett's looks and was "indefensible."

I don't know if it's age-related, or years of pot-smoking, or what, but Roseanne seems like she is mentally unstable to me. She's always been edgy, of course. Her comedy has always had a touch of raunchiness and been thoroughly unapologetic, but she has gone off the deep end in recent years. The irony, of course, is that conservatives used to hate her. They seem to have forgotten the controversy she caused when she "sang" the national anthem before a baseball game, intentionally brutalizing it, before grabbing her crotch and spitting as the crowd booed. Now the same assholes who are boycotting the NFL over black players kneeling during the anthem to protest racism are treating anthem-degrader Roseanne like a hero. But no one ever accused the right wing of consistency.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Notes from the Cave

It's hot as hell and the air conditioning in my car is broken. I'm learning to live like it's the 1960s and air conditioning in cars isn't a thing.  It's fun rolling down the road with the windows all the way down, although I worry about getting a pebble in the eye or something when I'm on the Interstate.

Thankfully, unlike the 1960s, the buildings and homes I go into after being in my car are always air conditioned, so at least I can cool off afterwards. But I've started carrying my scrub shirt to work (wearing only a T-shirt) and putting it on after I get there so that there are no visible sweat circles across my back and sides. I cannot IMAGINE what it must have been like when air conditioning didn't exist in cars OR buildings. Can you imagine going to work in a suit and tie (because that's what EVERYONE wore to work back then) AND not having air conditioning, either in your car OR your office? We are seriously spoiled these days, and you learn just how spoiled when your AC goes bad.

My piano playing is going really well. I recently read an old book from the 1940s about piano playing for the "amateur" and it has really inspired me to make some positive changes in my practice. I had felt like I was "plateauing" in my playing and this book has helped me to get out of that. I've started working to retain pieces after I finish them, and am even thinking about doing a "recital" on Instagram Live (not that I expect dozens of people to sit there and watch me play for however long, but I want to do it for myself).

In college, I was a music major until my Junior year, when I switched my major and minor. The main reason I did this was because I had gotten burned out with practicing and I was terrified of giving an hour-long senior recital. That's what you do in music instead of a senior thesis. My last semester of piano instruction was the first semester of Junior year, and I got an "Incomplete" for my grade that semester because I had basically stopped practicing. That Incomplete is still on my permanent record. I've always appreciated Mr. Tilford giving me that instead of an F, which is what I deserved.

I still have the sheet music for at least three pieces that I was supposed to be learning that semester. The first is a difficult Impromptu by Schubert that I made virtually no headway on that semester.  I completed it earlier this year, although it wasn't as perfect as I would have liked. The second is a well-known Rondo by Mozart that I had made some progress on in college but never came close to finishing (Melanie actually remembers me practicing this song way back when). The third is a Prelude by Bach. All of these pieces still have my instructor's chicken scratch all over them.

Although that Incomplete will remain on my permanent record, it has been important to me to finally "complete" the work I was supposed to learn during that last semester of my formal piano instruction. Once I've completed the Bach piece (which is almost done), I will be able to consider that class completed, even if it took me 22 years.

This is also why I want to do a recital on Instagram - a way of feeling like I have finally finished my abandoned degree in music. There was only one class I needed, plus a recital (and three more semesters of instruction), to finish that music degree. Obviously I'm not going to take the class. But by completing the recital, I'll feel like I've come pretty damn close to finishing what I abandoned in 1995.

Here is that second piece I mentioned. It's the Rondo in D Major by Mozart.