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You've just been elected Dictator Of Everything, and have Supreme Power. You can shape the course of culture and history with a single command.
What books would you ban?
(This is supposed to be fun and funny... I'm sure that many, if not most, if not all, of you are against actually banning books. But in this scenario, you can ban something because you think it's a waste of time, or because it suckers people, or because it's so badly written it makes your brain bleed. In fact, you don't even need a reason... after all, you're Dictator!)
- Any book that claims that it has a magic program to make anyone who reads it thin and beautiful
- Elements of Style by Strunk & White. It's rules were outdated even when it was first published (1959). It is dogmatic and based on personal biases of the authors and styles of literature from the late 1800's, and the way in which highschool and college students are taught to teach it like Gospel leads to some of the worst writing I've ever seen.
- Any book that claims that dogs are cooler than cats.
OK, your turn. What would you ban?
I'd be tempted to ban some religious books, but then religion can be a great benefit to a dictator.
They were the worst people that I have ever met, and they only stopped being nasty when I was grew large enough to be a danger to them if I became upset. They behaved like a bunch of animals, or the kids in Lord of the Flies, and respected only brute force.
At the very least, I'd have them reclassified as willful distortions of events, not meant as entertainment.
At the very least, I'd have them reclassified as willful distortions of events, not meant as entertainment.
But you would clear out the entire 'Current Affairs' section of the bookstore!
Ugh. Read it in 8th grade, I now teach 8th grade reading and I still despise this book! Even my students know I hate this book! lol
Not even remotely anything like music at all.
Or, in your mind, does "I don't like it" == "it is not music"?
So I guess it's more of the latter and not the former with me. Because in my mind I don't like Rap or Hip-Hop and I don't even consider it to be music like I said in #13. But hey, why are you picking on me? The name of this group is called You are dictator, What Will You Ban? So as far as I see it I'm just going along and saying what I would ban if it was left up to me. Just like everyone else here is doing too. I really have nothing against Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, or any of the other famous Composers who wrote such beautiful music nor do I really have anything against Blue Grass it's just that I was never really into either one that much. Certainly not to the extent that I love my 60s and 70s music, the British Invasion, Folk, original 60s and 70s R & B from MOTOWN or even Country music.
Hey, if this or any of the other many LT groups I'm a member of get to be too much for me to handle again I'll just have to quit those groups as well. As I've said before, I'm very thin skinned when it comes to things like verbal abuse or name calling and I happen to take things very personally so it's just as easy for me to retreat than to stay and try to fight on against people who don't like me or have anything nice to say about me. Growing up I used to hear, If you don't have anything nice to say about someone, don't say anything at all. I'm more of an emotional type person than the type that holds things bottled up inside of them. I never really developed some thck skin where I caould let things roll off of my back.
It's actually an interesting question, when taken abstractly. If you had the power to "protect" society from damaging influence (e.g. by being dictator), what criteria would you use? Would you try to come up with some kind of "objective" measure to determine whether something was "worthwhile" .... independent of your own taste? Or would you say, "You know what... I have GOOD taste, and it will help people if I use it to guide society!" Certainly, over history, we've seen numerous instances of both kinds of philosophy from rulers.....
Personally, I'd love to be able to "rationalize" my taste in some kind of "objective" way. The rap of Busta Rhymes requires more vocal skill and practice to perform than the rap of Snoop Dog, and therefore is objectively more valuable. Or something. But the fact of the matter is, I'd be the typical "motivated" investigator.... looking for support for whatever things I happened to like. "Oh, yes.... techno has a lot of structural similarities to baroque music, and therefore is valuable, while house music is really just repetitive watered-down disco...."
I'm not sure people would buy it. ;-)
ETA - Oh, and any book that claims cats are cooler than dogs (just to retaliate, #1 ;-))
They don't have any consideration for anybody else that's what really pisses me off. And from what I hear every other word is a cuss word. It's like F _ _ _ Y_ _ is mainly what you hear. It's real vulgar, rude and crude and a lot of them have misogynist messages in the so called lyrics too.
Wow. So the reason you don't think it's a valid genre of music is because you don't like the way the people who LISTEN to it mis-behave?
Does that really seem like a.... well, a valid way of adjudicating musical value?
If the point of music is to transform the listener, then it's the only valid way of adjudicating musical value :)
As it happens, people who like Objectivism ARE pricks... but that's not why I disagree with Objectivism.
It's the only reason you've given. I put the question to you in #14, asking why you don't consider rap music. And in literally every post you've made since then you've focused only and entirely on the rudeness of the people who play it. You have never once mentioned anything about the music itself: the amount of complexity it has, the amount of talent it takes to produce or perform it, and so on. With all of the potentially valid reasons to say rap isn't music, you blew on past them and went straight to "those people who listen to it are inconsiderate!!!"
You should be aware -- for your own sake, really -- that if your entire argument against rap begins with "Because those people.....(generalization)", you might come across as a teensy weensy bit prejudiced.
However, that wasn't my actual point. You could have used the lack of complexity in rap as a justification for not liking it.
It's striking to me that you didn't make that argument. All you said, for several posts, was that you don't like the people who listen to it. That's the problem that I have.
I'll be totally honest, your vehemence about rap, the fact that you have such strong feelings about it despite the fact that there are a large number of popular styles of music that are equally inane, and the fact that you completely justify your feelings by referring to disliking the people who listen to it (rather than on the merits or lack of merits of the music itself)...... it seems a little.... well, never mind. I don't want to make accusations.
Incidentally, most rap is not complex -- but most popular-culture music is not complex. By comparing current pop culture music to classics that have survived hundreds of years, you are de facto not making a fair comparison. And if you compare current rap to some of the awful "popular music" back in the time that Beethoven was composing.... they are both equally "non-complex", and terrible. (Which doesn't make them not-music; it just makes them not-good.)
If some said to you that classical music -- as a whole -- lacks complexity and, in fact, isn't even real music.... you'd think that person was speaking out of ignorance, wouldn't you?
I like just about every form of music, to some degree, except for Far Eastern music. I tried to listen to Rap and Hip Hop, and found it lacking in so many ways. There is, of course, the poetic nature of it, yet I find that most of the messages that I have experienced were not complex, and the musical scores could not reasonably be placed alongside something by Bruch, or Mozart. Perhaps what some were suggesting is that the negativity of much of this style of music daunts many, as well. I know I do not enjoy misogynistic expressions, unnecessary profanity and arrogance. Yes, I know, most of it is supposed to be theatrical, but it is hardly easy for many to find some affinity with it.
Pavarotti didn't have to use the f-word to get our attention. He merely had to excel with his instrument, something we do not see with Rap, or Hip Hop. From my standpoint, attempting to convince me that Rap has any complexity to it, is rather like telling me that Warhol was a great artist.
But, then again, I love the bagpipes, and until you have heard thirty or forty pipers piping 'Amazing Grace,' your blood has not pulsed through your veins with vigor.
29> I would be curious to know more about the 'popular music' of Beethoven's time that have survived, and were 'not complex.' Examples?
I love bagpipes, too, which is why I find them to be the least painful (for me) method of suggesting that others turn their music down. ;)
I don't like most of the rap I have heard. I used to like Run D.M.C (are they still around? I'll google that next), and some of Will Smith's stuff. The majority of it feels hateful and derogatory to me. Thus I'm not a fan. I do however consider it a form of music.
>29 gregstevenstx: I'm not sure if I agree with your assessment of popular culture music being complex. I think some of the more popular music has a great deal of forced complexity. The musicians want the music to be so complex, it comes out sounding busy, what many might mistake for noise (I'm not sure what my friend listens to, but they also turn my stomach... i think one group is called White Snake or something similar).
That said, my response to the original post is I think I would ban anything in which I felt people had been hurt or injured during the making of... Child Porn, research documents outlining results of experiments on living creatures, and the like... I probably wouldn't make a good dictator though... :)
P.S. I would make WizardRock required listening... ;p
hehe ... I'm getting giddy just talking about the power... may be this is a bad thing. ;p
Although, I would be saddened that this may include The Last Temptation of Christ, which is a rather good novel.
That's what personal archives are for. After all, look at Kim Jong-il's personal library of films and such.
Besides, aren't the outcome of a dictator's bans supposed to not make sense?
There goes the Divine Comedy into the fire (no pun intended). Believe me, my people, this dictator weeps for all of his followers.
Personally, with few exceptions, I didn't read any of the school-assigned classics when I was that age. When I was 20 I couldn't get enough of "higher literature". Now I'm all over the place. Maturity can do wonderful things for opening up the mind and helping it grasp nuanced literature.
eta: I don't mean teen audiences can't grasp nuance, but I do remember the desire for more splash and instant gratification in various art forms when I was that age.