Some Rough Music …

its hour come round again …*

The Chaps, aware as we are of a long cultural heritage,  were impressed to see this account of a recent protest. The organizers’ call was “Get in the streets with us! March with us. Bring pots, pans, drums, whistles anything noisey!” Among many other responses, this one was recorded in Tucson, Arizona, protesting an appearance by Steve Bannon.

Yes, the Chaps’ interest was piqued partly by the topic and the person protested, but significantly by the style of the protest — specifically, a community using cacophonous noise and chanting to show its disapproval of unacceptable behavior, and to shame someone for it.  (Note the actual cries of “Shame!”)

Whether they realized it or not, the protestors were continuing a very long and honored tradition. This type of popular protest goes by many names, and goes back a long way. “Charivari” seems to be the oldest recorded name.

Depiction of charivari, early 14th century (from the Roman de Fauvel) — Wikipedia

The origin of the word charivari is likely from the Vulgar Latin caribaria, plural of caribarium, already referring to the custom of rattling kitchenware with an iron rod, itself probably from the Greek καρηβαρία (karēbaría), literally “heaviness in the head” but also used to mean “headache”, from κάρα “head” and βαρύς “heavy”.


In England it was often termed “rough music,” or “Skimmington ride,” and in the United States, “Shivaree.”

Hudibras Encounters The Skimmington, by William Hogarth

[A] folk custom in which the community gives a noisy, discordant mock serenade, frequently with pounding on pots and pans, also known as rough music. The loud, public ritual evolved to a form of social coercion, for instance, to force an as-yet-unmarried couple to wed… To “ride such a person skimmington” involved exposing them or their effigy to ridicule on a cart, or on the back of a horse or donkey. Some accounts describe the participants as carrying ladles and spoons with which to beat each other, at least in the case of skimmingtons prompted by marital discord.


It is even possible the “Skimmington Ride” developed into the great old American custom of “Running out of town on a rail.” After all …

During a rough music performance, the victim could be displayed upon a pole or donkey… Charivari was sometimes called “riding the ‘stang“, when the target was a man who had been subject to scolding, beating, or other abuse from his wife. The man was made to “ride the ‘stang”, which meant that he was placed backwards on a horse, mule or ladder and paraded through town to be mocked, while people banged pots and pans.

… and here’s the purported US version, from George Clooney’s “O Brother Where Art Thou”:

Pretty close, we’d say. And how happy the Chaps are to see such an appropriate revival of the old customs.

One last side note — or, as the Chaps like to say, “And Another Thing…”

Le Charivari was the name given to a French satirical magazine first published in 1832. Its British counterpart, established in 1841, was entitled Punch, or The London Charivari.

So the great tradition of robust British satire — often scabrous, scatological, and even vicious, and including Monty Python and Spitting Image, even through to the Chaps themselves — owes its existence to a Middle Ages form of folk protest. A proud and venerable heritage indeed.

*P.S: Yes, we probably should apologize to Yeats.

When the other chap says ‘probably’, this chap thinks he means we absolutely should.

Generally true. But notice that while the word “should” was used, we actually did not. Take that, Yeats!

It’s Déjà Vu All Over Again

As you might imagine, producing such an organ of depth and breadth as this particular publication is no mean feat. We are often never asked how we do it … but heh – since we are the chaps – thought we would share anyway. Don’t tell anyone, but we have a very sophisticated collaborative process – it’s called email. Side note – we don’t care what The Zuck says – email is the first and still the largest social network on the planet. Still, back to the plot.

This morning, this chap got a contextually relevant, system alert (that’s what you people call an email) that indicated that a post was pending and needing my attention. Needless to say – this chap got right onto it. After his coffee, slice of toast and his morning exercise stretch.

He read the content, excellent as always. When the other chap extracts said digit, he really is rather good. But. But – there was a sense of ‘surely we have commented on this before’ sense. (sic).

But, this chap ploughed on, came up with a suitable response and readied himself for the riposte, clicking through to start the edit and situation confirmed … we had published it back in April.

Still, having researched – thought I would add my words anyway … go take a look.

Let it just be said, though, that part of the secret of using email is sending the right message. (Actually, the secret of lots of things…) Turns out this Chap had included the wrong URL in the notification – was meant to be this one. Oh well.


Socrates Redux — Redux

 …The devoted reader will of course remember how Graham’s long fret ahem, extensive and informed meditation on the implications of human-machine brain transfer, Socratic Angst, elicited an extensive and erudite response from a friend, hereinafter known as YetAnotherChap. The Chaps considered this both bore reprinting in full, as it was at Socrates Redux, and a full response, hopefully equally erudite.
However, as it falls to Graham, we will have to see what emerges …

Graham repeats …
… the previous cogitating, girding loins for discourse, clearing throat, and…

Not again …

… and begins, IF you don’t mind, by reviewing and summarizing Yet Another Chap’s comments and arguments against the possibility of the proposed human-machine transfers. To wit …

Reliance on a faulty model.

The brain removal and replacement, or replication, approach, leans heavily and egocentrically on a Cartesian-dualist information-processing model, assuming the entire “persona” is contained within the neurological structure of the brain.

Effect of sensory deprivation.

The “person” is not simply contained within an organic structure, but derives identity from environmental interaction, through the senses. To replicate the “person” one must also replicate senses and perception (by implication, the entire perceptual history of the individual). Any artificial reconstruction there will also add artificiality, inauthenticity, to the reproduction.


…cannot, in fact, be separated from or exist without those senses, or the accretion of sensory perceptions over time.



But There’s More ….

Continue reading “Socrates Redux — Redux”

Socrates Redux

John is well aware that …

… sometimes these dialogues live on beyond the publication date, even when there are just two chaps chatting. That is why the chaps are trying to work out how to not lose that spirit, but at the same time make sure our esteemed readers also benefit from the ‘chap rap’.

Trust me, it’s complicated enough when just two chaps are involved, but we are confident that we will get there. But now there’s a bit of a wrinkle. Turns out that even before we arrive at a solution, yet another chap has weighed in on the comments, where we also dialogue.

Not of itself a problem – afterall – comments have been scurrying in for a while now. No, the problem lies with the other chap …

oh yeah – blame it on me

… who is not satisfied with leaving a particular dialogue in the comments but rather wants to introduce the other chap and bring one of those comments into a post of its own. Are you with me?

Continue reading “Socrates Redux”

The Persistence Of Memory

… and the Opposite Of Truth …

Graham remembers a time…

Salvador Dali’s “”The Persistence Of Memory”

No, really — and actually, he remembers lots of times.

John says …
So did ‘Chuck’ Dickens

Graham says …
Surely ‘Marcie’ Proust? But I digress…

John says …
‘Chuck’ … Tale Of Two Cities

But what he actually “remembers” of course is his reconstruction and even concatenation of those times, which may make for good stories, but even with the best intent may barely resemble the actual events. Memories melt, fold, dissolve, as Dali observed. But at least with repetition, the stories get better, which is a lot of the point of “laying down memories” while you can.

But what happens when what one needs is recent, accurate records of things said and done? Continue reading “The Persistence Of Memory”

The Art Of The Possible …

… did you know that there were so many books called ‘The Art of The Possible’.

This chap didn’t …

… moreover, none of them is the book that he thought he was thinking of.  But let’s put that aside for a minute. This chap was more taken by this single quote

Imagine that you are falling into a bucket of red paint that then morphs you into an octopus where you can then exit a room through a door and fall into the bucket of red paint again.

Jaron Lanier Continue reading “The Art Of The Possible …”