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”.

Wikipedia

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.

Wikipedia

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!

United, They Stand — Still…

…as the epitome of corporate arrogance, disregard of any idea of customer service, and understanding of “optics.” Sure, they’re trying hard to change that image. Meantime, there’s this:

Berkeley “Berke” Breathed

 

 

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.


Consciousness

…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”

Facebook Doesn’t Have An Ethics Problem. It Has A Morality Problem

Graham is concerned …

… that Facebook, which he uses a lot, has lost its way. Worse still, it is identifying the wrong problems, and imposing stale solutions even to those.

From Zuckerberg’s embarrassing efforts at “stewardship for the long term” in Hawaii — which came across as a plantation-owner-style land grab and seem to have led to a very public walkback (and which we have discussed on this very blog) — to allegations of racially-based censorship, wink-wink toleration of (very profitable) fake news, and disingenuous responses to these and many other criticisms, it seems sometimes like a brand outrunning itself.

Perhaps the real problem, though — Continue reading “Facebook Doesn’t Have An Ethics Problem. It Has A Morality Problem”

The Folly Of Total ‘Skepticism’

Graham’s  friend writes on social media…

…”Question everything, always.” Newt Gingrich calls the Congressional Budget Office, with its statutory duty to analyse and report on proposed legislation,  ‘left-wing, corrupt‘ and demands its closure. Trump surrogate (and incoming Chief of Staff) Reince Priebus makes similar comments on the Ethics Office:

“That person [Walter Shaub Jr., director of the Office of Government Ethics] is becoming extremely political… I’m not sure what this person at Government Ethics, what sort of standing he has any more to be giving these opinions,” Priebus said.

For good measure, Priebus added, Mafia-style, that the Ethics officer should  “be very careful…” (“You gotta nice Ethics Office here, be a shame if anything happened to it… if you catch my drift…”). And our President-elect casts such shade upon respected news media that even the least respected step in to defend their colleagues’ integrity.

Continue reading “The Folly Of Total ‘Skepticism’”