Monday, March 29, 2021

Why is it always the hard stuff?

 Yeah, yeah, I'm really trying to stay away from politics, but the latest dispatch from the cancel culture wars has me rolling my eyes so far I can see the inside of my forehead. Some goofballs at Oxford have decided that sheet music is inherently racist. 


Well, it is predominantly white and sprinkled with little black dots. And as an untalented, very amateurish musician, I used to avoid pieces of music that had too high a proportion of black dots... What? That's not what they mean? 

It's not, I gather, about the physical appearance of the page. Rather, there are some inchoate word salads - they don't rise to the level of 'argument' - about how dead white males like Beethoven used sheet music, and therefore... oh, whatever. 

The same article mentioned that Middle English and Old English literature are also being tipped into the racist dumpster. 

And for quite some time now I've been seeing the "Math is racist" cry. 

So, just asking: why is it always the hard stuff that gets labeled racist and canceled? 

An uncharitable sort just might begin to suspect that "It's racist!" is the excuse du jour for people who don't want to turn their brains on.

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Etymology takes away the magic

 There was something about the word condottiere. It didn't conjure up a romantic image exactly - I do understand that the condottieri were not, by and large, nice people - but it seemed, oh, exotic? Dashing? Like this statue of Bartolmmeo Colleoni in Venice? 

So, the first book I picked up on the subject pointed out that etymologically, condottiere derives from condotta, which means "contract." Yeah. A condottiere was somebody who had a condotta. In short - a contractor. 

It just doesn't have the same exotic aura, does it?

Tuesday, March 9, 2021


 I'm taking a vacation from current events, because the daily onslaught on liberty, history and common sense has begun to depress me. Reading the news these days makes me feel as if I'm repeatedly hitting myself on the head with a hammer.

So... following a bit of reading on 15th century Florence in the interests of keeping up with my online book club's study of Machiavelli, this magically talented condottiere strolled into my head and started talking about his career. 

I've decided to shove the current work-not-really-in-process onto a back burner; it was stalled out in a scene where the new office manager tries to push the dictates of Critical Race Theory onto the paranormal working group, and you know what? That's not funny any more. Not in the current atmosphere, anyway. Instead I'm listening to what Gian Galleazo No-last-name-yet has to say. And instead of waking myself up with coffee and the news, I'm starting the day with coffee and more reading on Renaissance Italy - not just Florentine politics in the time of Machiavelli, but everything from housewives' "books of secrets" to studies of arms, armor and warfare styles of the condittori. 

Because, you know, I have to read something over the coffee.

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