Edward Ka-Spel‘s brilliance with The Legendary Pink Dots is to introduce us to isolated characters and then immerse us in their world-view through expansive and mysterious soundscapes. He begins with the most restricted, infinitesimal point of consciousness and then slowly expands it outward towards a state of ‘cosmic consciousness’ (to use the phrase of 1960s psychonauts). Musically, he often follows this template of expansion, with simple melody lines repeating and layering in increased complexity of texture. Much of the LPD’s music is an undertaking to help the listener (and perhaps composer) escape his/her own head. Lyrical phrases, musical motifs, album titles and themes recur across decades, but tonal shifts between albums are slow and subtle. Hopefully, The Legendary Dots Project, like the Residents and Sparks projects before, will provide the keen reader and listener with a giddy entry-point into the Legendary Pink Dots’ musical world. Fulfil the prophecy! Continue reading
The MAD Morality is an odd duck amongst the world of MAD paperbacks. Originally published by the Christian-based Abingdon Press in 1970 and receiving a second paperback edition by Signet in 1972, it’s remembered more as an oddity amongst both MAD and Christian circles than as a serious piece of work. The MAD Morality began life as an essay in The Christian Century, where it received a fair amount of praise for its clever writing and biblical foundations. He later contacted the editors of MAD to ask permission to use their material in a book-length version of the aforementioned essay, where (according to MAD historians) the editors were so amused by the concept that they agreed.
Image via Wikipedia
This is sort of Heaven & Hell Pt. II, so y’all might want to settle in — though I don’t think this one will really be as insanely long. Though I didn’t think that one would be, either, so, there you go.
Anyway, as I alluded to, I like absorbing this type of media, half ironically, half just because I find it fascinating to look into other cultures, particularly sub-cultures that I’m not a part of. (This is one of the reasons I like looking at, say, Pressed Fur — not a furry, and I find it sort of intriguingly baffling, but it’s just interesting to peek in from the outside and look at this kind of stuff, particularly when it’s something written for the community, examining what those outside the community write about them. I suppose in this sense, it gets a little hall-of-mirrors-y, since I’m outside the community looking at people inside the community looking at people outside looking in. Hey, at least I’m not really writing about that kind of stuff, though, because then it’d just get too uncomfortably meta.)
Image via Wikipedia
I’ve pretty much always been an atheist; when I was very small, I asked my mom what religion we were, and she just said “Christian” without really clarifying which franchise (as Emo Philips calls them), and I just sort of identified as that. Being “Christian” basically meant that we didn’t go to church or worship or believe in pretty much anything, but we did celebrate Christmas and Easter, since, hey, presents and candy!
I think when I was in 4th or 5th grade, there was a local-news fallout about someone being kicked out of the Boy Scouts because he wouldn’t say the pledge because it included the word “God” — it seemed to make sense to me, but I wasn’t sure about the particulars. My dad said that that was “atheism”, and that it was a type of religion that said there wasn’t a god, and they couldn’t even say “god”. I thought that was kinda funny (Even then, I loved saying “God!” My favorite curse today is “Goddammit!”; then, I knew that the “damn” part wasn’t good for little kids to say, so everything would be “God darn it!”, which I suppose is kinda funny, since I figure to most people that’d be just as offensive as “goddamn”…), but didn’t think anything of it.