Thursday, September 13, 2007

Considerable Sounds: Triple Sex

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By DC Music Editor Benjamin New

The Jewels Of Denial

Sex sells. Ask anyone in a Madison Avenue advertising agency. Whether it is overt, subdued, or subliminal; sex sells. In our Western music tradition, like it or not, love and sexual desire have been an unreformable ingredient in the creative process. Throughout human history the songs of love and sex far outnumber all other subject matter including the writing deemed as sacred . Ignoring the Eros factor is like ignoring a hurricane. If you can manage to do it, you succeed only in deluding (and deluging) yourself. So this week here at Considerable Sounds we ask you to participate in our questionnaire.

Please rate our random selection of musicians for their ability to conjure up the prurient interest. Since the package has become more consequential than the contents in the music biz, lets play along. Just for this week, there is no discussion of relative artistic merit, craftsmanship, or theoretical philosophy. We will simply enjoy the aesthetics for the sake of aesthetics. Keeping the old Chinese proverb in mind - When you have only two pennies left in the world, buy a loaf of bread with one, and a lily with the other.

  • 0 stars = bowl of oatmeal/ auto erotica preferred
  • 1 star = tuna sandwich /maybe, if intoxicated enough
  • 2 stars = fresh salad with radishes and ranch dressing, /only 1 margarita necessary
  • 3 stars = corn beef special w pickled jalepenos on the side/ yeah- but no eating crackers
  • 4 stars = bowl of Texas chili w fresh cilantro & cumin garnished w guacamole and julienne pablanos Key lime pie and an espresso / soitenly! nyuk, nyuk, nyuk...crackers are non issue in boudoir.
  • 5 stars = golden osetra caviar, brown Peruvian habaneros , a sorbet to clear the pallet, South African lobster tail, pheasant under glass, asparagus tips in hollandaise, a bottle of Dom PĂ©rignon, and a Belgian truffle with a dark and milk chocolate center blended with 12-year-old Glenmorangie single malt Scotch, then rolled in cocoa. Demitasse and a Cuban Monte Cristo.

Yes Yes Yes Oh Yes!


Them Guys


Sex Is Better Than Logic, But It Can't Be Proven

It seems to me, that human beings divide themselves into 2 metaphysical camps regarding their sexuality. There is a gorge between these 2 views that would make the The Valles Marineris canyon seem humble and insignificant. These 2 camps are neither masculine nor feminine. Hetero nor homo. The division is far more significant. The first group we will call “sexual optimists” and the second we will call “sexual pessimists“.
The sexual optimists might include Plato, Bertrand Russell, Irving Singer, or Shakespeare. The sexual pessimists would include St. Augustine , Immanuel Kant, or Virginia Held. What might your own judgments be about the value and role of sexuality in the quality of life? Are you a sexual pessimist or a sexual optimist?

Sexual Pessimists

"Sex," says Kant, "makes of the loved person an object of appetite. Taken by itself it is a degradation of human nature" (from Lectures on Ethics).
Kant suggests that manipulation and deception seem to be required prior to engaging in sex with another person, or at least are so common as to appear to be part of the nature of the sexual experience.
As Bernard Baumrim points out, "sexual interaction is essentially manipulative--physically, psychologically, emotionally, and even intellectually" -- from Sexual Immorality Delineated
We go out of our way, for example, to make ourselves look more attractive and desirable to the other person than perhaps we really are, and we go to great lengths to conceal our defects. And when one person sexually desires another, the other person's body, his or her lips, thighs, toes, and buttocks are desired as the arousing parts they are, distinct from the person. The other's genitals, too, are the object of our attention:
"sexuality is not an inclination which one human being has for another as such, but is an inclination for the sex of another.” Kant, Lectures
Paraphrasing a thought from sexual pessimist Roger Scruton-
"In desire you are compromised in the eyes of the object of desire, since you have displayed that you have designs which are vulnerable to his or her intentions" (Sexual Desire, p. 82). A person who proposes an irresistible sexual offer to another person may be exploiting someone made weak by sexual desire (says Virginia Held, in "Coercion and Coercive Offers,"). Kant says in Metaphysics of Morals
Those engaged in sexual activity make themselves willingly into objects for each other merely for the sake of sexual pleasure. Hence both persons are reduced to the animal level.

"For the natural use that one sex makes of the other's sexual organs is enjoyment, for which one gives oneself up to the other. In this act a human being makes himself into a thing, which conflicts with the right of humanity in his own person. If a man wishes to satisfy his desire, and a woman hers, they stimulate each other's desire; their inclinations meet, but their object is not human nature but sex, and each of them dishonours the human nature of the other. They make of humanity an instrument for the satisfaction of their lusts and inclinations, and dishonor it by placing it on a level with animal nature" Kant, Lectures

Sexual pessimists see desire as a passion that challenges reason. Due to the inelastic insistent nature of the sexual impulse, they feel people often end up doing things sexually that they had never planned or wanted to do. Compelling some ( you know the headlines) to seek satisfaction involving rest room gropings, anonymous acts of questionable hygiene and health risk, or getting married impetuously.

Much of Christian thought has been sexually pessimistic. Certainly the Calvinists and the puritanical sects viewed their sexual impulse as an enemy.
In the words of St. Augustine: "A man turns to good use the evil of concupiscence, and is not overcome by it, when he bridles and restrains its rage . . . and never relaxes his hold upon it except when intent on offspring, and then controls and applies it to the carnal generation of children , not to the subjection of the spirit to the flesh in a sordid servitude" On Marriage and Concupiscence, book 1, chapter 9

The irony is that if indeed the “ideal spiritual state” is one of celibacy as St. Paul suggests in Corinthians. Then Homo Sapiens as a genus is doomed. No sex; no babies. (However unlike the evangelicals, and so called “Christian right” who dominate headlines in the U.S., in fairness I must point out the Vatican, on it’s web page entitled The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality says:
“Femininity and masculinity are complementary gifts, through which human sexuality is an integrating part of the concrete capacity for love…”
Interestingly, this is not a particularly pessimistic statement! In conclusion the sexual pessimists look down on sex as something only to be tolerated as a means of reproduction. This thinking has pervaded American politics on the right. It is the root of the reactionary calls to war against equal rights for homosexuals and against Roe v. Wade.

These issues ignite the pessimist ultimately because someone has sex without procreation. The peripheral arguments are merely excuses gathered to camouflage the underlying denial of human sexual existence. Given such a pessimistic view of the metaphysics of human sexuality and their conclusion that sexual impulses are morally wrong, how is it this type of thinking has not disappeared? If indeed they abhor sex, how is it they reproduce and spread their philosophy?

The answer is simple. Hypocrisy. Without hypocrisy this thinking could not survive.

Sexual Optimism

Sexual optimists suppose that sexuality is a bonding mechanism that naturally and happily joins people together both sexually and nonsexually. Sexual activity involves pleasing the self and the other, and these exchanges of pleasure generate both gratitude and affection, which in turn are bound to deepen human relationships and make them more emotionally substantial. Further, sexual pleasure is a valuable thing in its own right, something to be cherished and promoted because it has an intrinsic value. So the pursuit of sexual pleasure does not require intricate justifications, explanations, or excuses. sexual activity surely need not be confined to procreation. A good and virtuous life, while including much else, can also include a wide variety and extent of sex . Russell Vannoy makes this case in his book Sex Without Love.

Irving Singer is a contemporary philosopher who expresses one form of metaphysical optimism: "For though sexual interest resembles an appetite in some respects, it differs from hunger or thirst in being an interpersonal sensitivity, one that enables us to delight in the mind and character of other persons as well as in their flesh. Though at times people may be used as sexual objects and cast aside once their utility has been exhausted, this is not definitive of sexual desire. . . .
By awakening us to the living presence of someone else, sexuality can enable us to treat this other being as just the person he or she happens to be. . . . There is nothing in the nature of sexuality as such that necessarily . . . reduces persons to things. On the contrary, sex may be seen as an instinctual agency by which persons respond to one another through their bodies" (The Nature of Love, vol. 2)
Pausanias, in Plato's Symposium asserts that sexuality in itself is neither good nor bad. He recognizes, as a result, that there can be morally bad and morally good sexual activity, and proposes a corresponding distinction between what he calls "vulgar" eros and "heavenly" eros. A person who has vulgar eros is one who has a lust that can be satisfied by any partner, and selfishly seeks only for himself or herself the pleasures of sexual activity. By contrast, a person who has heavenly eros experiences a sexual desire that is attached to a particular person; he or she is as much interested in the other person's personality and well-being as he or she is concerned to have physical contact with and sexual satisfaction by means of the other person.

A similar distinction is described by C. S. Lewis in The Four Loves, and it is likely what Allan Bloom had in mind when he wrote, "Animals have sex and human beings have eros, and no accurate science or philosophy is possible without making this distinction" (Love and Friendship). I know what your thinking, where did Sigmund Freud fit in? He seemed to be equally in both camps and it’s a judgment that I can not discern. Perhaps you can.

The divide between optimists and pessimists might, then, be put in this way: metaphysical pessimists think that sexuality, unless it is rigorously constrained by external social norms that have become internalized are vulgar and morally wrong. While the metaphysical optimists think that sexuality, by itself, is not vulgar or immoral, that it is intrinsic to human nature and healthy.

Of course how can we conclude an article like this without a limerick?
A famous conductor from Rio
Fell in love with a lady called Cleo.
As she took down her panties,
He said, “No andantes!
I want it allegro con brio!


Peter Gabriel live footage is from the Secret World tour
Personnel: Peter Gabriel, Paula Cole (vocals); David Rhodes (vocals, guitar); Shankar (vocals, violin); Jean Claude Naimro (vocals, keyboards); Tony Levin (vocals, bass); Levon Minassian (doudouk); Manu Katche (drums), Papa Wemba, Reddy Mala Amissi, Styno Mubi Matadi (background vocals).

Update On Last Weeks Article "Lindsay Anderson -If "

Upcoming shows
  • 19 SEP - WED - Schubas - CHICAGO, IL Estrojam Festival

Lindsay was kind enough to address some of our readers questions this week.
From Lindsay:
“It's interesting how many people get excited about L.A. - the filmmaker. I saw his movies early in my 20s and loved them and the fact that I share his name. I have his biography but have only read bits and pieces so that I don't entirely morph into this man... I wrote the song 'If' in 2004 after the birth of my son and the death of my and my partners' grandmother-- a cycle of life type of theme. The song has nothing to do with [film maker] Lindsay Anderson , besides being a tribute. When it came time to name the record I was struggling. My partner said, 'I always thought it was named If'. A novel and dangerous idea indeed! To [use] his name and his title? Well, ok, why not? It would be fun. Now that the record is coming out, Lindsay Anderson - the filmmaker fans are crawling out of the wood, so to speak, and contacting me to make sure I know about him. I've had movies sent to me, one fan drove 3 hours out of his way to hand deliver out-of-print copies! I guess it's working to my advantage, since these people otherwise may not pay attention to my music. But I hope that all LA - the filmmaker fans come to love LA - the musician as well. While our art is so different, we do share the similarity of always struggling against the grain. I'm hardly ever willing to compromise, which is why a solo record had to be done after working in a partnership for so many years with my first group, L'altra. I needed my own true voice to be heard and this album 'If' is that voice. No, I'm not in my 20s, but I am incredibly sexy, and I will continue to explore and evolve my voice and compositions so that one day someone else may be compared to Lindsay Anderson, the musician.”
Lindsay will be adding dates to her performance schedule over the next year (in The U.S. and Europe). Hopefully we’ll all get a chance to enjoy her music live. Lindsay is also responsible for all the visual art related to her project (graphic arts) and will be launching a new web site soon. I can’t recommend her music highly enough. I know we are all thankful Lindsay and others like her are creating new works for our enrichment.

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Duly Consider and Considerable Sounds are TM of this publication and are subject to liabilities thereof

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Why today's social movements aren't working...

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Hey Jude!


Contributor, Jude Rouslin

The phrase , The Movement , encompasses a period during the 1950's to the mid 1970's . It was a time of major social reforms when news programs night after night broadcast to the world the social injustices that many had endured for decades which had fallen under the radar of many for so long. It was a wake up call and America responded. Segregation and voters rights were the issues of the day.

History in the making could be seen from afar at 6:00 on everyone's television sets. However , I know too that many viewers were not in total agreement of what would become tomorrows positive history. Reactions to what they were viewing varied, depending upon what was etched into their minds and class structure. Grainy black and white footage of other people's lives of struggle flashed across the screens to a country that could not relate , nor did they care to try to relate. Televisions, mere safe realities of other's worlds and participation in social justice was not mandatory. Only those that truly could dream joined and there were many.

Yet, just as television had made it possible to document the injustices, and the birth of a social movement, it also was the venue by which many were awakened to the injustices of others. Realities that were not part of the suburban middle class were suddenly being discussed in living rooms across America. The Social Movement was widening and would include those from diverse social economic, educational, and political backgrounds. It steamrolled over the years into a cohesiveness that has yet to be duplicated since. Organizers from varied backgrounds went into neighborhoods and grassroots efforts began to swell.

Problems and issues of residents were identified. It was the organizers job to listen to what the people wanted and assist them into making it a reality, to achieve their goals. Not the organizers goals, or what the organizer felt ought to be the goal. Numbers increased which reflected the enormity of Grass Roots effort across America. People were finally being listened to and organizers simply were the vehicle for area voices. Voices that had been ignored for too long. With only the use of phones, envelopes, stamps copying machines , small news papers and word of mouth, an entire Country of individuals left their cozy status quo and began marching along side those that had been dehumanized, demoralized, beaten, and enslaved for decades.

Sit Ins, Marches, Walks, Boycotts, grew in numbers and change was eventually a reality. The Movement, yes was a mass rising of a collective conscious that could not be stopped. It could not be stopped in Selma, Alabama, the Supreme Courts or the mall in Washington, DC. The Civil Rights Movement had accomplished great legal , social , employment, educational , housing , finance , and election reforms; however, not without its price.

  • The shooting death of Medgar Evers in Mississippi

  • Greensboro 4

  • Little Rock Nine

  • Freedom Riders attacked

  • Birmingham Alabama Bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church

  • 3 Civil Rights Activist, Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner slain by the KKK

  • Malcom X Murdered

  • 50 demonstrators beaten by police on Pettus Bridge in Selma Alabama

  • Dr. Martin Luther King assassinated in Memphis Tn, April 4, 1968
...and the beat goes on.

But it did not stop the Movement. It continued and grew according to the issues of our times, and morphed to include Vietnam Anti-War Movement. Today, social movements which have the latest communications technologies at their disposal, are certainly not lacking issues, both foreign and domestic. Still no one has achieved anywhere near that of the earlier movement accomplishments during the 50's to mid 70's. However, group meetings, demonstrations and petitions are all too common which we receive in our emails daily. We sign and sign some more. Actions are planned and Street Theater Arts are everywhere. Mock prisons are set up to provide visuals of the abuse of detainees.

Millionaires for Bush, Rev. Billy, Code Pink,, all have their banners and signs on sticks, painted faces and drum corps. Yes, we do have social reform movements today. However, the actions have yet to provide substantial change. We're still in Iraq and are in the spin stage of invading Iran. Our civil liberties have been shredded and reduced to pre 1950's level and yet we continue on in our performances as organizations ricochet off each other sounding the same rhetoric. Still nothing has changed. If anything, it has gone backwards in terms of achievements.

We also lack today the tools, legal resources that we had in the 50's -70's due to changes in federal laws regarding their own transparency and accountability. Today's movement, where directors are paid as consultants, and think tanks explain to groups what they need to do; where issues are good to go and there are detailed plans for achieving those goals. It appears that the anti-war movement today has also created a new industry, whereby a group's task is governed by those at the top of the chain, a paying job usually.

It's agony to attend social reform meetings these days, as not one has provided a plan. Not a set of goals, nor have they made the changes to our failing system regarding the invasion in Iraq, domestic policies, as well as foreign policies. We seem to be stuck in the, "Can you attend... sign, donate cash," phase while the beat of the war drums continue on and the death toll gets higher on all sides.

Nothing has changed in Washington as a result of any grass root effort. However, slogans are memorized, shouted, and then it's over and the next day's news for each group, sends out a tally to it's mailing list that it was a successful action. They simply report the number of people who attended. No mention of any changes reached; no follow up.

Speakers of the Civil Rights Movement did not blow through a bull horn shouting stats. They did not feel that a thousand signatures was the end game nor was it the goal to amass a certain number of attendees or donations as if fund-raising was an end. They somehow forget to demand results for their investment. I attended a town hall meeting, which was a national action. There were 3 to 4 groups that were represented. However, only one was involved in the speaking process. There were, of course, banners and signs leading to the event, hundreds of them. Stating, "Get out of Iraq" and "Impeach Bush and Cheney". However, NO mention of those goals were spoken from the podium. When attendee's addressed other types of actions that may help to meet goals, the response was, "I don't want to loose my job."

So an industry has been created and still nothing is achieved. They had no plans for getting out of Iraq. They had no plans to get impeachment underway. They had nothing but stats to throw at the audience, all of which we have heard over and over again. Still no changes.

What are these movements doing? Nothing in terms of achievement and they pale in comparison to those that helped make historical changes in the Civil Right Movement. We have failed as a movement. We have failed as motivating speakers. We have failed in terms of making a difference. I'm saddened to think that so many have no idea of what it means to organize a grass roots actions. The goal is change, period. I have yet to see any changes be born out of todays activism.

Be it in New Orleans, Out of Iraq, or Impeachment. A movement is not a vehicle for sound bytes. Yet, I feel that is all it has been reduced to. Slogans Banners and signing on line actions. As well as the over used, "Call your Representative".


I think it is quite clear where our elected officials stand. It's time to stop the pseudo activism and learn to actually make a difference. Otherwise, it's all for naught. When will today's movement ditch the hype and get back down to true organizing, with results. Where are the creative minds? Where are the intelligent speakers,? We cannot continue to do more of the same. It does not work. Every single issue that we've addressed, has continued, despite our actions. Isn't it about time we faced that fact? Isn't it about time we learned how to move forward and actually take the risks to make real changes that we can all be proud to be a part of?

Otherwise, we are just blowing smoke up ego's and those that get paid to do consulting work. As the rest of us are let down time and time again. We need to get back to the days of old and learn from those that did it and did it right and did it for the right reasons.

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