Archive for the ‘art’ Category

Silverwolf’s Apologia for His Blog’s Artistic Failings

September 1, 2013

Dear Readers —

The manner in which Silverwolf has been obliged to write his blog posts has inevitably produced innumerable blemishes in them, from an artistic point of view. The significance of many posts was only developed by degrees in the progress of the blog, but the rearrangement and amendation of the blogposts, which each day’s political news continually rendered desirable, could be effected very imperfectly or sometimes not at all, due to the fact that the blog had already been published to the worldwide web by clicking the “publish” bar. Of the defects in the constructions of the blogs, due to this cause, I am painfully aware. Especially will they be apparent to any government snoop who may be at pains to peruse these posts.

I must trust to the singular attraction of the wonderful cause of Libertarianism (i.e. Classical Liberalism or Jeffersonianism) itself to render my pages agreeable in spite of their faults. For myself, I must say, in all modesty, that the most exciting novels I have ever read have failed to hold my attention with so close a grasp as has been exerted by the fascination of my own blog posts.

If my blog posts give a clear and intelligible account of the Philosophy of Libertarianism, especially as it impinges on the American Political Scene, I hope it may derive such an interest from them as will serve in part to hide, or at least to obtain an excuse for, its faults of execution.

Sincerely yours, Lobo Silverwolf, Esq.

Hoooooooooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwww! — Silverwolf

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Smoking Gunter Grass

April 16, 2012

Silverwolf watched with fascination, last night, as he attended the torchlight parade of the Libertarian Brownwolves, which prefaces their annual bookburning. As you know, Libertarian Silverwolves refuse to burn any books, even those of their sworn enemies, but the Brownwolves have no such qualms.

And so it was that with high spirits, and singing “Masters of War”, the marching Brownwolves, with flambeau torchlights ablaze, cast their copies of Gunter Grass’ novels into the annual anti-Fascist bonfire. Copies of “Cat and Mouse” and “The Tin Drum” could be seen flying through the air, along with an occasional copy of “The Flounder” to help fuel the flames. Adding a copy of “Mein Kampf” to the conflagration always seems to help Grass’ books burn well, although the stench from the combusting paper can be overwhelming to Libertarians.

The old Waffen SS Murderer veteran is defending the child-hangers of Iran. He’s still sorry he and his fellow veterans could only murder 6 million Jews, and the remnants managed to survive in Israel. Now he has a hero in the Child-Murderer and Warmonger Ahmedinejad. This is what comes of letting the Nazi War Criminals live after the War. Too bad they weren’t all executed, or chained to gurneys for life on gruel. Two appropriate punishments for War Crimes.

Now that the Grass has been burned off the shelves, there’s more room for Rothbard, Rand, and Russell. There is Libertarian Integrity in this world, and also Fascist Scum. They live side by side.

Hooooooooooooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwwwww! — Silverwolf

The Acid Machine of Music: Liberation Corelli

March 15, 2010

With what conceit modern man thinks his inventions and shortcuts the ultimate in levels of happiness. The invention and intervention of the internet into modern life has made many of its users regard the past hassles of doing without it as a kind of Dark Age, preceding the beginnings of decency. Life was never really worth living, or was insufficiently liberated, before the internet (or B.I. as the new dating system introduced by the World Government now classifies years), is the attitude unconsciously implanted in us by the net. No need to listen to 20 minutes of commercials to get to a weather report that was vital to you 15 minutes ago. Now you have it in advance, and your life is more commodious as a result.

But this conceit overlooks a psychological reality that few ever bother to contemplate, and that is that in previous times every liberating transformation of society, whether through technology or art, was viewed by its possessors as an equally liberating and equally significant event in Human History. Its aficionados were just as enthusiastic and eager about its liberating effects as we are about the internet, or the possibilities of influencing the world through blogging or other net activities. Yet, if they (or we) knew for certain what the next development would be, and could see it,  they and we would not be so currently enamoured with our current paramour.

Such advances in technology can seem puerile now to the modern generation, but to those who lived through the reality of them, they did not seem so. Silverwolf was reminiscing with Blue Dog about the thrill we both experienced as cubs and pups when we acquired our first crystal radios, little diode jobs that you clipped onto a piece of metal, and listened to with one earpiece. In an age when you had to buy batteries to power the “new” 6 transistor radios (made in Japan), the idea of being able to listen to Thomas Cassidy’s incredible voice presenting the Gas Company’s Evening Concert for free, even under the covers if you clipped it to a house ground, was a thrill not incomparable to getting hooked up to hi-speed internet.

Likewise, earlier thrills must have been equally rushy or more so to the participants. A horseless carriage! Well, hoss, what will that lead to? An electric percolator? No need to build a stove fire on a sub-freezing morning to have a hot cup of wolfbane. An electric typewriter? Doubled the firm’s productivity in the first year. A chain saw? Hang up the “misery whip” pushed back and forth for an hour by two men in the fog. The wheel? Well, that sure makes things a lot easier, Pharaoh.

And the electric guitar and amplifier: now every teenage boy whose parents have a garage can sound not that far different from the 45rpm he just played on that newfangled phonograph that even has the speakers come off, so you can put them where ever you want, as long as it’s within three feet of the console.  A band that actually sounds like the band on the record, and without a whole lot of talent needed to do it. Wow! And then Stereo. Why, it sounds like it’s live, right in the room! Who needs a real band?

But Silverwolf thinks that one of the biggest explosions ever of what he wants to call “the acid machine” came with the liberation of music during the transition of Renaissance to Baroque music, under the aegis of the Italian composers like Vivaldi, Corelli, and Albinoni. But let him first explain what he means by “an acid machine”.

An “acid machine” is a social process, technological or artistic, that provides its enthusiasts with a mechanism with which they feel they can control or conquer either the world, or their own artistic aspirations, while eating away at all the restrictions that formerly hampered that art or technology. It usually feels like a revolution. The video recorder and VHS cassette are one example which those readers not yet gaga will still remember. Frailer minds may recall that in frailer times, in the kinematic arts, the same effect was accomplished by the 8mm and Super8 mediums, which gave the amateur a crack at duplicating the effects of the multimillion dollar feature film, for a fraction of the cost. As Jean Cocteau so rightly observed, film would never be liberated until it was as easy to make a film as it was to write a poem. 80 years later, the accurate predictions of that opium visionary have come true with the point and click video card camera.

So an acid machine can be the internet, a crystal set, a Fender amp or pickup, a bicycle, or an entirely new way of looking at an art that has slumbered for centuries and millenia in a comatose state of underdevelopment. Such was the state of Western European music going into the 1500s, and by the emergence of the 1700s it was as radically changed as is our internet world from the world of 1880.

And if you want to hear what this “acid machine” of music really meant to the composers of that time, listen to the works of Corelli, Albinoni, and Vivaldi, and hear for the first time a joy and energy that would have been impossible to express if not for the  advances of Monteverdi and Frescobaldi. In that ebullient euphoria of their music, you can hear the excitement of the men of that time as they discovered their “acid machine”.

787 years from now, Trina Sorensen will be sitting under the palm trees of the University of Uppsala in Sweden, working on her required paper on “early bloggers of the 21st century”. It will seem a bore, and she will wonder how they could get so excited over such a primitive technology as the internet. And she will hardly be able to wait to get home and explore the “acid machine” of her times.

What will it be then?

Hoooooooooooooooooooooooowwwwwwwww! — Silverwolf

Silverwolf Officially Declares the ‘Eldritch Project’ “A Failure”

January 21, 2010

Silverwolf’s muzzle is truly drenched today as he comes to the sad and long-procrastinated realization that his famous “Eldritch Project”, which he initiated two and a half years ago with such gusto, has come to a crashing halt. It is, Silverwolf must admit, a failure.

We all know with what high hopes Silverwolf attempted to modify the English language, while at the same time seeing if the power of the internet was so great that it could alter the common use of English heard around the world. This was the aim of the Eldritch Project, an attempt to introduce the rather obscure word “eldritch”, meaning “weird”, as a frequently used term in both worldwide spoken English, and international internet usage. This jolly old adjective, probably of Scottish origination, was employed by Robert Louis Stevenson, amongst others, in his “Master of Ballantrae”, and Silverwolf, for some unknown and still unexplained reason,  was seized with a frenzy of fervour to bring this word to the attention of the world internet consistory.

But today, Silverwolf must admit that the project is a dismal failure, an utter repudiation of his vainglorious and rather pompous dreams of affecting worldwide English by effecting a change in parlance. But no go. Not even a “close but no cigar”.

Therefore, Silverwolf, with dewdrops streaming from the lachrymal glands, sadly closes the books on the “Eldritch Project”. Our thanks to all the half-dozens that participated. At least we tried to graft some life onto the moribund  world literary grapevine.

Well, there’s always “slubber”.

Hoooooooooooooooooooooooooowwwwwwwww! — Silverwolf

Bogarde’s Rocket: Cast a Dark Shadow (1955)

January 17, 2010

Perhaps one of the earliest vehicles that helped launch the film-acting career of Dirk Bogarde was his excellent performance in “Cast a Dark Shadow” (1955), directed by Lewis Gilbert. In this film we can see all the characteristic strengths of Bogarde’s acting in protean form: the shifting in and out of working-class accents, the ability to charm and dissemble convincingly, the “losing control” of one’s emotions when pushed too far, all these are included in the character of Edward “Teddy” Bare, the evil protagonist of the film.

Basically, the film concerns Teddy Bare’s successful murder of his wife, a woman twenty to thirty years his senior (played by Mona Washbourne), for money; a successful murder attempt which backfires when “Tedeh”, as his first wife calls him, finds out that she left him no money, only the house they live in, although she was on the brink of re-writing her will so that Teddy got the filthy lucre too. Unfortunately for him, he murders his wife the day before she calls in the lawyer to change her will, a decision her barrister strongly councils against. But Edward doesn’t know this, so his successful attempt lands him nothing but the house, but “not a sausage” muneratively speaking.

So Edward sets about finding a new, well-heeled older widow, and finds her in the person of Freda Jeffries, played very strongly by Margaret Lockwood. Thinking he’s found another treacly pushover like his first wife, Edward tries to stampede her into buying a piece of property, but the strong-willed Mrs. Jeffries, now Mrs. Bare the Second, will have none of it, as equally she will have none of “Ed” sleeping in a separate room, as he casually suggests. (The transition from his first wife Monica’s “Tedeh” to his new wife’s straightforward “Ed” is a subtle but revelatory mutation.) As she puts it, she’ll go “pound for pound” with her new husband, but nothing more. As she laughing jokes before they are married, she had been tempted a couple of times to re-marry, but then she discovered that her suitors were “more interested in the money-bags than in the old bag”. The fact that she can laugh so heartily at this joke shows Mrs. Jeffries is not only a good sport, but also a realist. And Lockwood gives such a strong, believable performance throughout that one would have to say she actually steals the best acting award from Bogarde in this flick. And one can see why Hitchcock pegged Lockwood for her role in “The Lady Vanishes”, although “Cast a Dark Shadow” affords her a much wider range of acting situations to display her talent. And director Lewis Gilbert doesn’t lose the opportunity to capitalise on Lockwood’s legs, as did Hitchcock in that early scene from “The Lady Vanishes” where Lockwood prominently displays her nice appendages while standing on a chair. Here, Gilbert photographs Lockwood from a low angle, with her legs crossed, and we start to gather that Edward Bare was not wholly without carnal motives when he hitched up with Lockwood. But looks are incidental to the acting talent which serves Lockwood well in this film.

Bringing up third place in the Thespian honors is Kay Walsh, who gives a straightforward, realistic performance so different from her later role as a neurotic medium in “Seance on a Wet Afternoon”, Bryan Forbes’ little masterpiece, which co-starred Richard Attenborough in a character that looked and acted very similarly to his performance in “10 Rillington Place”. And rounding out the cast are Robert Flemyng as the lawyer who sees through Bare’s game immediately, and Kathleen Harrison as Amy, the maid, who is about as bright as paint — dull, matte latex.  But Silverwolf digresses.

The final scenes, in which Lockwood realizes she has married a cold-blooded killer, and the final denouement which gives the reader a certain “schadenfreude” as evil reaps its own reward, leave the satisfied feeling one should feel at the end of a detective novel (the film is based on one by Janet Green) or thriller film. And the genre differs from the typical whodunit, in that the audience knows early on who the murderer is, and the main question is: will he get caught and if so how? This is a technique used frequently by Georges Simenon in his psychological novels, which has become quite widespread in mystery-detective-thriller literature, and which probably originated with Dostoyevsky in “Crime and Punishment”.

Before going we should also mention the highlighting of Lita Roza, the former singer with the Ted Heath Orchestra, in the nightclub scene, a chanteuse whose brief appearance  matched her brief career in films. But what is of interest in her performance is not her herself, but the performance of the bald-headed extra in the slightly out of focus background, who nods his head approvingly, seems to speak to some invisible companion as he points out the singer with his cigar, and smiles. Truly a stunning performance from an extra, so subtle that most viewers will miss it, and one of the best efforts by an extra since Silverwolf saw that hog run out of the roadway as the gang of outlaws galloped into town in Michael Winner’s “Lawman”. But Silverwolf digresses again.

All in all, one must say that Bogarde’s performance in this film shows him as an artist way ahead of his age in maturity, a quality one sees in many top-drawer actors. Albert Finney, Alan Bates, and Tom Courtney all exhibited a similar feeling of mastery in their acting at a very early age. In modern times one can sense this quality also in Dominic Monaghan and Honeysuckle Weeks. But in Bogarde’s case we can plainly see that extraordinary acting talent that launched him into that vaunted circle of the top British actors of the 60s to 80s period: Lawrence Olivier, John Gielgud, Ralph Richardson, Alan Bates, Albert Finney, and Tom Courtney (and please forgive Silverwolf for leaving out the legions of other incredible actors that seemed to spring up like mushrooms after a warm rain in the British Theatre and Cinema). In fact, the role is probably a bit too thin and confining for Bogarde (as mystery characters are prone to be) but it still gives him a wide scope to show his acting talents.

So, if you want to take your mind off your short positions in the stock indexes and the currencies for a few, brief, blissfully worry-free hours, Silverwolf would strongly recommend you take a decko at “Cast a Dark Shadow”, one of the early booster stages of that extraordinary acting phenomenon known as Dirk Bogarde.

Hoooooooooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwww! — Silverwolf

The Past As Now: The Photography of Prokudin-Gorskii

September 7, 2009

Silverwolf has just seen an amazing set of photographs that have had for him the same kind of significance as when he first saw footage of a U.S. high-altitude plane, flying so loftily above California that he could see the entire outline of the State. Then there was his first seen shot of Earth-entire, something that no philosopher before him had ever seen. What would such a viewing have done to those fertile minds?

The photographs in question are those taken by Prokudin-Gorskii of Russian scenes during the years 1907-1915. Due to some triple color technique beyond Silverwolf’s limited wolf-intellect to understand such technological magics, these photos look like they have been taken yesterday with a modern camera, the images are so sharp, and the colors so vivid. And what is so shocking is that it reveals that a century ago, things looked exactly as they look now in their reality.

Those of us weaned on black-and-white imagery of WWII, or worse, the black-and-white cum hurried-marionette footage of WWI with its notorious undercranking, have come to accept from childhood that reality prior to 1946 — the full color reality we have all known since childhood — was of a different caliber. Hitlerism, and the entire world, existed in grainy black-and-white, with fuzzy edges and bad sound quality. But not many years back now, the popularization of some of the American color footage of the War made us realize that it was not so long ago. And then the serieses in color, like America at War, and the release of many super-sharp color photos of Nazi chieftains at official events, made it seem even more temporally proximate to our own time. We stopped fooling ourselves that WWII looked different in reality from Malibu Beach 2002; yes WWII had existed in color, and the colorization made it seem less sinister.

But events a hundred years ago or more, had they really existed in color? It was impossible to believe.  Had the people in those early films really not moved like tabetic marionettes vivified by Benzarene? Of course they had. They were such evil times that men must have had to be different from the folks in “Our Town”.

Prokudin-Gorskii’s photos shatter that pleasant delusion, as they show us Russia in all its blazing glory, an incredibly beautiful land where serfs were held as slaves, and the Czar’s tyranny mulcted the poor masses. Here are young girls, tea plantation managers, remote-living old hearties who must have been crazed by the silence of the woods; and people at their daily toil so arduous that it would have made American part-time workers seem like aristocracy. They all actually existed, and existed in a color realism just as vivid and fresh as our own world. Indeed, our own world, and the cosmos, is now a hundred years older and less fresh than those “youthful” days of the Earth.

Like no other documents he has ever seen, Prokudin-Gorskii’s photos show us that the Past was always as real as the Now.

But what will the Now look like in another hundred years?

Hoooooooooooooooooooooooooooowwwwwwwwww! — Silverwolf