Friday, May 26, 2006
  Fade-itis



Professor Polistra has found an interesting pattern. She has no theories about its cause, but believes we need to pay some attention to it nonetheless.

The problem: we are infected by Fadeoutitis. It's visible in several different realms.

Compare pre-1900 music with today's music. A piece by Schütz, Bach or Mozart has a beginning, middle and end. You know when the end is coming, and you're satisfied after it happens. In some cases a climax of intensity precedes the end, but there's always a climax of expectation for the careful listener.

Nearly every song recorded since 1955 is asymptotically endless. The last bit repeats over and over and over and over and over while the sound fades out.

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Same with literature, though the change happened later and less completely. In the lesser genres like Spy and Scifi, classicism still prevails, and you can locate the end of the story. But sometime around 1980 the fade took over in the 'Literature' section.

A good modern novelist offers fascinating characters, believable dialog, sparkling prose, deep insights, and well-formed plots, up to a point that seems to be 20% short of the expected end, where the book simply

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The fade has captured speech as well. Younger folks end like every phraaaaaase????? with a long drawwwwwwwlllll????? and a questioning intonationnnnnn????? so that even when their like wordsssss???? are flat Leninist orthodoxy????? which is usually like the caaaaaase???? the voice sounds like a lost puppyyyyyy????

And they are also unwilling?????? to let the voice fully out of its box????? but instead speak at all timesssss???? in the register known as glottal fryyyyy????? which resembles the breathing patternnnnns???? of like a marijuana smokerrrrrr???????

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So, with all this cultural influence, it's not a bit surprising that our warmaking strategy has taken on a faded questioning drawl. Rumsfeld, who is old enough to know better, proposes a "long twilight struggle". Bush, who is not, shows the fade in everything he does. A good start, fine melody, great rhythm, then the same phrase repeats over and over and over while the equalizer gradually slides down toward zero.

This would be fine if our enemy had the same rhythm. Unfortunately he is classical. He wants a war to have a firm end, as WW2 did.

Underneath all this chatter about Caliphates and Twelfth Imams, our enemy is a Warrior. He believes in absolute victory. Decisive victory. Delirious climactic orgasmic victory. Kill the men and eat their hearts. Take the gold and burn the village to the ground. Bring the pretty women and strong children home to be whores and slaves.

Conclusive.

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Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.

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