A week of bleatage: Chernobog, the Atkins diet, the Hokey Pokey, K-TEL records


Thoughtful, humorous, nostalgic, ironic -- lileks.com is one of my favorite places on the web.

Some Lileks highlights I meant to link to last week:

On Monday, a tribute to Chernobog, the demonic figure in the "Night on Bare Mountain" sequence of "Fantasia". The links at the end about Chernobog's animator are interesting to follow, as is Lileks' explanation why "Night on Bare Mountain" is a more appealing piece of music than "Rite of Spring", another piece featured in the original "Fantasia":

If you played “Rite” for someone in a culture with a completely different musical tradition, it would probably baffle them: what the hell? But play them “Night” and they’d get it right away: this is scary music. Is it about dragons? If so they are very powerful dragons. Many people die, I think. But it’s not just disorder and evil - it’s disorder presented in the orderly terms of tonal music. It makes sense. It even has a plot. Plus - and this just occurred to me - it clearly exists in a world in which there is an opposite force to the events we’re hearing described. We know what is going on in "Night" is wrong without being told; you just sense it. “Rite” has no such moral framework. It's not amoral as much as pre-moral, and in a way that's worse. You don't even have the terms to describe why things are wrong.

When the church bell rings at the end of "Night," it signals the arrival of the other side of the argument. Obviously Western ears get this, because Western ears make certain associations with certain sounds. Wildly careening strings over bombastic brass with frenzied percussion = the madness of misrule; church bell = put on your itchy church clothes and head off to hear the gospel. But you don't need to be part of that tradition to get the message. The bell is a simple statement without elaboration. The bell is the opposite of frenzy, of chaos, of license, of madness. There's no other way to take it. The bell rings, and rings again, and that is all it takes to collapse Chernobog’s orgy.

Lileks noticed something familiar about the Atkins logo. And he wonders exactly what constitutes the Hokey Pokey:

You do the Hokey Pokey and you turn yourself around. Now, hold on, mister. Is the turning one’s self around the Hokey Pokey? No. The turning around is clearly separate, otherwise we’d sing You do the Hokey Pokey by turning yourself around or You do the Hokey Pokey which, to be specific, consists of rotating your body either clockwise or counterclockwise or something like that. But no. The actual mechanics of the Hokey Pokey (or, as we call it here, the Unconvincingly Amateurish Lancing) are never described. Worse yet, that’s what it’s all about.

From Friday's Bleat, observations on canine sentience and behavior:

Dogs are not fur-children. Dogs are dogs. They’re happier if you know this. And you’re happier, too, because you won’t mistake your dog for your child. The day Gnat came home was the day I began to really understand my dog. It’s not that I had overestimated him; he’s incredibly smart. I had given him some human attributes, yes, but you can’t help it - there is some overlap, given all the time humans and dogs have spent together. I am not exaggerating when I say that he cried when we brought Gnat home. He had never made that sound before and he’s never made it since, for which I’m grateful: it was painful. He got it. He knew.

Which was followed by memories of his first rock record -- a 1972 K-TEL compilation.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on November 3, 2003 11:32 PM.

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