Saturday, May 18, 2013

oliver nelson's stolen moments

composer and arranger oliver nelson was so right to entitle this album the blues and the abstract truth (1961). for indeed the blues is pure abstraction of life into congealed suffering. TBAAT produces exquisite music & great improvisations. first, the brooding lyricism of hubbard on trumpet, followed by eric dolphy's highly imaginative intervention on flute. nelson's solo is a rare gem of modal lyricism within the jazz vocabulary of the early 1960's. bill evans' groovy short musical cerebration is as abstract as nelson would have wanted. the magic ends too soon.  

Friday, May 10, 2013

alain badiou's "three amigos"


coming back to badiou's Logic of Worlds. i'm revising a number of badiou's redundancies. this post is forthcoming. i'd like to take a look at this one:

p 220.  under the heading "definition of an object", badiou declares (I):
Appearing is nothing else, for a being --initially conceived in its being as multiple-- than a becoming object.
let's suspend all the metaphysical problems in the history of recent philosophy associated with such a problematic term as "becoming," which badiou takes for granted here.

he writes: "But object is also a fully ontological category in that it only composes its atoms of appearing in accordance with the mathematical law of belonging, or pure presentation."

that's 1, 2, 3: the three amigos of appearance! "appearing" hangs on to "belonging," and both to "pure presentation" (keep in mind that "to belong," an atom, by definition, has to "appear" as a "part" of something else). as per "presentation" (let's leave "pure" aside for now), "to present" is a first cousin of "to (make) appear".  so, appearing features the three compadres. 

"appearing" is a "becoming" of, well, appearance. we're back to where we started. but for whom? badiou always addresses these conundrums from an axiomatic mathematical voice, which promulgates absolute truths from a platonic valhalla (the unspoken secret is that "the One," this mysterious cipher all over LoW).

do you buy it?

of the three amigos, "appearing" is the trademark of redundance, badiou's definition of object rest-ing on it. 

let's go back to (I):

appearing is... a becoming. and isn't "becoming" a form of "appearing"?

badiou has a way of getting out of the quicksands of ontological redundancy. @ the end of this section he writes with characteristic rodomontade:
The only inflexible truth regarding the intimate decomposition of the worldy fiction of being there is that of being-qua-being. The object objects to the transcendental fiction, which it nevertheless is, the 'fixion' of the One in being. 
badiou now puts the pleonastic hat on the ontological mannequin: the object objects! who would expect any less?

do you buy it?

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

women prefer men with full beards & heavy stubble over clean-shaven guys


beardedness or non-beardedness? a bit puzzling.

it seems that full beards and heavy stubble edged out light stubble and the clean-shaven look.

the conclusion is based on a study of women's judgments of attractiveness, health, masculinity and parenting abilities, from photographs of men who were clean-shaven, lightly or heavily stubbled and fully bearded.

how about non-beardedness?

surprisingly, men rated full beards and heavy stubble as most attractive, followed closely by clean-shaven and light stubble as least attractive. well, a dose of male narcicism is to be expected here.  

men and women agree on the subject of male beardedness, i.e., masculinity ratings increased linearly as facial hair increased.

i'm affraid there's a social side-effect the study is overlooking. keep in mind that our culture promotes and rewards a "clean" male image over its bearded counterpart (which may explain why beardedness is a less common trait than non-beardedness).

how does that prove the study's conclusions regarding female courtship behavior? shouldn't women reflect/influence cultural mores? western cultural androcentrism notwithstanding, one would expect beardedness to figure more prominently.

let's follow the study: suppose a bearded male gets many more females than a non-bearded one. shouldn't beardedness then, in time, become a preferred social male trait, which would, as a consequence, increase the population of bearded males? if so, would such a predominant trait remain a favorite amongst females? we don't know.  from the article it doesn't follow why beardedness conveys attractiveness, masculinity or parental abilities. only that it just happens. according to evolutionary theory, models of sexual selection suggest that there not need be any underlying selection advantage to a trait. females simply have to demonstrate an underlying sensory process favoring the stimulus. 

but we knew that sexual preference was redundant! 

are women's inclinations wired to our furry ancestors? it gets more nuanced.  researchers believe that a threshold of density and distribution may be necessary for beards to function as an attractive signal,

in other words, women by contrast, may balance...a competitive masculine partner against the costs of mating with a too-masculine partner. as such,

too masculine?
so, how to interpret the above statement?

a) as nietzsche declared, the west has become a non-bearded decadent culture
b) jews, muslims, rastafarians & sihks look sexier
c) we should prescribe more testosterone for our unbearded youth
d) wall street ceo's are unattractive people
e) all of the above  

you women & men (why not) be the judges. which is sexier?

the lincoln?
the marx?

the custer?
the thoreau?

the lemmy?

the castro?

the asimov?