It hurts me when people near me criticize music harshly. I’m not talking about reviews in the press, but about personal conversations. It is especially strong with music that i like, but it doesn’t have to be – even bad musicians put some portion of spirit and love into what they do.

Last night i was in the car with Hadar and Dylan’s “Time Out of Mind” (1997) was in the CD player. At Cold Irons Bound Hadar said:

— “What?.. Is that Bob Dylan? ‘Cuz that’s … shit.”

— “Eh?”

— “Well, at least compared to his older stuff.”

— “Shit?! Please don’t say that. You know how i hate it.”

— “Well, i didn’t mean ‘shit’, but you know … compared to his older stuff. I know that you hate it when i keep criticizing music harshly and repeat it without stopping, but i only said ‘shit’ once …”

— “No, i don’t know, and you don’t have to repeat that word again. Please. It really hurts me. On behalf of other musicians i take a personal blow.”

— “Really? Is it that bad?”

Yes, it is. Later i thought about the part of “taking a personal blow on behalf of others”, and it made me think of Jesus. I never bought this Christian story about this sad man that takes the humanity’s sins upon himself. Christians believe that this story is very important, complete with the gory details of The Passion. Its reflection in Narnia looked even more ridiculous (i only watched the movie, the book may be better). But this thought about myself being hurt by criticism about other people, whom i don’t necessarily like, made me appreciate the philosophical part of Christianity a bit more.

I still don’t buy the story about Jesus’ being God’s son, though.


13 thoughts on “Delegation

  1. Have you never listened to Happy Hardcore? I mean, I can understand trying to defend music makers, but defending people who consider Happy Hardcore (or at least the majority of happy hardcore) music is a lot harder to understand.

    And the chronicles of Narnia are good books if you recognise them for what they are, which is simply a way to tell children Bible stories. That is to say, a way to get the spirit of the stories across without having to worry about people taking them literally.

  2. Sorry for taking this conversation to a different direction, but as a child book-worm, children’s literature is a favourite subject of mine.
    I read the Narnia books as a kid (about 9 years old), and stopped I think at the fifth because they started to annoy me. The first book is fantastic, but the rest of the series was overkill, for me.
    This is the first (OK, second – the first time was when I saw the movie, about 6 months ago) time that I heard of the Christian connection. As a kid, you really don’t think about it, but now in retrospect I can see why my extremely devout Catholic neighbours were such fans of the book.
    I don’t think that in creating the movies anybody thought of them as a way to tell Bible stories, but rather as good storytelling (I don’t agree with that, but everyone’s entitled to his opinion). The Bible stories are fantastic in their own right, they don’t need this kind of masking. (Remember “Super Book” and “The Flying House”? Not to mention “Agadot HaMelech Shlomo” (King Solomon’s Tales”).
    All in all I found the Narnia books quite lacking, especially when compared to other books from that period. If you want fantasy, Tolkein’s the way to go, or even Frank L. Baum’s Oz series (I loved those as a kid). If you want to read about children during war time, Noel Streatfield does it divinely in “Ballet Shoes” and “Theatre Shoes”, and even “Bedknobs and Broomsticks” is much better, adding the magic. The Narnia books have no chronological order, and are not consistant. I remember being very confused when reading them.
    With today’s choice of children’s lit, I think “Harry Potter” is a much better choice. True, JK Rowling makes an awful mess of about a dozen different mythologies, but it does make us aware of these mythologies, and peaks our interest a little to read more. Also, these stories are consistant, and deal with the problems of normal adolescents, albeit ones with magical powers.
    Maybe if I were to read the Narnia books again today, I would view them from a different perspective. Honestly, I really don’t want to. There is only so much you can take of a talking lion, and for me – the one from Oz is #1.

    BTW – Thanks for renewing the blog, I really missed it! How’s married life treating you?

  3. > Have you never listened to Happy Hardcore?

    Yes. It’s not inherently bad and it may be fun sometimes. At the peak of its popularity, when i was about 16 i hated it out of principle, ‘cuz i pushed myself into the “rocker” niche and considered all rock music great and all electronic music shit. Björk and gusGus helped me overcome this obsession.

    The majority of songs in every style of music is really shit. That’s why i don’t like to talk about styles that i like or dislike.

  4. >This is the first time that I heard of the Christian connection

    Oh well, everyone is calling the children there “son of Adam” and “daughter of Eve”, that should be a huge hint. (Again, that’s how it is in the movie, the book may be different.) And i saw some conservative Christian websites that attack Harry Potter and give the Narnia books as good examples of fantasy books for children.

    > The Bible stories are fantastic in their own right, they don’t need this kind of masking

    Maybe for C. S. Lewis biblical motives were so obvious, that he didn’t thought about it as masking.

    For me, anyway, The Passion of Christ, with all its Via Dolorosa details, never was so obvious. I had a short personal flirt with Christianity when i was about 10 years old – it was very hip in Russia in the late 80’s. I went to a few Bible lessons in an Orthodox Christian school in Moscow and i’ve never really got the Passion story, which is so important for real Christians. (Maybe the Catholics emphasize it more than the Orthodox.)

    And when i saw Aslan’ sacrifice in the movie, it looked very ridiculous to me, with or without its Christian connection. The poor four year old girl that sat next to me in the movie theater cried her heart out – it didn’t make any more sense to her than it did to me. But then again, we’re both Jewish. And of course, the books may be better.

    > If you want fantasy, Tolkein’s the way to go, or even Frank L. Baum’s Oz series

    I finished Hobbit, LOTR and Silmarillion. They are all great.

    I read the Russian version of the Oz series as a kid.

    I’m now slowly going through Alice in Wonderland books, with Martin Gardner’s annotation. I may write something about it some time.

    > With today’s choice of children’s lit, I think “Harry Potter” is a much better choice.

    I enjoyed those books too, although i do have some critical thoughts about them. I once started writing a blog entry about it and forgot to finish it. It sits in a TXT file somewhere.

    > BTW – Thanks for renewing the blog, I really missed it!

    Thanks a lot.

    > How’s married life treating you?

    Quite nicely, thank you. We are starting to think about buying a house …

  5. First of all, Noga – I have to say, this is one of the most eloquent posts I’ve ever read on this blog. I enjoyed reading it regardless of content :).
    Are you “our” Noga (No Vav)?

    Personally, I was never a big fan of any Narnia book. Many other childrens fiction never fascinated me either.
    I think the problem may be that I started reading them too late. Until about the fifth grade I would usually read detective stories and all of them were Hebrew.
    By the time I started, the only “childrens” literature I was able to read start to finish was “Tom Sawyer” and “Huckleberry Finn”, and I fear it was a bit too late for those two as well (by too late I mean that I was no longer at an age in which I could relate to those types of “adventures”).

    Amir – About Tolkien: I’ve read “The Hobbit” (which is probably my favorite piece of literature), and LOTR. I found the latter not as good as the first.

    Oh, and back on topic: I found your post touching… I can really dig your point. Not about the Christian sacrificial beliefs, but about being offended when someone blatantly disregards a certain type of music as “shit”. It would probably be more appropriate for that someone to note that he/she dislike/s it instead.

    Congrats on the new blog!

  6. No word verification on blog comments?!?!?

    It will only take a few days until you’ll start being hammered with spam into oblivion!

  7. > hammered with spam into oblivion

    Yep, i just received my first comment from a “hot milf”. Want the link? :)

  8. I was talking about the Narnia books from CS Lewis’ point of view. He believed firmly that fiction could reveal more truth than non-fiction. He never saw it as masking the stories, but rather as taking out what he saw as being dogmatic about the stories, taking the message that the stories taught, and wrote other stories with the same message. They were never meant to replace Bible stories, or to teach Bible stories sneakily. They were simply meant to show the purpose behind those stories without having to worry about whether or not the reader believed in the story to begin with. In other words, you can believe that telling lies (for instance) is bad, without having to believe that Jesus said that telling lies is bad. What’s important is the moral teachings, not the literal stories.

  9. And I’ll agree that the Chronicles of Narnia aren’t as good as many other children’s books, but ya gotta remember that those books are meant for different groups of children. For instance, I read the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe in grade 2, while the Hobbit didn’t come around till grade 6 (those being the grades where we read them in school). Those are two very different age groups.

  10. Taylor,
    I don’t remember when I read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, it must have been around third grade. In retrospect – aren’t the Narnia books and their symbolism a bit too much for age seven?
    I am a great believer in the fact that reading the same book at different stages of your life gives you a different understanding of the book each time. (That’s why I read “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” once a year for five years). What do you think will you be able to see in these (or other childhood favourites) if you read them again now?
    In my favourite Anne Shirley books I began to see the Christianity at a much later stage. At first, it seemed to me just these people’s way of life, and I liked the way they taught etiquette. I only noticed in my senior year in high school the religious bit passing through the books “like a scarlet thread” ( a Hebrew saying, of biblical origin). This fits with the fact that LM Montgomery was a ministers wife!

    Die-hard Anne Shirley fan

    PS – Amir: when you’re done with “Alice” read “Three Men in a Tub”. THAT’S hilarious! (there is also an annotated version).
    PPS – Trivia: what is the origin of the (biblical) saying: “Neither bears nor woods” (Lo Dubim ve Lo Yaar)?

  11. Hi Noga,
    I’ve heard the phrase “like a scarlet thread” used in English several times.

    About the post-post-scriptum: The origin is of course the bears that came out of the woods and killed the kids that made fun of Elisha (the prophet). I’m not exactly sure how the “Lo Dubim ve Lo Yaar” came to be, as this was not the phrase in the bible, but I’m quite certain the phrase originates from there.

  12. You’re right.
    It’s because there were no bears or forests in that area. To this day, if I’m not mistaken.

  13. You are mistaken.
    There were forests up until the 19th century.

    The glorious railway system of the Ottoman empire was constructed using wood chopped down in Israel.

    Actually I’ve now re-read your post and I realize you were not mistaken. in THAT area there were no forests. If my memory does not betray me, the area in question “Midbar Yehuda” (the Judean desert).

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