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Ignoring the political implications, this year's presidential battles have also had the benefit of dragging me into the twenty-first century. Or to phrase it differently, I'm now ok with the fact that not just one, but two of the four candidates in our national election are younger than me.
Well, mostly ok. Back during the California primary, I had significant angst (and hopefully I didn't blog for the permanent record about why I voted for the candidate I actually voted for. And this is despite the local spouse donating to Obama early in 2007, let alone 2008).
To be honest, as my mind absorbs the meaning of this political and economic year, I'm revisiting 1981 and wondering what I would have done differently in my life then, given what I know now.
Financially, I do remember at the time being too scared to own one of those new-fangled money market funds. So I felt the need for a year or two to invest in one that only owned government securities. In particular, I recollect writing a letter (on my electric typewriter that I had recently received as a graduation gift) asking about the details of such fund. Hmm, 27 years later, that doesn't seem as cowardly as I remember.
Ok, back to present life, although I read and write blogs, I have to say I didn't get the significance of Caleb Burhans in the blogosphere this weekend. Fortunately, Life's a Pitch crisply summarizes what happened to the composer:
"I was in The New York Times, and all I got was these lousy 58 plays."
This is a reference to the other breaking story about how MySpace is now streaming tracks from (most) major record labels. For the record, I found MySpace's combination of a difficult interface coupled with obnoxious McDonald's ads a deterrent to using their new streaming features. Previously, I found lala.com a much better streaming service and last.fm's latest isn't bad either. But since I never particularly "got" the original MySpace (or FaceBook for that matter although I gave it another try tonight), the difficult conclusion is that I'm on the McCain/Biden side of this social technology argument. Yikes. Blogging may be sparse as I brood about that one.
All of which is a preamble to mentioning the only track I have of Caleb Burhans, his piece Amidst Neptune, played by Alarm Will Sound in the Steve Reich birthday tribute.
From the streamcast narration before the track, Caleb was born in Monterey (in California!) and his father was a rock musician (played with Kenny Rogers!). And the track is good, by the way, in a low-key, non-adversarial way.
This in turn makes me wonder how our younger generations can tolerate the tenor of political discourse about culture wars they've probably heard for their entire life. Whereas in my first years of life, I apparently saw both John Kennedy and Barry Goldwater campaigning in person in Michigan and no one has yet to suggest it would have been unusual to have reason to see both. Whereas, both Ms. Palin and Mr. Obama have had fund raisers this year on the Peninsula and presumably the intersection of their audiences was nil.
So, as one who came of age in between modernism and post-modernism but is still grappling with both, it's not clear I have the intellectual framework to cope with all this. This may be why boomers don't have the artistic success compared to other generations.
And did I mention MySpace and Fox News are owned by the same company?
- in the nineties, i worked for a company that bought a company down the block from the mcdonald's world headquarters in suburban chicago. that company also bought the one and only high tech company in salzburg, austria which is how i ended up finally visiting mozart's birthplace. i presume mr. burhans was not also born at home, in monterey, although that's a nice town as well
- in the first presidential election in which i was eligible to vote, i had good reason to cast my ballot for the independent candidate rather than for either major party. that reason is somewhat hazy all these years later although since my vote was moot since at the time it was in indiana.
- that caleb burhans mp3 was obtained legally from a temporary download via the whitney museum. i have never illegally downloaded music, well, except for that doobie brothers track i grabbed via napster last decade after i realized no interesting john adams music was available. one suspects this is not our biggest issue anymore...