Saturday, December 16, 2006

When education is left to politicians

The Government of Japan decided that it will teach children "Patriotism." According to CNN, the new:

Education measure, the first change to Japan's main education law since 1947, calls on schools to "to cultivate an attitude that respects tradition and culture, that loves the nation and home country."

The new education law will allow children to acquire a good understanding of their heritage and become intelligent and dignified Japanese," ruling party lawmaker Hiroo Nakashima said during the upper house debate.
Critics, however, attacked the move as harkening back to Japan's war-era education system, in which children were instructed to support the country's imperialist military and sacrifice themselves for the emperor and nation.

Opponents on Friday voiced fears that the changes could lead to schools grading students on their patriotic fervor -- possibly as a prelude to making Japan an aggressive nation once again.

"The government is putting the future of Japanese children at risk and turning Japan into a country that wages war abroad," said Ikuko Ishii, a Communist Party lawmaker.

The call for more patriotism in the schools coincides with a push by some local governments to crack down on teachers and students who refuse to stand for the national flag or sing an anthem to the emperor at school ceremonies.

Let's teach patriotism at the expense of freedom of speech and freedom of association, since neither of those qualify as patriotism. In fact, maybe they should bring back the loyalty oath. Another good idea.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Feeling It In Our Wrists And Ankles: The Love Actually Countdown Continues, (Sadly) Sans Cowbell; More on the Rhetoric of Soundtracks

Harrogate is delighted to bring you Lynden David Hall's rendition of one of The Beatles most wonderful songs, "All You Need is Love," as we get just a bit closer to The Greatest Pop Song Ever Recorded. Despite the absence of cowbell, Hall with this cover joins a long and proud line of artists who have masterfully covered a Beatles classic.

One of Harrogate's fondest cinematic memories, in fact, comes from Michael, starring John Travolta: The Scene where Travolta, Andie McDowell, and William Hurt are driving down the road singing "All You Need is Love." A truly great moment in what was, Harrogate must say, a pretty bad film overall.

Other great Beatles covers? Harrogate thinks Ben Harper's rapturous "Strawberry Fields" may be the best of the bunch. He also saw the Grateful Dead in Chapel Hill close out their set with "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds," and that was pretty awesome.

Phish covers the entire White Album , and if ye haven't heard it, ye need to.

Fiona Apple's version of "Across the Universe" is one of the most sublime things you'll ever hear period. Ditto Elliot Smith's haunting "Because". Interestingly, both of these two songs, as well as the supreme Harper cover, come from Soundtracks to very good movies. Harper~I Am Sam; Apple~Pleasantville; and Smith~American Beauty.

Perhaps there is something to getting a good Beatles cover in there if you want a rockin' soundtrack!

Anyway, Readers, Harrogate leaves ye wondering, what is your favorite Beatles song? (Harrogate's is "Hey Jude")

And what is your favorite Beatles cover?

Until next time, enjoy the Hall ditty, and the accompanying Montage of scenes from Love Actually:
love actually - music video

And remember, The Greatest Pop Song Ever Recorded is less than a week and a half away!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A Countdown Projection

I have it on good authority that Harrogate's next countdown video to the Greatest Pop Song Ever Recorded will have more cowbell.

Once again, you heard it here first.

All I want for Christmas Is....

The Left Behind video game where I can learn the true meaning of Christmas and Christianity. The goal of the game is to save the world from the anti-Christ by killing, er I mean converting-- I hate it when I make that mistake--, non-believers. According to the games description, you get to, "Wage a war of apocalyptic proportions in Left Behind: Eternal Forces, a real time strategy game based upon the best selling book series created by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. Conduct physical and spiritual warefare, recover ancient scriptures and command your forces through intense battles."

For more info go here and here.

This game reminds me of religious groups that stand against violence in media, except on The Passion.

My favorite quotes from the second article:

"The Rev. Tim Simpson, a Jacksonville, Fla., Presbyterian minister and president of the Christian Alliance for Progress, added: 'So, under the Christmas tree this year for little Johnny is this allegedly Christian video game teaching Johnny to hate and kill?'"

"Players can choose to join the Antichrist's team, but of course they can never win on Carpathia's side. The enemy team includes fictional rock stars and folks with Muslim-sounding names, while the righteous include gospel singers, missionaries, healers and medics. Every character comes with a life story."

"When asked about the Arab and Muslim-sounding names, Frichner said the game does not endorse prejudice. But "Muslims are not believers in Jesus Christ" -- and thus can't be on Christ's side in the game."

Maybe we can get a group together, play the game, and sing Christmas Carols: "Joy to the World, the end is Nigh. Let evangelicals and fundamentalists sing!!"

Maybe I will go and play DOOM now.

Books for Congress--

Based on some comments at the end of my last post, what five books would you want your representative to read?

Monday, December 11, 2006

A Surprise on the top ten conservative book list

I am perplexed. One of these things is not like the other. The Top Ten LIst of Conservative books from 2006 (from Human Events, which one of my conservative professors described as being to the right of Ghengis Khan)> Here is the list (my comments follow):

10. Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters by Dr. Meg Meeker - The list starts out well-- Dads, be there for you daughters. Though I guess the target audience knows this and won't read it.

9. 365 Manners Kids Should Know by Sheryl Eberly: Train you kids early; supplies are running out.

8. The Truth About Muhammad by Robert Spencer (The authoritative text on Islam by someone who doesn't believe in Islam. I wonder if there were a book, say The Truth about Jesus, as written by a Jew or Buddhist or Atheist or (fill in believer whatever faith here) would sell well. Also, while it is hard to believe, but from the description, it seems the author claims everyone who is Islamic is violent.)

7. Conservative Comebacks to Liberal Lies by Gregg Jackson: 241 facts or arguments or values or something to reply to liberals who lie to you. Why would you want to discuss anything with someone who lies do you? Shouldn't you possess enough sense to avoid a covnersation or argument with someone who lies? And, of course, all liberals must lie by definition-- except libertarians, who are kinda like liberals except they place a higher value on the economy, which is good, as long as you neglect the libertarian view n religion, aboriton, privacy rights, and all other social problems.

Here is the description of the book from Human Events. It must be great for parties: "It happens to all of us: we’re debating some liberal friend or colleague when he makes an unsupported claim we’re just positive is false – but we don’t have the hard facts to prove it. Or we’re confronted with slick arguments for, say, legalizing “gay marriage,” but aren’t quite ready with the strongest counter-arguments. Now there’s help. In "Conservative Comebacks to Liberal Lies," Boston talk-radio host Gregg Jackson provides tightly argued, fully documented responses to no fewer than 241 of the most common claims made by the Left on all the most important political, social, and cultural issues of our day.

There is nothing like a book that possess the entire truth in 241 common arguments. Plato would definately favor this book- all you need to do is memorize facts and you can win arguments.

6. America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It by Mark Steyn (It is the US versus THEM book because the rest of the world is either drinking wine, eating cheese, or just too apathetic. Sure to make you the life of the party.)

5. The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) by Robert Spencer (Notice the dualism: you are either PC. a propagandist, and support the "mortal enemy" or you are a patriotic and Christian. No black and white in there.)

4. The Heritage Guide to the Constitution by Edwin Meese, ed.(A Conservative clause by clause reading of the Constitution. Who needs the Founding Fathers? The Heritage Foundation and Edwin Meese, former Attonery General for Reagan, will tell you what they thought so you don't have to look it up. FYI- did you know the second amendment is brought to you by the NRA?)

3. The Trivium by Sister Miriam Joseph Rauh..... huh? This isn't a polemic

2. Godless: The Church of Liberalism by Ann Coulter (If you purchase number three you'll be able to identify the fallacies in Godless).

1. The Life and Religion of Mohammed by J.L. Menezes (written by someone that converts individuals to Christianity. I think this will be an apt description of Islam, don't you?)

The book that is out of place is of course, The Trivium, which is a good book that is sitting on my desk. You could use it for a high school, maybe freshman rhetoric book. Here is the description:

"The Trivium" is a rigorous and utterly delightful presentation of the three areas that form the basis for all learning: logic, grammar, and rhetoric. Sister Miriam Joseph Rauh, a professor of English at St. Mary's College for thirty years, helps you see the unity and harmony of these three areas as she gives you solid and easily-grasped explanations of even their most abstruse elements: not just general grammar, but also propositions, syllogisms, enthymemes, fallacies, poetics, figurative language, and metrical discourse! Attractively laid out to maximize clarity, this book is also packed with lively examples, exercises, and illustrations drawn from the works of Shakespeare, Milton, Plato, and others. The examples are so rich that they're a literary education in themselves.

The Trivium is interesting choice since, first, it was not published in 2006 and, two, while the other books on the list imply that dialogue with your "enemy"-- and all of the books imply an enemy-- is either bad or impossible, this book needs a neutral to positive relationship between speaker and audience.

In fairness the site, there is a top ten list that is a good idea: Top Ten Books Every Republican Congressman Should Read. There is a good deal of intellectual honesty in these books (well, except numbers 9, 8, and most of the honorable mentions).

Any thoughts? What is missing?