Author Topic: What are you currently reading?  (Read 750613 times)

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Harry

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #920 on: January 29, 2008, 09:38:03 AM »




I saw early on how absorbing the score was, and sat down with and some really fine coffee!



Good, we are in one mind about it then Andy! :)

Offline J.Z. Herrenberg

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #921 on: January 30, 2008, 02:20:07 PM »
Pressure from outside alone cannot explain the vicious mix of militarism, racism, nationalism, Darwinism, imperialism that is Nazism (ism ism ism, I know). The Weimar Republic was weak, because it wasn't supported from within. War Reparations were eased with the Dawes Plan, thanks to Stresemann. Germany was not the only country to be stricken by the economic crisis - that the reaction took the form it did, points at deeper things, and deeper roots. I have a book here, written in 1912. I bought it in Hradec Kralove, in the Czech Republic. Königgratz... Nice Gothic letters. Title: 'Wenn ich der Kaiser wär'. I have a reprint from February 1914. A few quotes (I won't translate), and they are 'gesperrt' in the original, so the writer, Daniel Frymann (a pseudonym*), must have found them very important:

Entwicklung und Bedürfnis zeigen, dass wir wieder hungrig geworden sind, hungrig nach Land;

Gibt es eigentlich etwas Tragischeres, als die Rolle der heutig Regierenden? Zwischen ihnen und dem Volke steht ein Mittler - der Jude - und er lässt nur durch, was ihm gefällt;

Das allgemeine gleiche Wahlrecht ist nicht die Form, durch die eine Volksvertretung geschaffen wird, wie sie ein grosses Volk in schwieriger Lage braucht. Deshalb muss grundsätzlich die Forderung erhoben werden, dies Wahlrecht zu beseitigen.

And I could go on.

I reject your thesis that pressure from outside was mainly responsible for German's catastrophe. I take the view that Hitler is the result of a much longer development (in which my own beloved Wagner also plays his part).

*Heinrich Class, chairman of the Alldeutscher Verband.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2008, 03:19:49 PM by Jezetha »
Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything. -- Plato

head-case

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #922 on: January 30, 2008, 02:42:32 PM »
Pressure from outside alone cannot explain the vicious mix of militarism, racism, nationalism, Darwinism, imperialism that is Nazism (ism ism ism, I know). The Weimar Republic was weak, because it wasn't supported from within. War Reparations were eased with the Dawes Plan, thanks to Stresemann. Germany was not the only country to be stricken by the economic crisis - that the reaction took the form it did, points at deeper things, and deeper roots. I have a book here, written in 1912. I bought it in Hradec Kralove, in the Czech Republic. Königgratz... Nice Gothic letters. Title: 'Wenn ich der Kaiser wär'. I have a reprint from February 1914. A few quotes (I won't translate), and they are 'gesperrt' in the original, so the writer, Daniel Frymann*, must have found them very important:

Entwicklung und Bedürfnis zeigen, dass wir wieder hungrig geworden sind, hungrig nach Land;

Gibt es eigentlich etwas Tragischeres, als die Rolle der heutig Regierenden? Zwischen ihnen und dem Volke steht ein Mittler - der Jude - und er lässt nur durch, was ihm gefällt;

Das allgemeine gleiche Wahlrecht ist nicht die Form, durch die eine Volksvertretung geschaffen wird, wie sie ein grosses Volk in schwieriger Lage braucht. Deshalb muss grundsätzlich die Forderung erhoben werden, dies Wahlrecht zu beseitigen.

And I could go on.

I reject your thesis that pressure from outside was mainly responsible for German's catastrophe. I take the view that Hitler is the result of a much longer development (in which my own beloved Wagner also plays his part).

*Heinrich Class, chairman of the Alldeutscher Verband.

What fraction of the readers of this forum do you think can read German?

Online SonicMan46

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #923 on: January 30, 2008, 02:49:43 PM »
Kind of doing a 'change of pace' (getting away from wars, revolutions, & wine for a while) - need to refresh my mind about some of the ancient classic civilizations:

The Classical World: An Epic History from Homer to Hadrian (2006) by Robin Lane Fox - some mixed but generally good reviews on Amazon - should be a satisfactory 'refresher' course for me -  :D

Sailing from Byzantium: How a Lost Empire Shaped the World (2007) by Colin Wells - really enjoy reading about this fascinating empire from the past - visited Ravenna back in '96 on a trip to northern Italy (mainly Milan & Bologna) - just loved the ancient architecture & mosaics -  8)


 


Offline J.Z. Herrenberg

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #924 on: January 30, 2008, 03:01:46 PM »
What fraction of the readers of this forum do you think can read German?

Sorry for that. But translating is too much trouble. These will be my only German quotations. Ever. Promise.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2008, 10:49:55 PM by Jezetha »
Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything. -- Plato

M forever

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #925 on: January 30, 2008, 11:36:11 PM »
I reject your thesis that pressure from outside was mainly responsible for German's catastrophe. I take the view that Hitler is the result of a much longer development (in which my own beloved Wagner also plays his part).

Sure he was. What gives you the idea that I doubt that? There were a lot of extremist nutcases like him on the loose back then. There still are, but certainly not as many and they aren't really dangerous anymore. That didn't/doesn't really have anything to do with external factors (meaning external in the sense of caused by foreign influences and pressures). Who said it did? I didn't. The spectrum of political and ideological views back then was very wide and diverse, and it contained a lot of really crazy and extremist factions. The NSDAP was basically the lowest common denominator between all those, that's why they managed to get so much more following than many of the other extremist groups. They catered to almost all of them, in actually very clever and politically completely opportunist ways. We can still learn a lot about politics from what they did. This is best summed up in the title of a BBC documentary which is part of their epic WWII documentary series: "The Nazis - A Warning From History".

But all that has really not much to do with what I said earlier. I didn't talk about why these crazy people were running around, I talked about why they eventually came to power in Germany and that that had been - involuntarily, of course - caused by the attempt by foreign powers, mostly Britain and France, to take advantage of the crisis situation after WWI, to keep Germany from gaining the dominant position in Europe it was about to take which had nothing to do with any nationalist aspirations for world domination or ideas of racial superiority or anything like that, but simply with the fact that Germany back then already had a rather large population (again, the second largest in Europe), a fairly high average level of education and job training and a massive industrial output. You know, there are reason for the fact that a lot of the composers discussed in this forum are German, a lot of the philosophers and writers discussed in this very thread (and a few others) are, too, and that Germany still is the export nation #1 in the world (or at least was last year). None of that has much to do with Hitler and his hooligan friends, although I can see how they come in handy to draw anything German into the dirt whenever that is desired.

My actual point in reply to Paul wasn't a "thesis" about what caused the catastrophe that we all know as WWII. My point was a simple observation - namely that Germany technically lost WWII and beyond technically, the country was actually destroyed to a large degree, yet less than a decade later they were much better off than a lot of the people who had technically actually won the war. That's kind of unfair, don't you think? And of course it makes one think. The same applies to Japan, of course, the other country which did some really nasty stuff in that period and lost the war spectacularly, too, yet they emerged as an economically very strong and prosperous nation soon afterwards anyway. So the whole WWII thing was really completely pointless.

I find it very interesting though that what I said triggered this reaction from you which really didn't have much to do with what I actually said. I find that veeeery interesting. We already know that the Nazis were some really evil people and that they weren't alone in holding strange and extremist views - but not only in Germany. My impression has always been that your own country hasn't faced its own negative past nearly as openly as the past has been faced and discussed in Germany for decades. Sure, there isn't nearly as much evil stuff to process and discuss, although there are some dark colonial chapters there as well, but all in all, it's not nearly as much and not nearly as bad - after all, everything in the Netherlands happens on a much smaller scale than elsewhere. But just the single chapter of how they behaved under occupation is very interesting, especially when we see how they still uphold myths like the great Dutch resistance when in reality, they just handed over the keys, along with a lot of the Jews and also some of the few people who were actually active in the resistance. A lot of the people didn't find those ideas of racial superiority unattractive at all, after all, they had their own colonial past and they could see themselves as "Aryan", too.

Offline J.Z. Herrenberg

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #926 on: January 31, 2008, 12:17:05 AM »
I find it very interesting though that what I said triggered this reaction from you which really didn't have much to do with what I actually said. I find that veeeery interesting. We already know that the Nazis were some really evil people and that they weren't alone in holding strange and extremist views - but not only in Germany. My impression has always been that your own country hasn't faced its own negative past nearly as openly as the past has been faced and discussed in Germany for decades. Sure, there isn't nearly as much evil stuff to process and discuss, although there are some dark colonial chapters there as well, but all in all, it's not nearly as much and not nearly as bad - after all, everything in the Netherlands happens on a much smaller scale than elsewhere. But just the single chapter of how they behaved under occupation is very interesting, especially when we see how they still uphold myths like the great Dutch resistance when in reality, they just handed over the keys, along with a lot of the Jews and also some of the few people who were actually active in the resistance. A lot of the people didn't find those ideas of racial superiority unattractive at all, after all, they had their own colonial past and they could see themselves as "Aryan", too.

I, on my part, find it 'veeeery interesting' that you presuppose I would be uncritical of my own country's past. I am no nationalist, nor even a patriot. I like this country, most of the time. But I am all for truth. I love Germany, and Britain, and Denmark, and the Netherlands, and I could go on, for all the things that are best about them - art, philosophy, painting, music et cetera. But this love doesn't make me blind, or inspire me to slant things in a certain way as I sense you are doing.

I know only too well the way in which Dutch resistance has been overstated. I know the Dutch colonial past only too well - I am a product of it, with a father from Suriname. What I didn't like about your way of explaining German history was the impression you created of Germany being a victim of circumstances, and all the things that happened having a mainly economic origin.

There were a lot of cowards in the Netherlands during the Second World War, and a few heroes. But the Dutch Nazi movement never amounted to much - there were no roots. The German 'Sonderweg' started with the catastrophe of the Thirty Years War, and the lack of nationhood. The Netherlands found its more or less stable identity with its war against the Spaniards, in the seventeenth century.

If Dutch cowards handed over the keys, it was to Nazis who forced/enabled them. Otherwise there would have been the children of 105.000 Jews still living in my country.

And now, for me - end of discussion. Love your country, by all means, M forever. But be fair.

Johan
« Last Edit: January 31, 2008, 12:25:09 AM by Jezetha »
Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything. -- Plato

M forever

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #927 on: January 31, 2008, 12:54:45 AM »
I don't love any country, neither Germany nor any other. I don't hate any country either. Countries and cultures are enormously complex phenomena, and they may, to a certain degree, have traits of persons, but my attitude towards them is not the same emotional attitude I have towards people. People, as complex and hard to really understand as they, too, are, are still individuals and they can be loved (or hated) or leave one indifferent, but I find it strange to have the same emotional attitude towards a country or a culture. I think that is a big difference between you and me, and that is why you don't understand what I am really talking about. You are seeing things way too emotional here - which is your priviledge, of course. I just have a different attitude towards that subject. Along the same lines, people sometimes ask me if I am either proud or ashamed to be German (or both), and I find that a strange thing, too. I am only proud of or ashamed of my own actions, not those of other people which were coincidentally born in the same country as me. But I am extremely aware of my own cultural background, with all its extreme contradictions, it highly complex culture and its violent and turbulent history. That is something you can not understand because your own cultural background is not as complex and full of extreme contradictions. Maybe that makes it easier for you to have such a simple emotional attitude towards it. That I can't tell either because I in turn lack your background.

You are probably pointing into the right direction, though, when you mention that things that have happened in history have mainly economic reasons, even though you tend to dount that yourself. I personally tend towards thinking that more and more. It looks like economic interests are really what it's all about. All the ideological, philosophical, religious, or whatever other apparent reasons are really just decoration. And they help motivate a lot of people go in the same direction without really understanding why. But in the end, it is really mostly economic interests that move things - and people. Think about it.

Offline J.Z. Herrenberg

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #928 on: January 31, 2008, 01:02:39 AM »
But in the end, it is really mostly economic interests that move things - and people. Think about it.

I think a lot (handicapped by my simple background of course). And I know my Marx.

Schluss.

P.S. What economic interest do you serve by wasting your time on this forum?
« Last Edit: January 31, 2008, 03:17:22 AM by Jezetha »
Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything. -- Plato

Harry

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #929 on: January 31, 2008, 01:19:13 AM »
I started again with reading the complete Dickens, I did that 18 times before.
Only wish I could aquire a topnotch bound complete set, with nice drawings, a really old fashioned made book.
And not go bankrupt in the process.
Boy, O, boy the prices I saw on internet......
Shudder.

Offline Florestan

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #930 on: January 31, 2008, 01:29:36 AM »
IAll the ideological, philosophical, religious, or whatever other apparent reasons are really just decoration. And they help motivate a lot of people go in the same direction without really understanding why. But in the end, it is really mostly economic interests that move things - and people.

I don't want to incur your wrath, but could you please point out the economical interests behind Schubert's or St. Francis's actions?
"I don’t know why I give preference to Chopin’s works. They always touch me deeply. His music is akin to my soul." --- Milii Balakirev

Offline Maciek

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #931 on: January 31, 2008, 01:31:09 AM »
Also the ones who really lost in the war, were by far the germans.

Heh? ??? What about, like, every single country in the Eastern block? Especially the ones that virtually disappeared off the face of the earth, like eg. Lithuania?

Offline Maciek

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #932 on: January 31, 2008, 01:35:54 AM »
I just realized we're dangerously veering away from the subject of this thread. So if anyone feels like starting a new one and giving us a link over here - go ahead!

Then again, perhaps the OT subject will wane soon enough....

Offline Florestan

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #933 on: January 31, 2008, 01:39:05 AM »
I started again with reading the complete Dickens, I did that 18 times before.

Other people write well, but Dickens writes Weller, right? :)
"I don’t know why I give preference to Chopin’s works. They always touch me deeply. His music is akin to my soul." --- Milii Balakirev

Harry

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #934 on: January 31, 2008, 01:40:54 AM »
Other people write well, but Dickens writes Weller, right? :)

Very good Andrei, that made me grin big time.....

Boy o boy, Sam Weller, what a character Dickens deviced with him right? ;D

Haffner

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #935 on: February 01, 2008, 09:05:44 AM »
I think a lot (handicapped by my simple background of course). And I know my Marx.

Schluss.

P.S. What economic interest do you serve by wasting your time on this forum?




I know my Marx as well (his "Manifesto..." often reads like oddly interpreted Hegel-converts-to-Platonism-by-way-of-Rabbinical-Judaism to me). I'm not clear as to your point in regard to that theorist however. Otherwise, both you and M have some intriguing points.

Offline J.Z. Herrenberg

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #936 on: February 01, 2008, 09:42:01 AM »
I know my Marx as well (his "Manifesto..." often reads like oddly interpreted Hegel-converts-to-Platonism-by-way-of-Rabbinical-Judaism to me). I'm not clear as to your point in regard to that theorist however. Otherwise, both you and M have some intriguing points.

I was a bit terse, I know. In Marx the economic is paramount, money permeates everything - religion, art, love. He is right, in a sense (and so is M forever) - many things in a capitalist society are 'money-shaped'. But not everything. Here Marx(ism) goes too far. There are things that can't be quantified, do not have an obvious value, and are still essential and life-enhancing. Like interacting in this forum, for instance, where we give of our time and knowledge without any payment in sight. Although the sociologist Bourdieu would say we were amassing 'symbolic capital' when we're appreciated and 'cultural capital' by learning from other members (if I'm understanding him correctly)...
« Last Edit: February 01, 2008, 09:59:19 AM by Jezetha »
Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything. -- Plato

Gustav

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #937 on: February 01, 2008, 10:02:42 AM »
just checked out these yesterday:

Conversations with Von Karajan - Richard Osborne

Karl Böhm A Life Remembered/Memoirs - translated by John Kehoe

Offline jwinter

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #938 on: February 01, 2008, 11:17:06 AM »
Just picked this up from the library:



I'm completely unfamiliar with the life, other than having read various CD liner notes & the like. 

Anyone read this yet?  I understand that it's an abridgment of the author's 4 volume study, so I'm assuming he knows his Tchaikovsky...
The man that hath no music in himself,
Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils.
The motions of his spirit are dull as night,
And his affections dark as Erebus.
Let no such man be trusted.

-- William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice

M forever

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #939 on: February 01, 2008, 11:38:58 PM »
I was a bit terse, I know. In Marx the economic is paramount, money permeates everything - religion, art, love. He is right, in a sense (and so is M forever) - many things in a capitalist society are 'money-shaped'. But not everything. Here Marx(ism) goes too far.

I don't think that money or economic interests shape *everything* either. Those people who asked me about participating in a forum or about Schubert etc misunderstood that. I was mainly referring to political decisions, especially war, those, I think, are basically always motivated by economic interests, no matter how they are "illustrated" and "sold" to the people. I don't think there are real religious or ideological wars. It's always about power and economic interests, no matter what the people who actually do the fighting and dying are told and what they think they are fighting and dying "for". After all, wars do require enormous manpower and resources, they are just too expensive to fight just for fun or for a "cause".
In this current context, my basic point was just that after WWI, those fading colonial empires such as Britain and France didn't want to allow an unified Germany (which would have included Austria and the German speaking parts of Czechoslovakia since the idea to put all German speaking people - except for the German Swiss - into one nation was very popular among those people long before 1938) to assume its natural position as an economic leader in Europe - which it was destined for, not because of some "Aryan" racial superiority or some other ideological BS, but simply because of the sheer number of people and the level of development of the region at that time. By tring to suppress the natural course of events, they didn't *create* those extremists since they had already been there - and not just in Germany, a lot of the nonsense the Nazis and related political or ideological groups were into was very popular in many Western countries, much more than they want to admit now - but they certainly helped create the environment in which those extremists could actually come to power and unleash the concentrated economic power of Germany on half the rest of the world in the the most devastating war ever. And that war was started for economic reasons, too. If you strip away all the ideological blabla, what remains are naked economic interests - gaining new territory, access to natural resources, etc. The nature of such extremist regimes is that they run completely wild though, as we have seen. Once things are started, there is no turning back until things come to a complete catastrophe. They even start losing sight of their own interests. But I wouldn't call that an ideological war either at that point - it is just total madness and chaos.
Anyway, again, my original point was that WWII was totally pointless because those countries which officially lost it - Germany and Japan - still turned out to be economic winners in the decades after. While a lot of the countries which were officially on the winning side lost big time, first and foremost all the countries which were forced into the Eastern Block. History is just really unfair.
Or does anyone still think that Britain declared war on Germany to heroically "save Poland from the Nazis"?