Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Leonard Bernstein: Gangster at Large (and also he's dead)

Leonard Bernstein is a Harvard graduate, musical genius, and fucking baller.

Through his 1973 lecture series, Leonard Bernstein At Harvard: The Unanswered Question, we learn a lot about his goddamn views on life. This grey-haired sexual maven gets all the girls' panties wet with his insufferable charm, itchy nose, and piano-based talent. What comes out of the blue, really, is his scientific curiosity. Sure, a musical bastard like himself would be itching to find the beginnings of music (and sure enough, he may or may not have done just that), but the thing that cements his connection to the rest of the world with his proposed "musical linguistics". He bridges the gap between music and speech with a simple, universal idea.

He muses, "does it matter; the world totters, governments crumble, and we are pouring over musical phonology (and, now, syntax)…isn't it a flagrant case of elitism?" poking fun at the pampered, cordoned-off, Harvard education. That sly smile. A shitty grin after blowing our tits off with a simple chromatic improvisation. He knows he's better than all those stupid kids (holy shit I'm older than all college athletes). "I as a musician feel that there has to be a way of speaking about music with intelligent but non-professional music lovers who don't know a stretto from a diminished fifth" [canned laughter] go fuck yourself, Bernstein, you cocky little shit.

This image is technically owned by Rockstar Games, i think. I claim little to no rights
in the creative birthing of this image, concept, character, or theme into the world. None.
I didn't draw it out in my sketchbook and then flesh it out in a full digital painting based
around the themes and aesthetic influence of Rockstar's GTA 5. It's theirs.

He dives deep into, what I like to call, the decimal pit: sure, it's easy to count from 1 to 2, but what goes unseen is the first decimal place after 1, being 1.1 through 1.9. Before even that, unseen is the invisible, smaller decimal, 1.01 through 1.09. And, before that, 1.001through 1.009, yadda yadda yadda, I'm pretty drunk. THE MAIN POINT IS that if you count from 1 to 2 without counting what's inbefuckingtween, you miss a literal infinity of numbers and opportunities in such a harsh generalization, and still maintain efficiency. BUT, if you dive into that damned terrible, terrible decimal pit, you will never make it out alive, going deeper and deeper until you can't reach the number 2 at all, BUT end up discovering that there are an infinite number of fantastic and endless opportunities between this step and the next. There will always be another set of 9 more divisions between you and the next number you want to reach.

Mr. Bernstein fearlessly jumps, headlong, into this pit of despair and agony and gnashing of teeth (the Bible likes that right? How does one gnash their teeth?) and comes out unscathed. He tries to understand our individual and collective voices, tapping into anthropology, biology, psychology, biological psychology, wumbology, and his general vast sense of the world (and like 45 fucking languages) in and attempt to break down the walls that have been built, to find out where it all comes from. Shit, I get weirded out when I was the word "duck" too many times and it starts to lose its meaning, becoming some bizarre sound. You ever get that feeling? This fucking guy, however, admits to spending entire nights in the mind of a caveman, making gutteral noises and filling notebooks with scribbles of primal thoughts and idea, only to happen on the origins of language and human communication, be-it something scientific or semi-biblical. He runs the risk of looking behind the curtain and finding out that nobody can actually speak, that we all just sort of make noises and hope for the best. Not that he gives a shit. He just wants to see for himself. It's as if, by coincidence alone, cameras were placed in front of him for the lecture (and good God, does he eye-fuck the hell out of that camera. Makes, and I repeat, ALL the girls' panties wet, what with his endless knowledge AND that piercing sex-gaze he plants firmly in the viewers' collective loins.).

What a lunatic. Seriously, what kind of madman does it take to do this sort of thing?? Progress is halted by the sane and reasonable, and Leonard Bernstein, admitted maniac (basically), is nothing BUT progress. I bet if he had come out of said experiment having lost all ability to convey a message through words and had to flail his limbs and pound a piano to get his point across like a blunt-force head-trauma victim, he'd STILL have considered it all a raging success.

Look, idiots, I won't pretend to be a genius. Hell, I won't even claim to be smarter than all of you guys. But Leonard Bernstein, self-satisfied shit that he is, has blown my proverbial AND literal tits off (i'm a boy now) with his fucking lecture series and enlightened me. Takes everything I know and breaks it into tiny little lego pieces, and then he builds it back up BETTER THAN IT WAS BEFORE.

He is an absolute delight to listen to. Like a human-Jeff Goldblum.

Also shoutout to all the pear.

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