Some slow thoughtful music, to keep things in perspective, against the daily news. And then daily news about frightened old people using their guns.
Zbigniew Preisner was everywhere in films of the art house variety from the late 1980s through the 1990s. I heard many of his scores watching such movies in theaters, and bought many of the CDs of those scores (especially for Dekalog, as posted two days ago, and for the films The Double Life of Véronique, At Play in the Fields of the Lord, Damage (a brilliant Jeremy Irons film), and the “Three Colors” trilogy: Blue, White, and Red.
He has this official website.
I lost track of him after the 1990s, perhaps only because his later music was not issued on CDs in the US, but his Wikipedia page lists many additional scores, and some orchestral works, up until recently. And yet, the link above is to a piece I saw on YouTube, from 2010, that the Wikipedia page does not seem to list, unless it’s disguised by some translation.
I’m getting tired of having to acknowledge, or try to understand, the madness of current American society and politics. But here we are. Stories in the news this week have concerned the paranoia of gun nuts.
CNN, 19 Apr 2023: What’s going on with all the wrong-place wrong-time shootings?
NY Times, 20 Apr 2023: In a Nation Armed to the Teeth, These Tiny Missteps Led to Tragedy, subtitled “A workman knocking on the wrong door. A cheerleader mistaking another car for her own. Small errors can have large consequences in a nation bristling with guns.”
Washington Post, Paul Waldman, 20 Apr 2023: Opinion | Our new terror: The ‘law-abiding’ gun owner who is ready to kill
That so many gun owners are consumed with fear is not an accident. It is a central part of the ideology propagated by conservative media outlets and gun advocacy groups such as the National Rifle Association.
The message is hammered home again and again: The world is full of homicidal maniacs coming to kill you and your family. In the words of NRA leader Wayne LaPierre, “every day of every year, innocent, good, defenseless people are beaten, bloodied, robbed, raped and murdered.” Criminals, gangs, home invaders, terrorists, antifa — they’re all coming for you. So if your doorbell rings, you’d better have a gun in your hand when you answer.
Again, a big theme here is that the news media, even the best news media, plays off what is exceptional. If the world were a peaceful utopia, a single crime would make news headlines, and frighten those easily frightened. In the US in the 21st century, the easily frightened have all bought guns. And as the evidence of recent days suggest, the most easily frightened are the most ready to use their guns. What might the solution to this problem be…?
I find the claim by gun enthusiasts that the issue with mass shootings is all about mental illness. Do other nations, with far fewer mass shootings, therefore have less mental illness? That Americans are relatively more mentally ill? Why would that be?
Obviously, it’s the availability of guns, in the US, that lead to more mass shootings, and random acts of elderly violence against things they’re afraid of. It’s tempting to identify the obsession with guns, itself, as a mental illness.
Washington Post, 20 Apr 2023: Mike Lindell’s firm told to pay $5 million in ‘Prove Mike Wrong’ election-fraud challenge
Heather Cox Richardson, on Facebook, concerning the debt ceiling.
That inability to get their way through normal political channels illustrates the larger story behind the Republicans’ position: they want to destroy the government as it has existed since 1933, but since that government is actually quite popular, they cannot get the cuts they want by going through normal legislative procedures. Instead, they are trying to get their demands by holding the rest of us hostage. It is notable that while the Republicans are willing to slash education, food safety, and so on, they want to preserve the Trump tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations that cost the Treasury $2 trillion. Their stated concern for financial responsibility is also undermined by the reality that repealing the funding for the woefully understaffed IRS is expected to cost the Treasury $124 billion as wealthy tax cheats continue to avoid enforcement.