According to the Times, at a black-tie dinner just before the inauguration, Dr. James C. Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, told the invited guests that our favorite member of phylum Porifera is pro-gay, and a threat to the family.
Besides that fact that SpongeBob routinely holds hands with Patrick, and that his favorite TV show is The Adventures of Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy, the major evidence prompting Dobson's accusation is a new video promoting tolerance, featuring SpongeBob, Jimmy Neutron and Barney. Enemies all.
My daughter Lindsay is working and studying in Israel this year, before starting college next fall. I was very proud to learn that she is spending some time working on a Palestinian-Israeli radio station called All for Peace. The station is a joint venture of the Palestinian organization Biladi (link, please?), The Jewish-Arab Center for Peace and Givat Haviva.
All for Peace webcasts simultaneously in Hebrew, Arabic, English and French, with a combination of music and interviews. Lindsay's job is to transcribe interviews for publication on the website. So far she's published twoarticles.
Gershwin was classically trained, and aspired to be accepted by the musical establishment. He was also, of course, a student and lover of jazz. He worked to synthesize jazz into the symphonic form in compositions like Rhapsody in Blue. His writing makes it clear that he regarded jazz as an emerging art form, essentially American in its voice.
Like so many other "cross-over" or "fusion" artists before and since, Gershwin's work inspired vehement debate, and was often derided by purists from both sides: classical experts didn't consider it serious, and had serious misgivings about giving African American music a place. Black jazz musicians felt he had stolen, then "sanitized" their music, to make it acceptable to white audiences. This latter reaction is certainly reminiscent of more modern reaction to Elvis and The Beatles.
The controversy around Gershwin's work reached a crescendo (sorry, couldn't help myself) with the debut of Porgy and Bess, his last major work and magnum opus. Musical and racial criticisms turned ugly. Gershwin was apparently devastated, and died soon afterwards, feeling much of his life work had been rejected.
Gershwin's attempt to establish a uniquely American music ultimately failed. As Pierpont points out, by the mid-twenties, the jazz and symphonic traditions had begun to pull apart, creating a rift that lasted for decades, perhaps even until today.
We just announced the winners of our Developers Contest. We got some tremendous applications from our developer community.
I'm in love with, GovTrack, the winning application, by Joshua Tauberer. The site tracks all the happenings in Congress, including the status of every bill. Joshua used the Technorati API to include summaries of blog posts on each bill.
Much of Levy's work concerns cognitive overload and its effects on our inner lives. The constant barrage of stimulus demanding our attention, the mounting demand for multitasking, you know the drill. Beyond analysis of the problem, he explores practices and techniques that might restore a sense of balance. Earlier this year, he hosted a conference entitled Information, Silence and Sanctuary.