In a way, Jim Morrison's life and death could be written off as simply one of the more pathetic episodes in the history of the star system, or that offensive myth we all persist in believing which holds that artists are somehow a race apart and thus entitled to piss on my wife, throw you out the window, smash up the joint, and generally do whatever they want. I've seen a lot of this over the years, and what's most ironic is that it always goes under the assumption that to deny them these outbursts would somehow be curbing their creativity, when the reality, as far as I can see, is that it's exactly such insane tolerance of another insanity that also contributes to them drying up as artists. Because how can you finally create anything real or beautiful when you have absolutely zero input from the real world, because everyone around you is catering to and sheltering you? You can't, and this system is I'd submit why we've seen almost all our rock 'n' roll heroes who, unlike Morrison, did manage to survive the Sixties, end up having nothing to say.
And here's composer and sometime critic Hector Berlioz:
One man only in this orchestra does not allow himself any such diversion. Wholly intent upon his task, all energy, indefatigable, his eye glued to his notes and his arm in perpetual motion, he would feel dishonored if he were to miss an eighth note or incur censure for his tone quality. By the end of each act he is flushed, perspiring, exhausted; he can hardly breathe, yet he does not dare take advantage of the respite offered by the cessation of musical hostilities to go for a glass of beer at the nearest bar. The fear of missing the first measures of the next act keeps him rooted at his post. Touched by so much zeal, the manager of the opera house once sent him six bottles of wine, "by way of encouragement." But the artist, "conscious of his responsibilities," was so far from grateful for the gift that he returned it with the proud words: "I have no need of encouragement." The reader will have guessed that I am speaking of the man who plays the bass drum.
Also, on the occasion of the apparent return to service of the Space Shuttle Discovery (assuming the launch goes as planned), I link this essay by Bill Whittle, written on the occasion of the destruction of the Columbia on re-entry over two years ago. While this essay, like all Bill Whittle essays, goes on way too long and has a lot of goofball digressions into what's wrong with liberals, it also winds up with one of the more unforgettable passages I've read in a blog post.
Do go read this post by Terry Teachout. I'd love to have a weekend like this: a car and no destination. And if you've ever considered reading David Weber's military-SF novels featuring Honor Harrington (a future Horatio Hornblower, obviously), check out Will Duquette, who is reviewing them in sequence (latest review here). I read the first two and enjoyed them, although Weber's infodumps are really irritating. And from what I've heard, they get worse as you go in the series. James Wolcott slaps down some folks who are really mad that Oliver Stone is making a 9-11-01 themed movie, here. (I must admit that I find the possessiveness a lot of folks on the Right feel toward 9-11-01 a bit creepy.) And finally, the guy who goes by the handle "D. Trull", whose site I have linked in the past because of his enormously sensible thoughts on the Star Wars prequels, has some preliminary thoughts up on Revenge of the Sith, here.
I don't rule out the possibility of a post showing up while I'm gone, if I'm able to set up camp on the mother-in-law's computer at all, but I wouldn't bet on it. At the very least, I will definitely post again on Wednesday, July 20. In the meantime, look through my archives, visit the folks on the blogroll, and so on. See you all on the flipside.