Intimate Curves of Earthly Existence

Geography and the Earth sciences, if they are to truly account for Earth, must study intimacy.  I would argue that intimacy has something to do with roundness….curves. What is needed is geography as an intimate study. Just as there is an affection between animals and humans, so there is an affection that passes between theContinue reading “Intimate Curves of Earthly Existence”

Rhythm and Trance

My latest piece for my column at Nomos Journal is up.  It’s an analysis of the Afro-Atlantic legacy of contemporary popular music, specifically in light of two interrelated aspects of Afro-Atlantic music: rhythm and trance.  The use of polyrhythmic beats in the spirit possession rituals of Afro-Atlantic traditions parallels the structure of the trance experiences that those beats occasion.  TheContinue reading “Rhythm and Trance”

The Dynamics of Fame

In the recent edition of my column at Nomos Journal, I consider the theologico-political dynamics of fame by looking at depictions of Jesus Christ in a couple musicals, including Jesus Christ Superstar and a musical currently in development, Spears: The Gospel According to Britney. If faith is a matter of ultimate concern (Paul Tillich’s well-knownContinue reading “The Dynamics of Fame”

Sounding Sacred: Religion and Popular Music

I recently started writing a column on religion and popular music (“Sounding Sacred“) for Nomos Journal, an online journal covering multiple approaches to the study of religion and popular culture.  My first piece went up a few days ago.  It introduces “two, too loud pops” into religion: 1) the pop expressing the loud, noisy, sonorousContinue reading “Sounding Sacred: Religion and Popular Music”

Tool, Deleuze-Guattari, Dionysus

For about a year, I’ve been slowly developing a pop analysis (Deleuze and Guattari) of the music of Tool, particularly with reference to Nietzsche’s hope for a Dionysian future of music.  The good people at Nomos Journal have published a short piece I wrote on that topic (thanks, Seth).  You can find it HERE.

Diamond-Being

“Shine bright like a diamond.”  That line is repeated over and over again by Rihanna in her song, “Diamonds.”  Something about the repeated injunction  to perform an act of unbreakable iridescence strikes me as profoundly beautiful and inspired, hinting at some deep source of inspiration that lies dormant in our average and ordinary experiences.   “We’re beautiful like diamondsContinue reading “Diamond-Being”

Five Theses for Emancipatory Music

1. Music is the art of the hope for resonance: a sense that does not make sense except because of its resounding in itself. Jean-Luc Nancy, Listening (Fordham UP, 2007), p. 67 2. No music has the slightest esthetic worth if it is not socially true, if only as a negation of untruth; no socialContinue reading “Five Theses for Emancipatory Music”

Burning Man

People have varying opinions on the Burning Man festival and on Burner culture in general.  Every year, when the time comes for the festival, I’m happy to get an earful of those opinions.  I’ve found it interesting that most of my students live in a countercultural hotspot (San Francisco), yet they have little or nothingContinue reading “Burning Man”

Obama, VMAs, Macbeth, and Nothing

What an amazing evening… the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards, and at the same time, Barack Obama giving a speech accepting his nomination for president by the democratic party.  If those two events don’t inspire you, I can’t imagine what would.  I was not happy to hear Obama say that “climate change is not aContinue reading “Obama, VMAs, Macbeth, and Nothing”

More Fear and Loathing

Every now and then when your life gets complicated and the weasels start closing in, the only real cure is to load up on heinous chemicals and then drive like a bastard from Hollywood to Las Vegas.  To relax, as it were, in the womb of the desert sun.  Just roll the roof back andContinue reading “More Fear and Loathing”