RIP Chris Squire, Yes bassist and founding member

Chris Squire (March 4, 1948 – June 27, 2015) was the only continuous member of legendary progressive rock band Yes throughout all its many line-up changes.

A church choir singer growing up, his is one of the two backing voices in Yes’s trademark 3-part harmony vocals. But his biggest musical legacy undoubtedly is as one of a handful of innovators  responsible for taking the bass guitar out of its ‘harmonic foundation’ ghetto. In Yes (like in more modern bands like Primus, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Tool), the bass guitar was effectively a co-equal instrument that took on melody and especially countermelody roles.

Squire’s favorite instrument, the Rickenbacker 4001, was originally bought with an employee discount at the Boosey & Hawkes music store where he worked. Already having learned to play bass earlier, he developed his trademark technique on that 4001. The story goes that, after a bad acid trip, he was so afraid to go anywhere that he holed up in the apartment of his girlfriend for months and did (presumably almost) nothing but play bass, emerging with a unique style. Se non e vero e bene trovato. 

More prosaically, he adopted the split-amp technique pioneered by The Who’s John Entwistle, in which the treble of the instrument is sent through a lead guitar amplifier while the low end is routed to a bass amplifier, thus sacrificing neither low-end punch nor high-end clarity. Combined with the already bright sound a Rickenbacker with Rotosound strings produces, and Squire playing with a pick rather than finger style, one obtains an almost harpsichord-like sound that, from deep growls to sweet melodies high up on the G string, never fails to project.

A legion of rock bassists acknowledge his influence: whether you hear Geddy Lee of Rush or Justin Chancellor of Tool (to name just two very different musicians), you hear echoes of Chris Squire. Squire himself cited Jack Bruce (Cream), John Entwistle, and funk bassist Larry Graham (Sly and the Family Stone) as his primary role models.

He will be dearly missed, but the music he created with Yes contains many timeless classics. Below is posted not one of their marvelous prog epics like “Close to the Edge”, but the sensitive ballad “Onward”. After that, what I regard as Squire’s signature piece, “Heart of the Sunrise”.

Growing up, I couldn’t really hear most bands’ bass players due to the appalling bass response of my little tape recorder. Chris Squire changed all that — the brain will ‘fill in’ the missing fundamental of a tone if enough overtones are there. Thus, for the first time I acquired a sense of what this instrument can do.

Enjoy the great gig in the sky, brother.

Steven Pinker on Taboos, Political Correctness, and Dissent

This short video produced by FIRE (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education) is very much worth your time. Steven Pinker has been a longtime target as a ‘deviationist’ to the academic totalitarian Left for some time.

Via Greg Lukianoff, guest-blogging at Instapundit. #Academentia #whileFreedomDies #intellectualDiversity #fauxversity

Naomi Shemer, “Sad to die in the beginning of summer”

Israeli songwriter Naomi Shemer foresaw she would pass away in the month of Tammuz, which on the Hebrew calendar corresponds roughly to late June – early July (depending on the vagaries of that lunisolar calendar).

The song is performed by Nurit Galron.

Atzuv lamut be’emtza haTamuz
diglei hakaitz nisa’im el `al
al rosh/berosh hatoren tor homeh ve’lo yech’dal
ki al keitzech ve’al k’tzirech heidad nafal

Atzuv lamut be’emtza hatamuz
davka ksheha’afarsekim beshefa
vechol hapri davka tzochek basal
ve’al keitzech ve’al ketzirech heidad nafal

Atzuv lamut be’emtza hatamuz
aval/achshav be’emtza hatamuz amut
el bustanei hapri shehityat’mu
heidad achar heidad nafol yipol
ve’al keitzech ve’al ketzirech ve’al hakol

It’s sad to die in the middle of Tammuz
Summer flags are carried to and fro
On the ship’s mast, a noisy line that won’t stop
For on your summer and your harvest, hurrahs fell

It’s sad to die in the middle of Tammuz
Right when the peaches are plentiful
And just as all the fruit laughs in the basket
And on your summer and your harvest, hurrahs fell

It’s sad to die in mid-Tammuz
But now I shall do so anyway
Upon the fruit gardens that were orphaned
Hurrahs afer hurrahs will surely fall
And on your summer and harvest and on everything

Marriage is a State of Mind – Cedar Sanderson

In the comments to a poignant guest post by Cedar Sanderson on marriage, relationships, being denied happiness and finally finding it, “RES” coins what I would call “the negative Heinlein rule”.

Robert A. Heinlein famously defined love as the mental state in which “the happiness of another person becomes essential to your own”. RES instead proposed, “the state where another person’s pain is painful to you”.

This is reminiscent of the distinction between the Positive and Negative Golden Rules.
The Positive Golden Rule states: “Do as you would be done by”. If the person in question is a masochist who enjoys being tortured, I’ll pass.
The Negative Golden Rule, given here in its Talmudic formulation (Shabbat 31a), instead states: “That which is hateful unto you, do not do upon another. This is the whole Torah: the rest is [but] elaboration.”

On Heinlein’s original quote, commenter Wayne Blackburn reflects:
“Basically, the sentence is intended to impute a high, enduring correlation, as opposed to a weak and/or transient one. Once it is perceived that the partner is unhappy, the simple fact of working on correcting that difficulty can actually work to improve the emotional state of both. With a weak or transient correlation, there is not as much impulse to improve the other’s state of mind, as it does not impinge as strongly on your own.”

According To Hoyt

Marriage is a State of Mind – Cedar Sanderson

I have long been a fan of Dorothy Sayers. I don’t recall when I first read one of her books, but I know that I just recently read one of her essays on feminism and it sparked a thought – several thoughts, really – in my head. I wrote some of it down in Are Women Human? which is a composite of her essay of that title and my own thoughts.

As I was reacquainting myself with not only the fictional romance between Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane, but the true life of Dorothy Sayers, I was forced to reflect on my own life and relationships. There are some parallels to where I am now, and looking back, I can see clearly in hindsight where my path has taken me. You don’t see it, while you’re walking it. It’s only…

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The Witch Hunt for Tim Hunt FRS

Compare and contrast:

A molecular biologist who won the 2001 Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine for his work on the proteins that control cell division gives a talk in which he makes a rather tasteless joke about women in the lab and how he would prefer . Instead of a public apology — which would have been reasonable — he finds himself out of a job.

Meanwhile, an idiot journalist who has never produced anything of value in her life called for a year of publishing only female authors. Consequences? None. An art director at the self-proclaimed leading publication house of speculative fiction finds it necessary to accuse writers she dislikes of neo-Nazism and white supremacism — accusations that make about as much sense as calling Elton John a womanizer, except that they are 1000x nastier — and suffers what consequences? None, unless one applies that word to  the elder statesman of the house disassociating himself from her statements and having her issue a ‘non-apology apology’.

A society that ostracizes the makers and coddles unproductive critics is indeed “on a downward spiral”. Who is John Galt again?

Psychological displacement in management, politics, and the culture wars – New Class Traitor

Guest post at Sarah Hoyt’s place.

According To Hoyt

Psychological displacement in management, politics, and the culture wars – New Class Traitor

All of us have a number of psychological mechanisms for coping with “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune”. Some are adaptive (anticipation, humor, building social support networks, …) while others are maladaptive.

Displacement (a term originally coined by Sigmund Freud) is one such maladaptive strategy: the mind substitutes a “safer” goal, object, or target for one deemed to be unattainable or overly dangerous. Some classic examples of ‘displacement’ are a bully picking on a weak kid in response to being picked upon by a bigger bully, or the abusive mid-level employee who works out pent-up rage at bosses or customers on his underlings. Or, for that matter, the frustrated-at-work husband or wife doing so on their spouse.

Like all of us who have dealt with management (in my case, from both sides of the fence) I…

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