August 14, 2015

Song of the Day #1266

Song of the Day: Passin' By, words and music by trumpeter John Daversa, is another sweet track from James Torme's album, "Love for Sale." The trumpet caresses this song, delivered with Torme flair [YouTube link].

August 13, 2015

Song of the Day #1265

Song of the Day: A Better Day Will Come features the words and music of Carl E. K. Johnson and James Torme, son of the late, great jazz singer Mel Torme. I first discovered James when I highlighted his rendition [YouTube link] of Cole Porter's "Love for Sale" (title track from his debut album) in this year's tribute to the Tony Awards. Today is young Torme's 42nd birthday, and I'd like to highlight a few tracks from that fine album both today and tomorrow. I'm prevented from putting some of them up as "Songs of the Day," because they are already on my ever-growing list (for example, his rendition of the MJ classic [YouTube link] "Rock with You," his version of the Joseph Kosma-Johnny Mercer jazz standard [YouTube link] "Autumn Leaves," and his rendition of the Alan Jay Lerner song from the musical "On a Clear Day You Can See Forever" [YouTube link], the jazzy "Come Back to Me"). Check out this Torme-penned track, with its melodic line and rhythmic feel [YouTube link]. This song won the John Lennon Songwriting Contest Award for Best Jazz Song in 2009.

August 12, 2015

Rand: Big in Japan, Romania, Poland, Russia, Etc., Etc., Etc.

Back on 20 July 2004, I published a brief essay, "The First Landing of Ayn Rand in Japan!", exclusive to Notablog, about how I'd helped a friend and colleague of mine, Kayoko Fujimori, Professor at Momoyama Gakuin University (alias, St. Andrew's University) in Osaka, Japan, associated with the Society for the Study of Ayn Rand in Japan, in the clarification of certain idiomatic expressions, ideas, and themes in Ayn Rand's novel, The Fountainhead. The book was published in Japanese back on 8 July 2004, with cover illustration by the well-known Japanese anime illustrator, Nobuyuki Ohnishi.

Big In Japan

Subsequent to the appearance of this brief discussion, I was approached by Alexandra Seremina, who translated the piece into Romanian. I wrote about it in a Notablog post, dated 9 April 2012, on the "Multilingual Appeal" of the piece. It was also translated into Polish by Maksim Ivancov.

Now, eleven years after the appearance of the original post, I was approached by Professor Alexander Nikiforov, Doctor of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, Head of the Kazan Technical University (named after AN Tupolev, KNITU-KAI), who wished to translate the piece into Russian. (We even discussed the possibility of getting Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical translated, but that's a long-term project, indeed.) Today, Professor Nikiforov sent me the link for the Russian translation of my essay; check it out here.

For all I know, the popularity of this essay must have something to do with my penchant for posting "Songs of the Day." I guess I'll have to really consider adding the 1984 #1 Dance Hit by Alphaville.

Postscript (15 August 2015): Subsequent to the publication of this Notablog entry, Science Team translated "The First Landing of Ayn Rand in Japan" into Spanish! See here.

August 07, 2015

Russian Radical 2.0: Reviews and Retrospectives

It's been awhile since I've reported on the second edition of Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical, so now that I have a little break in-between editing issues of The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies (I handed in the December 2015 issue just yesterday!), I figure now is just as good a time as any to give an update.

First, for those of you who don't know much about the second expanded edition of this book, I provide here an index of relevant Notablog posts:

Part 1: The Cover
Part 2: The Cover Story
Part 3: 1995 vs. 2013: What's Different?
Part 4: Preface to the Second Edition
Part 5: Supplying Answers, Raising Questions
Part 6: 12 September 2013, Release Date
Part 7: A Kindle Edition and Revised Revisions

Today's report on the second edition could not be more timely, since, after all, it was literally twenty years ago this month, yes, you read that right: TWENTY YEARS AGO, that the first edition of the book was published by Pennsylvania State University Press. As Carlin Romano puts it in his 2012 book, America The Philosophical:

Nineteen ninety-five also saw the publication of the first scholarly study of Rand published by a respected university press, Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical (Penn State) by Chris Matthew Sciabarra, a political scientist [ed: I actually prefer to call myself a "political theorist" or "social theorist," since I received my Ph.D. in political theory, philosophy, and methodology, and New York University, bless them, has a Department of Politics, not a Department of Political Science!] That book spurred debate with its novel claim that Rand, who came to the United States in 1926, is best understood as a thinker whose roots in Russian philosophy and Marxism's dialectical tradition account for the unique syntheses of her later work. Since then, scholarly interest in her has significantly spiked, if not boomed, fanned by the wide theatrical distribution of Ayn Rand: A Sense of Life, a 1997 Oscar-nominated documentary approved by the Ayn Rand Institute, and such studies as What Art Is: The Esthetic Theory of Ayn Rand by Louis Torres and Michelle Marder Kamhi. The Chronicle of Higher Education, in an overview of Rand's place in academe, reported many more books on Rand's thought on the way (including a study by [the late Allan] Gotthelf), as well as a journal devoted to Randian literary [ed: and philosophical] studies.

I would like to think that my first edition not only rode the wave of that boom, but was at least partially responsible for creating it. (In reality, my work on Rand was the first book-length study published by a university press; I have always given credit to my dearest friends and colleagues, Douglas Den Uyl and Douglas Rasmussen, co-editors of The Philosophic Thought of Ayn Rand (1987), published by the University of Illinois Press; the fact that both of these extraordinary scholars sit on the Board of Advisors of The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies is no accident. Their encouragement and support of my work has been immeasurable!)

The first edition of Russian Radical was published the same week as another work of mine: Marx, Hayek, and Utopia, which was actually Part I of what would become my "Dialectics and Liberty Trilogy." Russian Radical constituted Part II of that trilogy; in 2000, Part III concluded the study: Total Freedom: Toward a Dialectical Libertarianism. Taken as an "organic whole," the three books were designed to reclaim a dialectical mode of inquiry as an indispensable tool in the construction of a radical libertarian analytical approach.

Nevertheless, getting back to the second edition of Russian Radical, not many reviews have been published. That's fairly typical of second editions, but the "Dialectics and Liberty" site will be updated periodically to reflect any reviews that appear in online or print form. Thus far, one can take a look at the index of reviews for the second edition, where one will find excerpts and abstracts for two reviews (the first appearing on the site of the Center for a Stateless Society, the other appearing in the July 2015 issue of The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies).

My own reply to the review that appears in the current issue of JARS, written by my friend and colleague, Wendy McElroy, will appear in the July 2016 issue of the journal, along with a reply written by Roger E. Bissell.

In any event, I am happy that I've stuck around long enough to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the first two books of my trilogy; I'll be positively ecstatic when I mark the centennial anniversary!

July 31, 2015

Song of the Day #1264

Song of the Day: I'll Never Smile Again, words and music by Ruth Lowe, has the distinction of being the first #1 single on the "National List of Best Selling Retail Records," the first national Billboard chart, 75 years ago this week. The recording by the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, with the Pied Pipers and a young singer named Frank Sinatra, hit Number One on the 27th of July 1940 and held onto the top spot for 12 weeks. There had been other charts, compiled from sheet music sales and "music machines" (or phonographs), but this was the first that polled retailers. The song has been recorded in other wonderful renditions, including those by the Ink Spots, the Platters, and a spirited jazz rendition by Bill Evans [YouTube links] from the album "Interplay," featuring guitar great Jim Hall, trumpeter extraordinaire Freddie Hubbard, and the immortal rhythm section of bassist Percy Heath and drummer Philly Joe Jones. But this Dorsey rendition is perhaps most important because it helps us to spotlight the centennial year of the birth of the Chairman of the Board, something we will officially celebrate from Thanksgiving 2015 until Ol' Blue Eyes' 100th birthday on 12 December 2015. Enjoy the sounds of a melancholy Grammy Hall of Fame recording that should only bring smiles to every listener [YouTube link].

July 04, 2015

Song of the Day #1263

Song of the Day: You're a Grand Old Flag features the music and lyrics of George M. Cohan. It was actually written for his 1906 stage musical, "George Washington Jr." All I know is that I came from an era when we were taught songs such as this in elementary school, and they made an indelible mark on my educational upbringing. I know the words backwards and forwards, and no matter how many Yahoos love it, there is a humble quality inherent in its lyric, for no matter how deeply it tributes the "free and the brave," it is "never a boast or a brag." Check out the wonderful version performed by James Cagney, the iconic gangster who won an Academy Award for Best Actor, playing one of the great song and dance men of all time, in the 1942 bio flick, "Yankee Doodle Dandy" on YouTube. And a Happy Independence Day. May the revolution that made every heart beat true for the "red, white, and blue" live forever!

July 02, 2015

New July 2015 Issue of The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies

I am delighted to announce the publication of the July 2015 issue (Volume 15, Number 1, Issue 29) of The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies, published by Pennsylvania State University Press.

THE NEW JULY 2015 JARS

The issue exhibits our truly interdisciplinary character. Essays dealing with subjects as diverse as epistemology, literary criticism, psychology, feminism, and ethics are featured.

The issue begins with a Call for Papers on the subject, "Assessing the Legacy of Nathaniel Branden," written by me, as one of the founding co-editors of the journal. For more information on the planned symposium, see here and here.

The issue then gets off to a monumentally provocative start with an essay by Susan Love Brown, which delves into the controversial issue of "Ayn Rand and Rape," focusing on the famous "rape" scene in Rand's novel, The Fountainhead. Co-authors Marc Champagne and Mimi Reisel Gladstein present the first essay in the literature that engages in a comparative study of the works of Simone de Beauvoir and Ayn Rand.

In keeping with our tradition of expanding the global universe of scholars engaging in Rand studies and appearing in our pages for the first time, we have Anna Kostenko, a professor teaching at the National Technical University in Zaporozhye, Ukraine, who examines the parallels and distinctions beteen Rand and Vladimir Nabokov; Gary Chartier, professor of law and business ethics from La Cierra University, who reviews Jason Brennan's book, Why Not Capitalism?; author Troy Camplin, who reviews two current studies in libertarian literary criticism (one by Allen P. Mendenhall, the other by Edward W. Younkins); and feminist-libertarian scholar Wendy McElroy, who reviews the second edition of Sciabarra's book, Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical, which will, no doubt, provoke a discussion in one of our forthcoming issues (I think I could take editor's privilege on my own Notablog by saying that, yes, I've written my own reply already (and there is at least one more that has been finalized)! It is, after all, hard to believe that the book is, indeed, twenty years old this summer!)

The new July 2015 edition also includes essays by Roger E. Bissell, critiquing the Objectivist theory of volition, and Robert L. Campbell, critiquing the notion of "psychologizing" in the Rand literature. We conclude with a symposium featuring a discussion of Marsha Familaro Enright's provocative July 2014 essay "The Problem with Selfishness," with replies by Arnold Baise and Merlin Jetton, and a rejoinder by Enright. That essay has provoked so many responses that we will be featuring a follow-up discussion in our July 2016 issue.

Our December 2016 is tentatively set for the forthcoming symposium, "Assessing the Work and Legacy of Nathaniel Branden," which is fast filling up with contributions from scholars across the globe coming from vastly different disciplines.

Here is the official Table of Contents (readers can access abstracts here and contributor biographies here):

JULY 2015 THE JOURNAL OF AYN RAND STUDIES - TABLE OF CONTENTS

Editor’s Introduction: Assessing the Legacy of Nathaniel Branden - Chris Matthew Sciabarra

ARTICLES

Ayn Rand and Rape - Susan Love Brown

Beauvoir and Rand: Asphyxiating People, Having Sex, and Pursuing a Career - Marc Champagne and Mimi Reisel Gladstein

Ayn Rand and Vladimir Nabokov: The Issue of Literary Dialogue - Anna Kostenko

The Prohibition Against Psychologizing - Robert L. Campbell

Where There’s a Will, There’s a “Why”: A Critique of the Objectivist Theory of Volition - Roger E. Bissell

BOOK REVIEWS

Liberating Capitalism? (A review of Jason Brennan's book, Why Not Capitalism?) - Gary Chartier

Freedom and Fiction (Reviews of Literature and Liberty: Essays in Libertarian Literary Criticism by Allen P. Mendenhall and Exploring Capitalist Fiction: Business through Literature and Film by Edward W. Younkins) - Troy Camplin

Russian Radical: Twenty Years Later (A review of the second edition of Chris Matthew Sciabarra's book, Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical) - Wendy McElroy

DISCUSSION

Symposium on Marsha Familaro Enright’s essay, “The Problem with Selfishness”

- Reply to Marsha Familaro Enright: Selfishness and the OED - Arnold Baise

- Reply to Marsha Familaro Enright: Conceptual Classifications - Merlin Jetton

- Rejoinder to Arnold Baise and Merlin Jetton: Differing Conceptual Classifications for Selfishness - Marsha Familaro Enright

We know readers will enjoy the issue; it is already published online through JSTOR, but print versions will be arriving in the mailboxes of subscribes by July 10ish. For information on subscriptions, see here

June 28, 2015

Song of the Day #1262

Song of the Day: One, a song written by Harry Nilsson, and covered by Three Dog Night in 1969, reached the Top 5 on the Billboard pop chart. It was also among the Top 40 songs on the Stonewall Inn jukebox on this date in that year, when the historic riots against police raids took place. I mark this date each year, which today inspires the annual NYC LGBT Pride Parade. Indeed, it takes just One individual to stand up and fight for the right to exist and to pursue personal happiness. One may be "the loneliest number," as the lyric says, but in the wee small hours of this date (most people were actually out on the night of June 27th, but it was technically after midnight when the 27th melted into the 28th), and the NYPD pushed into the Stonewall Inn for just another routine raid. This time there would be nothing routine about it. Many Ones stood up and pushed back. Long live the Stonewall Rebellion and freedom and equality under the rule of law! Check out the Three Dog Night rendition on YouTube.

June 25, 2015

Song of the Day #1261

Song of the Day: Leave Me Alone, words and music by Michael Jackson, appeared initially only on CD versions of his post-Thriller album, "Bad." Today marks the sixth anniversary of the entertainer's passing. It's a sad anniversary for those of us who continue to enjoy the gifts he left behind. (Yesterday, we remembered James Horner, who also had a connection to MJ: he did the scoring for "Captain EO" [YouTube full-length clip].) Check out the song, with its irresistable melodic hook and shuffle beat matched to stunning video visuals on YouTube. That work received a Grammy Award for Best Music Video in 1990. And while you're at it, check out the Pentatronix Tribute to the Evolution of Michael Jackson [YouTube link].

June 24, 2015

Song of the Day #1260

Song of the Day: Apollo 13 ("Re-Entry and Splashdown") [YouTube link], music by James Horner, is an appropriate way to honor the brilliant composer who passed away tragically on 22 June 2015 in a plane crash. The 1995 film, directed by Ron Howard, and starring Tom Hanks, is a tribute to the rational human spirit,which triumphs against all odds. This particular cue gives us a glimpse of Horner's manner of exhibiting the central theme of a film score through a prism of variations that both reflect and propel the action on screen. He did this through over 150 soundtracks, from "Aliens" to "Titanic," an unforgettable legacy to the art of the score.

June 12, 2015

Song of the Day #1259

Song of the Day: Horror of Dracula ("Main Title") [YouTube link], composed by James Bernard, captures all the genuine horror of the Hammer Studio's 1958 red-blooded color reboot of the classic Bram Stoker tale. The film starred the late, great Christopher Lee in the title role, with Peter Cushing playing his classic nemesis, Dr.Van Helsing, in this and a few vampire sequels (though the two starred in 22 films together, ranging from "Hamlet" to Hammer Horror). Lee passed away this week but left a stupendous legacy of chills and thrills for his legion of fans in the horror, fantasy, and sci-fi genres (indeed, who can forget his classic duel as Count Dooku with Yoda in "Star Wars, Episode Two: Attack of the Clones" [YouTube link]. He will be missed.

June 07, 2015

Song of the Day #1258

Song of the Day: The King and I ("Shall We Dance?"), music and lyrics by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, was featured in the original 1951 production, which won the Tony for Best Musical, based on the Margaret Landon novel, "Anna and the King of Siam," which was made into a 1946 film drama, starring Rex Harrison as the King and Irene Dunne as Anna. Tonight, it's up for Best Revival of a Musical. On the stage and in the 1956 film, the role of the King of Siam was played by Yul Brynner (who, that same year, portrayed Ramesses, the Pharaoh, in DeMille's classic epic, "The Ten Commandments"). Brynner won the Tony and the Oscar for the role of the King of Siam, etc. etc. etc. In the film, Brynner played opposite Oscar-nominated Deborah Kerr (whose singing voice was dubbed by Marni Nixon), and in the original musical, he played opposite Tony Award winner Gertrude Lawrence. Check out the original Broadway version and the scene from the 1956 film. In any event, it seems so apropos that I highlight a musical that stars an actor who played a King and a Pharaoh both in the same year, for yesterday, American Pharoah (yes, that's the spelling) became King of the World. So before ending this year's mini-tribute to the music that has graced the Broadway stage, I am just delighted that my "Song of the Day" yesterday hit the nail on the head, so-to-speak; congratulations to American Pharoah for taking the first Triple Crown in 37 years, the 4th in my lifetime and only the 12th thoroughbred to achieve this since its nineteenth-century inception. Though, for me, nothing comes close to Secretariat, who ended a 25-year drought in Triple Crown winners extending back in time to Citation in 1948, for it was Secretariat who set records for the fastest run in all three legs of the Triple Crown (1:59 2/5 in the Kentucky Derby; 1:53 seconds in the Preakness Stakes; and a scorching 2:24 seconds flat to run the 1.5 miles of that grueling third leg in the Belmont Stakes (after all, "if you can make here, you can make it anywhere"). Moreover, Secretariat achieved his third victory by 31 lengths over the second-place finisher. None of this takes away from yesterday's winner. I'm glad I witnessed Seatle Slew and Affirmed take the last two trips to the Triple Crown in 1977 and 1978, respectively, but I was beginning to doubt we'd ever see another winner, considering that we're waiting 37 years in annual disappointment. So three cheers for American Pharoah. I'm so happy, well, I could just ask the next person I see: "Shall We Dance?" (Julie Andrews and Ben Vereen cover). And three cheers for those productions that are honored in tonight's Tony Awards. And so ends our annual mini-Broaday tribute, even if it was interspersed with a little sports history.
[Ed.: It looks like I picked two winners: "The King and I" won "Best Revival" and American Pharoah revived the Triple Crown!]

June 06, 2015

Song of the Day #1257

Song of the Day: Guys and Dolls ("Luck Be a Lady"), music and lyrics by Frank Loesser, was among those songs to grace this 1950 Broadway musical that won the Tony Award for Best Musical. It is also an appropriate song for the day; like in the musical, the action takes place in New York, and nothing is needed more than Luck, for today, American Pharoah races for The Triple Crown at Belmont Park. Check out the original Broadway version sung by Robert Alda (as the character "Sky Masterson") and the 1955 film version delivered by Marlon Brando. Check out other wonderful treatments of the song by Frank Sinatra and Barbra Streisand. And Go American Pharoah!.

June 05, 2015

Song of the Day #1256

Song of the Day: I Wish You Love was a French popular song from the 1940s, with music by Leo Chauliac and Charles Trenet, who also composed the lyrics (the song's original title is "Que reste-t-il no amours?"). It was rendered into English by Albert A. Beach. And it was one of the most famous moments in a 1967 one-woman show at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre given by Marlene Dietrich. In the show, Marlene was backed by Burt Bacharach and his huge orchestra, featuring a song list that included this famous tune, later immortalized in a television concert special, "An Evening with Marlene Dietrich." Check out Marlene's version and Keely Smith's version, which became her signature tune.

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