Saturday, September 22, 2018

After Kavanaugh, A Way to Take the Spectacle Out of Confirmations

September 20, 2018

Image result for kavanaugh hearing

Is there a silver lining in the malignant circus now playing at the Capitol and beamed to computer and television screens across the fruited plain? Depending on when you happen to read this, you might ask: “Which circus? Who’s playing this week?”
Politics is by nature a performance art. The rhetor declaiming in the Agora or the orator fulminating in the Forum may not have been Cory Booker or Kamala Harris—and certainly wasn’t Dianne Feinstein—but we can see the same habits of exaggeration, grandstanding, calumny, and economy with the truth at work, to say nothing of Machiavellian calculation and preening self-regard.
Politics, in short, may be a high calling—the proper ordering of the state, after all, is a big deal—but it is assuredly a grubby business full of loathsome characters, backstabbing, and power-hungry melodrama. So what else is new?
Everyone’s personal metanoia proceeds at its own pace and is sparked by different contingencies. For me, this week’s performance, starring Judge Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, was a minor Saul-on-the-road-to-Damascus moment. I have long known, and often written, that the process by which we confirm candidates for the Supreme Court has become deeply corrupt. (I was going to say “politicized,” but that is not quite right: it’s by nature a political process, but one that has been perverted.)
As many commentators have noted, the definitive twist came with Ronald Reagan’s nomination of Robert Bork in 1987. That televised circus, unprecedented in its tawdriness, captivated the nation’s prurient attention and marked a brutal new low, unsurpassed even by the battalions of lies that surrounded Clarence Thomas during his confirmation hearings. This wasn’t “advice and consent” but naked power politics, shocking partly for its breathtaking mendacity and bad faith but mostly alarming because of what it betokened about the place of “the least dangerous branch” in the metabolism of out political life.
Yes, judges were men, and men were interested parties, but here—one had thought—was a part of our political process that was set slightly to one side of the usual rough and tumble “I-want-this-so-you-cannot-have-that” partisan squabbling. The still-novel idea, back then, was that we were a country of laws, not men, and we therefore required people of intelligence and good will who were sufficiently impartial to don the black robe signifying not that they had no personal interests but that they could be sufficiently dispassionate to bracket those interests in order to adjudicate a dispute on the basis of the settled law of the land in light of precedent and the Constitution. Once upon a time, that was the idea.
We still pay lip service to that idea, of course, and regarding some disputes something resembling that process still unfolds.
But there are many issues—the legalized slaughter of unborn infants is one—where an impartial interpretation of the law is not just unwanted; it is positively verboten (unless of course the desired result is assured from the beginning, in which case one has not interpretation—saying “what the law is” as Chief Justice John Marshall once put it—but rather the declaration of a forgone conclusion).
I was not so naïve as to think that the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh would be uncontentious. I knew that there would be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Still, I thought that he would be confirmed, after the usual histrionics, without much fuss. After all, he is not only eminently qualified, he is ostentatiously qualified, having served with eloquent distinction on one of the most distinguished courts in the country. He has written some 300 closely reasoned opinions, is widely respected across a broad spectrum of political sentiment, and has consistently shown himself to be thoughtful, dispassionate, and impartial. Yes, he is personally conservative. But his judicial philosophy and practice are such that he could be counted on not to weaponize the law for partisan ends.
I still think he will be confirmed, notwithstanding the recent psychologically challenged bimbo eruption. There are a few reasons I think Brett Kavanaugh will survive the sound and fury, the tale told by many idiots, that his confirmation hearing has descended into.
One reason I have already mentioned: his ostentatious qualification. “It didn’t help Bob Bork,” you might say, “and he was certainly eminently qualified.” Indeed he was. But the borking of Bork succeeded in part because of its novelty. Nothing like it had happened before, and the Reagan administration was blindsided by the orchestrated tsunami of abuse that swept over the nominee. We’ve been here before and so far Kavanaugh has made his inquisitors look like petulant children.
More telling, perhaps, is that shifting, fickle thing, the mood of the people. The confirmation hearings are nothing if not theater, and, just as in the old TV show “Queen for a Day,” there is an applause-o-meter active if implicit in the wings. You might think that the effort to destroy Kavanaugh is directed chiefly by hostile senators, but in the end it is subject to the mood of the public. In this gladiatorial contest, it is the crowd who will direct the emperor’s thumbs up or thumbs down. If the public is with him—and I think it is—Kavanaugh will be confirmed. When Dianne Feinstein pulled Christine Ford out of a hat, people were at first taken aback. “Heavens! Is this apparently upstanding gent just another reprobate?”
But it didn’t take long for this particular rabbit to be stewed. First, it was patent that the entire Feinstein-Ford drama was, as Andy McCarthy put it, a “set-up.” It had nothing to do with trying to decide whether Brett Kavanaugh had the competence and the temperament to be a worthy Supreme Court Justice and everything to do with partisan hackery. It was patently embarrassing.
Of course, partisan passion is not above a little (or indeed a lot) of embarrassment. Who cares about acting shamelessly as long as one gets one’s way? As William Hazlitt observed, “Those who lack delicacy hold us in their power.”
But that works only so long as it works.
Pardon the tautology. What I mean is that it only works so long as the mob is in its freshet of hysteria. The trouble with Ford is that she is such a poor weapon of execution. It was supposed to be Ford in the bedroom with a bathing suit. And for 15 minutes it seemed that it might work. But then the assault faltered. It is now, I believe, disintegrating in a rancorous, pathetic puddle of hysteria.
Howls from the pack of wolves were still echoing in the wind when people began to ponder some facts of the case. Ford’s unsupported allegation that Kavanaugh groped her at a drunken party 36 years ago (or was it 35? she can’t remember when it happened) is edged with mistiness. Where did it happen? She can’t remember that either.
Ford didn’t mention the incident to anyone for 30 years—30 years!—when she told a psychiatrist about it in the course of couples therapy. Even then, the name “Brett Kavanaugh” did not occur. For his part, Kavanaugh, as well as the only other people identified as having been involved—Mark Judge and Patrick J. Smyth—have strenuously denied the incident. Jennifer Braceras has it about right, I think, when she offers two likely scenarios:
A woman is trying to sink a Supreme Court nominee whom she believes (rightly or wrongly) puts Roe v. Wade in jeopardy, and she will be hailed as a hero and a patriot, offered lucrative speaking engagements, and a named professorship at a prestigious university.
Or how about this: A young, intoxicated woman is pushed on the bed and groped by an equally intoxicated young man. More than three decades later, during marital counseling, a middle-aged woman mentions the incident without naming the assailant. Still years later, she fills in the blanks and, inaccurately, attaches the name of Brett Kavanaugh to that memory.
These alternatives, I note, are not mutually exclusive.
Back to that metanoia I mentioned above. Attending to the reaction to this bizarre species of politicized street theater, I suspect that a turning point may finally have been reached. I sense a widespread revulsion building, not just against the cynical deployment of Christine Ford, an obviously damaged soul (she was groped, or thinks she may have been groped, in high school by a fellow teen and it “derails” her life for “four or five years”?), but also against what has become of the confirmation process for Supreme Court nominees. The entertainment value can be high, it is true—I would not willingly have missed Cory Booker’s “Spartacus” performance, for example—but I think many people are disgusted with the angry travesty into which this process has degenerated.
After Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed, I hope that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and his colleagues will take the opportunity to revise the way the confirmation process proceeds. Henceforth, the candidate should meet in private with senators over the course of a few weeks. Then the Judiciary Committee should vote on whether the candidate should be put forward for a vote of the Senate. Then the Senate should vote. No public hearings. “Advice and consent” does not mean “attempted public execution.” In this sense, if the public revulsion against the intended destruction of Brett Kavanaugh fails, Dianne Feinstein and the pathetic Christine Ford may have done an inadvertent public service. I am not sure that they would then deserve our thanks, though (should this reform come about) the consequences of their actions would certainly merit our gratitude.

Friday, September 21, 2018


The NHL had the opportunity to send a message by handing Max Domi a substantial suspension. Instead, he was given a vacation from the pre-season and the green light to suit up come opening night.

September 20, 2018

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Max Domi and Aaron Ekblad

The general rule of thumb in the NHL for supplemental discipline is that one playoff game is the equivalent of two regular-season games. So what is the equivalent when it comes to pre-season games? Well, that’s unclear, but we do know that if a guy goes out and sucker punches one of the league’s premier defensemen, a guy who also happens to have a history of concussions, despite that player having no interest in engaging in a fight, that will cost you five meaningless games and not a penny will be extracted from your bank account.

It also sends a clear message to any player who wants to skip the pre-season games that all he has to do is go out and try to scramble an opponent’s brain and, voila, instant vacation. Of course, sending messages has never been a strong suit of the oxymoron known as the NHL Player Safety Department.

That is not to say that the sentence for the remainder of the pre-season to Max Domi for his sucker punch to the face of Aaron Ekblad is a case of zero punishment for Domi and the Montreal Canadiens. The Habs are desperately seeking a No. 1 center and wanted to use the pre-season to determine whether Domi might be able to fill that role, with Jonathan Drouin as his left winger. That experiment is now on hold and Domi, who had a wonderful opportunity to make a positive first impression and quiet the critics who thought the Canadiens got robbed when they acquired him from the Arizona Coyotes for Alex Galchenyuk, will sit, a victim of his own recklessness and lack of discipline.

So the suspension is not a complete farce. But it’s close. Listen to DOPS director George Parros’ tone in the video explaining the suspension. “This is roughing,” he says of Domi’s infraction. He describes how Domi delivers a “forceful, bareknuckle punch to Ekblad’s face,” despite the fact that Ekblad is not a “willing combatant.” (Seriously. Willing combatant. That’s the kind of vernacular this league uses. Once again, it goes to show how far in the sand some the heads are of some of the people who hold the levers of power in this league.)

Parros points out that, “it is important to note that at no point in this altercation does Ekblad show any intent of participating in a fight,” and that, “frustrated by Ekblad’s unwillingness to fight, Domi drops his stick and glove and delivers a forceful blow to Ekblad’s face, causing a cut that required medical attention.” Just when you think Parros is going to lower the boom, the comes out the with equivalent of, “The NHL Department of Player Safety sentences Max Domi to reciting the Rosary with his grandmother each night for the next two weeks.”

Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo called the infraction “gutless,” but with all respect, he’s a little off the mark here. As the NHL organically weans itself off one-dimensional enforcers whose only redeeming quality is their ability to beat up people, this is an indication that old habits die very, very hard. Domi was simply living by the code of hockey that allows for him to drop his gloves and fight an opponent as payback for what he perceives to be an unpunished infraction against him, in this case a harmless slash. And the hockey world has always been tolerant of guys who use a sledgehammer to kill a fly. It has also taught Domi that when one guy drops his gloves, the natural and honorable instinct is for the other guy to do the same and engage. So don’t necessarily blame Domi for this because he was simply following the unwritten rules.

The only problem is, the game is changing. Not quickly enough, but it’s changing. When you think about it, the Domi incident had all the markings of the Todd Bertuzzi attack on Steve Moore, minus the sneak attack from behind. Both incidents involved one player who wanted to fight and another who didn’t, which was followed by a sucker punch to the head. The Bertuzzi incident was more than 14 years ago and it appears the hockey world hasn’t learned much from it. Almost 40 years ago in the NBA, Rudy Tomjanovich received a sucker punch from Kermit Washington and ended up with a brain injury so serious that he was able to taste his own spinal fluid. That’s how sideways these things can go sometimes.

That’s why Max Domi deserved a suspension of substance, not a vacation from the rest of the pre-season. But, as usual, the band of former enforcers who run NHL player safety saw differently.

Carry on, then…

Enough Masculinity to Make Any Soy-Boy Clutch His Pearls

September 20, 2018

Image result for armstrong: custer of the west

It’s a dead certainty that any wispy-beard wearing a “This is What Feminism Looks Like” t-shirt will be first-eaten in the zombie apocalypse. One only has to see the young harridans on college campuses and the boy-weasels they lead around by their nose-rings to know we live not in an age of toxic masculinity but rather one of toxic feminism and beta masculinity. A country does not grow great or maintain greatness by the power of beta-masculinity. It grows great by virtue of the kind of masculinity now called toxic and that Harry Crocker describes in his new book, Armstrong: The Custer of the West (Regnery).
Crocker’s story is a good old-fashioned yarn, a tall tale. How else to describe a story that includes a troop of Chinese acrobats stuffed into a makeshift cannon in order to fool the bad guys, and a mean dog that understands German and helps the hero out of more than one tight spot. He actually says to the dog, “no barkenzie” and the dog neither barkenzies or woofenzies.
The book’s conceit is that General George Armstrong Custer never died at Little Bighorn but was captured by Indians and made a slave to a white woman-turned-squaw named Rachel. The fetching Rachel appeals to Custer’s innate and darned near irresistible masculinity to help her escape her captors and thus begins a rollicking gallop through a comic western landscape told by Custer himself as a letter to his wife Libbie.
Custer and Rachel, who is now his ward, escape to a nearby town whereupon Custer immediately is forced to kill a man. Escaping from the dead man’s friends, Custer runs plumb into “a camp of big, garish wagons—theatrical wagons” belonging to Miss Sallie Saint-Jean and her traveling troupe of showgirls, Chinese acrobats, and the like. Naturally, the troupe was in need of a Chinese trick shooter, so now-Chinese Custer steps up, but during that evening’s show he up and kills a few more miscreants whereupon he escapes, changes disguise and becomes Armstrong Armstrong, a U.S. Marshall on the hunt for the murderous Chinese trick shooter.
All of this happens in the first 30 pages. Whew. Armstrong Armstrong now leads his ward Rachel and Miss Saint-Jean’s troupe to yet another town, called Bloody Gulch, where there are damsels in distress, men enslaved, and children chained. The rest of the book pits our knight errant over against the malevolent Seth Larson and his band of gunslingers, and bloodthirsty Injuns.
Among the many delightful things about the book is its unabashed political incorrectness. There is a very clear line between good and evil. No shades of gray. The evil Injuns, as opposed to the good Injuns, are truly evil. What’s more, they’re dirty, and they stink. Custer calls them savages. Custer refers to the Chinese acrobats as Chinamen. He mocks the way Chinese “talkie talkie” English, a mockery now forbidden. And then there is Custer’s near obsession with beautiful women.
Just about every time Custer comes upon one of the ladies of Bloody Gulch he becomes a poet to the female form. About to rescue a sleeping damsel he describes “her golden tresses splashed over her pillow like sunbeams across the clouds, her beauty like that of a goddess from ancient Greece.” Before waking her, he even brushes his teeth with a pinch of salt “ready now for anything that might happen.” Keep in mind, this is a letter to his wife.
He describes Miss Sallie as spinning on a high heel and ambling down to the saloon “with a walk that, if I may be so blunt, would have brought some men to their knees.” Another wore, “black high heels that could drive both nails and a hard bargain.” Crawling through a tight tunnel behind Isabel Johnson, he notes her “bustle swaying gently to and fro as if borne on the waves of a salty ocean . . . ” He refers to the “calming effects of Isabel’s rolling bustles, beckoning like a beacon in the night . . . ”
I am put in mind of the visit of the French president to Washington, D.C. some months ago. The local paper ran a photograph taken from behind of Mrs. Macron and, more to the point, Mrs. Trump. The purpose of the photo was rather evident as Mrs. Trump wore a rather formfitting white dress. It was amusing to see the apparent hypocrisy of the usually feminist and tut-tutting Washington Post. Personally, I was somewhat startled at the subject matter which I described as “arresting” on Twitter and was promptly accused of favoring sexual assault or some such nonsense.
Crocker knows men used to be able to gaze upon a woman’s beauty but also that he could not linger lest the imagination is sinfully engaged. He might even comment but would go no further than a chaste “my-my,” maybe “my-oh-my.” But the toxic feminists and soy-boys of our time will surely call out “rape culture!” upon hearing any of this. There used to be a fairly bright line between admiring a woman’s shape and being a pig. Sadly, these days it seems men are either pigs or pussies, no in between, no place for knowing gentlemen, no place for Custer—or Crocker, for that matter.
Custer’s real business at Bloody Gulch is no less than the reestablishment of Western Civilization. Each of the primary progenitors of our culture has been strangled by Seth Larson and his band of cutthroats; families busted up, the church and the school closed. The only buildings in use are the hotel and the saloon. There aren’t even any cultural events, that is, not until Custer leads Miss Sallie and her troupe into town.
There is much to enjoy in Crocker’s book; a multilingual Indian who spouts Catholic catechism, theology, and philosophy, a Southern gentleman late of the Lost Cause secretly working for the hated Republican Ulysses S. Grant, plot twists and reveals, and manly speechifying on leadership, governance, duty, and even forgiveness.
Custer of the West says, “Heroism does not dim with age. Heroes do not fade from memory. They are immortalized in song and story, in statuary and stone, and no society—certainly not the United States of America!—that seeks to perpetuate itself can neglect its ancient, or not so ancient, heroes: its George Washingtons, its Andrew Jacksons, its Davy Crocketts, its Winfield Scotts, its McClellans, its Custers!” Custer even grants the heroism of “its Lees, Stonewall Jacksons, its A.P. Hills.”
There is enough masculinity in this book to make any soft-boy-feminist clutch his pearls and take to his fainting couch.

Today's Tune: Bob Dylan - If You See Her Say Hello (Take 1) (Lyric Video)

Bob Dylan Plots Massive ‘Blood On The Tracks’ Reissue for Latest ‘Bootleg Series’

By Andy Greene
September 20, 2018

Bob Dylan - More Blood, More Tracks: The Bootleg Series Vol 14

Blood on the Tracks has always been one of Bob Dylan’s most mysterious albums, but the upcoming Bootleg Series More Blood, More Tracksset for release November 2nd, will finally reveal, piece-by-piece, how the 1975 LP came together over just six days at studios in New York City and Minneapolis, Minnesota.
A test pressing of the original album that pre-dated Dylan’s decision to recut five of the songs in Minneapolis has circulated within bootleg circles for decades, but the vast majority of takes on More Blood, More Tracks have never been heard. They include solo, acoustic renditions of “Tangled Up In Blue,” “Simple Twist of Fate” and “If You See Her, Say Hello” that are staggering in their intimacy and emotional rawness, a previously unknown cover of the standard “Spanish Is the Loving Tongue” and take after take of classics like “Idiot Wind” and “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go” where Dylan fine-tunes the songs until he finds just the right arrangement.
 “This collection shows how the songs mutated and changed as Bob kept reapplying himself,” says a source close to the Dylan camp. “Even when the band isn’t quite working right, he’s still able to give 100 percent. He never wavers in his intensity.”
Dylan originally recorded the album across four days in September 1974 at A&R Studios in New York with producer Phil Ramone. For reasons he’s never fully explained, he recut five of the songs at Sound 80 Studio in Minneapolis three months later. Every single take from the New York sessions is on More Blood, More Tracks, but the outtakes from the Minneapolis sessions have been lost. “We have no idea what happened to them,” says the source. “We have the feeling that Bob only worked on those five tracks. If there was anything else, he was being pretty heavily bootlegged at the time, so maybe they were wiped. Who knows?”
Discerning Dylan’s motives decades later is practically impossible, but More Blood, More Tracks makes a convincing argument that he was seriously considering recording Blood on the Tracks as a solo, acoustic record. He’d been playing friends the songs on the acoustic guitar for months prior to cutting the album and he began the first day of recording totally alone. “It’s pretty apparent that Bob went in with a fully-realized concept of doing an acoustic record,” says the source. “At least that’s our belief. He does the first six or seven songs twice each and they are very polished.”
But after a couple hours that first day, bassist Tony Brown, drummer Richard Crooks, keyboardist Thomas McFaul and guitarists Eric Weissberg, Charles Brown II and Barry Kornfeld joined the musician. They struggled to match the simplicity of Dylan’s raw renditions of the tunes. “The way Bob works in the studio is instinctual and players are supposed to get it and play along,” says the source. “These guys were called in spur of the moment. They just couldn’t get their feel together. There are excellent players in the band, but they were flummoxed by the material and Bob was just moving so fast.” (He still filed an album to Columbia after four days of work, but just before Christmas he decided to hold the Minneapolis sessions with a different band.)
Rumors of a Blood on the Tracks Bootleg Series have swirled for years, but the Dylan camp was reluctant to commit to it. “For a lot of years we’ve been trying to figure out how to do this,” says the source. “But it’s an unusual project because there’s just 12 songs, or 13 if you count ‘Spanish Is The Loving Tongue,’ and he’s trying to find his way into them. And there’s no outtakes from Minneapolis.”
They began to change their minds when they made digital copies of every bit of Blood on the Tracks material in the vaults for preservation purposes and listened back to the rough mixes. On the finished album, Ramone added in a ton of echo and sped up the tape by about three percent to sweeten the sound. “We thought it would be really interesting to see what the songs might sound like gently mixed in a way that brought out the closeness that we were hearing on these rough mixes,” says the source. “That made us think there was a whole other way of doing this and that there was something valuable to be done with this stuff. When you strip away the echo and run it at the right speed, there’s more of a verité sound. It’s sounds like you are in the room with Bob.”
Getting all of the information off the original tapes was a very delicate process. Tape from the 1960s, broadly speaking, tend to last for decades in the vault without many problems, though tape from the 1970s is often far more delicate. To prevent the oxide from falling off the tape and literally turning to dust once fed into a machine, technicians had to bake the them so the oxide would adhere to the tapes. “We’re always worried about what is going to happen to tapes in the future,” says the source. “Whenever we have a chance we try to bake the tapes and fix whatever we can.”
Ramone didn’t run multi-track tapes during every Blood on the Tracks take, so some of the recording were only captured on mono ¼” rough mixes. That’s preferable to the Minneapolis situation where everything but the masters are forever lost, but on More Blood, More Tracks those five masters have been remixed to provide listeners with a different experience than the album.
More Blood, More Tracks will be available as a one CD/two LP set featuring different takes of every song from the original Blood on the Tracks along with the outtake “Up To Me.” The six-disc set contains every single Blood on the Tracks recording in the Dylan vault. There’s also a hardcover book featuring notes by rock historian Jeff Slate and a reproduction of one of Dylan’s three Blood on the Tracks notebooks that includes page after page of his original handwritten drafts from the era, including many that he never attempted in the studio. It comes from the collection of George Hecksher, who donated it to the Morgan Library in New York. Two other Blood on the Tracks notebooks currently reside at the Bob Dylan Archive at the University of Tulsa.
Image result for bob dylan more blood
More Blood, More Tracks – The Bootleg Seres Vol. 14 Complete Tracklisting
1 CD / 2LP
Tangled Up in Blue (9/19/74, Take 3, Remake 3)
Simple Twist of Fate (9/16/74, Take 1)Shelter from the Storm (9/17/74, Take 2)You’re a Big Girl Now (9/16/74, Take 2)Buckets of Rain (9/18/74, Take 2, Remake)If You See Her, Say Hello (9/16/74, Take 1)Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts (9/16/74, Take 2)Meet Me in the Morning (9/19/74, Take 1, Remake)Idiot Wind (9/19/74, Take 4, Remake)You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go (9/17/74, Take 1, Remake)Up to Me (9/19/74, Take 2, Remake)
All Tracks RecordedA & R StudiosNew York 9/16 – 9/19/1974Tracks Recorded 9/16 & 18Bob Dylan – vocals, guitar, harmonicaTracks Recorded 9/17 & 19Bob Dylan – vocals, guitar, harmonicaTony Brown – bassAll songs written by Bob Dylan
Six-CD Deluxe Edition
A & R StudiosNew YorkSeptember 16, 1974
If You See Her, Say Hello (Take 1) – solo
If You See Her, Say Hello (Take 2) – solo – previously released on The Bootleg Series, Vols. 1-3: Rare and Unreleased, 1961-1991You’re a Big Girl Now (Take 1) – soloYou’re a Big Girl Now (Take 2) – soloSimple Twist of Fate (Take 1) – soloSimple Twist of Fate (Take 2) – soloYou’re a Big Girl Now (Take 3) – soloUp to Me (Rehearsal) – soloUp to Me (Take 1) – soloLily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts (Take 1) – soloLily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts (Take 2) – solo – included on Blood On The Tracks test pressing
Bob Dylan – vocals, guitar, harmonica
A & R StudiosNew YorkSeptember 16, 1974
Simple Twist of Fate (Take 1A) – with band
Simple Twist of Fate (Take 2A) – with bandSimple Twist of Fate (Take 3A) – with bandCall Letter Blues (Take 1) – with bandMeet Me in the Morning (Take 1) – with band – edited version included on Blood On The Tracks test pressing and previously released onBlood On The TracksCall Letter Blues (Take 2) – with band – previously released on The Bootleg Series, Vols. 1-3: Rare and Unreleased, 1961-1991Idiot Wind (Take 1) – with bassIdiot Wind (Take 1, Remake) – with bassIdiot Wind (Take 3 with insert) – with bassIdiot Wind (Take 5) – with bassIdiot Wind (Take 6) – with bassYou’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go (Rehearsal and Take 1) – with bandYou’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go (Take 2) – with bandYou’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go (Take 3) – with bandYou’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go (Take 4) – with bassYou’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go (Take 5) – with bandYou’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go (Take 6) – with bandYou’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go (Take 6, Remake) – with bandYou’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go (Take 7) – with bandYou’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go (Take 8) – with band
Bob Dylan: vocals, guitar, harmonica
Eric Weissberg, Charles Brown III, Barry Kornfeld: guitarsThomas McFaul: keyboardsTony Brown: bassRichard Crooks: drumsBuddy Cage: steel guitar (5-6)
A & R StudiosNew YorkSeptember 16, 1974
Tangled Up in Blue (Take 1) – with bass
A & R StudiosNew YorkSeptember 17, 1974
You’re a Big Girl Now (Take 1, Remake) – with bass and organ
You’re a Big Girl Now (Take 2, Remake) – with bass, organ, and steel guitar –included on Blood On The Tracks test pressing and previously released on BiographTangled Up in Blue (Rehearsal) – with bass and organTangled Up in Blue (Take 2, Remake) – with bass and organSpanish Is the Loving Tongue (Take 1) – with bass and pianoCall Letter Blues (Rehearsal) – with bass and pianoYou’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go (Take 1, Remake) – with bass and pianoShelter from the Storm (Take 1) – with bass and piano – previously released on the Jerry McGuire original soundtrackBuckets of Rain (Take 1) – with bassTangled Up in Blue (Take 3, Remake) – with bassBuckets of Rain (Take 2) – with bassShelter from the Storm (Take 2) – with bassShelter from the Storm (Take 3) – with bassShelter from the Storm (Take 4) – with bass – previously released on Blood On The Tracks
Bob Dylan: vocals, guitar, harmonica
Tony Brown: bassPaul Griffin: keyboards (2-9)Buddy Cage: steel guitar (3)
A & R StudiosNew YorkSeptember 17, 1974
You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go (Take 1, Remake 2) – with bassYou’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go (Take 2, Remake 2) – with bass – previously released on Blood On The Tracks
A & R StudiosNew YorkSeptember 18, 1974
Buckets of Rain (Take 1, Remake) – solo
Buckets of Rain (Take 2, Remake) – soloBuckets of Rain (Take 3, Remake) – soloBuckets of Rain (Take 4, Remake) – solo
A & R StudiosNew YorkSeptember 19, 1974
Up to Me (Take 1, Remake) – with bass
Up to Me (Take 2, Remake) – with bassBuckets of Rain (Take 1, Remake 2) – with bassBuckets of Rain (Take 2, Remake 2) – with bassBuckets of Rain (Take 3, Remake 2) – with bassBuckets of Rain (Take 4, Remake 2) – with bass – previously released on Blood On The TracksIf You See Her, Say Hello (Take 1, Remake) – with bass – previously included on Blood On The Tracks test pressingUp to Me (Take 1, Remake 2) – with bassUp to Me (Take 2, Remake 2) – with bassUp to Me (Take 3, Remake 2) – with bassBuckets of Rain (Rehearsal) – with bassMeet Me in the Morning (Take 1, Remake) – with bass – previously released on the “Duquesne Whistle” 7” singleMeet Me in the Morning (Take 2, Remake) – with bassBuckets of Rain (Take 5, Remake 2) – with bass
Bob Dylan: vocals, guitar, harmonica
Tony Brown: bass (1-2, 7-20)
A & R StudiosNew YorkSeptember 19, 1974
Tangled Up in Blue (Rehearsal and Take 1, Remake 2) – with bass
Tangled Up in Blue (Take 2, Remake 2) – with bassTangled Up in Blue (Take 3, Remake 2) – with bass – included on Blood On The Tracks test pressing and previously released on The Bootleg Series, Vols. 1-3: Rare and Unreleased, 1961-1991Simple Twist of Fate (Take 2, Remake) – with bassSimple Twist of Fate (Take 3, Remake) – with bass – previously released on Blood On The TracksUp to Me (Rehearsal and Take 1, Remake 3) – with bassUp to Me (Take 2, Remake 3) – with bass – previously released on BiographIdiot Wind (Rehearsal and Takes 1-3, Remake) – with bassIdiot Wind (Take 4, Remake) – with bassIdiot Wind (Take 4, Remake) – with organ overdub – included on Blood On The Tracks test pressing and previously released on The Bootleg Series, Vols. 1-3: Rare and Unreleased, 1961-1991You’re a Big Girl Now (Take 1, Remake 2) – with bassMeet Me in the Morning (Take 1, Remake 2) – with bassMeet Me in the Morning (Takes 2-3, Remake 2) – with bass
Bob Dylan: vocals, guitar, harmonica
Tony Brown: bass
A & R StudiosNew YorkSeptember 19, 1974
You’re a Big Girl Now (Takes 3-6, Remake 2) – with bass
Tangled Up in Blue (Rehearsal and Takes 1-2, Remake 3) – with bassTangled Up in Blue (Take 3, Remake 3) – with bass
Sound 80 StudioMinneapolis, MNDecember 27, 1974
Idiot Wind – with band – previously released on Blood On The TracksYou’re a Big Girl Now – with band – previously released on Blood On The Tracks
Sound 80 StudioMinneapolis, MNDecember 30, 1974
Tangled Up in Blue – with band – previously released on Blood On The TracksLily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts – with band – previously released on Blood On The TracksIf You See Her, Say Hello – with band – previously released on Blood On The Tracks
Bob Dylan: vocals, guitar, harmonica, organ (4-5), mandolin (8)
Tony Brown: bass (1-3)Chris Weber: guitar (4-6, 8)Kevin Odegard: guitar (6)Peter Ostroushko: mandolin (8)Gregg Inhofer: keyboards (4-8)Billy Peterson: bass (4, 6-7)Bill Berg: drums (4-8)
All songs written by Bob Dylan except Spanish Is the Loving Tongue (traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
New York sessions originally engineered by Phil Ramone
Minneapolis sessions originally engineered by Paul Martinson

Thursday, September 20, 2018

New Eichmann Film Puts the Lie to Hannah Arendt's "Banality of Evil"

September 18, 2018

Image result for operation finale
Ben Kingsley as Adolf Eichmann in 'Operation Finale'

One of the most notorious lines -- and lies -- that grew out of the trial of Adolf Eichmann for his important role in the Holocaust, was what Hannah Arendt called "the banality of evil," meaning that even the most horrific people can appear insipid. Arendt was assigned to report on the 1961 trial of Eichmann in Jerusalem, but according to contemporaries, she rarely attended the trial. She came to Jerusalem having made up her mind in advance that Eichmann in particular and other perpetrators of the evils of the Holocaust in general, were ordinary nondescript functionaries. She reported on the trial with an agenda. It was not necessary for her actually to observe and listen to Eichmann because to do so might undercut her thesis. So instead she wrote a mendacious screed in which she constructed a stick-figure caricature of one of the most significant perpetrators of the Holocaust.

I use the word mendacious deliberately, because it seems Arendt knew better. One of Hitler's key supporters was Professor Martin Heidegger, perhaps the most influential philosopher of his day. Arendt was his student and lover. After the war, she tried desperately to rehabilitate him. He was anything but banal. Nor were Göring, Goebbels, Himmler, Hitler and the numerous doctors and lawyers who were tried at Nuremberg. Neither were the university students who began by burning Jewish books and ended by burning Jewish children. The perpetrators of the Holocaust -- from those who organized it in Berlin to those who carried it out in the death camps and killing fields -- included some of the most brilliant young men and women in Germany. Many left university to participate in the "final solution" and then returned to highly prestigious jobs in post-war Germany.

Adolf Eichmann was also anything but banal, as a perusal of the trial transcript reveals. In the new film Operation Finale, he is played by Ben Kingsley. Although the film partakes of Hollywood liberties -- a romance between a beautiful doctor who in reality was a man and the film's Israeli hero -- Kingsley's fictional portrayal of Eichmann is far more realistic than the allegedly non-fiction account by Arendt.

The late Professor Telford Taylor -- who was my teacher, mentor, colleague and friend -- had been the chief prosecutor at the Second Nuremberg Trials. He was invited to report on the trial as well. He invited me along as his assistant and translator, but I had just been elected editor-in-chief at the Yale Law Journal and could not accept his offer -- a decision I have long regretted. When he returned, he gave me his account of the trial, which varied enormously from that of Hannah Arendt. Where she saw banality, he saw calculation, manipulation and shrewdness. These characteristics come through far more clearly in the film than in Hannah Arendt's deeply flawed account. In the film, we see a highly manipulative, shrewd judge of character who seeks to use his psychological insights to his advantage.

Nor was Arendt's book, Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil, the only effort by Germans to attribute banality and ignorance to the perpetrators of the Holocaust. In Bernhard Schlink's award-winning book, The Reader, turned into a critically-acclaimed film starring Kate Winslet, a woman who actively participated in the mass-murder of Jews is presented as embarrassed by her illiteracy. Readers and viewers come away believing that she may have been more typical of hands-on perpetrators than the SS and Einsatzgruppen.

Deliberately distorting the history of the Holocaust -- whether by denial, minimization, unfair comparisons or false characterizations of the perpetrators -- is a moral and literary sin. Arendt is a sinner who placed her ideological agenda, to promote a view of evil as mundane, above the truth. To be sure, there are untruths as well in Operation Finale, but they are different in kind rather than degree. Some of the drama and chase scenes are contrived, but what else can be expected of Hollywood? What is important is that Eichmann is presented in his multifaceted complexity, in the manner in which Shakespeare presented Iago, Lady Macbeth and many of his other villains -- not as banal but as brilliantly evil.

It is essential to the past memory of the victims of the Holocaust, as well as to the future efforts to prevent recurrences of genocide, that we not simplify with ideologically driven and historically false oversimplifications such as "the banality of evil." That mendacious and dangerous phrase should be struck from the historical vocabulary of the Holocaust and the trial of Eichmann, lest we look in the future for banality and miss the brilliance of those who would repeat Eichmann's crimes.

Alan M. Dershowitz is the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law Emeritus at Harvard Law School and author of "The Case Against Impeaching Trump," Skyhorse publishing, 2018.