Respect, and Respects

So much of our life is to the background of music, at least in the modern world, with our cars and their radios. I use the older term intentionally because this post reaches back to the 60s when an AM radio was what we had. We got by comfortably.

What else we had was great music to grow up by, and those artists continue to pass over these days. One of the greatest was Aretha Franklin, who died yesterday, of pancreatic cancer.

Scott Johnson reviews the musical history, better than I can so I’ll just quote it. I also stole that perfect title from him.

The metaphor of royal lineage was not entirely amiss in Aretha’s case. Her father, the Reverend C.L. Franklin, was the renowned Detroit preacher whose New Bethel Baptist Church provided the original venue for Aretha and her sisters, Erma and Carolyn. She became a child star as a gospel singer, signing a recording contract with Columbia Records at age 18 via the legendary producer John Hammond. At Columbia Aretha floundered as the label tried to turn her into a nightclub singer. Columbia never quite found the means to showcase her awesome talent.

Aretha arrived in the spring of 1967, courtesy of Jerry Wexler and Atlantic Records. Wexler signed Aretha to Atlantic in the fall of 1966. He sat Aretha at a piano and placed her in the midst of sympathetic musicians at the famed Muscle Shoals Studio in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. “I Never Loved a Man (the Way I Loved You)” was the result, and everyone involved knew that Aretha had found herself musically.

The Atlantic session resumed in New York and included the recording of Otis Redding’s “Respect,” the song that broke Aretha nationally overnight. According to Peter Guralnick’s excellent history Sweet Soul Music, Redding had a foreboding. He told Wexler upon hearing Aretha’s version of “Respect” in the studio for the first time: “I just lost my song. That girl took it away from me.” Onstage at the Monterey International Pop Festival later that year, Redding reiterated: “The girl took that song away from me.” If you were listening to the radio in the spring of 1967, you remember: The girl took the song away from him.

Yep, the girl took the song away from him.

Nobody else singing it is authentic anymore, or ever will be for any of us.

The hits just kept on a coming, she was a goodly part of the soundtrack of the growing up of a generation. Scott again:

Aretha’s glorious body of work on Atlantic ensued and continued into the mid-1970’s. The albums are full of buried treasures such as “Dr. Feelgood” and “Don’t Let Me Lose This Dream” from I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You (1967), “Going Down Slow” from Aretha Arrives (1967), “Ain’t No Way” and “Since You’ve Been Gone” from Lady Soul (1968), “I Say a Little Prayer” from Aretha Now (1968), “River’s Invitation” from Soul ’69 (1969), “Spirit in the Dark” from the album of the same name (1970), “Call Me” from This Girl’s In Love With You (1970), “Oh Me Oh My” and “Day Dreaming” from Young, Gifted and Black (1971), “You’re All I Need to Get By” and “Bridge Over Troubled Water” from Live at Fillmore West (1971), “How I Got Over” from Amazing Grace (1972), “Angel” from Hey Now Hey (The Other Side of the Sky) (1973), and “With Pen in Hand,” “Until You Come Back to Me” and “A Song for You” from Let Me in Your Life (1974), an album that is itself a buried treasure. (For another take on these recordings, see Wilson & Alroy’s record reviews.)

Scott also said this…

Listening to Aretha, I began to understand that soul music is secularized gospel music. I should have figured it out earlier, I admit, but I wasn’t familiar with gospel music. In “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man,” written by Dan Penn and Chips Moman, you can’t miss the lesson. What a tutorial this is, from her epochal 1967 debut on Atlantic. Here we arrive at a peak of Western civilization.

Completely right, and without him, I never would have realized it.

There is simply so much in the mix, this post could last all day. The Queen of Soul she was, and always will be. She indeed was a peak of our civilization. Behold:

And so now it is our turn to:

I never agreed with much that President Obama said, which you all know. But here, nobody could have said it better. How better than to end this.

The best there ever was or will be, and the best part is that she’ll be waiting for us. And yes, the beat goes on.

Rest in Peace

 

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Video Monday

Well, I don’t know, how about some Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to start the week off right. Sounds good to me.

Making fools out of Senators, of course that is low hanging fruit.

 

When he resigned as Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson prettyymuch took apart Theresa May’s government with very faint praise. Here it is.

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My friends over at The Conservative Woman found this a couple of weeks ago

It’s pretty good, although long. But I do agree with Fionn when he says:

Sam Harris is one of the ‘four horsemen of atheism’ with Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett and Richard Dawkins.

Jordan Peterson has a more ambivalent view of Christianity, talking about its wisdom and the necessary meaning it provides. However, he adopts a Jungian, metaphorical view and seems to believe there is truth, but not that it is the Truth.

Douglas Murray holds a similar view, concluding that Christianity is the best bulwark against Islamism and the progressive madness. Murray made a similar comment to the one I made here, that new religions are being formed by the day as we enter a new era of paganism and what will come may be worse than what was.

Heartening as it is to hear brilliant minds speak highly of Christianity, such an instrumental view of the faith will not survive. We cannot have Christianity without Christ, a religion founded on our (justifiable) hatred and fear of some things – nihilism, Islamism and progressivism – rather than our love of God.

Have a good Monday.

Seven Years

I had a notifier from WordPress yesterday that I had been doing this for seven years now. I sort of knew that but it had slipped my mind. Our lives sort of slip into periods and seven years will work for that. I’m well into the ninth of those and likely will see a couple more, if God is willing.

Here are the very first few paragraphs  we published:

I recently had an opportunity to travel by train back to Nebraska from Philadelphia. As most of you who have ever traveled by train know, it gives you a fair amount of time to reflect on whatever crosses your mind. For some reason this trip (which I actually take roughly every year) caused me to reflect on the industrial powerhouse that was America. If you travel by train, you see a lot of industrial areas new and old.  What struck me this time was coming through Pittsburgh, northern Ohio and northwest Indiana was remembering these areas when I was a kid back in the 60’s, when it was very common still to see the black smoke and flames shoot into the air at the steel mills. These were the mills that industrialized America and made the steel that built the machines that won two World Wars and conquered a continent and fed the world.

It is commonly said that steel built the railroad industry and the railroads built the steel industry and it’s true; if one includes coal in the steel industry. What awesome plants they were, for instance, the main street of Gary, Indiana (itself named for a steel executive) ends at the main gate of US Steel Gary Works. And remember a basic element of US Steel; Carnegie Steel produced more steel than Great Britain in the 1890’s. Pittsburgh was much the same, only possibly more so. Here was the steel produced that made the railroads, which then made the largest common market in the world, and the steel for the agricultural equipment that still feeds the world, and the steel for the American automobiles and the weapons and transportation of the American military that won two World Wars  and the Cold War.

On this trip you pass by the old Pullman Plant in Michigan City, Indiana that built railcars, mostly freight cars in this plant (the passenger cars came out of the plant in Pullman, Illinois). Now it is an outlet mall, and American passenger trains have Canadian built cars. You also pass the ruins of the Studebaker plant in South Bend as well as the old Bendix plant (this one is still operating, now owned by Robert Bosch AG).

Most of the plants are still there, many in ruins, some still operating, that gave this region the nickname of the Rust Belt. There are a lot of reasons why it is now the rust belt; without going into those reasons, it is a melancholy sight for a person that remembers these areas in full operation to see it half shut down and falling into ruin. This may truly symbolize the greatness of America in the future, the country that provided a far better living to the average man than anybody had ever dreamed possible; and provided much of it to the entire world as well.

From Reflections on a Train Trip.

There is a pathos in that, a kid from the rust belt seeing it now with fresh eyes, in all its declining glory. It would get worse.

Our best year here – so far – was 2012 with all the excitement of hoping that Romney would win the presidency, and the heartbreak when he didn’t, which explains why 2013 was the worst.

But 2012 was also when my former blogging partner turned up, and soon became the dearest friend I ever had. The one person in the world who I could talk about anything with, knowing she would understand. It was she, above all, who brought me back to Christianity, and introduced me to the wonders of Walsingham.

But all good things (and bad things too) pass. We nearly lost her to cancer in 2014, saved only by what was clearly a miracle from God himself, followed by a long recovery with only limited contact. Then something went wrong between us, and almost two years ago, she was gone. Leaving a hole in my life and my heart that is permanent. Every day, I look at her picture, and wonder what she is doing, and wish she would answer my questions, and give me comfort.

She was a key part of how NEO developed and is still read often here. She brought a perspective that broadened mine and has much to do with why we write about the UK these days.

But by then blogging was part of my life. For most of my life, I followed in my dad’s footsteps, working with electricity, and like the industry itself, doing things with it that he wouldn’t have comprehended. Now, in retirement, I follow in Mom’s, an English teacher, and a good one. I don’t know how good a teacher I am, although as I’ve often said, bringing along apprentices to be better than I was, was one of my chief joys in working.

In any case, it is a habit now, and one I have no desire to break. I enjoy the research, the writing, and most of all, the commenters, here and elsewhere. If one isn’t careful, it can easily become a lifestyle, and an enjoyable one, that I have no intention of ending.

But, to go back to the beginning of this article, how different it is today. We have a president that doesn’t think the future is limited and is trying to get the government out of our way.

The numbers tell part of the story, and it is a joy to read them, as it is to see how an American business perspective changes the entire world. But it is not the important part of the story. The important part is that the sleeping (perhaps the word should be comatose) giant is stirring and once again America is becoming optimistic.

This is something that Romney, for all our hopes, couldn’t have provided, good man that he is. This is something that it took a real estate developer from Brooklyn, who understood the working people to make happen.

So maybe, for all the busted dreams, Obama was the medicine, foul tasting though it was, that America needed.

So here’s to many more, my friends, and yes #MAGA

 

Ireland and Life

Tomorrow the people of Ireland will go to the polls. They will decide whether to repeal the 8th Amendment to their Constitution. That amendment states the following, “acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.”

As you all know, I couldn’t agree more with it, and I will consider it a travesty if they repeal such a common sense provision. But they might, hedonism runs strong, these days. Something Timothy M. Jackson wrote in The Federalist yesterday resonates strongly with me.

Start with any blatantly obvious premise that is grounded in a basic moral principle for producing a good and just society, and you will find that, according to the pro-choice proponent, abortion is the sole exception to all those standards. They would agree that all innocent human beings should be afforded protections under the law, except for the unborn.

They would concede that we have a responsibility to make sure all children are cared for, except for the unborn. They would argue that children with more needs and more dependence for survival should garner more compassion and heighten our responsibility to care for them rather than diminish it, except for the unborn.

They would argue that intentionally killing an innocent human being is always unjust, except for, well you get the idea. Ireland has recognized that this one exception has not been in line with reason. It is ad hoc. In other words, this one exception as has been concocted to defend the turf of abortion only.

Well, they are not exceptions, we all began as the unborn. Abortion is the ultimate selfishness, killing the weakest amongst us because one can’t be bothered to take care of the helpless.

Well, it’s not for me to tell the Irish what to do, but if they wish to maintain a moral society, there is only one answer, it is summed up in the old adage:

The first duty of the strong is to protect the weak.

Who amongst us could possibly be weaker than those who haven’t been born? And who could be more evil than those who would kill them?

I hope the Irish do the right thing.

Duty, and Honor

So this happened, as it should have.

Professor Williams is, of course, correct. But there is more to the story, and what it entails. First Fergus died at Loos, that horrible battle that also cost Rudyard Kipling his only son, not to mention almost 60,000 more British casualties in four days.

At the time of the battle, Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, then 14 years old, was helping her mother to prepare the family home (actually castle) Glamis for use as a convalescent hospital for men wounded in the war. His death (and his brother being on the missing list) devastated her mother, and much of the work of the conversion fell on her shoulders, even to the point of fighting a fire in the castle with some help from the soldiers. I wrote about her here and quoted one of her mottos: Duty Is the Rent You Pay For Life.

I’m quite sure that duty was in her mind when she placed that bouquet on the tomb of the unknown warrior in 1923. She had just married the younger brother of the Prince of Wales, who as Edward VIII would be forced to abdicate the throne in order to marry his American divorcee, Wallis Simpson. (That may have been judging by subsequent events one of the main reasons that the allies won the Second World War) and so she became the Queen. She was a paragon of duty to her people during the war, during the Blitz when it was proposed to evacuate her and her children Elizabeth and Margeret to Canada. Her reply was this.

“The Princesses will never leave without me. I will not leave without the King and the King will never leave,” 

In fact, it appears they intended to go down hard. In addition to learning how to drive and repair trucks, as soon as she was old enough.

Princess Elizabeth, now the Queen, firing a Lee-Enfield at small arms practice during World War II.

I am also reminded that in November of 1921, that same unknown warrior received a singular honor, one never before and never since granted. Let’s let the American Ambassador tell us about it.

“By an Act of the Congress of the United States, approved on March 4 of the present year, the President was authorized “to bestow, with appropriate ceremonies, military and civil, a Medal of Honour upon the unknown unidentified British soldier buried in Westmister Abbey.” The purpose of Congress was declared by the Act itself, in these words: “Animated by the same spirit of comradeship in which we of the American forces fought alongside of our Allies, we desire to add whatever we can to the imperishable glory won by the deeds of our Allies and commemorated in part by this tribute to their unknown dead.”

The Congressional Medal, as it is commonly termed because it is the only medal presented “in the name of Congress,” symbolizes the highest military honour that can be bestowed by the Government of the United States. It corresponds to the Victoria Cross and can be awarded only to an American warrior who achieves distinction “at the risk of life, above and beyond the call of duty.”

A special Act of Congress was required to permit the placing of it upon the tomb of a British soldier. The significance of this presentation, therefore, is twofold. It comprises, in addition to the highest military tribute, a message of fraternity direct from the American people, through their chosen representatives in Congress, to the people of the British Empire.

It was placed on that tomb by the second senior American officer in history, (Washington is, and always will be the senior American general) General of the Armies John. J. Pershing, saying this:

One cannot enter here and not feel an overpowering emotion in recalling the important events in the history of Great Britain that have shaped the progress of the nations. Distinguished men and women are here enshrined who, through the centuries, have unselfishly given their services and their lives to make that record glorious. As they pass in memory before us there is none whose deeds are more worthy, and none whose devotion inspires our admiration more, than this Unknown Warrior. He will always remain the symbol of the tremendous sacrifice by his people in the world’s greatest conflict.

It was he who, without hesitation, bared his breast against tyranny and injustice. It was he who suffered in the dark days of misfortune and disaster, but always with admirable loyalty and fortitude. Gathering new strength from the very force of his determination, he felt the flush of success without unseemly arrogance. In the moment of his victory, alas! we saw him fall in making the supreme gift to humanity. His was ever the courage of right, the confidence of justice. Mankind will continue to share his triumph, and with the passing years will come to strew fresh laurels over his grave.

As we solemnly gather about this sepulchre, the hearts of the American people join in this tribute to their English-speaking kinsman. Let us profit by the occasion, and under its inspiration pledge anew our trust in the God of our fathers, that He may guide and direct our faltering footsteps into paths of permanent peace. Let us resolve together, in friendship and in confidence, to maintain toward all peoples that Christian spirit that underlies the character of both nations.
And now, in this holy sanctuary, in the name of the President and the people of the United States, I place upon his tomb. the Medal of Honour conferred upon him by special Act of the American Congress, in commemoration of the sacrifices of our British comrade and his fellow-countrymen,and as a slight token of our gratitude and affection toward this people.

And so now, this grave has been decorated by an American Princess, now a Duchess, as she enters into what to many looks like a fairytale world, but is, in fact, a world that few of us would care to make our life in. It is a world of duty paramount, to do the right thing for the right reason. And that, in fact, is what caused the abdication, Edward VIII’s unwillingness to place his duty above his personal happiness.

The Duchess of Suffolk joins a distinguished line of American women, who in marrying British nobility, have strengthened both countries, Jennie Jerome, Winston Churchill’s mother, Lady Astor, the first woman to serve in Parliament, and now Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Suffolk. May God give her the ability to see the right, and the ability to do right.

 

Picture This Week

So, another week in the books.

YANNY, LAUREL, OR….

Muppet Outtakes!!!

Once upon a time, P.J O’Rourke gave a most cogent explanation of why America doesn’t get invaded. You might remember it. In any case, here is the visual aid.

Mom taught us to share, right?

Congratulations to  Kaitlyn Marie, a graduate of Kent State University, class of 2018. Now she can protect herself on campus.

As usual, mostly from PowerLine and Bookworm, and diverse other places. Enjoy!

ps.

And just a royal wedding quibble or two. A couple of my Anglican friends, @DrJulesGomes and Gavin Ashenden had reservations on the Bishop’s message at the royal wedding yesterday. I don’t disagree with them, and the bishop will likely never have a more bully pulpit, But I have my doubts that anybody was really paying all that much attention, it was after all a show wedding, and I don’t know about you, but at my wedding, I had a few other things on my mind beyond what the preacher was preaching at me.

It also struck me that if this was my daughter marrying into the British Royal Family, I’d want her to have the best and that Rolls Royce she went to church in, while a pretty decent car, and rare too, wasn’t considered the best when it was built. This was:

That is a 1936 Packard All Weather Cabriolet V12, which quite a few reviewers at the time thought was a better car than the Rolls Royce. This particular one would have been highly appropriate having both show business and British connections. How does that work, you ask? Well, its original owner was a chap by the name of Charlie Chaplin.

Ask the man who owns one.

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