Monday, April 10, 2006

An expedition into Volkskultur

My previous little personal memoirs here seem generally to have been well-received, so here is another!

Intellectually, I have been an utter atheist for over 40 years but emotionally I am still the Bible-bashing Protestant fundamentalist I was in my teens. And one consequence of that is that I have a great love of Christian music, including popular hymns. So I feel very much at home with ALL the sacred music of my Volk. I would scarcely be a lover of Bach otherwise as his inspiration was very much in German Protestantism and its great music.

So when Anne suggested that we attend a "Festival of Praise" last Saturday night at the Logan Entertainment Centre (a municipal facility in a working-class part of the Brisbane area), I was perfectly happy to go along. Since she came into my life, Anne has done a fair bit towards demolishing my previous reclusive lifestyle!

When we arrived, I noticed that the audience was 100% "Caucasian" (which seems to be the American euphemism for "white" -- a term one uses at some risk these days. Though the connection most "Caucasians" have with the Caucasus is very distant indeed). And I would guess that most of the audience were Anglo-Celtic too. Some people don't like that term "Anglo-Celtic" but seeing I am myself Anglo-Celtic in ancestry, I see no problem with it.

It was a little troubling, however, that only about 5% of the audience were younger than 40. The average age might well have been as high as 60. So perhaps I am writing about something that may vanish rather soon.

The music was provided by "The Brisbane Festival Male Voice Choir", with an average age similar to the audience but who were nonetheless in very good voice. The only accompaniment was a white Yamaha baby grand piano but there were a couple of microphones under the lid so it was completely adequate to its task. The pianist played in a very confident and emphatic style so that helped to give the occasion an evangelical "revival" feel. And a revival meeting it was. The emphasis was on the choral singing (with 15 songs/hymns in all) but there was preaching at every break in the music from the preacher-man MC --preaching in a very familiar evangelical style, with short sentences, lot of pregnant pauses etc. I was there for the music but I didn't mind the preaching. I was pleased that their old-time religion could still give many of our Volk hope and comfort.

And the music was not disappointing. We started out with a rendition of the national anthem, including the "apocryphal" third verse. I reproduce the whole thing below:

Australians all let us rejoice,
For we are young and free;
We've golden soil and wealth for toil;
Our home is girt by sea;
Our land abounds in nature's gifts
Of beauty rich and rare;
In history's page, let every stage
Advance Australia Fair.
In joyful strains then let us sing,
Advance Australia Fair.

Beneath our radiant Southern Cross
We'll toil with hearts and hands;
To make this Commonwealth of ours
Renowned of all the lands;
For those who've come across the seas
We've boundless plains to share;
With courage let us all combine
To Advance Australia Fair.
In joyful strains then let us sing,
Advance Australia Fair.

With Christ our head and cornerstone,
We'll build our Nation's might.
Whose way and truth and light alone
Can guide our path aright.
Our lives, a sacrifice of love,
Reflect our Master's care.
With faces turned to heaven above
Advance Australia fair.
In joyful strains then let us sing
Advance Australia fair.

It's pretty good stuff in my opinion and it was sung with great gusto by both audience and choir.

The next thing I found memorable was a barbershop quartet, who did four songs in all. They were excellent. If you don't know barbershop singing, you are really missing something. They got huge applause of course.

The audience got to sing a few more times too. Our next opportunity was a rendition of "Old Rugged Cross", one of my favourite hymns, so I did my best to belt it out. Later on we had some simple evangelical-style chorus music which I did not know but they were undoubtedly good tunes for their purpose.

Another highlight was a quite remarkable soloist -- a good basso profundo. Very rare to hear a solo in such a low key. I am sure half the females in the audience fell in love with him.

So I greatly enjoyed all the music but one sad reflection I had at the end was that it probably could not have happened in America. After unremitting legal onslaughts from the Left, I gather that Christian preaching in a local government facility would just not be allowed. How sad for Americans!

So that was my Saturday night. On Sunday night we went to a classical music soiree. I guess I am not much of a hermit any more!

(In case anybody has not worked it out yet, Volkskultur literally means "People's culture", but Volk has much greater depth of meaning than "people" -- as I have mentioned previously)



There is a well-written commentary on the rubbishy "Judas Gospel" at The Volokhs but some Christians seem to be overlooking that the basic message of the fake "Gospel" is in fact quite scriptural. See John 13:27, where Jesus clearly told Judas to go and betray him.

Corruption with a difference: The EU lobbies journalists! "The European Parliament is subsidizing journalists to cover its parliamentary sessions in Strasbourg, a move that legislators say aims to ensure that the EU's only democratically elected body is not ignored. As part of a program dating to the 1980s, journalists from across the EU member states are receiving travel and entertainment subsidies from the Parliament to help defray the cost of covering the legislature when it shuttles once a month to Strasbourg, in eastern France, from Brussels, journalists and legislators say.... Brussels's 1,550 journalists, one of the world's largest press corps outside Washington, benefit from a host of perks and privileges from EU institutions, including free meals and unlimited free phone calls during EU summit meetings and free television studios at the European Commission. At the beginning of every six-month EU presidency, the presiding country invites journalists to a free junket in the capital. In February, Austria, the current holder of the EU's presidency, invited 62 Brussels-based journalists to Vienna, paying for their lodgings in a lavish Hilton hotel and hosting a complimentary dinner in an 18th-century baroque castle where a soprano sang Strauss operettas - all on the tab of the Austrian government".

Nutty German view of bloggers: Spiegel Online, that great German Rosetta Stone of media objectivity, has just located the source media-political corruption in the United States... And who is to blame? Bush and the Bloggers. Who else? In two recent articles, bloggers are characterized as corrupt, partisan, paid-off and out of control. And since no one in Germany currently fits that description, our friends at Spiegel have bravely set out to warn German readers of the grave dangers of the American blogosphere. The first article, entitled "Buyable Bloggers: Sweating Swingers," was authored by none other than Marc Pitzke... His prime example of what he labels "buyable bloggers" is Andrew Sullivan" [Of all people!!!!]

War casualties: An overdue NYT backdown. "An article on Feb. 9 about the military's recruitment of Hispanics referred incompletely to the belief of some critics that Hispanics in the Iraq war and blacks in the Vietnam War accounted for a disproportionate number of casualties. Statistics do not support the belief. Hispanics, who are about 14 percent of the population, accounted for about 11 percent of the military deaths in Iraq through Dec. 3, 2005. About 12.5 percent of the military dead in Vietnam were African-Americans, who made up about 13. 5 percent of the general population during the war years. The error was pointed out in an e-mail in February; the correction was delayed for research after a lapse at The Times."

For more postings, see EDUCATION WATCH, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE. Mirror sites here, here, here, here and here. On Social Security see Dick McDonald and for purely Australian news see Australian Politics (mirrored here). I also post several times a week on "Tongue-Tied". There is an archive of my "Tongue-Tied" posts here or here


Practically all policies advocated by the Left create poverty. Leftists get the government to waste vast slabs of the country's labour-force on bureaucracy and paperwork and so load the burden of providing most useful goods and services onto fewer and fewer people. So fewer useful goods and services are produced to go around. That is no accident. The Left love the poor. The Left need the poor so that they can feel good by patronizing and "helping" them. So they do their best to create as many poor people as possible.

The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialistisch)

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