Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Gossip Girl, Threesomes, Making Out & The Baal Shem Tov

In our society, sex is the new avodah zarah. The statement about lifting the hem of one's robe to run to serve idols currently applies when it comes to our society's lust for sexuality. But it's not just sexuality; it's a certain type of it. It's rare that you find shows promoting long-lasting, loving, romantic relationships between different couples. TV shows are about drama and thus they focus upon shocking and titillating the viewer. Thus the most recent "Gossip Girl" episode, "They Shoot Humphreys, Don't They?" which featured a threesome. Oh yes, threesomes can happen on primetime TV, that same TV that your kids in high school are watching.

There is a type of beauty in decay, in breaking every existing boundary. It shocks and arouses us because it is forbidden. There is something in us that lusts for our own self-destruction and that includes the destruction of all meaningful relationships. Thus the idea of lovers we don't have to love and covering ourselves in filth. You'd be surprised by how intense the longing for decay is. Anyone who has ever tasted of holiness has an equally strong fascination and lust for filth.

The part that struck me about this episode was the song that played in the background during that scene. It was Anya Marina's cover of "Whatever You Like." It is an utterly disgusting song; it demeans relationships between people. It speaks only of the physical and the body, the antithesis of the I-thou in favor of the I-it pleasure-seeking hedonistic relationship. Nonetheless, it is heartbreakingly beautiful. It is cloying. And that's one of the hardest things in the world...because filth is always closeted in layers of total beauty. It would be so much easier to realize something is wrong if it didn't seem so beautiful.

I was reminded of something my best friend once taught me. In reference to the verse in Song of Songs that states, "ה שְׁחוֹרָה אֲנִי וְנָאוָה, בְּנוֹת יְרוּשָׁלִָם; כְּאָהֳלֵי קֵדָר, כִּירִיעוֹת שְׁלֹמֹה. 5 'I am black, but comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, as the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon," there is a Midrash which states that the nation of Israel is black in their own actions but comely when it comes to the actions of their forefathers. My friend told me that it is said in the name of the Baal Shem Tov that it means that in these days Torah and mitzvot are harder than before. In my friend's words, "As the generations go on, each piece of Torah and each mitzvah is worth more and more as they are harder to come by and harder to attain. So it means that even though my actions are black, when measured against my fathers' they are worth more. Thus, I am beautiful."

A girl who attends a coed high school once spoke to me and told me something very simple that totally humbled me. Despite the fact that she's more religious than others in her high school, and that fact is clear to all, guys in her class came up to her and asked her whether she wanted to make out with them. Let me tell you that this is totally understandable because she happens to be extremely attractive. So at different points in time these three guys ask the girl whether they can make out with her, and this is compounded by the fact that one of the guys is her boyfriend. You know what she said? She said no.

"Don't think," she told me, "that it was easy. Sometimes I would call my boyfriend up and tell him how much I wanted to. I'd invite him over because no one was home by me. But then I would never go through with it. I couldn't. But don't think I'm some kind of tzadekes, because I'm not."

I want you to think about that. That's a sixteen or seventeen-year-old-girl who is dying to make out with her boyfriend, who is being asked to by various people and she still decides not to. I could not fathom how much strength this girl has. Everyone in her high school is hooking up, it's all that she sees on TV, it's something she wants to do with her boyfriend and she still decides not to. How in the hell does a sixteen-year-old girl get the strength? I don't know, but she does.

She's not the only one. One of my former NCSYers was telling me about her boyfriend of 7 weeks. "Olivia, I never realized how hard it is to be shomer," she told me. "It's not even hooking up. It's that I just want to hold his hand."

In our society, there is no question that this idea told over in the name of the Baal Shem Tov applies. We live in a society where teenagers are being put through tests equivalent to those our greatest sages had to face (see the Gemara for various examples.) They're walking paths that are convoluted, confusing and really hard to navigate. Their whole society is telling them what is normal and right, TV echoes that (everything from "Gossip Girl" to "Glee" has people making out and having sex all the time, as though that's all anyone in high school ever did) and somehow, in ways I cannot fathom, they choose to act differently. I don't know how they do it but I think it should be acknowledged. To the teenagers who have chosen to do the impossible, my hat is off to you. Every time I watch a scene like this one on "Gossip Girl," I think of you and am humbled once more. The girl I spoke to tells me she's no tzadekes; she's just a normal kid who chose not to do something. That's what she thinks. I know better.

48 comments:

ilanica said...

Great post, Chana.

Shades of Grey said...

I agree, a very inspirational piece. It is very encouraging to know there are teenagers out there who still stand up for the proper values espoused by Judaism.

non mouse said...

very well said, and sad that people are in such difficult situations of nisayon against their will.
their sechar is trult unfathomable.

Dana said...

the title is utterly amazing :)

Chana said...

non mouse,

I was wondering: why did you choose to recommend this tznius book to me? The one entitled "9-to-5?" Why exactly do you think I will find it "enlightening?" And why do you think it is your place to make such comments?

Anonymous1:45 said...

'Anya Marina's cover.. it is an utterly disgusting song' - I have to disagree here. The words may be not nice, however, a song can never be disgusting. Music is beautiful and it is always good to listen to music. Music is the physical expression of the soul. If the words are bad disregard them or interpret them differently; but, music is always good. can't let someone badmouthing music go unchallenged LOL:)

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

You once told me you didn't like condescending comments...and I disagreed that it should be something of dislike to you! So let me be frank: If programs like Gossip Girl and Glee are so antithetical to any moral or religious, not to mention Jewish, value, why in the hell would you be watching it? It doesn't seem like the only reason you're watching it is to analyze it for the purpose of making a Judaic-oriented comment on the ills of American society. I mean, it's probably on one of the lower tiers of what can be be watched on public (non-cable) television. You're saying that these shows espouse misguided approaches to sexuality as if it's a 'chiddush'.

Now, I'm no Haredi (even though that's the only background I know) but sometimes parents and individuals themselves should know where to draw the line with secular media. You say our teenagers are watching this as if it's a given. ..if i had teenagers I can't imagine sitting idly by while they spend their prime-time evening hours letting that corruption sink into their tender minds. I just don't see why a parent shouldn't protest to such a thing.

Sorry for sounding a bit rude, but I know that might help yield a response! ; )

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

Anonymous 1: 45: Watchu talkin' about Willis?! ; ) I don't have the sources with me, but even the Greeks and definitely the ancient Jews made a distinction between 'good' music and 'bad' music that can corrupt a society.

I mean seriously, I heard one monotonous sounding rap song where he keeps saying "slap 'em wit' da' ..d-*ahem*..'brit mila'". Some of those songs are just unfathomably awful...

Irina Tsukerman said...

It's even harder for those who abstain from following the crowd for reasons other than halachic teachings. At least people who use the law as the argument have that to lean on, but what about those who rely solely on their personal sense of right and wrong?

Anonymous said...

Some people like to do aveiros, while other people like to talk about aveiros...

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

Chana: Um, I really should apologize about my wording though, since your post was very nice and moving and Bardichover-like...

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

Irina: (Why am I commenting on everyones comments? I don't know.)
Actually secularisic "abstinance" is sort of "in" in cerain circles. I mean look at Bristol Palin..

Shadesof said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

The verse in the Torah says, "Velo sasuru acharei levachem veachafrei ainaychem. " I would imagine that talking about inappropriate subject such as this post falls under that pasuk.

Also, id bet that the Holy Baal Shem Tov is turning over in his kever to be in the same title as "Gossip Girl, Threesomes, and Making Out" and even more so to be part of the post. Please have more kavod for the people who actually want to have yirat shamayim and still read your blog.

Shadesof said...

Anonymous,

I thought, as the first commenters apparently did, that the main purpose of the post was to learn from the people mentioned and draw chizuk.

Anonymous1:45 said...

Tzair Shlomo:
You are describing words. Words can be bad. Music however, can only be good. Music is energizing, inspirational, beautiful, and happy (even when it's sad - cathartically so). If the melody of a song is utterly beautiful and energizes you to do good and brings you closer to God, must you abstain from said music if it contains bad words. In my opinion, emphatically No!! One can completely ignore the words and be energized by the song. It is true, the words will be registered by the subconcious, however, given the environment in which we all live, even if you are the most pious person, we subconciously register hundreds (at the very least) of images and words that are untoward each day. With music, the adding of a few of these messages to the hundreds and thousands, is significantly counterbalanced by the strength, happiness and connection to to the soul, that the music brings. For anyone in our society and for anyone reading this blog, all music is always good. Music is in our souls. The idea that music can ever be bad: This is not true; It never was true; and it shall never be true.

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

Anonymous 1:45: Very well said. I hear what you're saying, BUT (best line in Jewish lingo!) while I feel your opinion has legitimacy, I still side with the opposite view. But the truth is the way I worded my comment wasn't very clear, so again: in the view I quoted, which, again, is ancient and not strictly Jewish, some SOUNDS are not concussive to any kind of growth. I forgot the exact sources, but some Greek philosophers said a certain type of beat/melody is what's corrupting the youth.

All I can find on the subject right now is this:
http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2009/10/965

Chana said...

To those who object to this post,

I am curious as to why you do not object to the Gemara, which also covers these matters in explicit detail. What do you think the story of R' Elazar ben Dordaya is about, or the scene re: the man and his tzitzit, and so on and so forth? Is that a discussion of aveirot that you also find untenable?

The reason this post is titled as it is is due to a brilliant point a student once raised to me. He said, "You know, teachers don't teach anything like they should. They make it all dry and boring. They should try to connect it to our lives. Like those two guys, Simeon and Levi? Well, they destroyed that city out of anger. They should connect that to us and how we get angry sometimes and that's how they should teach."

There is a major problem in our world of disconnect. People do not see how the Torah and absolutely everything in the world can and do go together. The Baal Shem Tov has what to say which will influence our perspective on our generation and sexual matters and therefore, no, I do not agree with you that it is a lack of honor to enlist him in this endeavor.

non mouse said...

I wasn't at all trying to be insulting, I'm not sure why you are. the book I recommended it, (seems that your familiar with it already) to give a halachic perspective to the discussion.
personally, I think your rabbi might not be as strict as that book, but as a seeker of truth, as you seem to be, I thought yiu would find it interesting.
note, that I didn't condem or even comment on your personal life.

Anonymous said...

Chana,
I don't object to the post, I just wonder how you make the determination that watching TV shows of this nature is appropriate? IMHO MO means we continue to confront modernity as it evolves, TV has come a long way since it was forbidden to have 2 beds together and one had to say "in the family way" instead of pregnant.
KT
Joel Rich
KT
Joel Rich

Josh said...

It's worth noting that there are college students who object to the hook-up culture. An article profiling them is here: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/30/magazine/30Chastity-t.html. And of course, there's Wendy Shalit, who wrote an article protesting the co-ed bathrooms at Williams college which made her famous and led her to writing her book "A Return to Modesty." (A speech she gave based on the book is here: http://www.hillsdale.edu/news/imprimis/archive/issue.asp?year=2001&month=03)

Myles said...

Watch the Office, Pam and Jim have a great relationship on that show.

harry-er than them all said...

I am not chas va'shalom putting down the strength one needs to overcome such a test, and it is admirable. but to say that big people don't have tests is simply not true.

there is a story with the dubno maggid (i think) and the vilna goan. the Goan asked repeatedly asked him to give him mussar, and the maggid refused. finally after many times the maggid says "you think its so special to be great locked up in your room. come out into the world and see how great you will be then!"
the goan refused to accept the mussar saying "you don't know how hard the nisyonos i have in my room are"

not that we can relate to such a nisayon, because for us learning that extra few minutes or having a slightyl longer tefillah is not really something we are on the level to choose from. R' dessler explains that bechira is on levels, what is a choice for one, is not the same choice for another. R' Elyashiv is not realistically making a choice not to talk to women, but he is making the choice whether to sleep an extra five minutes because he is old. For someone on our level, our choice is realistically whether to talk to women, not whether to learn that extra two minutes nor to eat a McDonalds cheeseburger.

Its about levels.

Anonymous said...

What I was implying when I wrote "Some people like to do aveiros, while other people like to talk about aveiros..." was the following:

1) Your consistent discussion of sexual matters makes me wonder whether you truly think such discussions are beneficial in nature, or, rather, they are ways for you to channel your own desires. It is like a young person learning hilchos tznius/periah v'riviah etc. not because they want to know the halacha (for it isn't applicable to them yet!) but because it arouses their imagination. I am not saying with certainty that this is the case with you but I think it is prudent on your part to do some cheshbon hanefesh.

2) You will probably respond to me that indeed you do honestly think that these discussions are important for public discussion, and you bring the gemara as a precedent for such discussion. To this I respond:

a) The difference between Charedi and MO approach is that Charedim think that issues should be dealt with privately, while MO think that they should be discussed publicly. Eilu veilu - what each group gets wrong is that they are extreme in their judgments; some things should be discussed privately while other things should be discussed publicly. For example, child abuse shouldn’t be swept under the rug as Charedim might be wont to do, but, in my opinion, it isn’t productive for MOers to air out all of their intellectual doubts in public either (don't complain about your confusion, scaring other non-confused people, go look for an answer!).

b) Indeed the gemara does discuss sexual matters but 1) the gemara was/is a closed book for most during most of Jewish history, and, 2) as alluded to before, the Torah itself can become a potion of death, and, most importantly, 3) it does so in a respectful and classy way (often using euphemisms), unlike the title of this post.


May you zocheh to be mezakeh es harabim!

Chana said...

harry-er,

I heard a different rendering of that encounter with the Vilna Gaon and the Dubno Maggid that I like better. I will try to find it for you. It does not prove your point.

More importantly, R' Dessler's idea of the nekudat ha-bechira is only one understanding and generally not the one I like best. I don't see everything in terms of levels. At the same time, neither did I mean to suggest great people don't have challenges.

Anon 1:42,

Suppose that your entire assertion were correct. Don't you think it would be more appropriate for me to channel my desire to think of these matters (such as you attribute to me) in Torah as opposed to the many other things I could be doing? Even if you're right, I would hardly see this as a flaw.

"it isn’t productive for MOers to air out all of their intellectual doubts in public either (don't complain about your confusion, scaring other non-confused people, go look for an answer!)"

People have to know themselves; they have to know whether or not to attend a certain lecture or to read a certain blog. I do not think the burden of whether or not to think in public lies upon the thinker, but rather upon those who choose to sit beside him and draw upon his wisdom.

"3) it does so in a respectful and classy way (often using euphemisms), unlike the title of this post"

Classy would not attract the attention of those who need to read this post. If you don't agree, that's probably because you don't know the people I do.

Anonymous1:45 said...

Harry-er:
Do you think that anyone reading this blog has never heard of such things, and that this will cause them to do bad? The reality is that in this society almost no one is ignorant of not-nice things. Therefore, this blog (and it's title) is simply ading a counterweight to the bad things, the things which lead to bitterness in the long run. After all, it is not as though we live in a shtetl a couple of centuries ago, and Chana is introducing corrupting ideas which no one ever heard of, into the heads of pure innocents who have never heard of such things. I'd bet dollars to pesos that not a single person who read the title of the blog, had never heard of such things; and that in todays world it greatly helped convince people to avoid such things, far more than any potential enticement, especially in a world where such things and ideas are quite ubiquitous. Meaning that in a world where things are ubiquitous, it doesn't make sense to ignore it; since the reason for ignoring something bad is to keep people from it, such a reason does not logically apply if everyone already knows about it. Thus, if everyone already knows about it then it must be adressed head on, in order to counter and help overcome, that which is out there. If this where a completely holy area in Jerusalem it would be different. This is not. I think God would be very happy if the worst thing people saw on the internet was the title to Chana's blog. Secondly, in regards to your statement about the possible cathartic motivations of the blog. Your implicit assertion here is that all imperfections must be completely purged before any action is taken. If this were the case no action would ever be taken. Rather, to direct ones passions for good purposes is a way to perfect imperfections. To attempt the way you seem to assert, will in fact lead to no advancement. Your way is ' Tafasta Merube' and the reasult is 'Lo Tafasta'. The way of this blog is 'Tafasta Moet' within the reality of the individuals' current capabilities, and the result will be 'Tafasta'.

Shadesof said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

"People do not see how the Torah and absolutely everything in the world can and do go together."- Good point, but you gotta' admit that kind of logic can be sort of a slippery slope in the sense that you might start getting involved with things that will have a negative impact on you for no reason. I mean, the characters in the Talmud may have been intimately involved in every aspect of the world, but I've never seen the sages of the Talmud discuss the theological underpinnings of the conversations of people in the "houses of drinking" or their songs. Or insights into "those who sit at the corners". The words and doings of those uneducated people did not interest the sages, as should the words of irreligious script-writers recited by actors on a show interest us that much...

Shadesof said...

"Your way is ' Tafasta Merube' and the reasult is 'Lo Tafasta'. The way of this blog is 'Tafasta Moet' within the reality of the individuals' current capabilities, and the result will be 'Tafasta'."

That's what I like about this blog, in general.

"The difference between Charedi and MO approach is that Charedim think that issues should be dealt with privately, while MO think that they should be discussed publicly."

Your point about proper venues is well taken, but it might be a generalization regarding MO/Charedie.

Eg, maybe there is an offical public approach for "Hamodia" versus, say, the "Jewish Press" regarding the useage of certain terms and language, but there are *individuals* in the RW who would have no problem reading the Jewish Press.

Anonymous said...

"Your point about proper venues is well taken, but it might be a generalization regarding MO/Charedie."

Of course its a generalization. I am trying to make two simple points:

1) One should at least be aware of what is driving them to write about what they write about. If it is not coming from a pure place then they should be even more careful or maybe not write at all.

2) Wisdom is not only in the content but in presentation as well. How you write something and in what forum is equally, if not more, important as the content you preach. That takes a certain degree of maturity.

Anonymous said...

1) One should at least be aware of what is driving them to write about what they write about.
============================
It's a pretty big assumption imho that any of us is so consistently self aware as to know what is driving us. It's certainly appropriate to always ask ourselves the question (I think they call that something like cheshbon hanefesh)
KT
Joel Rich

Anonymous said...

1) One should at least be aware of what is driving them to write about what they write about.
============================
It's a pretty big assumption imho that any of us is so consistently self aware as to know what is driving us. It's certainly appropriate to always ask ourselves the question (I think they call that something like cheshbon hanefesh)
KT
Joel Rich

Chana said...

When all of you are finished talking about my purity or lack thereof, I think you should consider the meaning behind the statement מום שבך אל תאמר לחבירך. To put it more explicitly for those of you who will quickly say, "Oh! I don't have a blog on which I write about these matters," let's just say your behavior and rebuke is totally out of line seeing as a) you don't know me b) this is a public forum c) who the hell are you to judge me? Are you God? Can you see what is in my heart? Do I report to you? Where do you get off making assumptions about me and then treating them as fact? Perhaps the reason you are so quick to assume that I am not pure is because you yourself suffer from that flaw.

Shadesof said...

"One should at least be aware of what is driving them to write about what they write about"

I can't speak for "them", but since people are discussing their views, I'll throw out a few thoughts based on the few weeks I've commented here.

I became interested in this blog because I saw posts which discussed the Charedie world in a positive manner. This was refreshing compared to some of the critiques on the blogosphere (although there are real issues, which I have analyzed and critiqued elsewhere).

1) I've commented on some of these recent posts, and I have no problem saying that were I to analyze my intentions all day, it might not be 100% lishmah, as far as being altruistically concerned with community sexual issues(which, after all, I can't improve). However, I will say that I edited and deleted what I wrote when I thought necessary.

2) I used to run a blog myself, and it was suggested to me by a fellow blogger that I get advice regarding hashkafic questions which arose. I would say the same here, ideally: we would need to hire an independent Blog Mashgiach, Mashgicaha or perhaps even a Maharat to deal with any and all hashkafic questions that arise.

Then again, I did not take the advice on my own blog about getting advice, so I would not tell that to anyone else in the blogging world either :)

3) Independent of the posts on this blog, I thought the Observer/Commentator isssues which dealt with sexuality in the Jewish world were important for the community and done well. I likewise wish there would be such endeavors in the RW Yeshivish world, where I hail from.

4) The style here is open and probably allows people from different places to feel comfortable. Whatever specifics I may disagree with, I see it in general, as a positive in the blogosphere in terms of Judaism, so I wish Chana and all of the illustrious particapants well in this grand endeavor :)

Shadesof said...

I am signing off for the night, but I hope the comment above is okay-- I meant to say that I see this blog as very positive, and improve it however you see fit.

Anonymous1:45 said...

Why are you all so harsh; it's hillarious. Do you not understand that Beit Shamai and perfection does not rule the day until Mashiach. There was absolutely nothing wrong with her blog. However, i'm sure the fault is with me. You see, it must be the case that you are all just holy angels and that is why you are so sensitive to any imperfection. In fact you are on the level of the students of Rabbi Akiva- "oh wait, they were wrong" -no, it must be that you are far holier than the students of Rabbi Akiva and thus simply cannot tolerate such an affront to religion as Chanas blog. In fact, in your entire lives you have never even witnessed such a disgustig display as the title to her blog. It was the most immoral thing that your eyes had ever seen or that your mind had ever conjured. Thus you had to criticize it and it's author; for it was shocking; simply shocking. - Or, maybe it's just your ego getting you to be able to lower someone else in your eyes, and thus agrandize your own righteousness in your own mind? I think it's the latter.

Anonymous1:45 said...

As a baal teshuvah, I believe that this is the reason Mashiach has not yet come. If you were to look from the outside looking in, at all sects of judaism, they would all look the same to you. All religious jews believe exactly the same- pray, keep shabat, keep kashrut, keep holy, gmilut chasadim, tzedakah... All have the 13 midot as foundations. To the 99.999th percentile charedim are exactly the same as modern orthodox. The differences are superficial at best, and are really just about opinions at the edges, since there is no sanhedrin to clarify one rule for all. If one group believes it is proper to hold themselves to a higher standard of muktzeh on a certain mitzvah and the other believes that holding to a less stringent standard will help serve God's purpose more, then that's all well and good for both views. However, to bicker over the .001% is the reason Mashiach is not here. Imagine, that instead of all this energy expended an the bickering over nonsense, imagine if this energy was spent on accepting the .001% difference loving your fellow and banding together all sects to work together to bring all the nonreligious jews back to the Torah path. I think this would please Hashem greatly. I think that if this were done, and this achdut were achieved then Mashiach would come, and then the .001% would be clarified. Achdut should be the goal, not knitpicking over every little difference and machloket and darawing lines of anger and harsh criticism over that which is not perfectly clear.

Shadesof said...

Anonymous 1:45,

I guess I have not signed off for the night :)

I don't think your comments were aimed at me, but if I have put my foot in my mouth(or rather, keyboard in mouth), I apologize.

The style used by Chana encourages openness; so in a way, she will get criticism, and should not complain about it :)

On the other hand, it is only fair that people writing anonymously should treat "real" blog-people with more derech eretz. So yes, express criticism with care if you are anonymous.

I've been meaning for a while to write something positive about this blog, which I thought I expressed.

And, no, my attitude is NOT "holier than thou" regarding the post here(it never bothered me in the first place), and I don't think it's my place to give mussar! I simply expressed my opinion, in open blog style, and reflected on a possible issue--I don't think that's a bad thing. Of course, if I really don't like the standards here, then I suppose shouldn't be reading the blog :)

All the best.

harry-er than them all said...

anany1:45- i thin you mistook me for someone else. but once you dragged me into the topic of whats appropriate, i dont have to like the title or the topic, but its her blog and she can what she wants.

that being said, just because something is out there, doesn't mean i have to expose myself to it. alcohol is out there, and is sometimes ok in moderation, but it doesn't mean i have to expose myself to it, nor does it mean that someone else has to.

so while I would not have titled it as such, i respect chana's right to do so.

Anonymous said...

The style used by Chana encourages openness; so in a way, she will get criticism, and should not complain about it :)
========================
blogs in general encourage openness. If one wants to put their ideas out there (which is often a good thing) one must expect criticism (positive and negative). the important thing imho is to consider all the input and use it as appropriate (in blogs and in life)
KT
joel rich

Anonymous said...

The style used by Chana encourages openness; so in a way, she will get criticism, and should not complain about it :)
========================
blogs in general encourage openness. If one wants to put their ideas out there (which is often a good thing) one must expect criticism (positive and negative). the important thing imho is to consider all the input and use it as appropriate (in blogs and in life)
KT
joel rich

Sam said...

>"I forgot the exact sources, but some Greek philosophers said a certain type of beat/melody is what's corrupting the youth. "

Plato wrote this, in Republic. It's one of his crazier views, to be frank--and that book is full of them.

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

Sam: That's not crazy. Anyway, same sh-t is happening today. See the link. ...I mean, I can't IMAGINE any of the naysayers agreeing that "Biggy Small"s music has the exact same affect on a person as Mozart..

Sam said...

No offense was intended--Plato just has some weird ideas in that book amongst the good ones, which also come to mind for me when I think of this.

But, to rephrase: I just don't understand what this idea, when it's only about the music itself, means. I read the article, which gives it intelligent and generous treatment, but it still puts it as:

"They contend that music moves the passions, and that this power, exerted repeatedly over time on people who are immature and impressionable, can produce a certain disposition under which it will be either easier or more difficult for reason to see, and for the will to choose, what is right."

What are the passions? Which beats move them in ways that will be more conducive to reason seeing what is right? Why? Which move them in ways antithetical to a reasoned disposition? Etc.

I'd actually agree with and like the article a lot if it stuck to lyrics, or even lyrics in combination with certain musical styles, and argued about the negative effects on society and living a more fulfilling life. But with music alone, I don't see how it's a meaningful claim.

The Cousin said...

Um....and why do you watch Gossip Girl?

My sister seems to like it too. I find nothing of value in the show.

As for being "different" in one's actions based on their beliefs--is that not part of being Jewish?

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