Friday, March 28, 2008

Fitna: Those Tolerant Dutch!

Yeah. That movie.

I am not sure who this speaks worse about. The maker or the subject. Actually, I know: the maker.

Is There No Rest for the Wicked: Elisabeth Nietzsche and her Brother Friedrich Likely to be Disintered by Evil Mining Company

Two gravestones stand side by side in the churchyard of the little village of Röcken, south of Leipzig: one belongs to Friedrich Nietzsche, one of the greatest and most misunderstood philosophers; the other marks the grave of his sister Elisabeth, a lifelong anti-Semite who hijacked her brother's writings after his death and used them to serve the cause of Nazism, leaving a stain on his philosophy that has never been fully erased.

Today, bulldozers belonging to a power company are preparing to dig up the town where Nietzsche and his sister were born and buried, to get at the seam of coal that runs beneath. Nietzsche and his sister may have to move.

Story here:

It wouldn't be the first time that a dead white thinker's bones have been moved.
I also understand that Kant's bones were taken from a Church in Koenigsberg by a Soviet General to his Dacha on the Volga after the Second World War as a souvenir. Alas, the world never had the benefit of ridding itself of the view of Jeremy Bentham's ugly mug. I have been given to understand that the Swiss born Rousseau is safe in The Pantheon in France. What do they say about Austria? It's the country where Hitler was born in Germany and Mozart was a native son.

A Gas of a Read from 'The Dearborn Independent' as Published by Henry Ford

Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville Beats the Anti-Semite Edison to the Recorded Sound Crunch

As many of you may know, I have a partiality to old recordings. Supposedly, they get no older than those of Thomas Edison's. (The fact that we share a birthday is purely coincidental. Another thing we share in common: neither of us invented the light bulb.) There are two interesting facts about Edison and his tin ear I want to bring up. The first is that Edison only ever thought of record and playback devices as a way to increase office efficiency. Second, when it was pointed out to Edison that people were using their phonographs to listen to music, Edison, never one to miss a business opportunity, set out to record the greatest opera singers of the time. Edison, as was his wont, made himself the ultimate judge of what a good singer sounded and summarily dismissed any singer who at all deviated from how Edison had already decided a singer should sound. Maria Callas, for example, would never have made the cut. And while people still give Edison credit for inventing recording, he didn't. Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville did. What's more, Edison's system used a roll, which you could only record on one side, and 'hill and dale' modulation, where the sound was recorded vertically rather than horizontally. Neither system gained much traction in the market but still, curiously, our winter neighbor of Henry Ford who printed at his own expense that anti-semitic rag The Dearborn Independent still managed to procure himself the credit.We also, outside of cars, do not use DC powered light bulbs either.

I won't even get to the fight wit Tesla over Direct Current. Fortunately, Edison lost the battle, but even more unfortunately Tesla was found dead and penniless in a New York Hotel room. Curiously, even though our favorite Serbian inventor supposedly committed suicide, Nikola's notebooks were never found.

You may hear Scott's original recording here.