A mixed bag.

I’m not convinced of everything asserted by Richard Weaver in Ideas Have Consequences, but it was still an exceptional book. Very thought provoking and full of useful ideas and insights, indeed. I’ll excerpt a bit more from it, but you (yes, you too) really ought to read it for yourself. Some of it is a bit dated now, having been written nearly 60 years ago, but it has aged remarkably well and much of what he has to say about the perils of nuclear technology could easily be applied today to the work with genetics.

On the other hand, his sharp criticism of jazz seems to me misplaced. I wonder what he would think of Britney Spears, System of a Down, Rob Zombie, Jay-Z, Ludacris and Eminem since he was of the opinion that even Beethoven should have been censured for “the introduction of dynamism and of strains of individualism”. In fact he posits a continuous decline in music from Bach to his current day. Strict stuff.

Perhaps more shocking (but also, I think, better supported) was his query of “Has the art of writing proved an unmixed blessing?” He goes on to answer this question in the negative and backs the position up, if not convincingly, then at least strongly enough to make one think that there is much in what he says.

In sum, a book well worth reading, and careful and thoughtful reading at that.

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