Sunday, January 20, 2008

Bad Blogger

I apologize for the long lapse in posting on this blog, but I'm afraid I haven't been able to listen to much Rush lately, since I am preoccupied with digesting the catalog of System of a Down. Given that it will be a couple of years before another Rush release (if then), I think I have time to slowly dissect Mr. Peart's lyrics before his next sea change.

Piss off Peart

Vote Huckabee and piss off Neil Peart! - I Like Mike!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Peart > Newton?

According to Peart's logic, faith and belief are the antithesis of "science." This is one of the main tenets of the secular humanist dogma - an insupportable belief that the Enlightenment is solely responsible for scientific advance, and that religion is responsible for the Dark Ages and ignorance in general.

The following story is just another in an endless series of data which demonstrate the invalidity of Peart's view:

Isaac Newton & the Book of Daniel

One has to display extreme unreason in order to make the claim that religion ("a plague that resists all science") and science are incompatible, or that religious people are "party blind". But then, logic is not one of the gods in the secularist pantheon.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Prayer for the Conversion of Peart

Prayer to Saint Albert the Great

God of Truth

you endowed our brother Albert
with the gift of combining human wisdom with divine faith.
May the pursuit of all human knowledge
lead to a greater knowledge and love of you.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, you Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
God, forever and ever.


+ I've picked this prayer for the conversion of Neil Peart because St. Albert's life and works stand in stark contrast to Peart's imagined view of the "Dark Ages", because St. Albert was a relentless pursuer of the truth, and as patron of St. Thomas Aquinas, in life brought the talents of others to the service of that truth. +

Thursday, May 10, 2007

The Horse's Mouth Cited By The Ass's Mouth

From the Richard Dawkins website, credited to the liner notes on Snakes & Arrows:

"I was also thinking, like Richard Dawkins in The God Delusion, about how children are usually imprinted with a particular faith, along with their other early blessings and scars. People who actively choose their faith are vanishingly few; most simply receive it, with their mother's milk, language, and customs. Thinking also of people being shaped by early abuse of one kind or another, I felt a connection with friends who had adopted rescue dogs as puppies, and given them unlimited love, care, and security. If those puppies had been 'damaged' by their earlier treatment--made nervous, timid, or worse--they would always remain that way, no matter how smooth the rest of their life might be. It seemed the same for children."

So, Peart is essentially saying that his lack of faith was imprinted on him along with other early blessings and scars. It is equally valid to say that "People who actively reject faith are vanishingly few; most simply receive it..."

It is also interesting that Peart equates "imprinting a child with a particular faith" as abuse. I can sense the drumbeat of the Canadian collectivists with their departments of Child Services, rounding up children from the homes of the religious, to be raised in communal schools in a faith-free environment.

Perhaps in addition to Dawkins, Peart has been reading Mein Kampf?

From the Horse's Mouth

"Peart's words, meanwhile, came from some of the usual, rarefied sources – Richard Dawkins and evolutionary psychology are current inspirations – but also in large part from his experiences touring the back roads of America and Europe by motorcycle during Rush's 30th-anniversary tour in 2004.

It was on his rides through various Bible Belts, chronicled in print in Roadshow, that Peart realized he could no longer "stay neutral" on the topic of religion, he says. Snakes & Arrows addresses some of his conclusions in tunes like "Armor and Sword" and "The Way the Wind Blows," which ponder the perversion of faith into oppression and war, and the telling "Faithless," which rejects adherence to higher powers in favour of a humanist allegiance to one's own "moral compass."

"It came from travelling through all these back roads and small towns and seeing these church signs everywhere," says Peart. "Some of them are amusing, like: `If you give the devil a ride, pretty soon he'll want to drive.' That's fantastic. But other ones were just so presumptuous with these big crosses and scripture. What makes you think that's okay? I tried to imagine going by one with the crescent and star saying, `There is no god but Allah and Mohammed is his prophet.' Or one with the Star of David saying, `That carpenter wasn't our messiah.' It makes me laugh, in a way, but in another, this is so f--ked up.

"It's so arrogant and that's what I can't get over. So I was trying to weigh all that .... I didn't want to make enemies gratuitously, but I decided I had to say something because if I didn't I was just allowing that to happen. It's worth speaking out despite the vilification and stuff that might come back at you. If you're not speaking for reason, you're speaking for unreason."

The full text of this article is at the Toronto Star:

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Poor Neil Peart

The Way the Wind Blows is a phenomenally moving song. The music is inspired and pathetic (in the good sense of pathos). But, here again, we have Peart displaying an irrational side. The chorus to the song is vintage Peart - imagery tied to the struggle of man, revelation of deep inner feelings. But the verses could have been lifted straight out of a Nancy Pelosi speech. It is as if Peart has become a mouthpiece for the American Democratic Party.

I'll get back to this in a moment.

Beginning from the beginning:

"Now it's come to this
It's like we're back in the Dark Ages
From the Middle East to the Middle West
It's a world of superstition"

[The Way the Wind Blows, Snakes & Arrows, 2007]

There are several interesting things about this verse. First, there is the negative connotation to Dark Ages, a repetition of that old Renaissance fable about the preceding era being ignorant and uncultured. That the common man thinks the Dark Ages something execrable is no surprise. For Neil Peart to think this is disappointing. Peart breathes the air of the Dark Ages daily, apparently unaware of the great and lasting achievements in a thousand years that he can flippantly dismiss without further thought.

Further, I have to again point out the silliness of a New Age, Tarot-Card reading animist using the term superstition in a derogatory way. Peart simply has no high ground at all. He accepts that someone flipping over pieces of paper can foretell the future or read into a man's soul, but he rejects as "superstitious" the sublime rationality of St. Thomas Aquinas.

Finally, there is the comparison of "Middle East" to "Middle West". This is inevitable in Peart's view of tolerance as the ultimate good. You can see foreshadowings of this in Peart's "Territories" from the Power Windows album (1985). Peart cannot mention a bad thing about some other people or culture without accusing his own people or culture of the same thing. It is impossible for Peart to look at Islamic Jihadists in the Middle East without inventing Crusaders in the Middle West. This is a common disease that affects all liberals. In order to balance their tolerant view of reality, they cannot put any culture in a position to judge any other. They themselves, of course, are fit judges, but that is because they see themselves as sitting above culture, in an intellectual elite fit to rule.

Pressing on...

"Now it's come to this
Wide eyed armies of the faithful
From the Middle East to the Middle West
Pray, and pass the ammunition"

"So many people think that way
You gotta watch what you say
To them and them, and others too
Who don't seem to see things the way you do"


Now where did this come from? Poor Neil Peart! He has to watch what he says, or some horrible fanatic Christian will do violence upon him! This is simply absurd. Peart certainly only has to watch what he says if he's afraid of offending someone, which he clearly isn't, or he wouldn't have written this song. Peart is inventing a persecution where none exists. Certainly if he were to say "Mohammed ate pork and was really a Jew", he might have to worry about a Fatwa being issued for his beheading, but it strains all credulity to him to equate a Judeo-Christian response to that of the violent jihadists. Peart is living in a bubble of rich liberal secularism. If he, for example, had to suffer under the restrictive policies of a modern corporation, he would know quite well that if anyone has to watch what they say, it is the "true believer." Peart and his secular humanist buddies have codified an anemic version of reality in which no-one is allowed to say anything offensive (except to Christians). Every day governments pass more laws censoring the free speech of individuals in the name of tolerance and diversity. If Peart was writing Witch Hunt today (Moving Pictures, 1981), he would find the witch hunters in the ranks of his compatriots. That is, he would, if he were honest.

Now, after this last verse, there is a sudden and shocking change, both musically and lyrically:

"We can only grow the way the wind blows
On a bare and weathered shore
We can only bow to the here and now
In our elemental war

"We can only grow the way the wind blows
We can only bow to the here and now
Or be broken down blow by blow"


Jumping from verse to refrain, Peart lapses back into beautiful imagery and heartfelt pathos. But he also jumps from petulant ranting to resignation. A generous intepretation would say that Peart has devised this dichotomy so that the verse and chorus speak to each other - that the chorus is an answer to the verse. The verse accuses and demands action. The chorus replies and begs understanding: "it's not my fault!"

Another interpretation would be that Peart is using the chorus to explain why all the horrible middle easterners and middle westerners are the way they are. It's not their fault - they were conditioned.

Of these two interpretations, I think the former is most likely. But is it reasonable? While the imagery is beautiful, the fact of the song's existance seems to belie the point he is trying to make. If we can only grow the way the wind blows, why isn't Peart growing along in the direction of Dark Ages and Superstition? Why isn't Peart one of the horrible wide-eyed faithful?

In the end, I think Peart just forced a nice image onto a political tirade. Musically and emotionally, it works. But there's no rational connection.

More later.