One of the challenges of maintaining this blog is to overhaul all the categories and tags in the sidebar, although they remain rough and ready. After all, Life Itself is about classifying, organizing—plastic toys, musical instruments (indeed both), bookshelves, shopping lists, concepts, and so on. Here are a few headings:
Indexing is an under-estimated pleasure:
- Chinese jokes, musical invective, and Barry Mackenzie
- Some unlikely place-names to find in an index on Daoist ritual
- A stuffed owl
- Another dream: navigation.
On slicing the pie of music, and religion:
- Popular genres, and Chinese folk concepts
- Voices of the world
- Singers of the world
- Just remind me again, what is music?
- What is serious music??!
- and for England, Das land ohne Musik
- denominations: Vena Goldsworthy’s self-description, expanded in Bobos in Paradise
- on emic-etic classifications, Nigel Barley is also drôle (here, under “Rapport”)
Scholars’ attempts to classify expressive culture in China illustrate how we need a fluid concept of genres, constantly intersecting and crossing borders, as I outlined in my review of the great Anthology. Ethnography is the key.
Organology is a fascinating topic, with the endlessly fascinating Sachs–Hornbostel system:
And, definitively, an early Stewart Lee sketch clearing up a flawed interpretation of the Lord’s Creation:
Far from validating narrow discrimination, all this demands a nuanced, flexible view of human culture…