Happy Birthday, Allen Ginsberg


Allen Ginsberg

The Beloved Poet Sings William Blake’s “Songs of Innocence & Experience”: ‘In December of 1969, Allen Ginsberg June 3, 1926–April 5, 1997, one of the most beloved and influential poets of the twentieth century, recorded a strange and wonderful LP, setting William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and of Experience to song. Accompanied by an eclectic orchestra — Cyril Caster on trumpet, Janet Zeitz on flute, Bob Dorough on piano, Don Cherry on bass trombone, beaded gourd, sleigh bells and finger cymbals — Ginsberg gives Blake’s binary battery of innocence and experience a whole new dimension of enchanting duality.

Blake’s poetry was a particularly poignant choice for Ginsberg at a time when his own spiritual journey had taken him into the depths of Buddhism — at once a curious contrast with Blake’s heavy Christian influence and a sensical parallel to the ambivalence about the human soul, coupled with social and religious ambivalence, at the heart of Blake’s message.

Thanks to the remarkable PennSound archive… these rare recordings endure in digital form. Here are three of them for our shared delight.’ (Brain Pickings).

Scientists Selectively Erase And Restore Memories

‘In a groundbreaking new study, researchers at the University of California, San Diego erased and then reactivated memories by stimulating neurons in the brains of genetically engineered rats with a series of light pulses that have been previously shown to strengthen or weaken the connections between brain cells. This is the first study to be able to directly show that the strengthening or weakening of these connections, called synapses, is the underlying basis for memory. The study has been published in Nature.’ (IFLScience)

Why Slenderman Works: The Internet Meme That Proves Our Need To Believe

‘Despite being visually creepy, Slenderman highlights the strength and weaknesses of the Internet simultaneously. In fact, I think Slenderman is a subversive masterpiece in terms of monster creation. Of course when Victor Surge first created him, he was just a creepy picture with minimal back story. Now he is a cultural phenomenon and terrorises the dreams and thoughts of many.  What makes Slenderman a fascinating study is that he is the the personification of how modern myths work. At the core of Slenderman, most of us know he is created. You can trace back his history to specific posts and websites. The internet ruins the myth but at the same time, the Internet gives it an authenticity and connectivity that continually builds upon it.’ (Whatculture.com)

In the news this evening was the story of two 12 year olds in Waukesha, Wisconsin who held down a friend and stabbed her 19 times, apparently motivated by a desire to prove they were worthy of becoming disciples of Slenderman. Need to believe, indeed!