I’ve heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don’t really care for music, do you?
— Leonard Cohen
Back in the stone age of the Net, when the Web was not yet weaned, I wrote Rules of the Net: Online Operating Instructions for Human Beings published 1996. One of the appendices was a long excerpt from a famous USENET/ MIT document called The Unisex, Omnisexual Purity Test. This test was a bawdy romp through the many sexual peccadillos of mankind and was enlarged and extended as new “less than normal” tastes were revealed by the Net where it was revealed daily that when it comes to sexual matters there Is. No. Bottom.
The point of the Purity Test was not just fun and sex games but that, if the test got long enough, nobody was “pure.” It got a lot of laughs and was given to couples and groups along with individuals, but it really was just for laughs.
Now there’s a new Purity Test and it’s not for laughs, it’s for keeps. You see Purity Tests used in the political and social realms every day. Some salon for women won’t wax the fundament of a mentally-ill tranny? Sue them! Shriek at them! Some small business won’t tolerate shoplifting from some black student? RAAAAAACISTS! “THEY MUST BE O-BLIT-TER-ATED! “Some baker won’t bake a gay cake? Impure! Kill his business! Bankrupt him with legal fees! Destroy his savings and his family and his standing in the town he lives in! Forever! Eat in a restaurant when you work for Trump as his press secretary? UnPure! Kick her out! Follow her into the street shrieking “Witch! Burn her!” Make her eat home for… Oh I don’t know… The rest of her life?
Those are just two examples, out of tens of thousands, of people who have failed this twisted era’s Purity Tests as the Left strives daily to normalize the perverted as “not/never pure enough.” It doesn’t matter if you put your own beliefs aside and pass today’s purity test because tomorrow there will be a new one with even more questions you MUST answer correctly to stay inside the Perverted Kingdom of the Progressive Faithful. This is why the entire division of mentally ill and perverted transexuals are trying so hard to normalize their perversion for everyone from the pre-school kids at Drag Queen Story Hour to Drag Queens fiddling about in nursing homes hoping to be hired to wield the morphine swabs.
Sensible folks of all sexual persuasions know that Purity Testing people’s lives is wrong but so far are powerless to stop this because there are, these days, no controlling elements left in the society that will step up and administer a consequence as blunt as a solid punch in the nose. Political Purity Tests from the Left have become so pervasive that some are starting to think there is no silver (plato) that can cool them other than a lead (plomo) pellet moving at around one thousand feet per second.
But who wants to start that, especially since the Purity Test virus has not just infected the Left but has found millions of conservative/right/Jacksonian folks ready to administer their own purity test to any individual who enters their tent.
Yes, here in the party of Liberty, some animals are STILL more pure than others. This is especially true in the arts since the arts are out there more than quiet opinions of the mind and abiding beliefs of the soul. You can if you wish to see that right here on American Digest. I see it all the time since, as the host, I have to check in on the comments.
I cherish my commenters, some of whom go back many years, and I deeply respect their opinions and enjoy them and wish I had more comments and commenters. But this is a boutique operation here and “ya git what ya git and ya don’t throw a fit.”
At the same time, I note that there is a growing tendency here and elsewhere around the Net to judge artists of various kinds according to their “opinions” rather than their art when their art is all that is under review. This showed up yesterday with Daylight Savings Time Sunday Sunrise Sermon: Some of It. This song was chosen for its heart-reaching message and its lilt and its ability to lift a soul up a notch into the clearer air of music and poetry. After all, if music and poetry does not lift us up and out of our shambolic beast-like bodies that we are chained to until transformed, why do we have them?
Some of It is by Eric Church. I was well aware of his remarks concerning the Second Amendment; remarks and views I do not cotton to. But Church’s views on various social questions do not concern me any more than what goes on in Elton John’s bedroom when he imports a cruise ship full of twinks in Speedos. None of that holds a candle to Candle In the Wind. I am there for John’s art, for his God-given gifts of music and song.
The same with Church and his bumptious musings on bump stocks. I listen to Church because listening to country music will make a man happier and closer to God. In fact, most music does this from the Australian outback’s Didgeridoo to Beethoven’s 9th. (Don’t think so? Listen to Kayne’s new album Jesus is King for an update on the most important music in Rap.)
Nobody alive for the last two thousand years can pass a Purity Test, especially artists. To the best of our knowledge, there has been only one man who was pure and that man was not just a man.
Art, I will go to my grave believing, is a gift from God and something that I know only too well comes and goes according to a power greater than ourselves. Artists are some of God’s most imperfect humans and are always less than their gifts; often much less. But we listen to blinded Homer, to bitter Dante, to stumbling Shakespeare, to justifying Milton, to pedo Whitman, to rambling Dylan, and even to the much more minor poet, Church not to hear their opinions but to hear God through them.
Artists, real artists (and yes you can tell the difference) are a class of God’s chosen instruments and we ignore their art at our peril. That doesn’t mean we must like or approve of their art but only that their art cannot always be judged solely by our own endless and never finished Purity Tests. God uses the broken nature of the artist to advance his own purposes.
This does not mean that all who call themselves “artists” are touched by the hand of God. Most are not. But those that are real artists make art that survives their era after time has winnowed out the chaff. For example, the heyday of the American novel was the last half of the 19th century when hundreds of thousands of titles were spewed from the printing presses and distributed by mail as a kind of cable TV of ripping yarns for a raw nation. Today, out of those millions of titles and thousands of writers, Twain, Melville, Hawthorne, and a few others survive to be read. All those titles resolve into less than 50 novels. That’s how God chooses and his wheels grind exceedingly fine.
I believe that Eric Church and all his songs will never ever make God’s Top 40 in the long run. In the long run, almost all we make will be drowned in the pop culture’s waters of oblivion but I will not be the one to call out an artist’s based on some sort of Purity Test of the artist’s ability to check the right boxes on a question he was not asked at the time. I judge a man’s works separate from the man.
That’s just me. I could be wrong. I often am. In the beginning, I never thought that with all his warts and his tweets and all his rants and ravings that the broken human named Donald Trump could be God’s chosen instrument to try and mend this broken kingdom, but there he sits astride the world like some Strange Colossus.
Then again God chose the shattered Saul in order to get to that young unknown musician, David.
There’s a blaze of light in every word
It doesn’t matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah
I did my best, it wasn’t much
I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch
I’ve told the truth, I didn’t come to fool you
And even though it all went wrong
I’ll stand before the lord of song
With nothing on my tongue but hallelujah