Editorial License

Rob Hammerton, music educator etc.

Covfefe, or Not Covfefe

I trust, if you’ve been on the local Internets at all today, that you’re up to date on the latest Twitter-generated current event … trending topic … meme …

Covfefe.

The tweet read:

Despite the constant negative press covfefe”

And I have to give the Internets credit: by the time the morning commute was over, the responses were just about as creative and snarky and pointed and marvelous as we’ve come to expect from the Internets.

Here’s the thing that we should really be focused on, though:

12:05 in the freakin’ morning, the Toddler-in-Chief is tweeting.

The subject, predictably, starts out as what we might call media criticism if we believed that the thought process were laced with more thoughtfulness than a lot of us suspect it is.

He’s aiming to type “negative press coverage” on his little phone keyboard. At least, I really believe this.

What he actually achieves is “negative press covfefe”.

Granted, the letters “fefe” are, on a keyboard, fairly close to “erage”. You must admit this.

At this point, I’m not sure what exactly went on.

It’s possible that the Toddler’s phone’s autocorrect didn’t kick in. (There are days when I would kill for this outcome.)

Or maybe Autocorrect didn’t have any more idea than we do, as to what “covfefe” was really supposed to be. Which makes me a little better at English, but this is actually to be hoped. Anyway …

Or maybe Autocorrect took something far more bizarre and non-English-based … and its only guess was “covfefe”.

In the normal, “matter” universe, that might be the scariest thing: not that technology with borderline artificial intelligence is coming to take over the world … but that it can be confounded by a toddler’s tweet-spelling.

In the abnormal, “antimatter” universe in which we live, though, here’s what I think is the scariest thing:

The Toddler-in-Chief hit send anyway.

(It’s possible that he looked at the burgeoning Tweet and thought, “yeah, okay; whatever.” I’m not sure what frame of mind one would have to be in, in order to look at “Despite the constant negative press covfefe” and think … “yeah. Greenlight that project.” There’s not a verb or a predicate in it. Come to think of it, that otherworldly non-word is the only thing that really comes close to a genuine, pure noun.)

Sorry. I misled you. That’s not the scariest thing.

This is:

It’s entirely possible that he couldn’t figure out how not to “covfefe”, and panicked. And hit send.

Consider:

At some point in one’s presidency, no matter who one is … as long as one is remotely human, one will encounter situations in which a remotely average human’s immediate gut reaction would be to panic.

What the hell else is this guy likely to hit, the next time he panics?

May 31, 2017 Posted by | current events, Famous Persons, humor, Internet, social media, technology, Twitter | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The 31-Day Blog Challenge, Day 3: What’s In a Name? -or- The Best-Laid Plans…

31 DAY BLOG CHALLENGE QUESTION, DAY THREE: “Meaning of Your Business Name”

Well, to the extent that it’s a business … in the formal sense … in the sense that it might cross over the line into being something with “Inc.” on the end of it … in the sense that, in a previous decade, one might advertise by actually finding a physical shingle and hanging it out somewhere …

It’s a little tiny thing. Hardly worth considerin’.

HammertonMusic.

You’d think there wouldn’t be much to tell. Last name … activity … voila.

 

Last fall, I suddenly got all amped up about buildin’ me a website, so as to more properly (and slightly more loudly) give people the idea that I like to write musical arrangements for bands and choirs, etc., etc., and here’s how to get in touch with me if you’d like to chat about that subject.

The process of building that website, with the able assistance of an outfit called Weebly, caused me to consider a few topics a lot more comprehensively … on the logic that whatever website I put together would suddenly become not just a contact point, but something of a position paper. “Here’s where I stand on a few subjects,” and all that. Don’t know me? After perusing the website, to some professional degree you will.

I learned about landing pages. They’re the webpages whose design needs to cause people to wonder what else is on the website, since this page is so attractive and informative. I learned (somewhat) about the concept of brevity – not my strong suit – since who wants to land on the landing page and be hip-deep in thirteen paragraphs?

No self-aggrandizing website worth its salt lacks webpages with names like “Biography” and “About Me” and “But Enough About Me, Let’s Talk About You, What Do YOU Think Of Me?” So, yes, I’ve got one of those, and a page full of “News” – where am I next plying my musical trade? Y’know, just in case anyone anywhere is breathlessly wondering; the likelihood of which is debatable … but fortune favors the prepared, dahling.

And, so as to convince people that this website all about me is in fact not all about me … a page full of links to websites of other musical people and organizations and companies that I admire, do business with, or want to help promote.

What musical services does my website detail? Musical arrangements, which I’ve been doing for approximately -ever. Musical composition, which I’ve only just started to dabble in (and the difference between composition and assembly of sounds is a topic for another post). Musical transcription score preparation – what? – well, I’ve got this trusty piece of music notation software that can make music actually look attractive; perhaps that can help somebody somewhere.

The Weebly people offered me the opportunity to include a blog section on my website, and so of course I took them up on it. –Wait. Don’t I already have a blog that I have seemed to ignore quite a lot in this past half a year? Y’know … this one? Well, yes; but the HammertonMusic blog would be strictly about musical arranging and composition and my musical projects and strictly musical topics.

Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time.

 

Finally … partly out of self-protection, but partly because it’s important … a page went up regarding intellectual property issues – copyright clearances and permissions and all those legal issues that can send your burgeoning musical-arranging career spiraling down into the canyon if you’re not careful.

And in putting that page together, I started to do lots more research even than I had done previously. Which was at least some … although not as much as you’d think would be necessary. Fortunately for me, most of the people who historically have hired me to write field shows for their bands have taken care of acquiring the proper legal okay to have this or that tune arranged for their ensembles. Thus I have not had to delve into the nasty but necessary world of (as I titled that legal-issues webpage) “How Not To Be Sued.”

At that point, I discovered that the website wasn’t just to advertise, to hawk my wares, to hang out my shingle. A lot of it became the online representation of things that I actually believed about musical expression, and creativity, and other issues that were not at the forefront of my mind when I’d started the project.

 

As it has turned out, since the early fall, when the website went live, life has careened on. A couple of new projects have arisen … and I do not in any way downplay the importance of those projects … but they have caused me to focus in other directions than the “edit your website” button on Weebly.com.

So the website has gotten only sporadic updates. This, in a world where constant updates are highly recommended (so that returning visitors feel like the site is worth returning to).

Well, to paraphrase the founder of the particular denomination wherein I do my church-giggin’ … the website is continually “moving on toward perfection”.

But I was struck by how much the process of building the site made me reconsider a few musical things … come at them from slightly different approach vectors … and probably forced me to get better at a few of those musical things. We’ll see. But for now … I have to get back to work on that really cool marching show concept for the fall.

More on that here, in a bit.

Or more properly, more on that over at HammertonMusic.com, in the upcoming weeks and months.

(Focus, Rob. Focus.)

May 3, 2016 Posted by | arranging, blogging, HammertonMusic.com, Internet, music, technology | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Waiting Period

[Ed. Note: this is not political.

It has everything to do with a topic or two which is intensely political, but this piece itself and the thoughts expressed therein are not political at all.]

 

In many locations in these United States, although not all, and to varying degrees of strictness, there are laws on the books that govern how long someone should need to wait before purchasing some sort of firearm.

I’m sure there’s a fancy legal term for it, but if journalists are writing stories about it, it’s simply called a waiting period.

The idea is that between the purchase or reserving of a gun from a dealer and the moment when the purchaser may take possession of that gun, that purchaser needs to wait a set number of days, usually to allow a state government agency to run a background check and confirm that the purchaser is legally allowed to have that weapon.

The concept also exists regarding insurance policies – incidents which occur during a waiting period are not claimable. Also in the arena of business finance, wherein a company making an initial public offering of stock must keep quiet about it, so as not to articifially inflate the stock’s value. In that latter arena, that waiting period is also known as the “cooling-off period”.

In each case, it seems to me, that waiting period can be a useful tool to help people avoid doing something rash. Whether the rash activity is one of trying to succeed in business without really trying, or to get one’s hands on a weapon that can do physical harm … there are decisions that in the heat of certain moments might better be addressed without the red haze of wild emotion or avarice. Or at least they might more ethically be addressed.

Cooling-off period” is, I would judge, a tremendously apt term.

 

On Saturday, Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia was found to have died in his sleep, at a resort in Texas.

The 79-year-old judge had been a member of the Court since the late 1980s, and had been involved in many momentous decisions, decisions which have profoundly impacted American life and politics. As it happened, he had espoused “originalist” views of the Constitution and conservative takes on the issues that were being discussed as part of these decisions. I happen to have some very specific thoughts about those political views and about the way in which Scalia expressed them, but those thoughts are not germane to the topic that occurred to me Saturday afternoon, when I first heard the news.

As much as I didn’t really care for the man or his views, I tried to be a human being about his passing first. My first thoughts immediately flashed to the future makeup of the Supreme Court, even before a successor may be found, because eight Supremes (and particularly the currently-remaining eight) may decide cases in a different way than the previous nine. But I almost immediately felt badly about that, and concentrated on thoughts and prayers for Justice Scalia’s family and friends.

No matter how famous a person you are … no matter how much of a public figure you may be, and no matter what your effect upon the world and its mass-media current-affairs crucible … when you pass away, somebody else(s), some other human being(s) is (are) directly affected, and are thrown unexpectedly into the grieving process.

That grieving process is often illogical, it’s usually driven by emotion, and it sometimes results in things being said and emotions being expressed in ways that, thereafter, themselves require healing to take place. It’s a frightening and sad and angry time, and taking into account this knowledge aforethought, a lot of things are said and done that are understandable, if not immediately forgivable.

Previously, in this space, I had occasion to chronicle the passing of my college band director – and the reactions of the community upon which he had such an important influence – and the previous paragraph completely applied to that event. It was a rocky time, and people did make it through to varying degrees; but occasionally a few of us had to gently nudge the community as a whole and suggest, um, let’s consider the feelings of his family please, and let’s see if we can try to imagine what the world is going to look like after this immediate sharp stab of shock and grief has subsided, and perhaps even how our rash responses or actions might adversely impact it, yes?

 

Anyway, back to the current event: Justice Antonin Scalia died in his sleep Saturday.

Almost immediately after the San Antonio Express-News reported the judge’s death, wrote technology news and analysis website re/code, Twitter became the place where politicians and their proxies issued statements and began positioning the debate about his successor.

The news commentary website ThinkProgress noted, Mere moments after his death was confirmed, Conn Carroll, a key staffer for Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), promised Republicans would block anyone that Obama nominated[, on Twitter:] … ‘What is less than zero? The chances of Obama successfully appointing a Supreme Court Justice to replace Scalia?’”

And re/code continued, In the pre-Twitter era, both traditional and online publications would follow a predictable playbook for an event like this: Pre-reported obituaries first, followed by sober, restrained analysis. Anything that deviated from that would only show up in media’s margins, at least for the first few days. But now that people — journalists, politicians, celebrities and other influential figures with large audiences — can respond in real time, there’s a new kind of conversation that’s rapidly emerging.

Which, I thought, don’t make it right.

What’s a fella like me, with an opinion like that, to do?

Climb onto Facebook and post, of course.

I know. I spotted the gentle irony. (As a favorite media philosopher of mine once said, “I saw that one coming down Broadway with its doors open.”)

 

I did it anyway.

Okay, so I’m seeing a few of my FB friends posting thoughts … gentle thoughts, I must note … about the passing of Antonin Scalia, as it relates to the constitution of the Supreme Court going forward.

I have NO problem with these expressions. Especially as they have been, again, gentle, speculative, and in some cases elegantly stated.

The topic of the link below, though, I find substantively different. With the understanding that political people in DC need to get ahead of the curve, be prepared for tomorrow morning’s Meet-The-Press-like chat shows, etc etc … could *this* sort of expression not wait at least, say, an hour? Or 24?

In this case, there’s a difference between the social-media commentary of average persons and the policy-setting press releases of the legislative community.

The seeming Desperate Need for political professionals to pounce on this, in this way, at this speed, causes me to wonder if those professionals ever, EVER consider that the recently passed-on have *friends and family* who would like to focus on their loss, undistracted, for longer than, say, a few minutes.

These people.

Don’t know how in the world (at this point, in the era of instant online gratification and Twitter and the majority of humanity yielding to their knee-jerk reactions) one would regulate this sort of thing, but …

I wonder if there ought to be a waiting period.

February 14, 2016 Posted by | current events, Facebook, Famous Persons, government, Internet, news, politics, social media, technology, Twitter | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment