Product Promotion Network

Monthly Archives: June 2017

[Book review] Genghis Khan attacked corrupt religion while conquering the world

[Book review] Genghis Khan attacked corrupt religion while conquering the worldAre Genghis Khan and religion relatable subjects? It may seem unrealistic to match religious spirituality with Genghis Khan who is famous for his cruel conquer-image.

The author of the bestseller “Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World (2005),” which was released in 20 countries worldwide, is called the dean of Mongolian empire for two decades. What impressed me while reading his book was that Genghis Khan made an attempt to punish corrupt religious powers wherever he conquered, by referring to himself as the proxy of god.

Meanwhile, Genghis Khan guaranteed freedom of worship on uncorrupted religions. Khan asked priests from various religions for their evening lectures even when he was out of the battle field. Indeed, the Mongolian army focused their powers to penetrate each religious epicenter to raid glamorous treasures.

Still, they went beyond simple raiding, and completely destroyed symbolic icons by mobilizing limited number of military resources.

However, the Mongolian constructed infrastructures such as roads and ports, and lowered tax after establishing public order.

Sang-Un Kim sukim@donga.com

Book review: The Show That Never Ends: The Rise and Fall of Prog Rock

The 50th anniversary in June of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band serves as a reminder not only of what the band achieved with that monumental album but all the great, if somewhat neglected, music that Sgt. Pepper helped to inspire for the following ten years or so.

As David Weigel relates in The Show That Never Ends, which is an affectionate and entertaining history of progressive rock, Sgt. Pepper paved the way for the immense popularity of legendary bands such as Yes, King Crimson, Pink Floyd, Genesis, Jethro Tull, The Moody Blues, ELP and Gentle Giant. There was an entire generation of bands in the UK and elsewhere producing concept albums full of virtuosic musicianship, wildly experimental arrangements and often impenetrable lyrics.

Of course, prog rock has been subject to much ridicule as well as respect. The golden age of progressive rock ended in the late 1970s, and at this distance it is hard to differentiate the satire of This is Spinal Tap (1984) from the real-life excesses and pretention of many of the bands parodied so brilliantly in the film.

David Weigel says his book “is an argument for progressive rock as a grand cultural detour that invented so much of the music that’s popular now”.

Weigel seeks to reinstate progressive rock to something like its former pomp. In addition to narrating the history of the major bands and albums in prog, his book “is an argument for progressive rock as a grand cultural detour that invented so much of the music that’s popular now.

As the reader will discover – or already knows – prog’s reputation has never quite recovered from a series of crises in 1977 and 1978. Punk won over the critics, disco won over the teens, and the major progressive bands deflated like punctured blimps”. The most dynamic movements in modern art rarely last for very long, and the moment of prog, along with the recording industry and media culture that nurtured it, is well and truly over.

Despite the revival in vinyl and the emergence of neo-prog and new prog, the prog rock bands that produced millions of copies of pre-digital vinyl have all but ceased to exist. Included in the sad rollcall of prominent musicians to have died over the past year or so are prog pioneers such as Daevid Allen, Keith Emerson, John Wetton, Greg Lake and Chris Squire.

Weigel gives proper place to Daevid Allen, the Melbourne-born originator of seminal early prog bands Soft Machine and Gong.

One of the good things about Weigel’s book is the proper place given in the narrative to Daevid Allen, the Melbourne-born originator of seminal early prog bands Soft Machine and Gong. Although not as well recognised as members of the 60s generation of Australian expatriates such as Greer, Humphries, James and Hughes, Allen was just as significant in music – and in his own way just as Australian – as the famous four were in literature.

In an interview with Weigel that took place not long before his death, Daevid Allen recalled doing his best to lead a bohemian life in the provincial Melbourne of the late 1950s. One of the few venues that offered an alternative vibe for Allen was the Swanston Family Hotel in Collins Street, where Allen encountered someone who would later became famous and immensely influential. “A youthful and indomitable Germaine Greer was the chief obstacle to masculine superiority”, said Allen. “I lost every debate I started with her”. The Show That Never Ends is replete with excellent material generated through interviews by the author, who is a senior journalist with The Washington Post, and drawn from the archives. The Show That Never Ends certainly provides ample evidence to support its thesis that progressive rock deserves to be regarded as one of the more daring and accomplished chapters in the history of popular music.

Weigel believes, with ample justification, that “when the progressives were on, they wrote goose-flesh raising music. Their follies were grander than anyone else’s follies; their strange epics, stranger and more epic.” The Show That Never Ends: The Rise and Fall of Prog Rock by David Weigel is published in Australia by Wiley, £38.95. [1]

6_282017_51atjigeecl8201_c1-0-2933-1710_s885x516

References

  1. ^ is published in Australia (au.wiley.com)

Categories