Patterico's Pontifications


Offended POTUS: American Citizens Should Have Remained In Custody In Communist Country

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:55 am

[guest post by Dana]

While there has been much debate about President Trump’s use of Twitter since he took office, his “shoot from the hip” style is less likely to meet with approval from an increasing number of supporters. Here at Patterico’s Pontifications, there have been numerous posts about the president’s Twitter habit and the unintended consequences of such an immensely powerful, yet self-indulgent president who lacks self-control but has (now) 280 characters at his disposal. I have maintained that the President does himself no favors tweeting, as he inevitably steps on any positive achievements by his administration because he cannot resist lashing out at individuals whom he feels slighted by, or is determined to have the last word about some petty issue, or worse, uses Twitter to provoke notoriously unstable and dangerous world leaders. His defenders will say this is a unique strategery on his part. Others will say that his tweets are simply a way to distract from the more troubling and consequential events taking place in his administration that he would prefer not be in the headlines.

Case in point: Two days before President Trump was due to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping on his 10-day trip to Asia, three UCLA men’s basketball players were arrested for shoplifting in China. President Trump brought up the issue with the Chinese president during a meeting with him. As a result, the players were released and allowed to return to the U.S.

On Wednesday, President Trump appeared to publicly challenge the young men to acknowledge his role in their release:


I don’t know whether Trump’s tweet made this happen, or whether the young men were sincerely appreciative and had planned to express their thanks from the get-go, but all three players thanked Trump for his help:

“To President Trump and the United States government, thank you for taking the time to intervene on our behalf. We really appreciate you helping us out,” Cody Riley, one of the three UCLA players, said at a press conference in Los Angeles on Wednesday.

LiAngelo Ball, another of the players, said he “would also like to thank President Trump and the United States government for the help that they provided,” and Jalen Hill, the third involved player, said, “Thank you to the United States government and President Trump for your efforts to bring us home.”

Following the press conference, LiAngelo Ball’s father, Lavar Ball, was asked about President Trump’s involvement in helping his son. He response was less than gracious or grateful a few days ago, and continues to be today:

“Who?” LaVar Ball told ESPN on Friday, when asked about Trump’s involvement in the matter. “What was he over there for? Don’t tell me nothing. Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out.”

As long as my boy’s back here, I’m fine,” LaVar Ball told ESPN. “I’m happy with how things were handled. A lot of people like to say a lot of things that they thought happened over there. Like I told him, ‘They try to make a big deal out of nothing sometimes.’ I’m from L.A. I’ve seen a lot worse things happen than a guy taking some glasses. My son has built up enough character that one bad decision doesn’t define him. Now if you can go back and say when he was 12 years old he was shoplifting and stealing cars and going wild, then that’s a different thing.

Queue the President of the United States who, being unable to resist lashing out at being dismissed in such a manner, upped the ante with those 280 characters at his disposal:


Several hours later, he tweeted this:


Now. I’m hard-pressed to see how anyone would defend a sitting President of the United States who says publicly that it would be better for American citizens to be locked up by the brutal Communist regime of China rather than be back home free on American soil because his feelings were hurt by an ungrateful dad. We are not talking about a private citizen reacting this way. We are talking about the man holding the most powerful position in the world. And yet the President of the United States couldn’t resist lashing out at the senior Ball because he took a shot at him. The President has yet again taken the focus off of his own good work by making outlandish comments. To excuse him with a wave of the hand,it’s just Trump being Trump is similar to the classic it’s just Joe being Joe. Unfortunately, Trump’s lack of self-control on Twitter almost guarantees that this is what Sarah Sanders Huckabee will be confronted with at today’s scheduled press conference and will once again awkwardly struggle to put a positive spin on a self-imposed injury by the President. Further, because support for President Trump is already dismally low in the black community, it wouldn’t be surprising if the senior Ball comes out the winner in this kerfuffle by seeing an uptick in sales at his his company, Big Baller Brand. After all, free publicity. You would think a man who touts his business acumen and success as much as President Trump has, would have at least thought about this unintended consequence.

Additionally, it has been suggested that President Trump picking a fight with Lavar Ball had racist overtures:

“The black man was not appreciative of what the white man did for him and it’s a dog whistle to say the least.”

This doesn’t seem like the President Trump we’ve come to know on Twitter. Instead, as we’ve seen throughout his presidential run and time in office, the President is an equal-opportunity, thin-skinned reactionary when feeling publicly challenged, dismissed or criticized. Every race, gender and religion is a potential target for him, no holds barred. However, these specific comments may have also been red meat for those in his base who are indeed racist.

(For those of you annoyed that I am posting about Trump’s Twitter habits again, I guess be glad I didn’t post about President Trump calling out Al Franken for his sexual misconduct. I would have titled that post “Pot Meet Kettle”.)

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


Charles Manson’s Death Reminds Us Why We Need the Death Penalty

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:30 am

Andrea Ruth had a post earlier today about the death of Charles Manson. Andrea’s post extensively covered Manson’s crimes and said good riddance to this evil man. In this post, in addition to agreeing with Andrea’s sentiments about Manson, I want to take a moment to remind us all that we need the death penalty.

Prosecutors who have a former defendant on death row know that there is always a chance that the murderer will outlive us, no matter how young we were when the penalty was imposed. Vincent Bugliosi was not quite 35 years old when he convicted Manson of the Tate-LaBianca killings. Bugliosi lived to the age of 80 — yet Manson still outlived him.

This is particularly outrageous in the case of Manson. Here is the roll call of the dead — the people Charles Manson was convicted of murdering: Abigail Ann Folger, Wojciech Frykowski, Steven Earl Parent, Sharon Tate, Jay Sebring, Leno La Bianca, Rosemary La Bianca, Gary Hinman, and Donald Jerome “Shorty” Shea. Manson was indeed sentenced to death, but the sentence was overturned (along with that of Sirhan Sirhan and 103 others) in 1972, when the California Supreme Court declared the state’s death penalty unconstitutional. Since the imposition of the death penalty, only 13 executions have been carried out in California. The last was in 2006, and as of August, 747 inmates remained on Death Row.

Most people don’t realize how difficult it is to get to the point where someone is subject to execution. The death penalty in California requires that a jury convict the defendant of at least one murder in the first degree, and at least one special circumstance. Examples of special circumstances include murder for financial gain, murder in the course of rapes, robberies, and other specified felonies, poisoning, and infliction of torture, to name a few. Most cases in which special circumstances are charged are even not tried as death penalty cases. The penalty is typically reserved for “the worst of the worst” — people who have zero chance of rehabilitation. The jury has the opportunity to consider a wide range of possible mitigation as well as aggravation, and twelve people must unanimously agree that death is appropriate after taking all of those factors into consideration.

Appeals of death penalty cases are notoriously long. As absurd as it seems (and is), some inmates have even claimed in recent years that the length of the appeals process is itself cruel and unusual punishment — even though appealing the case is their own choice, and many appeals are frivolous and designed for the express purpose of delay. Frustration with this regime has led California voters to recently pass an initiative to speed up the process.

Manson had his day in court, was convicted of nine murders, was sentenced to death, and given a reprieve by the courts. He spent the rest of his life making a mockery of the system that spared him, carving a swastika into his forehead, and generally showing that he did not deserve to live.

His life was spared, and some of his confederates could even be paroled.

Manson prosecutors used to attend parole hearings to oppose parole for Manson family members convicted of murder. But they can’t do that when they themselves are already dead.

Whether you agree with the death penalty or not, surely we can all agree that the remaining Manson family members should not be paroled. At Hot Air, Ed Morrissey (a death penalty opponent for religious reasons) says:

Manson died where he belonged. Let the parole board and Governor Brown take that as a victory, and apply that lesson to the other Manson “family” convicts.

I would argue that Manson belonged in a gas chamber when he died, but the courts took that option away. Given that reality, prison is where they should all die. It will still be a far more merciful death than those suffered by the Manson family’s victims.

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]

Al Frankenstien, Serial Groper

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:58 am

Details here. For extra partisan points, treat these allegations in a completely different manner from the way you treated those against Roy Moore. Hint: lame, easily refuted distinctions are the best way to paper over your tribalist double standard.

UPDATE: Link fixed. There is a new accuser.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]


Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 45

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,General,Music — Patterico @ 7:00 am

The title of the cantata is “Es ist dir gesagt, Mensch, was gut ist” (It has been told to you, man, what is good).

Today’s Gospel reading is Matthew 25:14-30, the parable of the bags of gold:

“Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

“After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

“The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

“Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’

“His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.

“‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’”

It sounds pretty harsh at first blush. But the message, I think, is that God has entrusted you with certain wealth — talents, skills, and resources — and you should use them fruitfully, rather than be resentful of the one who entrusted you with these gifts, and do nothing with them. While Bach did not write a cantata that relates directly to this Gospel passage, the text of today’s cantata (available here) has passages that sound the same theme, such as this, the text that accompanies the final chorale melody:

Grant that I do diligently
what you have set for me to do,

which Your command directs
for me in my condition!
Grant that I do it quickly,
at the time that I should;
and when I do it, then grant
that it succeed!

The chorale used in the cantata is based on a melody by Ahasverus Fritsch: O Gott, du Frommer Gott, played on the piano here:

Happy listening!

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]


Apple’s First VP Of Diversity And Inclusion Steps Down

Filed under: General — Dana @ 4:33 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Last May, Denise Young Smith was named vice president of diversity and inclusion at Apple. She has been described as Silicon Valley’s most powerful black woman. At the end of this year, however, Young Smith will be leaving Apple, a company that prides itself on a focus to hire more women and minorities. She will be replaced by Christie Smith, who is white. Young Smith’s decision to leave the company appears to have made prior to making what some see as controversial comments she made about diversity. Others, however, see them as not only reasonable comments about diversity, but ones that speak to a broad inclusiveness in the workplace.

During a talk at last month’s One Young World Summit in Bogotá, Young Smith addressed a consistently rebuffed component in the house of diversity:

“I focus on everyone,” Ms. Smith, who has 20 years of experience in the company, said during the Oct. 4-7 conference. “Diversity is the human experience. I get a little bit frustrated when diversity or the term diversity is tagged to the people of color or the women or the LGBT or whatever because that means they’re carrying that around … because that means that we are carrying that around on our foreheads. […] There can be 12 white blue-eyed blond men in a room and they are going to be diverse too because they’re going to bring a different life experience and life perspective to the conversation.”

The issue, Young Smith explains, “is representation and mix.” She is keen to work to bring all voices into the room that “can contribute to the outcome of any situation.”

Young Smith later apologized for her remarks, emailing staff saying that her remarks “were not representative of how I think about diversity or how Apple sees it. For that, I’m sorry. More importantly, I want to assure you Apple’s view and our dedication to diversity has not changed.”

One wonders if that was enough to satisfy attorney Kiara Imani Williams, who took Young Smith to task for her “public display of ignorance,” or perhaps more accurately, her inclusive thinking. Apparently, Williams believes that, by default, being a white male prevents one from participating in any real kind of collaborative process, awareness or inclusion. Other than their blue eyes, they’ve really got nothing much to offer:

Mrs. Smith’s comment displays a very superficial and quite frankly, problematic, view of diversity. It’s a no-brainer that every living human being has a different perspective, viewpoint, and set of life experiences. In fact, nature vs. nurture studies have proven that even identical twins often have different frameworks for relating to the world around them. But workplace diversity is not about the “diversity of fingerprints”, it’s about representation, awareness, collaboration and inclusion.

Williams even takes Apple to task for its creations, including emojis:

Apple’s “diverse representation” game is laughable. Let’s start with emojis. Apple’s emoji game is not, and has never been, on fleek. A few years ago, Apple finally responded to complaints about all white emojis. Instead of creating actual emojis of color, Apple simply allows its users to make white emojis into a different color. Darkening the skin color of a white emoji doesn’t make the emoji black. I don’t know many black people who were born with silky straight black hair… but what do I know, maybe white men with blue eyes are better equipped to speak on black hair.

Those offended by Young Smith’s remarks because they believed her to be defending white men in a workplace already saturated by their presence, including at Apple, only further confirms that which many of us already believe: diversity of thought is not welcome in today’s construct of inclusion. Unless those white men are gay like Apple CEO Tim Cook, then all bets are off. What constitutes diversity and inclusion is determined by a preset narrow-minded bias that, no matter how unique an individual might be, and no matter how different their world view is, if they are the wrong gender or skin color, they’re not welcome at the table.

Anyway, as Tech Crunch notes:

At the leadership level, Apple is still predominantly run by men, who make up 71 percent of the leaders at the company worldwide. White people, meanwhile make up 66 percent of the leaders at Apple in the U.S. Meanwhile, only 3 percent of Apple’s leaders in the U.S. are are black, so Young Smith’s departure won’t do anything to help the amount of black representation at the top.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


Saturday Levity

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:56 am

Language warning. The robots are just as annoyed with the frustrations of life as you and I are.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]


Buy Through the Amazon Search Box on the Sidebar

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:29 pm

After a brief hiatus, the Amazon search box is back! Please buy something to test it out. Once I verify it’s up and running, and working, I’ll explain more about the hiatus, the different look, and so forth.

Please note: only access Amazon through the widget. Do not use a bookmark. That is not allowed.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

Sen. Gillibrand Now Conveniently Woke: Bill Clinton Should Have Stepped Down

Filed under: General — Dana @ 12:52 pm

[guest post by Dana]

This certainly takes the irony cake: Kirsten Gillibrand, who filled Hillary Clinton’s New York Senate seat when the former First Lady became the Secretary of State, and who just last year hit the campaign trail with Bill Clinton on behalf of his wife, now conveniently claims that then-President Bill Clinton should have stepped down when his inappropriate relationship with a 22-year old intern was made public. This is also the same Kirsten Gillibrand who has simultaneously praised Bill Clinton and worked on legislative ways to protect women from sexual abuse, (particularly in the military and on the nation’s college campuses):

Asked directly if she believed Mr. Clinton should have stepped down at the time, Ms. Gillibrand took a long pause and said, “Yes, I think that is the appropriate response.”

Gillibrand then offered a troubling excuse for Bill Clinton remaining in office. An excuse that disturbingly seems to echo a similar excuse made recently by a disgraced show business executive:

But she also appeared to signal that what is currently considered a fireable offense may have been more often overlooked during the Clinton era.

“Things have changed today, and I think under those circumstances there should be a very different reaction,” Ms. Gillibrand said. “And I think in light of this conversation, we should have a very different conversation about President Trump, and a very different conversation about allegations against him.”

A spokesman later said that Ms. Gillibrand was trying to underscore that Mr. Clinton’s actions, had they happened in the current era, should have compelled him to resign.

Of course, this makes one wonder, if the culture changes again in 20 years time and reverts back to those by-gone eras, would Gillibrand’s reaction change accordingly too, especially with regard to Bill Clinton?

Gillibrand goes on to suggest, or perhaps hope that we as a nation are experiencing a watershed moment in history:

I think because, when you have hundreds of thousands of people coming out every day about all industries saying, ‘This is what happened to me,’ I think a lot of people have finally realized, ‘Wow, I didn’t quite realize this.’

And while some people may just be realizing this, certainly Gillibrand, who graduated law school in 1991 and spent years working in law and politics, as well as being the leader of the Women’s Leadership Forum of the DNC, has long known what took place, and continues to take place in her “industry”. But she also knew back then, and even up until the election, who could help advance her career:

[Gillibrand] worked for Hillary Clinton’s successful 2000 U.S. Senate campaign, and Bill Clinton campaigned for her first run for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2006. Gillibrand has also spoken glowingly of Hillary influencing her to get involved in politics, and she has frequently complimented Bill over the course of her career.

With that, former adviser to Hillary Clinton, Philippe Reines called out Gillibrand on her obvious hypocrisy:


All of this sudden wokeness from the left side of aisle is sure tiring.

(Cross-posted at the Jury Talks Back.)



When Party Loyalty Begets A Collective Moral Bankruptcy

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:12 am

[guest post by Dana]

The worst example of party loyalty is when a sexual predator’s bad behavior is brushed away, rationalized, overlooked, or worse: acknowledged as being rooted in truth, or altogether true but dismissed anyway because supporting the party trumps everything else – especially when an election is involved. And even if the opponent is as morally pure as driven snow, better to have an accused sexual predator in office than one from across the aisle.

This week we’ve been treated to journalists now asserting that they believe Juanita Broaddrick and condemn Bill Clinton’s sexual misconduct, even if leaving the door of excuses cracked open. Of course the timing of these tabloid confessionals is painfully and childishly obvious, given that Hillary no longer stands on the brink of becoming the first woman president thus the Democratic party no longer needs the Big Dog to help usher her into the Oval Office. For well-connected professional journalists with access to all manner of information and historical records, and whose very profession consists of research and examination, to claim they simply were unable to see the forest through the trees (until politically convenient), rings hollow. And if Hillary supporting celebrities who are leaving their profession to become full-time political activists, offer up the feeble excuse that they didn’t even know about Juanita Broaddrick’s story when confronted by Broaddrick herself (until politically convenient), rings even more hollow. I can’t help but feel like we are supposed to be applauding the left’s collective epiphanies about the real Bill Clinton. Sorry. Too little, too late. They knew. Because if a nobody like me knew, how much more the professional working journalists, and the celebrities who actually rubbed shoulders with the Clintons? These people are childish in their efforts to appear as if they heroically confronted and took down a beast of burden weighing heavily on their collective woke conscience. I’m not playing this game. Whatever propels the Democratic party forward is always the priority of the left. And it doesn’t matter if that entails staunch denials and dismissals of Bill Clinton’s “peccadilloes” (because that’s what accusations of rape are referred to by the left) when necessary. That has always been the modern moral tell of the Democrats. I think this week should be referred to as the week of convenient reckoning.

But convenience is not limited to the left side of the aisle. The disgust I have at the Democrats’ decades-long denials and efforts to dismiss and rationalize Bill Clinton’s awfulness until politically convenient to admit them, is the same disgust I feel about the right side of the aisle currently circling the wagons around Roy Moore. To my mind, there is little difference. Both men have been accused of heinous behavior toward women. And far worse, claims of sexual assault on this side of the aisle involved a minor. Victims have shared their stories. Family members and friends have backed them up in their allegations. And yet, because Moore is a Republican, a party which once claimed the moral high ground, it is now seemingly willing to overlook the accusations, make excuses for Moore and dismiss any allegations because of the R after his name and because there is an upcoming election. It’s taken a long time, but Republicans are now this close to becoming as morally bankrupt as the Democrats.

In the spirit of equal-opportunity criticism (and disavowal) of public figures accused of sexual misconduct in well-sourced reports, Los Angeles news anchor Leeann Tweeden has gone public with her claims of sexual misconduct by Al Franken, so have at it:

In December of 2006, I embarked on my ninth USO Tour to entertain our troops, my eighth to the Middle East since the 9/11 attacks. My father served in Vietnam and my then-boyfriend (and now husband, Chris) is a pilot in the Air Force, so bringing a ‘little piece of home’ to servicemembers stationed far away from their families was both my passion and my privilege.

The headliner was comedian and now-senator, Al Franken.

Franken had written some skits for the show and brought props and costumes to go along with them. Like many USO shows before and since, the skits were full of sexual innuendo geared toward a young, male audience.

As a TV host and sports broadcaster, as well as a model familiar to the audience from the covers of FHM, Maxim and Playboy, I was only expecting to emcee and introduce the acts, but Franken said he had written a part for me that he thought would be funny, and I agreed to play along.

When I saw the script, Franken had written a moment when his character comes at me for a ‘kiss’. I suspected what he was after, but I figured I could turn my head at the last minute, or put my hand over his mouth, to get more laughs from the crowd.

On the day of the show Franken and I were alone backstage going over our lines one last time. He said to me, “We need to rehearse the kiss.” I laughed and ignored him. Then he said it again. I said something like, ‘Relax Al, this isn’t SNL…we don’t need to rehearse the kiss.’

He continued to insist, and I was beginning to get uncomfortable.

He repeated that actors really need to rehearse everything and that we must practice the kiss. I said ‘OK’ so he would stop badgering me. We did the line leading up to the kiss and then he came at me, put his hand on the back of my head, mashed his lips against mine and aggressively stuck his tongue in my mouth.

I immediately pushed him away with both of my hands against his chest and told him if he ever did that to me again I wouldn’t be so nice about it the next time.

I felt disgusted and violated.

Unfortunately, for Leeann Tweeden, Franken didn’t really give a hoot about how disgusted and violated she might have felt after he forced tongue in her mouth:


I couldn’t believe it. He groped me, without my consent, while I was asleep.

I felt violated all over again. Embarrassed. Belittled. Humiliated.

How dare anyone grab my breasts like this and think it’s funny?

I told my husband everything that happened and showed him the picture.

I wanted to shout my story to the world with a megaphone to anyone who would listen, but even as angry as I was, I was worried about the potential backlash and damage going public might have on my career as a broadcaster.

But that was then, this is now. I’m no longer afraid.

Every time I hear his voice or see his face, I am angry. I am angry that I did his stupid skit for the rest of that tour. I am angry that I didn’t call him out in front of everyone when I had the microphone in my hand every night after that. I wanted to. But I didn’t want to rock the boat. I was there to entertain the troops and make sure they forgot about where they were for a few hours. Someday, I thought to myself, I would tell my story.

That day is now.

Senator Franken, you wrote the script. But there’s nothing funny about sexual assault.

You wrote the scene that would include you kissing me and then relentlessly badgered me into ‘rehearsing’ the kiss with you backstage when we were alone.

You knew exactly what you were doing. You forcibly kissed me without my consent, grabbed my breasts while I was sleeping and had someone take a photo of you doing it, knowing I would see it later, and be ashamed.

And why is Tweeden going public now with her story? To encourage others to come forward, and because she wants the days of silence to be over forever.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


Your Bonus Midweek Bach Cantata: BWV 140 — Plus, Some Rock Music

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,General,Music — Patterico @ 6:00 am

I have learned a lot in my recent series of posts about the Bach Cantatas. Before doing the posts, I was unfamiliar with the way that Gospel readings are chosen for any given Sunday, and the fact that the manner in which this decision is made has been revised over time. From what I understand, the Catholic Church and most Protestant Churches have now mostly settled on a Revised Common Lectionary (RCL), which spans three church years, labeled Year A, Year B, and Year C respectively. Each year focuses on one of the synoptic gospels. Year A (which is coming to a close) emphasizes readings from the Book of Matthew. Year B focuses on Mark, and Year C on Luke, with readings from the Gospel according to John interspersed throughout.

I found a resource online that allows one to match the cantatas presented in Bach’s time with the Sunday of the year — but because Bach’s lectionary was different from the modern RCL, there is no necessary thematic relationship between the cantata composed for a specific Sunday and the Gospel readings you hear in church in modern times. Recently, I said it would be great if I could match the cantatas to the Gospel passages that are actually being read across the country on any given Sunday. But, I concluded, that would be too much work.

Commenter Golden Eagle came to my rescue and pointed me to a book called “Bach Throughout the Year” by John S. Setterlund. Mr. Setterlund has done exactly what I was looking for: he has matched the cantatas and their subject matter to the Revised Common Lectionary in use these days, so that the cantata I present will be appropriate to that Sunday. I will be able to set forth the Gospel passage you’re actually going to hear in church. What fun!

The book has arrived, and appropriate cantatas begin on Sunday! Thank you, Golden Eagle!

Reading the book tonight, through, I saw that the correct cantata for this past Sunday was the very famous cantata BWV 140: Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme (Awake, calls the voice to us). Of course! Sleepers Awake! Was this not the very Gospel passage I sat in church this past Sunday and heard? I cursed fate for bringing me the book three days too late. Do I really have to wait three more years for the 22nd Sunday after Trinity in Year A to play this cantata for you?!

No! That would be too much to bear. And so I present this cantata to you now, in a version conducted by John Eliot Gardiner:

The text is here. I don’t usually quote the text in these posts, but there is a reason to quote at least the beginning:

Awake, calls the voice to us
of the watchmen high up in the tower;
awake, you city of Jerusalem.
Midnight the hour is named

And indeed, note how there are 12 beats in the first ten seconds of the piece — a clear reference to the midnight hour referenced in the text. This is not an accident. There is word painting like this throughout the cantatas and passions.

At 12:41 you will hear a lyric melody in the violins that I am almost certain you will recognize, as it is among the most famous and recognizable melodies Bach ever wrote.

Bach originally composed this for the 27th Sunday after Trinity, but the Gospel passage to which it closely relates is the one you may have heard last Sunday: Matthew 25:1-13, the parable of the ten virgins, in which Christ said:

“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.

“At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’

“Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’

“‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’

“But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.

“Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’

“But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’

“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.”

Therefore keep watch. Sleepers awake. Wachet auf.

There’s nary a dull moment in this piece. Just beauty from start to finish.

In these posts, I like to find (if possible) the original hymn on which the cantata is based. For BWV 140 the hymn is the hymn of the same name (“Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme”), dating from 1599, by Philipp Nicolai. Rather than a plain vanilla rendering of the hymn, here is a beautiful version by Felix Mendelssohn from the St. Paul oratorio:

Was this not the very same hymn that I sang in church this past Sunday, all the while thinking to myself that the tune seemed very familiar? Indeed it was!

Acquiring this book is very exciting for me, and will allow my posts to be “in communion” with the experience of the Christians who read this blog and attend church on Sundays.

And now, just because, for the rockers, and because it’s not really Sunday, here is “Sleepers Awake” by Guadalcanal Diary:

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