April 20th 2019

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY Budget 2019: The dark side of 'back in the black': no vision

EUTHANASIA FYI: How to navigate the voluntary assisted 'dying' process

CANBERRA OBSERVED Take your tax cuts and be merry, for tomorrow ... is another day

FOREIGN AFFAIRS New Middle East alliance will challenge Saudis

LIFE ISSUES ALP abortion policy blithely tramples all our consciences

SOCIETY AND TECHNOLOGY Will Artificial Intelligence do the walking for you?

LIFE ISSUES Trump, Shorten and Morrison on abortion

GENDER POLITICS Women abused at Women's Day March

NATIONAL AFFAIRS Bill Shorten's bizarre electric car policy

FAMILY AND SOCIETY Revitalising marriage and family: an especially lay apostolate

ASIAN AFFAIRS Entire nations going out without a baby's whimper


MUSIC 1+1=Sublimity: Explanations are like the back side of a tapestry

CINEMA Shazam!: Ambitious teen finds out what's in a name

BOOK REVIEW What will be left us after the deluge?

BOOK REVIEW Author puts some great minds to work



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News Weekly, April 20, 2019


Carl Sagan, Stephen Hawking, Stephen J. Gould et al.

Big Bang plc, CD0001

Price: AUD$∞.25
Reviewed by Sebastian Gunlighter
(Number One Reviewer, with a bullet)

Well, after all the hoo-haa, here it is, the most-awaited album of the year, if not of the age of the earth (put at somewhere between 39 years and 13 billion years).

Was it worth the wait, as Adam said to his hairy dad? A balanced and considered answer must be, “yes” and “no”. As yet another foray by the scientific community into fields in which their ignorance competes for mastery with their hubris, it is a triumph; as a contribution to musical culture, it is eye-poppingly and ear-destroyingly appalling.

What blind, deaf and dumb record maker put Richard Dawkins to droning the lyrics of My Funny Valentine through a megaphone to the accompaniment of a lawnmower?

Which amoebic ancestor of Stephen Jay Gould came up with the idea of getting him to lisp his way through an a capella rendition of Lady Gaga’s Poker Face? And need I elaborate on the mental image conjured up by Stephen Hawking’s voicebox and bandoneon on I Can’t Get Started?

But the nadir of the set is the barbershop quartet arrangement of The Queen of the Night’s aria from The Magic Flute, on which Carl Sagan “reproduces” – If that is the correct term for such a destructive activity – the vocal line on the comb. The other members of the quartet deserve a special mention – in hell. They are: Daniel Dennett, whose muttering in the bass clef is the best argument yet for the non-existence of God; Sam Harris, who sounds like Cerberus with two mouths full of gravel; and Christopher “Howling Chihuahua” Hitchens, who may, we hope, be more graceful now he has joined the “choir invisible” (and the “choir soundless”).

Whatever may be their strengths in their several specialist fields, here is indisputable evidence that these guys should stick to their knitting. Hopefully, there will be no Evolutionary Cosmologists’ Songbook II: let’s pray they soon evolve beyond the need for music.

“Bah, humbug,” said Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol.

Minus five earplugs and a writ

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Last Modified:
April 4, 2018, 6:45 pm