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Vessels of Ecstasy: Elvis and the Rock ‘N’ Roll Pentecost

Learned men, by imitating this harmony on stringed instruments and in song, have gained for themselves a return to this region.

Elvis leading his congregation

Elvis was asked where he learned his dance moves. The King’s gyrations had the nation in turmoil, especially the young girls. Watching his legendary appearances on the Ed Sullivan show, one can witness the charisma and erotic force wielded by Presley. Elvis answered that he learned these skills at his Pentecostal church.

I did some research into Pentecostal style worship to find if there were similarities between it and Elvis. And sure enough, I found the violent shaking of hands as if worshipers are zapping the air (and each other) Palpatine style. I also found the lowering of the body via wobbling of the knees and hips. The similarities are also hidden in plain sight. Those (mostly) buttoned up Christians are calling their spirit with the same genre of music Elvis called his. The demographic skews older at church but the audience exhibits a fervor for Rock ‘N’ Roll rivaling the teen-aged Elvis fanatics.

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Money and Music: dispelling the illusion

My brother Brian is an enterprising fellow, always has been. As a teenager, he learned how to turn eels into guitars. Brian loves fishing. He learned that his talent for catching fish was of value to others. So he caught eels and sold them. He accumulated enough money to buy an electric guitar. Brian wasn’t a fisherman, or a guitarist. He was an alchemist. Transforming slimy river monsters into pinch harmonics. This is the power of money. Cool huh? Well yes, unless you’re an eel. And that’s an important piece of the puzzle. In the eyes of money, nothing is what it is. Everything is everything else. Money flattens everything. It has 2-D vision. A tree, from the perspective money is only “good” because it can be transformed into lumber and paper. Which is counter to a natural way of looking at a tree. Because a tree is good in and of itself. Because it is beautiful. It doesn’t need to be anything else to be good. It just is good.

This is my thesis on money. For now. What happens when this strange force is applied to music?

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