Sunday, July 5, 2009

La Resistance 4: Devotion Without Calculation

Bonjour and Happy American Independence Day!

I can only think of few ways I'd rather celebrate this day than by posting a new episode of the podcast. One of those ways is by supporting the people currently fighting for democracy and freedom in Iran, which one can do by joining with Faithful America's Break the Blackout campaign. For as little as $10 American dollars, you can provide enough bandwidth for the sending of hundreds of secure emails. Additionally, for those of you interested in celebrating American freedom fighters on this American Independence Day, Disabled American Vets is a great organization and well worth considering in your philanthropic portfolio.

Now back to La Resistance....

I apologize for the delay in getting out this episode. Since the last episode I've had to replace my main computer (without first obtaining a copy of all my research-related internet bookmarks) and added another job to the first two. I hope to do at least two eps a year on this new schedule but I can't guarantee it.

The good news is there's a new book out in English on the topic. It's "Resistance" by Matthew Cobb, and is the first such sweeping, English-language overview on the topic since David Schoenbrun's book "Soldiers of the Night." My copy is already winging its way here and I'll be sure to post a review when I can.

Today's episode focuses on the influences of the Spainish Civil War and treatment of Communists in France had on the formation of the Resistance. As promised in the first ep, we look at that famous D'Astier quote that all resistants of the first hour we're, as some translations have him put it, mal-adjusted. Our final take on this is... yes, but not in the way you might expect.

In this episode, I quote at length from Daniel Cordier, and since the passing months and new computer have done nothing to enhance my audio skills, I'm reposting it here for you to read if the sound comes out a bit iffy for you.

"This past, still so alive for me, now seems to me the improvisation of a jazz band, whose instruments have been lost and a great part of the recording destroyed. This past traversed with extreme enthusiasm, with devotion without calculation, resembles a concert played only once, and which specialists endeavour to reconstruct with bits of documents or testimonies.

At the end of their investigation, perhaps they will discover... the composition of the orchestra or the kind of music played. But whatever their patience, whatever the exactitude of their research, no one can ever again perceive in this music the particular sensitivity of the musicians and their instruments, nor the richness of its melody or the complexity of its harmony, such as it was on the day it was performed. At most, one could try a transcription... of the pieces, but the deciphering of each one will never restore the exceptional details of their fusion of rhythms.

Only those who assisted with it will preserve in their minds the plenitude of improvisations in this concert, without being able, because of their deformed memories and their impotent vocabulary, to share their pleasure, fixed forever in their solitary memory."

This is the best description of Resistance and Resistance studies I've ever come across. On a good day you swear you can hear the jazz.

Speaking of, we'd like to take a moment to thank the fine folks of The Podsafe Music Network and the band Boom Boom Beckett for allowing us through the aforementioned site use of the song "Cat's Bite." The song can be heard in full, and more info found about the band, on their Podsafe page here.

As mentioned in this episode, we're probably finished looking at the start of the Resistance at the moment and will now focus more on specific subjects within the field. Some of which will involve looking at the Danish Resistance, journalism in the Resistance, the aftermath of the Resistance, and hopefully will look into a few controversies around it as well. If you have any subjects you'd especially like us to take a look at, just leave us a comment here or send me an email. I'd love to hear more about what you're looking for in this 'cast.

Until next time, vive la Resistance.


Greg said...

Oh wow. You're alive!
I had just assumed this podcast had met it's doom, and I was quite surprised to see it appear on my iPod.

Good content. I found your images of the political landscape of Europe before the War quite eye opening.

But the audio is odd. You sound like it's compressed a bit too much.

Anyway, keep it up. I like "Specialized" history podcasts that tell one story thoroughly. I hope you manage a few more than 2 per year, otherwize we are both going to be quite old by the time you get to 1945.

Kensington said...

Yes, I'm alive! Just pining for the Fjords...

Sorry the audio is so off in this. I have a new computer but still can't seem to just make it sound right. The amount of time I invest in editing the audio is downright embarrassing when compared with the result.

On the plus side, I may have nowhere to go but up. :-)

Thanks for commenting!