Sunday, August 5, 2012

Edit Typos. Edit Syria.

The other day I was watching an Adele concert on TV, recorded at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Adele was amazing, as always. She made the public sing along a lot - and the public responded well, knowing much of the melodies and lyrics by heart. Interesting then: when the public was singing "in masses", it sounded pretty much right, like a professional choir. But then again: the random mass at a concert is not a real choir; the people singing are not trained singers; and they have never rehearsed together. Is the mass able to compensate the non-existing skills of individuals and correct them into a coherent "whole"? Did I witness another expression of mass intelligence?

mass intelligence: Adele, Royal Albert Hall

Mass intelligence is the basic principle of democracy: a bunch of stupid people - the constituency - will make, in average of a full sample, smarter decisions than the self proclaimed expert, a/k/a the dictator. The people might know nothing about anything. But they know what is best for them. It is their life.

Where is Syria headed? Is the theory of mass intelligence heeded? It looks like anything but. Nobody asks the Syrian masses what they want for their future. Everybody has plans for them. A plan to retain Assad's repressive "clan-ship". A plan to install defector general Manaf Tlass as the new prince of Damascus. A plan to keep Syria Iranian. A plan to rip Syria out of the Iranian arc of influence. A plan to depict the Free Syrian Army as an army of humanitarian soldiers. A plan to bog down the United States in Syria. A plan to keep a foot in the Middle East, to keep a hold on Syria. Plans, plans, plans: to what ends?

Mass intelligence these days tells me, it's not Syria I should watch but the London Olympics. A sixteen years old Saudi girl thrown into the ring of Judo to break her country's ban on women's sports. Political satisfaction for the Western masses, but a horror match for a deserted individual. An American girl from Aurora Colorado with shoe size 13, frantically plowing the water to escape the dark knight rising again. A sixteen years old girl from China, too fast to be true, suspected of starting under drugs. While the 15 years old winner from Bethesda Maryland was all clean, of course. The Olympics have always been a mass display of nationalism and of mental colonialism. Mo Farah wins the 10000 meters. Winning gold for the UK, that's how we like our Mohameds. Make that Mo please, it sounds less Somali that way. An Iranian weight lifter wearing Nike gear. Isn't this brand under a sanctions regime? And where are the Americans when the weights are lifted? Are they only strong with a gun in their hands?

My personal intelligence tells me there is nothing I can do about Syria. I should focus on the more pleasant things in life. Things like great art. The Japanese jazz pianist Ai Kuwabara has her first record out. One of the tunes is called "Edit typos". Asked about the meaning of the title, Ai - my twitter buddy @aikun_4649 - told me there is none. She just likes the printing of the words and the sound of it. Me, I hate typos. They remind me of my own imperfections. But Ai's record is perfect, and I know that she will go a long way with her music. 

edit typos: Ai Kuwabara Trio Project

Do bad singers in an Adele concert look to good singers to improve themselves? Does a group of ten individually bad singers sing better when they all sing together in a choir? Or does this still sound bad? Does it change anything when one good singer joins them, or maybe two? Kofi Annan failed in Syria. He was a good singer trying to make a bad concert sound better. But the bad choir didn't follow the lead of the diplomatic maestro. Their hit record was already in stores. Edit Syria. They like the printing. They like the sound of it.

You can travel along with Ai Kuwabara by following her on twitter, as well as the trio's bass player, Yusuke @bassyusuke Morita. Another excerpt of their music is here.


  1. Mr. yorikiiri..sorry to be repetitive but brilliantly written once again!
    You are the king analogies..that Kofi Annan being a good singer trying to make a bad concert sound better bit was brilliant. And its fantastic how you built up the analogy talking about concerts.

    You are a talent truly wasted in your desk job!

  2. thanks Noufel. Always appreciate your nice comments (of which you are the king). I'd like to see you more on twitter... take care. :)