I've been listening to Katie Melua a lot on my computer speakers lately. I had never heard of her until a couple of weeks ago, but now I can't stop listening to tracks of her songs, especially from her 'Piece by Piece' album. She is no Britney Spears, Jessica Simpson, or Christina Aguilera. Thank goodness! This gal sings with a beautiful, crisp voice. There is not even a touch of any nasal quality to her voice and there is rarely an extraneous trill or other vocal affectation when she sings. Less is more. Hallelujah.
Maybe there is hope yet for our human race. We humans have a tendency to add unnecessary layers and complications to things. Music all sounding the same? Add more instruments, more voices, more noise, more notes per bar. Legislation developed over decades to solve a particular problem not working? Add a few hundred more pages of regulations.
Wouldn't it make sense to write better songs and have people with real talent sing them? And wouldn't it make sense to throw out useless legislation or to simplify things so that we could at least have a fighting chance at compliance.
The fact is that we all have a tendency to tamper and meddle with things and then call the end product 'enhanced' or 'improved.' That's why we elect politicians and hire or appoint bureaucrats. They are self-anointed improvers. They want to 'serve' or to 'give back' We believe them and trust them. Then what happens? They improve very efficiently. They are so good at their jobs that it takes armies of lawyers and accountants to help us make sense of all the laws and regulations they create. Then it takes armies of collectors and enforcers to make sure we pay our dues through taxation.
Sometimes it is all just a bit too much.
That is the state of affairs in Robert A. Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. Bellezza and a few other bloggers are reading the book. From comments some others are making on her posts, I gather not everyone is going to read (or even start) the book. Bellezza herself is a trooper and she is heading for the finish line. She will be finished reading the book by the weekend. I'm looking forward to her impressions.
I have to admit that when I first purchased the book in 1972 or 1973, I made a couple of false starts until I could really get 'into' the book. It was so different from anything I had read to that point that I found it somewhat intimidating. Heinlein challenged his readers. His characters were strong, iconoclastic, opinionated and not always consistent. They were human. What most of his chief characters had in common was that they didn't suffer fools gladly and they loved to be free. Once I got about a third of the way into the book, I couldn't put it down. After that, I bought every book of Heinlein's that I could find and have reread some of them several times.
I think I had better brush up on the book myself. I had thought that my several copies (just in case someone wanted to borrow one) were still packed away after our recent move, but I noticed a copy on a bookshelf in my office. I'm taking it home tonight. I have a lot of reading to do to catch up with Bellezza.
Heinlein's heroes dealt with the meddlers and improvers in their world in a way I hope we won't have to. Sorry, I can't tell you more than that. Read the book!