Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Anything Can Happen, Finding Comfort in Rush

As I was preparing for work this morning, my subconscious soundtrack was playing "Prime Mover", as I came to the lyric "anything can happen" I thought back to the countless times I would play this song when feeling lost and confused. For over fifteen years, "Prime Mover" has offered me hope and inspiration through break-ups, job denials, and frequent bouts with stress and anxiety. Currently, I find myself at a professional crossroads, with many questions still to be examined, even after all these years, it is still comforting to listen to "Prime Mover" and experiencing the sense of hope for what the future may bring. Do you have a Rush song, or specific lyric that helps you through difficult times, or helps you to feel that you too are not alone, even when you feel no one else out there understands you?

"From the point of ignition,
to the final drive
The Point of a journey
is not to arrive
Anything can happen"

- Neil Peart, Prime Mover

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Standing on the Razor's Edge: Teenage Suicide

Emerging from the shadows, the "noble warrior" begins his final approach. Beyond the occasional glance and sneer, his peers are oblivious to his existence. He takes a final look back, remembering every face that ever said or did anything to hurt him. From the rooftop, he throws off his book bag and head phones, and takes a final look down. There is still time to turn back, but he is the only one who can make that decision, the final fate, is left to him. This is the story of the teenager in Rush's video for "The Pass", one of the many teenagers who stand on the brink of becoming another suicide statistic.

Suicide rate among the 10-24 age group, rose 8% between 2003-2004. This, following a 28% decline from 1990-2003. A survey by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention of students in grades 9-12, identified 17% of those surveyed as "seriously considered" suicide, 13% having created a plan, and 8% having attempted suicide in the twelve months preceding the survey. If you are an educator, a teenager, or a parent of a teenager, there is a good chance you have been recently affected by teenage suicide. While many factors can lead one to choose suicide, isolation and depression continue to be the most common. As discussed in the "Subdivisions" blog, isolation and depression is not something new to teenagers. While many are able to overcome feelings of depression and isolation, what factors are affecting more teenagers to choose suicide than in previous years? What are some effective strategies to better identify and help those who may be on the brink of becoming another statistic? Maybe some of us have done time in the gutter, perhaps our experiences, when shared with someone in a similar place, can help them to see that they are not alone.

Video for "The Pass" can be found here:


For more information on teen suicide:

Rush-ians and Yoga?

Liz Swan, a life long Rushian and soon to be "blurber" for Rush and Philosophy, is preparing a project of her own, "Yoga and Philosophy", for those interested in contributing the information is below:

Call for Abstracts
Yoga & Philosophy: Stretch Your Mind
Liz Stillwaggon Swan (ed.)

Abstracts are sought for a prospective title in the Wiley-Blackwell series Philosophy for Everyone, under the general editorship of Fritz Allhoff. As with other titles in this Series—Climbing & Philosophy, Wine & Philosophy, Running & Philosophy—Yoga & Philosophy will unite the insights of philosophers, interdisciplinary academics (psychologists, religious studies scholars), and practicing yoginis and yogis. The abstracts and resulting selected papers should be written for an educated but non-specialized audience. The scope of this volume includes all aspects of yoga: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. Thus, essays may address, for example: analyses of the 8 Limbs of Yoga, stories of personal insight and personal transformation from the practice of yoga, accounts of the mind-body relationship in yoga (versus outside of yoga), explication of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, comparative explorations of Eastern and Western approaches to yoga, yoga’s ancient history in India, and/or yoga’s recent history in the US, etc.

· Abstract of paper (250-300 words) due by: February 15, 2010
· Accepted authors will receive notification by: March 15, 2010
· The submission deadline for accepted papers will be June 1, 2010

Final papers must be between 4000-5000 words and be aimed at a general, educated audience.
Abstracts should be submitted electronically to Liz Stillwaggon Swan at liz.swan@ucdenver.edu.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Suburban Isolation

Rush's song "Subdivisions", from 1982's Signals, explores the feelings of teenage isolation stemming from life in the suburbs. Although the video was made almost thirty years ago, many of the themes are still prevalent in today's suburban schools. As a junior high teacher in a suburban school district, I see students, cast out be their peer groups, being made fun of for their perceived differences. Many of these students hide their pain through isolated activities, therefore, they fly under the radar of a school day, going unnoticed by teachers, administrators and peer groups. But what do these isolated students have to say? What are the issues affected students in today's schools? What are the different social groups that one must "conform" to at the risk of being ridiculed and bullied? Has education legislation made it more difficult for staff to identify high risk students?


Monday, February 8, 2010


Welcome to the Rush and Philosophy site. The purpose of this site is for Rush fans to discuss a wide range of topics in regard to the music of Rush. Durrell Bowman and myself, along with the contributors listed below, have completed a manuscript for the Popular Culture Series of Open Court titled Rush and Philosophy. Although we have no timetable set for the release, it is our hope that sometime in the late summer (Rush tour) the book will be available. Until then, we will be posting various topics, guest posts, and samples of the chapters for all Rush fans to comment on. Please check back to this site regularly, to see any new updates and postings.

Chicago: Open Court, 2010 - edited by Jim Berti and Durrell Bowman

Introduction - Jim Berti and Durrell Bowman

Part I: "The Blacksmith and the Artist"

1. Rush's Libertarianism Never "Fit the Plan" - Steven Horwitz, Ph.D.; St. Lawrence U.
2. Hardly Rand-y Peart - Deena Weinstein, Ph.D.; DePaul U. and Michael A. Weinstein, Ph.D.; Purdue U.
3. "What Can This Strange Device Be?": Man and Machine in Rush - Timothy Smolko, M.L.S.; U. of Georgia
4. Barenaked Death Metal Trip-Hopping on Industrial Strings - Durrell Bowman, Ph.D.; Kitchener, Ontario

Part II: "I Want to Look Around Me Now"

1. Myth, Mystery, and Mist?: Secular Humanism and Mystical Language in Rush - Chris McDonald, Ph.D.; Cape Breton U.
2. The Inner and Outer Worlds of Minds and Selves - Todd Suomelo, MLIS; Minnetonka, Minnesota
3. Contre Nous: Musical Otherness in Rush - Nicole Biamonte, Ph.D.; U. of Iowa
4. How is Rush Canadian? - Durrell Bowman, Ph.D.; Kitchener, Ontario

Part III: "To the Margin of Error"

1. "Cruising in Prime Time": The Drumming of Neil Peart as Distraction - Nicholas P. Greco, Ph.D.; Providence College and Seminary
2. The Groove of Rush's Complex Rhythms - John J. Sheinbaum, Ph.D.; U. of Denver
3. 'Nailed It!': Virtuosity, YouTube Performance, and Rush's Aesthetics of Replicability - John T. Reuland, Princeton U.
4. From Plato's Cave to Benjamin's Language Forest: On Imitating Rush - Andrew Cole, Ph.D.; U. of Georgia

Part IV: "The Ebb and Flow of Tidal Fortune"

1. Training Listeners to Think, Feel, and Act - Mitch Earleywine, Ph.D.; U. at Albany
2. Ghost Riding on the Razor's Edge: Neil Peart's Search for Meaning through Tragedy - Jim Berti, North Colonie Schools, U. at Albany
3. Honey on the Rim of "The Larger Bowl" - Melissa L. Beck, Woodstock Academy
4. "Bearing a Gift Beyond Price": Valuing the Music of Rush - Kayla Kreuger, M.A.; West Virginia U.