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Thursday, October 30, 2003

Have you joined the NRA blacklist?

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Listening to this morning's press conference, I was struck by the miserable failure's lack of articulate rhetoric, but also by the fact that no one calls him on the fact that he pretty much repeats the same things over and over. "Iraq is a dangerous place." Oh, ok. Is that the argument?

I guess what frustrates me is that, by the standards levelled against the Palestinian authority (that they do nothing to combat terrorism), the "coalition" is also doing nothing to combat terrorism. Am I taking crazy pills, or is suicide bombers' success in murdering innocent people a weird sort of rationale for doing nothing to help re-start Israeli-Palestinian peace talks? Bush repeated it again during the press conference, that it's all Arafat's fault. I hate Arafat, too. But is that our answer?

Monday, October 27, 2003

Had a strange dream last night, where I was counseling a woman on how she could be successful in music, based what I imagined was my sound knowledge of music history. She listened very patiently, and then said, "ok, your ideas are good... if I led a guitar-oriented band with its roots in the Beatles and the Stones." She pointed out that she was an R&B artist who was mainly influenced by hip-hop, so my advice was pretty much useless to her.

Strange thing is that I woke up feeling embarrassed about her criticsm. My understanding of hip-hop is quite rudimentary. A lot of it I don't really get, the videos look offensive and juvenile to me, and I'm hard pressed to see the artistry in something like Bubba Sparxx, no matter how appealing the beat is.

But I wasn't bugged by the fact that, in my own dream, I took the rather pathetic role of Brian Epstein to her John Lennon. (And by that analogy, you can see that she was right.)

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Asked once by New Musical Express what his idea of heaven was, [Elliott] Smith replied, "George Jones would be singing all the time. It would be like New York in reverse. People would be nice to each other for no reason at all. And it would smell good." Today, it seems like the least we could wish for him. -- from Slate's obit for Elliott

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

This is just plain dumb.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

My post-election-day rant:

Kottke points to this interview, where GWB admits, yeah, he doesn't read anything. At all:

Bush said he insulates himself from the "opinions" that seep into news coverage by getting his news from his own aides. He said he scans headlines, but rarely reads news stories.

Yesterday's election results, combined with the entire Bush presidency, has reinforced my cynicism to a degree that, until today, I wasn't comfortable admitting. It's just so... messed up. People really don't mind that the president is nincompoop. It's ok. We like him. He doesn't put on airs. He eats corn dogs. He prays. Perhaps he really doesn't understand what's going on, but, it's confusing and stuff. His aides understand, he's got smart people working for him. That's what matters.

No serious challenge to Arnold 's platform, whatever that platform was. Actually, he ran without one. He wouldn't talk to newspaper reporters and wouldn't say what he'll cut from the budget to shore up the deficit, or how to pay for a repealed car tax. Not word one. If you have a candidate who will only talk to Peter Jennings, Jennings will ask a couple of broad, nonsense questions like "Why are you doing this, Arnold?" Fussy newspaper reporters might ask "what will you do to pay for the car tax?" So skip that. The fact that he gets away with it so brazenly just amazes me:

"In the movies, if I played a character and I didn't like something, you know what I did?" he asks. "I destroyed it. I wiped it out. Hasta la vista, car tax.'' -- from California's Total Recall (Toronto Sun)

The world's view of our country, that America is not ashamed of its violence and willful ignorance, doesn't matter so much to me anymore, because I suspect that, after all, this view is correct. The sharper ones, the Roves of the world, have manipulated things to such a degree. And I really wonder if anyone can mount a successful challenge to the BushCo machine. Not Dean. Not Clark. Not Kerry.

Can you see why I'm cynical today?

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

"Arnold Schwarzenegger should not be judged on past improper advances towards women but as the devoted husband he is today." (Gee, why didn't Clinton think of this brilliant "devoted husband I am today" defense?) Moreover, Hatch already feels strongly enough that Schwarzenegger is of United States presidential caliber that he cites him as an argument for amending the Constitution, so that foreign-born American citizens can run for the Oval Office. -- from the Nation's Daily Outrage

Friday, October 03, 2003

As if in answer to my prayers, Elizabeth Spiers' new shock and awe has started.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Bill was quoting this Salon thing about Jack Black, how

[a]n MTV interviewer asked him if there are any rock stars today and he said "Yeah, of course -- you've got your White Stripes, your Strokes. You got your, uh [pauses] -- OK, that's it."

I was thinking about this just yesterday. I think Oasis was the last band to be rock stars in an unapologetic, un-ironic way. They abused drugs, sneered, behaved poorly, bla bla, but more importantly, they actually didn't care what people thought of them, because they were rock stars. Now, that doesn't mean they managed their career well, they didn't, but that's sort of the point. I mean, think about that: pretty simple, that kind of hubris. Any shmo can have it. But to have it w/o irony... and to be willing to command attention, it never happens today. Only Eminem has that kind of chutzpah, and his "moment" is sort of over. For all her fame, someone multiplatinum like J-Lo isn't really about that, she's more about being vertically integrated (clothes line, movies, remix projects, CDs). So your P.Diddys, your John Mayers, your Beyonces, they are not so proud as to actually believe they are making history. There's a certain amount of diminished expectation about the whole enterprise. It will take another Kurt Cobain to come along and say "I want it all" in that Keith & Mick at Altamont sort of way.

Right now young people are not, as a group, interested in rock. They like R&B, with occasional toe-dips into bubble-punk (have you heard the Atari's hardcore-lite cover of Don Henly's "Boys of Summer"? talk about a mindfuck... a punky band singing Don Henly, with Don Henly earnestness!) and moody KMart goth (A Perfect Circle, Metallica). So as a market, the record companies are flogging the hardcore hip-hop and soul diva trends, until they run aground the way teen bands did a couple of years ago. Who knows, maybe bubble-punk will become even more mainstream.

For the record, here's Billboard's top 10 for this week:

1 DMX, Grand Champ
2 A Perfect Circle, Thirteenth Step
3 Erykah Badu, World Wide Underground
4 John Mayer, Heavier Things
5 Hilary Duff, Metamorphosis
6 Beyonce, Dangerously In Love
7 Thursday, War All The Time
8 Alan Jackson, Greatest Hits Volume II And Some Other Stuff
9 Sheek Louch, Walk Witt Me
10 Bubba Sparxxx, Deliverance

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