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Saturday, October 18, 2003
Nice bit of music criticism from Zippy the Pinhead.
posted by Mike B. at 4:11 PM 0 comments Links to this post
Back in college, I used to get drunk and listen to the first Frank Black & the Catholics album, and at the moment it was coming through my stereo it sounded like the best thing in the goddamned world. Same thing with Small Change. Point being, some music just sounds way better (to me) when you're drunk.
Tonight I went out with Lori-the-drummer and ended up at a bar in the West Village populated mostly by femme dykes and pretty gay boys, and in this way it was an odd version of heaven: just a really cute moving painting I could sit back and drink and watch and there was no pressure. The femme dykes did a bar dance, and swung around, and everyone danced to Madonna and JT like they were at a wedding. It was great. And then we went to a lesbian bar on 2nd Avenue called (accurately) "The Hole," and that was great too--dancing and drinking and Cher exercise videos.
And as I left the bar and walked to the subway, I listened to the All Girl Summer Fun Band's 2. And fuck, it sounded great.
I've liked the AGSFB for a while; I've even started a post about them a few times, mainly focusing on how they get pop music in a way that no one else on K does. But fuck all that. Their perfection and love is a present sidelight to my alcohol-fueled joy and the sounds coming through my headphones. The guitars on "Dear Mr. and Mrs. Troublemanker" just sound amazing. "Down South, 10 Hours, 1-5" has the best "sha-la-la-la-la-la" beat-dropping break I've ever heard. "Ticking Time Bomb" goes "A-wah-a-ow-a" like it's the Gettysburg address. "Jason Lee" is so good it makes me sing out loud, some looney vocalizing apropos of nothing down second avenue, "Jason Lee, doing kickflips in my dreams,' and when they sing "We both like obscure music / and we're both 33," it's just what pop music can and should be sometimes. And the hook for "Video Game Heart"--so, so good.
This may all wear off tomorrow, but so does the love of a late-night hookup, too, and that's still OK. There's no shame in having a one-night stand with the music.
posted by Mike B. at 4:30 AM 0 comments Links to this post
Friday, October 17, 2003
Somewhat random point:
I think the reason we have arguments like this is because, ultimately, no one's ever come up with a satisfactory answer for the fundamental question of what, exactly, the purpose or use of art is. Sure, the process of art is sometimes conceived of as having theraputic value, but that's just the process, regardless of the outcome. And sure, sometimes pieces of art are sold for large sums of money. But art partisans likely reject both of these valuations, as they conflict with our communal standards; art-as-therapy requires us to judge all art equally, or to judge it based on its effect on the artist's pysche, and art-as-product makes the value of a piece determined by the market rather than a more abstract critical taste. I think, at our heart, we can all agree with both of these; while I do think megapop is good, partially because of its mass appeal, I'm unwilling to say that Luke Haines' art is invalid because it's not widely known. Art-as-therapy doesn't explain why a painting is in a museum and, say, a hand puppet or a diary isn't; art-as-product doesn't explain a book that costs $5.99 in paperback, like Moby Dick, is, as an experience rather than an object, supposed to be more valuable than a $20 blender. What is the use of art?
It's a question I've given a lot of thought to--like, two years or so, and maybe that'll all come out sometime, but I need to read more Wittgenstein. Suffice to say it's related to politics and speech and a lot of the kind of things I talk about here when I get in my theoryhead cups. Just an abstract teaser for something that may never appear, but the question is worth asking.
Today is Lethem-day, so not much from me until the review is complete.
posted by Mike B. at 11:28 AM 0 comments Links to this post
Thursday, October 16, 2003
To my Gothamite readers: it appears (by dint of my own poisonal investigation) that N.E.R.D. will be playing in Union Square today at 6:30. Be there or be a, um, nerd. Bonus points for yelling something about Sasha Frere-Jones.
posted by Mike B. at 2:25 PM 0 comments Links to this post
There are many things you can say about Tori Amos, guys, but I don't think having pretentious album titles is one of them. What, like, um, Little Earthquakes? Scarlett's Walk? How are these pretentious? (Wittgenstein's Walk? Strange Little Patriarchal Control Structures?)
posted by Mike B. at 1:16 PM 0 comments Links to this post
Kind of interesting bit of AUR criticism in that Marcus column:
Musicians, critics, government officials talk about how the collapse of the Soviet system was unthinkable without the Beatles--without their embodiment of a secret or inaccessible culture people desperately wanted to join. You hear the memory of imprisonment: "We lived on a separate planet and they could never come here," says the leader of the Soviet-era band Aquarium. But if the story makes you think of Lou Reed inducting Dion into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, describing how the Belmonts sent him "the sound of another life," soon enough the film will give you Mikhail Gorbachev, looking diminished and blank, and you can't gainsay his dutiful testimony that the Beatles told "the young people of the Soviet Union there was another life"--what else could they have heard? ... "Maybe I'm Amazed," and then "Back in the U.S.S.R." The instant leap in the crowd tells you this is what they came for, what they wouldn't leave without. You see a cool-looking guy in the audience, looking right at the camera, with a deep, knowing smile. The song was supposed to be a joke, as in Who'd want to go back to the U.S.S.R.?, and today the U.S.S.R. doesn't even exist. But the people in Red Square do, and the song does, and now the people present to hear it played change the unspoken negative of the song into an affirmation of their own existence. Yes, it was a script, and everyone was playing a part, but you'd have to be a truly great cynic not to smile over this tale.
Hmm. Well, I don't know if Greil meant it this way, but it's interesting that he's saying that the audience wants to get back to the USSR, not Russia. Because that's a whole different thing, isn't it: nationalism v. nostalgia for totalitarianism. Things were easier under the soviets, the members of that "secret culture" had more power. Or so it looks today. But of course, it's not true. Cultural capital as political capital: that's the game. And what's up with that whole "secret culture" riff, anyway? What exactly is the culture? Capitalism? The west? Democracy? People listened to the Beatles and wanted to overthrow Communism so they could hear it? Are they simply representative of freedom, or is it something else? Is freedom here conceived as hipness? Is it one of the great benefit of repression that you can sensibly make this comparison, whereas after the onus of dictatorship is lifted you see freedom as it truly is: the opportunity for unorganized repression. Which is not to say freedom is worse than dictatorship, but you also have to recognize that there needs to be something there to guarantee it, something organized, and I'm not sure that the three-quarter lie that is rock's attitude problem does that. Art can create spaces of freedom, but rarely tells you what to do with them. Maybe nostalgia for the USSR or East Germany--a nostalgia which, by most accounts, is distressingly widespread among the yoots of the Eastern Bloc--is a yearning for a time when the possibility of that space was still extent, rather than mostly debased. Maybe bohos' desire to deflate their own power into an imagined police state is a kind of fetish game where the pleasure derives from breaking out of it, where art has easy power. But, of course, it's mainly a distaste for moral ambiguities, same as the Bushies have. But those lame ambiguities are very much still with us.
Which is great. If they weren't, we'd be living in friggin' Middle Earth, and that's no good.
posted by Mike B. at 12:07 PM 0 comments Links to this post
I was reading this little backpage thing in the October Blender about Steve Earle. ("Who Does Steve Earle Think He Is?") Here's one Q/A exchange:
How punk are you?
Now, this is interesting, because the critical narrative of this tour is that it was a horrendous mistake, a string of cowboy joints in the American South where the Pistols wouldn't just be ignored, but actively hated. Especially odd when there were many places in the country where they'd be welcome. And this all contributing to their eventual breakup.
However: what if it actually spurred the entire alt-country genre? What if, like the old canard about the first VU album, the individuals on this tour who actually connected with punk connected with it in this fundamental way that inspired them to create this new thing from a fairly old thing? What if the line between Sid's bleeding face and Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (or, depending on your sensibility, My Morning Jacket) is way straighter than any of us suspected? Certainly Steve Earle occupies a key node on that line, even if today's alters wouldn't necessarily recognize it.
Or: is this just Steve trying to tap into that myth, trying to hitch his own particularly iconic story (country rebel turned junkie turned ex-junkie political activist) to the Pistols'?
Alert Griel Marcus!
posted by Mike B. at 11:42 AM 0 comments Links to this post
Has anyone thought that this guy is actually Steve Albini??? Cause I sure did.
posted by Mike B. at 11:19 AM 0 comments Links to this post
The RS review of the new Strokes album is vaguely interesting. It doesn't make me want to buy it, though. (Reggae?) But I probably will anyway.
It brings up a semi-interesting point: is it true that "Critics hate to admit they were wrong more than A&R guys"? (Er, which you can shorten to "critics hate to admit they're wrong.") This said, of course, in reference to the positive looks Room on Fire is getting--the implication being that critics don't actually like it, they're just covering their asses. Which is ludicrous. Critics love to tear down a sophomore album, especially the NME, who were notorious Strokesophiles.
But this one isn't getting torn down, while also not (apparently) being very spectacular; I certainly haven't heard any actual fans raving about it like David Fricke does. So what's the explanation? Maybe it's that what critics actually want from a second album is more of the same, pretty much; a "realization" of the sound on the first one, tempered only (of course) by acknowledgments of criticism made by critics. But maybe I'm being overly cynical.
Third albums, though...that's a whole different story. What the hell do critics want for that? A whole reinvention? It would be interesting to find bands that retained critical cred for their first three or four albums and see what kind of arc, either musically or promotionally, they took. Hmm.
posted by Mike B. at 10:52 AM 0 comments Links to this post
Probot is here.
w/streaming audio! The one I've got on right now, "Ice Cold Man," sounds like a weird mix between the Melvins and Sabbath.
...ah, but now "Centuries of Sin" sounds more grindcore.
posted by Mike B. at 9:04 AM 0 comments Links to this post
Wednesday, October 15, 2003
Man, William Bowers can really do it sometimes.
Viz: "At his best, Oberst is a conscientious and uninhibited examiner of manic yesterdays and corporate tomorrows; at his worst, he seems to be oversqueezing his teats to spray his audience with his precious soul-milk."
The whole thing's good; I've never seen anyone use a compilation to go off on quite so many tangents before. There's not even an attempt to tie it all in. Nice.
posted by Mike B. at 5:41 PM 0 comments Links to this post
This is pretty interesting.
Has anyone heard any of the To My Surprise songs? Any good? (Semi-embarassingly, I'm intrigued by the Harvey Danger comparison.) At any rate, it's a great idea--hard-rock dude picking out overlooked talent for side project because he can, gasp, write good songs. No idea if it's true or not, but...
posted by Mike B. at 4:55 PM 0 comments Links to this post
Kind of interesting that the consensus is that there's been no noticable sales uptick as a result of the UMG price drop. And no matter what you think about the accounting practices of the music business, trust me on the fact that it's not doing very well right now, and if there aren't sales to make up the shortfall, some people are going to be losing their jobs, and not necessarily the people who made the decision to cut MSRP across the board.
The especially odd thing about this is that, after the initial publicity blitz (which UMG probably didn't have to pay for--the stories seemed mainly self-generating), there's been no marketing push to publicize the new lower prices. Whether this is because they don't want to spend the money or because they want to retain their "boutique" status, I'm not sure, but it's awful stupid.
It's also making me think, once again, that this is maybe just a big publicity stunt. "You guys complained that CD prices were too high, but see? We drop 'em and nothing happens! It's piracy that's killing the music!" I guess we'll see...
posted by Mike B. at 11:28 AM 0 comments Links to this post
You know, sometimes--sometimes--it's really nice to get to work and turn on the radio and have Avril's "Complicated" playing.
That song has an interesting perceptual arc in my mind. When I first heard it, it sounded a little too Shania-ish, but when I heard it a few more times and gave it a better listen, I really loved the production, even if I still didn't entirely agree with some of the songwriting choices (the overly Goo Goo Dolls-y chords that come after the choruses, the speak-sing at the beginning of the verses, etc.).
But now, having heard some of the stuff the Matrix is capable of ("Rock Me" in particular), it sounds kind of weak again. The good little touches are still there, but it's missing that great guitar sound; the really hypercrisp ProTools crunch that was there on the Liz album is sublimated to a more faux-analog (if still megacompressed) sound on the Avril single.
Oh, and did they produce a bunch of the new Mandy Moore songs? She gets a shout-out in Spin this month, by the by.
posted by Mike B. at 11:05 AM 0 comments Links to this post
Tuesday, October 14, 2003
On the one hand, "The Washington Post has decided not to publish this week's Boondocks strip."
On the other hand, this week's Boondocks appears to be about finding Condoleeza Rice a boyfriend. What's up? That seems way less controversial than a lot of previous Boondocks storylines.
UPDATE: Still pretty tame this week, and still no idea why the Post pulled it. Maybe in Friday's strip Huey sticks an American flag in Condoleeza's vagina and lights it on fire? Uh, probably not, I suppose.
UPDATE 2: Aha.
It was pulled because Condi may, in fact, have a boyfriend. Whuzza?
posted by Mike B. at 9:33 AM 0 comments Links to this post
Monday, October 13, 2003
Christian Marclay is pretty cool.
posted by Mike B. at 6:27 PM 0 comments Links to this post
I'm not sure that I need to say anything else about the below-mentioned response aside from the fact that it unironically quotes Chuck Palahniuk's extremely ironic Fight Club--"You are not your fucking khakis."--a quote which itself rings true to the highly problematic Adbusters aesthetic. But hey, why stop there? Why not point out this section:
And I also refuse to accept the notion that someone rocking out to "Mr. Roboto" in their car with a big shit-eating grin on their face is an actual experiencing of art. It's the equivalent of laughing at retarded people falling down. It rises out of a certain innate cruelty within the human condition -- pretending that stupid things are really clever because it's funny.
..and wonder if he really means to imply that a) Styx are actually retarded, not just untalented musicians; b) hearing "Mr. Roboto" is embarrassing; c) playing "Mr. Roboto" is physically painful, like falling down; d) dancing=cruelty; e) Styx can see you every time you dance; and f) are mad at you for doing so. (Especially interesting to me because it mirrors a discussion on wallace-l of late--start there and keep going, "SecondFate" being the main instigator--which claimed, somewhat more convincingly, that making jokes about real people's deaths is cruel. That was stupid, but, amazingly, less stupid than the idea of dancing=cruelty.)
Of course, Doughty is smarter than most of the people writing pop music. So am I, for that matter. So is my garbage man.
...which makes me wonder if this guy knows anything at all. The implication--that most people are smarter than the people writing pop music--is just dumb. Athletes, OK; true or not, I could understand the claim that most people are smarter than athletes. Their profession mainly involves their bodies. But writing music is solely a mental activity. You can't be too stupid if you're doing that, and for sure "most of the people writing pop music" are pretty smart. It doesn't take a whole lot of either research or logic to figure this one out. But, then again, we do tend to think that the people who have different tastes from us have to be stupider than us, don't we?
Oh, and there's this...
What this attitude has led to, in my opinion, is a musical climate in which nobody bothers to be serious, except the people who aren't very good at it, like Britney Spears. All the indie kids are so caught up in perfecting the art of the ironic pop song because most of them seem really afraid to put it out there, to actually go "Yeah, I wrote this song, and yeah, I fucking mean it." The ones that do -- the Dashboard Confessionals school of lacrymosa-pop -- are just stupid and awful.
What country are you living in, dude? Have you not seen the hordes of earnest Godspeed imitators? The legions of serious laptop diddlers? The mountains of spazzy noise-coreans? Some of indie rock, maybe the most visible part, like "irony" (although you appear to mean less "irony" and more "retro"), but as far as I can see at least as many, if not more, are wanky experimental kids. And even a lot of the retro people are pretty damn serious about it. The Strokes rarely crack a smile. Interpol made a career out of being po-faced. They all mean it, man. They just mean it in different ways. You just seem to be pining for a emo band you can play for your friends without being embarrassed.
And, finally, there's this, which I'm quoting in full.
Cheap irony is why most music is such shit right now. Even the good stuff is remarkably self-similar -- your Sigur Róses and your Ladytrons and your Lali Punas and your Postal Services. There are some good roads being taken in ambient-pop and electroclash, but the good stuff tends to go unnoticed by the vast herds of clone children with their ironic t-shirts and their hideous haircuts. They may own (), but they're not listening to it on a regular basis...because they can't process what it's supposed to do for them. It's like being color blind.
Sweet Jesus, man, you're subjecting us to this because people talked during a goddamn Sigur Ros concert? Because they interrupted your fucking crying? Could you please spare us, or at the very least realize, like the rest of us, that your music fandom is vaguely ridiculous at times, and when you're feeling sorry for and angry at the people that aren't crying at a Scandinavian slowcore show, that's the kind of thing I'm talking about. (Oh, and you've got an anti-irony rant going and throw in Ladytron? Huh?)
Do I even need to say that this is more AUR bullshit? Well, let's just come right out with it: you are not a cultural rebel, dude. There are many, many, many others like you, who like the same music you do, who like to think they're being intellectual whilst consuming pop music. The ignorant masses are neither repressing you nor "the music." "The music" is fine. Everyone is still free to make whatever they want, and by and large, most people do. Just because the Strokes are on MTV doesn't mean you can't put on One Mile North (who I love, incidentally) and leave the rest of us alone. Because you know what? We can all think, despite your claims to the contrary. And just because someone likes Weezer doesn't mean they don't like Jim O'Rourke in just as sincere a way. Just because they don't have the same musical tastes as you doesn't mean they're stupid. And just because you can't find emotion in disco doesn't mean there's none there.
posted by Mike B. at 3:58 PM 0 comments Links to this post
Really wonderful Tom Ewing post about irony being an element of complexity. It's in response to a response (about which more later) to a Freaky Trigger article called "Irony And Its Malcontents." It's a great little piece, focusing in part on Johnny Cash. But it's also interesting because it has a companion piece in one particular section from The Fortress of Solitude, one seeming so oddly much like a direct response that I have to post it here.
The context for this excerpt is that the main character, Dylan (here referred to largely in the second person), grew up the only white kid in a Brooklyn neighborhood. With his (black) friend Mingus, he did things that the 2k3 Vice crowd would probably trade their own mothers for: tagging up with the original graffiti artists, attending DJ battles in public schoolyards, finding breaks in records and listening to Mingus freestyle, etc. But he's now going to the Stuyvesant magnet school, and, never much of a 'head anyway, has fallen into the punk thing here in the 1979 NYC scene. However, he has also invented a flying superhero named Aeroman with Mingus. Here goes.
(all errors mine)
Three white high schoolers cavort along West Fourth Street, returning from J&R's Music World to an apartment on Hudson where a certain divorced mom's not home, where they've got keys and the regular afternoon run of the place. All three are armored against late-fall weather in black motorcycle jackets, the Brando-Elvis-Ramones variety, leather skins studded with chrome stars and skulls, buckles dangling loose and fronts unzipped against the chill. The three grab-ass, swing incompetently from lampposts, talk in private tongues, nerd-punk argot.
To me so far, this seems to be the key passage in the novel. And it does that novelistic thing of containing ambivalence in a way few other genres are able to. There's the expected half-guilt of white flight, gentrification, appropriation, unhipness, yes, but there's also the joy of it. The guilt is somewhere way back in Dylan's mind, and while it's no doubt clouded by the ability of us as 2003 readers to know just how lame the three punks are being, Dylan is still experiencing a lot of joy at this moment, and a joy most of us wouldn't usually think to contrast with something else. And I don't think we should. Should we feel guilty about liking (even pining for) the CBGB's / Max's Kansas City scene when there was a brand new artform being invented across the river? Not necessarily. Dylan, for instance, never seemed very happy in Brooklyn.
But the great thing about this section is that, in and of itself, it's an amazing piece of criticism. It reminds me of a Bangsian Golden Era review in a way, combining fictional situation, personal connection, intertextuality, historicism, and ambivalence into a glorious whole. It's an example of what criticism can be, another way of portraying the personal experience of music, but also another way of passing judgment, another way of thinking about music. It's really good.
Anyway, I think I'll come back to this when I'm all finished up, but for now, there it is.
posted by Mike B. at 3:27 PM 0 comments Links to this post
In a mailing list post, Harm made a connection between my long post on art-under-repression attitudes under freedom and one of his on the California election, saying both were essentially decrying elitism of one form or another. I'll quote the relevant bit (from here):
the operative word is, as mr. humphrey put it, elitism--a basic axiomatic assumption that people don't know their collective ass from the book/movie/cd/ideology they're supposed to consume & therefore said huddled masses need some Direction & Guidance b/c they obviously don't have a clue about what's Really Good for them. which is an overtly & unconscionably totalitarian mindset, except its proponents do a great job @ couching it in faux-populist terminology (chomsky & his many immitators are particularly good at this) like "dominance of the media" or the "tyranny of corporations."
I don't want to argue with the substance of his post, necessarily, as I guess I'm trying to stay away from explicitly political stuff nowadays; nevertheless, I do pretty much disagree, both about the recall itself (which I've said before), about ballot initiatives in general (hate 'em, no matter the cause), and about campaign finance reform as something that disenfranchises the affluent--I think CFR is problematic, but mostly because it almost never succeeds at its stated goals and only ends up driving the influence of money on politics more into the shadows, where it's much harder for people (in which I definitely include myself) to find out about it.
Anyway, what I do want to take a small issue with is making the connection between my anti-elitism and his, because I think they're very different. Mine is cultural and his is political. What's the difference? Well, basically, the difference is that politics matters and culture doesn't; politics has a real effect on people's lives. Culture has an impact on people's jobs, sure, but that's an individual-level thing. It doesn't basically regulate their existence like politics does.
It's obvious that I'm an anti-elitist in the cultural realm, where I have a major problem with knee-jerk anti-popism. Taste is important and useful but not absolute; just because you like band X and think you have good taste (a point which I may very well agree with you on) doesn't mean that band X's commercial failure is due to the bad taste or, worse, stupidity of the buying public. Similarly, just because something is well-loved doesn't mean that it's bad, that the supposed vapidity of the masses washes back onto it. Context makes art interesting but not good, and to actually judge a piece of art, you need to remove it from that context to whatever degree you can; and, always, it's more useful to find something good than to find something bad. Indie-kid purism and elitism annoys me to no end.
But I'm also the guy who wrote: "while I'm strongly in favor of finding effective ways for citizens to participate in politics (appearances here to the contrary, perhaps), I'm not one of those morons who thinks that a sophomore politics major has the same authority as Richard Armitage to speak on issues of foreign policy. (Thank you, Noam Chomsky.) Things like experience and knowledge matter; efficacy, in other words, is a factor."
Politics is a process, a factory, a machine: it produces legislation that has an impact on people's lives. If the culture industry produces essentially bon-bons of one flavor or another, politics produces knives and jigsaws and guns and medicine; things that can be very useful, but things that can also kill. And for that reason, I want the people producing those things to be very, very smart at what they do. They have to be good at politics, at governing, at administrating, at the skills required for their position in government. This doesn't make them better than anyone else as people, but it does mean that they have this particular skill instead of other skills. And the fact that I want talented people to govern me means I also want them elected by people who can sense those qualities. I think, to a greater or lesser degree, that works OK right now, but largely because of the kind of things we see going on in the Democratic primary at present: whoever has the best political organizational skills gets the funding, the good staff, the motivated voters; whoever's best at speaking looks good in public. This person then gets submitted to the voters. None of this has to do with the issues, which (hopefully) are what the voters can judge candidates on in the general election. The nominating process is profoundly elitist and, I think, rightly so.
I feel comfortable saying this, especially when you compare the considerations with those surrounding culture. With culture, who suffers if Britney Spears sells instead of the New Pornographers? Some Matador employees, maybe, and possibly Carl Newman, although he seems pretty happy with what he's currently got, as far as I can tell. Would our world, our collective lives, be noticably better if the music we like was the mainstream? (Or if, heaven forfend, we recognized that in part it already is?) But when one candidate beats another, it's bad news for the rich or the poor or hot dog manufacturers or whoever. It has a very real effect on a probably large group of people. Even more important is the fact that sometimes electing the wrong candidate--often for very good populist reasons--can make things worse for almost everyone via a breakdown in civil services or national security or the simple functioning of the government itself. And while I admit that elitism doesn't necessarily prevent these problems, I would contend that it sometimes does, and this very possibility is reason enough to have a far greater tolerance for elitism in politics than in culture. (Of course, this is all predicated on the idea that you think the government is doing better when it's functioning well; many people, including perhaps Harm, would disagree.)
So if you look back to the original post, you'll see a bit where I say the efforts of artists to include the context (real or imagined) of suffering in judgment of their work is not an artistic consideration, but a political one. One of the things I mean by that is that it's eligible for critique. Some musician says their album is a punk album, you can debate whether or not it is, but it doesn't actually matter, and the debate becomes an artistic product in and of itself, another source of enjoyment. Things like claims of repression, however, are intended to have a very real political effect, and as such, it's worth examining whether or not these claims are valid and/or what effect they could have.
At any rate: good post by Harm, and apologies to my music readers for the eruption of semi-political content.
 Right below said post is a post about the whole Valerie Plane thing. Hey, remember July? Weird.
posted by Mike B. at 2:41 PM 0 comments Links to this post
Public notice: I am currently ensconsed in the book of the moment right now, as I am actually reviewing it (!) but need to finish the damn thing. I know, I know--book reviewers never finish the damn book. But I'm trying to break the cycle, man. So, anyway, there will be fewer posts this week, probably, but I think the review might be edifying when I post it here in perhaps a 12" version.
The book itself is...really good, I think. There's a whole lot of really interesting stuff about cultural politics in there which I might be able to address. We shall see.
posted by Mike B. at 12:18 PM 0 comments Links to this post
Via an anonymous tipster, I have managed to acquire a Chuck Klosterman article on Britney Spears from Esquire magazine. You can find it here. Of course, you really should buy the magazine, for the pictures if nothing else, which play a significant role in the piece.
The piece also takes an oddly similar tack to my Jessica Simpson review, which perhaps means that Chuck's been stealing my talking points and I should hate his ass face like all right-thinking people apparently do. But since this is highly unlikely and I don't care anyway (respect the discourse bruthas and sistas!), I will simply read and giggle. "On the surface, this statement is insane." Oh yeah.
There's probably a decent bit of fodder for discussion here, but I'm not up to the task right now; hopefully one of the other blogonerds will pick up the ball and run wit' it.
posted by Mike B. at 12:14 PM 0 comments Links to this post