Saturday, May 27, 2006

Fox Website

The post today on the Fox News Website by Neil Cavuto, ostensibly their business anchor, basically compares George W Bush to Lincoln, because of the difficulties they both faced. Now, I could do something logical, and suggest that the Civil War was not Lincoln's doing. I could suggest that it was largely James Buchanan's fault, for sitting idly as the acrimony between north and south builtm, or perhaps the states who seceded from the union. I could also argue that there was probably a great number of people who supported Lincoln through the ordeal. And I would exhaust myself going over reasons suggesting that everything Bush has gotten a rap for has been almost entirely of his own doing. But I won't. I'll just guide your attention to the part where Cavuto says, after suggesting that Lincoln was just as unpopular as Bush is:

"I am smart enough to say the headlines, and cartoons, of the moment, can look kind of silly themselves.

"Funny thing, history."

Let history show that Neil Cavuto is a fucking moron.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

My Head Will Soon Explode

On Slate, there are two interesting music articles. One on anti-rockism, or the nature of criticism, by Jody Rosen, entitled "Does Hating Rock Music Make You A Music Critic?" and the other is about two recent angry reactions to Stephen Merrit's alleged hatred of all music by blacks. And Justin Timberlake. You figure it out. I'm more interested in Rosen's article, because I think many critics are now at all times poised to angrily, and perhaps mindlessly jump on anyone who voices their disapproval of rap music. Rosen says this:

"I love hip-hop and commercial R&B and Nashville country and teen pop, and have spent much of my professional life listening to and writing about pre-rock Tin Pan Alley pop, a genre that rockists insult by ignoring completely. I'm not so crazy about most indie rock, never cared much for Neil Young, and will listen to the new Pearl Jam album only out of a sense of professional obligation. I think Britney Spears' "Toxic" is one of the greatest songs of the new century, that the Backstreet Boys' "I Want It That Way" was one of the great ones of the last, and that R. Kelly's "Ignition (Remix)" is as transcendent as any Holland-Dozier-Holland Motown classic I've ever heard—and what's more, most other critics I know agree."

Fair enough. I honestly would like Rosen to define "most indie rock," not out of snobbery or to make a snide suggestion, but because I'm really curious. Indie rock cuts a wide swath - the Smiths are still considered "indie" though they influenced acts as different as Outkast and Pete Torn, and so is Modest Mouse, despite the fact that the latter is signed to a major label. And if you want to trot out the usual swipes at Indie - much of it's pretentious (Fiery Furnaces, Arcade Fire), or culturally irrelevant (will Yo La Tengo alter your life? I wouldn't imagine, but what about "Toxic" will?), or most of its fans are elitist (sue us, we had disaffected childhoods), but if you admit these, then certainly you could admit that pop music, most mainstream hip-hop or country can be misogynystic (do I need to cite examples in hip hop? Okay, Eminem and 50 Cent. Yeah, groundbreaking criticism, this), utterly mindless (A few years ago, Toby Keith wanted to firmly lodge a boot up Osama bin Laden's ass. I wonder who it is these days? Ahmaninejad?), cliche (most mainstream popular things are), and generally lowest common denominator. I wonder if "rockists" and the incredibly stupid-termed "poptimists" listen to music for different reasons. Maybe we both like hooks. Do you watch the Godfather and Ferris Bueller for the same reason? That's not a good comparison, because I would imagine that many people have both in their collections. Fewer likely have the new Band of Horses and whatever is big in Country right now. But then, more likely have Common and Tapes 'N Tapes. So maybe we can all pile on country music. I don't know. Boiling music taste into some kind of philosophy tends to make everyone look like an asshole. So what am I doing here? I don't know. I'll end with this aphorism: Lou Reed was a douche bag and Jim Morrison was a douche bag, but Lou Reed was a douche bag first.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Sub-Pop Culture

I liked "Let It Die," by Feist, one of the vocalists for Broken Social Scene. A lot of indie types seem to be saying she is threatening to become bigger than BSS, which, frankly, I find a little troubling. Maybe the self-titled album sounded repetitive, compared to You Forgot It In People, but the collective production, for me, made it imminently enjoyable. There's something ecstatic about the swirl of music on just about every track. Even the strange attempt at rap was kind of endearing. It wasn't quite as convincing as Islands-style rap, but affecting, nonetheless. I thought Let It Die was strong for the first few songs, but I always skip past the middle - which, I guess is good for her because they're covers - which devolves into safe, adult-contemporary Stevie Wonder past his prime crap. But Pitchfork is in love with her, and are blown away by her charisma. They said so in numerous places. I ran into an old classmate from high school who writes reviews on concerts from time to time, and he was utterly put off by Feist's concert at Columbia earlier this year. She bitched at the crowd for daring to talk during her song (she could hear them?) and acted like an indie-diva. Afterwords, he said her band was cool enough to hang out with him, but she slinked off by herself. Certainly she deserved the benefit of the doubt - who doesn't want to be alone, from time to time? Then, today, on Pitchfork, was an interview with Feist which revealed she "brings couples on stage during her shows and has them dance together, because it reminds her of high school." Fuckin' gross. And she was on the phone, in her bath, during the interview. This all seems too self-conscious to me (which is funny to anyone who knows me, because everything I do is self-conscious - but... we know our own), but just the type of image-building shit that indie-types love. I'm one, and I'm sucked into this sort of image-building from time to time, as well. Anything bad to say about Isaac Brock? You're on my shit list. I love Pitchfork, but I think it's funny how they deride to the point of vitriol some acts for self-conscious behavior (read any review of Ryan Adams) but lap up other legend-building bullshit from site-approved singers and bands (Les Savy Fav, anyone?). Deerhoof could come out with a "cover" of Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music and it would get a 10 from Pitchfork.

Anyway, that interview brought me back to the days of college, and "discursive studies" and whatnot. Something else struck me recently, too - how many times do you read a review of a band that chides reviewers for previously being too hard on the band, or too easy on them? It's always a blanket statement - here's one from the Onion's AV club: "The Unicorns' 2003 album Who Will Cut Our Hair When We're Gone? wasn't exactly overrated, since it was fairly obscure even by indie-rock standards, but a circle of hardcore indie aficionados did praise the slight, excessively whimsical piece of DIY pop way out of proportion." This reviewer gave himself the last word, ever, on the Unicorns only album. Maybe he's partly right, but this sort of shit rubs me the wrong way - music is subjective, like comedy (no one can tell me Colbert wasn't funny at the Correspondent's dinner, but by the same token, I can't tell someone that Larry the Cable Guy is an unfunny putz.... yes I can) - yet time after time, reviewers give themselves the last word on a given subject, like their unbiased opinion settles it. This brings me to my point: I'm going to write a book of reviews of every CD I have ever owned, and my opinion will forever settle how future generations will look back at this music. First up - River of Dreams.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Play Mr. Brightside! I haven't heard it in a while!

"This album is one of the best albums in the past 20 years. There's nothing that touches this album."

Jesus Christ I hate the Killers. Someone tell Brandon Flowers that he doesn't look like Morrissey with his glittery keyboard, he just looks like a fag.

Do you know that if Jeff Tweedy said that, we'd all be laughing our asses off? Although, he'd have made it sound something like "I'm serious/ I've been working on my abs."

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


John Gibson wants to clear this one thing up: the immigration protests failed. Oh, and he wants to know something in return - how do you like the egg on your face, scrambled or over easy? So, uh, take that. I bet you thought they were wildly successful, and they like, legalized all aliens on the streets that day. But they didn't. So, uh, that's a valid point he's got there. I'm sure he's got other things to set you straight about, and you probably don't need to ask.