Although I am not a great fan of this video, this is an extraordinary pop song. The Chromatics cover of this song is a great version as well. I was reading about Kate Bush the other day and I read she was the first woman to have a number one hit with a self-penned song in England. This was for her song Wuthering Heights. And this was in 1978, the year I was born. I tried to find that stat for the U.S., but I couldn’t find it. Perhaps I was too lazy and gave up too easily. A stat like that boggles the mind. Perhaps this was just some weird amalgamation of different circumstances, but I highly doubt it. A stat like that reminds you how far we have come in recent years as a species, and how far we have to go before there is true equality. Sometimes I fear as George Carlin says, “We’re barely out of the jungle folks.”
A SWAT team blew a hole in my 2-year-old son http://www.salon.com/2014/06/24/a_swat_team_blew_a_hole_in_my_2_year_old_son/ via @Salon
I have talked quite a bit about how our police force is becoming militarized. A good deal of this is because of the military-industrial complex. Weapons from our endless wars are making their way home. The war on drugs, even though there have been improvements on some fronts, continues in its degrading absurdity. Although I find libertarian economic policies to be utopian and unrealistic, I do agree with them when it comes to personal freedom. This topic should be one place liberals and certain elements of the right should be able to reach an agreement on.
In other news my computer is still down which is making it hard for me to do more long form writing. Hopefully this will be a problem solved soon.
Being a star is meaningless. I say this because it seems like there are so many stars these days and so few of them have anything resembling real talent. Stars are created and destroyed by the entertainment industry. If someone puts up the money to film and promote you, and if you are shameless enough to let the worst side of your nature shine on, you too can possibly be famous.
That is not to say there are not real stars where talent, looks, and charisma come together. Even detractors of Elvis would probably admit there was something special about him. I have seen Morrissey several times and it was almost like seeing a living work of art. I can’t describe it more than that, but his mere presence was captivating. And I don’t say that because I am a fan of his music. I have seen plenty of my heroes in the flesh, but this was something different.
I am talking about this today because I have been listening to the band Helmet lately. They are an alternative metal band that was most popular in the 90’s. I like them for their staccato riffs and their take the paint off the walls noise solos. Being part of a rhythm section, I appreciate their unique and influential approach to rhythm.
Every time you read about them there is a comment about the fact that they didn’t find more success because they lacked charisma. They had short haircuts and dressed like clean cut average joes. I admit if I were to run across one of them in the streets I wouldn’t recognize them. Also, if we are being honest, lead singer Page Hamilton had a functionary voice, but not a great one. However they were a decent band that at the time made their own unique stamp on music. They clearly were influential in the metal genre.
But every time I read this comment that they didn’t find more success because of lack of charisma I find it to be more urban legend than reality. There are so many times when writers are lazy and repeat the same fact over and over because they are cribbing off one another. I am a firm believer that anyone can be famous if they receive the proper corporate media support. Our TV channels are littered with the untalented, and quite often uninteresting, famous.
It is unfortunate how too many of us judge something by how successful it is in the moment. This band created records that I, and I know others, still listen to. Meanwhile the superstar highway is clogged with the corpses of those who are now mere trivia questions and whose work no one can remember. What lasts is the only thing that matters. All else is just noise.
Don’t call him the Walt Disney of Japan: How animator Hayao Miyazaki became a cultural icon by doing everything Pixar doesn’t http://www.salon.com/2014/06/23/dont_call_him_the_walt_disney_of_japan_how_animator_hayao_miyazaki_became_a_cultural_icon_by_doing_everything_pixar_doesnt/ via @Salon
The above article is a really interesting one about the famous Japanese animator. His films can appear very strange to the Western eye. After traveling to and reading I have learned about how the Japanese are more comfortable with abstractions. Abstractions are part of their everyday language. Because of their complex social behavior they often speak in abstractions and convey certain nuances through how things are said and facial expressions.
I love Miyazaki’s beautiful and surreal movies. They are art and entertainment all in one. If you are looking to go someplace you have never been give his films a try.
My computer is down at the moment which is making it infinitely harder to post. I have written the last three posts on my phone. I just ordered a new battery and I am hoping that fixes the issue. I will pray to whatever strange god necessary to make it so! If my proofreading becomes even more dodgy than usual, at least now I have an excuse!
A week ago I watched Spike Jonze’s excellent movie Her. I am not a huge Spike Jonze fan as I feel like his movies are often clever, but rarely land any kind of emotional connection. I feel this may be his best film to date as it was full of ideas, visually stunning, and emotionally compelling as well. There were several scenes which didn’t ring true, but I put this down to the aesthetic of the film, which felt to me like sort of a strange fairytale for adults.
The movie takes place in the near future. In the movie the main character, played by Joaquin Pheonix, falls in love with his computer operating system, voiced by Scarlett Johansson. The movie deals with our obsession with technology, mortality, and what it is to be human. There is a scene where Pheonix has tremendous anxiety because his operating system is temporarily down. In one way this plays like a romantic problem as it reminds you of how you feel when you desperately want to reach someone you love, but can’t. However it is also a metaphor for how tied into our technology we are. We depend on things which only years ago didn’t exist. So many of the things that occupy our time seem essential, but that is just a fabrication.
I was exasperated when I couldn’t get my computer to work. But then I just read a book and the morning slowly faded from existence, all the same…
Postscript: However, if my ipod breaks down the streets will run red with blood.
The reason I am posting this is not because it is a subject that I care deeply about, the issue being unregulated supplements in the U.S. It is because John Oliver does such a great job of dissecting the issue and exposing the truth. You will learn more with 15 minutes of a comedian than if you watched a week of cable news. This is how you show the absurdity of modern America. Why is it that our news is so ineffectual? Why is it that comedians are now our truth tellers? Also YouTube his piece on FIFA which is equally brilliant. This is much closer to investigative reporting than a talking Ken or Barbie doll reading a teleprompter every night. Great fucking bejesus man, what is going on around here?!!!
This is the video for Fantastic Failure from Kristeen Young ‘ s V the Volcanic. Her new album The Knife Shift is out now. It is an extraordinary album that is not for the faint of heart. The Knife Shift was produced by Tony Visconti (David Bowie, T-Rex, Thin Lizzy, and Morrissey among many others) and features Dave Grohl on drums. She is a true original and I am very excited to announce that I will be posting an interview with Kristeen next month. Stay tuned…
As anyone that reads this blog will know, I am incredibly excited for the new Morrissey record, especially after hearing the tracks that have been released. All the reviews I have read for the album have been 4 our of 5 stars and one was 8 out of 10. For those of you that are fans like me, here is a link to the Q Magazine review. For those of you that not, you should be! It’s almost here.
I have been writing about Lana Del Rey’s new album lately. I also recently posted a Leonard Cohen cover by Tom Jones. Leonard Cohen is one of my favorite songwriters of all time. Here is another cover of one of his songs by Lana Del Rey. It is quite good.
The above link is to a book in which I wrote a chapter of based on a speech that I gave in Costa Rica last year with my coauthor Abby Sandy. The chapter covers ocean acidification and the political group ALEC and is called Oceans for Sale. The book is called The Earth Charter, Ecological Integrity, and Social Movements. I realize this is shameless self promotion, but if you can’t brag at your first publishing, then when can you?!!!
The book was edited by Laura Westra and Mirian Vilela.