Saturday, October 16, 2010

If You Can't Take the Heat...

Good for Justice Sam Alito. He won't be attending the next State of the Union speech.

I guess this time he can get his feewings all hurted in the privacy of his own home.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Moral Ambiguity

I know a lawyer is supposed to represent his clients to the best of his ability, but this is a bit ridiculous:
"We are very proud to represent Ms. Folden," Samuelson said later Friday. "There are a lot of people here who think that shameful conduct is not attributable to Ms. Folden."

Samuelson said many people have reached out to Folden since the incident, and that she shares a common bond of faith with people in Northern Colorado and across the country.

"We believe she is a woman of strong moral conviction and deep religious faith," he said.

Some believe blame should not be placed on Folden for her actions, Samuelson said, but rather on those that brought the art to the community.

"There were a lot of people from Northern Colorado and across the country who think that it was shameful for the city of Loveland to display this piece, which by all accounts was highly insensitive to people of Ms. Folden's belief system, and I think deliberately provocative," Samuelson said.
I see.

So if you're religious, and you see something provocative, it's perfectly okay to start breaking shit with a crowbar. Good to know...

A Playlist

Inspired by downloading Judas Priest's Dissident Aggressor from Emusic this month. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you classic metal.

Ace of Spades - Motorhead
Dissident Aggressor - Judas Priest
Supernaut - Black Sabbath
Emerald - Thin Lizzy
Communication Breakdown - Led Zeppelin
Highway Star - Deep Purple
It's a Long Way to the Top - AC/DC
Run to the Hills - Iron Maiden
Cold Gin - KISS
Runnin' with the Devil - Van Halen
Sweet Emotion - Aerosmith
Tom Sawyer - Rush
Stranglehold - Ted Nugent

It's very 70s and very British. Who am I missing?

PS. Here's Priest's version...

And here's Slayer's version.

Riffage of the highest order.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Irrational Fears

I'm afraid of a lot of things. Heights. High speeds. Snakes. Amputees. But one of my weirdest fears, and thankfully it's a rare one, is this.

Statues under water. Why does it have to be statues under water?

Dan Simmons Goes Granny Over Rap Music

Oh, gawd...

I need to stop subjecting myself to seeing what Dan Simmons, award-winning author, has to say about current events on his website's forum. The guy is a talented writer, and probably a real mensch, but he is also a close-minded snob.

In a post called "President Obama's 'Rap Palate'" he reprints a Wall Street Journal op-ed criticizing Obama for having...put the milk down...rap music on his iPod.

Now I'm not the biggest fan of rap music. I think many rappers are trend-following poseurs rather than the trend-setting visionaries just "keeping it real" that they pretend to be, but truly great rap music does exist and while I can't always appreciate the artist, I can appreciate the art form.

Apparently, Simmons cannot. Here is a sample of one of his comments on the subject, directed to a user who said the president's playlist is a non-issue:
...perhaps those citizens who note that the president of the United States and "more than 10,000 schools" around the country are embracing a form of music that's frequently misogynistic, racist, historically inaccurate, musically primitive and verbally preliterate, are actually concerned that such values will trickle down to the point that someday even web-site postings will be plagued by run-on sentences filled with basic grammar and syntax errors.

We can all agree not to care if our public schools and political icons are pandering to the lowest common denominators of anti-intellectual vulgarity imaginable, but the spectre of sloppy run-on sentences in the public dialogue about such cynical pandering makes the collective blood run cold. Certain things up with which we must not and can not put.
The sad thing? I used to think this dude was smart.

Read that shit again. Try and figure out what he's trying to say. I'm sure he sat there at his computer, a devilish twinkle in his eye, and when he was done typing, he thought, "I got you. Ooooh, I really got you."

But no, Dan. You didn't. Your comeback is weak. When you say "those citizens" you really mean you, and it's a clever trick, cloaking your opinion behind the faceless masses, but it's lacking a certain amount of spine, don't you think? Charlatans get on the soap box and tell you what "the people" are thinking, but really, how the fuck would they know? Any man worthy of the label will stand up and say "I believe," - I - because a man can only know his own mind and if he has conviction, he will speak it.

As to the criticisms of the art form of hip hop music --remember, not a big fan myself-- they too are weak, unjustified, and strange.
"frequently misogynistic, racist, historically inaccurate, musically primitive and verbally preliterate"Musically primitive? What does that even mean? Too much drums, not enough violins? Verbally preliterate? No, no. Verbally inventive. "Misogynistic, racist, historically inaccurate," okay, I'll grant, but that's content not style, and I dare anyone to find me a musical style that hasn't dealt with those themes.

Dan Simmons should know better, but no, he's gotta be a granny about it. And hey, you know what they say, one man's "anti-intellectual vulgarity" is another man's playlist.

Standing Ovation

I hereby nominate Dan Savage for the Nobel Peace Prize. You might have heard about a little thing he's doing for the young GLBT crowd called "It Gets Better." The thrust, as I understand it, is to convince gay kids that yes, their lives are miserable now, surrounded as they are by immature barbarians, but "it gets better."

And while I fully support this endeavor, I'd also support a more muscular "Call me a faggot and I'll kick your ass" movement too. Bullies, at heart, are weaklings. Right now the bullies just expect the guy to swish off red-faced and teary-eyed like the sissy he is. But if a punch to the mouth was the natural result of a homophobic catcall, I suspect there would be fewer homophobic catcalls. (The gangsters figured it out. They look ridiculous with their pants around their knees and their underwear sticking out, but they don't suffer many catcalls, do they?)

That's why when I read this response to a Savage Love correspondent, I started pumping my fist, saying "Yeah, boy!"
I'm sorry your feelings were hurt by my comments.

No, wait. I'm not. Gay kids are dying. So let's try to keep things in perspective: Fuck your feelings.

And there's more:
Try to keep up: The dehumanizing bigotries that fall from the lips of "faithful Christians," and the lies about us that vomit out from the pulpits of churches that "faithful Christians" drag their kids to on Sundays, give your children license to verbally abuse, humiliate, and condemn the gay children they encounter at school. And many of your children—having listened to Mom and Dad talk about how gay marriage is a threat to family and how gay sex makes their magic sky friend Jesus cry—feel justified in physically abusing the LGBT children they encounter in their schools. You don't have to explicitly "encourage [your] children to mock, hurt, or intimidate" queer kids. Your encouragement—along with your hatred and fear—is implicit. It's here, it's clear, and we're seeing the fruits of it: dead children.
Amen, brother.

Read the whole thing. It's good.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Botany of Desire

One of the interesting ideas Michael Pollan talks about in his fascinating documentary, The Botany of Desire, is that the process of domestication isn't always a one-way street. At some levels, the appropriate question may be "just who is domesticating who here?"
In a nutshell, domestication isn't just a survival strategy for humans, but also a survival strategy for the plants and animals being domesticated.

It's an interesting idea that, if nothing else, should make you feel no moral guilt about eating a hamburger.