It has been observed, here and elsewhere, what a fucking embarrassment Steven Tyler has become. Once Aerosmith was among America’s greatest bands, and today they occupy the #5 spot (with a bullet) on my Oh How the Mighty Have Fallen list.
It was refreshing, then, when Joe Perry brought the hammer down on his silly-ass 64-going-on-14 Teen Beat bandmate. Reports TMZ:
Perry went off on Tyler during an interview with the Calgary Herald — saying, “It’s his business, but I don’t want Aerosmith’s name involved with [American Idol]. We have nothing to do with it.” Read more
Okay, this is brilliant. I never heard of it until this morning and now I learn that there’s apparently a whole movement afoot, with a project and everything.
Part two in a series.
Forgive me for abstracting and oversimplifying a bit, but one might argue that American politics breaks along the following 10 lines:
- Social Conservatives
- Business Conservatives
- Traditional Conservatives (there’s probably a better term, but I’m thinking of old-line Western land and water rights types)
- Blue Dog Democrats
- New Democrats
- Progressives Read more
Some conservatives see all these fact-laden critiques of our various GOP manufactroversies (see Ryan, Paul) and wonder where are the Democratic plans to solve the financial crisis? (I have been asked this, quite vehemently, myself.)
The informed reply goes something like this:
- The crisis isn’t real. It’s been fabricated by the neo-liberal politicians whose goal is to eliminate all taxes on rich people and bust structures like unions that afford the non-hyper-wealthy with some leverage in the American political economy. It. Isn’t. Real.
- You’re blaming the wrong people. Read more
I think we’d all love to live every phase of our lives in happy accord with high moral and ethical principles. We’d love it if we were never confronted by logical contradictions and cognitive dissonance, by cases where our walk was at odds with our talk. But the truth is that we live in a society that’s complex, at best, and a cesspool of corruption at worst. It’s just about impossible to get through a day without compromise, and every time we compromise it’s difficult not to feel as though we’ve failed a little.
Some people are better at dealing with the conflict than others, whether through denial or a well-developed, pragmatic knack for keeping things in perspective. Unfortunately, I don’t do denial at all and while I like to think of myself as having a strong pragmatic streak, in practice my principled side tends to dominate my decision-making in ways that occasionally deprive me of convenience and pleasure. Read more
A few weeks ago I asked a question: is the Huffington Post a force for good or a liberal sweatshop? In the wake of HuffPo‘s megamillion-dollar sale to AOL, it struck me as appropriate to question the ethics behind an allegedly progressive business operating in a fashion that was indistinguishable from the greedmongering corporate entities it professed to oppose. I know a number of people who have written there (uncompensated, by and large) who feel that they benefited significantly from the arrangement, and I respect their perspectives.
Not everybody sees it that way, though. Read more
A few years ago I invented a word: euphemasia , a hybrid between euphemism and euthanasia.
euphemasia – noun: the act of putting the truth out of its misery by cynically substituting an inoffensive expression for one that is considered offensive or damaging to the personal, political or economic interests of the party using the term. Also, the inverse, cynically substituting an offensive term for a benign one in order to achieve personal, political or economic ends.
We Americans didn’t invent euphemisms, but we have become masters at putting the language to sleep, haven’t we? Or, more accurately, at using language to put ideas and good sense in their rightful place. For instance:
- Gentlemen’s Club: the last place you’d ever think to look for an actual gentleman. Read more
It’s the end of the world. At least it feels that way.
Back in September I noted that 2010 was shaping up as the worst year ever. My marriage fell apart and a lot of terrible stuff happened to people close to me. For instance:
- A close friend who happens to be one of the brightest guys I know got fired from his job last year. He recently hit the one-year-on-the-beach mark without anything that looks like a realistic prospect. He has a special-needs child and you can imagine the financial and insurance implications associated with that here in the Land of Plenty®. If this guy is having trouble finding a gig, I can’t even begin to imagine how hard it is on the 99% of unemployed Americans who aren’t as talented as he is.
- Another good friend has been out of work for awhile, too. Completely different field, but he’s hard-working and off-the-charts smart. Literally. Oh, yeah – he’s recently been battling a worsening case of diabetes. Read more
This is the future – people, translated as data. – Bryce, Network 23
The future has always interested me, even when it scares me to death. I wrote a doctoral dissertation that spent a good deal of time examining our culture’s ideologies of technology and development, for instance (and built some discussion of William Gibson and cyberpunk into the mix). I once taught a two-semester sequence at the University of Colorado in Humanities and the Electronic Media, where I introduced the concept of the “Posthumanities” to my students. A few years back I talked about the future of retail and described the smartest shopping cart that ever lived. Read more
Colorado is a beautiful place and it always ranks right at the top of those most desirable places to live rankings (heck, a new poll says the People’s Republic of Boulder is the happiest place in America), but be clear about one thing before you pack up the family to head this way: a consistent voting majority of our citizens are butt-stupid when it comes to taxes. We’re the ones who blazed the trail for the “Taxpayer Bill of Rights” (TABOR) movement, and we’ve been paying a steep price for it ever since. For instance:
- Under TABOR, Colorado declined from 35th to 49th in the nation in K-12 spending as a percentage of personal income.
- Colorado’s average per-pupil funding fell by more than $400 relative to the national average. Read more
You’re honey child to a swarm of bees
Gonna blow right through you like a breeze
Give me one last dance
Well slide down the surface of things
You’re the real thing
Yeah the real thing
You’re the real thing
Even better than the real thing
Fantasy stories, myths, legends, tall tales, fairy tales, horror, all these have been with us for a very long time. Science fiction, as well, has been with us since Mary Shelley found herself in a bet with Lord Byron about the possibility of writing a new kind of horror, one not grounded in the gothic.* So the presence in our popular culture of stories based in unreality of one form or another is certainly nothing new.
It seems to me that there’s been a lot more of it lately, though. Read more
A modest proposal, perhaps.
It’s been entertaining watching American public “discourse” since the election. (I use that word in its broadest, most ridiculous sense, since nothing that hinges so completely on self-absorption, rank ignorance and pathological dishonesty can be accurately characterized by such a noble word. But indulge me. I’ve been working on my irony lately.)
On the one hand you have conservatives fainting dead away that we’re now in the clutches of a “socialist” president. Never mind that these folks wouldn’t know a real socialist if he was gnawing their balls off. Never mind that most of these folks think “socialist” is the French word for Negro. Never mind that Obama demonstrably is to socialism what Joe the Plumber is to brie-sucking Northeastern intellectualism. As arch-conservative TV pundit Stephen Colbert says, “this is a fact-free zone.”
On the other you have the righteous outrage of the progressosphere, which feels six different kinds of betrayed by a president who promised them the moon and stars and has now left them to what looks like at least a four-year walk of shame. If I might borrow from an old fraternity joke, imagine the following scene from the Oval Office: Read more
Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-AL) likes the fact that Barack Obama is a better listener than Dubya, but says
“Some of the men and women I work with in Congress are socialists.”
Asked to clarify his comments after the breakfast speech at the Trussville Civic Center, Bachus said 17 members of the U.S. House are socialists.
Not 16, not 18. 17.
Which raises a number of questions and concerns. Read more
A couple of weeks ago author and NYU media theory lecturer Douglas Rushkoff penned a provocative essay for Arthur Magazine. Entitled “Let It Die,” the essay explains why we should stop trying to save the economy.
In a perfect world, the stock market would decline another 70 or 80 percent along with the shuttering of about that fraction of our nation’s banks. Yes, unemployment would rise as hundreds of thousands of formerly well-paid brokers and bankers lost their jobs; but at least they would no longer be extracting wealth at our expense. They would need to be fed, but that would be a lot cheaper than keeping them in the luxurious conditions they’re enjoying now. Even Bernie Madoff costs us less in jail than he does on Park Avenue.
Alas, I’m not being sarcastic. Read more