[ Friday, January 21, 2005 ]
Things I've done recently
-Read 100 pages of a 200-page seminar assignment.
-Read 50 pages of another 100-page seminar assignment.
-Found myself surprisingly enjoying a friend's Supertramp mix disc. (Also found myself somewhat amazed at how many songs I recognized.)
-Decided that Thursday night's DAILY SHOW was perhaps the best I've ever seen.
-Watched GARDEN STATE. I liked some parts of it a lot, thought that others were gimmicky and hackneyed, but - although I definitely enjoyed it overall - my strongest impression was simply confusion as to why people have made such a fuss over it.
-Played "Pink Moon," "If I Had A Hammer" and "Just A Friend" through a fuzzed-out electric guitar.
-While reading one of the aforementioned seminar assignments, I had to sift through extended passages of slave folk tales, written (by the white transcribers) down in distorted, stereotypical "slave dialect." ("Sho 'nuff an yessuh, massa," etc.) Some of these dialect translations were so densely idiosyncratic that I had to resort to reading them aloud. So, picture this: me, alone in my apartment, talking like Stepin Fetchit, all in the pursuit of academic inquiry. The fact that I had Stevie Wonder on the box at the time only added to the irony.
On the box right now: Presidents of the United States of America, PRESIDENTS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Another mid-90s nugget from the big box of discarded discs that I spoke of earlier. This one definitely sounds better than I thought it would. I liked the record plenty in 8th grade, but who'd have thought that the "Lump" guys would sound so fresh all these years later? I hear their last two albums are pretty good, too.
Dove With Claws [3:34 PM]
[ Thursday, January 20, 2005 ]
Four more years
Fuck the inauguration. Fuck Bush. Fuck the Iraq War. Fuck the right wing.
On the box right now: Various Artists, THE LIFE AQUATIC WITH STEVE ZISSOU SOUNDTRACK.
Dove With Claws [2:41 PM]
[ Tuesday, January 18, 2005 ]
Curiosity killed the copycat
So, since I'm not that original, I'm gonna cop Kennyboy's idea (http://backwithinterest.blogspot.com
), and post the occasional update on what I'm reading. Being that I'm in grad school, most of it will be class-oriented, but some won't.
The last month or so, I've read the following:
-Thomas Frank, WHAT'S THE MATTER WITH KANSAS. A fascinating look at how the right co-opted populism for their own nefarious purposes. Respectful of the right-wing converts, while also being plenty condemning of the people who've converted them, Frank's book is perhaps the most important thing for the Left to read as we move into Dubya's Second Term: The Empire Strikes Back.
-Bakari Kitwana, THE HIP-HOP GENERATION. Less a book about the music than the culture that gave rise to it, Kitwana explores the possibilities and difficulties of the new generation of black Americans, who grew up post-movement but still faced socio-economic obstacles created by white supremacy (among other things). It's a probing book, and Kitwana asks questions of himself, his generation, his people and his country that will require serious reflection to answer.
-William Chafe, NEVER STOP RUNNING. Chafe's bio of liberal crusader Allard Lowenstein. Chafe's as good a writer as American history has, and his portrayal of Lowenstein, who fought for social justice all his life while also exhibiting personal and political contradictions as deep as any biography subject, is unfailingly fascinating. Issues of class, sexuality, ethnicity and race permeate every page. Lowenstein betrayed some people, pissed some others off, and left a lot of admirers in his wake, and Chafe gives all proper airing.
On the box right now: Various Artists, SUNDAY NIGHTS: THE SONGS OF JUNIOR KIMBROUGH. Nothing on here is as good as anything by the man himself, but some of the versions - like The Stooges, Blues Explosion or Mark Lanegan - get close, and each of the contributors (modern rockers one and all) demonstrate a clear appreciation and understanding for the work of Mr. Kimbrough, the greatest blues artist of the last 25 years.
Dove With Claws [9:02 AM]