Music thread! I'll start. The floor is open, so drop 'em in the comments.
Also, I feel I would be remiss if I didn't warn you not to google "The Human Centipede" and, if you do, not to watch the trailer.
Check out this neat set of stylized posters iconically representing TV shows, by Austrian designer Albert Exergian.
I think my favorites are
but it's worth clicking through for the whole set. (Some, I admit, mystify me. If anyone could walk me through Magnum, I'd appreciate it.) (h/t Hoefler&Frere-Jones, worth looking around generally if you like design.)
There's a special sickening feeling for tragedies that occur over a long, elapsed period, like this Gulf oil slick. Where you can't figure out any hopeful narrative to sell yourself, because there's so much oil to come, and no one seems to have any ideas what to do.
You've probably read that there are ideas about who to blame, though.
How tragic this could not have been averted. Oh wait.
Mike Papantonio, an environmental lawyer on the Ed Show just now: An 'acoustic switch' would have prevented this catastrophe - it's a failsafe that shuts the flow of oil off at the source - they cost only about half a million dollars each, and are required in off-shore drilling platforms in most of the world...except for the United States. This was one of the new deregulations devised by Dick Cheney during his secret meetings with the oil industry at the beginning of Bush's first term.
And yet, and yet, and yet, (I guess I'm dissolving into sputtering anger):
Americans are now pretty evenly divided about whether they would rather have Barack Obama or George W. Bush in the White House. 48% prefer Obama while 46% say they would rather have the old President back.
I hate everyone. Also I have to proctor two final exams today, so comment it up, folks.
Two comments from the thread below. bjk:
What are the chances that if any of you were at this school district you would be completely behind this law?
"The basic theme of the curriculum was that Mexican-Americans were and continue to be victims of a racist American society driven by the interests of middle and upper-class whites. In this narrative, whites are able to maintain their influence only if minorities are held down. Thus, social, political and economic events in America must be understood through this lens."
Knecht Ruprecht: "Isn't that uncontroversially true?".
Alas! One suspects that Malkin's readers do not see it that way.
A bill has passed the AZ legislature banning ethnic studies programs. Pretty amazingly dumb! But wait, let's look at the details a little:
Does they mean "promote resentment" or "promote the overthrow" de dicto or de re, do you think? It must be the latter, because we also learn that the law "does not prohibit the teaching of the Holocaust or other cases of genocide", but really, if I were (say) an Armenian student who learned about a genocide or two, don't you think that might promote resentment of Turks in me? Or maybe I learn about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire and am filled with resentment for that particular class of people, the g-dd-mn bosses. So is the stupidity primarily thinking that there are courses whose stated aims include the promotion of resentment and overthrow? It's all very confusing down there in Arizona.
The new bill would make it illegal for a school district to teach any courses that promote the overthrow of the U.S. government, promote resentment of a particular race or class of people, are designed primarily for students of a particular ethnic group or "advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals."
(Many thanks to oudemia for pointing this out to me.)
It is clear that high school is a better setting than college for movies and television shows, because high school is mandatory, and has seating charts, and you're forced to deal closely the same horrible people day in and out for years. Lots of tension and arbitrary rules and bumping up against authority figures.
Whereas in college, nothing is mandatory and there are no authority figures, and it's boring to watch kids decide to stay home from a class they didn't want to attend. You are not forced to deal extensively with people you hate. It's boring to watch kids easily avoid the kids from different cliques. This is why Buffy and Veronica Mars were better in high school than in college. College makes you soft, plotwise.
I assert that Community works because, well mostly because it's super funny. But also because it taps that high school resentment that no one wants to be there, but they're all resigned and biding their time with people they never would have been friends with, had circumstances not forced them to interact. The plot is completely implausible, but who cares, it's hilarious.
Via Becks, Spencer Ackerman is nearly detained for tweeting during military tribunal.
On this very early morning (before I've yet gone to sleep), I learned my two-year neighbor dude's first name.
This, after this year's crazy snowfalls dropped stupid amounts of snow on us. The Neighborhood cleared ridiculous amounts of snow from the road and one another's driveway together. And in an epic manner, The Neighborhood, consisting of me being in my late twenties, him in his early fifties, another neighbor in his early sixties, and a fourth in his eighties, donning a colostomy bag, who would not go back inside despite our entreaties.
Anyway, it sometimes bears neighborly fruit to drive home from a gig jacked up on caffeine, because you still haven't gone to bed yet. And I'm glad I've nowhere to be and nothing to do on Friday.
In sum, I have cool neighbors and might be (finally) asleep by now.
I had an idea! What if I were to try to re-construct, having had minimal amounts of caffeine, what I can of the media narrative regarding the forthcoming elections in the UK, based mostly on me reading here, and the daily WaPo, and NPR when I'm in the car. What could be more exciting, I ask you?*
Let's see. Labor and Tories are both lame-os. Brown, because, basically he's boring, and there's a recession about, and something about the banks, plus Britons are still smarting from the Blair decision to play wardude alongside Bush in Iraq, which was totes expensive and morally squicky at best. Cameron, because, despite being young and charismatic (not to mention riding a bike to work—did I get that part right? I remember something about a bicycle), he's a privileged wanker.
But! This year, they had very, very special US-style, televised debates, which, gasp!, propelled Liberal Dem Clegg into the national spotlight, and it's possible that now, mayhaps, the Liberal Dems could win a plurality, but, no matter what, it seems no single party's going to outright take it, so some sort of coalition of governing parties is inevitable, not to mention likely to be unstable. After all, the last time there was a comparable power-sharing agreement (in the 1970s? writing this from memory is easy, because I can seemingly make stuff up), the whole thing went in the can within six months or so.
So, lots of crazy uncertainty abounds, and no one's really happy about the whole mess. But the queen's position is definitely safe (for now).
How'd I do?
*As an aside, what's that "I ask you" called in that sentence? I had a recent grammar argument, in which the interlocutor insisted it needed to be separated by a semicolon rather than a comma, since "I ask you" is an independent clause. I was all, "No, you are wrong!" but was without the terminology to back me up.
A month ago I was nervous about immigration reform. I was thinking that the Democrats were contemplating overhauling it because something (but what exactly?) had reached crisis levels and they were being forced to deal with a political shitstorm.
But now I think that they're intentionally bringing it to the table pre-election season in order to provoke the Republican base into going totally off the deep end. I think they're gambling that they can goad the wingnuts into escalating the crazy at a fast enough clip to tar the whole Tea Party Fox News Mess. That the middle 50% of the country will start thinking of the Baggers as something like the Michigan Militia or Branch Davideans, and will nervously backpedal away. I sure as hell hope it works.
So, I was making rhubarb pie (still in the oven, I'm afraid, but don't think I won't let you know when it turns out to be fantastic), and an agency not to be named alerted me to this brilliant effort by Bave Dee: a podcast explaining a few irritating things about NPR, in NPR style. And I remembered that I used to tell jokes, one in particular, in a sort of NPR voice (or as best as I could come to one), and that this amused my friends at the time. And, well, one thing led to another and I wound up with this.
How to cheat with a coke bottle. On a test, not on your spouse, you perv.
I don't worry about cheating. I rely very heavily on the general low ambitions and lack of grade grubbing of our students, and how cheerfully resigned they are by bad grades. I seat them in columns during tests, leaving every other column empty, so there is no one to the left or right of them, and no temptation for stray eyes. Otherwise I basically assume it comes out in the wash.
I only cheated once, but I blew the ethics standard to smithereens in one particular college course...
This was an upper level, biological anthropology course. Our final project was a quasi lab, and I hate labs. We had to use some computer program to get a bunch of DNA data from some data bank, decide on a question we were going to answer, and use the program to reconstruct a possible genetic tree that answered our question. I liked the theory of reconstructing genetic trees, but when it came to dealing with any actual data, I hated the whole thing. It seemed like so much work for such a contrived purpose. While that complaint ought to apply to every class in a college campus, I only felt that way towards labs. (Not Labs, though.)
So I procrastinated. The program wouldn't load on my computer, and then it wouldn't run, and I was way behind and embarrassed to admit how far behind I was. So I threw the whole project out the window and turned in a really earnest "I'm so excited about my math classes, and I'm striving to apply my newfound knowledge!" project. I made up some matrices and pretended that I believed the entries had meaning. I multiplied them and pretended that I believed this made sense as a mathematical model of how populations might have interbred. I got nonsensical results and scratched my head earnestly and appealed to the over-simplicity of such a model, but it was the best I could do at this time, and I can't wait to spend more time figuring this out!
At best, I believe the professor believed that I believed my project. I got an A and he asked me to present my work to the class. At least I have the decency to feel a bit embarrassed about this whole episode.
I don't quite agree with this, from Sybil V. She's unpacking the question of what she would do if a prospective friend didn't like her kid, and looking at people who claim they're "not kid types".
And here I mean not necessarily someone who doesn't want to have kids or who doesn't have any experience being around kids or someone who lives a lifestyle that doesn't produce any exposure to kids. I mean someone who is expressive about a "I don't really like kids" attitude or a "I hate going to restaraunts or museums where kids are making noise" attitude or a "of course it's fine for other people to have kids but I don't want to be around them" attitude.... Kids are a vulnerable, disempowered, inevitable portion of the human community and you do not get to "not like" them or to wish that weren't a part of your public space. Not allowed. I invite you to swap out "kids" for any other disempowered community in the above phrases ("women," "schizophrenics," "hispanics," "the blind") and notice what an asshole you sound like. If you are the type to espouse this position, you and I are never going to be close.
I can't dispute that you and Sybil may never be close. And anyone totalitarian about never having kids in public is a straw-asshole. But it's fine to feel that way sometimes.
This weekend we were at a birthday party for a one-year old, a backyard full of the under-five set and their parents, and I found myself detesting everyone present. Including myself. No one was hyper-parenting obnoxiously. It's just the inflections and solicitations and reasonable tones that everyone uses while parenting that get on my nerves. (Also, I eavesdropped on Person A introducing Person B to Person C by saying "Person B also lived in Brooklyn and the Bay Area before moving to Austin!" This made me detest myself less and them a little more.)
So maybe Sybil's point stands and I just don't like people when they're parenting. I don't know.
Not having strong opinions about music myself. But Silvana has things to say about Dude Music:
This is what I call "dude music." To clarify, just because music is made by men doesn't mean it's dude music. And just because music is made by women doesn't mean it's not dude music. No, dude music is music that prioritizes the status quo, that prioritize men's voices, men's experiences, and the experiences of people in power and who benefit from the current power structures in our society. Dude music is music that can ever be described as "noodling." Dude music is post-rock, and prog-rock, and rock that exists not to say anything, but to showcase how awesome the men in the band are at playing guitar. Dude music is music that has nothing to offer people who are disenfranchised or oppressed, because it either is totally uninterested in their disenfranchisement/oppression, or actively profits from it. Dude music is "I went to your concert and I didn't feel anything." Because it is made by men, for men to enjoy, for men to profit from. Women have three roles: 1) to serve as inspirations for songs; 2) to be sex objects who, hopefully, also make music men feel good about Their Art; 3) to be someone who is dangerously standing in the way of men acheiving greatness (see, e.g., Yoko Ono and Nancy Spungen, Sid Vicious' girlfriend). Women do not make the music. Hopefully they buy the music, but not too many of them because then your music is Not Serious.
And then she has more things to say about it.
Me? As I said above, I'm not so much with the opinions about music thing. But it's an interesting couple of posts, and well worth reading.