SALON: Anyone who studied music history or American history knows that this country has a complicated and, at times, tragic, relationship to race, but it seems that even with that background, the last few years has been particularly fraught. It seems at times like the nation has sort of flipped out. I wonder if you noticed this, and if you have any sense of what’s happening. It strikes me that the Civil War has never really been settled.
GREIL MARCUS: Well, that’s for sure. It’s not even over. I mean, I remember being so surprised and fascinated and kind of shocked in the early ’60s when the civil rights movement was really dominating the news, when it was the national story. The most important national story, the one that everyone had to have opinions about one way or the other, but not just about the civil rights movement, but this event and that speech and that outrage and that atrocity and whatever might be happening. It was the ruling question of national life, and it was so clear that the Civil War not only had never ended, it had never been … nothing had ever been resolved for countless people. Black and white, in the South particularly, but in the North, too. Everything was still open, everything was still being fought over.
And you learn something about history when you look at things that way. You learn that it isn’t … that what is passed on from generation to generation is often passed on whole. Nothing’s lost, nothing’s diminished, it’s very scary. With Barack Obama’s election, and a lot of people my age never, ever thought they would see a black president in their lifetimes, and it was shocking when it happened. People were weeping, and they weren’t weeping out of joy, they weren’t weeping out of sorrow. They were weeping out of … because they were coming apart, the whole conceptual apparatus that they used to construct themselves as social beings was coming apart because of this event, and it was just so overwhelming that you didn’t know how to talk about it, so you cried.
It happened to a lot of people, but I remember thinking, and I remember writing, right after Barack Obama was elected, that this country was not less racist the day after his election that it was the day before, and it might even be more so. And that I thought a lot of really ugly, scary things were going to start coming out of the ground. And it didn’t take very long for that to happen. And I’m not just talking about people at Tea Party rallies saying there’s a lying African in the White House and showing a picture of Barack Obama with a bone through his nose and stuff like that, which is disgraceful enough.
There has been a breakdown in decency in this country over the past number of years to the point where, just this weekend, somebody showed up at a Vikings game where Adrian Peterson, their running back, had just been suspended or not suspended … suspended by his team for a game because of child abuse indictment. Somebody shows up at the Vikings game in Minnesota wearing an Adrian Peterson jersey and carrying a tree switch, of the sort that he used to beat his son. It’s like, what kind of … how sick do you have to be to even think of doing that? Let alone do it.
But with Barack Obama, racism has become ordinary discourse since his election in a way that it wasn’t before, and the contempt and the ridicule with which Republicans treat him. Not even Bill Clinton, who they felt they could disparage because they thought he was a dumb white cracker, not even Bill Clinton has been treated the way Barack Obama has been treated. He’s been treated as if he’s an impostor, an interloper and as scum.
I mean, the things that have been said about Michelle Obama, the way she’s talked about on Fox News, you know, forget about Twitter or comments on news stories or anything like that where all the morons live, but the way she’s been talked about, can you imagine Laura Bush ever being talked about that way? Laura Bush actually killed somebody. But that was never mentioned, that was never talked about, because it was impolite to bring it up.
Anyway, don’t let me go on like this. But, yeah, yeah. And when you look at the things … when you look at the murder of Trayvon Martin, when you look at the murder of Michael Brown, when you look at those situations, it’s not unrelated to Obama being president, but it’s more the way in which the country has reframed itself or rewritten itself since his election, with all kinds of people saying to themselves, maybe never putting it into words, just feeling it, “There’s a fucking n—er in the White House? Well fuck you, n—er, whoever you are.” And an inchoate loathing and hatred that seeks out its targets.
I’m not a psychiatrist, I haven’t sat down and interviewed George Zimmerman or the cop who shot Michael Brown, I don’t know what their motives are, I don’t know what kind of people they are, what kind of childhood traumas they have experienced. But I don’t think it’s nuts that in a certain way, when that cop killed Michael Brown, and when George Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin, they were killing Barack Obama.
“Thomas Inskeep: I can already picture the performance on this year’s CMA Awards, leading off the third hour of the show: Carrie Underwood, backed by a 40-member gospel choir singing “Amazing Grace,” maybe with old film running behind her, of Billy Sunday – or Billy Graham – performing baptisms in a river. Maybe Vince Gill will join her onstage. It’ll be the “emotional highlight” of the show. It’ll sell a lot of singles on iTunes. And it’ll be a showpiece, for certain. I just wish the song wasn’t such a boilerplate Christian A/C “anthem,” clearly meant to bookend her new hits collection with her first #1, “Jesus Take the Wheel.” This isn’t uplifting, it’s “uplifting.” Which means it’s Underwood giving in to her corn-poniest instincts, which is sad, because she’s smarter than this, as a myriad of her singles from “Before He Cheats” to “Blown Away” have exhibited.
”—Carrie Underwood – Something In The Water (The Singles Jukebox) http://www.thesinglesjukebox.com/?p=13627
BOGOTA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Men in the Colombian city of Bucaramanga are being told to stay home and mind the children while their wives and partners go out reveling as part of an initiative to tackle the high levels of domestic violence in the city.
The women-only night, set for Thursday, is expected to be a hit with the city’s women and bring a carnival atmosphere.
Bars, restaurants and shopping malls will offer special events for women, and local authorities are organizing women-only concerts, parties and dance classes in the city’s parks and squares. The Catholic Church is hosting events too. For men staying at home, restaurants are offering discounts on home deliveries.
Organizers of the women-only night, which is spearheaded by the chamber of commerce, governor and mayors of the province of Santander, of which Bucaramanga is the capital, hope it will stir debate about gender roles in a city known for its macho culture.
“The women-only night and voluntary curfew for men aims to be a symbolic event and a moment of reflection for the authorities, state institutions and society about the high levels of domestic violence and the role of men in society,” said Yamid Saldana, one of the project’s coordinators and press manager at Corpovisionarios, a Bogota-based think-tank that is promoting the initiative.
“It aims to send the message that it’s ok for men to stay at home and look after the children and wash the dishes, and it doesn’t mean they are less of a man,” Saldana told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in a telephone interview.
Men who want to venture onto the streets will have to carry a special ‘safe-conduct pass’ they can download online, stating they know about the initiative and the reasons why they do not want to participate, Saldana said.
Women will be in charge of this northeastern city of 530,000 people for the night, when four mayors and the provincial governor will temporarily hand over power to female government officials, he added.
Domestic violence rates in Bucaramanga and its metropolitan area are higher than the national average, with 215 cases of domestic violence reported per 100,000 inhabitants in the city in 2012 compared with the national average of 180 per 100,000 inhabitants, according to Colombia’s National Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences.
Pervasive male chauvinism and a patriarchal society fuel domestic abuse, research by Corpovisionarios shows.
“Our survey found domestic violence is related to machismo, the prototype of an imposing and dominating man over a submissive woman,” Saldana said.
Critics of the women-only night say it is a gimmicky knee-jerk reaction by politicians to show they are doing something to tackle gender-based violence, while more needs to be done to encourage women to come forward to report domestic abuse and increase conviction rates.
“One activity one night isn’t going to change the behavior of men from one day to the next and their idea of masculinity,” said Saldana.
“But it can sow the seeds and open the doors for change when followed up and carried out alongside other public awareness raising campaigns and initiatives,” he added.
This is not the first time Colombia has launched a women-only night.
Back in 2001, Bogota’s former mayor, Antanas Mockus, who is now head of Corpovisionarios, introduced a successful women-only night in the capital that led to a fall in the city’s overall crime and murder rate.
Whatever your opinion of Weezer’s earlier work, Make Believe—too long by 12 songs and weighted with hooks more like anchors—should have haters and fans linking hands like a goddamned Benetton ad. Weezer finally get to be the VH1 Metal Mania tribute band they always threatened, with a wink, to become, having transformed here into a living, churning horror of joyless Def Lep claptrap. The guitars on “This Is Such a Pity” are such a dead ringer for Europe’s “The Final Countdown” that I briefly entertained a fantasy that it was a secret commentary on our renewed arms race. (It is not.) In fact, let’s forget about music for a minute. What tips Make Believe from leaden to excruciating is the utter vacuousness of the lyrics and their soaring, irony-free delivery. After some poisonous cocktail of EST retreats and too much chai, Rivers Cuomo’s brain sent his wit out for coffee and penned a quick Dear John before splitting the scene for good. He certainly doesn’t have to worry about people reading too much into lines like, “You’re my best friend/And I loooove yooooou,” other than perhaps a newfound love of Raffi. Or how’s about “So I apologize to you/And anyone else that I’ve hurt, too/I may not be a perfect soul/But I can learn self-control” as a chorus? Do we miss Staind yet? Look at him in the press photos: Those dead shark eyes never lie. He’s been duped, brainwashed. Sure, unlike Cobain, he’s survived becoming a millionaire and his fan base turning into the same neckless tools that whaled on him in high school. But at what cost? JESS HARVELL
“Dance music needs riot grrrls. Dance music needs Patti Smith. It needs DJ Sprinkles. Dance music needs some discomfort with its euphoria. Dance music needs salt in its wounds. Dance music needs women over the age of 40. Dance needs breastfeeding DJs trying to get their kids to sleep before they have to play. Dance needs cranky queers and teenagers who are really tired of this shit. Dance music needs writers and critics and academics and historians. Dance music needs poor people and people who don’t have the right shoes to get into the club. Dance music needs shirts without collars. Dance music needs people who struggled all week. Dance music needs people that had to come before midnight because they couldn’t afford full admission. Dance music does not need more of the status quo.”—The Black Madonna (via britticisms)
An increasing number of cover disks, revivals of old hits, and adaptations of P.D. material are making The Billboard’s “Hot 100” chart these days. This week’s chart includes 16 revival tunes, three P.D. adaptations, and 15 cover songs (including original versions).
Some of the trade believe the current trend indicates a scarcity of good new recording material. Others attribute it to a desire on the part of young disk stars to graduate from the rock & roll category and identify themselves with ‘class’ material, a la Bobby Darin with “Mack the Knife.”