Yesterday’s Works, Today’s Eyes

I never liked the band Sublime.

For whatever reason, their 1996 self-titled third album became really popular in the late 1990s and early 2000s when I was in high school and college. And even then it annoyed the hell out of me. To this day, I can’t hear “Santeria” or “What I Got” without getting a twitch in my eye. And remember, this was the era of nu-metal and rap-rock–Korn, Limp Bizkit, Kid Rock, and their ilk were everywhere. Even in this morass of awfulness, Sublime stood out to me as particularly wretched.

So what in the world makes me think of them now? I’ll tell you what brought Sublime to mind: I’m a musical masochist.

See, from time to time I like to pop over to Pitchfork and see what’s new in the world of indie hipster music. I know, I know: I get what I deserve. But I check the site more for laughs because nearly every single review has to go into politics, and oftentimes the reviews hinge more on the politics of the artist and how they’re embedded in the work and less on the actual notes involved. 

It’s almost as though Pitchfork’s stable of reviewers is more convinced on the influence some music can have than on the music. But nah, art doesn’t influence people, right?

I love rock musicLove it. But its current state is pretty sorry.

Anyway, a week or so ago, Pitchfork, for whatever reason, decided to review Sublime’s 1992 debut album 40oz. to Freedom. And this review typifies a phenomenon I loathe with nearly every ounce of my being: judging past works as being deficient for failing to live up to the current year’s moral and political standards.

This is how you get idiots screeching that the entire Western cannon of art, music, and literature is racist and unworthy of learning because “Muh dead white European males!”

It gets classic Mark Twain novels like Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer–which carry a strong anti-racism, anti-slavery message–banned because they use the n-word.

Heart of Darkness. To Kill a Mockingbird. They’ve got to go.

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, the classic album by The Beatles, is blamed for making rock a “male” thing, as if (a) that’s necessarily a bad thing, and (b) is even true. So it has to be “reassessed.”

The works of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis? Racist and bigoted because they’re too Christian. Out with them!

Even a video game like Kingdom Come: Deliverance, made by a Czech company that takes place in a historically accurate recreation of 15th century Bohemia, gets criticized by idiots for not having any black people in it.

This drives me crazy. Continue reading “Yesterday’s Works, Today’s Eyes”

I Sincerely Hope Nobody Dies: Election Day 2016

American flag

It’s Election Day today, although given early voting and all of that, one could be excused for thinking that the big day has already come and gone.

But this is not a political blog. I am not in the habit of telling people what to do, and I am not in the habit of telling people how to vote.

I am also not in the habit of singing the “Both Sides Do It/They’re All The Same” Kumbaya so popular among people afraid to have an opinion. It is undeniable that one side behaves worse than the other. You’re smart enough that, regardless of your own politics, you know what I’m talking about.

When I do write about politics, I try to focus on the big picture, the key concepts that influence events and ourselves without getting bogged down into the wonky policy minutiae, the personality conflicts, and the he said/she said pettiness that everybody claims to hate but secretly can’t look away from.

I know this, because I can’t look away from the train wreck either.

I do not want to have to pay attention to politics. I wish I didn’t have to care. I wish government was like a machine we could wind up and walk away from, “set it and forget it” and know that the best possible outcomes will occur because those in power really care about us.

But you’d have to be in kindergarten, or have a kindergarten mindset, to believe that.

So I’m not going to get into the details and tell you beautiful people what to do. I’ve seen this happen on some of my favorite, decidedly non-political blogs, where the writer comes out with a huge dissertation about why one should vote for Hillary or for Trump, and how one is the Second Coming of Christ Him or Herself and the other is literally Satan and Hitler wrapped up into one neat bow, with a little Cthulhu and maybe some of Chuckie from Child’s Play. And they have the right to do this. It’s just not what I want to do with this blog.

But I’m not shy about sharing my political proclivities. It doesn’t take a genius to read between the lines on this blog and see my conservative/libertarian leanings. And if you check out my Twitter and Gab feeds, there’s no doubt as to who I am voting for this election. I’m voting for Donald Trump.

There. I said it on this blog. And you know what? Some of you might want to stop following me or reading what I have to say. That’s fine. I suspect you won’t, though, because you’re all civilized people and you can probably tell from my writing that I am not as horrible as many out there portray the man’s supporters.

This is the same way I know that Hillary voters are not all as horrible as many out there portray them.

I don’t write for the candidates themselves or their supporters. I write, honestly, for myself and for other people who want to come along for the ride. I’ve written about my mission before, so read that and understand that you are a part of it, no matter who you’re pulling that metaphorical lever for.

(As an aside, you shouldn’t be afraid to enjoy something despite the creator’s politics.)

If you want me to “talk politics,” check out my social media. But though I talk and debate and discuss and joke, you will notice that I (a) don’t tell people what to do, (b) don’t insult people who disagree with me (unless they start it, or they’re celebrities), (c) attack and criticize ideas and not people, and (d) try to maintain a level of self-awareness.

I’m also aware of history, ancient and current, to know that there will be rioting no matter who wins. Using my preferred method of pulling numbers out of thin air, and with a little help from my man Korla Pandit, here is my BOLD PREDICTION: Continue reading “I Sincerely Hope Nobody Dies: Election Day 2016”

Reverse Chronological Snobbery

img_1045

It’s a common refrain for lots of us to lament that we were born too late. “Things were better, then,” we say, without specifying much beyond some vaguely defined “golden age.”

“There are no more good girls!”

“Where are all the real men?!”

“Nobody has any respect for anyone or anything these days!”

“What happened to our leaders?”

And here’s a classic: “Our grandparents never had to deal with this stuff!”

I call this reverse chronological snobbery. Conventional chronological snobbery holds that everything now is better than what those less-enlightened folks had then. You’re all smart enough to know what the inverse of that is.

But not so fast. While it’s true that some things are worse, mostly the fact that we’ve been discarding tried-and-true human things that have worked for millennia in favor of fads cooked up by faculty Marxists, and that older generations, particularly the Boomers, have royally screwed over Gen-Xers and Millennials, this really is the best time to be alive in a lot of ways.

In fact, I think I was born too early.

Don’t believe me? Let me explain.  Continue reading “Reverse Chronological Snobbery”