The one where I pretend that this is Fametracker

The liberal media loves to show us bad album covers. And, sure, there are some bad album covers out there. But what about all of the good album covers that are ignored? That’s what we’re here for.

If I had to point to the best album cover from the last few years, I’d point to Dizzee Rascal’s Boy in da Corner.

Here’s my case:

* It captures the sound and mood of the album. Dizzee Rascal’s persona is living in a dangerous inner-city housing estate, but he’s neither a thug nor a wish-fulfilling mack daddy. Instead, he’s a confused, paranoid bystander, rapping about keeping his head down while thinking about how the world got this way, over a backdrop of synthesized beats.

On the cover, he’s sitting in artificial-looking room, scowling and giving himself little devil horns with his fingers. It captures the mood of the album beautifully.

* It’s simple. The eye can take it in in a moment, and it works just fine on a little CD cover.

* It’s an original image, not a parody, homage, or genre cliche. (As far as I know.)

* It’s witty without being jokey.

* It’s like, the question is how much more yellow could it be? And the answer is none. None more yellow.

The comments are open- what do you think is the best album cover from the past few years, and why?

Improving Schools

by Harry on May 27, 2004

Excellent post from Laura about improving schools. She makes several school-improvement suggestions, in response to an article in the NYTimes arguing that all you need for good schools is good teachers and small classes. As Laura points out, the research on class size is completely inconclusive. I’d add two points. The first is that even if class size matters we have no reason to believe that there are no threshold effects; it may be pretty much as easy to teach 30 as 25, and much easier to teach 22, for all we know. Incremental across-the-board reductions in size are expensive, and may have miniscule benefits. Second, I have a feeling (based only on anecdotal evidence) that small classes, in making it more feasible for teachers to individualize instruction, may encourage them to engage in trendy, experimental, but ultimately less effective teaching methods.

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Not in our name

by Ted on May 27, 2004

Left-of-center bloggers, could I have a quick word with you, before this becomes a problem?

(huddle)

Barbara and Jenna Bush are going to join their father’s campaign. There’s going to be a fair number of stories about them. They’re out of college, and many are going to consider attacks on them to be fair game. We shouldn’t.

When Rush Limbaugh referred to Chelsea Clinton as the “White House dog”… when John Derbyshire wrote his famous “I hate Chelsea Clinton” column… when Mickey Kaus attacked Kerry’s daughter for the dress she wore… those arguments were heavily quoted and promoted, not by conservatives, but by liberals. They make right wingers* look like cruel, petty people who attack the loved ones of their political opponents. I don’t want us to be like that. These attacks barely work in terms of preaching to the choir, and alienate and insult everyone else.

So it will be with the Bush daughters. There will never be a post or story about Bush’s daughters that loses votes for George W. Bush. The Bush daughters are good-looking young women who are doing nothing wrong by supporting their father, whom they love. They could hardly be more sympathetic if they fell down a well. We should leave them alone.

* “But Kaus is a Democrat!” Yes, he’s a Democrat who wrote a mean, inaccurate hit piece on the Democratic nominee’s daughter. Duly noted.

Virtual ataraxia

by Chris Bertram on May 27, 2004

Congratulations to Chris Brooke, whose funny, informative, enlightening (and splendid) “Virtual Stoa”:http://users.ox.ac.uk/~magd1368/weblog/blogger.html is now three years old. In my experience the third birthday party is the one where hordes of children turn up, are abandoned by their parents for several hours, grind jelly and crisps into the carpet and play at sticking their heads through the cat-flap. So I’m imagining the Stoical attitude Chris is displaying to such mayhem at Magdalen Towers even now.

How Democracies Lose Small Wars

by John Quiggin on May 27, 2004

Below the fold is a draft review of Gil Merom’s How Democracies Lose Small Wars. Comments and criticism much appreciated.

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