Pipe Wrench Fight

by Scott McLemee on November 3, 2008

Jerome Weeks points out a trend-in-formation: literal video, which is something like Situationism minus Marx plus YouTube:

It’s a form of satire that seems to work best with the more inflated, ’80s or ’90s pop-rock videos, the ones that were developed as little storytelling movies, even though the “movies” had little to do with the song itself or seemed patently pretentious, with or without the song. In short, there’s a profound disjuncture among the posturing twit-lead singer, what he’s supposedly singing about and what’s going on all around him. As they used to say about political photo-ops: It doesn’t matter what the candidate is saying, it’s the background he’s in front of and how he looks….

In a literal video, the lyrics provide a running description of what is happening onscreen — commentary that, as Jerome says, “repeatedly calls attention to (and calls into question) the video’s image choices, making them appear laughably random. Or it subverts any greater, intended import they might have by flatly describing the images and thus “grounding” or re-contextualizing them in a more self-consciously ‘down-to-earth’ matter, while actually presenting a wise-ass commentary on them.” [click to continue…]

A puzzle about the polls

by Harry on November 3, 2008

No doubt if I had more time I’d find the right answer to this question, but I’m lazy and/or pressed for time, so here goes. For quite a while now the polls which include Nader and Barr show a significantly bigger distance between Obama and McCain than those which exclude Nader and Barr. I thought I understood why, but when my 12 year old asked me to explain my explanation was so bad that not only did it collapse as I tried to articulate it, but it also disappeared (I no longer remember what my supposed understanding was). Why is it? Barr seems to get about 1%, and Nader 2-3% when they are included (both numbers seem remarkably high to me, but what do I know?). Could it be that Nader, as well as Barr, is drawing mainly from McCain (protectionist Republicans who are either too racist to vote for Obama or too sophisticated to believe he’ll be a protectionist?). Or is there some technical explanation that I don’t understand?

Light In The Attic Sampler & You Don’t Love Me Yet

by John Holbo on November 3, 2008

Amazon is giving away a a free ‘sampler’ album from Light In the Attic records. It’s drop dead fantastic, I say. It’s got “Katie Cruel”, by Karen Dalton [wikipedia]. Such an amazing song, and an amazing voice – like Billie Holiday decided to sing a perfect contribution to the soundtrack for “Deadwood”. Dalton’s In My Own Time was released in 1970, then only made it to CD a couple years ago. Then there is “An Elegy”, some kind of champagne trip soul hop remix of a Free Design track. Then another Free Design track, “Make The Madness Stop”. (Either you like Free Design or you don’t. It’s totally ridiculous stuff.) Then there’s a crazy great Betty Davis track, “He Was A Real Freak”. A fun ringer, “Sugar Man”, from someone named Rodriguez. The brief bio from the label is interesting. His 1970 album is “one of the lost classics of the ’60s, a psychedelic masterpiece drenched in colour and inspired by life, love, poverty, rebellion, and, of course, “jumpers, coke, sweet mary jane”. The album is Cold Fact, and what’s more intriguing is that its maker – a shadowy figure known as Rodriguez – was, for many years, lost too. A decade ago, he was rediscovered working on a Detroit building site, unaware that his defining album had become not only a cult classic, but for the people of South Africa, a beacon of revolution.” Also on the sampler are a couple of solid reggae/r&b tracks – especially “Chips – Chicken – Banana Split”, by Jo Jo and the Fugitives. The tracks by The Black Angels and the Saturday Knights are solid, too. Like I said: great album, and free.

I see that the Black Angels just played a Halloween gig with Roky Erikson. That reminds me of another free mp3 to pass along. A great cover of Erikson’s “You Don’t Love Me Yet”. I know about that one because I really enjoyed Jonathan Lethem’s novel – same title
– which didn’t get much attention. It’s kinda like Philip K. Dick wrote an episode of “Friends”. But in a good way. No, that’s not what it’s like, except for the names. What can I say? It’s a slight work, evoking aimlessly attractive youth. There are comic couplings and decouplings, and very nicely written it is.

I know what day it is. But every post can’t be about the election.