Monday, April 25, 2011

RIP Hazel Dickens

At Metafilter I discover that Hazel Dickens has died, and I am sorry to hear it. Her version of Hills of Galilee has long been basically my favorite piece of music in the whole very wide world. I've long said that, if I ever go Christian, it'll be the music that does it. Bach, sure... Who doesn't love Bach. But mostly old-time gospel and bluegrass and suchlike. I've got fairly broad-ranging musical taste, clustering toward punk and alt-rock/geek rock...but the other major clustering point is bluegrass/old-time. Bluegrass sounds like home, and no other music speaks to me on that level. It's far from Dickens's only great song, but Hills of Galilee is, IMHO, an astonishing piece of artistry. It affects me so deeply that I don't let myself listen to it unless I'm exactly in the mood, and then I only listen if I can give it my full attention. If you're not familiar with it, do yourself a favor and give it a listen.
"No Homo"

This is freaking great.

See, now this is how to speak intelligently about popular culture--and in a morally uplifting way, no less. All the shrill, dumb-ass pomobabble in the world isn't worth 30 seconds of this guy's clear, reasonable commentary on the "no homo" phenomenon. He's particularly good when he's discussing how people get sucked into saying it purely because of its comedic value. He's not an off-putting scold, and he's just plain right about it. He's also careful to note that uttering the phrase is not a huge moral crime, and, I think, particularly effective when he acknowledges the tug of his his own urge to say it for comedic effect at the end of his video.

(via Metafilter)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Ayn Rand Inspired By Serial Killer

Here, via Leiter.

The thing is, this is no mere coincidence, no throw-away ad hominem. From the perspective of the randroids, there are no grounds for criticism of Hickman. In fact, his actions are praiseworthy. He doesn't let the interests of others interfere with his own goals, nor the pursuit of his own happiness. It is, in a way, gruesomely satisfying that Rand came right out and admitted admiration for this psychopath; it provides us with the penultimate line in the reductio. But, in a sense, we already knew that there was, as we might say, a theoretical Hickman that Rand was committed to admiring. (Though I suppose that I'd have predicted that she'd have flinched rather than openly embracing the pure, unadulterated instantiation of her ideas. I didn't realize how comfortable she was with her own insanity.) At any rate, an admiration for psychopaths is an obvious entailment of Rand's dumb-ass, sophomoric ravings. Hickman was already in there--so obviously so that it'd be odd to even say he was latent in the view. The theoretical Hickman, at least, was right there on the surface.

I guess that this won't do anything to dampen the enthusiasm of the Ayn Rand cult...but sometimes people surprise you...

Friday, April 15, 2011

Fascist NYC Cops In Action

Something has got to be done about this kind of shit. American cops are out of control. In this video (via Reddit), we see NYC cops arrest a guy for making a friendly joke as he passes by another guy who's getting a ticket for riding his bike on the sidewalk.

I'm sure things have been worse in the past...but that's no excuse. These mother****ers need to be thrown off the police force. And why is there no government agency in charge of keeping these assholes under control?

This is still America, right?

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Sexual Subtext of 'Predator'
Or: Why Parodies of PoMo/LitCrit Are Indistinguishable From The Real Thing

I cam pretty much guarantee you that, if this were longer, it could be published in an academic journal somewhere.