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Archive for the ‘liberation’ Category

I saw Wall-E a couple of weeks back. Unlike most, if not all of my friends who saw the movie, I didn’t like it very much. It was of course visually awesome and charming, for the most part, and told a decent enough story. It’s hard to “disagree” with the moral of the story, which, so far as I can tell, is that garbage is bad for the earth. And that submission to the spectacle of marketing is also bad. I got that. But I do think there is a more problematic something about the film – not a “message,” but instead something more like a presupposition.

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We still have some months left in 2007, so we surely haven’t heard the end of the nostalgic chit-chat about the Summer of Love. You know, how it’s been forty years since “that generation” was defined by certain rock albums, protest movements, and sexual liberation. Todd Gitlin’s fantasies have spilled out everywhere in the popular media. And so on. I’ve already talked about this stuff in a few write-ups: on the “demise of pop music,” celebration of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s album, and that other anniversary, the thirty years since The Clash’s self-titled album. Let me add another critical site: the anniversary this week of the Detroit riots. (more…)

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It takes a lot to get people suspicious these days. I mean, seriously, think of all the strange goings-on with Libby, et. al. and how presidents somehow stay in power. So it shouldn’t surprise me that Borders booksellers refuse to stop selling racist cartoons of Tintin in their stores, opting instead to move them to the “adult” section in the U.K. (Does Borders have an adult section in the U.S.? Don’t think so.) (more…)

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Let me add to the way-too-many posts around the internet concerning Cindy Sheehan. She’s such an odd player on the media-politics scene, really. Few real vocal sympathizers in the image-media scene – though, it is worth saying, her take on the War in Iraq has been pretty much mainstream for the past year: back that shit up and come home.

What has been so divisive, if not uniformly hostile, about Sheehan’s presence? I get the hostility from the Right. They want her to go away because she’s too public and too sensitive of a figure for blunt, mean-spirited critique. You could almost hear the Right’s sigh of relief when she met with Chavez. (more…)

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I’ve already written here a bit on how The Beatles carry a thin, largely fictitious politics through music history and, at Cypher & Syllable, how The Clash might offer another kind of politics of music. Now this piece by David Shumway – apparently a precis of sorts for his forthcoming book on (rock) music icons – brings the issue back with another question: what has happened to music stars as culture and politics makers? And so I’m brought back to my question: how did this whole myth of political rock stars get started, and how does it continue to be read as true? (more…)

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It happens every five years since I can remember. It’s time to remember The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, to reflect “as a culture” on its significance, and learn again that it is the best and most important album ever. Now it is forty years. Thanks to Jody Rosen at Slate.com for changing that a bit with a nice write up. I have a few thoughts… (more…)

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Paris Hilton is back in prison, sent by the judge who first ordered her there. Judge Michael Sauer, who originally ordered Paris to prison, was reportedly outraged that she was released, and refused to even hear evidence of her alleged “medical condition” that led the sheriff to release her. (more…)

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