It’s one more random than 10!
I watched some coverage of the Juan Williams firing last night. Williams was let go from NPR because he was on Fox News and said that when he sees Muslims on an airplane looking too Muslimy, he gets nervous.
Here’s the thing: I think NPR overreacted. I don’t think he should have been fired, because I do think he was trying to make (awkwardly) a point that just because he’s nervous about a group of people doesn’t mean they should be targeted for discrimination (how mighty white of him). If you want to be considered an objective reporter and analyst, it’s important to try and not venture into O’Reilly style clownery, but at the same time that line gets humped all the time these days. So I would have reprimanded him but not canned him.
Here’s the other thing: Juan Williams was a dumb ass. People who think that seeing Muhammad A. Muslim in his fashionable Mecca attire means he could be a terrorist need to take a good, long look at the pictures of the actual assholes who perpetrated 9/11. Were they wearing robes, head coverings, and sandals? Or were they trying NOT to stand out so they wouldn’t, you know, be stopped from their plans? Any terrorist worth his salt isn’t going to dress up in a Washington Times editorial cartoon terrorist outfit and try to get past airport security. Even shoe bomber Richard Reid didn’t look any more threatening than your run-of-the mill rock roadie. The guy you need to worry about is the well-dressed, clean-shaven guy in first class who should be relaxing and enjoying the flight but is instead muttering to himself and sweating. Could be nervous about flying. Could have had some bad foie gras. Or could be...A TERRORIST!
The beauty of this is that I watched the coverage on the Chicago Fox News. One of the anchors is a black woman, and I wondered what would happen if she said she didn’t trust white people because whites have done so many terrible things to black people over the centuries. Think the ‘Baggers would support her right to express her opinion?
Ranting over, time for music to soothe the Michael Savage beast....
1) “Folds in Your Hands,” Passion Pit. I don’t get into any particular band because they’re underground or cool or any of that stuff. After all, the other night I had trouble falling asleep because I was thinking about how I could improve the tactics of my adventuring party in the videogame Dragon Age: Origins. I’m not fooling anybody on the cool front.
Still, it’s nice when I have a little musical secret, a group I really like that doesn’t get a lot of recognition. I thought Passion Pit was one of those groups. Then I saw their CD on display at Target. Now, I will never begrudge anyone commercial success, and I hope they sell a bunch of copies. But I’d be lying if a little bit of me wasn’t disappointed.
2) “The Twistinside,” Everclear. My interest in them was somewhat, um, rekindled, when I realized that a young Christina Hendricks starred in their video for “One-Hit Wonder.” Although it seems like it should have been called “Two-Hit Wonders.” I also wish I was the kind of person who was above that joke.
3) “Send a Message to Her,” Beck. One of those artists I feel like I should like but really don’t. He’s incredibly creative and unpredictable and tries new things and yadda yadda yadda, but I’m always left feeling like I’m ready for the next song about 90 seconds in.
4) “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song,” Fleet Foxes. Great music for the transition from fall to winter. There’s such a clear, cold, refreshing aspect to the singing, like a brisk sunny day, but the sparse musical arrangement makes me think of tall trees that have lost most of their leaves.
5) “Rebel Rebel,” David Bowie. Only a great riff can be repeated over and over and over and over again for several minutes and not wear out its welcome. The funny thing about this song is that the bass has the most variation compared to the guitar and drums, and Bowie’s vocals manage to sound completely slathered in make-up but also really tough. Classic.
6) “Dry,” PJ Harvey. There’s something really cool about how this sounds. It’s a bit noisy, but there’s a lot of space between the noise, too. It reminds me of how a lot of Beatles songs sounded, where they were busy, but each element was allowed to breathe. If this was recorded today everything would get squished toward the middle and it would lose its ability to sound like a confessional, lament, and rant all at once.
7) “What a Wonderful Man,” My Morning Jacket. Random tangential story: An old friend of ours, Byron, recently got to play with My Morning Jacket along with Levon Helm and Donald Fagen. I haven’t seen Byron in years (except when he’s been on TV playing with his band, Ollabelle), but back in our New York days we went to see him play all the time, and The Lovely Becky and I even swapped apartments with him and his lovely wife. Anyway, the review for the show complimented Byron by saying he sounded like a young Rick Danko. When I read that, I felt so happy for him because I know that would have completely made his year. Funny how I can feel that way for someone I haven’t seen in a decade. I’d like to think he’d have the same reaction if someone called me, “the Dorothy Parker of the dick-joke set.”
8) “Caledonia Mission,” The Band. Creepy! THE SONGS ARE COMING FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE!
9) “Louie Louie,” Black Flag. Henry Rollins was the best vocalist in punk history. All the snarl and menace of Rotten, all the energy and righteous anger of Strummer, with a voice that sounded like washboard abs.
10) “Double Team,” Tenacious D. I’ve heard this album countless times and I still laugh at the jokes, especially at “the Buttress of Windsor,” “underpants,” and “hail Satan!”
11) “Campus,” Vampire Weekend. I was talking with my brother Tickle about the perils of dating in the age of Facebook. I’ve been on The Facebook long enough to see some relationships dissolve and the sometimes ugly break-up graffiti that gets left on someone’s wall. I am very thankful that I didn’t grow up with that hanging over my head. Sure, my enamored teenage self would have loved the prospect of Web cams, text pics, and the easy access to pictures of boobies. At the same time, I would have hated the possibility of any of my faults and inadequacies as a boyfriend to have been published and, even worse, Liked.
So here’s to being happy I grew up without the Internet. Not only did it save me embarrassment, but because I really had to work hard to see boobies, I think I appreciate them more. Not to mention trying to see what was happening on scrambled cable feeds trained me to spot an exposed nipple from up to 1500 kilometers away.
Have a great weekend!