Thursday, May 26, 2011

They're Even Afraid of Athletic Competition

Without going too much into it, pretty much everyone who is even remotely close to unbiased about the situation agrees the American drug war is completely screwed up. Heck, even a lot of people who are strongly biased to support the drug war admit it's screwed up. Whether you believe in the legalization of drugs or not, it's pretty hard to deny our current system of mass incarceration and ever-increasing penalties is having absolutely no effect on the levels of drug use in our nation and is having all sorts of deleterious effects (with little things like us having the most people in prison in the world, measured by raw numbers of percentages, and having more people in prison on drug charges than the entire EU has in prison for any reason).

Yet what's frustrating for people who would like to reform this broken system (let alone people who would advocate for legalization) is that when presented with the fairly indisputable evidence of how the war on drugs is not working, the official government responses is to pretty much put their fingers in their ears and yell "la la la! I can't hear you!" until you go away.

And in what has to be the most humorous analogy for this I've ever stumbled across, in the Congressional Softball League in D.C., the ONDCP's Czardinals refuse to play the drug-policy reform Capitol Hemp One Hitters (I swear to God I'm not making up either of those names).

While the Czardinals claim a scheduling problem is preventing the match up, the One Hitters took to a press release to note this has happened 6 years running now and wondered why the ONDCP was so afraid to face them, either in debate or on the softball diamond.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

McBain: The Movie

Sorry blogging has been so light lately. I'm on the very tail end of my great overseas adventure, so I've been really busy cramming work in, seeing friends for the last time, and all the other things one does at the end of a long trip overseas.

But to tide you over until I return with my patented brand of angrily ranting into the empty void of the internet, someone has stitched together all of the McBain clips from the Simpsons over the years and it pretty seamlessly becomes a pretty good action flick.

The writes claim this is entirely a coincidence, but knowing those folks, I wouldn't be too surprised if this was a little intentional...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

How Good Is It If It Has Nothing To Say?

I hated Eminem long before doing so was cool, though I had a friend who long tried to persuade me I was wrong to dismiss him so flippantly. He tried to convince me that Em had really great rhyming skills, and his flow was impressive, and all the other things that various music critics and fans have cited for liking him. But being a self-righteous college activist, I would tell him I simply couldn't sign off on any music that brazenly misogynistic and homophobic, and was frankly surprised he could. His defense was that you don't have to agree with everything someone says to like their music (which I agree with), but I would retort that if you really disagree with much of what someone says, then why are you listening to their music?

And while I'd like to think I've gotten a little less self-righteous over the years and have come to accept more music I might have once found questionable, I think the basic point still holds. At a certain point, someone's objectionable lyrics just override whatever else their music might have to offer. It reminds me of a review I read a couple years back of a Snoop album in which the reviewer wrote something to the effect of "Sure, Snoop has one of the best and most recognizable flows in all of rap, but he doesn't really have anything worthwhile to say with it."

And this sort of debate happens all the time in music, but it coming to the fore now as the indie world has fallen in love with flavor-of-the-moment rapper Tyler, The Creator, whose debut features music so violently misogynistic and homophobic it's become notable in a genre that's pretty much known for such things.

Sara of Tegan and Sara recently took to the interwebs to object to the uncritical praise Tyler's gotten from otherwise intelligent folks, writing in part:
As journalists and colleagues defend, excuse and congratulate 'Tyler, the Creator,' I find it impossible not to comment. In any other industry would I be expected to tolerate, overlook, and find deeper meaning in this kid's sickening rhetoric? Why should I care about this music or its 'brilliance' when the message is so repulsive and irresponsible?... The more I think about it, the more I think people don't actually want to go up against this particular bully because he's popular. Who sticks up for women and gay people now? It seems entirely uncool to do so in the indie rock world, and I'll argue that point with ANYONE.
It's a somewhat tired point, but still relevant. Even more telling about the state of gender relations in our time, though, is probably Tyler's response:

"If Tegan And Sara Need Some Hard Dick, Hit Me Up!"
For a guy who's supposed to be a lyrical genius, you'd think he might be able to come up with a bit more intelligent come back...

Update: Emma Carmichael has a much more intelligent take on this.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Legal Power of Dylan Lyrics

In grading piles of student papers every semester, certain trends start to appear pretty quickly. The obvious plagiarists, the smart kids, the ones who obviously didn't write their own papers, etc. Amongst these many types, there's always the arty/alternative kid who includes lines from their favorite band because, you know, man, music like, is deep.

And I have to admit, I was one of those guys. My senior thesis features multiple Rage Against the Machine quotes as chapter headings, because I'm edgy like that.

But it turns out, it's not just solipsistic undergrads who do this. Apparently, it's pretty common for judges to do it as well, which is either heartening or depressing, depending on your view of the world. 

And befitting the over-representation of baby boomers currently on the bench, a recent study finds that Dylan is by far the most quoted lyricist of them all, cited over twice as often as the runner up Beatles. I like to pictures these judges at home, Pink Floyd posters on the wall, scratchy hi-fi spinning in the background, sitting at a wobbly desk, pounding out these deep opinions, envisioning how much this shit is going to blow the minds of those squares down at the courthouse...

Noted legal scholar

Monday, May 09, 2011

Links Instead of Insight

Hey folks, running short on time again, so here's some fun links to while away your precious time:

First, if you're interested in developing an exacting matrix that will help you understand the maximum amount of drunk you can get for the least amount of calories consumed (and who isn't interested in that?), then I present Get Drunk Not

Second, and far more awesome, the internet has now arrived at the most useful universal measurement: the Danzig. Right now it only converts metric to Danzig, but metric was always just the stepping stone to a better universal measurement anyway...

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Rules For The Internet

This video should be federally-mandadted viewing for anyone who uses the internet, or at least anyone who ever comments on internet message boards:

Oh yeah, and it turns out some terrorist guy was killed by the U.S. While normally this sort of thing is what I use this blog to rant about, I'm too blown away by how even otherwise-rational human beings are celebrating this like we all get free puppies and ice cream.

So I'm most likely never going to do a longer post about this, but I will say it doesn't really mean anything. It's not going to magically bring people back to life, it's not going to end the two and half wars we have going on, it's not going to restore our civil liberties, etc.

But hey, it will give the president an approval ratings boost for a few months. So I guess that's something, right?

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Your Beastie Boys Link-O-Rama (Featuring Two Links!)

By now, I'm assuming you've seen Fight For Your Right Revisited, the short film starring everyone ever, ostensibly taking place shortly after the video for Fight For Your Right ends.

If you have not seen it yet, go watch it now. It will make you laugh and bop your head, like the first time you listen to a skit-heavy West Coast album. Seriously, go watch it. I'll wait.

Ok, welcome back. Funny, right? Well, if you didn't understand the song, it's likely because the Beastie Boys are notoriously dense and obscure with their references. Luckily enough, the fine folks over at the AVClub have put together a compendium of 167 Beastie Boy references explained.

Now you, too, can be the obnoxious person who insists on explaining what a song is referencing, despite it being clear no one cares. And everyone likes that guy, right? Right? Guys?

Monday, May 02, 2011

God Bless The Internet

Every time I come across a really stupid website that is hilariously entertaining but simultaneously the kind of thing I can't believe anyone wasted their time putting together, I can't help but feel that's the exact reason the internet exists. I can only feel sorry for previous generations that had no way to access the wide world of people wasting their time on pointless shit solely to bring mild amusement to complete strangers. That must have been a horrible world to live in.

A perfect example of this is the tumblr Dads Are The Original Hipsters.

If I were feeling more intelligent today, I'd write something about the ironic appropriation of past styles/cultures. Instead, I'll just point out how incredibly true this simple yet profound statement is. And I'm living proof, with about every cool piece of clothing I own having been pilfered from my old man's closet...