It’s been a turbulent week. The South Carolina lege passed the “take the damn flag down bill” thereby proving me wrong. I thought it wouldn’t happen but I don’t mind being wrong on this one. In New Orleans, Mayor Landrieu threw deep on Confederate symbols asking for even more sweeping changes than I’ve advocated in this space. I hope the Council takes its time on some of these proposals so we get it right.
It looks as if Greece, the EU, and its creditors have reached a tentative deal that isn’t much better than the one rejected by the voters last Sunday. In this instance, I’m not glad to be right. I thought the Syriza government was staging a drama and would cave and that’s what appears to have occurred. Expect more turbulence in the streets of Athens: the Greek Left knows how to throw a demonstration. If I were a cabbie, I wouldn’t go anywhere near Syntagma Square if you catch my drift.
This week’s theme song takes this feature back to its Whovian roots. No, not this Dr. Who:
I’m talking about THE WHO. And, yeah, I know it’s not on Odds & Sods but Let’s See Action fits the moment, especially since it was first recorded by Pete Townshend as Nothing Is Everything (Let’s See Action.) We begin with Pete’s version from his homespun and charming first solo album, Who Came First, followed by the Who playing it live, which is always action packed:
After the break, I will prove that nothing *is* everything.
Holy Greek Tragedy, Batman: The cliches have been flying in journalistic accounts of the Greek financial crisis. They’ve skipped the Zorba references and gone straight for the classics. Euripides weeps. My favorite article *about* the media’s Greek chorus of cliched metaphors was written by Elias Groll for ForeignPolicy.com. It makes me want to dance the hasapiko or whatever the hell it is Quinn and Alan Bates are doing here:
Fables Of The South: Both of Dr. A’s sisters live in Richmond, Virginia so I’ve spent some time there. One of them lives near the Hollywood Cemetery, which has nothing to do with the movies, not even Gone With The Wind. It’s chock-full-o-memorials to the Confederate dead. I find those less bothersome because it’s a cemetery and remembering the dead is what they do. End of this walk down cemetery memory lane.
There’s a fine article at Slate by Maurie McInnis about the roots of the Robert E. Lee monument in Richmond. It was erected in 1890 as-you guessed it-a symbol of white supremacy. This monument is unlikely to come down since Lee was a Virginian, but a plaque placing the monument in context is in order. The oddest thing about all the controversy over the Lee memorials and the flag his army carried into battle is that Lee himself was no nostalgist for the lost cause as pointed out by Jim Clyburn on the House floor:
“The Confederacy had three flags. This was never one of them,” Clyburn said. “This is a flag, the Confederate battle flag of the army of Northern Virginia, Robert E. Lee’s army.”
“And when Robert E. Lee surrendered he asked all of his followers to furl this flag. Stow it away, he said. Put it in your attics,” Clyburn continued. “He refused to be buried in his Confederate uniform. His family refused to allow anyone dressed in the confederate uniform to attend his funeral.”
“Why? Because Robert E. Lee said he considered this emblem to be a symbol of treason. Yet, Calvert puts up an amendment that we’re going to vote on this afternoon to ask us to allow this flag to be sold and displayed in our national parks.”
Congressman Clyburn made these remarks during a debate over the ill-advised and failed effort to preserve the display of Confederate battle flags at Federal sites. That’s right, House GOPers are less enlightened than the Palmetto State lege. I had a good chuckle over that one.
Longtime readers know that I’m fond of “growing like kudzu” based metaphors even though it isn’t found in the Gret Stet of Louisiana. We have our own viney variant called cat’s claw, which is an import from Latin America. It’s often seen growing on the roofs of blighted houses in New Orleans. Let’s keep this between us: I don’t want Donald Trump adding this to his list of grievances with the Hispanic world. Speaking of the Donald, The Simpsons took a potshot at his campaign debut and it’s pretty darn funny:
Back to kudzu. There’s a fine piece by Molly Osbgerg about the pesky vine at TPM: How ‘The Vine That Ate The South’ Transformed Our Memories Of Dixie. Good stuff. It will grow on you, if you let it:
Seeing that clip of a sweaty Bob Weir in Philly 26 years ago reminded me of this tweet I sent during the Fare The Well run:
Salon Of The Dead: No, not zombies, they bore me. I’m talking about two pieces about the Grateful Dead published by Salon. First, we have an ode to the Dead’s stoner rock/space classic Dark Star by Jennifer Finley Boylan who discusses the song’s finer points both lyrically and musically. It’s not one of my personal favorites even though I was acquainted with a Dark Star obsessive who used to keep track of how often the Dead played the song at their Bay Area gigs. The night Winterland closed, he toted a sign that said “1535 days since Last SF Dark Star.” They played it that night.
Here’s a picture of the sign via Thoughts On The Dead:
The second Salon of the Dead article is an excerpt from David Browne’s new Deadography, So Many Roads: The Life and Times of the Grateful Dead. The excerpt discusses Jerry’s last days as well as his premonition of death not long before he passed in 1995. Speaking of notable passings:
R.I.P. By Tweet:
I had completely forgotten about that until yesterday; not sure if I’d even told Dr. A that story. Btw, my mother was pissed at herself for losing. I’m sure she wouldn’t have lost to David Lean no matter how often he played Lara’s Theme:
Buzz Aldrin Meets The Conspiracy Buff: Buzz is an American hero and all-around great guy. How many people have been immortalized by Pixar? Of course, Buzz Lightyear is kinda goofy whereas Buzz Aldrin is stone brilliant with a doctorate from MIT.
Buzz is also highly impatient with Moonshot truthers as you’ll learn when you read the smashing article Well-Aimed and Powerful by Margaret Dean Lazarus. He was so miffed by one truther malaka that he delivered a well-deserved punch upside said conspiracy buff’s head:
Never call a fighter-jock a “liar and a coward;” not even an 85 year old one. Chuck Yeager would have castrated the bastard and mailed his balls to Alex Jones.
What’s not to love about Buzz Aldrin? Since he’s a mere lad of 71, I bet Roger Daltrey can punch just as hard as Buzz. Speaking of which:
Saturday Classic: All of this talk about the Who made me want to hear, and post, one of their most underrated albums, The Who By Numbers. It features some of the most personal songs Pete Townshend ever wrote for a Who album. Roger was uncomfortable singing However Much I Booze so Pete took the lead vocal thereby disproving the song’s refrain: there ain’t no way out.