It’s Carnival, so it’s Dr. John time:
It’s Carnival, so it’s Dr. John time:
We’re back on the weather roller coaster in New Orleans. One day it’s unseasonably warm, the next it’s colder than average. It’s almost as crazy as the Current Occupant of the White House. Did you see that insane press conference by the least racist and anti-Semitic person ever? In response to the crazy, I tweeted this:
I hope all the Busters and Steiners are happy right now. They insisted that there was no difference between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. They were wrong. She’s sane.
Did y’all see the cartoon that was based on the Norman Rockwell painting that’s this week’s featured image? Here it is on the Tweeter Tube. I refuse to upload it:
That’s right, folks, Cartoonist Glenn (Not The Real) McCoy compared billionaire dilettante Betsy DeVos to NOLA’s own Ruby Bridges That’s preposterous and typical of the whiny titty babies on the Right in 2017.
Btw, BuzzFeed: You got something wrong.
On Sunday, the Belleville News-Democrat published this cartoon by Glenn McCoy. It appears to equate Betsy DeVos, Trump’s controversial pick for secretary of education, with Ruby Bridges, the first black child to attend an all-white school in the South.
Ruby Bridges *was* the first black student to attend an all-white elementary school in New Orleans in 1960. She was not the first overall: that honor belonged to the Little Rock Nine in 1957. The last I heard New Orleans was in the South. Y’all should spend less time cutting and pasting tweets and more time on research.
This week’s theme song fits both my mood and the temper of the times. The Forecast (Calls For Pain) comes from Robert Cray’s brilliant 1990 album Midnight Stroll:
It’s time to take a midnight stroll to the break. The forecast is for more mirth than pain on the other side.
Dennie the Den of Muses cat found an unusual spot to nap last week before Krewe Du Vieux marched. She spent much of the week lying on the back of a Krewe of Craps built effigy of Donald Trump in the stocks. It was tremendous. Believe me.
Here are a variety of pictures taken by my krewe-mates Wendar, Chris, Jennifer, and, of course, Dr. A. The last picture features my old pal Loki.
Finally, this is the best picture of Dennie. What cat doesn’t like scritches?
An eminent physicist who’s on the faculty at Princeton is openly campaigning to become the Insult Comedian’s science adviser. He has an impressive curriculum vitae and is certainly qualified for the position. There’s a rub: he’s a climate change denier. And that is why William Happer is malaka of the week.
Hapless Happer gave an interview to the Guardian wherein he shared his views on those of us who believe in climate change:
“There’s a whole area of climate so-called science that is really more like a cult,” Happer told the Guardian. “It’s like Hare Krishna or something like that. They’re glassy-eyed and they chant. It will potentially harm the image of all science.”
Are they Moonies, Scientologists, or Hairy Fishnuts, Dr.
Hapless Happer? They’re all inclined to be glassy-eyed and the first cult is pro-GOP. Scientologists are down with Trumpism because they believe greed is good and selfishness is where it’s at.
Dr. Malaka also supports the gag order imposed by the morons at the Brown House:
Happer also supports a controversial crackdown on the freedom of federal agency scientists to speak out about their findings, arguing that mixed messages on issues such as whether butter or margarine is healthier, have led to people disregarding all public health information.
“So many people are fed up of listening to the government lie to them about margarine and climate change that when something is actually true and beneficial they don’t listen,” he said, citing childhood vaccines as an example. “The government should have a reputation of being completely reliable about facts – real facts.”
Real facts, Dr, Malaka? Do you mean the facts as spoken by your dear leader? I wonder if you understand the Faustian bargain you’re entering into. Trump listens to no one and insists on unconditional subservience. Are you ready to lick Bannon’s jackboots and be humiliated by the president*? That’s what the job entails.
Dr. Malaka derides scientists who believe in climate change as members of a cult. He’s about to join a cult where staffers are required to clap every time the dear leader speaks and retweet his increasingly incoherent rants. The hapless Happer might end up on the streets banging a tambourine and selling MAGA caps as punishment for displeasing Trump or
Bormann Bannon. The only one who’s drinking Kool-Aid is Dr. Malaka. It’s Trumper Kool-Aid.
Happer doubtless thinks he’ll be an important and influential man if he becomes Trump’s science guy. Wrong. He’ll be just another one of the Insult Comedian’s dignity wraiths who will skedaddle back to a cold welcome at Princeton when he quits or is fired. Dr. Malaka is not only a climate change denier, he’s a world-class naif. And that is why William Happer is malaka of the week.
I’d like to thank everyone who donated to VAYLA’s New Orleans East Tornado Relief fund. They’ve exceeded their original goal and have raised nearly $20K.
Here’s another chance to give:
What would a post like this be without some musical gratitude?
Stanton Moore is a New Orleans musician so I decided to let the exclamation point slide.
Dystopian fiction is hot right now. I cannot imagine why. Brave New World was one of the first dystopian novels. It has remained in print since its initial publication in 1932.
Here are two of the many covers Huxley’s book has had over the years:
It’s not original to think that the 21st Century Republican party *always* puts power before country. It’s Athenae’s pet hobby-horse. She wrote quite eloquently about it just yesterday. It’s time for me to climb on back of said rocking horse and join in. I’ll try not to break it. That would be too much like Henry Drummond’s Golden Dancer story in Inherit The Wind for my taste, and I try not to be overly derivative.
What am I on about? Read and learn:
I was seven years old, and a very fine judge of rocking horses. Golden Dancer had a bright red mane, blue eyes, and she was gold all over, with purple spots. When the sun hit her stirrups, she was a dazzling sight to see. But she was a week’s wages for my father. So Golden Dancer and I always had a plate-glass window between us. But—let’s see, it wasn’t Christmas; must’ve been my birthday—I woke up in the morning and there was Golden Dancer at the foot of my bed! Ma had skimped on the groceries, and my father’d worked nights for a month. I jumped into the saddle and started to rock— And it broke! It split in two! The wood was rotten, the whole thing was put together with spit and sealing wax! All shine, and no substance! Whenever you see something bright, shining, perfect-seeming—all gold, with purple spots—look behind the paint! And if it’s a lie—show it up for what it really is!
That’s how Republicans *should* have reacted to the Trump phenomenon from the git-go. The Trump “movement” is all shine and no substance, much like the Insult Comedian’s taste for gaudy, glitzy, goldleafy decor. I shuddered when I heard that the Trumps might redecorate the White House living quarters. It’s the people’s house and the thought of any of it resembling Trump Tower is nauseating. In the immortal words of Garth Algar: “I think I’m gonna hurl.” Holy crap, I’ve gone from Spencer Tracy and Fredric March to Mike Myers and Dana Carvey. And I’m okay with that. 2017 is the 25th anniversary of Wayne’s World, after all. Excellent. Party time.
Where the hell was I? Oh yeah, the rottenness beneath the surface shine of conservative ideology. They’ve made a deal with the devil to get tax cuts for the 1% and to take away people’s health care among other horrors. It’s being done in the name of freedom but it’s really just selfishness. In that way, Donald Trump epitomizes what has happened to the GOP since the Reaganite wave election in 1980. Who’s more selfish than the Insult Comedian? If you know anyone, please keep them away from me.
In the wake of the Out like Flynn moment, there was a fleeting notion that Congressional Republicans might conduct a proper inquiry of the improper Russian connection. That moment has already passed because they realize this fiasco is apt to land at Donald’s doorstep. He was warned weeks ago that Flynn was susceptible to blackmail and nothing happened until Monday night. Why? I believe Trump (aka Putin’s Pawn) knew of, and initiated, Flynn’s contacts with Putin’s people. Flynn is not the only senior administration* official who has been compromised by the Russians: every word spoken, and action taken, by Trump indicates that he is susceptible to KGB-style blackmail. As Josh Marshall put it this morning: Flynn doesn’t matter. This is about Trump.
I’m not sure where this is headed. Events have been Russian by at a break neck pace. Flynn resigned while I was publishing my post about him, which had my head spinning like Linda Blair’s in The Exorcist. It’s certain that Trump administration* is headed for the rocks, it’s only a question of how extensive the damage is and who will be forced to jump overboard along with Flynn. It’s irrelevant whether he was pushed or jumped. The scariest thing about this week’s events is that Bannon is piloting the ship. The B3 Brownshirts are trying to turn the White House into the Brown House. They’ve even unleashed Bannon’s creature Stephen Miller on the media. Unlike the rocker, he’s no Joker. Maurice would kick the little bastard in the balls.
There’s been a lot of discussion about prosecuting Flynn and other Trumpers for violations of the Logan Act. I, for one, am leery of that idea. The statute has been on the books since 1799 and it has only been invoked twice with no convictions. It was passed by a Federalist Congress and signed by President John Adams. It was aimed at the Jeffersonian Republicans who sided with the more radical factions of the French Revolution. In short, it was designed as political payback. It was mentioned by pro-Roosevelt forces during the isolationist America First moment but was never used. Wise choice.
Dusting off a 218-year-old statute to go after the Trumpers is a bad idea as far as this lapsed lawyer is concerned. It is a very frail reed and could easily be ruled unconstitutional if tested in the courts. That means anyone convicted under the law would walk and the GOPers would scream political persecution. The potential for backfire outweighs any positives.
The Logan Act is much like Golden Dancer in Henry Drummond’s story. A conviction obtained under it would be like Henry’s rocking horse: “The wood was rotten, the whole thing was put together with spit and sealing wax! All shine, and no substance!”
There’s an understandable temptation to fight fire with fire and sink to the Republicans level. I’m all for the resistance but we lose if we become carbon copies of them. Unlike our enemies, I believe in putting country before power.
I’ll give Spencer Tracy as the Clarence Darrow-like Henry Drummond the last word:
Scary clowns were in vogue last year. I haven’t heard much about them thus far in 2017. Perhaps it’s because the scariest clown of all is in the White House.
Woke Up With A Monster came out in 1994 but the title track described how the country felt on November 9, 2016. We’re still trying to recover from the hangover. It’s an ugly album cover for ugly times.
Looks like just another day on the parade route to me.
The back cover features a shot of the band being Cheap and Tricky:
The full album isn’t YouTubular so here are some selected tracks. The video for the title track is pretty darn trippy, man:
The band also cut a version of John Lennon’s Cold Turkey during the Monster sessions:
I took a few days off from following national politics as closely as usual. Of course, more shit has hit the fan. Splat. These bozos have only been in power for 24 days. It feels like 24 months.
The sordid saga of Trump’s nutty national security adviser Mike Flynn gets weirder by the moment. The MSM is positing that Flynn might get fired for lying to Mike Pence. Think on that for a minute. My nickname for the Veep* is Liar Liar Mike Pence On Fire. Everyone in this administration* lies incessantly, so firing someone for mendacity seems bizarre even for this crowd. His lies make Flynn fit in; hence the post title In like Flynn. It’s also an Errol Flynn joke but Mike Flynn is no Errol Flynn although, like the actor in They Died With Their Boots On, he may be headed for his last stand.
Every time I think it’s impossible for the Trumpers to be more incompetent, they top themselves. It’s a rare talent. What’s next? Who the hell knows. They’re conducting foreign policy as if it’s a game of pick-up sticks and the president* has no idea where they’ll land and no idea what do with them when they do. Incompetence in foreign policy is dangerous. Remember the last Republican administration? They couldn’t organize a two car funeral but this one is baffled by the logistics of a one car funeral.
Flynn is likely to go since his West Wing rivals are hanging him out to dry in the media they claim to despise. But they need to come up with a better reason than: “he lied to a liar.” In short, they need to lie about why Flynn is out instead of in.
I think the Trump administration* needs a theme song. Only one will do: Topsy Turvy Town.
INSTANT UPDATE: Flynn is no longer in but out. The crazy fucker just resigned.
Krewe du Vieux rolled on Saturday night. It was a blast to march through the streets of the Marigny, Quarter, and CDB. I did my share of spanking and handing out throws. The Krewe of Spank’s theme was strictly local as you’ll see below but several Krewes did Trumpian themes. Below are two of the better efforts.
First, the Krewe of Mishigas with a sci-fi twist:
That’s right, it’s Jabba the Trump.
Second, the Krewe of KAOS. Their marchers dressed as droogs, which was simultaneously brilliant and simple.
The first set of photos were taken by my old friend Brian. He also captured us Spanksters as we milled about whilst stalled. I’m not in the picture but Dr. A is:
Spank has always done local satire. This year’s theme took a poke at JazzFest. We’ll begin with two views of the float taken by my pal, Christy Boom Boom Brackenberg:
Dig that crazy Spank-o-vision, y’all.
One of our throws was a sensation and still has the twittering classes abuzz. It’s a two-sided post card-sized parody of the JazzFest schedule cubes:
The cubes are, of course, loaded with fictional and wildly inappropriate acts.
A few quick notes:
Krewe du Vieux is *always* cold except for 2017. It was in the mid-70’s, which meant it was hotter than hell as we marched in our costumes. It was unnatural. We’re supposed to shiver, not sweat.
There are people in Krewe du Vieux who didn’t get the Glass Menagerie pun. The Glorious Bird weeps.
The crowd was huge and better behaved in the Quarter than in past years. Of course, it helps when you’re wielding one of these:
And yes, people want to be spanked on the parade route. I don’t have any pictures of me doing so, all I have for you is this tweet:
Carnival is hard work. And there’s more to come. Let’s close with some seasonal music:
It’s the most wonderful day of the year, for me at least. Krewe du Vieux rolls at 6:30. That’s why the full-blown madness that is Saturday Odds & Sods has been dialed back this week. I’m too busy Krewe of Spanking, y’all.
I do, however, have a theme song: Night Parade from Robbie Robertson’s Storyville album. We march not far from where the red light district was located. It’s long gone. Time for some music. Hit it, Robbie:
I may not have a Saturday post extravaganza this week but I do have an Insult Comedian meme courtesy of my Spank krewe mate David M:
That’s it for now. I’ll be back next week with a post that has more meat on the bone.
Krewe du Vieux rolls tomorrow, which means I’m sharing some pictures of Dennie the Den of Muses cat. Since I belong to the Krewe of Spank, I considered calling this post Spanks For The Mammaries but I didn’t want Bob Hope’s estate on my ass…
I’m not sure if Dennie thought she could nurse on the busty bust, but ya never know.
Time for some seasonal music:
A record-setting tornado ripped through New Orleans East on February 7th. Mercifully, there were no fatalities, but there’s a lot of damage. Our readers have always been generous and I’m asking you to help again. It’s an excellent way to ward off the Trumper blues, after all.
A progressive New Orleans East based community group, VAYLA (Vietnamese-American Young Leaders Association) is raising money to help their neighbors in their time of need. I’m donating and I hope you will too. Thanks in advance.
Ron Rosenbaum wrote one of the best books about the Hitler phenomenon and its persistence through the years: Explaining Hitler. In that brilliant work, Rosenbaum talked to some of the explainers-from the crazy to the reputable-to try to understand how Nazism could have taken hold in a country known for its literature, music, art, and cinema. Rosenbaum also endeavored to understand *why* Hitler’s demonic spell continued after his catastrophic failure and revelation as the war criminal’s war criminal. If you’re interested in the subject, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy. What’s not to love about a book that has a chapter titled The Hitler Family Film Noir?
Rosenbaum was approached by some publications to explore comparisons between Hitler and the man some call Hair Fuhrer and I call the Insult Comedian: Donald J. Trump. He was initially reluctant to do so for reasons he explains in a brand spanking new piece in the Los Angeles Review Of Books:
Until the morning after the election I had declined them. While Trump’s crusade had at times been malign, as had his vociferous supporters, he and they did not seem bent on genocide. He did not seem bent on anything but hideous, hurtful simplemindedness — a childishly vindictive buffoon trailing racist followers whose existence he had mainstreamed. When I say followers I’m thinking about the perpetrators of violence against women outlined by New York Magazine who punched women in the face and shouted racist slurs at them. Those supporters. These are the people Trump has dragged into the mainstream, and as my friend Michael Hirschorn pointed out, their hatefulness will no longer find the Obama Justice Department standing in their way.
Bad enough, but genocide is almost by definition beyond comparison with “normal” politics and everyday thuggish behavior, and to compare Trump’s feckless racism and compulsive lying was inevitably to trivialize Hitler’s crime and the victims of genocide.
As a believer in Godwin’s Law until the 2016 election, I understand where Rosenbaum is coming from. It’s why I still prefer using the term Fascist to describe the Trump-Bannon “movement” and their loathsome followers.
Now that they’re in power, Rosenbaum detects a methodological similarity between the Trumpers and German Nazis. It’s rooted in both the big lie technique and the war on the press. In Hitler’s case, his fiercest foes back home in Bavaria were the reporters of the Munich Post who were referred to as “the poison kitchen” by the Nazis.
I really should let the master explainer explain himself:
But after the election, things changed. Now Trump and his minions are in the driver’s seat, attempting to pose as respectable participants in American politics, when their views come out of a playbook written in German. Now is the time for a much closer inspection of the tactics and strategy that brought off this spectacular distortion of American values.
What I want to suggest is an actual comparison with Hitler that deserves thought. It’s what you might call the secret technique, a kind of rhetorical control that both Hitler and Trump used on their opponents, especially the media. And they’re not joking. If you’d received the threatening words and pictures I did during the campaign (one Tweet simply read “I gas Jews”), as did so many Jewish reporters and people of color, the sick bloodthirsty lust to terrify is unmistakably sincere. The playbook is Mein Kampf.
Trump, of course, is not only incapable of writing a book on his own, he’s a notorious non-reader. Instead, he’s the teevee-watcher-in-chief. But Hitler was *not* an intellectual. He was a demagogue with an acute sense of his audience and what we would call his base. Trump may not be a true believer in the white nationalist ideology that Bannon and Miller have cobbled together BUT he *is* its best salesman.
Back to Hitler and the poison kitchen. The Munich Post did its best to expose the petty criminality and nationalistic bigotry that drove Hitler and the Nazis but in the end, we know what happened. They lost the kampf: Hitler came to power and plunged the world into an orgy of chaos, hatred, and violence. Steve Bannon is on the record as wanting chaos and destruction in order to bring on his own B3 new order and I’m not talking about the band of that name. He’s a right-wing Leninist. I’m a John Leninist myself.
Rosenbaum is even more worried about the normalization of Trump now that he’s the Current Occupant:
Cut to the current election. We had heard allegations that Trump kept Hitler’s speeches by his bedside, but somehow we normalized that. We didn’t take him seriously because of all the outrageous, clownish acts and gaffes we thought would cause him to drop out of the race. Except these gaffes were designed to distract. This was his secret strategy, the essence of his success — you can’t take a stand against Trump because you don’t know where Trump is standing. You can’t find him guilty of evil, you can’t find him at all. And the tactics worked. Trump was not taken seriously, which allowed him to slip by the normal standards for an American candidate. The mountebank won. Again.
Suddenly, after the inconceivable (and, we are now beginning to realize, suspicious) Trump victory, the nation was forced to contend with what it would mean, whether the “alt-right” was a true threat or a joke to be tolerated. Did it matter that Trump had opened up a sewer pipe of racial hatred? Once again, normalization was the buzzword.
And I remembered the Munich Post, defending Weimar Germany. I reflected on how fragile democratic institutions could be in the face of organized hatred. Hitler had been tricky about his plans until he got the position and the power to enact them. Trump had been tricky, neither accepting nor rejecting the endorsement of KKK leader David Duke. David Duke! The KKK! In this century! He claimed he didn’t know who he was. He couldn’t be disqualified because of someone he didn’t know. That’s where we all went wrong, thinking he was stupid and outrageous, not canny and savvy and able to play the media like Paganini. The election demonstrated the weakness of a weak democracy, where basic liberties could be abolished by demagoguery and voter suppression.
Rosenbaum is concerned that normalization is taking place in too many sectors of the public and press. The MSM wavers between exposing Trumpian excesses and normalization. I am cautiously optimistic that vast swaths of the American people do not accept Trump’s legitimacy and will never normalize his “movement.” Look at me: I am fundamentally a center-left Democrat who belongs to the “get shit done” wing of the party. That’s been suspended along with my adherence to Godwin’s Law. I am committed to resisting Trumpism and everything about it. This is not the time to make a deal with the devil. Trump regards offers of compromise as signs of weakness. I will continue to show him the same level of respect that Republicans gave to Barack Obama: zero, zilch, bupkis, nada.
People need to be patient. Given the current make-up of Congress, Trump can only be removed if Republicans turn on him. That will only happen when they think the cost of supporting him outweighs the cost of pissing off rank and file Trumpers. That’s why public displays of disapproval are so vital. And the much ballyhooed 25th Amendment solution requires the support of his cabinet. It’s one reason why, with the exception of Generals Mattis and Kelly, the cabinet is loaded with wealthy political non-entities, sycophants, and right-wing ideologues. They *might* rebel if Trump continues his manic ways but it will take time. You know things are bad if I think Mike Pence is less horrific than Donald Trump. Why? He’s less likely to plunge us into a war caused by the last thing he saw on teevee. Trump puts the boob into boob tube as well as the idiot into idiot box.
Pressure and patience must be the watchwords of the resistance. We didn’t get into this mess overnight and we won’t get out of it quickly either. Satire is one of our best weapons. It hits Trump where he lives: he wants to be loved and admired. It’s our job to see that he’s neither. We don’t want him to think he’s Chaplin’s Great Dictator, Adenoid Hynkel. If Trump tries to dance with a global balloon, we need to pop it.
Vive les Maquis.
It’s time for a final tribute to the late John Wetton. His band, Asia, is famous for its cover art and swell logos. All but one of the covers I’m posting today were by Roger Dean who is also known for his work with Yes.
Let’s begin at the beginning with the band’s 1982 smash hit eponymous debut album:
Next up is Asia’s second LP, Alpha. It was the debut of the eyes logo, which has been a constant motif for the band over the years:
Here’s a cover from a 2004 album without John Wetton in the band or artwork by Roger Dean. It’s a goddamn photograph, y’all:
Here’s an appropriate hit song from Alpha:
Finally, a live duet on the same song with John and Geoff Downes:
I don’t usually spotlight one of my own tweets in this feature, but this one is different. Why? Cos I said so. Actually, it’s because I had a casting suggestion for SNL *before* things started to happen in what we laughingly call real life. It’s not exactly my tweet, a friend quoted my FB thingee on the tweeter tube. It’s a crazy old virtual world:
With Melissa McCarthy nailing her surprise gig as White House spokesperson Sean Spicer last weekend and Alec Baldwin killing it on the reg as President Trump, Rosie O’Donnell has volunteered to take on the role of Trump’s mysterious chief strategist Steve Bannon if Saturday Night Live is interested.
The comedian and frequent target of ridicule by Trump before he graduated from reality show host to leader of the free world, tweeted out the offer after a Twitter user noted that since the notoriously easy-to-rile commander in chief was, according to a Politico report “rattled” that Spicer was portrayed by a woman on the show’s most recent episode. So… maybe Rosie should “take one for the team?”
I wish I could claim it was my tweet by proxy (Lexy?) that Rosie saw. If I were a Trumper, I’d take credit but I’m not, so I won’t. Repeat after me: you don’t defeat lies with more lies. You defeat it with the truth. In this instance, it was great minds thinking alike or something equally banal.
The fact that the Gum Chewer is in deep shit with the Insult Comedian because a woman played him on SNL is one of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard. Throwing the woman he loves to hate in his face will drive Trump bat shit crazier. Remember: he ranted about Rosie in the first debate. I assumed shit like that would lose him the election. I was only half right. Damn you, electoral college.
In the spirit of driving Trump around the twist, here’s Rosie’s Newsweek cover back when it really meant something:
That’s right, Rosie’s shtick in the late ’90’s was niceness in contrast to bad hombres Geraldo and Jerry Springer. Rosie clearly did NOT clean up trash teevee. If she had, Trump wouldn’t have gotten a show and he wouldn’t be the whiner-in-chief today. And nobody ever called him nice other than one of his yes men. He’s a nasty, nasty man. Believe me.
I hope SNL takes Rosie up on her offer to play the Prince of B3 Darkness. She’s got the hair for the job. All they have to do is make her look like an unkempt college professor, Bannon-style. If she wears a brown suit and jackboots, she’ll be perfect. It’s irrelevant as to whether Rosie O’Bannon will be as funny as Melissa Spicer. What matters is sending Trump a one-way ticket to what my late father called “the laughing academy.” I can be as politically incorrect as the next guy for a good cause.
Writing this post has given me a benign earworm. Over The Edge is a Ray Davies song about lunacy. A sample lyric will suffice:
My next door neighbour’s totally snapped
He’s gone over the edgeHe’s putting up barbed wire barricades
Around the garden hedgeAnd planting land mines on the lawnHe’s gone barmyAccording to his wife, he’s formed a secret armyEver since he got laid off
Something inside snapped
His wife says he’s gone ’round the twistNow there’s no turning back
All night he waits in the garden shed
For the enemy to attack
A suburban vigilanteDressed up in a union jack
He’s over the edge
I’m a bad American sports fan. I don’t *have* to watch the entire Super Bowl unless there’s a team I like playing. Last night, we watched an old John Ford movie, then tuned in for Lady Gaga’s half time show and the rest of the game. A lot of people missed her subtle political subtext but my friend Roberta did not:
Sometimes the subtle can be radical. I found her opening with snippets of “God Bless America,” “This Land is Your Land” and the pledge to be audacious and absolutely brilliant. She let the righties know that they have no monopoly on love for the USA, and she reminded lefties that there are bigger reasons to fight for what’s right than whatever our own, personal identity may be. And then came the Big, Gay Anthem. It was a million times more brilliant than an overt FU to Trump. Had she done something blatant, it would have fulfilled the negative expectations of the haters and allowed them to dismiss her as just another rude, obnoxious liberal. By making the song selections she did, she made it impossible for them to do that. It’s really quite genius.
Thanks for boiling that down so I don’t have to, R. It’s good to have clever friends who understood that Gaga was working with a scalpel and not a meat dress cleaver last night. And, yes. I like Lady Gaga. Sue me.
Everything is political in the winter of our discontent including this Super Bowl. (I refuse to use the Roman numeral: it’s pompous beyond belief.) Much of the country was rooting for the underdog Atlanta Falcons and against the plutocratic Patriots with their overt ties to Trump via owner Robert Kraft, Coach Grumpy, and Brady the ball inflator. I was too despite the fact that many in New Orleans consider rooting against the Falcons to be a Nolier than thou litmus test. The Falcons are, of course, the Saints arch-rivals but that’s mere sports hate. Real world concerns trumped sports hate for me yesterday.
One reason I pulled for the losing team is some of the people who were rooting for the winning team. The president* was one but so were some more blatant bigots. Here’s a sampler from my old “friend” the erstwhile Gret Stet Fuhrer and that punchable Nazi, Richard Spencer:
Rumor has it that Trump wants to gay marry Tom Brady but is afraid of Mike Liar Liar Pence On Fire’s reaction. I suspect the white-haired prevaricator from Hoosierland could find a way to rationalize it. It’s his specialty as Trump’s Veep.
Let’s do some virtual Nazi punching:
Can’t have a majority black city’s team win the big game. Of course, it’s already happened with the Saints. (I’m too lazy to research other possibilities. Again, sue me.) Also, one of the white receivers is Jewish. Chew on that, you fourth-rate Streicher.
Spencer also called Brady an Aryan avatar. I am not making this up. Does Spencer’s fulsome praise make Brady a white nationalist or neo-Nazi? Of course not, but his silence about his less savory fans makes him look like a worm, weasel, or toady. The Patriots represent one of the bluest regions in the country so I hope that someone in the Commonwealth calls him on this shit. It would give Brady the chance to spout *new* clichés. The old ones are getting a bit shopworn.
Another thing that makes me a bad American is that I didn’t pay much attention to the ads. I’ll let others talk about them elsewhere. I was too busy trolling lefty Saints fans who allowed their sports hate to overrule everything else. I don’t get extreme sports hate. I dislike some sports teams but I *hate* racism and bigotry and those who go along with it infinitely more. There’s a perfect example here at First Draft of putting real world concerns above sports hate. Athenae and Mr. A are ardent Packers fans who hail from Wisconsin yet they live in Chicago, which is home to the Packers arch-rival, Da Bears. I guess they should move in order to satisfy the purity trolls. It’s just sports, it’s supposed to be fun and unimportant. Football isn’t life, it’s just a game.
I, for one, am glad that this particular Super Bowl is over. Its peculiar mix of sports hate stupidity and politics will not be missed. One good thing that happened was that Roger Goodell got booed last night in Houston. Sometimes you get the sweet with the bitter.
I think Mick and Keith got it right by analogy with this song so I’ll give them the last word:
I wrote yesterday about Emmett Till’s lynching and its importance to the Civil Rights movement. Here’s a 2003 American Experience documentary about it:
Another week, another mural as the featured image. Hale Woodruff is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is getting recognized more and more, I notice. If you don’t recognize Trump’s Frederick Douglass quote, I have failed as a blogger.
It has been a Krewe of Spank-centric week at Adrastos World HQ. We’ve been helping with the float, buying costume bits, and even went to a pizza-n-shirt-iron-on party. Bet you’ve never done that. We also drank beer. Bet you’ve done that.
This week’s theme song was selected with our politically chaotic moment in mind. I am mindful of the fact that Trouble In Mind was written in 1924 by jazz pianist Richard Jones. It has been recorded oodles of time by oodles of artists. I have selected worthy versions by Big Bill Broonzy, Nina Simone, and the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin.
Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of the post only without the dirt or the band. That’s right, this post will be unbroken…
Emmett Till: Every social movement requires a spark. For the Civil Rights movement, the spark was provided by the lynching of Emmett Till in 1955. In fact, Jesse Jackson describes a conversation with Rosa Parks that confirms the importance of Emmett Till:
“I asked Miss Rosa Parks [in 1988] why didn’t she go to the back of the bus, given the threat that she could be hurt, pushed off the bus, and run over, because three other ladies did get up. She said she thought about going to the back of the bus. But then she thought about Emmett Till and she couldn’t do it.”
There’s a new book about the murder of Emmett Till wherein author Timothy Tyson got the woman who was allegedly the target of unwanted attention by Till to admit that nothing much really happened. Vanity Fair’s Sheila Weller has the details.
It’s abundantly clear that the Current Occupant has no knowledge of the Civil Rights movement or how important it is to many of us. It didn’t involve him directly so it’s off his radar screen. I suspect Trump and his dreadful, racist daddy regarded the movement as a nuisance. It made it harder for them to discriminate against black folks in their apartment buildings in the outer boroughs, after all. So it goes.
We go from the crime that inspired the Civil Rights movement to a look at how Hollywood is taking on the Insult Comedian.
The New Culture War: We tend to think of Pats Buchanan and Robertson when we think about the culture war. Buchanan’s 1992 GOP convention speech scared the living shit out of middle-American and was a factor in Poppy Bush’s defeat. Thanks, Pat.
The culture war used to be a right-wing thing. It no longer is. The Guardian’s Stuart Jeffries takes a look at how Hollywood and others on the left are standing up to the Insult Comedian. My favorite bit involves the divine Julia Louis-Dreyfus:
At last Sunday’s Screen Actors Guild awards in Hollywood, barely anyone who got to the stage failed to denounce Donald Trump’s immigrant ban. Veep star Julia Louis-Dreyfus, for instance, accepting her award for outstanding performance by a female actor in a comedy series with her portrayal of a (with all due respect) venal and useless president, said: “I am the daughter of an immigrant. My father fled religious persecution in Nazi-occupied France, and I am an American patriot … I love this country. I am horrified by its blemishes. This immigrant ban is a blemish, and it is un-American.”
Her speech came from the heart and was clearly not written by Selina Meyer’s staff. They would have found a way to fuck it up and elect Hugh Laurie President…
There’s already a backlash over comments like Julia’s and Meryl Streep’s but, frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn. The rank hypocrisy on the right about celebrities in politics is breathtaking. The GOP elected an actor President, sent Gopher from The Love Boat and Sonny Bono to Congress, and now they complain about free speech from Julia and Meryl. As the Cowardly Lion would surely say, DA NOIVE. I fed Siri that sentence and she had a nervous breakdown. It was most amusing.
Speaking of the culture wars, our next segment takes a look at cursing. Hmm, I wonder if we still have a fuck quota at First Draft.
Fucking Around: There’s a motherfucking good review at the New York Review of Books by Joan Acocella of two bloody buggery bollocky books about swearing. You should read the fucker. Fuckin’ A.
Speaking of people who got fucked over, here’s a look back at Grateful Dead’s 1970 arrest in New Orleans. They did not return to the Crescent City until 1988.
Busted Down On Bourbon Street: The Grateful Dead were “set up like a bowling pin” in New Orleans on January 31, 1970. The city fathers were terrified that hippies would overrun the city and interfere with their drinking. They simply could not have that.
There’s a fun look back at Live For Live Music.com. I can say fun because nothing much came of the bust except for semi-lurid headlines and this mug shot of a certain lead guitar player:
Notice that Jerry had the good sense to smile, not glower in his mugshot. Never let the bastards see you sweat.
I obviously have to post a version of Truckin’ at this juncture. This is a good ‘un complete with tight musicianship and sloppy vocals, both trademarks of the good old Grateful Dead:
Let’s move on to a sporadic Odds & Sods feature:
Separated At Birth? I added a question mark because I’m not 100% sure this works but it cracked me up when I saw it on the Tweeter Tube.
Instead of being leery of the idea, Leary responded without so much as a leer:
Just imagine it: Denis Leary in The Bowling Green Massacre. He really needs to wear Kellyanne Liar’s inauguration day outfit:
Let’s move from the ridiculous to the sublime.
Saturday Classic: I posted the Queen of Soul earlier, it’s time to listen to the King of Soul, Otis Redding. Note that the album begins with Ole Man Trouble. It has nothing to do with the Insult Comedian but we do have more than our share of trouble right now.
That’s it for this week. We’ll be back with more hijinks and shenanigans next week. Who better to have the last word than three Jokers? Heath, Jack, and Cesar beat the hell out of the joker in the White House. Figuratively, not literally.