Thursday, December 14, 2006

Keep on fighting Ian

As much as I have come to dislike self-righteous, indignant musicians, I have kept a soft spot in my heart for Ian MacKaye. Dischord Records helped shape my taste in music some 10 years ago, and Fugazi has remained one of my all time favorite bands, and his part in both those projects stands as a testament to the modern ages musical contributions within our society.

Of course Ian is an excellent musician and a great songwriter, but the truth is, his power comes from his principles. Principles that seem to have changed very little over the last 20 years, but seem as fresh and revolutionary as they were in the early 80’s. The idea that a bunch of kids could make bands, create “venues” to play in, book tours and release records, all without the help or money from major record labels may not have been started by MacKaye, but it sure did take on realistic proportions. The man still sells his records for less than 10 bucks, and continues to play shows that cost no more than 5 bucks to get into. He may have lost some hair and gained a few wrinkles, but his presence on the stage and within the “indie” music community is still prolific.

Ian is the only individual I have been star-struck by. I briefly meet him at the Coachella music festival a few years back. He said “Hey” and looked me in the eye, and I stood stupid with my mouth open. Never had I thought I could be reduced to a babbling idiot by such a routine looking man.

His newest band, The Evens, may not be as loud and abrasive as his previous work, but the man still growls and wails with an intensity that many can only hope to imitate. They have a new record, and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in “punk-folk” (if I can call it that).

When MacKaye stands on a stage in Washington DC, and jabs with contempt at the Capitol, it doesn’t come across as posturing. It looks like the actions of a man who has been in the trenches of the counter-culture for decades, and shows no intention of surrendering any time soon.

Keep on fighting Ian.

"If it means encouraging vicious racist anti-Semitism, or the destruction of the State of Israel, I still don’t care."

Folks who know me and my politics, and who fancy themselves members of the hard-left, often send me links to articles posted at Counterpunch. This, I do not get. Don’t get me wrong, I do like to read what folks on the “other side” (if I can call them the other side, seeing as how I still align with left leaning elements in society), but Counterpunch has about as much authority as Indymedia and Electronic Intifada. Here is a blurb from a recent post at Harry’s Place concerning Counterpunch and its blatant anti-Semitism and conspiracy nonsense:
“Talk of a Jewish power structure is increasing at two levels. In the nether regions of the internet, there's more about Jewish control of the US' Israel policy, or perhaps of the US itself. Higher up, one hears about a Jewish lobby, or a Jewish-Israel lobby, or, more often, about mean-spirited, unpleasant people who control the government, and who, it is said or coyly suggested, are Jews.

There is inconclusive but considerable evidence to support these claims. Jews loom large among the high ranks of government policy advisers, and in influential non-governmental policy organizations.” - Michael Neumann – Counterpunch

The Canadian Jewish Congress reported in 2003 on an email exchange between Neumann and the proprietors on the anti-Semitic website Jewish Tribal Review.

The Web site quotes Neumann as writing, “I should perhaps have said I am very interested in truth, justice and understanding, but right now I have far more interest in helping the Palestinians. I would use anything, including lies, injustice and obfuscation, to do so. If an effective strategy means that some truths about the Jews don’t come to light, I don’t care. If an effective strategy means encouraging reasonable anti-Semitism or reasonable hostility to Jews, I don’t care. If it means encouraging vicious racist anti-Semitism, or the destruction of the State of Israel, I still don’t care.”

Neumann still writes for Counterpunch, and he boldly stated that he has no interest in the truth! Papazou!

And so on, and so on…

In an almost completely unrelated note, I find it ironic that on the recent season of Survivor, there is one Jewish contestant that none of the stupid contestants like. The fact that some of the bozos he was up against called him things like “a rat” and “traitor” only helped clinch the irony prize for the year.

Pic Via ZombieTime

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

(Snicker) "Iran is your home and is the home of all freedom seekers of the world"(Snicker)

"Thanks to people's wishes and God's will the trend for the existence of the Zionist regime is downwards and this is what God has promised and what all nations want," he said.

This is the man and the nation some want to help rebuild Iraq? Does a week go by that this guy doesn’t proclaim his hatred for Israel and its people? I wonder if he actually has time to run Iran with all the pointless posturing he takes part in.

And over at the the Huffington Post, the new cesspool for anti-Semites and authoritarian supporters, comes this classic comment:
“Holocaust Denial is an Orwellian term that is used to attack academic freedom and free speech.

This Holocaust Revisionism conference is a forum to promote academic freedom and free speech. No one episode of history should be immune from normal historical inquiry.

Ask yourself who are the real deniers - the deniers of free speech? What are they hiding, what are they afraid of?”

Wow. Just wow. I am used to hearing such statements from far-right extremist groups, but to hear the left take on such an amazingly stupid concept as Holocaust denial is a rather new development. Truly amazing.

But do be fair to Huffington readers, there were some enlightened posts, such as this:
“The Left...for all its self-promotion as champions of human increasingly becoming aligned ... willingly or unwittingly ... with the anti-Israel, Holocaust Denial crowd.

This SHOULD gravely concern the Left.

I hope ... for the sake of the world ... that the Left reconsiders how far it is willing to go (in terms of its allies) in order to convey its hatred of Bush.
The Left is using a sledgehammer where a scalpel would be more appropriate.
And the great irony is that the Left's knee-jerk obsession with being anti-war/anti-Bush could invoke the Law of Unintended Consequences to promote even more and deadlier wars.”

“The one thing Leftists, Nazis and Islamists can all agree upon is that the Jews have got to go.

Anti-Semitism seems to be the tie that binds totalitarians of all stripes together.”

Photo via Reuters.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Step to the Rhythm

When I was in high school, I became infatuated with anything British and I was buying up every British rock record I could afford. Blur, Oasis, Radiohead, and Ocean Colour Scene were all on heavy rotation, and I felt like I was getting a glimpse into a strange foreign culture. I loved the look, I loved the sound, and it seemed to me that the English did everything better.

After spending some time in England (and growing up a bit), I have come to see England as just another country with its own strengths and faults (sorry British readers!).

During this time, I was also turned on to British Drum’n’bass, mainly through Roni Size’s “New Forms” which remains one of my all time favorite records. It may not be the type of tune that reminds Gwenyth Paltrow of England, but it does define my experiences there.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

One Stocking Stuffer I Wouldn’t Mind

I am an ardent record collector, and I love digging through boxes of vinyl and 78s at flea markets and music shops. There is something about record collecting that makes me feel like a rare bread of historian: an individual keeping alive some person’s dream and artistic contribution to this world. It actually saddens me to think of the artists stamped onto my 78 records that are all but forgotten by modern audiences. Musicians who will likely never have their music played outside of an acute collector’s family room. That truly saddens me, but it is the way the world runs.

I figure that every 78 I put on my shelf is someone’s ambition and contribution to our society kept breathing. When I think about it that way, I feel pleased and content.

But I sure would not mind finding this copy of the Velvet Underground’s first recording! Screw stacking that bad boy on my shelf, a more financially endowed collector should have that right!