“ISIS Was Bombed Into Existence”

 

Even in a Pentagon fantasy world in which all ISIS fighters are killed off, that wouldn’t prevent the emergence of groups even more destructive than ISIS. Extremism cannot be bombed out of existence. ISIS, one must note, was bombed into existence.

Kate Gould, Truthout, 3/30/2016

Punk’s Legacy?

Punk-27947The conventional wisdom amongst many musicologists, music journalists, and music fans is that Punk Rock was a seachange, a musical and cultural revolt against highly-produced and highly popular Glam Rock, Prog Rock, Disco, and the music of aging 1960s rockers who didn’t heed The Who’s call to die before they got old.

Punk was raw, unpolished, occasionally violent, and yet strangely intimate, a stark contrast to the aloof prettiness and preciousness of its predecessors. And most importantly, Punk endured and spawned many variations, and its attitude and Lo-Fi sensibilities inspired musicians working in other genres to get back to basics, to shed excess, and to speak with courageous abandon.

The Noisey article I tweeted today puts forth the argument that Punk was, musically speaking, not very good, and that it did not ultimately change anything. It’s a flimsy-if-earnest attempt to make a point, spurious in its use of two lazy rhetorical tricks:

  1. The vast majority of the article is phrased in general terms, referring throughout to all Punk music, but with a buried qualification at one point stating that it’s really referring to only the first wave of British Punk.
  2. On the question of whether or not Punk actually changed anything, the article criticized Punk for not having spurred a wider and lasting political revolution, as if Punks ever really claimed that they were out to change the world — as opposed to venting their disdain for the state it was in — and ignoring the fact that the conventional wisdom narrative about the Punk seachange is almost entirely limited to the impact it had, not on politics, but on music, art, fashion, etc.

Anyway, its worth reading for the very fact that it so miserably failed to convince, and rather, ironically, strengthened my belief in Punk’s lasting, powerful legacy.

Death Of Dystopia?

I’m pretty proud of a post I wrote back in May 2013 on the topic of dystopian fiction, and that post will explain the opinion I express in my tweet today.

Trickle-Down Sham On Steroids

A Perfect Illustration Of Hillary Clinton’s Duplicity

both-sides-mouthHeadline from today’s online edition of The New York Times:

After Michigan Loss, Hillary Clinton Sharpens Message on Jobs and Trade

Headline for the same article from national paper edition of The New York Times:

 Clinton Retools Message On Job and Trade Deals

The difference between the two is interesting to consider.

On one hand, the online version is less charitable, as it mentions the loss in Michigan.

On the other hand, “sharpens” is more charitable than “retools”, since, clearly, the former suggests something that is the same, only now sharper, and the latter suggests something that has been fundamentally changed.

This was no sharpening (my emphasis added in bold):

DETROIT — From the start of her presidential campaign 11 months ago, Hillary Clinton has presented an upbeat assessment of an improving economy, saying Wall Street and corporations would be held accountable, but must be part of the solution for all Americans to benefit from the country’s prosperity.

I want to be the president for the struggling, the striving and the successful,” she often said…

[Michigan’s] voters, scarred by the free trade deals associated with Mrs. Clinton and her husband that have been widely blamed for the loss of American manufacturing jobs, delivered a surprise victory to Mr. Sanders, who railed here against “disastrous trade agreements written by corporate America.”…

Stung by the bad showing, Mrs. Clinton was already recalibrating her message, even altering her standard line before the Michigan race had been called. “I don’t want to be the president for those who are already successful — they don’t need me,” she said at a rally Tuesday night in Cleveland. “I want to be the president for the struggling and the striving.”

This is just the kind of thing that explains why, in an ABC News/Washington Post poll from late January 2016, only 36% of Democrats find Hillary Clinton to be trustworthy.

I’m reminded of how, when Bernie Sanders entered the race, the media narrative never took him seriously as a candidate who could win the Democratic Party nomination, but there was considerable talk about how he could nudge Hillary to the left of her traditionally centrist positions.

And, while it’s tempting to conclude that the shift in Hillary’s message mentioned above is proof that this is happening, the very fact that she changed her message to hopefully improve her chances of getting elected erodes our trust that she won’t change it back if she IS elected.

R.I.P., #GeorgeMartin

#TooManyChefs