Category Archives: Arts & Music

Museum of Neosegregationism

You might have caught the story about Clarence Thomas, a sitting Supreme Court Justice, somehow not being included in any exhibits at the newly-opened National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Oh, no doubt you heard about the museum, the MSM and our cultural leaders couldn’t stop talking about it but the exclusion of Justice Thomas, well, that somehow didn’t make the news.

Surprise!

Not really.

The surprising thing is that so many conservatives thought that a museum created solely for politically correct reasons would actually treat conservatives (especially one as villified as Thomas is) with equality or respect.

Paul Mirengoff’s naive piece in Power Line  is typical of these.

The museum was never going to be anything other than a playpen for leftists; an employment and legitimizing program for left-wing black scholars and their guilt-ridden white sycophants; a tool for grievance- and guilt-mongering; a hive of endless Zinn-like anti-American and racist propaganda.

It’s also part of the continuing decline of the Smithsonian Institution into little more than just another once-great American organization degraded and drafted into service of the left.

Mirengoff, et al, when you set up museums for politically correct reasons, why are you surprised that political correctness reigns?

How could you possibly think that a museum based on skin color and whose design from day one was controlled by liberals and whose raison d’etre followed liberal historical memes was going to be anything less than a liberal hellhole.

Have you been under a rock for the last five decades?

It never ceases to amaze me how some conservatives still don’t understand that we are in a war. It’s like in the movie “United 93,” when it dawns on the FAA’s Ben Sliney that “We’re at war with somebody” as he watches planes smash into buildings. He shut the flight system down until it can be determined who’s attacking.

What’s so hard to understand here?

Like the shockingly underwhelming National Museum of African Art, the National Museum of African American History and Culture was created exclusively for political reasons — to placate or fulfill the demands of the neosegregationist movement. It was never designed for actual real scholarship. There’s already a Smithsonian (National Museum of American History) for that.

When I was a kid we had it beaten into our heads that Plessy v Ferguson, the core of “separate but equal,” was a bad, terrible, horrible, grotesque… decision. Yet somehow we’ve circled back to it and it’s not the white majority of the country dictating the separation of the races.

Culture Wars – Next Move

No sooner had I predicted that the response by Los Angeles and California to a drop in TV/film production would be to continue the policies that discourage such production than this came out.

Film/LA – the city’s film permit office announced it was increasing its fees. Yes, to hire the guy/gal that is required to stand around the set is going up. Admittedly it’s going up much but it’s just the beginning.

Liberals will never admit that their policies cause problems or exacerbate the problems they are supposed to solve.

The Culture Wars

One reason that conservatism constantly seems to be in retreat is that our “culture,” and by that I’m shorthanding for movies, TV shows, newspapers and other news media, the publishing industry, the theater, academia, the arts, et al, is dominated, essentially controlled, by liberals. And they deploy it almost exclusively to promote liberalism, breed more liberals and destroy any who resist.

I’ll save the lengthy disquisition on this to address a few notes that have come my way.

TV talk show host Wendy Williams seems like a level-headed lady, as far as women afternoon talk show hosts go. Recently she echoed what Stacey Dash has said — that organizations such as the NAACP and “historically black colleges” are by definition racist and if one wants to move to the post-racial society such organizations should wither away. Judging people by the color of their skin is racist no matter how you justify it.

Of course in the TV industry you dare not say such things and Williams found herself quickly under attack from the liberal cultural commissar mob. Sadly she muttered her apology. But as with all liberal inquisitions an apology is not enough and the pound of flesh extracted. Several staffers were canned. I’m sure that Williams is probably now writing her check to the Hillary Clinton campaign…

In case you hadn’t heard, HBO is wanting to get into the nightly news business. Their brilliant, never-before-tried plan? Hire a bunch of people from the same places that staff all the other TV news outlets (other than possibly Fox [though it might be turning too]) — New York Times, HuffPo, The Guardian, Buzzfeed, etc. Now more liberal news/propaganda, just in case some HBO viewer missed it on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN or MSNBC.

Why can’t HBO just stick to entertainment (much of it highly propagandized as well)? Why must everything be increasingly politicized?

So how is everything going for the great liberal propaganda machine? Well, according to this story, the number of pilots being shot in the L.A. area is down to historic lows.

Everyone is absolutely puzzled by how this could be happening. Has not California and the Los Angeles area mandated the highest of wages and the most bountiful worker “rights,” benefits and regulations? Has it not instituted the most draconian of living and environmental regulations and costs? Has it not made employment of labor expensive and the production of product expensive? According to Democrats that is supposed to be the magic recipe for success. What could have gone wrong?

Don’t worry, I’m sure that L.A. and California politicians will be working on turning the dreadful tide.

Los Angeles city and county will pass an ordinance mandating another increase in wages, regulations and some free stuff – and no more cheap interns! Then they’ll demand that the industry shoot more pilots there. (Then they’ll be shocked next year that production fell further.)

The state of California will do the same along with adding some “green” energy regs — because all those lights in Hollywood use energy, dontcha know; mandate the hiring of various Democratic party hangers-on, their children and members of select/approved racial and sexual-orientation groups through the “diversity” rubric; add more employment and HR regulations; and they might entertain a tax break targeted at some of the more politically active producers… And they’ll conclude with a demand that the industry shoot more pilots in SoCal. (And be shocked next year that production fell further because all those progressive producers aren’t so generous when it comes to THEIR money and THEIR productions so they’ve moved THEIR productions elsewhere.)

And the cycle will begin again. Welcome to the mind of the liberal…

This last story followed shortly after the L.A. Story — The California Film Commission is touting the success of its Tax Breaks for Rich Film Makers program. Yes, nothing like those poor, struggling, artists, needing tax breaks. Especially “women of color” like Oprah.

Our media views everything through the race/sex lens. FYI – that’s racist and sexist. Weren’t we trying to get away from that? All of which seems to bring us back to Wendy Williams.

Libtards – Balkanizing the country one item at a time.

A Few Thoughts on “Vinyl”

I binge-watched HBO’s much-anticipated “Vinyl” over the last week. It wasn’t bad but it could have been so much better.

Despite having Martin Scorsese and Mick Jagger involved along with Terence Winter from “Boardwalk Empire,” it struck me as having been put together by people under the age of, say 35. There was a feeling to me that those who authored this piece set in the early 1970s New York music scene were getting much of their info from magazines, TV retrospectives and books rather than people who were there. There was a superficialness to it. It was as if there was a fear in digging too deep lest the romanticized glamor of Warholian New York be exposed for the great seedy con it was.

The story centers around a struggling record label, American Century Records, c. 1972-73. It’s about to be sold off to multinational megalabel Polygram when the head honcho, Richie Finestra, has some kind of breakdown/episode. He decides not to sell to the “Krauts” because he has seen the future of music and it’s the New York Dolls or maybe just the idea of glam rock or maybe punk rock or… something. Whatever, can’t sell; must find spirit of music! The show tends to throw a lot against the wall to see what sticks.

The New York Dolls were a real band in 1970s New York. Often called “influential,” the band has always been far more talked about than an actual playing band. Drugs and egos destroyed it before it ever went anywhere but New Yorkers of a certain age will swear they saw them — like all those people who went to Woodstock.

But okay, this could go somewhere. Digging into the early glam rock and punk scenes could be very interesting. But it doesn’t go there.

The record label is funny. It has an oddball collection of acts — including Donny Osmond, Robert Goulet, Jose Feliciano, America, Bread, Grand Funk Railroad and England Dan & John Ford Coley. For reasons specific to the entertainment, despite millions of records sold by several of these acts, the label is always on the brink of bankruptcy (this might be the show’s strength). However, the show never misses a chance to take potshots at Osmond, Goulet or England Dan & John Ford Coley while giving the old sophisticate’s nod to Johnny Winter, Iggy and the Stooges or whatever ancient blues artist jumps to mind. “My mother loves Bob Goulet,” says a polyester-suited cop while the label employees roll their eyes at the plebian tastes (that pay their salaries). Guaranteed that Goulet sold more records than those three hipster heroes combined. There’s a lot of taste-pimping in “Vinyl.”

One thing that I immediately picked up on was that for a record label eagerly seeking out new acts, it seemed that the employees didn’t really talk much about music — beyond “We gotta get some hot new acts!” There wasn’t any serious discussion about music. No interest in what might be happening in London, Boston, New York or, GOD FORBID! Los Angeles (other than eye-rolling about “Who’s buying Chicago!?!”). No talk about music coming from Broadway or London shows. There’s not a lot of talking about what’s charting or what’s the latest on The Beatles (or the former members), the Rolling Stones or a hundred other big acts of the time or who was on TV. Their act Jose Feliciano is mentioned as being scheduled for “The Midnight Special” and no one seems to do anything to promote it or take advantage of the opportunity. There are no agents wandering the halls begging the A&R people to come see their acts.

Plenty of drugs though!

The Hollywood Reporter’s Tim Goodman wrote a good piece here. I agree with most of it. My main quibble is his projection of current “sexism” judgments into the past. But I’ll let that slide.

He’s right, why does this show have a dozen or so “Executive Producers”?

He’s absolutely right about the “murder” subplot. Where did that come from?

He’s right about making more use of Andrea Zito, a PR professional. She’s an interesting character. Too many of the characters are on the edge of plastic/acrylic 1970s caricatures. Another interesting plot is the white-bread kid who accidentally stumbles onto a record gold mine in the proto-disco scene.

Goodman’s right about the “music interludes,” wherein actors portray famous musicians and singers from the past. I’m pretty knowledgeable on pop music and some of these I can’t recognize. Get rid of them.

He’s also right about the underlying musical tastes of the show. They may talk about looking to the future of the music but they keep falling back on declaring that the blues and early rock and country music will never be equaled.

And here is where “Vinyl” really wanders into a ditch. Richie thinks some band called the Nasty Bits is going to be the next big thing. When he initially sees them they do demonstrate a proto-punk anger, anarchy and they generate loud noise.He likes that energy. He signs them and tries to get them ready to open for the aforementioned Dolls — an event apparently guaranteeing success.

They need some songs. So (I’ll spare you the Byzantine plot details) they come upon a song called, “A Woman Like You.” Now, unless the next word in the title might be “Bitch” or “Slut” or some other colorful term, this wouldn’t seem to really be the type of song a high-energy proto-punk band would go for. Even more odd is that the song is a blues song. Punks never really went much for the blues — early 1960s pop rock-n rollers, notably the Brits did but not most punk bands of the 1970s. And when they perform the song they sound like the Stray Cats (not formed until 1979) with a rockabilly flavor. To dirty it up they throw in some improbable F-Bombs. They don’t even do an alternative take for radio play. The label seems to be laying it all on the club word of mouth. How many bands were successful exclusively through club dates only? Controversy only gets you so far. You eventually have to come up with playable records — if you want to pay the bills.

I’ll probably watch the second season of “Vinyl” but I won’t be anticipating it the way I do “Game of Thrones,” “Homeland” or “Penny Dreadful.”

The First Slackers

Okay, I’m sure they weren’t the “first” slackers but the late 1960s-early 1970s “psychedelic” band Quicksilver Messenger Service definitely was ahead of their time in slackerness.

Now relatively obscure, the band had a couple of “hits,” notably “Fresh Air.” “What About Me?” used to make an occasional appearance on album-oriented rock (AOR) radio, too.

The band, part of the frothy San Francisco music scene during its hippie glory years, was always unstable with its “leader” (Dino Valenti, AKA Chester William Powers, AKA Jesse Oris Farrow [writer of ‘Get Together’], AKA Jesse Otis Farrow — he changed his name a lot) being arrested and imprisoned on marijuana possession immediately after forming. The next leader (Gary Duncan, AKA Gary Grubb) bailed out after a year or so to bum around the country on a motorcycle. Other members had drug problems, dropping in and out of the band. They did not really seem to care about much beyond getting high, hanging out and making some music. Responsibility or a productive life weren’t terms they were familiar with. Self-centeredness was their sole (or soul) concern though it was usually masked by anti-war, anti-business, anti-everything, pseudo-revolutionary rhetoric. What we now call modern liberalism.

These guys, and so many like them, really didn’t want to have to get a day job while  consistently making sellable music was too much of a hassle. So much of the California music scene of the time relied on rich (and not-so-rich) parents subsidizing wayward lifestyles; bumming money or a place to crash out of other relatives and friends along with drug sales to kids. Sometimes someone got lucky with a record contract and won the lottery with a hit record.

Having said that, Quicksilver has a sound that I like (in a couple of albums — the output is inconsistent) — twangy guitar, flute/recorder, Nicky Hopkins’s keyboards, Valenti’s squirrely voice, tons of reverb and a tenor chorus. They are also a perfect crystallization of the times and are surprisingly prescient concerning modern liberalism.

Check out these lyrics from “What About Me?”:

You poisoned my sweet water
You cut down my green trees
The food you fed my children
Was the cause of their disease

My world is slowly fallin’ down
And the air’s not good to breathe.
And those of us who care enough,
We have to do something…

Your newspapers,
They just put you on.
They never tell you
The whole story

I work in your factory.
I study in your schools.
I fill your penitentiaries.
And your military too!

And I feel the future trembling,
As the word is passed around.
If you stand up for what you do believe,
Be prepared to be shot down

And I feel like a stranger
In the land where I was born
And I live like an outlaw
And I’m always on the run…

And I’m always getting busted
And I got to take a stand…
I believe the revolution
Must be mighty close at hand…

I smoke marijuana
But I can’t get behind your wars
And most of what I do believe
Is against most of your laws

I’m a fugitive from injustice
But I’m goin’ to be free
Cause your rules and regulations
They don’t do the thing for me

And I feel like a stranger
In the land where I was born
And I live just like an outlaw
And I’m always on the run

And though you maybe stronger now
My time will come around
You keep adding to my numbers
As you shoot my people down

Whatcha gonna do about me? is the constant refrain between every other verse here. Does this not read like a speech from pretty much any Democrat these days or something you’d see on TV? Whining about destroyed environments and poisoned food leavened with social justice and anti-war rhetoric, pro-marijuana, anarchy and paranoia about being shot down, a call to fuzzy action, simplistic economics with threats of sabotage and the vague self-centered alienation that post-World War II youth specialize in.

Hotel Clintonia

With all due apologies to Don Felder, Glenn Frey and Don Henley (who will still vote for Hillary Clinton — including the recently deceased Frey).

On a dark deserted highway
Frozen wind in my hair
Warm stench of death
Rising up through the air
Up ahead in the distance
I saw a dying light
My head grew heavy, my memory faded
I had to stop for the vote
There she stood in the doorway
I heard the election tote
And I was thinking to myself
This won’t be Heaven but certainly Hell
Then she lit up a candle
And she showed me the way
There were voices calling from the past
I thought I heard them say

Welcome to the Hotel Clintonia
Such a corrupt place
Such a corrupt place
Such a lying face
Plenty of lies at the Hotel Clintonia
Any time of year
Any time of year
You can find them here
You can find them everywhere

Her mind is ambition-twisted
She’s got a big international foundation
It’s got a lot of wealthy contributors
That she calls supporters of the nation
Her cronies dance in the courtyard
Sweet selfish greed
Some dance to survive
Some dance to feed
So I was called up by the Big Dog
“Listen to my BS talking point line”
He said, “We haven’t had any income since 1999”
And still those voices are calling from far away
Wake you up in the middle of the night
Just to hear them say

Welcome to the Hotel Clintonia
Such a corrupt place
Such a corrupt place
Such a lying face
They’re livin’ it up at the Hotel Clintonia
What a pack of lies
What a pack of lies
Remember to bring your alibis

Mirrors reflecting other mirrors
Vince Foster and so many on ice
And she said, “We are all just victims here
Of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy device”
And in the White House chambers
We gathered for their feast
We stabbed them with the steely knives
But we just can’t kill the horrid beasts
Last thing I remember
I was running for the door
I had to find the passage back
To the place I was before
“Relax,” said the news man
“We are programmed to deceive
You can throw them out
But they will never leave”

(Admittedly some of these lines are off a beat or two [syllabic disagreement with the original], “Clintonia” is not nearly mellifluous as “California” and the rhyming scheme is chaotic [the original rhymes only even numbered lines]). I dashed this off in a couple of hours so I’m sure someone could improve upon it.