Konformist editor Robert Sterling turned me on to the writing of Joe Bageant in early 2005. I spent an entire snowed-in weekend in Northern, NJ reading the various essays on his blog, laughing my ass off and nodding my head in total agreement. Writing about working class issues from more or less a Marxist bent—a huge plus in my book—and with wonderful wit and trenchant analysis, has gained Joe Baegent quite a following. You’d have to have seen life from many different angles and traveled a lot to have such a wise perspective on things. The guy is just brilliant, a national treasure. He’s also the author of a book, “Deer Hunting with Jesus.”
This weekend I read Joe’s article, “Look Out, Are You About to Join the White Underclass?” on the always great Alternet blog and I was thrilled that someone said this out loud:
More than 45 percent of U.S. single mothers are poor, compared five percent in Sweden and Finland, where no stigma is attached and substantial public resources are applied to child health and development. But research done in Europe shows that even if U.S. women had a zero rate of single motherhood, poverty among American women would still be higher than in European and other socially advanced nations.
Armchair sociologist that I am, I have a theory about this: Millions of American women are in poverty because they are paid poverty wages. I could be wrong, I often am, but there seems to be a connection between poverty and money. I started developing this theory when I was in a Melbourne, Australia hotel and learned from a single mother hotel housekeeper there that she made $19 an hour, had government assisted childcare and was going to college at night toward becoming a medical technician. Hmmm. Over here we tell single mothers, “Get a six dollar an hour job or get married bitch! Workfare, baby, workfare.”
I grew up in a union family in West Virginia back when the unions really meant something in the lives of the members’ families. We had great health care and I was able to have special glasses and contact lenses to correct my astigmatism. My sister got low cost braces for her teeth. That hardly happens anymore for American families.
The lives of working people in his country have become so degraded that there is a real anger rising in the American people. People are sick of being shit on by the elites. Not everyone who is poor is so dumb that they vote a straight Republican party ticket, wave tea bags around and think Sarah Palin is terrific. A lot has changed in the past decade or so with almost everyone having access to the Internet and being able to read political views outside of what they’d hear about in their local church or get on Fox News. People are educating themselves. They’re starting to figure out why they are being ground down by life —and by whom—and they’re getting really pissed off. It’s about time.
“Look Out, Are You About to Join the White Underclass?” by Joe Bageant
Joe Bageant website
Meet Marit Fujiwara, a textile design graduate of the Chelsea College of Art and Design. Marit’s work is simply stunning. In the past few years - especially with the economy tanking - I haven’t given fashion much thought (I’m a former Los Angeles based stylist). But her work is so inspired and creative that I really wanted to share it with you. Marit says:
To create a sculptural fabric, I am experimenting with the printing technique of marbling,in combination with embroidery,bonding and pleating. Applying these fabrics into fashion creates unusual and intricate fashion garments.
Inspired by the 1977 release of Star Wars, Yves Hayat (synthesizers and sequencers) formed Droids along with Richard Lornac on keyboards and Jean-Paul Batailley on drums and tablas. Two of the guys performed the single “(Do You Have) The Force” on French TV in 1977 dressed as robots—which could explain the Daft Punk comparison. Star Peace came out a year later, and then the Droids were out. The LP is sought after for its kitsch appeal but also killer electronics and good vibes.
Star Peace’s connection to George Lucas’ space-opera is essentially negligible. Except for a few signifiers, namely the two-part “(Do You Have) The Force” with its R2D2-ish synth squelches and blaster sounds, the whole thing has less to do with Star Wars and more to do with the big astral-plane ideas of 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Definitely looks promising! Opens in New York and Los Angeles Thursday, August 14.
The history of the electric guitar as seen from the point of view of three significant musicians: Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page, U2’s The Edge and the White Stripes’ Jack White. It tells the personal stories, of three generations of electric guitar virtuosos. It reveals how each developed his unique sound and style of playing his favorite instrument. Concentrating on the artists musical rebellion, traveling with him to influential locations and provoking rare discussion as to how and why he writes and plays.It Might Get Loud
This is an exhibition of photographs of men in strikingly affectionate poses. Although it includes a wide variety of photographic formats - from early studio tableaux to later casual snapshots - one thing unites all these images of unknown men: the emotional bond shared between the sitters. Confronted by such demonstrative images of men posing arm in arm or gazing into each other’s eyes, the contemporary viewer is left to wonder about the affection they shared, and about the meaning and purpose of the photographs that survive. Were these long-dead sitters friends or relatives, colleagues or lovers? In all likelihood, we will never know. And perhaps that doesn’t matter. One aspect of photographs that makes them so compelling is that they can generate so many unpredictable meanings - this despite their capacity to record their subjects in vivid detail. Thus, the physical expression of love between the men in such pictures is bound to provoke profoundly different reactions, depending on the viewer’s gender, sexual orientation, race or class.
With all the name-brand dying going on these days, I thought I’d mention the passing of someone less well-known who probably touched many of us more deeply and intimately than, oh, Walter Cronkite. Tom Wilkes, celebrated album cover designer for The Rolling Stones, George Harrison and The Who died recently, in, of all places, Pioneertown, California. Beyond Beggars Banquet, though, Wilkes was wildly talented, wonderfully prolific. For a good taste of it all, including his artwork for Monterey Pop, click the link below: