follow us in feedly
‘Mondo Hollywood’: When the world went from B&W to color
09.17.2012
12:58 pm

Topics:
History
Kooks
Movies
Politics
Pop Culture

Tags:


 
Mondo Hollywood, Robert Carl Cohen’s poetic 1967 documentary, begins not as you might expect, with shots of LA’s tie-died hippies but rather with a John Birch Society-type anti-Communist meeting attended by, among others, Glenn Beck’s idol, W. Cleon Skousen, the kooky Mormon “historian,” FBI agent, crackpot conspiracy theorist, and slavery apologist. (Mitt Romney studied under Tea party icon Skousen while in college at Brigham Young University).

Without meaning to, Cohen’s time-capsule film begins by pointing out to viewers how, in some respects, so very little has changed since the 1960s—these folks are the Teabaggers of 1965, they’re even reading the very same batshit crazy Cleon Skousen books—and then he shows how much they did change, or at least the beginnings of that change to come.

Mondo Hollywood uses what appears to have been a lot of silent (very well shot) 16mm footage, and interviews and voice overs done at different times, to create a fascinating time capsule of life in Los Angeles during the very year when the culture went from black and white to vivid psychedelic color. Along the way, we’re introduced to poets, dreamers, acid eaters, trust fund kids, body painters, strippers, proto-hippies (or “freaks” as the Los Angeles variety of hippie was known in 1965-66), transsexuals, avant-garde artists and—this being Los Angeles—plenty of movie stars, a young Frank and Gail Zappa seen at a wild party and even then governor Ronald Reagan, who rails against “filthy speech advocates” at UC campuses. Spookily, future Manson murderer Bobby Beausoleil as well as future Manson Family victim, celebrity hairstylist Jay Sebring, both appear in the film.

It’s interesting to note that Mondo Hollywood was set to open the Avignon Film Festival in 1967 but was banned by French government censors who stated:

“This film, in the opinion of certain experts of the Commission [of Control], presents an apology for a certain number of perversities, including drugs and homosexuality, and constitutes a danger to the mental health of the public by its visual aggressivity and the psychology of its editing. The Commission proposes, therefore, its total interdiction.”

Not much in the film would raise an eyebrow today, these “perversions” have all been mainstreamed. I still can’t get over the vintage Tea party crowd at the beginning, myself.

Although I didn’t actually see Mondo Hollywood until many years later, I used to have a huge square poster, similar to the album cover pictured above, hanging over the bed in my first NYC apartment in the 80s. I really wish I still had it!
 

 
There is a better, sharper version on Hulu, but it is rife with commercials that you can’t skip. so be warmed. Here’s a nice long interview with Mondo Hollywood director Robert Carl Cohen.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Rick Santorum calls conservatives stupid*


(*No, that’s not what he said at all, but hey, Matt Drudge can do it, so why can’t I?)

I was as much amused by Rick Santorum’s comment yesterday—“We will never have the elite, smart people on our side”—during his speech at the ultra conservative Values Voter Summit as I was by this paragraph—or some variation thereof—that invariably followed without any need for further comment or elaboration:

“Rep. Michele Bachmann, Glenn Beck, Kirk Cameron, Gov. Jan Brewer, Sen. Rand Paul and Rep. Steve King are among other scheduled speakers.”

On nearly every blog, the ingredients of the report were the video of Santorum (see below) and a mention of some of his fellow far-right fuit loops who would be speaking at the conservative Christian political confab. Perhaps they were trying to be droll—I decided to take it that way—or maybe they were just dryly reporting the facts. Either way, a list of those particular Republican names speaks volumes, doesn’t it?

Former GOP presidential candidate Santorum’s full quote was:

“We will never have the media on our side, ever, in this country. We will never have the elite, smart people on our side, because they believe they should have the power to tell you what to do.”

Well, Rick, that’s one way to look at it, but there’s an obvious—or what should be obvious—flip-side to that equation that you might want to take into consideration: WHY do you reckon that it’s difficult for these “elite, smart people” to acquiesce to the will of a bunch of folks who they perceive as a bunch of ignorant hicks who have decided that they’re going to “take back our country” and so forth?

Take it back from…? And where will these science-denying dumbshit Tea party Taliban types take it back to? Before African Americans had the vote or before they were allowed to play Major League Baseball? Just how far back are we talking, here?

His delightfully candid remark calls into question how Mr. Santorum and other Christian conservatives define “freedom,” a word and concept that was thrown around—and shit on—by at least half of the Values Voters Summit’s speakers: Should “the elite, smart people” stand silently by and do nothing and simply allow, without protest or objection, a group of people they consider to be rank ignoramuses and dangerous buffoons to run roughshod over what they see as THEIR OWN RIGHTS (or the rights of others)?

If you take only the example of marriage equality, one groups wants to get married for a variety of benefits that will have virtually ZERO effect—none—on the lives of conservative religious straight people, so why A.) do the people who attend the VVS even care and B.) why do they think that THEY should have final say over what gay people do, simply because they “don’t agree with it”?

Because… Jebus?

That’s not a reason!

What I don’t get, and what is making me laugh, is how it doesn’t seem to phase Rick Santorum even one tiny little bit that he’s is, in essence, defining himself as being a member of the STUPID TEAM that the evil smart elite people want to subjugate with stuff like gay marriage and insurance being required to cover birth control. His argument isn’t “We’re smarter than they are so they should listen to us,” it’s more like… well, to be honest, I don’t even know, really, how the fuck to parse what Santorum believes. Once someone admits that they’re hositle to intelligence itself, I don’t really feel it’s incumbent upon me to search out the nuance of their blinkered, unsophisticated worldview.

Mr. Santorum doesn’t seem to have noticed the causality between his own position of being against birth control and the fact that he lost—and lost miserably—to a man who now seems set to lose handily himself in the general election. But he has made an important observation: “Smart people” and Republicans don’t have a whole lot in common anymore.

In any case, why aren’t the right wing bloggers and peanut gallery commenters at Breitbart, The National Review and WorldNetDaily absolutely up in arms about Santorum calling them stupid?

Tee-hee! Personally, I think Rick Santorum has inadvertently hit on THE defining reason for the GOP’s problems with “the elite, smart people”: Intelligent, NON-GULLIBLE voters will, never, ever cede the control of their lives to the likes of Michele Bachmann, Steve King or Todd Akin. Any Republican politician who could carry Mississippi, Alabama or Arkansas in a national election IS GOING TO LOSE in the more populous, better-educated coastal states. You can stuff your face with Chick-fil-A until you puke, but nothing is going to change that fact, bunky. The GOP has backed itself into a demographic corner, a demographic that’s literally dying off.

So what advice will those multi-million dollar consulting and marketing firms come up with to help the GOP keep winning elections after they get absolutely trounced this November? Forget about them, I say to you, Republican overlords: It was those top dollar marketing smarty-pantses that gave you guys Mitt fuckin’ Romney in the first place

Nope, Rick Santorum has already got it all figured it out for ya, you shadowy reptilian Republican druids who pull the levers of power behind the curtain: It’s all coming down a simple matter of smart vs DUMB and Santorum defined the battle yesterday in a single sentence of crystal clear truth:

“We will never have the elite, smart people on our side.”

That’s right, NEVER.

Gutting the educational system is the far right’s very last chance of even holding the ground they have now. The Republican establishment pretty much knows that they can’t win national elections strictly along racial demographic lines anymore. Richard Nixon’s so-called “Southern Strategy” is kaput after this current election cycle. But since blockheads tend to vote as a bloc, in the long game, taking advantage of “The Great American IQ Stratification” (which is inevitably how history will see it, unless history is written by future David Bartons) and trying to encourage deeper ignorance and more widespread stupidity is the GOP’s only hope.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘Bongo Man’: Superlative documentary on Jimmy Cliff
09.15.2012
02:44 pm

Topics:
History
Music
Politics
Reggae

Tags:

bongo_man_jimmy_cliff
 
Some of the bloodiest violence in Jamaica’s history took place in the lead-up to the country’s 1980 elections. The battle for political leadership between socialist Prime Minister Michael Manley’s Peoples National Party and Edward Seaga’s Jamaican Labour Party, brought the country to the verge of civil war. The conflict started in 1976, and arose out of the PNP’s plan to form closer links with Cuba. The JLP wanted to bind Jamaica closer to the USA and a free market. Both parties used gangs (posses) to enforce their will within Kingston - Seaga accessing weapons via America. This violence culminated in the 1980 elections that left 800 Jamaicans dead, as Seaga was elected Prime MInister.

It was against this background, the documentary Bongo Man was filmed. Bongo Man told the story of Jimmy Cliff, as he traveled across Jamaica to Kingston, in an attempt to unite the country through the power of Reggae.

Cliff’s philosophy was simple: ‘Politics divide, Music unites’. The legendary Cliff is a fascinating character and this is an exceptional and engrossing documentary, containing excellent concert footage and some of Cliff’s best songs.
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Motor City is Burning: 30 minutes of seldom-seen footage of the MC5
09.14.2012
08:52 pm

Topics:
Heroes
History
Music
Politics

Tags:


 
If you think you’ve seen all the footage there is to see of the mighty MC5, check out Leni Sinclair and Cary Loren’s short film “Kick Out the Jams.”

Sinclair was married to MC5 manager and revolutionary poet John Sinclair (author of Guitar Army) and organized the infamous John Sinclair Freedom Rally (headlined by John Lennon and Yoko Ono) when he was imprisoned ten years for two joints. She was active in the Artists Workshop, which evolved into the Trans-Love Energies commune, which then in turn became the White Panther Party. Cary Loren was a founding member of “anti-rock” art rockers Destroy All Monsters along with Jim Shaw, Niagara and the late Mike Kelley.

Here’s an excerpt from an interview with Sinclair conducted by Ken Shimamoto:

One hears and reads all sorts of things about the Trans-Love house and the different roles of men and women there…from a contemporary standpoint, it sounds very traditional. Can you comment on that?

Leni; It might look like that in retrospect, because that was before the advent of feminism, but as far as living in that situation, the women did not feel oppressed or second-rate. I mean, women didn’t pick up instruments and try to play and try to be in the band, but as far as the atmosphere at the time, we all considered ourselves equal in the endeavor. We were revolutionaries; there was no hierarchy like the males up here and the women down there. At the time, we all felt that we were contributing equally to this effort we were involved in, whatever it took. I’ve heard some things…that “the women were on the floor, scrubbing the floor.” That was a lot of hokum. Everybody pitched in, everybody did their chores and their work. We had it tightly organized. Childcare was shared, kitchen duties were shared, everything, except for playing in the band.

In fact, I wrote an article one time in the newspaper, in the Ann Arbor Sun, I think, about “cock rock” and the criticism that was starting to appear about “cock rock” guys with guitars. And my thesis was, there’s nothing wrong with that; the only thing wrong is that women have to start learning to play, too, and getting up there.

And that happened in the ‘90s.

Leni: I didn’t say it, but “Let’s have cock-rock and pussy rock” (Laughs)

When John was imprisoned in 1969, did the Five renege on a promise to help you out financially while he was in prison?

Leni: I don’t really know if there had ever been a promise. Nobody knew that John was going to go to jail, and I don’t think that he ever had any discussions prior to going to jail to see what would happen. Everybody just figured he would get an appeal bond and be out on the street in a matter of days, or maybe weeks. Well, that didn’t happen, and the MC5…first, they severed their relationship with J.C. Crawford, which we all felt was a big mistake, because J.C. was almost a sixth member of the band, he was almost an integral part. So when they fired him, we had kinda bad feelings about that, and then when they brought in Jon Landau as a manager, of course we had bad feelings about that. The financial part was…I don’t really know. ‘Cause no promises were made, John never had a written contract with the band or anything like that. It was on the honor system.

But I do know that after John went to jail, there were about 17 of us who had spent the last two years doing nothing but working for the MC5 and making them a success, never taking any money for ourselves, just room and board. All of a sudden, John is gone, and we have no money coming in. Our phones got cut off just at the crucial point when we needed to make some publicity and let people know John was in jail. We had no way; we had no phones and we were just begging for food. My mother-in-law and father-in-law helped us out like they usually did, but it was devastating for awhile. And there was probably hard feelings thinking that the MC5 should have kept John on as a manager, even if he was in jail. People told them otherwise, other people told them John would be a hindrance, because now he was too hot to handle. John was now too much of a political figure. So they said no, better get rid of John Sinclair and the revolutionary image. Which was a mistake, I think we all agree. Because they lost whatever they had going for them, they kinda got lost after that.

What did you do immediately after that?

Leni: Well, I was pregnant with Celia and we had a child, and we had to organize to make a living and we had to organize the John Sinclair freedom movement.. We kept it together by hook or by crook, and the person who’s most responsible for all that is Dave Sinclair, John’s brother, who took over the financial management of this whole shebang. The Up became the house band for the revolutionary White Panther Party wing (Laughs). They were no MC5, but they could kick it out, and so we kept it going like that. So for the next two and a half years, we were just continuing without the Five, focusing our energies on getting John out and continuing to organise.

Do you know about the Bentley archive? When John and I broke up, I had a whole roomful of all the things that I’d collected since I came to this country—all the fliers, all the magazines, all the books we published. We published, at one time, four magazines, and put out about twenty books of poetry, most of them mimeographed by hand. I’m a pack rat, so I saved every last scrap of paper, every memo, everything. So when we broke up, we donated our collection of stuff to the Michigan Historical Library, which houses the papers of the governors and the supreme court justices of Michigan and all that. And so they have the John and Leni Sinclair Papers…a huge amount of materials, and people come from far and wide to study the ‘60s now. It’s at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Sinclair is also an accomplished photographer who has snapped iconic shots of many a Motor City madman and documented important events in rock and roll and counterculture history. She has taken photographs of Iggy and The Stooges, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin and Allen Ginsberg among many other revolutionary counter-cultural luminaries of the 60s and 70s.

Leni Sinclair’s new book, with famed poster artist Gary Grimshaw, is titled Detroit Rocks! A Pictorial History of Motor City Rock and Roll 1965-1975.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
How Fritz Lang escaped the Nazis
09.14.2012
07:11 pm

Topics:
History
Movies
Politics

Tags:

fritz_lang_escapes
 
Never let the truth get in the way of a good story. Fritz Lang explains how his meeting with Dr. Joseph Goebbels, the Mad Man of Nazi propaganda, made him flee Germany the very same day.

Director of Metropolis and M, Lang had been called to see Goebbels over his undisguised attack on Hitler in his 1933 film, The Testament of Dr Mabuse - which the Nazis had banned. Instead of the expected interrogation and inevitable incarceration, Doctor Goebbels offered Lang the unexpected position of Head of the National Socialist Film Studios. Goebbels explained that both he and Herr Furher hoped the director would accept. Goebbels then offered his advice on the ending of The Testament of Dr Mabuse, which he had found unsatisfactory. Instead of Mabuse going mad, it would have been better if the mobs had destroyed him with their wrath.

It’s a good story, even if the facts don’t add up. One that’s worth retelling - just to hear Lang build up the dramatic tension with his powers of descriptive narration.
 

 

Previously on Dangerous Minds

Tales of the Unexpected: William Friedkin interviews Fritz Lang


 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Michele Bachmann: Obama & Hillary Clinton are brainwashing America with radical Islam ‘speech codes’
09.14.2012
01:28 pm

Topics:
Idiocracy
Kooks
Politics
Stupid or Evil?

Tags:


Issue #2 of False Witness: The Michele Bachmann Story

At least that’s what I think she’s trying to say, but what does that even mean???

It’s hard to tell. Via Right Wing Watch:

Speaking this morning at the Values Voter Summit, Rep. Michele Bachmann dedicated her remarks to attacking the Obama administration for supposedly catering to radical Islam and that Muslim Brotherhood, citing a decision by the FBI to purge hundreds of anti-Muslim documents from its training materials as proof that the administration was enforcing “Islamic speech codes here in the United States.”

This fool is on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. SHE is one of the politicians who oversee of the CIA, the NSA and the rest of the U.S. intelligence community.

She’s a tinfoil hat-wearing buffoon who can barely string a coherent sentence together and yet she’s privy to intelligence briefings. A loose cannon like Bachmann? There’s not an ounce of intelligence to be found in her entire body. It’s nothing short of madness to trust her with classified information. We have House Speaker John Boehner to thank for this appointment. He could have just as well given her some crayons and she’d have been distracted for months, but no, he’s got to go and appoint well-known crazy lady Michelle fucking Bachmann to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence! Way to go, uh, Bonie!
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
15% of Ohio Republicans think Mitt Romney deserves the credit for killing Osama bin Laden
09.12.2012
04:28 pm

Topics:
Belief
Class War
Idiocracy
Politics
Stupid or Evil?

Tags:


 
A poll released Monday by Public Policy Polling shows that Mitt Romney is at a distinct disadvantage in the highly important Electoral College swing state of Ohio, polling just 45% to Obama’s 50%, but one of the ancillary questions the pollsters mischievously slipped in sheds some light on how pathetically misinformed—or willfully ignorant—some Ohio Republicans really are.

Does this seem like a trick question to you?

“Who do you think deserves more credit for the killing of Osama bin Laden: Barack Obama or Mitt Romney?”

63% percent said Obama, 6% said Mitt Romney and 31% of the respondents said they were not sure.

If you break it down (see cross tabs), about 15% of the Ohio Republicans who rated themselves “very conservative” actually believe that Mitt Romney deserves the credit for the killing of Osama bin Laden.

That’s more than one in ten!

Mitt Romney obviously can count on, and receive, the support of the most blinkered ignoramuses in the country. No wonder the GOP is so virulently anti-education. Without the low IQ buffoon bloc standing so square-headed in their corner, they’d never win another election, EVER.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying “Democrat” = “smart,” because that’s a whole ‘nother can of worms, but self-identifying as a “Republican” is an admission of one of two things: that you are either throwing your lot with the fucking idiot brigade or that you are a fucking idiot yourself.

Pick one. It’s not a trick question.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
The best protest sign seen at the Chicago Teachers Union strike
09.11.2012
11:56 pm

Topics:
Activism
Class War
Current Events
Economy
Politics

Tags:

Nickleback
 
If Paul Ryan is the dude that completely misinterprets Rage Against the Machine, we can probably surmise that Rahm Emanuel secretly yearns for post-grunge butt-rock…

If you haven’t heard, 26,000 teachers and staff have gone on strike in Chicago, the first CTU strike in 25 years. While certain idiots seem to think a few days out of school will forever render children feral little beasts, the teachers are fighting lay-offs, school closings, increases in hours, and the measuring of student (and teacher) success by standardized test scores. Oh yeah, and they want fucking air conditioning.

My beloved socialist rag, Jacobin magazine, sets the record straight:

“[Rahm Emanuel] brazenly canceled a contractually-obligated four percent cost of living raise for teachers last year; he pushed hard for a 20 percent longer school day while offering a two percent pay increase (a fight he eventually lost); he has unabashedly denigrated teachers, accusing them of not caring about the well-being of their students. Despite campaigning on promises of reform, he has gone full-steam ahead on the city’s Tax Increment Financing (TIF) system, which diverts huge amounts of tax dollars from public institutions like schools and libraries and funnels them to wealthy corporations.”

With Democrats like these, who needs Republicans?

Even Diane Ravitch, former Assistant Secretary of Education under that Marxist union thug, Comrade George Bush the First, has written extensively on how these sorts of “reforms” hurt children (The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education), only to be ignored by Democrats, and attacked by Republicans.

If you’d like to donate to the strike fund, go to here.

And if you’d like to harass Nightline Host Terry Moran, for being a sanctimonious talking head devoid of journalistic integrity, I suggest you tweet my favorite YouTube video at him!
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Mitt Romney’s biggest problem is that he’s a dick and everyone knows it
09.11.2012
03:42 pm

Topics:
Class War
Idiocracy
Politics
Stupid or Evil?

Tags:


 
Kos, the majordomo of liberal blog Daily Kos, cracked me up with his blunt assessment of what is perhaps Mitt Romney’s most difficult to surmount problem with the American electorate: Even after $180 million in TV ads, too many voters still think the guy’s a fucking dick.

And at this late stage of the game, Romney has little time, and few options left, to change their minds…

So if money isn’t doing it, and Romney’s personality isn’t winning him converts, what’s left?

The debates. They start in early October, then it’s bam, bam, bam: 10/3, 10/11 (veep), 10/16, and 10/22. They will present Romney with his last chance to gain points from Obama.

However, he can’t score points by playing it safe. If he tries to be nice and gracious and not touch Obama like he touched Gov. Rick Perry in one of those early-season debates, he might earn brownie points, but Obama will remain unscathed.

So he has to attack.

But remember, people think he’s a dick. So Romney has to attack in a manner that doesn’t reinforce the narrative that he’s a dick. And who really thinks Romney has the chops to pull that off? He can’t interact with NASCAR fans or picnicking ladies or British prime ministers without coming off as a dick. He’s now supposed to deftly attack—with a convincing smile—the guy who is standing between him and his birthright presidency?

Meanwhile, Obama can play it safe. He is winning. He can be gracious and accommodating, all the while rising above any nastiness with presidential bearing. He doesn’t need to win these debates as much as not lose them, and that makes his job so much easier.

It seems pretty clear cut. If Romney plays it safe, he continues to lose. He has to throw that Hail Mary. But by going on the offensive, he’ll remind people that they think he’s a dick. Because he is.

Watching Thurston Howell III Mitt Romney and the Marie Antoinette Republicans flailing this hard—like fish on the sand, right?—is such good fun. I’m not that all hot on the Democrats or Obama, but I would very much like to see Mitt Romney’s richie rich nose rubbed in dogshit in November.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Michele Bachmann could lose: Does aggressive stupidity have its limits in GOP politics?


Illustration by Scott Anderson

It might. Since there is no third party candidate to split the vote this time around, kooky Michelle Bachmann of Minnesota, one of the best conservative fundraisers in the Republican party is starting to look extremely vulnerable in her district for the first time since her 2006 election to the House. Although Bachmann is still in the lead, her margin over Democrat challenger Jim Graves has completely collapsed in two months. Via Salon:

Despite her national fan base and a massive war chest, Rep. Michele Bachmann may be in more danger than most suspect, with a new poll showing her lead diminished to just 2 points. Independent voters have swung against her by nearly 20 points in just two months, from a 4 percent advantage to a 15 point disadvantage. The internal poll, conducted by Democratic pollsters Greenberg Quinlan Rosner at the behest of Democrat Jim Graves’ campaign and shared with Salon, shows that Bachmann’s favorability rating has tumbled since their last survey in mid-June, and finds Graves gaining ground with independents as his name recognition grows.

Overall, the poll shows Bachmann leading Graves 48-46 percent, within the margin of error. The race has moved significantly among independents, with a 20-point net shift toward Graves, from a 41-45 percent disadvantage in June to a 52-37 percent lead now. Among independents, Bachmann’s favorability rating has slipped 4 points while her unfavorability rating has jumped 7 points. Overall, she’s viewed mostly negatively. Among all voters, 40 percent give her a positive job rating, while a sizable 57 percent give her a negative one, with a plurality of 35 percent giving the most negative answer possible — “poor.”

Graves’ campaign manager (and son) Adam Graves told Salon that the numbers show his candidate is well positioned to beat Bachmann. “Obviously, we’re very excited about it. The first thing that’s notable is that obviously her recent comments, the stories that she’s created for herself, have really hurt her among folks in the middle,” he said. Bachmann, who had tried to keep a lower profile after aborting her presidential bid, grabbed headlines this summer for her implication that Muslims in the U.S. government may be secret agents of the Muslim Brotherhood.

As Salon points out, there has been no other public survey of the district’s voters, although one might expect that the Bachmann campaign has commissioned its own polls. That none have been released might be an indication that they aren’t exactly what the zany Republican congresswoman wanted to hear. Bachmann, the former GOP presidential candidate who claimed that God “told” her to run before dropping out of the race, performed poorly in the Republican primary last month.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Page 51 of 150 ‹ First  < 49 50 51 52 53 >  Last ›