John Oliver hilariously rips Ayn Rand fans
09.29.2014
08:11 am

Topics:
Idiocracy

Tags:
Ayn Rand
assholism
John Oliver


 
Someone far funnier than I am described “adults” infatuated with the Objectivist philosophy of Ayn Rand as being like the geek who discovered OMD in the 8th grade, had his mind blown and subsequently never gave up on the idea that they were the greatest group in the history of recorded music!

Admittedly I was a huge Ayn Rand fan when I was a kid. I’ve read nearly every word Ayn Rand published during her lifetime—including all of the magazines and newsletters, transcripts of her speeches, etc—and in the end, intellectually it’s just rubbish for small-minded twerps and people who don’t realize how illiterate extolling her “virtues” makes them sound.

Ayn Rand wrote novels for people who don’t read (a sort of literary Enya, if you will, a performer beloved by folks who don’t actually listen to music). Because she was capable of writing truly engrossing and well-plotted page-turners—pity about the shit dialogue and one-dimensional characters!—even many non-readers made it through Atlas Shrugged or The Fountainhead, giving them a sense of feeble intellectual accomplishment.

“Objectivists” (and 99.9% of doctrinaire libertarians) are never worth debating on the Internet because you will never convince them that she’s anything less than infallible. Objectivists feel about their hero the same way Scientologists feel about L. Ron Hubbard. (In my defense my own infatuation with Ayn Rand was during junior high school, but it was intense, I’ll cop to that).

When someone is thick enough to be a big Ayn Rand fan, they’re beyond being self-aware enough to realize how dumb they seem to literate people. A (very, very) large component of why Ayn Rand is so popular is because her philosophy is so easy to understand and because it sounds like something that some, er… intellectually less-enlightened readers already sort of agree with. No one who likes Ayn Rand seems likely to have ever read, say, Sartre, Hesse, Faulkner, Dostoyevsky, Dos Passos, or even ... Dickens. (I have no proof of this, but I have a strong hunch that being “well-traveled” ranks pretty low on the priorities of many of Rand’s apparently unsophisticated readers.)

Last night on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, the philosopher of selfishness was skewered mercilessly:
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Strangest Bedfellows: Sonic Youth jam with the Indigo Girls, 1989
09.29.2014
06:57 am

Topics:
Music
Television

Tags:
Sonic Youth
Night Music


 
Saxophonist David Sanborn’s late night program, Sunday Night (eventually re-named Night Music), ran from 1988-1990, lasting just 44 episodes. In that short time, Sanborn racked up an impressive and diverse list of guests—some rarely seen on American television, including The Residents, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Miles Davis, The Pixies, Sun Ra, Bongwater and Conway Twitty. Sanborn’s show also had its fair share of unusual, one-off collaborations.

The idea,” Sanborn recalled in a 2013 interview, “was to get musicians from different genres on the show, have them perform something individually — preferably something more obscure or unexpected rather than their latest hit — and then have a moment toward the end where everyone would kind of get together and do something collectively.”

One evening in 1989, Sanborn had on Diamanda Galas, the Indigo Girls, Daniel Lanois, Evan Lurie, and Sonic Youth, who were making their TV debut.

After pulling off a ripping version of “Silver Rocket” early in the program (which included a lengthy mid-song freak-out), Sonic Youth returned for an even more chaotic finale.

Joining the band to cover the Stooges’ “I Wanna Be Your Dog” are Sanborn, Lanois (then in the running to produce Sonic Youth’s major label debut, Goo), Don Fleming (Velvet Monkeys, B.A.L.L., etc., and acting as SY’s manager), the Indigo Girls (!), and members of the Night Music Band, including one guy rocking the keytar.
 
Sonic Youth on Night Music
 
Kim Gordon does her best Iggy growl, and the entire band—heck, everyone on that stage—is clearly enjoying this moment. Fleming seems to be having the most fun of all, singing back-up vocals with the Indigo Girls and sidling up next to Sanborn during his solo.

Obsessed with wreaking a bit of havoc at the taping, Fleming bought along a toy plastic whistle for the “I Wanna Be Your Dog” jam. During Sanborn’s sax solo, Fleming ran over and began playing in unison. If that wasn’t a strange enough spectacle, Fleming then decided to see if woodwinds could feed back and began smashing the whistle into an amplifier. “I was like, ‘What the fuck?’” Sanborn recalls. “But it was kind of funny. Weird theater.” (Goodbye 20th Century: A Biography of Sonic Youth)

Watching the credits roll—as this unlikely of alliances rages on—only adds to the bedlam and hilarity of the clip, which concludes before the performance actually ends. Somehow, the lack of closure is also fitting; it’s as if the chaos lasts an eternity.

25 years on, TV still rarely gets get as crazy this unless it’s on BRAVO.

Here’s the full episode (“Silver Rocket” starts at 6:50; “I Wanna Be Your Dog” at 42:30):
 

Posted by Bart Bealmear | Leave a comment
Every Day is like Monday: ‘Morrissey Gets a Job’
09.29.2014
05:39 am

Topics:
Music
Pop Culture

Tags:
Morrissey


 
Waaaaaaay back in 1999, Oakland, CA based artist and author Brian Brooks, who played a role in the creation of Emily The Strange, made a series of photocopied Rock ’n’ Roll coloring books, including the utterly classic Morrissey Gets a Job, an amusing speculative look at a possible post-Smiths life that could-have-been. Actually, the singer’s famously dreary disposition could make for a decent fit with the corporate office milieu. Think about it, Moz, there’s room to move in middle-management.

Even if you’ve never seen these, they might look somewhat familiar if you spent any time at all on the internet during the ‘oughts—the panels are detourned from Ready-to-Use Office and Business Illustrations, the same book of Tom Tierney clip-art that David Rees would famously pillage a couple of years later for Get Your War On.
 

 

 

 

 

 
More Moz in the workplace after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
The designer purse that looks like a Happy Meal, only $1,050!
09.27.2014
09:07 am

Topics:
Fashion
Food

Tags:
Happy Meals
purse


 
I’ve never found the concepts of luxury and socialism to be mutually exclusive. Freddy Engels’ son-in-law called him “the great beheader of Champagne bottles,” so I’d argue the Left has a noble history of pleasure and indulgence. What I do object to is the terms by which we define “luxury” under capitalism. There are certain obvious factors that tend to make a good, product or service “precious.” If materials required are scarce or difficult to obtain, there should perhaps logically be an increase in price, but again, while the bourgeoisie retains monopolies and fixes prices (like in the diamond trade, for example), artificial scarcity can inflate prices to unconscionable heights.

There is also dear old Karl‘s Labor Theory of Value, which states that value is to be measured by the labor required to produce it. Again, this seems reasonable, but it’s clearly not reflected in wage labor or commodity pricing. In art, value is further complicated, as price is affected by very subjective factors, like “historical significance” (or speculation thereof) and “innovation.” (Not to mention social connections!) Once more, under capitalism, it’s the bourgeoisie that decides what is/will be historically significant, and it’s the bourgeoisie that decides what is innovative. This is why Jeff Koons can fart in a jar and sell it to a tacky-ass Greek billionaire for more than twenty times what you make in a year.
 

Also from the Moschino show. Take it one step further and dress like you work at an ultra chic McDonald’s!
 
Now, disregarding what I believe should be used to determine a justifiable price, let me point you to this $1,050 Happy Meal-inspired purse. I suppose it’s entirely possible that the bag is made from the leather of a rare sacred cow, or that it was hand-sewn by arthritic seamstresses, requiring countless hours to complete, but I have a hunch this is just another case of rich people being gullible fools—the luxury interpretation of “low-culture” is undoubtedly the most ignoble of bourgeois aesthetics. I suppose you could argue the bag is innovative, but only if you know absolutely nothing about fashion or kitsch—the lunchbox purse is practically a classic at this point, and I remember very vividly when these were the ubiquitous handbag for the artier Junior High School girls.

No, this purse, which comes from Moschino’s fall line, is simply an ironic joke about wealth of its owner—they’re paying for the laugh, the irreverence, and the sly wink that says, “Oh, I’m not like one of those rarefied rich people, I burn my glut of cash on dumb shit! Dumb shit that evokes a billion-dollar empire built on garbage food and poverty wages!” I saw shots of the Moschino fashion show that debuted the “Happy Eats Handbag” earlier in the year, but with its “low-culture”/service employee theme, I just assumed it was one of those high concept “runway-shows-as-art-exhibits” affairs, where very little of the line was actually, literally reproduced and sold as ready-to-wear.

Never underestimate the uninspired “zany” blandness of wealth. If you’re feeling cheap, but still want to luxuriate in poverty aesthetics, there are other options. The line also includes a Cheetos knock-off sweater for $750, or even McDonald’s-inspired iPhone case for $85.

That’s right boys and girls, for a trifling $85, you too can laugh along with the wealthy tastemakers!

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment