I know I do this randomly and seemingly out of a sense of restlessness, but this time I think I may keep it a while. I’ve soured of the giant-header themes: no one needs to scroll through an image to get to the content. This one is clean, has the content front and center, and has a nice little Connector tab up top.
I completed another year above ground on Saturday. While the good wishes were flowing in on Facebook, I decided to give back by posting some YouTube videos of tunes that resonated with me on that particular day. Herewith, those same videos, in a concise playlist, for your Monday listening enjoyement.
Muddy Waters “Mannish Boy” Obvious, sure. But birthdays are obvious.
David Bowie “Speed of Life” Good instrumental from his post-glam artiste period. The title is suggestive as one ages.
Iggy Pop “The Passenger” I have a hard time getting tired of this one. Both existential and powerful.
Reverend Horton Heat “The Devil’s Chasin’ Me” It’s never a wrong time for pyschobilly, and even tongue-in-cheek religion is better than none at all, in my opinion.
The Sword “Tres Brujas” Life is a journey, and sometime you need the wise old crone to show you the way.
The Ramones “Beat on the Brat” As a parent, you shouldn’t actually do this, but as a parent, you often want to.
Dee-Lite “Groove is in the Heart” Because nostalgia for a video drenched in nostalgia (there was nothing nostalgic about the actual music, which was a club favorite back in the day) is a good reminder about how you can’t hold on to the past.
DJ Kool “Let Me Clear My Throat” Nothing deep here. This is just fun.
Plastic Bertrand “Ca Plane Pour Moi” No matter how many Scorcese movies and Johnny Walker ads use this, I don’t tire of it. My demi-francais has the title meaning “This Life For Me.” I could be wrong, but it’s a good sentiment.
The Rolling Stones “Time is On My Side” I ain’t dead yet, you bushwacker.
Earlier this month, when some highly educated matron or other had to reach for her smelling salts upon hearing “Under My Thumb” whilst shopping for groceries (the Trader Joe’s manager who refrained from saying “Lady, I’ve heard that song so many times in the last month I don’t even notice it anymore. All possibility of enjoyment of it has been systematically driven from me. I couldn’t care any less if you held a gun to my head. Now, are you gonna put that second package of gluten-free wheat germ back, or are you going to vacate the ’12 Items or Less’ aisle?” deserves a raise), I got a fillip of the familiar. Lester Bangs used to write about what the “woman’s libbers” were going to do to Jagger every time he toured, but I recalled something from Camille Paglia in particular, dealing with how “Under My Thumb” began her conflict with respectable feminism.
This was where I realized — this was 1969 — boy, I was bounced fast, right out of the movement. And I had this huge argument. Because I said you cannot apply a political agenda to art. When it comes to art, we have to make other distinctions. We had this huge fight about the song “Under My Thumb.” I said it was a great song, not only a great song but I said it was a work of art. And these feminists of the New Haven Women’s Liberation Rock Band went into a rage, surrounded me, practically spat in my face, literally my back to the wall. They’re screaming in my face: “Art? Art? Nothing that demeans women can be art!” There it is. There it is! Right from the start. The fascism of the contemporary women’s movement.
This is from a transcript of a lecture she gave at M.I.T. in september of 1991. I read it as part of her first anthology Sex, Art and American Culture, which is a good companion piece to Sexual Personae. It contains what I believe to be Paglia’s initial cir-de-coeur “Junk Bonds and Corporate Raiders: Academe in the Hour of the Wolf.” This was published in Arion in 1991 and although it reviews two contemporary books before unleashing hell at post-structuralism, I believe it entirely relevant today, based on what I recall of college in the mid-to-late 90’s and grad school four years ago. She pulls no punches with Derrida, Lacan (“The French fog machine”), or especially Foucault, whom she finds guilty of being a boring, snide poseur, full of facile wordplay and bereft of learning. An appropriate passage:
Foucault is the high-concept pusher and deal-maker of the cocaine decades. His big squishy pink-marshmallow word is “power”, which neither he nor his followers fully understand. It caroms around picking up lint and dog hair but is no substitute for political analysis. Foucault’s ignorance of prehistory and ancient history, based in the development and articulation of cultures and legal codes, makes his discussions of power otiose. He never asks how power is gained or lost, justly administered or abused. He does not show how efficient procedures get overformalized, entrenched, calcified, then shattered and reformed. He has no familiarity with theories of social or biological hierarchies, such as the “pecking order” universally observed in farmyards and schoolyards. Because, in the faddish French way, he ridiculously denies personality exists, he cannot assess the impact of strong personalities on events nor can he, like Weber, catalog types of authority or prestige.
She goes on like this, sticking shaft after shaft in the old dead fart until it starts to look like the Martyrdom of St. Sebastian. But that line about picking up lint and dog hair is giggling genius. Post-modernism and post-structuralism are nothing more than the Sophists laughing at us from beyond the grave of their cultures. The whole goddamn thing is so brainless, a bot can do it.