Thursday, December 30, 2010
If they throw us in jail, we don't give a damn
Another beginning, another end. A decade that I'm not sorry to see fade into cobwebbed history, and perhaps many of you might feel the same way...In any event, bring on a better time and don't spare the horses.
Thanks to all of you who have stopped by my display of diminishing returns this year. May the time to come for you all hold a bit of the promise and fulfillment so rudely stolen by the usurpers and malfeasants in their petty, fatuous quest for enough gold to bribe their way into Heaven.
I'm working this evening...and playing the morning after, so I'll not be posting for a couple of days. I'm sure you'll understand. :D
Happy New Year, folks.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
You Know Who You Are...Don't You?
Rollins Band, Liar, 1994...With a special dedication to some former co-tenants.
As a more pleasant aside, I hope that all of my friends and acquaintances have had an enjoyable holiday season...Moreso, perhaps, than your humble scribe who just wants to get it all into the end zone on 3rd down and long without a fumble or teeth-rattling sack.
Death or glory, kids.
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Return To Forever, Sofistifunk , 1974.
Brand X, Malaga Virgen, 1977.
FZ, Mo's Vacation, 1978.
King Crimson, Lark's Tongue In Aspic (Part III), 1984.
FZ, Black Napkins, 1976.
Friday, December 17, 2010
Pasting and pooting and whizzing all the day
Get over to The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing and educate yourselves, if you've got any guts.
'...Just walked away and left it squealing.' Is there any other way, really?
The grunion are running!
MPS gives us a gem from the days of...Guffaw - literate television.
Cheezopeeza...? Good Gah, extra anchovies on mine!
Everyone is Zappa, thanks to the good folks at Urantian Sojourn.
'Hey, have a nice weekend, guy'
Cuz you finally paid your bills
Fly free and strong, Captain.
Requiescat in pace
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
'Alte Götter fast plooked'
Some presumptuous thoughts, yet not born of frivolity...
So what if I'm just decrepit enough to remember the old industry, before the MBA's from Hooker & Blau took over. As a consequence, I witnessed how the wheels were greased and things got done for a steep rise and a long or short run.
Later, I watched from afar with an increasing degree of wariness regarding the spread of the eventual ripple effect, as an inevitable decline from an artistic model in search of due profit to a profit model exclu$ively took place.
I also know that massive amounts of talent waits out there to be developed and deployed - 'Everybody is a star' and they're not all tucked in their iPods yet...presumably.
Genre doesn't matter. But we have to realize globally as a singular yet collective force - known as the creators - that we are at the best time ever for control of our own destiny.
The old ways are not the only ways anymore, and don't mourn them, teenagers - I could tell you of personal anecdotes as a mere fast minnow in a vast ocean how one-sided and utterly dishonest the old game was, and continues to be as practiced by the hands of the unscrupulous.
"Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven" - Milton, Paradise Lost.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Opal, You Hot Little Link
TenGrain over at MPS (the one-stop shop for snark) has been studying the phenomenon.
Brady Bonk at KIAV is the phenomenon...More true believers like this, please.
Good god, Rehctaw played the Boy Wonder card. Evil genius, harumph!
IranianRedneck brings us a Zappadan Miracle clad in easter hay.
Brown shoes don't make it...and neither does Man-Tan and Tanqueray tears, over at Mr. Mark Hoback's Fried Green al-Qaedas. Disrespect fits Boehner like a shrink-tubing rubber shirt, it seems.
J at Contingencies spins some FZ that would be harder than your husband to handle for those unappreciative of the symphonious muse, or uncultured motherf**kers if you prefer.
ZC goes to Centerville and steals the towels.
The Brain Police bring us the ritual of the Black Napkins (atra rituali sudaria).
Words of wisdom, no fooling.
Don't forget to get a little at the Zappadan Twitterverse.
Now back to my 28-hour day, in progress
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Return To Forever, Dayride, 1974.
Weather Report (Joe Zawinul, Wayne Shorter, Alex Acuña, Manolo Badrena, and Jaco Pastorius), Palladium, 1977.
The New Tony Williams Lifetime (with Allan Holdsworth, Tony Newton, and Alan Pasqua), Snake Oil, 1975.
Vinnie Colaiuta, Robben Ford, and Jimmy Haslip, Going Nowhere, 2002.
Friday, December 10, 2010
Shadow down on the sun big brown
Apologies for not being consistently interactive of late...RL insists that I modify my life to a daily 28-hour clock for the next couple of weeks, or else.
Tell 'em about it, Captain.
run run run run
Tell 'em about it, Captain.
run run run run
Thursday, December 09, 2010
So Cool He'll Make You Freeze
FZ, I'm So Cute, 1978.
Tuesday, December 07, 2010
Away all pigs!
For folks who might need a bit more information than others...Zappa Wiki Jawaka, of course.
A nice piece of music for the delicate ears surrounding lovely Laura:
TenGrain has the previously lost hot poop from FZ in his later years...A rather stark output of outlook.
Blue Gal gives us a gen-u-ine look at your thumb...er, abstinent dancer. Cough, cough. Ahem. Hey, isn't that a horse?
All Life Is A Blur of Republicans and Uncle Meat.
And for Mr. C. B. and reddyrooster:
"Nice country you had - shame something happened to it..."
Dear President Obama,
Now, I'm not a naive fellow - I'm quite cognizant of the fact that no one gets a turn at the Big Wheel without being vetted and buffed smooth until any possible rough edges has been eased away for public consumption, leaving only a viable candidate who can say the 'right things' (to be determined later) with enough ersatz sincerity to get elected - why, even your predecessor (who struggled mightily at all times to not look like some dim-witted frat boy trying to bluff his way out of a botched prank) was processed that way just long enough to trick the majority of marks....twice.
Therefore, you are one of them, bought and paid for and 'transformative politics' be dismissed and thrice-damned. It matters not the skin color or life experience - whatever may have been witnessed in the streets has been long left behind on the road to bargained-for power. Fine and dandy, 'tis your path to tread, forward to glory and all that.
Unfortunately, you're presiding over an incipiently failed nation in the process of dismantlement by the termites within, while propping up systemic corruption and greed with tax money filched from people who can ill-afford three daily meals and shelter, people who genuinely believe in the dream and work hard to make it a reality.
These are the people that you have let down with your weakness. These are the people whom your actions discourage and disappoint, while they enrich the already obscenely wealthy and their elected courtiers and lackeys. Your people.
Don't speak to me of the need for comity and compromise, after the last decade of rampant criminality and military madness.
A law-abiding citizen doesn't compromise with lawbreakers and malfeasants, unless he wishes to join their shady ilk.
Someone sworn to represent the people of a great and vast nation needs to do better than that.
It takes more than pretty words and lofty theoretical concepts, you see...Or maybe you don't. It doesn't matter anymore.
As brother driftglass has so sententiously opined...
Monday, December 06, 2010
Isn't It Swell?
FZ, The Texas Hotel Medley, 1988.
Sunday, December 05, 2010
Sunday Overnight, Full Blown
FZ, The Black Page, 1980's.
The Mothers, Redunzl, 1973.
FZ, St. Alphonso's Pancake Breakfast, 1978.
FZ with John Belushi, The Purple Lagoon, 1976.
Saturday, December 04, 2010
Much of how I feel about FZ has been elucidated before within this blog - therefore, no need to beat a baby seal with a lead-filled snowshoe, except to offer that the concept of twining humor and serious (read: not contrived pop fluff or blue men playing the whites) music appeared bewhiskeredly corny to me until being exposed to his oeuvre...And in turn, being exposed to the insurmountable constellation of influences, peers, and disciples therein and thereabouts, which not only made me a subjectively better musician - but a better listener, as well.
So thanks from those of us still trapped on this sad, dirty rock floating in space to you all in the cosmic whatsis, Frank.
Friday, December 03, 2010
No marigolds in the promised land
Steely Dan, King Of The World, 1973.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
'Liberalism manifests itself...
'...in various ways.
To let things slide for the sake of peace and friendship when a person has clearly gone wrong, and refrain from principled argument because he is an old acquaintance, a fellow townsman, a schoolmate, a close friend, a loved one, an old colleague or old subordinate.
Or to touch on the matter lightly instead of going into it thoroughly, so as to keep on good terms. The result is that both the organization and the individual are harmed.
This is one type of liberalism'.
Take that, you nattering naysayers of "Niebuhrian realism".
One Rule To This Game
Joni Mitchell, Be Cool, 1982.
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Duke Ellington & Billy Strayhorn, Blood Count, 1967.
Jimi Hendrix, Easy Blues, 1969.
Ed Bickert, with Don Thompson and Terry Clarke, When Sunny Gets Blue, 1976.
The Jaco Pastorius big band with Othello Molineaux, Reza / Giant Steps, 1982.
Saturday, November 27, 2010
At long last, America beats the Soviet Union!
Congratulations, you won.
Now go home.
And isn't this some simple shit? '...Like handing out speeding tickets at the Indy 500', one might say.
Somebody left off the clown nose when they dressed for work that morning.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Just one darn minute here...Attica! Attica!
Dreaming, Facing The Wall
Lhasa de Sela, De Cara A La Pared, 1997.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Charles Mingus, with Jimmy Knepper, Bill Evans, Shafi Hadi, Clarence Shaw, and Danny Richmond, Celia, 1957.
McCoy Tyner, with Sonny Fortune, Calvin Hill and Alphonse Mouzon, Rebirth, 1972.
Nat Adderly with Joe Zawinul, Rise Sally Rise , 1968.
Richard Tee and Steve Gadd, Rhapsody In Blue, 1990.
Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond, Stardust, 1953.
Friday, November 19, 2010
Winston Smith's Nu-America
And so another week passes into history, a bright, shiny piñata filled with unwholesome trivia discharging its trifles all over an widely ignored dirt floor of cold realities.
IMO, part of the 'werwolf' effect desired by the financial backers of the Right in America is the devaluation of national political perception.
The aim in this being to foster the broad impression that politics is all a crude joke on the voters and unworthy of serious consideration by anyone with a pretense toward cogent thought, as opposed to putting forward candidates keen on and capable of performing the jobs that candidates are historically elected to do (policy development and enactment, responsible governance, inclusive representation, and so forth).
Instead, deploy arch-buffoons acting out in bizarre and irresponsible fashions while disparaging government's function wherever possible, encourage them to pollute the discourse with lies about everything at all times including the lying, and create a hazily impenetrable climate of suspicion and mistrust among the electorate that has both a chilling and energizing effect at the polls...'Chilling', to targeted demographics that as a result of such antics can no longer justify exercising basic civic duties to themselves out of the futility of same being made manifest on the nightly propaganda roundup, and 'energizing' to the lucidity-challenged fringe elements who can now cartwheel their way into the middle ring without fear of being run out of the big tent at swordpoint, at long last being surrounded by humanoids just like them...Insane, vindictive and merciless.
This process is greatly aided by a populace becoming progressively cowed into giving up freedoms that their countrymen and women died and are putatively dying for in wartime - even minor ones like not being subjected to unwanted sexual contact as a precursor for taking flight to some far flung destination in a winged steel sausage, afterward comforting themselves with illusions of personal safety while drowning their private humiliations in watered down bar-brand alcohol.
Not that other people dying for one's freedoms makes much difference now in this brave nu-America, because "sometimes...they threaten you with something — something you can't stand up to, can't even think about. And then you say, 'Don't do it to me, do it to somebody else, do it to so-and-so.'... And after that, you don't feel the same towards the other person any longer."
Who is your Julia?
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Rush, you know it ain't easy
...To do snarky Photoshop work that doesn't dabble in the sort of brain-damaged racist tripe enjoyed by Klannish mouth-breathers and drug-addled ratings hounds...or unpatriotic defacers of national landmarks, for that matter. Leave the low-hanging fruit alone, son.
Word to the wise
Sunday, November 14, 2010
John Coltrane, Love, 1965.
Johnny Desmond, You Go To My Head, 1960.
The Lennie Tristano sextet (Lee Konitz, Warne Marsh, Billy Bauer, Arnold Fishkin , Harold Granowsky (drums on 1), Denzil Best (drums on 2)), Wow / Marionette, 1949.
Sam Rivers, with Ron Carter, Joe Chambers, Freddie Hubbard, and Herbie Hancock, Point Of Many Returns, 1965.
Ornette Coleman, Don Cherry, Charlie Haden, and Billy Higgins, Buckminster Fuller, 1990.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Pickled Punks Prevent Proper Progress
For Nonnie, who said she'd still be my friend even if I did it.
Sunday, November 07, 2010
Hubert Laws, Scheherazade, 1975.
Chet Baker and Paul Bley, Little Girl Blue, 1985.
Hank Garland with Gary Burton, Relaxing, 1960.
Joni Mitchell, Sweet Sucker Dance, 1979.
Sunday, October 31, 2010
Bill Evans with Eddie Gomez, Invitation, 1974.
Clifford Brown with Neal Hefti Orchestra, Portrait of Jennie, 1955.
Booker Ervin, Uranus, 1961.
The Miles Davis Quintet, No Blues, 1961.
Phil Woods, The Thrill Is Gone, 2002.
Sunday, October 24, 2010
The Special Quartet (Pat Metheny, Ernie Watts, Charlie Haden & Paul Wertico), The Good Life, 1988.
Jimmy Heath, with Barry Harris, Sam Jones & Billy Higgins, For Minors Only, 1975.
Tuck Andress & Patti Cathcart, Castles Made Of Sand / Little Wing, 1989.
The Miles Davis quintet, Pinocchio (alternate take), 1967.
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Domingo noche a la mañana
Anita O'Day, Se Te Olvida (Yellow Days), 1979.
Esperanza Spalding, Cuerpo y Alma(Body and Soul), 2008.
Dizzy Gillespie, Chega de Saudade (No More Blues), 1965.
Wynton Marsalis, Juan (E Mustaad) , 1987.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Pat Martino, Starbright, 1976.
Jack Lancaster and Robin Lumley with Brand X, Take Off/Sail On Solar Winds/Arrival, 1976.
Branford Marsalis, The Nearness Of You, 1989.
Tell 'Em, Branford.
Count Basie and his Orchestra (arranged by Oliver Nelson), African Sunrise, 1970.
Wayne Shorter, Thanks For The Memories, 1978.
We now conclude our broadcasting day
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Seein' You Next Time Around
Montrose, Space Station #5, 1973.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Grow The F*ck Up, America
Upon observing this so-called controversy - if by 'controversy' one means a giant thumb-sucking circle jerk soaked in sulkily hurt feelings that continues on far too long to be seemly - I have had quite enough of the milking, thank you.
This isn't Osama bin Laden setting up a teen recruitment and travel bureau conveniently located in Midtown, nor is it a school for swarthy assassins using Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh headshots taped to the practice dummies (an infinitely more productive use for those humanoids perhaps notwithstanding)
...And if that's not what we're talking about, then what is the problem?
A multipurpose temple of faith and place of community being built to service the spiritual and temporal needs of fellow Americans and visitors to the U.S. is now the most terrible affront to white Christian values and the memory of the dead ever? Spare me.
With the exception of the 'professional Left' and any citizen with a balanced agenda and more than a double-digit IQ, America always thought 'it couldn't happen to them'...that vast oceans and a fragile universe of presumed and inferred goodwill built up over time would shield them from the simmering rage of those for whom hatred of the West is one of the few reasons for living - a group far from the majority of adherents to the faith in question, albeit a ever-growing demographic as a result of fecklessly declared wars.
This bill of goods was and is sold daily to the citizens via their leaders who tout one set of values and perform quite another interminably, never caring that their inconsistencies may someday come to light since the consumerist ignorance of the governed would presumably reassert itself one way or another.
Well, it happened...And the Great White Father couldn't save them.
In fact, he left the door open for the boogieman to come in, then allowed the subsequent years to devolve into a drunken orgy of destruction and waste, while his pals filled their blood-soaked pockets at the country's expense.
Nice daddy America had there. One of countless pointless tragedies that ensued, but elections (like births) have consequences, yes?
Unfortunately, common sense always struggles to triumph over jingoistic exploitation and cynical demonization for political profit - and the masses who ignore and forgive the shortcomings and predations caused by those of a more 'acceptable' religion have once again rushed to heap ill will upon those who live and worship 'unlike them', yet in the end who are reaching for the same higher places as they themselves purportedly are.
Anyone else see the disconnect in values here? The tolerances implicit and explicit in the words of the Christian savior, and the written declarations of equality and fraternity on which the United States of America is founded on are naught but ludicrously self-serving nonsense, should they emanate from those who so loudly decry the construction of this facility in that location.
For such people, their religious 'faith' is mere cold ashes in the mouth, and their 'patriotism' a form of pornography to stimulate themselves when more conventional impulses fail.
This state of affairs has continued for decades, and the only change subjectively noted is that I'll be refraining from commenting on it anymore with any hope for meaningful progress toward enlightenment.
It's the 21st century, and you've been in existence for almost 250 years.
Grow the f*ck up, America.
Bill Evans, Some Other Time, 1958.
Ben Webster with Jimmy Rowles and Red Mitchell, Where Are You, 1957.
The Oscar Peterson trio, The Windmills Of Your Mind, 1970.
Mal Waldron, Loser`s Lament, 1966.
Art Farmer, with Jim Hall, Steve Swallow, and Pete LaRoca Sims, Petite Belle, 1964.
Monday, August 09, 2010
Kicking a thawed Dick around
Crooks & Liars:
Officials at the National Archives have curated a searing recollection of the Watergate scandal, based on videotaped interviews with 150 associates of Richard M. Nixon, an interactive exhibition that was supposed to have opened on July 1.
But the Nixon Foundation — a group of Nixon loyalists who controlled this museum until the National Archives took it over three years ago — described it as unfair and distorted, and requested that the archives not approve the exhibition until its objections are addressed.
A sample quote from one of the objectors:
"The real question always comes to, Did the actions that he took that were wrong, did they merit impeachment and removal from my office?
My view is that they did not reach the level of offenses for which he could be impeached and convicted."
It wasn't the crime, it was the coverup. Nixon might have weathered the initial storm - after all, he was reelected with over 60% of the popular vote in '72, and if he had hung the burglary team out to dry (for public consumption, of course - payoffs and pardons in private, natch) and hadn't recorded his utter complicity for posterity...And tried to short-circuit the investigative process in a rather ham-handed fashion...and become frighteningly toxic to the minority GOP in a midterm election year...well, let's just say that Mistah Dick would have been the one doing the kicking around, liberal pansies.
The fact is, Nixon never died. He and his policies continued through Cheney, Rumsfeld, Kissinger and a plethora of other parasites who jettisoned their falling host only to carry on the disease forward into time.
His paranoiac legacy, stripped of its statesmanlike patina is now the world's present (and sadly, its likely future) due to the American public's fear of remembering their past in order not to repeat it.
As always in matters of Nixon, Hunter S. Thompson said it best:
'These revisionists have catapulted Nixon to the status of an American Caesar, claiming that when the definitive history of the 20th century is written, no other president will come close to Nixon in stature. "He will dwarf FDR and Truman," according to one scholar from Duke University.
It was all gibberish, of course. Nixon was no more a Saint than he was a Great President. He was more like Sammy Glick than Winston Churchill.
He was a cheap crook and a merciless war criminal who bombed more people to death in Laos and Cambodia than the U.S. Army lost in all of World War II, and he denied it to the day of his death.
When students at Kent State University, in Ohio, protested the bombing, he connived to have them attacked and slain by troops from the National Guard.
He has poisoned our water forever. Nixon will be remembered as a classic case of a smart man shitting in his own nest.
But he also shit in our nests, and that was the crime that history will burn on his memory like a brand.
By disgracing and degrading the Presidency of the United States, by fleeing the White House like a diseased cur, Richard Nixon broke the heart of the American Dream.'
'America Goes Dark'...?
NY Times - America Goes Dark
YAY! - Oh! - Gosh darn it, Krugman - Why'd ya have to go and ruin my sweet, short moment of fantasy?
The cheering throngs are still echoing in my tiny shell-like ears as I ride in the swimming pool-equipped limo of my ticker tape parade dreams, down the 5th Avenue of my mind betwixt buxom cheerleaders in uniform...and my arms exuberantly outstretched in vindication as America lauds its wayward cousin, home at last.
This is the final output from decades of opportunistic pandering to impulses going against any reasonable and prudent perspective...A latently selfish nation (for what nation in which one is told that one should keep all they make if they merely pull themselves up by their bootstraps and remain beholden to no other could be otherwise?) where politicians can shill the self serving lies needed to dupe the willingly greedy into thinking that the essential infrastructure that surrounds and nurtures them on a daily basis is either an awesomely eternal construct that will never require communal fiscal commitment for upkeep, ever...Or an inconsequential sand castle whose inevitable washing away will matter not a whit, as long as one can keep some leftover change next to the hopeful lint balls in one's pocket.
It's what comes from a society that feels calamitous levels of spending and commitment of human life on two interminably bloody wars designed for long-term oligarchical enrichment is preferable to creating, printing and distributing quality educational materials and hiring dedicated, competent educators to nurture the youthful minds that would use them - as opposed to printing hardbound Jack Chick-style 'pitcher-book' screeds that are jam-packed with overly equivalent ecclesiastical pretense passed off as empirical fact, and dropping them off in a twine-tied bundle at ye olde edumacational warehouse where those who can't read will be those who will lead, someday.
It's what happens when the aggressively regressive elements within a society hold sway and drive the masses away from the light of reason...into the cold embrace of the night.
See you in the dark, kids.
Sunday, August 08, 2010
Oscar Peterson, Laura, 1955.
The Pat Metheny group, San Lorenzo, 1978.
Bud Powell with George Duvivier and Art Taylor, She, 1957.
Weather Report, Dream Clock, 1980.
Sam Butera with Louis Prima and the Witnesses, They'll Be No Next Time, 1957.
'Shouldn't have gone to the airport'
Wednesday, August 04, 2010
Stake Your Life Upon It
Robbie Robertson, American Roulette, 1987.
Sunday, August 01, 2010
Tony Bennett and Bill Evans, You Must Believe In Spring, 1976.
Johnny Hartman and John Coltrane, They Say It's Wonderful, 1962.
Lenny Breau, 5 O'Clock Bells, 1979.
Chet Baker, Almost Blue, 1988.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
A Phantom In Your Box, Shadow In Your Head
Some nostalgia for my eldest...the first rock show I took him to (though not the first one where he was taken backstage, oddly enough) and he thought Rob and the boys were the bomb - Myself of course setting a negative parenting example sharing some fat home-rolled cigarettes with my friendly biker gang pals while waiting for those nice fellas Slayer to take the stage...outdoors...in daylight.
Monday, July 26, 2010
Hold The Lies
On the heels of 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Jay Bybee's complaint last week over the grief he has received for authorizing the so-called "torture memos," Alberto Gonzales himself appeared on CNN after the Justice Department's verdict had been handed down.
Instead of expressing the relief he surely must feel at having dodged a federal criminal indictment, Gonzales said instead: "I feel angry that I had to go through this. That my family had to suffer through and what for?"
Of the scandal itself, Gonzales repeated his long-held story. "I made the decision based upon what I thought was best for the department and for the American people. All these investigations have now confirmed that this was not to influence improperly any ongoing investigation or to punish anyone for political reasons."
Oh, Alberto, you wild funnyman...Frankly, I'm surprised that you can even remember how those pesky decisions were made. Have you been taking Gingko? What a kidder. Keep up the angry shtick babe, they're rolling in the aisles.
What those investigations have confirmed in actuality, is that truth is for the little people and one can have as much justice as they are willing to spend on for time to run off the clock, and payoffs for the witnesses to...um...um...'I don't recall'. Same as it ever was.
Of course, it helps when no one wants to look back, too. That might lead to a disruption in chummy comity. Why, some people might give the game away by getting cranky and asking too many favors in return for their votes. Nothing funny about that. Gosh, no.
For a bit of back story and review, let the knowledgeable bmaz at emptywheel have the final post mortem.
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Kenny Burrell & John Coltrane, Why Was I Born, 1958.
Johnny Hodges, A Gentle Breeze/My Reward, 1951.
The Don Ellis orchestra, 33 222 1 222, 1966.
The Lee Morgan Sextet, I Remember Clifford, 1957.
Friday, July 23, 2010
What, Me Read The Rules?
Raw Story/AP - Obama: Vilsack ‘jumped the gun’ because of YouTube culture
In an excerpt of an ABC News interview broadcast Thursday night, Barack Obama said (Agriculture Secretary Tom) Vilsack had been too hasty in pushing Shirley Sherrod out.
"He jumped the gun, partly because we now live in this media culture where something goes up on YouTube or a blog and everybody scrambles," Obama said.
The president said he has instructed "my team" to make sure "that we're focusing on doing the right thing instead of what looks to be politically necessary at that very moment. We have to take our time and think these issues through."
It's intriguing to me that, of all the things to blame for the latest bit of 'Now you jump-how high, sir' as performed by a gaggle of fools, the one that got picked out of the hat this week was 'media culture'.
I worked (in a minor capacity) for a large online news and opinion disseminator during the 2008 primary season.
As a result of that employment, I was constantly steeped in news and reaction to the various chess games and sausage making machinations of the American electoral process, and there was no more media aware ('new' or otherwise) candidate at that time than Barack Obama. No one else came close.
Even the set-up job that was 'Bittergate', a series of candor-driven observations regarding the heartland delivered to mildly sympathetic left-coast donors - and one hostile reporter 'plant' - was swiftly steered away from the reef and deflected publicly before opponents (who privately shared the same sentiments) could use them to gain an advantage without seeming too opportunistic.
The machine that packaged and processed the candidate was smooth and ruthless in its pursuit of electoral viability. Gaffe control was in full effect.
So what happened?
Obviously, the candidate became the elected leader of a country that was rather divided over many issues, one of which was - believe it or not in the 21st fucking century - whether a person of color should even hold that office.
Frankly, in some ways Team Obama owes a debt to George W. Bush, for without his ill-starred presidency as precedent it's quite possible that many who voted for someone who appeared diametrically opposed to what came before would never have done so if the situation and prognosis were different - i.e., whiter (in flesh tone) and brighter (in financial terms).
Since the prize had been obtained, there was no need to maintain the lineup of media pros who could counteract the spin and optics of dedicated negativity merchants and put their man in the best light possible at all times...And when they left, Team Obama went on defense with a crew far less obsessed with taking the high ground and more with positioning their leader for an inoffensive far-off electoral suitability.
The problem with playing defense in this game is that it is a reactive position - and that in the modern era one's opponents have dispensed with such quaint niceties as 'rules' and 'morals' in an attempt to streamline a massive victory over those they believe utterly to be their inferiors. Thus, they can say and do anything they please with no ethical compass save 'Just win, baby', and dismiss the consequences with an airy wave of the hand, while their target is left to sputter and fume in the media spotlight.
'Media culture' is not to blame here - Andrew Breitbart (who commissioned a selectively edited version of an otherwise innocuous video for broadcast to assail his ideological enemies) is to blame for creating the situation (as he has been before), and he and others like him will continue to do so until they are stopped...One way or the other.
However, the blame for Shirley Sherrod's forced resignation lies strictly with a White House administration blithely seeking comity from dedicated enemies and seeking to appease those determined to destroy it without regard to cost.
With all the facts at their disposal and enough relative time to process them and respond in a decisive manner, they rushed the response...and blew it.
As a result, an honorable career lies in tatters and an executive's crafted reputation for sound, prudent judgment lies alongside.
If you're going to play this game, people...You'd better learn the rules.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
You Just Go No Place ... Special
Joni Mitchell, Overture/Cotton Avenue, 1978.
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