A scrapbook of stuff I'm reading / looking at / listening to / thinking about...

Posts tagged "politics"

Apr 05, 2013
He wouldn’t know how to pour piss out of a boot if the instructions were printed on the heel.

Mar 03, 2013

Jan 10, 2013

Jack Lew’s loopy signature

Obama is expected to pick current White House chief of staff Jacob J. Lew for Treasury secretary, which means his crazy signature could end up on the dollar bill.

The NYTimes takes a look:

Amazingly, while this looks like an arbitrary series of loop-the-loops, he’s actually mostly consistent about having seven full loops each time. Maybe they stand for the seven letters of “Jack Lew” (as he is known); maybe seven is his lucky number. Clearly we need to consult another graphologist.

It’d be so great if he didn’t change it.

Nov 06, 2012
Hey y’all, my friend Wendy MacNaughton is live drawing the election tonight.

Go follow her→

Hey y’all, my friend Wendy MacNaughton is live drawing the election tonight.

Go follow her→

Oct 19, 2012

Barry Blitt covers Norman Rockwell


Next week’s cover, “Skin Deep,” by Barry Blitt, pays homage to the Norman Rockwell painting “The Tattoo Artist.” We asked Blitt how he came up with this idea. “My grandfather was a Sunday painter, he used to copy a lot of Norman Rockwell paintings, so I was aware of all the classic images at a very young age,” he told us. “Mitt Romney looks like he stepped out of one of those pictures.”

Blitt is so good. (via)

Aug 31, 2012

D’Oh! Eastwood’s Convention Speech Spawns Fake ‘Simpsons’ Meme

That image of Grampa Simpson, created by a thus-far anonymous denizen of the Web, is an alteration of a gag that appeared in a 2002 “Simpsons” episode called “The Old Man and the Key”: lacking a photograph for a driver’s license, Grampa displays an old newspaper article whose headline reads: “Old Man Yells At Cloud.”

The original “cloud” joke has been referenced around the Internet for years, often invoked in arguments where one or both sides appear to be growing especially heated over nothing particularly important.

Jun 26, 2012
I don’t know whether those people are more numerous now than they used to be, but they’re clearly better organized and more audible.
— Linguist Geoff Nunberg on "The New Reticence"

Jun 25, 2012

The politics of The Minutemen: “I live sweat but I dream light-years.”

This weekend my comrade jndevereux was telling me about the politics of The Minutemen, outlined in this great passage from Michael Azerrad’s Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground 1981–1991.

The Minutemen felt their music was by, for, and about the working person. “The first thing is to give workers confidence,” Watt said. “That’s what we try to do with our songs. It’s not to show them ‘the way’ but to say, ‘Look at us, we’re working guys and we write songs and play in a band…’

The working-person idea ran deep. Between 1982 and 1984 [D.] Boon published a fanzine called the Prole, which lasted for six issues. Boon wrote politically oriented articles and cartoons; [Mike] Watt did record reviews. And on select nights, Boon booked local underground bands at San Pedro’s 300-capacity Star Theatre, renaming it the Union Theatre. Shows started early so working people could get home at a reasonable hour. ‘D. Boon believed that working men should have culture in their life—music and art—and not have it make you adopt a rock & roll lifestyle lie.”

Of course, later in the chapter, it’s pointed out that only one of the band’s members actually had a dad who belonged to a union. Mike Watt would say to Boon, “the average Joe doesn’t write songs” and demanded that Boon admit he was “special.” Boon said, “I was borne out of being average because of my rock band,” and Watt said, “No, because of these tunes.”

May 19, 2012

How to Act Human: Advice for Mitt Romney From Inside the Actors Studio

As Joan Didion wrote, “You kind of grow into the role you have made for yourself.” Note that Lipton’s advice for Romney’s “inauthenticity” isn’t “be authentic,” but “learn to act.”

Ronald Reagan wasn’t an authentic common man either, but he was an authentic SAG-card-carrying actor…. The lesson of Reagan is that, whatever his politics and legacy, there was always only one of him. Even with all his theatrical experience, he never essayed a dual role. So, for what it’s worth, my advice to Mr. Romney is this: Since the evidence indicates that you lack the skills to simulate what you’re not, you should stick to typecasting and go with what you’ve got and who you are. It’s not just your best option, sir, it’s your only one.

More fodder for my feeling that “authenticity” is mainly a marketing term and an illusion — it’s when what you tell your audience about who you are is in line with what they perceive you doing and being.

The real truth is that “being human” means you aren’t just one thing — you’re several things, as Phillip K. Dick said:

A person’s authentic nature is a series of shifting, variegated planes that establish themselves as he relates to different people; it is created by and appears within the framework of his interpersonal relationships.

We don’t really want our politicians to be human, we want them to be good characters, good actors. “Authenticity” means you’re sticking to the script and you’re making us believe it. We can give the last word to Leon Wieseltier:

Authenticity is a paltry standard by which to appraise an idea or a work of art or a politics. Authenticity is a measure of provenance, and provenance has nothing to do with substance. An idea may be ours and still be false. A work of art may be ours and still be ugly. A politics may be ours and still be evil.

Filed under: authenticity

Feb 04, 2012
I was over in Australia and I was asked, ‘Are you proud to be an American,’ and I was like, ‘I don’t know. I didn’t have a lot to do with it. My parents fucked there, that’s about all. You know, I was in the spirit realm at that time. “Fuck in Paris! Fuck in Paris!” but they couldn’t hear me, cos I didn’t have a mouth… I hate patriotism. In fact, that’s how we could stop patriotism, I think. Instead of putting stars and stripes on our flags, we should put pictures of our parents fucking.
— Bill Hicks, 1993, at the Laff Stop in Austin, TX, transcribed in Love All The People
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