On traitors.

monsterpussy:

fraser always had v good views towards immigration but that’s not the only thing in the world and booooo to him medibank never forgive but everyone forgot

Yes. Also, he conspired with the representative of a foreign country to overthrow a democratically elected prime minister. I don’t give a shit if Fraser makes things awkward for current-day conservatives, he’s a contemptible man whose legacy should be defined first and foremost by the assault he led on Australian democracy.


Few can remember a time when music wasn’t a tool of self-definition, but until the second half of the twentieth century this was only a small part of a song’s appeal. For most people living in the world, circa 1920, music was embedded into their life, not chosen as a lifestyle accessory. But gradually, over the next several decades, music’s value as a pathway of personal definition came to the forefront of our culture. Sometimes the shift was barely perceptible, but in retrospect we can gauge its profound impact. For example, people in rural America didn’t choose country music during the early decades of the 20th century, but were literally born into its ethos; yet by the ’70s, country music had evolved into a lifestyle choice, a posture adopted by millions who never roped a steer or herded cattle, but still wanted to affiliate themselves with the values espoused by the songs. By the time we arrive at the age of disco and punk rock, the music consciously builds its appeal on lifestyle considerations.

Ted Gioia, “Music Criticism Has Degenerated Into Lifestyle Reporting,” The Daily Beast, March 18, 2014

And yet…

Bill Malone, Don’t Get Above Your Raisin’: Country Music and the Southern Working Class (2002):

While country music has always borne the marks of its southern and working-class origins, it could not have survived or prospered had it remained exclusively linked to those constituencies. Even during its early hillbilly days it attracted fans in the North and around the world because of its presumed southern traits — whether romantically or negatively expressed — or because it seemed to fill a vacuum left by the decline of the older style of Tin Pan Alley music. One suspects that country music still captures listeners everywhere with themes that would have been familiar to fans in the 1920s — nostalgia, escape, fantasy, human-interest drama, gritty realism, and evocations of values that seem imperiled by modernity. Observing the national popularity of country music in our own time — a facet of the phenomenon described by John Egerton as the “southernization of America” — Peter Applebome declared that “country formed a visceral bond with lower- and lower-middle class whites like no other music of our time.”

And I know I’m always pushing back against this dim “by the ’70s country music had [been] adopted by millions who never roped a steer or herded cattle” line, but I’ll say it again: As a result of half a century of urbanization, industrialization, and government investment, the 1970s white South was very different to the 1920s white South. Why on earth, then, would you expect its music not to have changed?

[See also Mike Barthel on the Gioia piece]


Note, however, that “difficult” is not the same thing as “valuable.” Solving a Rubik’s Cube is difficult, but not particularly valuable to the world.

Nate Silver, “What the Fox Knows,” FiveThirtyEight, March 17, 2014

Oh, man, totally appropriating this completely obvious metaphor for future use. I’ve struggled to find the perfect way to describe how inessential difficult things can be, (usually settling on calling it a “party trick”) and this is ideal. Your guitar solo? Rubik’s cube. Hitting the right note in the studio every single time without Auto-Tune? Rubik’s cube. Speed rapping and beat boxing? Motherfucking Rubik’s cube.


I reviewed John Sides and Lynn Vavreck’s The Gamble for the magazine!

In many ways, The Gamble acts as a counter to the addictive and gossipy Game Change series Washington journalists John Heilemann and Mark Halperin have penned during the past two campaigns (see Nicole Hemmer’s review). The contrast might even be deliberate; The Gamble reveals in its opening line that 68 individual moments during the 2012 campaign were described as “game-changers” somewhere in the American media, and Sides and Vavreck have a decidedly more sober view of electoral politics. “The continual search for game-changers treats a campaign like a boxing match, where the momentum may be shifting back and forth with every punch and the knockout blow could come at any moment,” they write. “In reality, there are few knockout punches, and most game-changers do not really change the game that much.”
This means — as the authors demonstrate with exhaustive reference to polling, modelling, and charts aplenty — that such widely touted news events as Barack Obama’s “You didn’t build that” comment or the “47% video” leaked to liberal website Mother Jones, which showed Mitt Romney dismissing close to half the American public as “dependent on the government,” had almost no impact on voters whatsoever. 
Also meaningless in terms of shifting voter opinion: any of Romney’s widely reported “gaffes,” the Obama campaign’s summer advertising blitz hammering Romney for his connection to private equity firm Bain Capital, and the disruptive effects of Hurricane Sandy, which struck the east coast in the last week of October. 

On one level, I think this is a really important book, and it would be great if loads of people read it — especially people interested in American politics, and especially people professionally interested in American politics. (Though I’d much rather such people first read Red State, Blue State, Rich State, Poor State; Talking Right; or Nixonland.) But on the other hand, for me it unexpectedly exposed the limits of political science — something I hinted at previously. Reading The Gamble, I started to think about the strengths of the Game Change books: how they portray the human side of politics, how even if elections aren’t driven by personalities, politicians can be, how our first draft of history will inevitably be messy and impressionistic and foolish. Don’t get me wrong, Halperin and Heilemann are exactly the kinds of reporters who would benefit having their exuberances tempered by Sides and Vavreck. But journalists exist for a reason, and though the authors of The Gamble are quite capable communicators (you don’t write for WaPo if you’re not), they’re researchers first and writers second, and you can tell. And I firmly believe that good writing isn’t window-dressing; how you say something is as meaningful as what you’re saying.
The other thing is that if you paid attention to the right blogs throughout the campaign, a lot of this stuff isn’t new. Which doesn’t mean The Gamble isn’t worthwhile — a book is more permanent than a blog post, and has a wider reach — but it does mean that for certain folks, its revelations are less stunning than might be supposed.
[x-post]

I reviewed John Sides and Lynn Vavreck’s The Gamble for the magazine!

In many ways, The Gamble acts as a counter to the addictive and gossipy Game Change series Washington journalists John Heilemann and Mark Halperin have penned during the past two campaigns (see Nicole Hemmer’s review). The contrast might even be deliberate; The Gamble reveals in its opening line that 68 individual moments during the 2012 campaign were described as “game-changers” somewhere in the American media, and Sides and Vavreck have a decidedly more sober view of electoral politics. “The continual search for game-changers treats a campaign like a boxing match, where the momentum may be shifting back and forth with every punch and the knockout blow could come at any moment,” they write. “In reality, there are few knockout punches, and most game-changers do not really change the game that much.”

This means — as the authors demonstrate with exhaustive reference to polling, modelling, and charts aplenty — that such widely touted news events as Barack Obama’s “You didn’t build that” comment or the “47% video” leaked to liberal website Mother Jones, which showed Mitt Romney dismissing close to half the American public as “dependent on the government,” had almost no impact on voters whatsoever. 

Also meaningless in terms of shifting voter opinion: any of Romney’s widely reported “gaffes,” the Obama campaign’s summer advertising blitz hammering Romney for his connection to private equity firm Bain Capital, and the disruptive effects of Hurricane Sandy, which struck the east coast in the last week of October. 

On one level, I think this is a really important book, and it would be great if loads of people read it — especially people interested in American politics, and especially people professionally interested in American politics. (Though I’d much rather such people first read Red State, Blue State, Rich State, Poor State; Talking Right; or Nixonland.) But on the other hand, for me it unexpectedly exposed the limits of political science — something I hinted at previously. Reading The Gamble, I started to think about the strengths of the Game Change books: how they portray the human side of politics, how even if elections aren’t driven by personalities, politicians can be, how our first draft of history will inevitably be messy and impressionistic and foolish. Don’t get me wrong, Halperin and Heilemann are exactly the kinds of reporters who would benefit having their exuberances tempered by Sides and Vavreck. But journalists exist for a reason, and though the authors of The Gamble are quite capable communicators (you don’t write for WaPo if you’re not), they’re researchers first and writers second, and you can tell. And I firmly believe that good writing isn’t window-dressing; how you say something is as meaningful as what you’re saying.

The other thing is that if you paid attention to the right blogs throughout the campaign, a lot of this stuff isn’t new. Which doesn’t mean The Gamble isn’t worthwhile — a book is more permanent than a blog post, and has a wider reach — but it does mean that for certain folks, its revelations are less stunning than might be supposed.

[x-post]


Krugman is talking inequality with reference to this chart, and it’s not the first time I’ve seen liberals who are discussing the issue use men’s wages as a base. (The point here being that, in real terms, 60 per cent of American men have seen their income fall over the past 40 years.) I think the idea is that if you use men’s wages as a measure, you’re accessing a controlled sample, since social changes haven’t altered men’s participation in the workforce and remuneration the way it has women’s. Ceteris Paribus.
But… why should men be the control? I mean, if we’re trying to gauge inequality, surely change in gender-induced inequality is just as meaningful as changes in class-induced inequality? Person A’s lower wage compared to Person B’s doesn’t become more excusable if Person A is a woman.
And, while in my brief search, I couldn’t find the exact data Krugman sourced, this similar set suggests that women’s wages have risen in real terms across all percentiles since 1973. (Though, dismally, for some they’ve fallen since 1979 — thanks Ronald Reagan.) That’s an important data point when considering inequality, and the liberal desire to draw attention to class-based inequality shouldn’t permit putting the thumb on the scale by comparing the situation of men now to the situation when women’s wages were even more artificially depressed than they are now.
One way to look at this, incidentally, is that as women have made gains, men have lost; men, forced to compete against new talent, are unable to maintain as high a living standard as they once did. But this doesn’t take into account the increased productivity from abandoning the inefficiencies of a workforce that doesn’t provide proper consideration to the talents of fifty per cent of its number.
Which brings me to a question about productivity: why isn’t gender equality a big part of the discussion of increasing productivity? If women’s wages are being artificially constrained (and they are), then that means the economy isn’t operating at peak efficiency. Men are, effectively, seeking rent on their penises. Considering American women earn 81 cents on the dollar compared to American men, addressing this disparity seems to be ripe grounds for easy gains in productivity. Jus spitballing, but, anyone interested in supply-side inefficiencies should probably be very interested in gender inequality, I reckon.

Krugman is talking inequality with reference to this chart, and it’s not the first time I’ve seen liberals who are discussing the issue use men’s wages as a base. (The point here being that, in real terms, 60 per cent of American men have seen their income fall over the past 40 years.) I think the idea is that if you use men’s wages as a measure, you’re accessing a controlled sample, since social changes haven’t altered men’s participation in the workforce and remuneration the way it has women’s. Ceteris Paribus.

But… why should men be the control? I mean, if we’re trying to gauge inequality, surely change in gender-induced inequality is just as meaningful as changes in class-induced inequality? Person A’s lower wage compared to Person B’s doesn’t become more excusable if Person A is a woman.

And, while in my brief search, I couldn’t find the exact data Krugman sourced, this similar set suggests that women’s wages have risen in real terms across all percentiles since 1973. (Though, dismally, for some they’ve fallen since 1979 — thanks Ronald Reagan.) That’s an important data point when considering inequality, and the liberal desire to draw attention to class-based inequality shouldn’t permit putting the thumb on the scale by comparing the situation of men now to the situation when women’s wages were even more artificially depressed than they are now.

One way to look at this, incidentally, is that as women have made gains, men have lost; men, forced to compete against new talent, are unable to maintain as high a living standard as they once did. But this doesn’t take into account the increased productivity from abandoning the inefficiencies of a workforce that doesn’t provide proper consideration to the talents of fifty per cent of its number.

Which brings me to a question about productivity: why isn’t gender equality a big part of the discussion of increasing productivity? If women’s wages are being artificially constrained (and they are), then that means the economy isn’t operating at peak efficiency. Men are, effectively, seeking rent on their penises. Considering American women earn 81 cents on the dollar compared to American men, addressing this disparity seems to be ripe grounds for easy gains in productivity. Jus spitballing, but, anyone interested in supply-side inefficiencies should probably be very interested in gender inequality, I reckon.


Sepinwall:

But Pelton’s freestyle rap apology about the delayed payday — while dressed as a Payday bar — at a minimum came awfully close, especially given the Dean’s terrified reaction at the close of it. (“I don’t know what that was! I DON’T KNOW WHAT THAT WAS!”)

I missed the joke until I read this review; we don’t have Payday bars in Australia. And this is kind of the thing Americans don’t understand about being not-American. Whenever American media portrays foreigners as being confused about American culture, it’s the big and obvious things we’re meant to be ignorant about. (The way Americans are ignorant of the big and obvious things in our cultures.) What is this freedom you speak of? Please explain “Friends.” But, no, it’s that there will be a joke about a candy bar, and we won’t even realize we’re missing something, because, well, a man rapping in a candy bar outfit is pretty funny anyways, right?


Heads of state of 15 Caribbean nations will gather in St Vincent on Monday to unveil a plan demanding reparations from Europe for the enduring suffering inflicted by the Atlantic slave trade.

In an interview with the Guardian, Sir Hilary Beckles, who chairs the reparations task force charged with framing the 10 demands, said the plan would set out areas of dialogue with former slave-trading nations including the UK, France, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Denmark. He dismissed claims that the Caribbean nations were attempting to extract vast sums from European taxpayers, insisting that money was not the main objective.

[…]

One of the most important, and most contentious, demands will be for European countries to issue an unqualified apology for what they did in shipping millions of men, women and children from Africa to the Caribbean and America in the 17th and 18th centuries. Beckles was scathing of European leaders who have issued statements of regret about slavery, including Tony Blair who in 2007, as UK prime minister, said the slave trade was a matter of “deep sorrow and regret”.

“It was disgraceful to speak of regret rather than to apologise,” Beckles said. “That was a disrespectful act on Blair’s part as it implied that nothing can be done about it – ‘Take our expression of regret and go away’.”

Ed Pilkington, “Caribbean nations prepare demand for slavery reparations,” The Guardian, March 10, 2014

This is great. We’ve done a lousy job in colonial nations of addressing the legacy of European invasion and brutality, but, for the most part, we do tend to acknowledge the existence of a continuing problem. Back in Europe, however, it looks a lot like the states that began it all and profited most from it are happy to pretend that colonialism is ancient history, and that their role and responsibility lies in times long since passed. 

Also, we get this charming anecdote:

For Beckles, a historian who is pro-vice-chancellor of the University of the West Indies in Barbados, the reparations issue is personal. His great-great-grandparents were slaves on the Barbadian plantation owned by ancestors of the British actor Benedict Cumberbatch.

Beckles’s great-great-grandmother was herself a Cumberbatch. Cumberbatch, who plays a plantation owner in the Oscar-winning film 12 Years A Slave, has said he took on a previous role as the abolitionist William Pitt the Younger as a “sort of apology” for his family’s involvement in the trade.

Gosh, that was big of him. 


ANNOUNCEMENT!
Official tour dates:
May 5: Seoul
May 8: Fukuoka
May 11: Hiroshima
May 13: Kochi
May 15: Okayama
May 16: Osaka
May 21: Kyoto
May 23: Nagoya
May 25: Tokyo
June 3: Sydney
ENDS

ANNOUNCEMENT!

Official tour dates:

  • May 5: Seoul
  • May 8: Fukuoka
  • May 11: Hiroshima
  • May 13: Kochi
  • May 15: Okayama
  • May 16: Osaka
  • May 21: Kyoto
  • May 23: Nagoya
  • May 25: Tokyo
  • June 3: Sydney

ENDS


I really wish, instead of carrying articles about hicks in the middle of nowhere acting like idiots, foreign press would run stories like:
Australian Man Is Complete Pussy: Currently Hiding In Other Room Because He’s Afraid Cockroach Might Be One Of The Flying Ones
Australian Man Is Glad Winter Is Here Because Now He Can Wear That Nice New Sweater He Bought And Drink Hot Cocoa
Australian Man Worries About The Future And Constantly Wonders Whether He Is Doing The Right Thing
(Story here, if you must read it. But don’t.)

I really wish, instead of carrying articles about hicks in the middle of nowhere acting like idiots, foreign press would run stories like:

  • Australian Man Is Complete Pussy: Currently Hiding In Other Room Because He’s Afraid Cockroach Might Be One Of The Flying Ones
  • Australian Man Is Glad Winter Is Here Because Now He Can Wear That Nice New Sweater He Bought And Drink Hot Cocoa
  • Australian Man Worries About The Future And Constantly Wonders Whether He Is Doing The Right Thing

(Story here, if you must read it. But don’t.)


There was the general squalor of the ghetto, which got aired out in early songs like Run-DMC’s first hit, “It’s Like That,” or “The Message” by Melle Mel. But over time, rappers started really going in on specific issues. Crooked cops were attacked by groups like NWA. Drug dealers were targeted by KRS-One. Drug addicts were mocked by Brand Nubian. Ice Cube called out Uncle Toms. Groups like Poor Righteous Teachers denounced shady churches with bootleg preachers. Queen Latifah was pushing back against misogyny. Salt ‘N’ Pepa were rallying around safe sex. Public Enemy recorded manifestos on their albums addressing a dozen different issues. You could name practically any problem in the hood and there’d be a rap song for you.

Jay-Z, Decoded (2010)

Peep the reference to Queen Latifah; the thing about Jay-Z and sexism is that it’s always kinda been like his relationship with regional music. You know, whatever Jay’s embrace of feminism (which is real but not real enough to preclude him from “pull ya skirt down" lyrics) it really feels like it’s equally the result of business acumen as it is conscience. Just like Jay did songs like "Big Pimpin’" and "Snoopy Track" because he genuinely liked UGK and Timbo, but also because he recognized there was a new market opening up. And yeah, this is how this sort of thing happens. The Dodgers signed Jackie Robinson because of money as well as cause it was the right thing to do.

Who was it that first noted that you can tell the precise moment at which Jay’s perspective on gender began changing? (I remember seeing this in a specific review/essay/whatever.) Skip to 1:38 in “I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me)”:

Yeah, save the narrative: you savin it for marriage;
Let’s keep it real ma, you savin it for karats.
You wanna see how far I’mma go,
How much I’mma spend, but you already know:
Zip, zero, stingy with dinero.
Might buy you Cris’, but that about it.
Might light your wrist, but that about it.
Fuck it, I might wife you and buy you nice whips.



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