2008-09-21

 

Freedom anyone?

The longer I live in the Midwest, the more I appreciate Hugh Hefner. He apparently started the playboy thing precisely to get rid of his own puritan upbringing; he has also been very vocal in showing that puritanism is as prevalent on the left (especially withing feminism and identity politics) as on the right. Indeed I was reminded of this last week with the editorial of the New York Times against an effort by many college presidents to discuss the lowering of the drinking age. No matter how one cuts it, armed or not with studies and statistics, it is always very sad to see a supposedly liberal newspaper advocate removing the freedom of adults. Indeed, this is what the legal constraint on drinking age is all about. Why can't adult males and females be given the responsibility of choosing when and how to drink---and accept the responsibility that comes with that freedom? After all, as it is commonly mentioned, those same people are considered adults when it comes to paying taxes, going to war, voting, reproductive choice, owning automatic guns---and they can even be put to death for serious crimes. Are any of these rights, responsibilities, and penalties lighter than drinking? Of course not. So let's stop this nonsense and acknowledge that maintaining the drinking age at 21 is nothing more than perpetuating a puritan, prohibitionist stance that has certainly failed as a means to prevent drinking by young adults---binge or otherwise.

As a university professor myself, I completely understand the college presidents who want to engage the nation in a debate about this topic. Anyone who teaches undergraduates these days, notices that these young adults are so very often not treated as such---which leads obviously to a self-fulfilling prophecy. It is about time that eighteen year-olds be treated as adults, with all the freedom and responsibility that we grant our (older) selves.

Mind you, it is true that when it comes to drinking, the USA is not at all the land of the free, even for adults older than 21. While adults (18 year-olds included) have the right to carry all sorts of loaded guns in cities, even recently with much support from the Democratic party, I am still not free to buy beer in a supermarket on Sunday in Indiana---as in many other states in the US. Freedom fries, anyone?

In the meantime, on this quiet Sunday evening, the city zen is on the pleasure of a slowly sipped Burgundy and Billie Holiday (below): "ain't nobody's business if I do"...


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2008-09-16

 

Urban word of the week

From: Urban Dictionary: bush doctrine: A policy of preemptive strike, as proposed by President George W. Bush.

Examples:

"My pants weren't dirty yet, but I Bush Doctrined them and washed them anyway."

"If that asshat so much as looks at me again, I'm going to Bush Doctrine his face into the ground."




Courtesy of Constructive Anarchy



2008-09-09

 

Relax, I'm Only Dancing

In the past six months or so, two albums never left my mp3 player: Curtis by Curtis Mayfield and Young Americans by David Bowie. The first is from 1970 and the second from 1975. Both are amazing albums from an amazing period---which resonates with the present times in so many ways. Musically, they show the path from Soul to Disco. But more than that, they show us how Disco was born from the cultural mashups of war and peace, of all racial and sexual colors, of hedonism and activism, of fear and hope, of rough times and glamour. The only thing pure about Disco was its urban identity, and in that, it was much more radical than Punk.

It is no surprise then, that the last few years have witnessed waves of disco revival: from disco-punk to activist soul. This last decade was certainly a throwback to the 1970's---from Vietnam to Nixon, we seem to be playing a very similar script. With all that in mind, I made a mix CD of related tracks from the past and present. This is a very dance-oriented, soulful mix that I made to convey the extreme mashup that Disco, as I see it, is: Relax, I'm Only Dancing. To download it, you need the following username/password combination:

username = apollo
password = feelingfree




Also, if you don't believe Bowie went all Philly/Disco go get the phenomenal Young Americans, especially the 2007 edition with video footage from the Dick Cavett show---see a clip blow as well as another one from the Dinah Shore show (don't you wish American mainstream TV were still this risque?). It was pretty wild to follow "Diamond Dogs" with this...



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2008-09-05

 

ABC is back!

So ABC was back in 2008! I have been enjoying the new album Traffic since the spring. I especially like the first single "The Very First Time", now circling on the top right---Martin Fry still writes some of the best lyrics around. Unfortunately I missed their concerts in all the nearby cities (Cincinatti, Detroit, Chicago)---I'll never forgive myself for that! So, below "the very first time" and "how to be a zillionaire" live in Detroit.





"I'm not stupid
I'm not smart
I'm not arrogant enough
To suffer for my art"




"I've seen the future, i can't afford it
Tell me the truth sir, someone just bought it"


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Resentment or the unbearable cycle of Nitzchean master and slave dynamics

Hey City Zen! I love the eastern city elite! Paul Krugman does it again: The Resentment Strategy.

The worst side of religion is how it so often gets enamored with bitchy righteousness on high pulpits made of nothing but resentment and self-pity. That would be fine, if the faith-saved but theologically-challenged didn't try so hard to change how others live, and in the process kill our, what is the word...? (see Samantha Bee below)?








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