parodies by nacrowe
i was listening the today to long-time noted tech journalist KARA SWISHER's interview with biographer WALTER ISAACSON about ELON MUSK, the subject of an upcoming, as yet untitled book. for those who dont know, ISAACSON trades in narratives about INNOVATIVE SCIENTISTS, POLITICIANS, PHILOSOPHERS and ENTREPRENEURS who left their mark on society; everyone from BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, LEONARDO DA VINCI, HENRY KISSINGER and ALBERT EINSTEIN to JENNIFER DOUDNA (pioneer of GENE EDITING and CRISPR) and STEVE JOBS. his work leans towards HAGIOGRAPHY and his arguably UNCRITICAL approach spares things like the CHARACTER FLAWS and PROBLEMATIC viewpoints of his subjects in order to shed light on the achievements that differentiate them from their peers.
SWISHER admittedly takes ISAACSON to task for glossing over the TROUBLING aspects of MUSK's NARCISSISTIC personality and SOLIPSISTIC worldview, such as his wanton CRUELTY on TWITTER, punching down on less POWERFUL people with repeated VILE HOMOPHOBIC, MISOGYNISTIC, TRANSPHOBIC, XENOPHOBIC and RACIST garbage. he's beyond a troll. he's an ASSHOLE of TRUMPIAN proportions and ISAACSON is SYCOPHANTIC towards him because he has a space ship and manufactures electric cars. it got me thinking about how as a society we treat this class of ENTREPRENEUR differently, going back to HENRY FORD, HOWARD HUGHES and THOMAS EDISON. that in a sense we are all COMPLICIT in this whitewashing of history and that over time MUSK will be no different. a century from now his net positives for humanity related to TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCEMENT in SPACE EXPLORATION and BATTERY STORAGE CAPACITY will supposedly outweigh the copious MISANTHROPIC BILE he continually spews upon the most VULNERABLE populations on TWITTER. according to APOLOGISTS and ENABLERS like ISAACSON.
when issues like this are raised i always think about my own COMPLICITY in the matter. being a participant in a CAPITALIST SOCIETY, by definition i am benefiting on the EXPLOITED LABOR of some NAMELESSS, FACELESS person in a faraway land. unlike most AMERICANS, ive seen this dynamic at play up close in SOUTHEAST ASIA, LATIN AMERICA, EASTERN EUROPE and WEST AFRICA during my time overseas. its the underbelly of CAPITALISM nobody wishes to acknowledge.
in a way the same goes for music and film. there are countless ASSHOLES in each industry that have done some terribly MONSTROUS things and we are all COMPLICIT, knowingly or unknowingly, in their cultural ascension by admiring and taking to heart their creative work. the second DEER GOD RADIO episode was about this very COMPLICATED dilemma of attempting to compartmentalize the artist from the art. i dont think we differentiate such, but we do and in the long arc of history the films of WOODY ALLEN and ROMAN POLANSKI and the music of R KELLY, MICHAEL JACKSON and CHUCK BERRY will undoubtedly outlive us all.
i am in SWISHER's corner but ISAACSON sadly might be on to something. and thats TRAGIC and UNFORTUNATE. i just try to think past and ignore DEGENERATE MISANTRHOPES like MUSK who ironically have MARTYR COMPLEXES and EPIC DELUSIONS regarding personal crusades and corporate missions to save humanity. just leave me out of it!
embedded below is the second DEER GOD RADIO episode on nonprofit internet radio station MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC, which originally aired this week five years ago in march 2018. the playlist includes some unquestionably SENSATIONAL music created and performed by some truly UNSAVORY and AWFUL human beings. enjoy!
this veritable shitlist of musicians does not include THE CRAMPS.
viva POISON IVY y LUX INTERIOR para siempre!
photo & text by nacrowe
honestly i only really came to appreciate this record a few years ago when i was teaching 6th graders in MYANMAR. this school was AMERICAN but i wasnt teaching AMERICAN or foreign kids, instead it was the sons and daughters of local business, political and military interests. the school was relatively new, less than 10 years old and was initiated to capitalize on what was assumed to be foreign corporate interest in the region as it became further democratized and open to foreign investment. sadly with recent events that optimism and hope seems to have been severely trampled upon.
i taught ENGLISH and i was always hesitant about utilizing AMERICAN cultural concepts as the basis for lessons. i was teaching the language and not necessarily the culture if that makes any sense. there were times i let that slide and as was the repeated case with music, especially JAMES BROWN, ARETHA FRANKLIN, LOUIS ARMSTRONG and RAY CHARLES. anyway so there i was teaching a typical class on HALLOWEEN, which the school promoted as an event, when i asked the class if they'd ever seen MICHAEL JACKSON's "THRILLER" video? they hadnt. well i fixed that immediately. i nixed the last half of class just to watch it twice. the kids were transfixed. the music, the choreography, the melody, the howling. from knowing nothing about MICHAEL JACKSON to dancing in the hallways and their next two classes (sorry!), they very much got the gist of the true spirit of HALLOWEEN.
so yeah, even 30+ years late on a culturally neutral, unbiased and unsuspecting audience full of preteens (the most critical of judges i would argue), that video still resonated like it did in the early 1980s. i was shocked. but there you have it.
does the THRILLER (EPIC, 1982) have some corny songs on it. absolutely. the PAUL MCCARTNEY duet "THE GIRL IS MINE" is beyond lame and cringe-worthy. the RICHARD CHEESE 2005 version with STEPHEN HAWKING is way better. "BABY BE MINE" and "HUMAN NATURE" are likewise pretty strikingly bad.
however, that hook on "P.Y.T. PRETTY YOUNG THINGS" still kills as shone with its repurposing to similar intoxicating effect on KANYE WEST's "GOOD LIFE" track off of GRADUATION (DEF JAM, 2007). of course "BEAT IT" and "BILLIE JEAN" are iconic stone-cold classics that dont need any vouching on my behalf. probably my favorite song on the record is "WANNA BE STARTIN' SOMETHIN'" which has a very "ROCK WITH YOU"-vibe from his previous outing OFF THE WALL (), my personal favorite record he did.
anyway, regardless of my opinion of this record and the merits of its individual tracks, this album crushed with pre-teens nearly 40 years after the fact in MYANMAR. i think that speaks for itself. it just devastates me that this opening of dialogue between cultures that i experienced seems to be on the way out just at the moment it was getting started.