It’s November 19th, 2016. Clean Bandit has debuted at number one with “Rockabye,” while Rae Sremmurd, Bruno Mars, James Arthur, and the Weeknd also chart. In news, the British Medical Journal calls for the legalization of drugs while Donald Trump agrees to pay $25m in settlements over Trump University.
On television, meanwhile, Class does its bottle episode. As with “Nightvisiting,” there is a sense of “really, already?” to this. The bottle episode is a classic contrivance. And while better shows than Class have gotten to them as soon as their third stories, they are generally a sign that something has gone oddly somewhere else in the season. In this case the culprit is fairly obvious: this is a Quill-free episode done on the cheap. Next week we have a Quill-only episode that’s blatantly where the money has gone.
If this sounds familiar, it’s presumably because you’ve watched Doctor Who and remember Russell T Davies tossing David Tennant into a cheap bottle episode he wrote in basically two days so that he could have Catherine Tate and Billie Piper do a costly greatest hits tour of his era the week after. Indeed, the basic setup ...
I’ve recently set up a Patreon, which has gotten off to a good start with 14 Patrons. If you enjoy my work, consider pitching me some money over there. My financial situation is strained to say the least, and every bit helps. Plus you might get to read some writing you’ll enjoy. In the meantime, here’s “James and the Cold Gun.”
A ragtag group of session musicians is enveloped in an infernal red backlight, which makes good on its promise to swallow the entire stage. A cowgirl from some dark dimension swaggers onstage, posing in a black and gold robe for the presumably dumbfounded audience. For close to nine minutes, the cowgirl sweeps across the stage, wailing over the cacophony of her band and illustrating her lyrics with suitably on-the-nose gestures. It culminates, as any Chekov-honoring song featuring “gun” in the title does, with a murder, as the cowgirl blasts the life out of an adversary, each gunshot met beat-for-beat by accompanying drums. Contorting her body in a freakish victory dance, the cowgirl ends the song lifting a rifle above her head in triumph, as her audience roars its approval.
“James and ...
The second part of our discussion about the 'Crying Nazi'
Warnings apply, as always.
Reminder: we're on iTunes and YouTube
See last episode's notes
Erik Striker on Gab
Cantwell posts Bowlcut meme
Cantwell trying to get into selling cryptocurrency?
Cantwell dating website prank calls
Tucker Carlson: "The American Dream is Dying"
Audio from 13 year old who called RA
Cantwell plays Tucker than reads from Mein Kampf
It’s November 5th, 2016. Little Mix are at number one with “Shout Out To My Ex.” James Arthur, Clean Bandit, Bruno Mars, and Drake also chart. Everything is fine. The Chicago Cubs have won the World Series for the first time in over a century. US Presidential election is in three days and Hillary Clinton is obviously going to win. Then, three days later, she doesn’t. Clean Bandit seizes the number one spot, Maroon 5 and Kendrick Lamar enter the top ten, and the other half of Class’s only two-part story airs
Let’s start with the basic structural oddity: a midseason two-parter in an eight episode season. This means that there’s never really a sense of momentum in the show. Its apparent initial pattern of being a monster-of-the-week show that picks a focus character each week is discarded. The subsequent structure of the next two episodes, in which the cast is split to do a bottle episode and an expensive episode that takes place at the same time, is too singular to establish a new pattern. This could be a compelling gambit of a show that has no pattern and is constantly surprising the viewer, but as ...
1978 was the year of Kate Bush both in terms of her career narrative and the press’s fixation on her. The fansite Gaffaweb records no less than 34 print interviews with Bush from that year alone. It was Bush’s most prolific year for press coverage: the press latched onto every detail they could find about her, as it does, and what couldn’t be directly evidenced was inferred. So Bush was treated like any other “eccentric” media sensation: an object of spectacle having more to do with her perceived ostentatiousness than her actual work.
There are strongly gendered dynamics at play in this. Read Bush’s press around the time and you’ll find all the standard tropes in journalism about women: comparisons to other female artists (Joni Mitchell, Laura Nyro, and Lyndsey de Paul are frequent points of nonsensical comparison), calling Bush a “hippie girl,” and the inevitable objectification of Bush herself (there’s more than one article in which Bush is made the target of a journalist’s foot fetish). The nadir of this fixation came when a promotional photo of Bush taken by rock photographer Gered Mankowitz achieved ubiquity. The infamous picture stages Kate ...
In this episode, we make our first assault on the mountain of bullshit, bile, and batshittery that is Christopher 'the Crying Nazi' Cantwell, take a swing at the 'libertarian-to-fascist' pipeline, and rampant transphobia / transmisogyny.
As ever, warnings apply.
Reminder: we're on iTunes and YouTube
Random Cantwell audio clips
Cantwell stuff from A Voice For Men
Cantwell's warning to Kricket Slick's future boyfriends
Cantwell OkCupid profile, circa 2015
Ethan Glover on Cantwell's long history
The Free State Project
Daily Beast on the Libertarian to Alt-Right Pipeline
Reason repudiates the libertarian to alt-right pipeline
Jack's article on libertarianism as the 'gateway drug' to the alt-right
Jack's article on the Koch Brothers and their funding of right-wing academia
Cantwell on "Free-er Talk Live, Jan 17 2019."
Charlottesville Race and Terror
Vice checks in on Cantwell a year later
Cantwell drunk in public
Elmer Woodard, lawyer to Cantwell and the alt-right
Chris Cantwell pulls his gun, May 2015
Crying Nazi Raw Video
"The Free Keene Squad" on the Colbert Report
"Looking for Trouble With Strangers"
Local news story on the above
Right Wing ...
It’s October 29th, 2016. Little Mix remain at number one. Actually, the second, third, fourth, and fifth songs on the chart do too. The news is altogether more volatile; Parliament approves the long-gestating Heathrow third runway project, which isn’t that big. In the US, meanwhile, the far-right militiamen who occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge earlier in the year are all acquitted and FBI Director James Comey makes a stunning intervention into the US Presidential race less than two weeks before election day as he announces the re-opening of the investigation into Hilary Clinton’s e-mails due to e-mails found on a device during the investigation of Anthony Weiner’s sexting of a fifteen year old girl while continuing not to disclose that Trump Campaign was also being investigated over its links to Russia. This has consequences.
On Internet streaming platforms, “Nightvisiting.” It is here the cracks begin to show for Class. It’s not that “Nightvisiting” is bad. Its ending is slightly misjudged (having Tanya’s effort fail so that Miss Quill can get a hero moment driving a bus into a tentacle mostly serves to ostentatiously deny the black girl an earned hero moment so the femme fatale white woman ...
In our last two entries, we touched on Kate Bush’s affinity for dance. “Wuthering Heights” sports a video with choreography every Bush fan in the world has attempted to emulate, and “Kite” has its own aerial hyperdance. “Moving” foregrounds the act of dancing. If Bush had previously treated dance as a companion to her music, “Moving,” as its name implies, canonizes it as an integral part of how her songs work. “[Dancers are] beautiful, they’re so free and they’re just purely stating what they’re feeling and it’s so delightful…” said Bush in 1980. “And I think that’s what dance is about, the enjoyment of that feeling of movement and freedom, it’s like suddenly breaking through a barrier.”
From its opening moments, “Moving” has a sense of weight and motion, commencing with a fifteen-second sample of whale song from environmentalist Roger S. Payne’s LP Songs of the Humpback Whale (“whales say everything about ‘moving’…it weighs a ton and yet it’s so light it floats”). Then Bush’s vocals and piano greet the listener with “moving stranger, does it really matter?/ as long as you’re ...