Saturday, August 29, 2015

Video Of The Week: N.W.A.

A couple of weeks ago, I went and saw Straight Outta Compton, the biopic telling the tale of rap group N.W.A., and figured I'd feature the song that inspired the title. But time passed, and I went a week without doing so.

Now is that time.

I recommend seeing the movie; as far as biopics go, I put it in the same category as Ray and Walk The Line, as good movies that tell a tale while taking a bit of liberties with history to make the story fit a two-hour time frame narrative. But if you're curious to find out about how Eazy-E, Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, DJ Yella, and MC Ren got started (and got in trouble), how their relationships were torn apart, how hip hop feuds can get violent, the arrivals of Snoop Doggy Dogg, Suge Knight, Da Lench Mob and The D.O.C. to the mix and just the ambiance of early-1990s West Coast rap in general.

However, I'd already featured Straight Outta Compton at the time of the album's 20th anniversary, so instead I opted to show Express Yourself this week, featuring a lead rap by Dr. Dre and samples from the eponymous classic by Charles Wright & The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band and a sweet cameo from Tone Loc:

Monday, August 17, 2015

Open Letter To Men

Guys. Dicks, obviously.

Those who act like dicks, anyway. We're fed up with your shit. And by we, sure, I can easily mean the 85% of the population that isn't you. But I mean ''we'' more specifically as well, as in ''those of us men who aren't fucking assholes''.

I'm not an idiot. I know places like 4chan are just a haven for dumb bullying, bravado, and one-upping one another on the ''hardest'' shit one can come up with, and most of it is posturing and done in ''trolling good fun''.

Most people do.


What the fuck, man?

Do you really need to cross the line every fucking time? You do realize that by doing that, while you're masturbating in your parents' basements about making girls cry or whatever it is that turns you on in that shit, you're lumping the rest of us in your stupidity?

When the story about a girl getting into a fight with a guy who was too drunk and horny and didn't take ''no'' for an answer at my favourite bar (Casa Del Popolo) broke last week, I tried telling people to take a deep breath, assess the situation, not lump all their shit together into one, too easy issue, especially when some of them were making associations with Roosh V being in town recently and linking them, as if a drunk person needed inspiration to be rowdy and out of bounds and/or antagonizers needed inspiration for their bullshit.

The girl's speech was bordering too much on the ''all guys are assholes'' terrain, reminiscent of shitty after-school specials where a guy would typically become a racist and hate all black people because of one asshole who probably deservedly stole his girlfriend. Or whatever - you know the cliché.

But you fucking fuckers.

You motherfucking cock-brained idiots had to go and add fuel to the fucking fire.

And now you've got her pissed off, blind with rage and disappointment in mankind, and she has a fucking platform and people's attention to say things like:
''We do need to look at the comments. They are representative of the darkest corners of humanity that exist beyond the internet. People need to know this is real. These are real people walking around in our daily lives; the guy sitting next to you on the metro, the person you call for your internet tech support, the branch manager at your bank. It could be that cute boy you have a crush on in your class, or that self-proclaimed “nice guy” you just started dating. These are real people typing these things on their keyboards and they represent our real-life problems regarding violence against women.''
And it doesn't come from a bad place. She's wrong to lump all of us with you assholes, and hopefully she will see that in time - but you brought it on us. And in the meantime, that's a message that's getting attention. That's going to fuck the world we all (men, women, boys, girls, whatever lies in between and encompasses both) live in for a little while, because you fuckers couldn't stop yourselves from piling it on ON A FUCKING KID.

Okay, now to the rest of us who aren't worse than cancer and AIDS put together:

I've said it before and I'll say it again: at this point, I'm not certain our society can be repaired and sort itself out the way it is. If tomorrow, everyone had the same rights, same wages for the same jobs, same advantages, no more race or gender or anything, it wouldn't be enough because many feel they've been wronged for too long that equality isn't enough. And I don't blame them, though that'll be the subject of another - probably much longer - post. But the solution lies with starting anew. New or no borders, new or no systems, new or no laws. Simplification, not more loopholes: don't mess with others or their shit.

In the grand scheme of things, many have been wronged and most Peoples are a victim of something, of someone, at least in their narrative. Except probably the British and their direct descendants.

In the girl's fight last week, she witnessed a guy hitting on too many women, then herself, and concluded he was a ''pick-up artist'' and decided he deserved to have a drink poured on him to make him stop. She still feels this was fair punishment, while I tend to want to use the same weapons for attack as defense, that's fine, it didn't harm anyone physically and got her point across.

He then allegedly choked her, after which she broke a pint of beer (glass) over his head, making him bleed profusely.

I feel this escalated way too quickly, for one, and the dude did, indeed go way overboard by initiating physical contact, and she slit his head open, which is deserved retaliation at this point.

This was a fight.

I wasn't there, but from those details, which are from her exact deposition and account of the event, that's all it was. A disagreement that turned physical, because a guy went overboard and a girl reacted.

Grand scheme of things? Misogyny? I don't see it. I see a system that isn't working for women, that isn't equal though it's written to be, I see more men with loud voices getting their message(s) across than women and some of them do not treat women with respect (though I see - slow - progress in pop culture diversification though much of it seems contrived and doesn't necessarily always fit the proper narrative); we're in a ''freedom of speech'' society where, if it's done within certain boundaries and not inciting to behaviour, this is acceptable - BOTH WAYS. Person A can be an ass, Person B can call them out for it. Person A is allowed to think a certain way, Person B is allowed to fully disagree.

We do need to grow the fuck up as a species. Not just be civilized, that's a given - and shit, when some people are, it's so rare nowadays that it makes the fucking news -  but also, get rid of our persecution complex.

We're in 2015. You are bigger than your skin colour, your race, your sexual orientation, your gender, your preferences, your tastes. YOU HAVE AN IDENTITY. YOU ARE ONE. You do not need to represent anyone other than yourself, we're aware of most of what's out there, we're fine with it, count your vote as your own.

I may love you for who you are; why can't I hate you for who you are?

Do you know WHY 4chan fuckers say the things they say? Because they know words can destroy you, when, really, they shouldn't. LOOK IN THE MIRROR AND ASK YOURSELF WHO YOU ARE. When in doubt, ask folks around you. What defines you?

If something that can come out of someone with Tourette's mouth can ruin your day, you're fucked.

You're allowed to have off days, days where the slightest thing will break you down, yes; but you can't be like that every day. You need to rise and stand up so we can rise with you. Life isn't an individual sport, it's a team fucking effort, and in it, we're allowed to have as many teammates as we want or need. You don't have to choose to reject everyone for a few fuckers, and you shouldn't live your life with the fear or impression that they lurk underneath the skin of everyone you meet; you'll only be hurting yourself and stopping yourself from fucking feeling things, and if you can't feel a thing, what's the point in being alive?

You defended yourself when he was choking you, didn't you? Ergo, you had a will to live, and a will to fight for what seemed right. Come back on the team, or let us join yours.

Trust me, there are bigger canyons to cross ahead - like the one where even really good people make really bad fucking mistakes once in a while. Not every murderer is a criminal, and not every criminal is a ''bad'' person. And few of the most clean-cut are as perfect as they seem. Again, regardless of gender, race, religion or tolerance to lactose.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Say What?

You've heard about growing ears on rats' backs, right?

How about on human forearms? How about on human forearms for no one's actual benefit but as an arts/science experiment to eventually hook the thing online and have everyone on the planet hear what's going on in his life?

Well, that's what a Perth, Australia artist has in mind for the one growing on his fucking arm.

You don't like it? Grow your own and do whatever you want with yours.

Yep, the miracles of modern science.

Video Of The Week: Paul Cargnello

Let's get it out of the way: I'm not a huge fan of Paul Cargnello's. His teenage politically-leaning and cliché-filled lyrics when he was in ska band The Vendettas killed it for me for the long run in the late 1990s, and I find a lot of his French-language songs to be cheesy as well.

But people like him, and his music. And that's fine. Not everyone is infallible; there's the Pope, the Dalai Lama, and myself. And I accept the lot of you just the way you are, with all your shortcomings. So keep being yourselves.

That being said, this video for the song Appeal To Me, from his 2014 album The Hardest Part Is You May Never Know, has a great fine blues-rock rock riff, nicely accentuated by a harmonica in the back. Unfortunately, his attempt at writing a sexy song falls way short, particularly with a video featuring nothing but his face and a few awkward spots of missed-emotion lip-synching. But if I blank out the words, the songs definitely falls into the ''2000 Best Imitations of Jack White This Month'' category, and that's something.

So, uh, Keep on Rockin' In The Free World, folks.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Video Of The Week: Rage Against The Machine

I was walking and talking with a friend who's younger than me this week, and for some reason the conversation came to Rage Against The Machine. I was certain that their impact had been so huge, so grandiose, that everyone under the age of 40 would instantly know who they were, from Wake Up playing at the end of The Matrix to the perfect-for-high-schooolers end of Killing In The Name with its ending of more than twenty repetitions of the phrase ''Fuck you, I won't do what you tell me''.

Alas, no. Even folks who claim to have ''listened to subversive music'' in their teens can live their lives Rage-free.

And so, as a favor for all those lost souls, I decided to feature them once more, and while I did juggle with the idea of featuring Killing In The Name, in the end, I opted for the Michael Moore-directed Sleep Now In The Fire, chronicling the day where RATM closed the New York Stock Exchange ten minutes early and in which, during a parody of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, they display facts about wealth and income inequality.

It gets both Rage's and Moore's main messages across, but it also gives Moore the chance to go outside his now-inevitable documentary film-making and go back to just plain storytelling, and the cheesy green screen effects in front of which the band pretends to croon act like his follow-up to Canadian Bacon.

There are a variety of tones use in the less-than-four-minute video, and it's rich in meaning and Truth.