Black Snake Moan: Utter Shit-pile

by anti-folk hero

Let’s see, where can I begin to start talking about this horrible turd fest of a movie? Samuel L. Jackson plays a po’ boy farmer who is also a god-quoting blues revivalist. Christina Ricci is a complete nympho who gets heroin-withdrawal cravings for cock. She gets beat up and left by the side of the road, Samuel L. (or Laz, as he is called) finds her, puts her on the couch, goes into town, magically cures her cough, learns she’s a slut and then chains her to the radiator to “cure her” of her cock cravings. Sounds like it might be interesting, right?

Wrong. There are big patches of nothing, disconnected characters, and a whole mess of scenes that could easily be cut out (which would make this sucker run a bit more smoothly). Samuel L. can’t play the modest farmer for long, often displaying his machismo first by breaking a bottle on a pool table next to his brother’s head and then singing a blues song where he keeps saying “motherfucker” and talking about shooting somebody in the chest with a 44 (what original fare!). Add to this a whole slew of unnecessary characters, including: Ricci’s insane mother (who is unforgiving when confronted about letting her old boyfriends rape the young Ricci), Laz’s church-going-pharmacist-love-interest, a preacher, a bartender, a young boy, Ricci’s boyfriend (played by pretty boy Justin Timberlake, who spends most of his time on screen yelling, starting fights and generally trying to prove to the world that he isn’t a total pussy, when in fact he is exactly that, a pussy), a 300 pound black crack dealer and many more. The plot is non-existent, which leaves the movie as a poor attempt to reconcile a man who lost his wife, a woman who lost her ability to fuck everything that moves, and a poor attempt to revive the blues, and you have black snake moan.

The product placement was especially egregious. Gibson obviously paid someone on set to use only Gibson guitars for Samuel L. Jackson’s artificially applauded performances (where after each 30 second song, the entire house went completely bananas). His acoustic guitar was some brand new, clean, ridiculously expensive guitar, which was especially poorly placed as Laz was poor and had to sell vegetables off of the back of his truck. His electric was a disgusting magenta colored Gibson ES-335 with decals spelling out “L-A-Z” on the side of it. You know, to add authenticity. Yeah, like this podunk pea farmer would have a five thousand dollar custom shop magenta Gibson ES-335 sitting under his bed and be selling vegetables. Why don’t you just replace his tractor with an Escalade? The effect is the same.

All in all, this is a terrible movie with a sub par but completely expected performance from Samuel L (say “what” again) Jackson while Ricci’s part was hot and sexy but ultimately not interesting. I place the blame on the writer and director, however, who obviously couldn’t edit this diarrhea milkshake into something watchable.

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Filed under barn, barn stormer, barnstormer, black, black snake moan, blues, christina ricci, cinema, critic, critical, critique, jackson, moan, movie, movies, music, review, reviews, ricci, samuel, samuel l. jackson, shit, snake, south, southern, stormer, sucks, timberlake

Yahoo.com – Republican Bias?

  by anti-folk hero

Yesterday, Yahoo! posted a story discussing Republican Senator John Sununu’s call for the dismissal of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. The story was originally titled “GOP Senator Sununu calls for Gonzales’ dismissal,” but was changed within the hour to “Senator Sununu calls for Gonzales’ dismissal.” I think this is a blatant form of political pandering and shows that there is some kind of political authority at Yahoo! making sure that news stories don’t reflect badly on the Republican party. Disagree? Agree? Comment.

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My Crazy, Controlling Dad Explained

by anti-folk hero

Ah, fathers. Few have anything good to say about fathers. The best father/son relationships usually involved a father who taught his son to be just like him. The musician father with a musician son, the preacher father with a preacher son, etc. Then there are the loads of criminals in the world who claim to have been abused or neglected by their fathers. No matter what your relationship to your father was, however, one indisputable fact is that fathers have a tangible effect on their children no matter what they do. Whether that relationship is good or bad depends on the personalities of both people involved.

Let’s talk about my father for a minute. He is a very successful professional who is at the top of the company he works for. He has a team of elite, intelligent people working under him, doing his bidding, and generally just trying to profit off of his hard work. He financially supports my mother (whom he divorced over fifteen years ago and who still lives on alimony), sends his second kid to a private school for 30k a year, and is probably going to help me out when I eventually get into higher education later this year. Sounds like a great, helping, encouraging guy, right?

To be fair, he can be a great Dad. He got me into music by telling me stories about different musicians as I was growing up. He also forced me to start taking guitar lessons at age eleven even though I really didn’t want to. Almost everything he has ever predicted about my life or what would happen to me has been right on the money. So where is the issue in my relationship with him? My dad is a control freak. There is no better way to describe him. He has many personal insecurities that he cannot control that manifest themselves in negative behavior towards others. He’ll oftentimes be dead wrong about something and yet find justifications for why he is right and everyone else is wrong, often involving verbal and emotional abuse. He is aggressive, uncompromising, and decidedly uncooperative in just about everything. “My way or the highway” could be his personal philosophy.

Yet people still like him and deal with him. He has many friends, most of them through work, and he is well respected by his contemporaries. Now, you may be saying that I shouldn’t be so ungrateful, as he is giving me money for school. But at this point, I am sick of his money and sick of his shit.

An example: Today, I brought him a spreadsheet I had made outlining the costs of a cross-country trip to visit several of the schools I was accepted to. I laid out flight costs, dates, hotel prices, even trains prices from some cities back east back and forth. I got the absolute cheapest prices on flights that I could find (which is better than he could do). Upon sitting down in his office, he took the piece of paper to me, and then berated me for ten minutes about how stupid I was, how I should find the cheapest prices, insinuating that I was dumb and arbitrarily put up more expensive prices on purpose, and even accosting me for not realizing that flying to Ithaca is much more expensive than flying into Syracuse or Rochester instead (to save money). In the end, he has done nothing but yelled, complained, and generally insulted my intelligence in the most aggressive, mean-spirited way, and said nothing constructive at all. He had alienated me.

My father is a man at the utter whim of his moods. He can’t control himself. In many ways, a child has more control over the responses he chooses than my father does. If he has a bad day, he’ll be rude and contemptuous towards everyone around him. “This isn’t what I wanted for dinner!” he’ll shout at my step-mom. “I specifically told you that I only eat Norwegian potatoes, not these Idaho pieces of shit! You knew that! You’re just serving me these worthless, disgusting potatoes because you don’t listen. Maybe you should stop watching all of those idiotic TV shows and pay attention when I tell you these things. Its really not that hard to do.” Then, the same day, he’ll be half an hour late to a family dinner, forget about his son’s basketball game, and space out on a bunch of other shit entirely. HYPOCRITE.

This is my read on his personality. I see him as emotionally immature. Here is a person who has some serious insecurities that are deeply buried. He can’t control his fears and desires, so when he feels like he can’t control himself, he tries to control others. Being an intelligent person, he is quite successful in controlling other people. The effect, however, is that he alienates the people that care about him. He treats them like invaders or strangers and his attitude couldn’t be less inviting.

At this point in my life, I’m realizing that there are two paths I can take at this moment. If I take his money for college, I’ll be in a weaker position to call him on his bad moods and at the mercy of his bullshit. If I don’t take his money, I’ll have to take out monster-sized loans and repay them later in life. However, I would have my independence. What do you think? Is the independence worth it? Please share your stories about controlling friends or family members if you have them.

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Filed under abuse, aggression, aggressive, analysis, arrogance, arrogant, asshole, barn, barn stormer, barnstormer, control, control freak, controlling, crazy, dad, disorder, dominant, family, father, father son, freak, jerkwater, morals, oafish, obstinance, obstinate, papa, psychological, psychology, rude, son, stormer, stubborn, Uncategorized

The Politics of LA Tagging

by missus boobella

For the two or so years I’ve been living in Los Angeles (and despite my complaints, I consider myself a dedicated transplant), I’ve noticed an increase in tagging, especially but not limited to politically-minded tagging.

The tagging I’ve noticed isn’t just located in Southeast Los Angeles; it’s everywhere. Anti-folkhero, my lovely boyfriend, attributes the rise of tagging in West LA to local middle schools that bus in students. While I may not agree, it can’t be argued that 14 year olds may be the contributors of much of the graffiti around Los Angeles. Just read this article from the LA Times about a young student who tagged a bus while the mayor of Los Angeles was sitting inside.

My attitude towards tagging is conflicted. If 14 year olds are wandering the streets of Los Angeles with a can of spray paint, I do think whatever artistic credibility can be attached to adding some color to the city is better than ingesting drugs, though the two probably have a strong correlation.

I also realize that tagging is just the edge of a very large movement in art towards legitimizing what has often been considered debased and amateur, much like comic books have been making the shift towards literary recognition in the past 30 years. So large is the movement, there is no way I could address the artistic and cultural ramifications of ‘street art’ except to say that, as I’ve already said, I’ve been noticing more and more of it on the streets of Los Angeles.

Below are some samples. First, standard tagging on Main Street in Santa Monica. This wall faces a main intersection and was originally painted to imitate, I guess, the front of a Mexican home. I took this picture because this intersection is in a nice area of Santa Monica, if there even is such a thing as a bad area in Santa Monica.

Standard Tagging

A few weeks ago, there was a protest on Westwood Blvd against the possibility of military action in Iran. I’ve read statistics that Iranians comprise around 30% of the population of Westwood; and Los Angeles has the largest population of Iranians outside of Iran. The day after the protest, I noticed these:

Don’t Bomb Iran Electrical

Don’t Bomb Iran Bench

What I find interesting about these two tags is the question of who spray-painted the messages? I watched part of the protest and the majority of those walking the street were elderly Iranians. It was led, as far as I could tell, by an old Iranian man in a wheelchair, flag of Iran proudly in hand. Whoever tagged this was not the 14 year old boy who scribbled an indecipherable word onto a bus window.

Finally, for some comedic value, Anti- found this message on our garbage dump. Behind his apartment is a long alley that stretches much of the length of Little Santa Monica, and has been home to countless wandering homeless. We’ve also noticed infrequently young boys running around with pellet guns and expensive zip up hoodies. They might be the culprit of the surrounding tags; but the street artist responsible for the centerpiece of this picture? Probably a neighbor in his or her early twenties would be my guess.

Tagging Ghetto

I would like to agree with whoever added that sweet little message to the ongoing conversation on our garbage dump, but judging by the emergence of these kinds of artistic endeavors as ‘street art’, it may not necessarily be true. Just look at Swindle Magazine, a magazine begun by Shepard Fairey and Roger Gastman, both graffiti artists of different sorts. Or check out this exhibition in Brooklyn about graffiti art. Examples of the rising legitimacy of ‘street art’ is abundant and indicative of a different truth: tagging may very well get you out of the ghetto.

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Filed under barn, barn stormer, barnstormer, graffiti, iran, iranian, la, los angeles, politics, stormer, taggin, tagging, west la, west los angeles, westwood

Newt Gingrich – Moral Crusader Against Infidelity

by anti-folk hero

First, read this article.

The following is a quote.

“Gingrich was an outspoken opponent of Bill Clinton, frequently attacking the President on his lack of morals. But Gingrich had more than his share of skeletons in the closet. Gingrich has been divorced twice and married three times. He called his second wife in the hospital while she was recovering from cancer treatment, to tell her that he was filing for divorce.

While the GOP-led Congress was crucifying President Clinton for carrying on an affair with Monica Lewinsky, Gingrich was busy carrying on an affair of his own. Gingrich was having an affair with a Congressional intern who would eventually become his third wife.”

– from http://demopedia.democraticunderground.com/index.php/Newt_Gingrich

This goes right back to the discussion of morals we were just having. Claiming to be more moral than someone else is just a form of posturing that in reality has little to no effect on policy decisions. If anything, those who try hardest to be seen as moral are the ones who are most likely to be hiding their immorality. Normal people don’t need to regularly assert their moral superiority, as they are quite comfortable in expressing this through their actions instead of through their words. The next time you call someone else immoral, think about what you’re saying and see if you’re actually speaking your mind or just trying to inflate your reputation. If its the latter, then you are an actor playing a role and not a human making a decision.

newt

ewwwww, who would want to have an affair with this guy?

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Filed under affair, bill, clinton, congress, extramarital, gingrich, lewinsky, monica, moral, morals, newt, political, politics, president

Good Guy/Bad Guy Politics

by anti-folk hero

I’m not sure if this particular theory of politics has been posited before, but I’d like to take a moment to address something that I call “Good Guy/Bad Guy politics.” This is a form of political bickering wherein two sides of an issue are considered not only for what they actually state, but also for where they fall on an artificial scale of morality. Take a heated issue like abortion; pro-lifers are anti-abortion not only for religious reasons but also because they take certain religious tracts literally. As being religious necessitates believing you have the one truth, those who disagree with you are telling lies and thus bad guys. In response to this blanket stereotype, pro-choice advocates return the favor by depicting pro-lifers as religious fanatics devoid of decision making skills outside of exact Biblical text. This is the good guy/bad guy aesthetic at work. It is a reactionary technique used to polarize large groups of people into opposite sides of a particular issue.

Take Karl Rove’s strategy as Bush’s advisor. Rove tells Bush to take a far right stance on an issue, rather than a more centrist, cooperative stance; this immediately offends centrists and leftists who then chastise Bush for being divisive. Then, in retaliation to this flood of insults aimed at republicans, moderate-right and right voters move to the extreme right to support Bush (and in effect, pridefully defend their original support of Bush). Now we have people on the far left and the far right exchanging stereotypes and refusing to listen to each other’s points of view. Isn’t this a bit childish?

Occasionally, good guy/bad guy politics can be good. Take our long overdue switchover to an ecologically sustainable environment. This is a more clean cut issue where those who want to shut down polluters and move to sustainable fuels and organic foods are considered to be the goods guys and big industries are considered to be bad guys. Switching to sustainable fuels and organic foods would have mainly positive affects for the country and will be necessary to stop a complete meltdown of the planet. The wars in the middle east would become unnecessary and we would be able to keep more of our money in the country and put less of it into the hands of rich contracting companies like Halliburton and women-abusing-warlords in the middle east.

Until we can move away from good guy/bad guy politics, however, we will be stuck in a political world where hurling insults from either side of a fence has replaced conversation and logical debate. All of our beliefs are reactionary and based on the frustration of having an opposite side that won’t listen to what you have to say. In the end, we have to remember that we are all Americans before we are Democrats or Republicans, and if we want America to remain the greatest country in the world, we need to take each other seriously and place a higher value on cooperation. Otherwise the corrupt politicians and terrorists will have won.

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Filed under america, analysis, bad guy, barn, barn stormer, barnstormer, bush, cooperation, democrat, discussion, good guy, iraq, oil, opinion, politics, rational, reactionary, republican, rove, solution, stormer, Uncategorized, war

Britt Daniel – The Most Underrated Songwriter Around

by anti-folk hero

“Its so easy to say you don’t care, its so easy to say you don’t need it,” says Britt Daniel, lead singer of Spoon, but I would have to say that you all should care about Britt. He and his band Spoon have been putting out some of the most exciting rock music in the past 10 years and yet just about nobody has ever even heard of Spoon. Well, I for one am sick of that. This band can knock down and kick the shit out of your average indie band, though I think they’d be too modest to say that themselves.

Spoon 1

I remember my first Spoon show. I was obsessed with “Girls Can Tell,” their third release. It was my second year in college. I got out of class at 6:30; I went to school in Santa Cruz and the show was in San Francisco, an hour and a half away, and I had no one to go with. Over the phone, I convinced my friend Kevin to come with me. We showed up at a little bar called Slim’s, where I used my fake ID (I was 20) that said my name was “Richard D. James” to get in. We drank Pabst on tap and then fought our way to the front of the crowd to see Spoon perform. They were ON that night, as they electrified a packed house through most of “Girls Can Tell” and a good deal of “A Series of Sneaks.” For an encore, Britt Daniel even came out with an acoustic guitar and played “The Agony of Lafitte,” a song which he wrote as a gypsy curse for an evil record executive he once knew. The whole evening was so fun and exciting that Spoon immediately moved into my own personal hall of fame. Since then, I’ve seen them at the “All Tomorrow’s Parties” concert, where they played on the stationary cruise ship slash hotel, the Queen Mary. I’ve seen them headline at the Wiltern in LA and even up at the Fillmore in San Francisco.

So you’re probably saying, so what, why should I care? Well, listen to this song and see what you think.

JONATHON FISK

maybe you remember maybe you’re locked away
maybe we’ll meet again some better day some better life

mmmm Jonathon Fisk speaks with his fists
can’t let me walk home on my own
and just like a knife down on my life
so many ways to set me right

it’s such a long way home
it’s how the story goes
and it’s like atom bombs and blunt razors
atom bomb sand blunt razors

Jonathon then says it’s a sin
but he don’t think twice cause to him
religion don’t mean a thing
it’s just another way to be right wring
just like a knife down on my life
so many ways to set it right
that’s how it goes that’s how the story goes

it’s such a long way home
you’re too hold to understand
cause I just want to get home now
I just want to get home now

Jonathon’s right down on my life
so many ways to set me right
on the long walk home
that’s how the story goes
and Jonathon Fish always a risk
tells me he counts my teeth every night
I want to get them all back now
I want to get them all back now
and I want to turn him around

This song is Britt singing about a bully he knew in high school (or some kind of school). I read in an interview with Britt that Jonathan Fisk comes to their shows now. What a way to win over your enemies!

Britt recently worked on the soundtrack for the movie “Stranger than Fiction” with Brian Reitzell. Several classic Spoon songs were used and the soundtrack even included a new spoon song, “The Book I Write,” which I haven’t been able to get out of my head for days now. Spoon’s music really connected with me when I was first exploring indie rock music. Girls Can Tell became a soundtrack for my early college days and we spent many evenings listening to Spoon and Yo La Tengo records in the dorms. While my fellow Santa Cruz buddies were jamming to Zeppelin, I was figuring out how to play both the piano and guitar part of “Anything You Want” simultaneously on guitar. I even have a picture I snapped of myself with Britt Daniel from “All Tomorrow’s Parties.” He didn’t seem that thrilled to meet me. That’s ok. I still think he’s a legend.

Spoon 2

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