I really hate Kanye West. I hate him precisely because, for all his narcissism, his insufferable persecution complexes, and of course his idiot bride, I can't hate him. Every time I promise myself that I'm done with him, that he's gone so far off the rails that I simply can't overlook his personal ridiculousness -- that nothing he does in the studio could be worth it -- he steps up and reminds me and everybody else why we put up with him: because he is just that fucking brilliant when it comes to making music.
His new album, Yeezus, drops today. It's got a couple of DOA tracks, certainly, but the stuff that connects knocks it out of the park.
This, in particular, is easily one of the best songs of the year.
Here's Black Skinhead, live on SNL.
Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Monday, June 17, 2013
Thursday, June 13, 2013
"Greenwald has not yet made a public evaluation of whether or not he agrees that he made that mistake. He owes it to us to do so, with as much speed as practicably possible. It’s not too much to say that the fate of his broader NSA project might hinge on doing so effectively—because the powers that be will find it very easy to seize on this one error to discredit his every NSA revelation, even the ones he nailed dead to rights... Such distraction campaigns are how power does its dirtiest work. Think of the way the questions about the authenticity of the 'Killian documents' were able to obscure the fact that George W. Bush actually did go AWOL from the Texas Air National Guard or how the unrelated or how the unrelated killing of a CIA station chief in Greece was used to discredit the congressional investigations of CIA wrongdoing in 1975—cases with which Greenwald should be well-familiar. So, Glenn Greenwald, what’s the word? The fate of our civil liberties may depend on it."
-- The Nation's Rick Perlstein on questions being raised about Glenn Greenwald's dubious reporting on the PRISM program and the NSA's data-mining in general, including an apparent mistake that Perlstein is calling Greenwald's "epic botch"
Meanwhile, over at Mother Jones, Kevin Drum has some questions of his own about Edward Snowden. What's interesting is that Drum links back to Andrew Sullivan, who links to the guy who's turning out to be Patient Zero in the push-back against Greenwald and Snowden's claims, the guy who first started asking very serious questions and demanding that Greenwald clarify his claims: Bob Cesca. These people are basically quoting Cesca and the stuff he's been writing for the Daily Banter all week, word-for-word.
A big standing-O for Bob today, my friends. He's doing a yeoman's job.
Join the After Party
Here’s What You’re Missing This Week: Mad Men Spoilers; Cleaning Out the Bucket of Show; Listener Reaction to Last Week’s Show; More on the NSA Story and Greenwald; Scrambling the Left-Right Paradigm — in Hong Kong; Obama Supported the FISA Amendments of 2008; Taibbi Versus Greenwald; Food Network Star; Chez Feuds with Restaurant Stakeout Host; New Superman Movie; New Hobbit Trailer (Which Chez Doesn’t Care About); Forgotten Sequels; The New Mr. Rogers Remix: Sing Together; and much more.
The NSA Eavesdropping Story: Snowden Leaks to Hong Kong Press; A Million Questions; Greenwald’s Agenda; Misleading Reporting; Where Was the Tech Vetting; Chez’s Media Guide; "Direct Access" is an FTP Server; Credibility and Transparency; Where Do We Draw the Counterterrorism Line; Greenwald Blocked Bob; Ron Paul and Drones; and much more. Brought to you by Bubble Genius, the BobCesca.com Amazon Link and the Bowen Law Group.
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When it comes to interesting musical projects, ex-drummers for Nine Inch Nails have pretty much everybody beat. Josh Freese has worked with artist after arrist and his solo stuff is fantastic. Chris Vrenna created the great Tweaker and a couple of months ago was playing with Clint Mansell live, and then there's this: Jerome Dillon's criminally underappreciated solo band, Nearly.
Nearly released a record back in 2005 that's still one of my favorites of the last decade, the kind of thing I go back to again and again. Last night one of the NIN fan accounts tweeted out a link to a Soundcloud sampling of Nearly's stuff that includes an outtake from a 2010 studio session -- and as expected, it's lush, sensual stuff.
This is Thirteen.
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
I'm always curious what leads people to old pieces I've written, and certainly what would lead someone to comment on an old piece that I've written when it should be abundantly clear that pretty much nobody will see it -- unless of course the comment in question is as insane as this one.
Five years ago, I wrote about CNN correspondent Richard Quest's unusual run-in with the law. For those who don't remember, he was arrested in Central Park with a bag of meth in his pocket, a dildo stuffed in his shoe, and a rope tied around his balls. (For the record, that's how I go out every day.) He was jettisoned off to rehab for a bit but in the end didn't actually lose his job at CNN, which at the time kind of peeved me given that I had just been fired for blogging.
Anyway, it turns out the reason he wasn't let go involves, of course, the Great Zionist Media Conspiracy, which also includes Wolf Blitzer and -- eh, fuck it, just read the anonymous comment that came in overnight.
"LMFAO! The REAL reason Quest was retained (while you were not) is because he is JEWISH. It's no secret that CNN is Zionist dominated; Wolf Blitzer who is the chief anchor for CNN, is a Mossad Agent (everybody know it, nobody says it) and most of the reporters there shill for Israel; they're only 'liberal' when they criticize anybody else - otherwise they're hawkish when it comes to protecting Israeli interests. Hey, they fired their BEST reporter Peter Arnett because he was unbiased and they fired Octavia Nasr for having an opinion (something that I'm told is common in a democracy) so dumping a meth head (especially someone stupid enough to tell his arresting officer he has drugs in his pockets!) would be a no-brainer; But NOOOOOOO! The Mr. Bean copycat still has a job. I used to enjoy Quest when he was on The BBC; he was so insane (I think they deliberately let him run riot just so that they could laugh at him behind his back) at the drab BBC that he livened up the proceedings; but at CNN he was insufferable. It's hard to stand apart when you're a clown because the circus around you is even more ridiculous than you are! He seems to get picked for news that's NOT in his field of expertise and I don't learn a thing from his reports! No good if you're going to call yourself a journalist. I wouldn't be surprised if this is HIS (unique) way of getting himself fired! Amazing! Perhaps you should have tried to DELIBERATELY get yourself fired; then they would have retained you!"
It's been a while since I truly maintained this site in a manner befitting it and its storied history, and, believe me, no one's more upset about that than me. But I guess it's nice that I can still draw the occasional Thorazine-addled reader onto the premises.
Boards of Canada, along with Mogwai and Explosions in the Sky, sit atop the list of bands making wonderfully experimental "soundtrack music." I'm talking about the kind of evocative, mysterious material that feels like it actually has the power to transform the world around you as you listen to it.
Here's the new single from Boards -- Reach for the Dead.
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Friday, June 07, 2013
"I get so tired of having to cry out 'misogyny,' but that’s what’s going on in this situation. People questioning the idea that a woman could sleep with a man who defied her lot in the looks bracket hews so closely to these really outdated ideas about what makes a woman worth spending time with. Really? Can you not imagine a world in which a girl who’s sexually down for anything and oddly gregarious pulls a guy out of his shell for two days?"
-- Lena Dunham on those who say that a man who looks like Patrick Wilson would never stoop to having sex with a woman who looks like Lena Dunham's Hannah Horvath character on Girls, as he does for an entire episode last season
Trust me, Lena, there are plenty of us who are just as tired of hearing you cry out "misogyny" over every little goddamned thing, too.
I did actually see the episode she's talking about, the one in which her character comes on to a doctor played by Patrick Wilson -- an intelligent, established, seemingly normal guy, as opposed to the insufferable shitheads who populate the Dunham-centric view of Brooklyn where most of Girls takes place -- and the two wind up screwing and basically playing house for a couple of days. I didn't find the premise at all hard to believe because, what the hell, she made it clear she was completely willing and he obviously didn't have anything important to do that weekend.
Notice, though, that the two of them never left the house. In other words, he didn't go anywhere he could be seen with her -- certainly not someplace he might run into friends who'd ask, "Who's the dumpy little hipster troll and can you get her to stop talking?"
I think I hear Lena Dunham crying out again.
Adding: I got an e-mail response to this post that I just have to share. It's pretty much spot-on:
"What a baby Lena Dunham is. A big, whiny, stupid, baby. She wants all of the plaudits and credit for being 'daring' but she wants ZERO criticism. For her to cravenly cry 'misogyny' -- just because the idea of her obnoxious doughball character hooking up with a hot doctor is considered laughable to all sensible humans -- shows just how much of a coward she truly is.
I laugh at the idea that she's any kind of a hero. She's not brave in any way. Yeah, she takes her clothes off on film, but we're not allowed to have an honest reaction to her body. And I think we both know that she couldn't handle 1/100th of the criticism an actual non-famous ugly girl has to deal with on a daily basis. Normal ugly girls are just stuck being ugly and having to deal with it. They don't get to have makeout sessions with handsome actors.
I also don't think she's unfairly maligned due to her gender. If anything I think she gets a substantial amount of kid-glove treatment because she's a woman. Imagine if a male writer/actor did what she was doing. Imagine if, say, Jonah Hill wrote a series about himself as 'the voice of his generation' and had scenes of him banging Jessica Alba. He'd be laughed out of Hollywood. Jezebel would devote a week's worth of articles to him, roundly mocking him for the adolescent jerkoff fantasies he'd written.
But Lena Dunham is a visionary.
Here's the most revealing quote: 'Can you not imagine a world in which a girl who’s sexually down for anything and oddly gregarious pulls a guy out of his shell for two days?'
But see, a guy like that wouldn't be in his shell. He's a handsome doctor in New York, you really think Hannah Horvath is the best he can do on a random weekend? See that's the kind of shit that reveals how delusional Lena really is. She sees nothing fraudulent or self-indulgent in this little fantasy she's concocted. 'What man wouldn't want to spend an uninhibited weekend (probably with anal) with little old me? I'm so witty and free. Down for anything!'
I just don't think she gets that she's writing a character who's NOT on TV. She's not writing about her ideal self. She's writing about a normal, dumpy schlub of a girl who lives in a city where dumpy girls don't talk hunky doctors into bed for two days. That ain't how it works.
Here's the sobering truth that Dunham doesn't understand, the truth that none of her friends or handlers will tell her, the truth I'd like to tell her personally: this is life in the big city. You don't have the options you think you do. Maybe in Mobile, Alabama you're an 8 1/2, but here in NYC you're a 3-4 at best. I don't care what you're 'down' for. Because here in the big city a guy can find smart, funny, sexy, ballsy, hard-drinking, down-for-anything girls who are also drop-dead gorgeous or at least not trollish and irritating. Because it's the fucking city. Sorry to blow your mind, honey.
Lena Dunham the famous actor/writer probably can land a hot guy. Hannah Horvath the obnoxious shitty writer who lives in a crappy NYC apartment and ISN'T FAMOUS, cannot.
That's actually a terrific point: While I actually do think there are guys in New York City -- and everywhere else -- who'll sleep with just about anybody who offers, the arrogance in creating a character played by yourself whom a gorgeous guy way above the character's station falls for completely is just breathtaking. And I've heard the theory that the entire episode is a fantasy in Hannah's head, but Dunham's snotty defense would seem to cast doubt on that possibility. Also, yes, remove the sexual component from the mix -- in other words, make Hannah a schlubby, talkative, badly dressed doof who isn't immediately making it clear that she's willing to put out -- and watch how quickly that scenario would go from laughable to impossible. M. Night Shyamalan was pilloried for being so egomaniacal as to cast himself as a writer whose work was going to change the world in Lady in the Water, but Lena Dunham casts herself as a chubby manic hipster dreamgirl who beds a really hot doctor -- helping him learn to live again in the process -- and she's a genius.