Sunday Reading

  • Melissa Gira Grant on the bad effects of criminalizing sex work. “It is not sex work that exposes sex workers to violence; it is our willingness to abandon sex workers to violence in an attempt to control their behavior.”
  • A compelling story about the brain-damaged former NFL star player George Visger.  “Don’t get the wrong idea. Pissing blood still hurts.”
  • Give Jay Bybee this: he’s consistent.
  • Pretty much what Maura Johnston said about Rick Moody.   The issue isn’t not liking Taylor Swift (which is perfectly fine; I don’t particularly care for her music myself, although I think it’s silly to claim that she’s untalented.)   The primary issue isn’t even misogyny, although I agree that apart from their gender I can’t figure out what Swft and Natalie Imbruglia have in common.   The biggest problem is that Moody seems fully immersed in nonsense about “authenticity.” There may well be good arguments against Swift’s popular and critical standing, but Moody’s arguments — “OMG, drum machines!”  “Studio musicians!”  “Marketing!” “Ambition!” — certainly aren’t those.   Again, there’s nothing wrong with contemporary top-40 pop music not generally being to one’s taste — I am also an old white guy, and I don’t listen to a great deal of my own volition either — but to call people who have different tastes “dupes” is really irritating.

108 comments on this post.
  1. Cautious Man:

    On “studio musicians” for Ms. Swift.

    Bob Dylan used studio musicisns. I don’t know if this story is apocryphal, but I’ve read that the trombonist on “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35″ was perplexed regarding what the song was about, but happily played.

  2. Scott Lemieux:

    I’ve also heard rumors that that CBS didn’t just deposit his albums in plain brown wrapping on the doors of record stores hoping they’d sell. But I could be wrong.

  3. Hob:

    The Maura Johnston piece is pretty much how I feel about most pop music criticism. But I have no idea what she means by this sarcastic bit:

    “Oh, and he also got in the fact that She’s No Lena Dunham, because Lena Dunham is the one woman under 30 who is depicting her generation correctly, which is to say with aspirations toward Importance that should be torpedoed by her self-loathing more often than they actually are.”

    It sounds like she assumes Dunham actually is the character she plays on Girls and believes everything that character says, and that even aspiring to do something “important” is automatically a bad thing for either a filmmaker or a character to do unless they balance it out by hating themselves. Those would all be odd things to assume— and would sound awfully similar to the self-righteous obsession with authenticity, and tendency to make differences of taste into personal attacks, that she’s criticizing Moody for. But maybe that’s not what she’s saying, since I’m not sure I even understand the syntax of the second half of that sentence.

  4. Bill Murray:

    former NFL star George Visger.

    It’s a bit of a stretch to call Visger a former NFL star — 3 games for a 6-10 team is not exactly star-like

  5. Cautious Man:

    Oh, did I get some snark?

  6. Scott Lemieux:

    The snark wasn’t directed at you.

  7. Scott Lemieux:

    Yes, corrected.

  8. sparks:

    C’mon, who’s going to be the first to haul out that moth-eaten Zappa quote?

  9. Snarki, child of Loki:

    “authenticity”? For pop music??

    Sure, if you’re talking Classical or Jazz, I can see it being a real issue, but POP?

  10. JL:

    I’m really glad to see the Grant piece on sex workers (though I wish she had been more clear that there ARE a lot of feminists, especially young feminists, who agree with her on this issue).

    When I was at Creating Change recently, I went to a panel on the issues of trans sex workers. So many of the people in the room, regardless of gender or trans status, were themselves current or former sex workers (including the nice trans college guy who sat next to me). It was very moving to hear their stories. Some of them got into sex work by choice, some were forced, some felt degraded by it, some didn’t, but none of them thought that criminalization was the way to address their problems. In fact, they thought criminalization was quite a bad thing for them.

    A lot of the same issues came up in the lunch that I went to (at the same conference) on police profiling of queer people of color.

  11. Jim Lynch:

    Rhuby’s report of Visger’s tragedy is a brilliant piece of somber storytelling.

  12. wjts:

    Do you mean “Streck aus deinem heißen gelockten Schwanz”?

  13. Matt:

    What would be wrong with using studio musicians? Richard Thompson was a studio musician for a while, even.

  14. Alan Tomlinson:

    Not a star, just somebody who’s dying because of a sick game. As far as I’m concerned, watching football is like watching a snuff film. If you watch that shit, you’re part of the problem.

    Cheers,

    Alan Tomlinson

  15. commie atheist:

    Al Kooper was a studio musician who came up with the organ part for “Like a Rolling Stone.” Jimmy Page was a studio musician who joined the Yardbirds and later formed some band or other, I forget what they were called. Seriously, anyone complaining about “studio musicians” as a sign of inauthentic music should seriously just shut up.

  16. Dr.KennethNoisewater:

    Aren’t studio musicians usually, like, several magnitudes more proficient on their instruments than many other musicians? Or is that the complaint? I’m confused. Wouldn’t most solo artists use them?

    Also, Taylor Swift is not really my bag…but I think calling her untalented is goofy. I think she writes or co-writes some of her stuff. That’s not nothin’.

  17. Medrawt:

    Classical music criticism isn’t always bad. Jazz criticism has a bunch of problems. Pop criticism is pretty terrible. Pop criticism from people whose musical worldview is bounded entirely by a post-Beatles mentality and context of what “real” music is supposed to be is the worst.

  18. Bill Murray:

    same is true of boxing, MMA, soccer and rugby. Baseball, basketball and tiddlywinks are probably OK

  19. Bill Murray:

    It’s not Debbie Gibson, either

  20. howard:

    it’s certainly remarkable to learn, here in my advanced years, that booker t and the mgs, motown’s funk brothers, the nashville cats whom dylan and a million others used, the muscle shoals guys whose nickname is escaping me, and loads of others were inauthentic. good to have that cleared up.

  21. SatanicPanic:

    Oh I hated that Salon article, starting with the title I Dared Criticize Taylor Swift- such bravery! Get this man a medal!

  22. CaptBackslap:

    Taylor Swift’s lyrics have improved, but that’s not an Olympian bar to get over, considering that her first album included this:

    I was riding shotgun
    With my hair undone
    In the front seat of his car
    He’s got a one-hand feel
    On the steering wheel
    The other on my heart

    On the other hand, Dale Peck was mostly right about Rick Moody.

  23. CaptBackslap:

    So was Richard Hawley, for quite awhile.

    But yeah, no idea what his issue with that is; he surely can’t be saying that everyone should be a multi-instrumentalist like Zach Condon, but I don’t know what else he could mean.

  24. SatanicPanic:

    That’s not all that bad. We all had those times right- enjoying the newfound freedom of a driver’s license, and the joy of feeling up the person next to us. Alicia Keys routinely comes up with much worse.

  25. snarkout:

    The Swampers, aka the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section.

  26. Origami Isopod:

    Oh, gawd, Reason mag and its skeevy commenters.

    If we are going to call attacks on reproductive and sexual rights a “war on women,”

    There really needs to be a new term for this. The ability to have sex and make babies is not a “right.”

  27. Scott Lemieux:

    You know, I used to like Let It Bleed. But then I found out that what seemed like multiple guitar parts were mostly overdubbed — by the same guy — with the supervision of a professional producer! And apparently studio musicians played keyboards and slide guitars! And they didn’t even write “Love In Vain”! Music died that very day.

  28. snarkout:

    Dale Peck also called Ulysses a “diarrhetic flow of words” and blamed the “sterile inventions of Nabokov” and the “reductive cardboard constructions of Barthelme” for Rick Moody. I hope thinking that Rick Moody is being an idiot — or even that Rick Moody’s books aren’t very good — doesn’t mean I have to sign up for the Peck Plan for Aesthetic Brawndo.

  29. Scott Lemieux:

    Yeah, I have to say I’ve heard a lot worse.

  30. John Revolta:

    Truth be told, it ain’t just solo artists using ‘em. For a long
    long time, studio musicians have been “ghosting” for more well-known people, and I don’t just mean the Monkees.

    For that matter, I hear rumors that movie stars don’t always do their owns stunts either. That’s………..showbiz.

  31. CaptBackslap:

    It’s so sloppy. Of course, she was 16 when she wrote that album, so I’ll cut her some slack, but damn . It’s like reading Graham Greene; I want to grab a red pen.

    I’d agree that Alicia Keys has become progressively less interesting as her career has gone on.

  32. Jberardi:

    There really needs to be a new term for this. The ability to have sex and make babies is not a “right.”

    You know what else isn’t a “right”? Everything.

    Rights are whatever we decide them to be, so really what this guy is doing is making a statement about his own values. So yes, skeevy indeed.

  33. Carbon Man:

    How about this for a “right”:I believe every single woman has the right to pay for her own damn birth control pills, and if she can’t afford it, either get the money or shut your legs.

    Personal responsibility–learn it. Live it. Love it.

  34. Leeds man:

    Do you feel the same way about Viagra?

  35. Carbon Man:

    Yes.

    People should pay for their own damn sex pills.

  36. Carbon Man:

    Hell even if you accept the premise that the federal government should be paying for everyone’s health care (I don’t), the right to unlimited, consequence-free sex is not healthcare. Period. This covers both birth control and boner pills as far as I’m concerned.

    Again, period.

  37. The prophet Nostradumbass:

    There’s a whole website devoted to people like Carbon Man.

  38. Carbon Man:

    I don’t want to pay for other people’s stuff.

    Period.

    It’s nothing against women–or even something particularly about sexual needs. I don’t want to pay for the Lipitor some fat-ass man needs after a lifetime of KFC and Hungry Man dinners, either.

    It’s our money. We earned it. It shouldn’t be redistributed by Uncle Sugar as bread-and-circuses.

  39. BigHank53:

    “Suzy Creamcheese, honey, what’s got into ya?”

  40. Ian:

    boxing, MMA, soccer and rugby

    Do you really thing these are all equivalent? I would have thought the risk level of soccer was down in the basketball-tiddlywinks range. Rugby is higher risk, but it doesn’t have the constant head-head contact that North American football linemen experience on every play.

  41. Carbon Man:

    A lot of the same issues came up in the lunch that I went to (at the same conference) on police profiling of queer people of color.

    Please tell me this is satire.

  42. DocAmazing:

    Every month, hopefully.

  43. BigHank53:

    I was feeling irritated until I realized that Rick Moody’s net worth was equivalent to the rounding error on one of Taylor Swift’s royalty statements. Care to bet on how much that chaps his ass?

  44. Carbon Man:

    Sometimes I get the feeling social/sexual liberals think Brave New World is an instruction manual.

  45. SatanicPanic:

    Alicia is a great singer; I wish she’d hire a lyricist. There have been some really good song in recent years that were marred by awful lyrics. Bruno Mars and Adele are two others who shouldn’t be allowed to write any more lyrics until they shape up.

  46. Ian:

    Even if you don’t want to talk about rights, making birth control freely available is prudent cost control from the perspective of the insurer or employer. Pregnancy/childbirth is expensive.

  47. John Revolta:

    riding shotgun………in the front seat

    Gotta give that a meh.

  48. Leeds man:

    There’s a pill for that feeling now.

  49. John Revolta:

    I gotta go along with this here.

    So, I was against the last 3 wars. Where’s my refund?

  50. Carbon Man:

    If it’s so cost-effective, they’ll provide for it.

    No federal coercion or taxpaer dollars needed.

  51. BigHank53:

    It costs about $50,000 a year to keep someone locked up in prison. A bed in an ICU goes for about $2000 a day, the last time I checked. NICU is closer to $4000.

    Y’all might keep those inconvenient numbers in mind the next time you start complaining about the cost of an ounce of prevention.

  52. John Revolta:

    Make that 5.

  53. Brien Jackson:

    Meh, there’s an awful lot of physically demanding jobs out there that take a nasty toll on your body and create a rather miserable old age. At least (professional) football players get good money/fame/glory in exchange for it.

  54. GeoX:

    I think headers can be pretty dangerous. But I still wouldn’t classify the sport on the same level as American football or rugby.

  55. Carbon Man:

    Giving people freebie healthcare on the taxpayer dime prevents them from becoming criminals?

    Lol.

  56. GeoX:

    Well, a few of them do. But a discomfiting number are chewed up and spat out with essentially nothing, especially because of the NFL’s unconscionable failure to provide adequate health insurance to ex-players after having maimed them.

  57. SatanicPanic:

    Arrgh, didn’t catch that. That is pretty weak.

  58. joe from Lowell:

    “OMG, drum machines!” “Studio musicians!” “Marketing!” “Ambition!”

    So,,,Ministry?

    Totally inauthentic.

  59. Brien Jackson:

    This is true, but that’s an issue the players have to decide they care about themselves first. I’m just saying let’s not act like long-careered NFL players are coal miners or something.

  60. Scott Lemieux:

    Also, like Moody I like the recent Jolie Holland record. But I’m not sure how he can like it,since crucial to the sound is hired studio gun Marc Ribot.

  61. Uncle Ebeneezer:

    The “Justin Beiber Is No Bob Dylan” article is being proofed as we speak.

  62. The prophet Nostradumbass:

    Your phrase “shut your legs” puts the lie to that comment.

  63. The prophet Nostradumbass:

    Jesus built Al Jourgensen’s hot rod.

  64. LosGatosCA:

    Unless some of coal miners are ending up with brains like Kenny King after seven years I’d say not.
    http://www.playerinjury.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Stamped_Filed_Everitt_Complaint.pdf

    I’m not sure people understand the state of mental debilitation players like Andre Waters and Mike Webster experienced. Sure folks like Jim Brown who retired at 30 are fine and QBs who did not experience the head trauma at the rate lineman and defensive hitters can sound pretty smart.

    Most professional athletes suffer from chronic physical conditions as a result of their athletic careers. That’s why being compensated for their talent, their short earnings window, and their post-career health complications is so urgent for them.

    Think of all those 49ers who were thought to have ALS from some shared environmental exposure or Lou Gehrig himself who did not see his 38th birthday after playing all those consecutive games.

    No, they aren’t coal miners. But the health risks they are running are greater than has been generally understood.

  65. GeoX:

    No, you misunderstand: you’re only allowed to whine about YOUR TAX DOLLARS being spent on things that makes people’s lives BETTER. If you’re some kinda communist who’s opposed to things that make people’s lives WORSE, you need to sit down and shut up.

  66. LosGatosCA:

    Or Milli Vanilli.

  67. LosGatosCA:

    They don’t do their own stunts!!!!!

    Next you’ll be telling me the movies aren’t shot in sequence. And they record the music in post-production.

  68. Uncle Ebeneezer:

    Not to mention Jimi Hendrix.

  69. Leeds man:

    Jeff Astle is the only famous player I know of who suffered severe brain damage. Of course, balls back then were much heavier when wet.

  70. Uncle Ebeneezer:

    Pretty much anyone who is known for their name rather than a band name: Paul Simon, Peter Gabriel, James Taylor, Michael Jackson, Sting, Madonna, etc. etc. has made their living on the skills of studio musicians. Exceptions like the E Street Band are out there, but they are rare.

  71. Informant:

    What’s wrong with Adele’s songwriting?

  72. wjts:

    There are a fair few “band bands” that made pretty extensive use of studio musicians, too – Talking Heads springs immediately to mind.

  73. BigHank53:

    I’d settle for him changing the oil in my pickup, frankly.

  74. Bijan Parsia:

    Aren’t studio musicians usually, like, several magnitudes more proficient on their instruments than many other musicians?

    Actually, from my observation, the key difference is that they are vastly more proficient at performing in a studio. It’s really quite different from live performance.

    On my dearie’s first studio album, we discovered that friends who could do amazing things on the stage would choke hard in the studio. Over the next three albums I’ve consistently observed that the studio pros typically come out way cheaper than friends giving the friends rate (or pro bono) simply because they eat up studio time, producer (my sweetie’s) will, and engineering time. The studio pros come in, listen, nail a few tracks, add some extra, then go. Awesome.

    (For example, playing to a prerecorded track is hugely different than playing with a group (e.g., no visuals, the other musicians don’t adjust, etc.)

    (Note that having done a lot of recording of your own stuff doesn’t necessarily translate into being a good studio musician.)

    A recording is a specific kind of work best thought as akin to a film. It takes a lot of specialized skills to make one even if some great ones can be made “live”.

    I only skimmed the Moody, but I don’t think he’s saying she’s untalented, in the sense of not having a level of proficiency. His claim is that she lacks ….”spark”? “life”? “authenticity”? E.g.,

    I respect Taylor Swift’s ability to steal from every available popular form of the moment, viz., “country” and pop and hip hop and electronica, but there is nothing in this music that does anything new besides fusing together a mandolin with a programmed drum track, and so I say it is inert, like the flattened squirrel, manufactured, ungenuine

    So, basically, neither her words nor her music speak to him. Which is fine, but it’d be easier just to say that. I think “Mean” is fun if a bit dippy and “22″ is catchy enough and nothing else has grabbed me even a little bit.

    (And, really, what’s wrong with fusing a mandolin with a drum track? Surely the question is the quality of the fusion, not the novelty?)

  75. Bijan Parsia:

    Eh…I don’t know the song, but it could work. Read, it’s a bridge which reestablishes the place explicitly rather than implicitly and can be read as a shift from the passenger to the whole seat.

    Frankly I find the one hand on the steering wheel the other groping her heart way worse. I mean, really.

  76. Bijan Parsia:

    And back up musicians on stage!

    “Made their living on” seems a bit odd. As I wrote above, a lot of people with tons of technical skills go into making a recording. The engineer matters a lot. Whomever’s doing the arranging and editing counts. Hell, the mastering matters a ton to the final sound. There’s skill and creativity in all these jobs. A good studio musician combines a particular form of musicianship with improv and on the fly arranging. But there’s usually a fair bit of input from the producer (and the composer/band, if they aren’t also producing) and the engineers.

  77. GeoX:

    Yeah…actually caring about marginalized people? What a ludicrous notion!

  78. SatanicPanic:

    Sometimes it lasts in love but sometimes it hurts instead from Someone Like You drives me up the wall. Lasting and hurting are not opposites.

  79. Karate Bearfighter:

    The problem isn’t guys who have 12 year careers who end up with CTE, (although that should also not be an acceptable outcome); it’s the huge pyramid of players behind every NFL star. For every active roster spot in the NFL, there are 40 college players, and roughly 600 high school players, all of whom are at risk for CTE. Junior Seau had the money to pay for treatment; Joe Schmoe who played in high school and tried to walk on at Minnesota St.-Mankato probably doesn’t.

  80. Matt T. in New Orleans:

    How about this for a “right”:I believe every single woman has the right to pay for her own damn birth control pills, and if she can’t afford it, either get the money or shut your legs.

    That’s nice. Unfortunately, no one really gives a shit what you think and your sort of mud-brained nonsense is rapidly becoming if not a thing of the past then at least something anyone with any sort of decency, intelligence, common sense, and basic understanding of how the world actually works outside your fevered ideas thinks is woefully obnoxious and gauche. Keep pissing away that women vote, jackass, keep on letting everyone see what you actually are.

  81. Jon Hendry:

    “I respect Taylor Swift’s ability to steal from every available popular form of the moment, viz., “country” and pop and hip hop and electronica, but there is nothing in this music that does anything new besides fusing together a mandolin with a programmed drum track, and so I say it is inert, like the flattened squirrel, manufactured, ungenuine”

    I await Moody’s opinion on Iron Maiden adding synth back in the 80s.

  82. Jon Hendry:

    You don’t know how birth control works, do you?

    What are your opinions on pancakes?

  83. Bijan Parsia:

    That’s not really a good criticism. The song is a regret song about lost love told from a first person perspective. I don’t know if you’ve ever been in that situation, but it’s very natural and common to perceive the alternatives precisely in that way.

    The situation of the love (i.e., the relationship) lasting while hurting is an interesting one worth exploring, but I don’t see any reason why “Someone Like You” has to even acknowledge it.

    (In any case, it’s a quote of the lover:

    Never mind, I’ll find someone like you
    I wish nothing but the best for you, too
    Don’t forget me, I begged, I remember you said
    Sometimes it lasts in love, but sometimes it hurts instead

    I.e., it’s a dump line.)

    (If anything, what I have to fight is the notion that the dumper was a real schmuck and try to figure out why the hell the dumpee is still hung up on them, to the point of trying to find someone like them. OTOH, I can read the dumpee as a schmuck too…showing up sometime well after the relationship was over. Actually, I kinda enjoy that shifting interplay as it’s also central to a lot of people coping.)

    The bits of Adele’s discussion of the song on Wikipedia are worth reading.

    It was coauthored, but I don’t know how much Dan Wilson contributed to the lyrics.)

    This is hardly the foundation of an “Adele needs a lyricist” line!

  84. Thlayli:

    And the Wrecking Crew in LA, including the rarely-observed-in-the-wild female studio musician Carol Kaye.

  85. Dave:

    Yet there are still some feminists who insist that decriminalization is giving in to the ‘pimp lobby’:

    http://feministcurrent.com/4024/who-gets-a-say-the-sex-work-lobby-the-silencing-of-feminist-voices/

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/2012/dec/04/sex-work-pimps-johns-prostitution

    https://twitter.com/bindelj/status/296911119799447552

    Funny old world…

  86. witless chum:

    I’m at little unclear there, but I think Johnson is just talking about what Dunham puts on her show.

    In the original Moody just says

    she tells us true things about what teenage girls or young women really feel, as though she were the Lena Dunham of the pop world (which she is not)

  87. witless chum:

    Telling, that the scum of the earth are upset when someone they regard as the lowest of the low might complain about being mistreated.

    I don’t know if the dread Marcotte made up this quote or not, but it’s really apt. “We only accuse people of “playing the victim” when we don’t want to quit victimizing them.”

  88. witless chum:

    I’d like to hear him on Amorphis’ introduction of the Moog into Scandinavian death metal, just because I’d like to force Rick Moody to listen to Tales from the Thousand Lakes a few times.

  89. Halloween Jack:

    I’d say “bunches.”

  90. Ronan:

    “Please tell me this is satire.”

    ????

    I don’t understand this comment at all. How could it be satire? WTF are you talking about? Dude, Dude..carbon man..dude, can you elaborate?

  91. joe from Lowell:

    Our music is sampled
    It’s totally fake
    It’s made by machines
    Cuz they don’t make mistakes.

    KMFDM Sucks!

  92. Bill Altreuter:

    Can’t speak to classical, but in jazz there are always arguments about authenticity. How someone could dispute Miles Davis’ bona fides is difficult to wrap one’s mind around, but there were plenty of people who did exactly that as soon as he went electric. Other examples abound, particularly with singers.

  93. SatanicPanic:

    Just because someone said it to her doesn’t make it profound. We were born and raised in a summer haze? Does she mean their relationship was born and raised? Who or what raised it?

    Or Old friend why are you so shy?- uh, maybe because he’s home with his new wife and not pleased that you showed up at his house unannounced? FWIW I guess it does capture the awkward things people say after a breakup.

  94. LeeEsq:

    Elijah Wald made a pretty convincing argument that the need for “authenticity” is actually directly linked to mysogyny in his book How the Beatles Destroyed Rock N’Roll:An Alternative History of American Pop Music. Before the 1960s, nobody really cared about authenticity in pop music. The big issue was whether it could be danced to and a particular song wasn’t strongly linked to particular artist. Frank Sinatra or Ellen Fitzgerald might have sung the most famous version of a song but it wasn’t there song.

    Rock music changed this. In rock, for the first time, a particular song is linked to a particular artists regardless of whether they wrote it or not. Eventually it became expected that artistis would right their own material. Than you had mainly male rock critics who argued that rock should be music you listen to like art music rather than pop stars you dance to. When women drove the popular music market, it was mainly about dancing. The turn towards more complex music changed this. So in short, the desire for authenticty is actually strongly linked with mysogyny.

  95. Dilan Esper:

    The Beach Boys were / are one of the greatest acts in rock history, and from Pet Sounds forward its all studio musicians, even though all of the band members can play their instruments.

  96. Dilan Esper:

    I suspect sex work is a rare issue where some feminists let their personal revulsion get the best of them, and thus the harm reductive, pragmatic, reality based approach the movement usually employs can get set aside.

  97. Hogan:

    Please. Around here it’s pancakes and circuses.

  98. snurp:

    We only had so many options once you bogarted 1984.

  99. Cody:

    So you have two options:

    1) Birth Control being provided by insurance companies and saving money for everyone

    2) Lots of people having babies they can’t afford, State paying for them in orphanages

    3) Like #2, but the State will teach these babies personal responsibility as they live on the streets and die of starvation/learn responsibility.

  100. Cody:

    Yes.

    Young single mothers lead to impoverish children. Impoverished people turn to crime when it’s the only way to get out of the situation.

    That was easy!

  101. Hogan:

    That’s so precious that you think we’ll believe that you’ve read Brave New World. Who’s a cute little cracker? Who’s a cute little cracker? You are! Yes you are!

  102. Bijan Parsia:

    It is supposed to be profound? It’s descriptive. And, if you’ve felt that way, it’s rather poignent. You do need to empathize.

    This is like saying in response to a line like “I can’t live without you” to say, “Well obviously you can because you are alive right now.”

    We were born and raised in a summer haze? Does she mean their relationship was born and raised? Who or what raised it?

    Again, this is a strangely hyperliteral approach to reading the text. If we look at the whole verse:

    You know how the time flies
    Only yesterday was the time of our lives
    We were born and raised in a summer haze
    Bound by the surprise of our glory days

    it’s clear that she is contrasting everything through there relationship as summery, joyful, alive in contrast to the implicit now for her which is winter dead and barran. I think there is some irony or wishful thinking on the part of the protagonist: Her lover isn’t in a lifeless winter but fulfilled beyond her. I think the protagonist is a bit aware about the hollowness of the cliches “time of our lives…glory days”. It’s not real, but what you say.

    Or Old friend why are you so shy?- uh, maybe because he’s home with his new wife and not pleased that you showed up at his house unannounced?

    Yeah, but it’s not a query, it’s a challenge. A slightly crazed challenge, but the feeling that you have a claim to some attention or at least acknowledgement is very powerful and perhaps not altogether wrong. And notice again, the protagonist recongizes the tresspass:

    Old friend, why are you so shy?
    Ain’t like you to hold back or hide from the light

    So she runs into him. It’s not clear that she actively stalks him. The first verse (“I heard…”) suggests that they’ve had an encounter. There’s an ambiguity in how much she set it up and I think the protagonist feels it. You engineer such things under a delusion that you aren’t doing so.

    I hate to turn up out of the blue, uninvited
    But I couldn’t stay away, I couldn’t fight it
    I had hoped you’d see my face and that you’d be reminded
    That for me, it isn’t over

    Now we have some excuse making then a real claim, and not a pretty one. She’s there because it still means something to her.

    Never mind, I’ll find someone like you
    I wish nothing but the best for you, too

    This is the pulling back; the amends; the trying to make it not creepy while preserving the reality of the impulse. (So, forget her, she’ll move, if not on, then sideways.)

    Don’t forget me, I begged, I remember you said
    Sometimes it lasts in love, but sometimes it hurts instead

    There’s another ambiguity there…what’s lasting. The memory? The cherishing of a love past. In another way, you can read the line not as a callous dick move, but as the choice of how to live after the break up. Holding the love part, if only in memory, or ripping yourself apart. The protagonist is struggling with that choice, but also feels the dickiness of it.

    FWIW I guess it does capture the awkward things people say after a breakup.

    And feel. Plus, they marry well to the music so they become more and that presses all the ambiguities of shame and self compassion and futility.

    I think it’s a great song. There’s not a lot of imagery in it, but it tries to capture the shape of the feelings. The words fit in well to that, at least to my ear.

  103. Bijan Parsia:

    Plus I just love the internal rhyme which is skipped in the second line to punch up “days”. I’d be willing to go for a bit of incoherence in return for that, esp. given the music. (Interestingly, when I listen to it, given her sometimes odd intonation, I here, “time of our lies” instead of “our lives”, which makes the “haze” stronger as well as the binding. On that, the “surprise” of their glory days could well be that their love didn’t last or, indeed, that their glory days are small and not particularly glorious.

    I don’t insist on it as going from “time of our lives” to “haze” to “bound by surprise” also works well as the embittering progression of enlightenment.

  104. Origami Isopod:

    How dare anyone talk seriously about the oppression of people who fit into not one but two classes of people Carbon Man holds in contempt.

    Let me guess, CM, you probably find jokes along the lines of “a one-eyed African-Japanese lesbian in a wheelchair” lolarious.

  105. Origami Isopod:

    And men of course have NO responsibility to not form babby at all. That’s the bitches’ job.

  106. Bijan Parsia:

    That being said, obviously if it annoys you it annoys you. But I don’t think these are non-deliberate nor that make such decisions represents a deficiency of craft per se.

    So you may not like her lyrical style (in this song…or you have beef with others as well?), but that doens’t mean she “need to get a lyricist”. The lyrics are perfectly competent and arguably very fine indeed, even if she made choices that annoy you.

  107. Djur:

    They do. Some employers refuse to allow their employees to pay for it.

  108. Djur:

    Yes. Every single woman has the right to pay health insurance premiums for coverage that includes birth control, and their employer should not be permitted to interfere with that transaction.

    I’m glad you agree.

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