Monday, June 29, 2015

I Was Outside The Supreme Court For The Gay Marriage Decision

By: Pete Johnson


Gay marriage is legal now, which is kind of the fucking best. I work near the supreme court building in downtown DC so I got to go down there and smile with everyone right after they announced the good news. It made me feel, like, feelings.

Here is a list of things that standing outside the Supreme Court building for the gay marriage being legal thing made me feel like:

-They made a new Super Bowl

-We won it

-All of my Super-Bowl winning teammates are super gay

-I think maybe I can finagle a 2 week vacation in Panama this next winter

-If I ever won the Super Bowl my speech would be off the chains

-I love gay people

-I love this

-It is so fun to be in a crowd of people who are so happy

-Why am I crying

-I'm so glad I have headphones, music is fun 

-Why am I still crying this is weird

-If you ever said anything bad about nice people wanting to marry each other well then go fuck yourself the most I hate you

-It is weird that Kanye put out that song 'Runaway' and otherwise he sucks so bad, maybe he is a secret genius

-Wow this song is so good

-Human achievement is amazing

-Why did it take us so long to legalize gay marriage

-Oh right, because we are the worst 

-I kinda wish I wasn't crying

-It would be nice if I didn't have to go back to work, then I could just make friends with these happy gay people and start a new life

-I know violence is never the answer but if you don't like gay marriage well then maybe you should get stomped

-If I started a new life with these awesome people I think my name would be Dave

-Why is Bob Marley singing about love in my headphones

-I need to step my headphone game up

-hashtag secret weirdo walking around the supreme court crying his face off

-Love is the best

-When is the last time I gave a fuck? Giving a fuck is bad.

-R.I.P. Uncle Spence, I wish he was here and riding his motorcycle into a new life with me

-In Uncle Spence's new life he would also be called Dave

-Shit I gotta go back to work

-Crying is fun

-I'm going to go back to the office with a fresh "gay marriage motherfucker" face tattoo

-It's like my happiness is spilling out of my eyeballs

-I'm probably never going to get a face tattoo, at least not until I'm pretty old

-I'm totally gonna try heroin when I'm real old, I mean why would you not?

-You are real good at singing to me about love right now, Mr. Bob Marley.


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Recent Jeans Things

By: Kelly McClure


Over the past two days I've been out of my home, traveling to, and then away from a city that I do not live in for a music related thing. Within that time, being distracted from my usual 24/7 internet awareness practices, a lot of things happened. A lot of jeans things. 

For the most part, jeans play an important, yet low-key role in a person's life. If used correctly, jeans will serve as a comfortable, flattering (if you care) way to keep your flesh and genitals out of plain site. If used incorrectly, jeans can hurt you physically, mentally, or cause you to otherwise embarrass yourself on the internet. Here are two examples:


As I now have come to understand it, a woman in Australia was recently wearing some jeans that were perhaps a bit too tight for her. She was wearing these jeans while helping someone move, an activity which put her in some manner of repeated squatting position. After finishing these squatting positions, she went for a walk in the park, at which point her jeans were like "I hate you. I'm gonna hurt your body now and make "jeans" a thing that ends up on the morning news."

The Washington Post breaks it all down with this recent description of the jeans related incident:

"The 35-year-old woman arrived at the hospital in bad shape. As she was walking home through a park, she noticed she was having trouble lifting the front part of her feet. Then she tripped, fell to the ground and collapsed."

Jeans
Jeans
Jeans
Jeans
Wearing clothes of any sort will automatically make you less comfortable, to some degree, than if you were not wearing any clothes at all. I think we can all agree on that. When it comes to jeans, sure, they can be a bit tough. Putting on brand new jeans can be a bit of a struggle. Putting on jeans fresh from the dryer can be a bit of a struggle. Putting on jeans you wore every day last year only to find that this year they don't quite make it over your upper thighs can be a bit of a struggle. I guess what we can learn from this particular jeans thing is that each of us, each individual jeans wearer, needs to suss out how much pain we're willing to endure for our pants. Maybe strive for a life where you don't fall down on your face and almost die because of pants. Does that  sound reasonable?

There's a lot to worry about in life and I personally am taking a firm stand against making "pants" be one of them. I don't want to open my planner one day to find the notation: "Figure out what to do about pants."

These are Calvin Johnson's pants

In other pants news, while sitting in the passenger seat of a rental car yesterday, returning home from the other city that's not my city that I had been to, I learned from Stereogum that Calvin Johnson is selling some of his pants. 

Here's some more information on his decision to enter the world of "pants news:"

"K Records and Beat Happening founder Calvin Johnson is auctioning off two pairs of his old “’80s Punk” jeans on eBay, which the listings say he wore “to punk shows in Olympia, Portland, Tacoma, Seattle, New York, Washington DC, Tokyo, and around the world.” The Levi’s 505s and 501s are currently going for $20.50 and $51.00, respectively."

The decision to sell some pants is not, on the surface, an altogether interesting thing. I've personally sold some pants. I think I sold them one time at Buffalo Exchange, and then another time at Beacon's Closet. I can tell you exactly why I sold these pants. I sold these pants because I didn't have any money and needed to get some money. When a person needs money they start looking around the house for things to sell. Usually the first thing a person will sell for money they need is records. But maybe you've run out of records, or no one wants your records (*cough*) so then what are you gonna sell? Pants? Pants! Taking another look at Calvin Johnson's pants news, I'm happy to report that $20.50 and $51.00 are both very reasonable prices for pants. It would be difficult to find a brand new pair of pants for either of those prices. 

These are Calvin Johnson's pants




That's all I've got in the way of pants news right now.  Feel free to message us with any tips as to what the next trend in topically sensitive pants news might be.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Your Kid Is A Murderer

By: Ben Johnson

A 2015 study released by the American Psychological Association found strong link between children who go up the slide and future homicidal tendencies. The parents of over 200 prison inmates were surveyed concerning their incarcerated childrens’ park behavior.
Out of the 200 parents polled, 97% of them reported that they allowed their child to run up the slide. The other parents did not have parks in their neighborhood.
Other behaviors strongly associated with murderous tendencies included:
  • throwing sand
  • being aggressive on the play structure
  • intentionally kicking parent while on the swings
  • removal of shoes in the sandbox area
  • definitely not any kind of abuse or trauma
  • sure I like to take a drink every now and again
  • who doesn't
  • I'm a good mom, okay?
  • I already got me a man
  • who, Craig?
  • you gonna have to talk to Craig about that
  • you definitely gonna have to talk to Craig about that
  • hey what's with all the questions?
  • I'll suck your dick for an extra $50

Saturday, June 20, 2015

White People Problems

By: Ben Johnson



I’ve been thinking a lot about white people this week. I’m white. One of the major privileges afforded to American white people is not having to think about what it means to be white, but since apparently a thing that white people sometimes do is walk into a church specifically to kill black people, I figure I owe it to myself to try.

I’m not just any kind of white person. There’s no such thing as “any kind of white person,” as much as us white people would like to believe in such a concept, you know, since such an abbreviation of our multiple cultural and ethnic white personae into “American white person” better serves the agenda of American white supremacy. This allows us to present a unified political front and avoid direct confrontation of our specific role in the interlocking culpabilities which form the current system. But I belong to one of those cultural and ethnic white identities. I’m mostly Scotch-Irish. Hooray for me.

Former Virginia U.S. Senator Jim Webb wrote a book about the Scotch-Irish in America. I read it. It’s half well-researched ethnography and social history, and half bullshit non-apology for Scotch-Irish complicity in America’s foundational genocides. Dude was an active politician at the time of its writing, so of course it lapsed into cheerleading memoir drivel about American Greatness and potential and political awakening which it was Webb's fortune to have waxed rhapsodically about in the blissfully ignorant few years leading up to that awakening’s eventual fetid Tea Partydom. I recommend Born Fighting if you’d like a deeper understanding of the Scotch-Irish role in the formation of American culture highlighted, intentionally and unintentionally, by a working definition of our particular and continued delusions.

We are not, in a general sense, good people. We do have several somewhat reasonable excuses for this. The fact that you can’t reliably grow crops in southern Scotland is a somewhat reasonable excuse for our strain of survivalist truculence. We spent many centuries before North American colonialism enduring famine, poverty, and I’ll even go so far as to say political and religious oppression. It hardened us, weaponized us, blinded us to the latent immorality of violence, and made us distrustful of outsiders, “the other,” and intellectualism. In short, we’re some of the most obnoxious, boorish assholes ever produced by human history. That peculiar cringing feeling of omnipresent aggression you occasionally get from an extra shouty truck commercial? That's us.

As such, the Scotch-Irish have forever been used by larger authoritarian forces, pretty much since human population densities allowed for the invention of “larger authoritarian forces,” like a live grenade in a historical game of hot potato. First it was: “Hey guys, we’re having some trouble dealing with the Irish, why don’t you go hang out in Ireland and just be your usual selves and wreck shit? Here’s some land.” Then, just about as soon as the naval technology was available for it, we were shipped to America, where it was: “Hey, go kill some Indians and settle this dangerous land, guys, and we promise we’ll give you a fair deal on all the raw materials you plunder.” And an early and continuing: “Hey, I’ve got this sweet plantation setup with all these black people picking cotton for free, all I need from you guys is to hold this whip and wear these sheets and scare the fuck out of them so they don’t come to their senses and kill me.” Now its “Hey, these Arabs who just happen to be sitting on huge deposits of oil and natural gas are all terrorists, you should go get them” and “Hey, we’ve been importing and exploiting Mexican labor for decades to break your labor unions and stagnate your wages, what a bunch of freeloaders, right? Anyway, could you stand on the border with a gun and just generally help us make sure they stay disenfranchised?”  Hey this and hey that forever, and the Scotch-Irish have always been game.

To look at this history and apply the word “manipulation” to the Scotch-Irish is to ignore the one most deeply rooted aspect of Scotch-Irish culture. Survivalism. As much as you could tell the story that every direction the Scotch-Irish have ever gone has been away from an even bigger asshole who’s chuckling at our backs about what suckers we are, what’s in it for us is we get to spread and survive, and more importantly we’ve always been allowed to point a thumb over our shoulders and say, with a certain air of truth, “Yeah, what we’re doing isn’t great, but we’re only simple folk who just want to drink moonshine in Appalachian hollers. Those guys back there are the real assholes. Believe us, we know.”

And for all our readily apparent stupidity, if we are stupid, we’re stupid like a fox. Why do you think we mind it so little when we’re called stupid? Why do you think we pay so much of our own money for Jeff Foxworthy and Larry The Cable Guy and the Duck Dynasty guys to go out into the culture and represent us as ignorant rednecks? We eagerly promote our own version of minstrelsy because the stupider everybody thinks we are, the more we can get away with.

The Scotch-Irish are not now and have never been manipulated. Or stupid, for that matter. The culture we propagate conceals careful planning. Our actively maintained veneer of stupidity is the cultural wing of our just as rigorously attended to penury relative to strawman “fat cat” operatives. We don’t need to live in a “fancy mansion” or drive a “fancy car.” We “only” want “simple things” like a pickup truck and a baseball game and “freedom” and a “safe place to raise our kids,” all of which are bloodthirsty privileges we’d prefer to treat as birthright offerings of the “American Dream.” As quick as we are to laugh at being called rednecks, we are equally quick, whenever being called racists, to initiate O.J. Simpson-like searches for “the real racists.” Our kneejerks in that direction amount to “#wellactually we’d prefer the technically more accurate term Living Instruments Of Racism.” This is all by design.

As long as we, and here’s where the Scotch-Irish functionally join forces with other white American ethnicities to form the concept of “general whiteness,” are most firmly and most visibly entrenched as the management class and no more, we can maintain at least a plausible separation from the ownership class, and will therefore never have to answer for our role in the systematic and violent worldwide oppression of people of color. We’re like a recalcitrant mean drunk whose only strategy for confronting their alcoholism is to be the second most fucked up person at every party.

Webb makes a pretty convincing argument that American culture, particularly Southern American culture, is Scotch-Irish in origin. He theorizes that this is because those wonderful, defiant Scotch-Irish offer such a strong and proud culture that it assimilates all who come across it. Once them I-talians hear the fiddles a-calling, they just don’t have a chance. Yee haw.

This, of course, is an ethno-jingoistic load of crap. Scotch-Irish culture doesn’t assimilate other white cultures. It is appropriated by other white cultures, because Scotch-Irish culture is a great big survival-ensuring sleight of hand that works equally well for all white people (or, “white” being a fluid concept, even aspiring white people!) who embrace it. Witness shit like this, wherein multimillionaires and even low-grade billionaires get to act like the “real problem” is the ultra-ultra-ultra rich, all while using their own manpower to enact and enforce the exact infrastructure that most validates this claim.

Scotch-Irish culture is available to anybody with a talent for it who wants to put a little aw-shucks twang in their voice, and tell you to your face that if there even is such thing as a rich white person standing on your neck, well shoot, it sure as heck ain’t me. Scotch-Irish culture is like a cockroach infestation this way. Its prevalence has nothing to do with tradition or pride or fucking bagpipes echoing in the fucking mystical glens of yore. It’s the Nuremburg Defense jamming on a banjo. It’s the central lie White America tells over and over and over again, and will probably never stop telling unless and until it becomes somehow untenable. It has got to go.

But it will not be easy to get rid of. Even now I find within myself a cowardly urge to hedge on these words. I want to say that it's okay, I'm just a little hopped up on coffee right now, I don’t really know what I’m talking about, that this is a mere online rant, a furious blurting mess, and not a well-researched peer reviewed legitimate and worthy text, whatever that means, that this is all just one man’s opinion. I’m Scotch-Irish, after all. I have that particular brand of wily cowardice in my blood.

Some of my ancestors came to this land a very long time ago on a ship full of “religious dissidents.” I believe some of them owned slaves, and perhaps some might have managed plantations, although the likelihood of this is deemphasized in my family history in favor of mythically “honest” wood-wandering hillbillies who I am told couldn’t afford shoes, much less a slave. They probably dreamed of owning slaves. They probably murdered and raped and tortured and plundered from black people, and the only evidence of their honesty or goodness on the subject of race is whatever sense of shame has prevented those stories from reaching my ears all these years hence. Instead I hear some suspicious claptrap about the “fairness” of a distant relative magnanimously rejecting impunity by not laying a profiteering white thumb on a bale-weighing scale, or rather being insulted at the suggestion, which is not at all the same thing. Though I yearn to, I cannot realistically proclaim the full innocence of my white ancestors. They were in this country for hundreds of its antebellum years, and yet here I am in a way that John Brown and his sons are not.

The heart-wrenching guilt of admitting complicity, of coming full, flush, and head-on with it in the mirror, of saying “me, only me in this, and not any kind of them” is overwhelming. I have family in the south who I love very deeply. Some of them have Confederate flags hanging in their basement and have uttered the word "nigger" socially in the context of the phrase "I hate niggers," true incidences about which I have said nothing until now. I am conditioned, by design, to feel like a betrayer in taking a long, honest, open look at my Scotch-Irish heritage. But if rejecting all of it, not just the “bad parts,” and accepting the massive, unfathomable pain that comes from an honest appraisal of my history and even my very self as a living monument to millennia of murderous inhumanity and centuries of racial injustice is what it takes for me to come out the other end and actually deserve forgiveness, that’s what the fuck I am going to do. 

I invite you to join me.


@itisbenjo

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Stepping In Front Of An Oncoming Charleston Narrative

By: Ben Johnson



Sometimes I love Twitter. It gets a lot of flack, and rightfully so, for being nothing but screaming garbage for a vast majority of the time, but that’s just what happens when the dizzyingly vast and quick information flow of all humanity first codifies and then transmutes istelf into one continuous frenzied salmon run. Upon entering, it feels like you’ve voluntarily strapped on goggles and stooped to plunge your head into some high velocity, ice cold, extremely turbulent water from which vantage point all you can see is salmon ass and salmon shit. It’s not usually a great view. This more than anything else is what causes people to overlook the fantastic boon all of this activity represents to the general informational ecosystem.

A person shot and killed nine people at the historic Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina last night.

Twitter is how I found out about it, and Twitter is how I learned about the early developments in the story. Twitter (by which I mean mostly the feeds of Ta-Nehisi Coates, Jamelle Bouie, DeRay McKesson, and whoever the fuck @Bro_Pair is) was already processing the messaging and narrative and implications of said events in vastly more intelligent and complex ways than could be expected from the high-definition hairdo-bot first responders of televised national media on an infinite timeline, and did so all before Anderson Cooper even had a chance to take his thumb out of his ass and actually mention the shooting.

This is not to say that whatever transpires on Twitter is inherently more truthful than any given major media outlet run by a giant multinational conglomerate, or that Twitter's best sources of information are totally unaffiliated with media conglomerates, or that Twitter's responsiveness and immediacy offers value which is inherently superior to any given analysis mechanism which requires more weighty input than even the most thoughtful 140 characters. Unfortunately, Twitter’s tendency toward attention-grabbing, follower-accruing alarmism, even while hosting worthwhile discussions, eventually flattens out to a rough tonal equivalent of the similar commercially-motivated tendency of most media coverage. Additionally, Twitter's tendency toward thousands of immediate concurrent viewpoints also over time see the larger threads of each shunted off into more in-depth but no less worldview-pandering thinkpieces, each attendant to one’s demography-sundering content provider of choice. Twitter is after all a media outlet. There's a certain inertia involved. There are limitations.

And of course Twitter is also a metadata company with a market capitalization in the $23 billion range, like all metadata companies infinitely capable of funneling the exact nature of all the world’s fart jokes and political dissent directly into the highest bidder’s hands, and should thus be viewed askance. Twitter is a manmade, for-profit sluice through which information flows, the construction and upkeep and direction of which we tend to think of as a force of nature just because it seems impossibly large and godlike when viewed through the keyhole of just one user’s experience. But to be fair, $23 billion is a large and godlike number.

What I love about Twitter in the instantaneous aftermath of events such as this shooting is its ability to set parameters for discourse in advance of that discourse’s actual arrival, and to do so in a visible and participatory manner, with a kind of off-the-cuff honesty across the ideological spectrum. Before the conversation even starts, and before the facts are even in, Twitter is there to say “one of the things we will be discussing during this story’s development is the racial, political, and economic context of words such as ‘terrorism’ and ‘mental illness’ and ‘hate crime’ and their use or lack of use.” Twitter anticipates news as much as it relays news, and in so doing underscores both the utter spin-formula predictability of our more “traditional” news outlets and the extent to which societal knowledge is based on whatever weirdly filtered and truncated version of the truth most allows a few overpaid elites to still have a job. This goofy Twitter mechanism, through its enormity, allows for other truths to be considered, and forces the cynically intelligent manufacturers of truth to at least consider the watchdog apparatus before going off any less than half-cocked.

My version of the truth about the Charleston shooting, from what I can tell, is that a white person walked into a holy place, holy both in terms of the faith of its current congregants and the historical and political significance of its role in the formation and continuing struggle of African American identity, and killed nine people in an insane, hate-fueled act of terror. The words “insane” and “hate” and “terror” are all loaded with implications, and the words should all be used, and the associated implications should all be questioned.

From what I saw on Twitter last night, there seemed to be a preemptive attempt to frame the shooting “more” as an act of terrorism than an act of insanity. I understand that impulse. “Terrorism” ascribes political motives to an act of violence, which contextualizes the act within the forces of history. The media narrative around shootings such as this one tends to minimize this context, the way it always minimizes all context in an effort to eradicate whatever non-consumerist impulses an awareness of larger context might engender in an audience, but also especially when the particular incidence of political violence manifests in a way too eerily similar to the status quo’s systemic political violence. You know, the whole “white guys can’t be terrorists, terrorists are exclusively the other, and therefore everything is okay with you and your world, whitey, so you might as well buy some damn soap or whatever else our sponsors are shilling, seriously, don’t worry, this was just a solitary crazy guy, you have no complicity or involvement in this” thing. To call this something other than terrorism ignores some pretty glaring inconsistencies with the way American political blocs employ violence, such as how come this white guy can be at large for almost a day and then be safely and respectfully apprehended and walked around in a bullet-proof vest, all after killing nine unarmed black people, while in the same town an unarmed black guy can’t even run a hundred feet without being fatally shot in the back. It’s pretty clear that this is an act of terrorism, and that to call it so is necessary, as it is necessary to draw attention to the fact that we live in a terrorist state.

By the same token, this gunman is most certainly insane as well. He’s not just insane because he killed a bunch of innocent people, although that’s the version of insanity most readily tisk-tisked by corporate media. Sure, it’s insane to kill innocent people, and the people in the bible study group at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston were certainly innocent in any of the ways large and small in which “innocence” is socially defined. But there is a Machiavellian morality behind concepts such as guilt and innocence, which allows Freddie Gray and Walter Scott and Michael Brown to be labelled as guilty or at least not entirely innocent, and at the same time also creates a false equivalence between those slain in their bible study group last night and any other group of “innocent” people, like say for instance all worldwide billionaires not currently holding an actual physical gun, or for a less recent but just as relevant example, slave owners quietly sleeping in their beds. 

What is particularly insane about this act of violence is not only that it was violence against the innocent, and not even that the shooter disagreed with so widely held a definition of innocence as nine people in a Wednesday night bible study group, so much that this person apparently believed that the current amount of systemic violence and intimidation used to oppress African Americans is somehow woefully inadequate. This young man is insane not just for killing those people, but crucially for the degree to which any extralegal violence by a white person targeted expressly against a black person is functionally overkill. It is and probably will remain okay to call this man insane, but it should also be noted that our whole economic and political system is insane in much the same exact way.

And hate? Sure, of course hate. Of course this shooting is a hate crime. America is a hate crime. That we apparently got away with it, and that the essential hate crime of America’s formation and continuance was and is borne by coldly logical economic incentives in tandem with the self-reinforcing and patently illogical ideology of white supremacy, doesn’t make it any less of a hate crime. We have to reckon with that, as individual citizens and as a country. We have to reckon with all of this, all of the terror and insanity and hate. We can’t look at any one aspect of this shooting or this shooter in Charleston, like for instance the gun control aspect, and claim a blind person’s knowledge of the whole elephant. Especially since we’re all inside the same elephant. And that elephant is very much in the room.

Those are a few of my opinions about the kinds of Charleston Shooting narrative direction conversations I’ve seen on Twitter. That I have them doesn’t especially matter. I am not well-credentialed, or tapped into any kind of agreed upon authority structure, and as such my opinions will not be widely discussed or disseminated. But what I lack in legitimacy I hopefully make up for in the fact that I can say any damn thing I want, with as much conviction as strikes me, and not be worried about my livelihood the way a more “legitimate” person would be. I can speak whatever pure, unadulterated version of truth I see through my filters, and I can share it with you, and we can be salmon together swimming upstream in the same salmon shit-polluted river of information as Wolf The Fuck Blitzer. We might not actually be going anywhere, but at least we’re allowed to try, and at least along the way our conversations are our own.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Bleedin' Armadilla #3 - Morrissey @ The Saenger Theatre

Upon moving to New Orleans from Brooklyn, Kelly McClure and Lindsey Baker noticed a lack of music blogs featuring New Orleans music blog type things. This is a music blog type thing called Bleedin' Armadilla that will be a regular feature here on Total Bozo. This music blog type thing will focus on shows we see here in New Orleans, both local bands, and bands that tour in the area. Disclaimer: do not look to this music blog type thing for "actual' music coverage. We'll mostly just be talking about ourselves, and what sort of emotions, grievances, etc. we happened to have during these shows. Thank you. This is Bleedin' Armadilla.


The last time I bought a ticket to see Morrissey play a show was about a year or so ago. Maybe less actually, now that I'm thinking about it. I was living in Brooklyn, and I saw that he was gonna perform somewhere in NY, so I bought a ticket, because I always buy a ticket anytime there's a ticket made available for a Morrissey situation. That particular Morrissey situation was cancelled because Morrissey was made to suffer the airborne viruses of his opening act. I was sad that the situation was cancelled, and even thought something like "well, that won't be happening to ME again. I won't be buying any more tickets to his situations." But then I saw that he was gonna be playing in New Orleans, a place that we were planning to move to, so I thought "well, I better buy a ticket."

I spent most of yesterday afternoon at the hospital getting a weird bump removed from behind my ear. I had to get three stitches. Lindsey Baker and I had planned to ride our bikes to The Saenger Theatre for the Morrissey show but after putting on my bicycle helmet and discovering that the strap of it rubbed against my three stitches, we decided to take a cab instead. We got there early so we could loiter around and get a drink before the show. I got a "hurricane" flavored daiquiri and Lindsey Baker got a beer. We sat on a concrete wall of some sort, drinking, smoking, and taking in everyone's unique fashions for about 20 minutes or so, and then we went into the venue.

Once we got inside, before we went to the bathroom, bought more drinks, or did anything else, I wanted to buy a shirt. Morrissey always has the best shirts, and I wanted to make sure I had access to the full selection made available that evening, so I stood in a line to get to the shirts. I was in line for about another 20 minutes I'd say. While waiting, a tan blonde woman in front of me asked Lindsey Baker if she was "local," and then explained that she asked this because of her necklaces. I spent a few minutes trying to figure out what that meant, but couldn't figure it out, so I gave up and thought about something else.

I like to display my Morrissey shirts on my sheepskin rug. 

Lindsey Baker wanted me to buy this one particular Morrissey shirt because it was blue, but I pretty firmly did not want to buy that one for that very reason. I don't much care for the color blue. Blue used to be my favorite color when I was little, but now it's brown, or sometimes mustard yellow. Now when I think of the color blue it reminds me of cheap jeans. 

Once I made my shirt selections we went in and found our seats. Usually I try to get the best seats possible for a show, but I didn't for this one because I assumed he was just going to cancel anyway. He didn't cancel though, so we ended up sitting in the balcony. It worked out in the end because the theater is fairly small in size, so there's really no bad seat "in the house." Also, the ceiling of the theater is really decked out to look like a lit up night's sky, and we were closer to it than most people in the place, and therefore got to enjoy it more.

Morrissey came out and right away Lindsey Baker and I started wondering when he was gonna take his shirt off. He sang a lot of songs from his latest album, World Peace is None of Your Business, with a smattering of "the hits" mixed in. I feel bad when beloved artists make new albums and no one really wants to hear the songs from them because they just want to hear their favorite songs from older albums, so I made an effort to get "really into it" when he played his newer songs, and I actually 87% didn't mind. I pretty much genuinely like all of his songs, although I do have to agree that "the hits" are preferred.

Picture stolen from morrissey_fanatic99
During Morrissey's set a young man in a white t-shirt kept standing up and then looking behind him while making this movement with his arms that was intended to indicate the fact that he wanted everyone else to stand up as well. No one did though. I fully support Morrissey and wish him all the best in the world, but if I'm at a show with seats, I be sittin.'

Also spotted during Morrissey's set was an older gentleman off to the right of me who was dancing in a way that I could only describe as "wildly." While he was dancing, on two occasions (that I saw) the man next to him rubbed his butt.

For me personally, the highlight of the night would have been Morrissey performing one of my favorite Morrissey songs, "Speedway," but halfway through the song he had a guy from his band sing the rest of the song in Spanish, so my favorite lines: "In my own strange way, I've always been true to you/ In my own sick way, I'll always stay true to you" didn't resonate as strongly because they were sung in a different language and I'm a stupid American who only knows one language. Because of this ignorance on my end, the highlight was him singing "The World is Full of Crashing Bores" which contains another favorite set of lyrics: "This world, I am afraid, is designed for crashing bores, I am not one, I am not one/You don't understand, You don't understand." 

The entire night felt like it went by in under an hour, though I know it was longer. I got the sense that maybe Morrissey had a stomach ache, or was displeased with the audience because, although he performed amazingly, he only sang one song during the encore ("The Queen is Dead") and he only tore off one shirt, which was done at the end, and almost like a "fuck you" as he flung it into the crowd.

After the show Lindsey Baker and I sat on a different concrete slab and smoked while finishing our beers from the show. At one point I briefly thought I was going to definitely puke because a thing happened where a sneeze got stuck in my throat, causing me to gag on an intake of cigarette, all at the very moment of looking down and seeing a bug. But it went away. I didn't puke.



If your band has a show coming up in New Orleans that you'd like us to see, you can email us about it at kellymcclurewritesstuff@gmail.com




Thursday, June 11, 2015

NON-ALBUM REVIEW: Sun Kil Moon Versus Moon Dot Com

By: Ben Johnson

This is what happens when you let them stay up through nap time.

My friend Kelly McClure is a music publicist, which is a profession that involves creating and inhabiting a world of information that is nominally about music but which, unlike music, might actually get people paid. I like my friend Kelly. She’s one of my best friends. She’s funny and she’s neurotic in all the best ways, and she appears to like me even though I, as a human, am basically repulsive.

One of the things she’s been made aware of from swimming in her music information world, which very much is not the same as a “real” world that people actually live in, is this thing that’s happening between Mark Kozelek and Pitchfork.com. Apparently, Kozelek has been a “lightning rod” for “controversy,” and he called some audience people rednecks, and then he improvised a very sexist song about Pitchfork contributing editor Laura Snapes, and apparently Pitchfork changed their review of his recent album from “I [Ian Cohen] like it (?)” to “I [Mark Richardson] don’t like it,” and Ian Cohen was also the guy who wrote that one album review that said “people who work in factories for a living are sad and depressing” (I’m paraphrasing; there’s only so much research I’m willing to do about this) in it, which aggravated a whole lot of people who definitely do not work in a factory.

Kelly wanted to know my opinion about all of this, and I can’t imagine how another opinion could be helpful, other than to theorize that maybe Kelly’s afraid of finally going completely and totally insane, and just would like a tether to reality from the group of all people who do not and will not ever give a shit about this kind of a thing. I already feel bad about mentioning all of these people’s names, because that is publicity, and that is a vote of confidence, and that is cultural capital, and that is what keeps the whole ugly machine running. Which, actually, is good for Kelly in a professional sense.

How about I’ll just give out grades to all the parties involved on a scale of 1 to 10, like Pitchfork?

Mark Kozelek: 7.4

First of all, it should be mentioned that Mark Kozelek’s music is boring. Like intentionally. I have never listened to anything he’s ever done and had a thought other than “my life will be better when I’m no longer listening to this.” Maybe you like that kind of music, though. I don’t know. Maybe you’re having a depressive episode. Almost definitely you are white, and very likely you could benefit from getting laid and/or going down a damn water slide or otherwise doing something that’s fun. So as far as I’m concerned, all of this guy’s music is just not for me.

I don’t regard this as a moral failing of Mark Kozelek’s, though, it’s just background for what kinds of thoughts I have whenever somebody tells me something about what he’s up to. It’s like hearing news about a new kind of boat that is extra fast, or looking at a picture on Facebook of some distant acquaintance’s kid holding a sign that says “first day of toddler school.” Thanks for the information that doesn’t apply to me, this was a good but unnecessary reminder that fast boats and strange children in toddler school are things which exist in the world.

The reason why I’m giving this dude a 7.4 even though he makes boring music for boring people to read magazines to in their boring houses, is he called those people rednecks for not shutting up at his show, and he appears to be a generally obnoxious, unlikable person who takes himself way too seriously, and apparently has no shame about it, because he’s the guy from Red House Painters, you know, that band, Red House Painters? That is a good archetype for entertainment purposes. He’s like every character on Veep, except for music, and except also a real person. As much as I’d like to be “socially responsible” and “chastise” him for being “problematic,” laughing at the dude is probably a better way to deal with the situation. He’s the guy from Red Fucking House Painters.

Laura Snapes: 9.1

I don’t know anything about Laura Snapes. She appears to be just doing her job. Good job doing your job, Laura Snapes. I hope that sexist song that this giant fucking baby Mark Kozelek sang about you didn’t bum you out too much. And if it did, I hope you benefit from the commensurate uptick in visibility with a book deal or something that makes you feel good an amount that supersedes the amount you got bummed out.

Ian Cohen: 0.0

It’s super fun to give Ian Cohen a 0.0 rating whenever the opportunity strikes. I recommend it.

Mark Richardson: 8.7

I didn’t actually read his review of the most recent Sun Kil Moon album because I could not care less, but Mark Richardson gets high praise from me for stepping in there when there was an opening, writing whatever reactionary horseshit Pitchfork wanted, and getting a damn check for a review about an album that Pitchfork already had a review for. Whether Pitchfork already paid Ian Cohen for his review, or if they decided not to pay Ian Cohen, both are awesome. Keep getting those checks, Mark Richardson. It’s all a big stupid circus anyway.

Pitchfork: 10.0

I think your website is fantastic, and you should definitely be responsive to Kelly McClure’s pitches, because she’s repping some really good bands. I hope I'm using all the right terminology. You people are all weirdos.