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Being a music critic is not really my thing. In fact, I’ve always loathed album reviews. They’re so often eye-rollingly pretentious and chock-full of subjective blabbering intended primarily to meet the minimum word count demanded by somebody’s editor. Endless yammering about idiosyncratic chord structures and time signatures, esoteric influences and the deeper symbolic meaning of this lyric, or that, topped off with insider stories intended to give the impression that the writer is somehow cool, simply by virtue of being aware of some trivial anecdote that not even the band itself would bother remembering. I actually believe that any academic analysis of art is, at best, irritating and pointless, and at worst, a real cockblock to the mind’s ability to simply take a creative work at face value and just, you know, feel something. But Whim Grace is a friend of mine, and she asked me to take a listen and write my thoughts on the album. I agreed, because I have long loved her work. So I listened. And then I listened again. I’ve been listening, for months now. I knew I liked it, but I didn’t really know what to say about it, without falling into the aforementioned quagmire of pretentiousness, so I didn’t write anything. And then I started to feel bad, because I kept not writing, which gnawed at me, because I had made a promise. But still I kept listening to the album, again and again. That part was easy, because it’s really good. Then I decided to just describe it the way I would to a friend. [Read more…] about The New Whim Grace Album is Gorgeous. You Should Buy It
Income inequality is the cornerstone of repression. Hate for “the other” is a vehicle manipulated by the rich to divide and conquer the poor, who if united, could easily overpower them. Ultimately, Clinton and Trump represent two sides of the same 1% coin, and every time we allow ourselves to get mired in fights about race or gender or sexuality or free speech or emails or religion or even football, they win. Certainly, many of those are serious issues, and they deserve to be addressed by calm, rational people who are willing to hear multiple sides of the argument before rendering decisions. But it is hard for people to be rational when they are angry, anxious, and hungry. The primary concern of ALL people, blue or red or in between, should be to come together and fight for a more level playing field for everyone, and that starts with income equality.
Don’t believe the hype. There is enough to go around. There’s enough for every person to live safely, comfortably and happily, and still allow some people to be extremely wealthy. Don’t let them convince you that it’s the Progressives or the Regressives or the Democrats or Republicans or the whites or blacks or gays or men or women or anyone else that is keeping you down. It’s a few handfuls of extremely rich people who have laid us all out along their own rigged Monopoly board, forcing us round and round in seemingly infinite circles, with no real hope of attaining anything better than bankruptcy or death.
We were all gonna lose, this time, either way. But before we all devolve further into this deepening spiral of fear and loathing, let’s try to remember that income inequality reaches across racial boundaries, gender boundaries, sexuality and religion. It reaches across state boundaries into red areas and blue areas. It affects the great majority of us, to varying degrees. It represents a gushing bullet wound to our Democracy. Racism, sexism, homophobia et al are all serious wounds, in their own right, but this is the one most likely to kill us. We have to start there.
With all the talk about what a flagrantly racist, unapologetically misogynistic, constantly lying, gleefully cheating, small-business-ruining, contract-breaking, bankruptcy-declaring, ignorance-espousing, lawsuit-dodging, tax-evading, troop-disparaging serial divorce-enthusiast Donald J. Trump is, it’s perilously easy to overlook the fact that his barely-in-the-closet lackey is a homophobe of the highest order, a religious zealot on a level that would make even a Mormon blush, and a die-hard enemy of women’s rights who is, in reality, a far-scarier prospect than Trump, himself. To put it another way, Mike Pence may well be the dark Sith Lord to Trump’s Darth Vader. What’s worse is that there is a very real possibility that the endgame of the Republican Party is to leverage Trump’s unexpected popularity to pull a pump-fake on the electorate and sneak in a candidate that makes Ronald Reagan’s Golden Age of conservatism look like free kombucha day at the Berkeley farmer’s market. It’s a conceivable outcome, and you should be freaking out right now.
One of the favorite catchphrases of the Right, when trying to leverage and inspire fear and loathing for outsiders in order to push their conservative agenda, has long been, “They hate us for our freedom.” And while the validity of that statement may be arguable, anyone more worried about the threat of foreign terrorists than they are about the very real erosion of domestic civil liberties proposed by this idiot, is living, breathing evidence of the nascent victory of terrorism, itself. This guy wants to roll back pretty much all of the freedoms for which “they” hate us. You know, classic Leftist Utopian stuff like the right of gay people to breathe, the right of women to decide how many people can live inside their own bodies, the right of people not to worship an ancient invisible space-wizard in a state-sponsored mandatory prayer gulag. That sort of thing. Now ostensibly, ISIS (and similar extremist Islamic groups) and Christian fundamentalists are at war. They’ve publicly stated as much for thousands of years. But the thing is, they’re really not all that dissimilar. I’ll put it simply. ISIS and the extreme Right (for whom Pence is a wet dream of a poster child) are like burritos and tacos. On the surface, they appear to be different, sure. They’re different shapes and different sizes…they come in different containers. But on the inside, the ingredients are essentially the same. Look it up, if you don’t believe me. Their ideologies stem from the same original trilogy, and they all believe, more or less, in literal interpretations of the same ancient rules. No rights for women, no rights for gays (or anyone else who is not a straight male with money, really), the formal integration of church and state, and so on. And, unsurprisingly, neither believe in climate change, or much of anything else related to science. Take away the wardrobes, beard length and skin color variation, and there’s not a whole lot of difference. [Read more…] about Is Mike Pence the True Sith Lord?
Here’s the next in line for the classic Republican cliche of being an outspoken homophobe who secretly loves the D.
Mark my words – it is simply a matter of time before this guy gets caught with a male intern or well-hung prostitute or a gaggle of little people dressed as hobbits dancing naked around him chanting about how his cock ring rules them all. It’s almost a universal truth that those who scream the loudest have the most to hide. Few have tried harder to bring shame and degradation upon the homosexual community, than this guy. He as a 0% rating from the Human Rights Campaign. ZERO. To put that in perspective, AIDS has a 10% rating.
You’d have to be blind not to see that he has to be hiding something. Also, his hair is maybe a tad too perfect. What amuses me most is that he thinks we don’t all see right through him. What saddens me is that I genuinely pity him, in a way. I can’t help it, but I’m a decent human being who respects and cares for my fellow man, and I definitely love me some gays. And clearly this frightened little homophobe is suffering from severe repression and probably all sorts of related side effects. Not that that justifies his being a loathsome douche-canoe of epic proportions, but still. I just want to take him to a big gay West Hollywood party, serve up a smorgasbord of dongs and man-butts and say, “Hey there little fella. Go ahead, have a ball. Hell, have two!* Knock yourself out. Just be gay. Have fun. Life is for the living. You’ve been lied to for too long. Let go and let gay. You’re gonna be OK.” And then he, the LGBTQ community, and the world at large would suddenly become so much brighter and happier. You might even say gayer. And also he and Trump would get eaten alive by their own base and annihilated in the election.
Find out more about what a backwoods homophobic religious extremist Mike Pence is, and how he wants to make life harder for the LGBT community, at the politically-neutral and thoroughly cited On The Issues website.