Everything you think you know about the 20th century is wrong.
The Rosenbergs were guilty. Sacco and Vanzetti were guilty. Alger Hiss was guilty. OJ was guilty. Lee Harvey Oswald was guilty. Mumia was guilty. Leonard Peltier was guilty.
Rachel Carson lied. Alfred Kinsey lied. Betty Friedan lied.
To that list, Ed Driscoll adds familiar names like Kitty Genovese and Truman Capote.
Earth Day started out as a commemoration of an event that didn’t quite happen as advertised.
Vietnam? Don’t get me started.
One day, we’ll find out the Scottsboro Boys were guilty.
And some people still wonder why a lesbian waitress would cook up a hoax about homophobic customers…
Once you realize that liberals live in a nostalgic past of their own invention and on-going promotion (like Mrs. Havisham or a tragic Tennessee Williams “heroine”) almost everything “progressives” do then makes “sense.”
It took me an embarrassingly long time to realize, somewhere around age 25, that the part I liked best about going out drinking was the “coming home” part.
I’d be in a cab going back to my apartment after downing ten bucks’ worth of 80 cent drafts at some “ladies entrance”-type “hotel” out on the then-ungentrified stretch of Queen West.
The blessedly silent driver would have on some jazz station I could never, ever find on my own radio dial when I tried.
As the car swept through puddles, I savored the simple, best-of-both-worlds sensation of “going somewhere” at deliberate speed without actually having to exert myself.
It was dark. I could see semi-cool stuff out the window — the somewhat glamorous, slightly menacing city at night — but none of it could see (or touch) me.
How much cheaper and easier it was, I discovered, to just stay home alone on Saturday night, listening to music I already knew I liked.
No lousy service or sight lines. Toilet paper in the bathroom!
The beer was cheaper, the weather didn’t matter, and transportation no longer a hassle.
Returning to our look back at The Clash’s second, and “half great,” album, Give ‘Em Enough Rope (1978)…
One of the album’s biggest flaws is that too many of the songs touch on similar themes, to the point where they begin to run together in your memory.
The former warned that the neo-Nazi National Front was on the rise; the latter concerns the often violent British teen subculture rivalries between mods and rockers, punks and teddy boys, and skinheads vs. everyone else.
In retrospect, it’s hard to calculate whether or not the National Front was ever a serious threat to the social order, or just a jack-booted boogeyman whose influence was exaggerated by far left “anti-racists.”
As for the latter song: For the average North American listener, “teds” and mods were even less familiar creatures than Nazi street thugs, and their battles a baffling phenomenon — one familiar, if at all, from listening to The Who’s Quadrophenia.
However, in the England of The Clash, subculture rivalries were very real and often bloody, as Joe Strummer learned when he attended one rockabilly concert too many in working class “teddy boy” territory. He was sniffed out as “a public schoolboy playing at being working class, so [they] gave him quite a pasting.”
Strummer shrugged off the incident, telling chief roadie “The Baker” that it was all part of suffering for his art.
(The Clash front man’s bone-dry sense of humor, as well as his compulsive self-invention, can make it annoyingly hard to tell when he’s kidding around. He probably wasn’t sure himself sometimes.)
(Alas, too many earnest fans continue to take his off-hand remarks as holy writ, even though they surely know by now that “Joe Strummer” — down to his name, age and accent — was as much a creation as any of his songs.)
Around this time back in 2011, I told PJ Media readers that stand up comic Nick DiPaolo and his longtime friend and colleague Artie Lange had signed a juicy three-year deal to host a sports talk show on satellite radio.
As a fan, I was thrilled for DiPaolo.
He’s been stealing every Comedy Central Roast since they began, and was the undisputed (co)star of the late-lamented Tough Crowd.
That’s why I can’t figure out why (in the words of his fellow comedian Joe Rogan) he’s still not selling out arenas.
So obviously I was shocked (and ticked off) when his radio show returned to the air after the Christmas 2012 break — without him.
Why? No one’s talking, even now, probably for legal reasons.
(It took me far too long to learn that you almost never find out the real reason you — or anybody else — gets either fired or dumped.)
The good news is, DiPaolo promptly went back out on the road, which — don’t kid yourself — isn’t as fun as it sounds, especially when you’re, well, not a kid anymore.
(There’s a reason that’s the premise of Adam Carolla’s next movie…)
DiPaolo has also put together a new hour, just recorded his new performance DVD — and he’s launched a new weekly podcast.
Twenty-five years ago this week, The Clash released their second album, Give ‘Em Enough Rope.
Artistic sophomore efforts always threaten to over-promise and under-deliver.
Inevitably, then, reaction to Rope was decidedly mixed.
Critics were mostly enthralled. Rolling Stone and Time hailed Give ‘Em Enough Rope as 1978′s album of the year.
On The Clash’s home turf, a writer at Sounds (who probably never lived this down) declared it one of the best records in history.
For many fans, however, such critical acclaim bolstered their own disdain.
The iconoclastic punk band had promised their loyal followers that signing their six-figure contract with CBS Records would never turn them into commercial, corporate puppets. One zine famously declared that “punk died” the day that deal was done.
So as far as longtime loyalists were concerned, Give ‘Em Enough Rope represented a blatant betrayal. They called the record slick and overproduced — by the guy behind Blue Oyster Cult, no less!
For less rabid music lovers, Rope simply got lost between the band’s epochal self-titled debut and their third release, the mainstream masterpiece London Calling.
Heck, Fred Armisen even forgot to make fun of it:
This real-life reality show has been playing out almost non-stop for years now, ever since the day Ford was elected in a landslide.
Get in the car, turn on the TV, walk past the newspaper boxes, and there it is again:
Rob Ford yelled at this person and broke some ethics rule (or maybe not) and was videotaped staggering around drunk at a street festival and so on and so forth.
As far as the Canada’s establishment elite are concerned, even if Rob Ford had never done any of the things they’ve accused him of, he’s committed far more serious crimes anyhow:
He’s not the most articulate guy in public life.
His family owns a pretty successful business.
He talks a lot about cutting taxes and spending.
And worst of all:
He’s fat. (I’m not kidding: Just watch the video below.)
But now Rob Ford has admitted, on camera, on the record, to smoking crack.
Sounds like a game changer, if not ender.
I was always told never to talk to strangers, so if I traveled back in time to have a word with my younger self, I like to think I’d kick me in the shins.
What difference would it make anyhow?
My pre-pubescent, Carter-era self would never have believed it when grown-up me assured her that (putting aside those brown polyester Sears catalog pants and the blue velour platform shoes and the Love’s Baby Soft and the baby blue, cap sleeved “two fried eggs” t-shirts and root beer-flavored Lip Smackers) one day, believe it or not, I — that is, we — would miss the 1970s.
It’s like the “beer googles” effect but for inanimate objects:
Pretty much any cultural artifact, no matter how hideous, starts looking pretty darn good after all these
Bud Lights years.
Sometimes, those goggles work a little too well; we misremember stuff as being better — or just bolder — than anything we have now.
For example, a few years back, it became commonplace to cluck:
“They could NEVER make Blazing Saddles today.”
Please. Have you seen There’s Something About Mary or any random South Park episode?
Likewise, those of us of a certain age have been known to make the same fact-free claim regarding All in the Family.
True, the same network that once proudly aired that award-winning landmark television show couldn’t broadcast it now, but a cable channel certainly could.
[Gary] McHale was not as advertised – nothing like it — and the reason he seems so foreign, even odd, is because he’s that rarest of modern Canadian creatures – a man who acts on principle, lives and breathes it in fact.
In our collective defense, there are so few of these folks around it’s little wonder we’re suspicious of them. The McHales gave up so much in what might be called, though it’s a bit of a stretch, the fight for a free Caledonia – financial security, the trappings of an ordinarily comfortable, if not affluent, life – in exchange for permanent poverty, vilification by the state and a generally sleepy press, and arrest and harassment by the [Ontario Provincial Police].
I agree with veteran reporter Christie Blatchford, quoted above.
My fellow Canadians tend to be a rather timid bunch.
We’re more prone to writing angry letters to the editor than taking to the streets (unless it’s to riot after a hockey victory).
We tend to care more about the lottery than liberty, and free coffees than freedom.
That’s why, as Blatchford noted, Gary McHale seems at once so very Canadian and yet so… foreign.
The “political activists” we do have up here tend to be well-paid professional protesters and office-bound do-gooders, left-wingers all.
Despite his admiration for their supposed hero Martin Luther King, Jr., however, McHale is abhorred by those very leftists.
Maybe his front-line, high-risk protests shame them a little.
But mostly, Gary McHale has quietly yet stubbornly dared to question what he calls “race-based policing” — the kid-glove treatment Canadian Indian protesters (some would call them terrorists)receive when they violently attack non-Native persons and their property.
Especially as he witnessed it first hand, in a place called Caledonia.
If you don’t watch any other video today, please watch this one:
I’ve toyed with the idea of starting a regular series called something like “You Invented Nothing.”
I’d put up vintage photographs without comment, except for the date, and maybe a snarky title.
Or maybe you’ve already seen this widely-Tumblr’d photo taken in Canada in 1940.
Note the casual, camera-carrying guy center right, looking quite out of place with his sunglasses, graphic shirt and hat-less head.
He’s been dubbed the “Time Traveling Hipster”:
Is the photo a (sort of lame) hoax?
People back then wore sunglasses and clothes with writing on them (especially varsity sweaters and sweatshirts).
Just not as many as we see today.
Every generation thinks it invented sex, but it’s less commonly observed that it also thinks it invented “cool.”
Never mind that “apples-full-of-razor-blades” moral panic that was debunked way back in 1985.
The notion that [Orson Welles' October 30, 1938 radio production of] The War of the Worlds convulsed America in panic and mass hysteria.
Americans will get to relive the famous incident on Tuesday, October 29, when PBS airs its new “War of the Worlds” episode of American Experience.
Campbell, an expert on Welles’ infamous broadcast, expressed wariness as soon as PBS announced the project:
A description PBS has posted online signals that its documentary, as suspected, will buy into the panic myth. The description says, in part, that “perhaps a million or more” listeners that night in 1938 were “plunged into panic, convinced that America was under a deadly Martian attack.”
PBS also says The War of the Worlds program created “one of the biggest mass hysteria events in U.S. history.” As if there have been many such events.
As Campbell goes on to demonstrate in some detail, those reports of mass hysteria induced by a radio play on the eve of World War II have been greatly exaggerated.
Biopics range from the sublime (Coal Miner’s Daughter) to the shambolic (98.5% of the others).
Who hasn’t experienced that very particular sensation of profound embarrassment while watching, say, Wired or Beyond the Sea or pretty much any movie in which a real person is being impersonated by a badly cast actor, especially one burdened by distracting facial prosthetics?
Why do we get so exercised by “stunt casting” gone wrong, fuming for weeks over Alan Rickman’s performance as Ronald Reagan in The Butler?
Hell, I’m still mad at Alex Cox for making Gary Oldman wear a “hammer and sickle” t-shirt instead of a “swastika” one in Sid & Nancy, and his failure to cast Courtney Love as Oldman’s costar.
Maybe it has something to do with that part of our brain where the “uncanny valley” resides.
As well, we mistakenly believe we “know” famous people — even own them, in a way.
How dare an actor get “our” celebrity wrong! How dare that director cast the wrong person to play him?
The passionate comments beneath this article on Sacha Baron Cohen’s firing from the Freddie Mercury biopic are representative.
Whereas I have no investment in that project (emotional or otherwise), there are dueling Clash biopics in various stages of development, so here’s sensational news for both producers:
Happy to help!
This sad story tells itself, thanks to one Canadian reporter’s Twitter stream, but some background is still in order:
During protests and “occupations,” Canadian Indians have a history of attacking journalists, soldiers, police and even ordinary civilians.
It just happened again.
When the RCMP finally tried to break up an anti-fracking blockade in New Brunswick, Indian protesters responded by setting the Mounties’ vehicles on fire.
Mainstream reporters were on hand, of course — although it’s hard to film out-of-control demonstrations when protesters seize your camera equipment and news truck:
[Laura] Brown was covering the aftermath of the violence that erupted in the area Thursday when RCMP, acting on a court injunction, moved in to disperse a three-week-long blockade of seismic testing equipment owned by SWN Resources.
Brown was among a group of reporters looking at the wreckage of a police vehicle that was torched on Thursday, demonstrators clashed with RCMP officers armed with riot gear.
On Saturday morning, Brown and another reporter were subjected to threats and later had their equipment seized.
According to the report she did manage to file (but which I can’t embed here), Laura Brown repeatedly insists that the protest had been “peaceful” up until that moment — even though she tweeted photos of torched RCMP vehicles just minutes before being accosted.
As for what happened to her, Brown recounts that belligerent Indians ordered her out of her truck.
She complied for some reason.
When she asked them if she could at least retrieve the station’s camera and sound equipment out of the truck, the protesters told her that the equipment “belonged to them” and seized that too.
I’m not a lawyer, but I’m thinking that sounds an awful lot like car-jacking and theft over $5000.
So being a genetically programmed pessimistic misanthrope and contrarian, I was all geared up to bash Comedy Gives Back.
This 24-hour telethon airing November 6-7 is raising money for “Malaria No More, a charitable organization striving to end deaths from malaria.”
My immediate reaction was, “Oh, great. More damn mosquito nets.”
See, liberal idiots have been pushing mosquito nets on Africans for generations as a way to (sort of) prevent malaria, when every smart conservative knows there’s already a cheap, easy, safe, proven way to prevent malaria: spraying DDT all over the joint.
DDT’s exaggerated dangers were debunked long ago, but so many progressives cling to emotion and dramatic narratives over cold hard facts — no matter how many black strangers have to die so white leftists can keep feeling self-righteous.
I figured the folks at Malaria No More were still pushing the anti-DDT message, one that would get a boost after A-list comics like Marc Maron, Adam Carolla, Eugene Mirman and Kevin Nealon performed on the Comedy Gives Back telethon.
Then I visited MalariaNoMore.org.
Cat Stevens is among this year’s nominees for inclusion into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, along with Nirvana, The Replacements, Peter Gabriel, N.W.A., Chic, KISS, Hall and Oates, The Zombies, Deep Purple and a bunch more.
These nominees range from “Obvious” (KISS) to “Huh??” (Chic) to “They aren’t in there already?” (Link Wray).
But even more disturbing than the presence of Yes on the list (“Ewwww!”) is the sight of Cat Stevens’ name.
Or make that, his former name.
He’s now Yusuf Islam, and he’s an outspoken proponent of jihad.
Among other things, Yusuf Islam is on record as endorsing the contract the ayatollah put out on novelist Salman Rushdie, in words that cannot possibly be open to misinterpretation.
And anyhow, isn’t music “haram”?
When we last left law student Khurrum Awan and his pals at the Canadian Islamic Congress (CIC), they’d been turned into international laughingstocks.
That’s a pretty predictable outcome when you sue Mark Steyn and Canada’s oldest newsmagazine for “Islamophobic hate speech” — after Steyn & co. simply quoted some Muslim supremacists in their very own words boasting about their plans to take over the West by “outbreeding” the infidels.
Awan and his fellow belligerents lost, but not until Maclean’s magazine shelled out an estimated $2 million in their own defense.
(The Muslim troublemakers had all their legal fees paid for by Canadian taxpayers.)
I’ve written about that case, and others, in my book The Tyranny of Nice.
Now, another “character” in that book, broadcaster and publisher Ezra Levant, is the one being hounded by Khurram Aman.
You see, Levant attended Steyn’s trial and live-blogged it in his own inimitable — that is, cheeky and candid — fashion to the delight of readers.
Every reader except Awan, who as the leader of the so-called CIC “sockpuppets,” was the target of much of Levant’s tart criticism.
Awan sued Levant for libel back then.
I honestly thought this song was a gag.
While searching for something completely different on YouTube, the video for Chicago’s new single, “America,” popped up into my line of sight.
Yes, dinosaur group Chicago is still around, although how many original members are still in the band, or even still alive, I couldn’t tell you.
Normally I ignore them, but because their single is called “America,” my curiosity was aroused.
I braced myself and hit the “play” button, figuring I was in for one of those faux-melancholy “I wish America was as
liberal noble and wise as I am” tunes a la John Cougar Mellencamp or Bruce Springsteen.
In a weird kind of way, what I heard was something worse.
The “Ransom of Red Chief” jokes started flying soon after infamous troublemakers Tarek Loubani and John Greyson were thrown into an Egyptian jail in August.
The pair are known anti-Israel “activists.”
That would be their own damn business if Canadian taxpayers weren’t forced to directly or indirectly sponsor their never-ending nonsense — stunts no Egyptian citizen would survive doing for a second.
Loubani is, in fact, a doctor from London, Ont. He calls himself a Palestinian refugee, though he came to Canada from Kuwait, where he was born. But it’s politically sexier to say you’re Palestinian.
Loubani is an extreme activist. When a Canadian cabinet minister was announcing a grant to help people with disabilities, Loubani stormed into the press conference, disrupting it, shouting about how he’s a refugee from Palestine. Even though he’s been in Canada since he was a child. And he’s a rich doctor, doing just fine.
Loubani just wouldn’t leave the press conference, even when security guards asked him to. He kept shouting like a crazy person until police escorted him away.
Who wasn’t moved and inspired by this week’s displays of civil disobedience by World War II veterans in Washington, D.C.?
Perhaps we were abashed as well.
Who among us can honestly say we’d have done what they did — defying authority, risking arrest, making a scene — even though we are, most of us, younger and stronger?
Aren’t millions of Americans rather more like this fellow, spotted by Mark Steyn in his travels:
I saw a fellow in a “Don’t Tread on Me” T-shirt the other day. He was at LaGuardia, and he was being trod all over, by the obergropinfuhrers of the TSA, who had decided to subject him to one of their enhanced pat-downs.
There are few sights more dismal than that of a law-abiding citizen having his genitalia pawed by state commissars, but having them pawed while wearing a “Don’t Tread on Me” T-shirt is certainly one of them.
I’m so glad Breaking Bad is finally over.
I never watched a minute of it.
I try to avoid drug-centered movies and television programs.
It doesn’t matter if these productions are supposedly “anti-drug” — the very act of filming and screening any story about any subject automatically glamorizes it, because cinema itself is glamor.
So I’m relieved that I no longer have to overhear people in the “straight” world chatting pseudo-knowledgeably, and with barely concealed emotional arousal, about the manufacture and consumption of meth just because they binge-watched Breaking Bad.
Besides, as I’ve said since the program began, besides being tediously “dark” and “edgy” (yawn…) the series was premised on an absurd conceit:
While seemingly half the planet was counting down the minutes to the Breaking Bad finale on Sunday night, I was looking forward to Monday evening, and the seventh season premiere of one of my favorite shows, Murdoch Mysteries.
In the wake of its release, Bowie bemoaned the fact that when he performed ["The Man Who Sold the World"] himself he would encounter “kids that come up afterwards and say, ‘It’s cool you’re doing a Nirvana song.’ And I think, ‘**** you, you little tosser!”
– Nicholas Pegg, The Complete David Bowie
I can’t figure out who saw it first — DangerousMinds? Someone on Facebook? — but I wasn’t surprised when Gavin McInnes jumped on the “Urban Outfitters ‘Punk’ Jacket” meme.
Urban Outfitters, you see, occasionally sells one-of-a-kind vintage fashion finds on their website.
To the palpable disgust of many GenXers, one of these “finds” went on sale this week.
It’s the $375 “punk” jacket you’re looking at at the top of this post.
If you don’t immediately recognize all the factors that make this jacket the exact opposite of punk — and therefore a matter we all need to talk about right away and for three whole days in great detail — then
I can’t be friends with you either keep reading or, well, don’t I guess.
I was particularly eager to learn McInnes’ take on this.
Canadians of a certain age know McInnes better as a founder of the once awesome Montreal-based Vice magazine, which is now just an international “content provider” phenomenon owned by some giant media conglomerate.
In the old days, Gavin’s “Do’s and Don’ts” section, mocking street fashion disasters with exquisite, withering precision, was some of the finest miniaturist writing anywhere.
McInnes is also, like me, a former punk — although like the Marines, we tend not to accept the “former” designation with graciousness.
The temperaments and attitudes that attracted us to punk are ones we were likely born (and stuck) with, even if our hair is now more likely to be grey than green.
In Canada, our version of the IRS doesn’t spy on or persecute Tea Party groups, mostly because we don’t actually have Tea Party groups.
Our analysis of the information obtained during the course of the audit has led the CRA to believe that the Organization had entered into a funding arrangement with the Kashmiri Canadian Council/Kashmiri Relief Fund of Canada (KCC/KRFC), non-qualified donees under the Act, with the ultimate goal of sending the raised funds to a Pakistan-based non-governmental organization named the Relief Organization for Kashmiri Muslims (ROKM) without maintaining direction and control.
Under the arrangement, KCC/KRFC raised funds for “relief work” in Kashmir, and the Organization supplied official donation receipts to the donors and disbursed over 281,696 to ROKM, either directly, or via KCC/KRFC.
Our research indicates that ROKM is the charitable arm of Jamaat-e-Islami, a political organization that actively contests the legitimacy of India’s governance over the state of Jammu and Kashmir, including reportedly through the activities of its armed wing Hizbul Mujahideen.
Hizbul Mujahideen is listed as a terrorist entity by the Council of the European Union and is declared a banned terrorist organization by the Government of India, Ministry of Home Affairs, under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act of 1967.
This should be kind of embarrassing for Prime-Minister-In-Waiting Justin Trudeau, who was widely criticized for speaking at a big ISNA event a few months back.
But he spoke there even after the nation’s biggest newspaper — a liberal one, at that — exposed the “charity’s” dodgy finances, which included siphoning off money donated to feed the hungry and using it for “administrative” expenses instead.
So I don’t expect he cares one way or the other.
There was a time when I’d have been very excited about that.
Believe it or not, back in the 1990s and the years that preceded them, Cher was different: apolitical, effortlessly hilarious, and humble.
I saw her in concert back then and her audience was the most diverse I’ve ever seen: all ages, races, and sexual orientations, gathered to celebrate the unsinkable survivor with the single name, who’d had hits in every decade since the 1960s and won deserved acclaim for her acting.
That was before Cher contracted Bush Derangement Syndrome and never found a cure.
It was also — I realize just now — before Sonny Bono died, in 1998.
Her unforgettable eulogy at Sonny’s funeral, and her exquisite televised special remembering their lives together, were Cher’s last great public moments before she descended into crazy-homeless-lady bitterness.
They’d been apart for years by then, but had Sonny served as Cher’s ballast all along?
Kevin Pollak has appeared in a bunch of classic movies, including The Usual Suspects.
He’s one of the best mimics alive.
Comedy Central voted him one of the top stand-up comedians ever.
Now Pollak wants to shoot a star-studded documentary exploring one of the great paradoxes of Western culture — the sad clown:
If you’re a fan of stand-up comedy, and those who perform it, you’re no doubt aware that a staggering percentage are truly miserable. We’ve lost number of great comedians to drugs, alcohol and suicide. How can they be so entertaining to strangers and so filled with sadness and/or rage with family and friends…? The main goal of this film is to shed extensive light on this bizarre dichotomy. … It’s gonna be a hoot!
Yes, all those drugs don’t help.
But before Lenny Bruce became the “Bird” of comedy and inspired too many stand-ups to shoot up, funny men had reputations as either twisted, self-destructive misanthropes or inconsolable Pagliaccii, too fragile and wounded to survive in a harsh, shallow world.
The difference between those older pieces and contemporary ones is that, sometime in the 1960s, professional comedians no longer felt obligated to “turn their frowns upside down” when they went on stage, lest they disillusion their audiences.
That brand of artifice (and self-control) went out with the cheap tux and the Catskills.
Who declared 2013 “The Year of the Canadian Singer-Songwriter-Blowhard”?
First it was Joni Mitchell comparing her Saskatchewan home town to the segregated “Deep South,” a comparison with no geographical, demographic or historical basis.
Now Neil Young is the one spouting off:
Neil Young has spent the past few weeks driving cross-country in LincVolt, a 1959 Lincoln Continental that’s powered by electricity and cellulosic ethanol.
Earlier this week, he spoke at a press conference in Washington D.C. with Sens. Harry Reid and Debbie Stabenow.
“I am against the Keystone pipeline in a big way,” Young said in comments posted on his website.
“The fact is, Fort McMurray [Alberta] looks like Hiroshima. Fort McMurray is a wasteland. The Indians up there and the native peoples are dying. People are sick. People are dying of cancer because of this.
“All of the First Nations peoples up there are threatened by this. Their food supply is wasted, their treaties are no good. They have the right to live on the land, like they always did, but there’s no land left that they can live on. All the animals are dying.”