Singles reviews 3/29

El-P – The Full Retard (7) Wiley – Evolve or Be Extinct (7) Miranda Lambert ft. Pistol Annies – Run Daddy Run (6) Simian Mobile Disco – Seraphim (6) Kyary Pamyu Pamyu – Candy Candy (5) Alphabeat – Vacation (5) Cloud Nothings – No Future/No Past (4) Swedish House Mafia – Greyhound (4) Marian and… More Singles reviews 3/29

Why the SCOTUS hearings have worked

For my part the hearings have been edifying. Apart from appreciating the thoughtfulness with which Sonia Sotomayor framed questions, wearying of Stephen Breyer’s singsong college professor intonations, and noting again John Roberts’ courtesy, I finally understand that health insurance and care are two different things. In this economy, you get healthcare through health insurance. That’s… More Why the SCOTUS hearings have worked

Sex you up: Jean Vigo

Appreciating Criterion’s release last year of L’Atalante, among other goodies, I felt surprising undertones rumbling beneath the 1934 film’s talkiest, longest sequence: a conversation between boat captain Pere Jules (Michel Simon) and Juliette (Dita Parlo). This scene, just under ten minutes, unfolds, if you’re feeling pedantic, so that director Jean Vigo can eliminate several pages… More Sex you up: Jean Vigo

Stuff and nonsense: The Shins’ Port of Morrow

Artists resort to tape sounds, filters, and feedback when they’ve replaced everyone in the band or it’s time to release the third album. Here’s a point in The Shins’ favor: since Port of Morrow is their/his fourth album you can scratch the last argument. Writing songs in which he/they tries and fails to fit his… More Stuff and nonsense: The Shins’ Port of Morrow

Tellin’ stories: Patriotic Gore

Slate’s highly variable arts coverage gets a lift from David Blight’s excellent reevaluation of Edmund Wilson’s magisterial Patriotic Gore, his 1962 study of Civil War literature and personages. Besides an incisive chapter on Lincoln’s prose style which proved educational for me a decade ago, Wilson includes a meditation on the forgotten figure of Alexander Stephens,… More Tellin’ stories: Patriotic Gore

Happy Sunday

Too much work-related twaddle kept me from attending this year’s EMP Music Conference in New York, the biggest and best pop music convention extant. But I played James Stewart and aimed my wheelchair and broken leg at tweets and posts. Scott Seward’s paper “Puerto Ricans, Black Men, and No Less Than One Dominican: Slammin’ the… More Happy Sunday

State of shock

Max Read instructs us on how to get away with murder in Sanford, Florida. The Trayvon Martin case is moving people, even unexpected ones. GOP strategist Matthew Dowd and Beltway pundit emeritus George Will wondered how Florida’s Stand Your Ground policy and its imitators had made such a hash out of the criminal justice system.… More State of shock