A few of my favorite things…

Over the next few days I’m going to post fifty of the albums that mean most to me. Notice my weasel words. I suppose this would count as my fifty favorite albums if I believed in carving things on stone tablets. Suffice to say that were I asked to list these albums they’d be inContinue reading “A few of my favorite things…”

‘Abortion can be the moral choice’

“All In” played choice bits from today’s House-Planned Parenthood hearings. Allen Drury’s Advice and Consent could not have presaged so lurid a set of exchanges: Chaffetz, who took the gavel for this often politically contentious committee at the start of the new Congress in January, put up a chart that purported to show Planned Parenthood’sContinue reading “‘Abortion can be the moral choice’”

‘Economic justice is not – and has never been – sufficient to ensure racial justice’

As usual, the senator from Massachusetts treated her audience like adults: I have often spoken about how America built a great middle class. Coming out of the Great Depression, from the 1930s to the late 1970s, as GDP went up, wages went up for most Americans. But there’s a dark underbelly to that story. WhileContinue reading “‘Economic justice is not – and has never been – sufficient to ensure racial justice’”

My favorite thing: Sugar’s File Under: Easy Listening

When Bob Mould came out to readers of glossy music magazines, he couldn’t have known that it made no impact on his sales. File Under: Easy Listening, which had peaked in the top fifty before plummeting, was a dead letter. The alt-rock boom that helped sell more than a quarter million copies of Sugar’s CopperContinue reading “My favorite thing: Sugar’s File Under: Easy Listening”

Don’t call them comebacks: New Order and Robert Forster

New Order – Music Complete Boredom and a lifetime’s worth of acrimony having forced the departure of their most crucial member, the trio plus two unassuming additions record a better bunch of songs than anyone, including the trio, had a right to expect. The song lengths look daunting, but not if you take Bernard Sumner’sContinue reading “Don’t call them comebacks: New Order and Robert Forster”

Pope Francis: conscientious objection ‘is a right’

Pope Francis said things that would lead a reasonable man to conclude that he believes people like Kim Davis have a right to refuse discharging duties they consider immoral: On the flight back to Rome, he was asked if he supported individuals, including government officials, who refuse to abide by some laws, such as issuingContinue reading “Pope Francis: conscientious objection ‘is a right’”

‘Outright lying and plausible dissimulating continue to be the name of the game’

The CIA has written an exculpatory book regarding its role in torture called, you don’t say, Rebuttal. Philip Giraldi will have none of it: One might well ask whether publishing an ostensibly serious book justifying torture could even happen anywhere but in the United States. The contributors are all retired now with generous pensions andContinue reading “‘Outright lying and plausible dissimulating continue to be the name of the game’”

‘I wanna be alone’

Fans will post Roxy Music material. I’m going to post an obscurity, smothered to death on 1994’s Mamouna but on a piano and strings arrangement recorded live five years later its lungs get filled with new oxygen. “You make me nervous/You telephone” is the most Ferryesque lyric of his late career. Have a few hoursContinue reading “‘I wanna be alone’”

‘Take demagogues seriously’

Dismiss demagogues at your peril, Rick Perlstein writes. Donald Trump and the undying carcass of Ronald Reagan have similarities: This was a fairly accurate portrayal of how Carter’s aides saw their opponent. Carter speechwriter Hendrik Hertzberg has related that the campaign’s strategists were confident that if they only could get Reagan side by side onContinue reading “‘Take demagogues seriously’”

Screenings #10

George H.W. Bush was president when I rented American Gigolo, therefore my viewing a few nights ago counts as a first time. Incapable of making a satisfying film, writer-director Paul Schrader nevertheless can shape at least a couple good scenes per movie. Treating Richard Gere like Jean-Pierre Melville did Alain Delon in Le Samourai stimulatesContinue reading “Screenings #10”

The New Girlfriend – François Ozon’s insouciant transgender drama

Bored easily, concise to the point of indolence, François Ozon makes films that are not so much about women as about feminine archetypes in movies. He understands how the male gaze often forces women into curious and unnatural poses. Douglas Sirk, another director who fooled critics for years into thinking he skimmed surfaces, also lovedContinue reading “The New Girlfriend – François Ozon’s insouciant transgender drama”

University of California and free speech

Meanwhile on the free speech front the University of California struggles to write policies that further restrict speech against foreign governments, namely Israel. As the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education notes, “it’s not up to public university officials to decide what criticism of a foreign government is legitimate or forbidden, and, in turn, toContinue reading “University of California and free speech”