aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Wednesday, June 08, 2005
Those were the days
Whenever any of my allegedly liberal music-nerd friends tell me how much they hate disco, I always like to ask, mischievously, “So are you a racist, a homophobe, or both?” Because to wholly dismiss disco as a genre—and whether or not it brings you pleasure to listen to it is another question entirely—is to denigrate what’s possibly the most democratic form of popular music ever conceived...Born of the social and economic devastation of 1970s New York, disco was as much a political statement as punk would later be (maybe even more so), a movement that slashed across boundaries of race, class and sexual orientation. You can hate the trappings of disco (there’s not much good to say about those polyester suits). But to trash it without even attempting to grapple with where it came from and what it means amounts to an insidious form of bigotry.
With “Turn the Beat Around: The Secret History of Disco,” Peter Shapiro has, with meticulous research and deep affection, finally written the book that defenders of disco have been waiting for, and the one its many detractors need to read. There are few forms of popular music so universally despised, or so misunderstood, as disco. Punk and hip-hop have had, and continue to have, their enemies, but hatred of disco crosses all lines of class and taste, if not sex and sexual preference...Instead of tracing disco’s history with a series of straight lines, Shapiro untangles the delicate web of threads—events, attitudes and minor miracles—that caused this strange and wonderful phenomenon to come into being, beginning with the underground dance parties of the “swing kids” in Nazi Germany, moving through the racial unrest of the 1960s to the glittering gay discos of the 1970s, and beyond.
Steven Johnson of Everything Bad is Good for You fame (I want to read that book) was on the Daily Show last night (video). On his blog, he tells his side of the interview and tips us off to this potentially awkward moment:
I’m most proud of something that you can barely see in the clip. When I first walked on stage, as I stepped up onto the main platform, the base unit of my wireless mic detached from my belt, and dropped down towards the floor, almost pulling the mic out of my lapel. A lesser guest might have panicked—“Cut! Cut! My mic is broken!”—but somehow I managed to swing the base unit back into my hand and quickly deposit it into my coat pocket while shaking hands with Jon. (I’ll call him Jon because, you know, we’re terribly good friends now.) I was pretty relaxed and confident going into the interview, but that little catch gave me an extra boost right as we started talking. Whatever doesn’t kill you—or at least whatever doesn’t cut out your audio feed—makes you stronger, I guess…
The theory is wrong
If DRM is any part of Apple’s motivation - which I very much doubt - the reason can only be as a symbolic gesture of submission to Hollywood. One of the lessons of DVD copy protection is that Hollywood still seems to need the security blanket of DRM to justify accepting a new distribution medium. DVD copy protection didn’t actually keep any content from appearing on the darknet, but it did give Hollywood a false sense of security that seemed to be necessary to get them to release DVDs. It’s awfully hard to believe that Hollywood is so insistent on symbolic DRM that it could induce Apple to pay the price of switching chip makers.
Most likely, Apple is switching to Intel chips for the most basic reason: the Intel chips meet Apple’s basic needs better than IBM chips do. Some stories report that Intel had an advantage in producing fast chips that run cool and preserve battery power, for laptops. Perhaps Apple just believes that Intel, which makes many more chips than IBM, is a better bet for the future. Apple has its reasons, but DRM isn’t one of them.
Ok. Maybe. I don’t know enough about it to say. But I stand by my Steve/Bill comparisons.
All press is good press
I’m still with him. 99%.
No one wrote about Terry McAuliffe’s first 100 days as the chair of the Democratic National Committee. I’m willing to bet the landmark didn’t even occur to anyone, with the exception, perhaps, of Mr. McAuliffe himself. But when 100 days passes and his successor, Howard Dean—the most highly anticipated, scrutinized, equally loathed and beloved DNC chair in recent memory—is at the helm of the party, it’s a different story. It is, in fact, a story.
One of the arguments I made in favor of a Dean candidacy during the campaign for DNC Chair was that electing a political celebrity such as Howard Dean would keep the DNC visible even in off-years, something which we has not accomplished in recent decades. With a national name ID hovering at around 70%, people actually know who Howard Dean is. In fact, Howard Dean has a higher name ID than Tom Daschle, Tom DeLay, Bill Frist, Dennis Hastert, Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid. Dean is much more recognizable than any Democrat except the Clintons, Al Gore, John Edwards and John Kerry.
That said what of the substance of the comments?
In a word, they’re true!
On * White * Republicans. On hating Republicans and the struggle between good and evil. On “a lot of them have never made an honest living in their lives.” Digby’s right, It’s the kind of thing that real people say in real life.
Which raises the issue of the politics of the comments.
Yes, that’s a problem. Not a big problem (1%, see above). The same problem he had in the campaign. I buy that politicians can’t talk that way in our media age. They have to spout the kind of blather that analysts can ponder and pundits can endlessly parse, debate and pontificate over in order to get elected.
But Dean’s job isn’t to get elected.
Despite the polemics that were sure to follow Dean’s assuming the role of party chairman, his primary duty is to raise money. Though the Republican National Committee has raised money at a rate of 2-to-1 on Democrats in the first quarter of 2005, Dean himself has been effective. In the first four months, under Dean’s stewardship, the DNC has raised nearly $19 million—more than under any other Democratic chairman in an off-election year.
What about moderates and building bridges:
These kinds of comments will certainly bring cries of “Right on! Finally we have a Democrat who lets ‘er rip!” from the already convinced. But they will utterly fail to build bridges to GOPers who are upset with how social conservatives are taking over their party because the bottom line is that most Republicans don’t feel the takeover is complete yet.
Also: this kind of comment basically stereotypes a whole party which again is what partisans may believe but the DNC party chair’s job isn’t to just appeal to partisans. He is supposed to help BUILD the party. And that means adding to its numbers, not just reinforcing what’s there.
It seems to me that if there is a lesson to be learned from the Republicans, it’s that appealing to the base works! (And I’m aware that nearly all my citations--pointedly NOT the MSM--are liberal.) Here I say again, Dean’s not the candidate. The building bridges job is for the candidate. Not the chairman.
So I’m sure there will continue to be Dems (real and otherwise) living up to our eat their own reputation (even as Edwards is clarifying his remarks) and Drudge, the right and the media will work themselves into a lather. But me, I’m siding with Dean.