Friday, September 26

Atwood on Harper, via Oz

Oz pulled an Atwood quote on Harper today that made steam come out my ears.  Go read it.

I call Godwin. This is ridiculous. Did you seriously* just call Harper a dictator? Did I really just hear you do that? Yes, it's true that dictatorships suppress dissent -- that's the fucking definition of 'dictatorship' -- but this particular excerpt stinks of some overly self-important whiner having to shell out for the top-shelf stuff herself when she's off telling the French how wonderful they are rather than having the taxpayer foot the bill.  OK, maybe that's a bit reactionary of me.  But it does seem like Atwood is overreacting quite a bit - nobody's in jail, nobody's even threatened with jail.   Her overreaction weakens her criticism of a cut to arts funding by leaning on the threat-to-democracy angle rather than the more obvious (to me anyway) angle of the importance of Canadian art over the market's desire for it. 

I do think Canadian art is important.  I think it's good for our government to support it, because there are valuable pieces of art -- paintings, theatre, music, books, among many others -- that won't be made if there aren't grants to support them, because there's not enough of a market here for them.  I disagree with the Conservatives' decision to cut arts funding.

But I disagree more with Atwood's knee-jerk reaction to it.

One Track Mind: Pick Me Up, Beyond, Dinosaur Jr.

I'm not familiar with Dinosaur Jr.'s oeuvre; in fact, Beyond is my first listen to the band past a few 30-second clips of avant-garde noise I turned off before they finished back before music was easy to find. I'm happy I took the plunge and bought Beyond, because Pick Me Up - the 3rd track on the album - has one of the best stadium hooks I've ever heard in this kind of distortion rock.

In fact, the whole album has a Shakespearily familiar feel; Dinosaur Jr. captures the essence of the distortion-rock sound so completely (mostly by being one of its originators) that listening to them is a little like reading Hamlet and learning where those cliches came from.

Thursday, September 25

One Track Mind: Inaugural post

Welcome to One Track Mind.

Fraxas and I have challenged each other to blog about one musical track per week. The queue of our mutual music recommendations grows ever longer, and we need a way to manage the quality glut. This feature of the (soon to be resurrected) Shiny Things Distract Us web-log will be a regularly recurring laser-guided smartbomb of taste-making tuneage.

If a track appears here, it may be good, it may be bad, but one thing is certain: one of us wants the other to hear it. So let's drop the puck... now.

Track title: Death Watch
Artist: Alias
Album title: Resurgam

Fractured guitar notes clip at a striding rhythm. The melody explodes on the scene like a UFO tractor beam punching through the clouds. Alias calls to mind the triumphant moments of Boards of Canada's The Campfire Headphase.


Friday, September 12

Blind Men and Elephants

Everyone's heard the hoary old tale of the 4 blind men, the wise man, and the elephant. Here's a decent crib:
Four blind men encounter an elephant. One grabs the leg and is convinced it's a tree trunk. One holds the tail and thinks it's a whip. Another touches the elephant's trunk and decides it's a hose while the fourth man pats the side and is sure it's a wall.

The wise man tells them, "All of you are right."
Ha, ha. roffle roffle, oh isn't that wise, things aren't always what they seem. What that story doesn't tell you is that the wise man can't see either.

He just happened to grab the elephant's dick.