Friday, December 23, 2005
Thursday, December 22, 2005
Those of you who have been paying attention and know where to look know we are at war. Not the guns and bombs kind (although there is no shortage of those of late) but the verbal kind. I speak, of course, of the much-vaunted (and little wanted) War on Christmas. We are told that there are people out there who are liable to take offense to the very word "Christmas." Of course, we are told this mainly by those who take offense to this supposed offense-taking itself--it's all very meta.
Now, X to the Mas falls on a Sunday this year, and it says in no less of an authority than the Bible that Sundays are sacred--one of the Ten Commandments reads "Yo, I got Sunday off, you guys should totally come party with me. It'll be cool. Kthxbye."--so there clearly needs to be room for Daddy, Junior and the Spook. But how do you tell the insidious secularized "Happy Seasonal Occasion" traditions from the genuine "Happy Birthday JC" ones? Here's a list to let you know:
- Christmas trees. Not in the Bible, are they? Apparently this particular tradition was nicked from the German pagans in the early first millenium AD. They must not miss 'em, though, or they'd've spoke up, right?
- X-Mas. See, that X there ain't algebraic for "unknown" (sorry, agnostics) but rather descends from the Greek letter "chi", a shorthand for Christ used by early, Roman-era Christians. You know, back when Christians actually were an oppressed minority somewhere people could locate on a map. (Sorry, Darfur.)
- "Jingle Bells" and "Frosty the Snowman". No Jesus in there, no sir, so they gotta go. Jury's still out on the "Batman smells, Robin laid an egg" version, at least until we can determine whether the Batmobile lost its wheel due to a natural process, or whether there was some sort of Intelligent Designer involved.
- "Happy Holidays". Okay, "holidays" comes from "holy days", so that's a big ol' fuck you to the atheists right there. There are a couple of Jewish holidays in December, admittedly, but they don't really seem all that happy, do they? I mean, the central message of most of 'em was "We weren't completely wiped out by that enslavement/war/genocide 8000 years ago, so quitcherbitchin." Cheery! And as for all the other religions, I'm assuming if they were to celebrate anything, the kind and inclusive folks behind the Kokanee calendar would have remembered 'em. (Does "Return Ranger vakume borrowed in August" count?) So this pretty much has to be Christian by default.
- Santa Claus. Okay, on the one hand Saint Nicholas was a genuine religious figure, patron saint of prisoners, pawnbrokers and prostitutes. (Which makes Tom Waits' "Christmas Card From A Hooker in Minneapolis" wierdly sorta religious.) And, to be fair, he's patron saint of children, too, but that doesn't alliterate so well. But on the other hand, he keeps some pretty shady company. Shady as in, if you fall on the wrong side of the naughty/nice dichotomy, you could get kidnapped or even eaten. Fun! And is it really good religious training to get the wee bairns used to the idea of an old man with a beard who enforces codes of behaviour and has supernatural powers, but later turns out to not exist at all? Yer outta here, Kringle!
- At least gift giving's in. You might wanna keep it to gold, frankincense and myrrh, though.
Posted by arto at 10:26 PM
Thursday, December 15, 2005
Okay, this is genuinely wierd:
In her BODYWORK project, Liz Cohen is converting Färgfabriken’s main hall into a car body shop and a gym. Every day, she will be working to transform an old East German Trabant into an American Chevrolet El Camino. East German functionalism goes American low-rider. In addition, the artist will be training her body so that she will also be able to present the finished car as a showroom bikini model.
Read more at We Make Money Not Art.
Posted by arto at 4:38 PM
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
The Arthurs of Rock assault continues on Bedazzled. Today it's Arthur Lee & Love wailing through My Little Red Book. Skip the kinda weak Byrdsy ballad at the beginning if you wanna--"Little Red Book" is a pure, stompin' two chord psych-punk fireball, kids. This is the schtuff.
Posted by arto at 2:45 PM
Sunday, December 11, 2005
I'm pretty sure I've never linked Bedazzled's awe-inspiring collection of videos here before, but they've been on a hell of a tear lately with Ye Olde Sixties Garage Punke.[*] Fuzztones a-go-go, hot girls in miniskirts doing goofy dances, stompin' barre chord riffs and fake Beatles harmonies--what more could you want? I recommend you start with Tobacco Road by the Nashville Teens (who weren't from Nashville at all)--not only for the way the rollicking mid-tempo verses give way to beatless, harmony-filled choruses and then to boogie woogie bridges Pinetop Perkins himself woulda dug, but because their lead singer goes by the name of Arthur Sharp. Arthurs of the world unite, we have nothing to lose but our chains!
[*] And '70s soul, and novelty hits, and vintage commercials, and whatever the hell you wanna call Serge Gainsbourg...
Oh yeah, I picked up a Wacom tablet the other day, so I oughtta be able to give this place a little graphical pizazz at long last. Make like a pitchfork and stay tuned.
Posted by arto at 9:09 PM