Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Ha..... You Think It's Funny?

Turnin' Rebellion Into Money

So I'm driving hope from work tonight.



And suddenly Barbara Budd starts babbling on about the imminent demise of London's Hammersmith Palais, a place I've never been to in the flesh but have been to in spirit at least a million times, maybe more.

And what a spirit it was, that spirit of The Clash and all the honest-to-goodness world changing DIY it represented.

Which, I truly believe, was way more than the sweetly raucous bird of youth and/or teen spirit.


Not long ago, just before the fever swamps broke for real and helped influence an entire US congressional election, the indomitable Jane Hamsher suggested that the best of the Left Blogistan felt like punk all over again:

"The music business in the 70's had grown bloated and moribund and disconnected from its audience. Record executives busied themselves buying Rolexes for REO Speedwagon and paying millions for Casablanca records and nobody cared. They were perfectly horrified at the spectacle of kids paying $3 to see the Clash play a benefit for Marxist youth at the Geary Temple in 1978, but even as a kid it was perfectly obvious where the energy was, where the zeitgeist was shifting. Punk rock became a beacon for creative people of all walks, and oh so many years later the shadow it casts looms far greater than the corporate culture merchants of the time were able to envision.

It's not that the movie business or the book business or the magazine business is dead, or that the blog world is any challenge to any of them, but creativity is a very fluid thing and when it becomes difficult to achieve any kind of satisfaction in a particular medium the quality talent will siphon off into an arena that allows it expression. I could stand at a magazine stand for 24 hours straight, reading every issue on the racks and not come across the clever, relevant, insightful things I know I can find in a half hour on the blogs.

As a side note -- it's also apparent who hasn't been the beneficiary of this energy, and that would be in the right wing blogs. You can say my estimation is clouded by contempt but you would be wrong. I am perfectly able to appreciate and even (reluctantly) defend the filmmaking skills of people I loathe. I can count exactly two times I have ever read anything on the right even slightly insightful. For reasons too innumerable to go into right now, a philosophy that promotes totalitarianism and a system of endless repetition of someone else's talking points simply won't drawing the same quality thinkers. Period.

We thought punk rock and the energetic counterculture it produced would last for ever, but it didn't. It was over quite quickly.

Enjoy the blogs while you can. These are the salad days.

Salad days indeed.

Which is why, when Mr. Strummer was done singing, I rushed home tonight, wolfed down dinner, did the dishes in a flash, put littler e. to bed with an 'A/E/C#m/D' chord progression or two, helped Bigger E. study for her stupid math midterm, punched out a paragraph for the latest invasion inhibitor paper we're workin on, and then, finally, with heart pounding, I bashed my way around the googledome and put this little ditty together.

And now I'm done.

And, once again, luckily, I am certain that I will never, ever, ever need to put on a Burton suit to feel the spirit all over again whenever I need it.


btw: Ms. Hamsher is up tough, really tough, against it these days, but the denizens of FDL and the entire left coast of the Bloggodome are doing their best to help her pull through. And she damn well better, because if she doesn't we will load up the VW (not-so)Microbus, head down to the Oregon Coast and blast "Hi Infidelity" over and over and over again right outside her door until every single bad actor, ER positive and/or negative, is banished from her person forever.


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