Friday, June 30, 2006

Music Makes You Lose Control

Some pretty weird things afoot in the world of music and politics these days...

My brother kindly alerted to me to Pope Benedict's call for an end to secularoid music during Mass and perhaps in general. Out with the guitars, in with the Gregorian chant and simple polyphony. My reaction? Well, I am not a Catholic, so I don't really have a dog in this race, but I kind of like this pronouncement. Why? Well, of course, not because of the motivation behind the ban: which (I assume) is a rollback of the liberal innovations of the Second Vatican Council, to appease the Scalias and other rightwing ultras/Opus Dei reactionaries, etc. Obviously, we cannot take the loony right's guns away... but perhaps the Pope's statement will encourage voluntary divestiture of guitars.

After watching "God's Next Army," a terrifying documentary on Patrick Henry University in Virginia on the Discovery Times network (thank goodness this channel finally realized that nobody wants to watch endless footage of nerdy Stephen Glass-type journos investigating "wacky Americana" like "gay rodeos"), which featured tomorrow's Grover Norquists and Ralph Reeds strumming guitars while singing about the glory of Christ and the abomination of Congress sunsetting the Estate Tax repeal, I thought: "Good for you, Pope!" We have to keep guitars out of the hands of these conservatives. Now I know that Patrick Henry students are fundamentalist Protestants, not Catholics, but from what I have read, there is a fair bit of common ground between super-right Catholics and Protestants: rejection of evolution, anti-feminism, anti-choice, anti-gay marriage, and support for Bush-style authoritarianism and the War on Terror. Like I said, it is better if these people don't have guitars.

The first time I learned to link the ugliness of state power and the repression of music was, of course, that classic Eighties trifecta: Footloose, Styx's Kilroy Was Here, and Twisted Sister's "I Wanna Rock" video. A little bit later, in a discussion of the tritone interval that kicks off Jimi Hendrix's "Purple Haze," a helpful Guitar For The Practicing Musician scribe mentioned the Council of Trent's medieval ban on this satanic diminished diad, which led to a lifelong interest in the ways in which the history of music has been shaped by the Church and the State and other ideological and repressive state apparatusussses setting the rules of acceptable and verboten pitch combinations, rhythms, and timbres. The Pope's ruling is directly in line with this tradition, which, since Plato, has worried mostly about the subversive effects of musical sounds not subordinate to textual meaning. Perhaps some young Catholic kid out there is going to go to Church one weekend, and notice the guitar accompaniment they like is no longer there, because the Pope said so. I have a feeling that kid is going to start thinking differently about power and authority and art's disruptive potentials.

Not only did the Pope weigh in on matters musical this week, but also George W. Bush managed to sneak in a wonderful music reference yesterday. According to Democracy Now, Bush was showing Japanese President Junichiro Koizumi around Graceland when the Supreme Court's 5-3 ruling on the illegality of military tribunals for WOT detainees was handed down. At the press conference shortly thereafter, he joked to the assembled journalists-- who were about to ask about the status of his administration's policy of locking up foreign subjects without charges for over 5 years, with no idication that their sentences were not interminable, often subjecting them to extreme forms of torture, and denying them even the right to suicide-- that, like Elvis's sweetheart in his famous song, he hoped they would heed his request: "Don't Be Cruel." Here is a lesser-known Elvis lyric with which they might have countered: "Go Fuck Yourself, Douchebag."

Monday, June 26, 2006

Monday Literary Quiz Time!

You scored as White Rabbit. You're constantly worrying about everything, and always in a rush. If you were diagnosed with any psychological ailment, it'd probably be anxiety disorder.

White Rabbit




The Mad Hatter




Tweedle Dee & Dum


Cheshire Cat


Queen of Hearts


Which Alice in Wonderland Character are YOU?
created with

Thursday, June 22, 2006

(un)holy HEX

Finally. A new show: HEX.

I'll let you know what I think.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

And I love paper

I am a paper dolls!
Find your own pose!

It's Trick to Rock Around

Yo, some good shows coming up in the ATX.

1. ) Midori Umi, a radtacular band with porkmuffin (aka paula j smith) @ the 710 on Thursday.

2.) Finally Punk and Kiosk @ the Parlour on Friday.


a.) I am really into gin. And pinot grigio. I love summer!

b.) for those of you into the p to the o to the erty: FOURSQUARE is the bestest publication I've ever seen. Feel the love.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Wishy Washy Watching

You know how much I love TV, that pretty magic box with the pictures and twinkling people. But these days, well, I can't seem to find *my show.* That said, here are the shows I'm watching.

*Kathy Griffin's My Life of the D List. I think KG is really funny, and at times pretty darn radical. This week the episode is about the time she spent in IRAQ, and that promises to be pretty compelling. I'm curious to see how a show that is basically about Hollywood will depict the war.

*The Hills. Okay, I watch this show. Partly because LC is like this little trembling deer, and partly because Heidi seems to be the first graduate from the Kristen Cavallari School of Acting. These girls are not really interesting, and all the boys on the show are hardly distinguishable from orangutans, but still I will watch. Although I hear Jason is coming back this week and I think he is really really boring, so...

*Making the Band. This first episode of this season was really weak. I just can't get into Shannon. She seems like a nice enough girl, but she lacks charisma. Aundrea is my favorite. The focus of the first episode was on the girls' trip to NOLA for Mardi Gras, and to be honest, it seemed really strange. And sad. Dawn is from NOLA, and the cameras followed the girls into her neighborhood that is basically a huddle of moldy debris. And then she went to her high school, and the girls made a donation of 5k. I have no idea what sort of money the Making the Band girls have, but it is for sure a helluva lot less than Diddy, who owns single pieces of jewelry that could probably fund that school for a year. But that isn't even the point. The point is that Mardi Gras, and the whole push to revive NOLA through tourism seems really fucked up. And the Making the Band girls couldn't really hide their bewilderment and confusion. Dawn especially, who has since relocated to Baltimore, seemed troubled. I mean, she basically went to her old neighborhood and her mom's old business -- both of which were in tatters -- and then got on a float and danced for a handful of white tourists. It just seemed odd. And confused. And sad.

*At some point, I'd like to write more extensively about VH1's Can't Get a Date and National Geographic's The Dog Whisperer, which both seem to be a new kind of self-help show. I like both of these shows very much.

That's all for now. What are you watching?

Friday, June 16, 2006

BRITNEY and the notion of the "BAD MOTHER" or What's Up with Matt Lauer? A few preliminary questions

I've been wanting to post about this for a long time, but I haven't really known how to just jump into a feminist analysis of the "Britney is a bad mom" narrative that's been swelling and breaking over the past months. I'm not a child safety expert, and I'm not a parent, so I come to this without a personal arsenal of expertise. And I'm not really interested in defending Britney even though I've always been tempted to see her as a victim.

Anyhow, I came across this video via ONTD, and it seems like a very strange sort of cultural document, or rather, it seems like a document from a very strange culture.

Here are some initial thoughts/questions:

- Is Matt Lauer the new Barbara Walters? He can really push. Someone has to make a conceptual art piece using footage from this interview spliced with footage from the Tom Cruise interview.

- What role do gender constructions -- specifically constructions of motherhood, girlhood, femininity, and sexuality -- play in the way we talk about Britney. How much has Britney deviated/undermined and complied with/promoted these constructions? How has the "idea" of "Britney Spears" become the site for contradictions and questions about youth, gender, sexuality, celebrity, and class... And to what degree are the dynamics of these questions shaped by fluctuating depictions of Britney as either passive or active -- especially in comparison to other controversial performer/celeb moms (ie Madonna).

- Britney subtly alludes to the role classism has played in her scrutiny (she has often been referred to as "white trash" and the "new Anna Nicole Smith"). I've always sensed a sort of hostility towards Britney because she's a country girl who made a ton of dough.

- Is the criticism of Britney at all influenced by constructions of race? What is the relationship between constructions of race and motherhood? Is there a connection/relationship b/w this and the blatant racism embedded in right-wingers' critiques of welfare?

- How does the media's treatment of Britney relate to other cultural attitudes re: motherhood?

- Is there a precedent for this sort of scrutiny? I'm reaching here, but I can't help thinking about the wives of Henry VIII who were cast off because they did not produce an heir. Or is this scrutiny not really so unusual, and perhaps only seems extraordinary because Britney is so famous?

- How has first-world capitalism influenced notions of parenting? And when, exactly, did the contemporary notion of parenting emerge? What is the history of parenting literature? The history of books like What to Expect when you're Expecting?

Your opinions, ideas, and arguments are much appreciated.


...due to the fact that I MISSED MAKING THE BAND!!! How did this happen you might wonder? I'll tell you how...Central Time and MTV. Yes, I blame MTV for keeping the airtimes for the central time zone occult. Why MTV, do I always have to make some mental calculation that when you say 9 I should turn my TV on at 8? Can't you just add *8 central* at the end of your relentless ads for said show? Guess what -- if I hear 9 9 9 9 9 all week, I'm gonna turn on the TV at 9. Do you actually expect me to do MATH in order to watch a REALITY SHOW with DIDDY about a MANUFACTURED BAND???? DO YOU???????

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Twinkie Links

Mz. Elka, of the fantabulous blog Household Concerns, has a super-green garden over at SF's Apartment Therapy. Go check it out and give her a (green) thumbs up.

Also, a mysterious "someone" e-mailed me some cutie crack. It involves a kitten. You can check it out here. Ususally I am not a huge fan of the feline. Although I LOVE ALL ANIMALS, I've never been a "cat" person. That said, doing the Texas Cutie Crack makes me want to do more posts devoted to the lesser known and less conventionally cute creatures. Feel free to comment or e-mail if you have suggestions.

Making the Band 3 (season 3?) is Back!!! Airs tonight!!!!

I only hope I can get over my longing for Dominique, who some of you may recall was my TV girlfriend way back when.

Expect a recap of tonight's episode tomorrow!!!!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Luscious Links

Thanks to MZN for directing me to this interesting article about The Dog Whisperer.

If you blog, and even if you don't, you'll probably find Richard Lanham's The Economics of Attention pretty interesting.

Re-reading this article by Katha Pollitt has gotten me excited about reading her new book, Virginity or Death! "Virginity or Death!" is also a very good name for an all girl band.

peace out, Humphrey.

Cutie Crack from Texas

Baby Armadillos. I've only just glimpsed these creatures scurrying across the road at night.

Blue Heeler puppy. These frisky cattle dogs are all over Austin.

Texas Blind Salamander (note the punk-like flares)

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Ballad of the Sad Billionaire

Hello everybody!

Sorry I haven't posted lately... other exciting concerns have occupied my timez. I wanted to let y'all know that I have started a new blog, called I Hear A New World, which will supplement Fluffy Dollars (but which will in no way mean that I stop bloggin here). I Hear A New World is a specifically music-focused forum for my musical thoughts of a musical nature. I will appreciate any traffic that y'all can direct towards my new thing. No hard feelings, of course, if such things bore you to tears. I think this music thing is going to catch on, though. Tomorrow's artform.

BTW: Vh1's SuperGroup is incredible! I lurved it when Sebastian Bach forces Ted Nugent, Scott Ian, Evan Seinfeld, and Jason Bonham to watch the Gilmore Girls. Greatest TV moment in recent memory.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Update from the World o' Fluff

Lots of stuff hap'ning in these parts. We be packing. Want some books? We be giving many away.

Also, have you seen LC's The Hills? do they do it? So slick and nasty. That Heidi is one big biotch. Also, more making the band 3 is right around the corner.

We got season 1 of the Dog Whisperer on DVD. I like dogs, did you know that?

I met David Levithan and Rachel Cohn last night. It was rad.

I be feral these days! Watch out!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Kyle Walk

I still haven't gotten a camera. I took these with my cell phone and made them slightly more psychedelic with photoshop.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Annoying Boy of the Week: Bill Paxton

As quoted in People: "I told me wife, you better be nice to me because now the whole world loves my butt."

On discussing his bottom-baring "equal-opportunity" nudity (ie it shouldn't just be girls who show skin) in HBO's Big Love.