Monday, November 27, 2006

You mean hipness isn't genetic?

In what seems like the perfect companion piece to yesterday's post, the NY Times covers the burgeoning industry that caters to parental rock and roll sensibilities. We're talking songs by the Cure, Nirvana, and Pink Floyd turned into lullabies. Says the article: "To be a parent in 2006 — especially a coastal, well-heeled, contemporary-minded one — is to be blasted by possibilities for nurturing impeccable musical taste in one’s offspring."

I will freely admit it--I am right now fighting the urge to run to the nearest record store and buy rock-a-bye-baby Radiohead style for the opffspring who are as of now merely a twinkle in my eye.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Papa was a pretentious music geek.

Check out this NY Times article about the teens and pre-teens of Brooklyn who are starting bands and creating their own under-21 indie rock scene. The interesting thing for me, though, is that the article is as much about the parents as it is about the kids. Indeed, these are parents who spend a lot of time modelling for their kids a proper disdain for all things pop, and boy is it a music snob's fantasy run wild when their kids take these lessons to heart. Says the father of the brother-sister (12 and 10 years old, respectively) act called Tiny Masters of Today: "They're making this kind of primitive, unprocessed, unfiltered music." My first question for Daddy is what we're honestly supposed to think about two pre-teens from one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in Brooklyn playing a song with a chorus of: "Sticking it to the man everyday!" I also wonder how quickly the bile rises in his throat when he looks his kids up on iTunes and finds that listeners who bought songs by Tiny Masters of Today also opted for bubblegum masterpieces by the likes of Pussycat Dolls, Fergie, and Fall Out Boy.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

A more pregnant message?

William Saletan argues in Slate that the Democrats swept into office without a unified message other than the promise of change. Looking forward, Saletan argues that the Dems need something more coherent to hang their hats on if they hope to consolidate their gains and maybe add a like-minded body to that ovular office in the White House. Saletan's recommendation of responsibility as the theme that can do this isn't exactly novel, but it strikes a chord rhetorically as you read. Taking a page from the Republicans' success playing the values card, Saletan says that under the umbrella of responsibility, all of the disparate issues the Dems have brought up--fiscal responsibility, healthcare, the environment--can be dressed up in more value-laden talk. They are moral imperatives! To solidify his platform, Saletan argues that abortion needs to become a Democratic issue again, and says that this can be done if the Democrats push the idea of reducing the number of abortions through a serious commitment to contraception. Reproductive responsibility, so to speak.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Printing all the news about things that fit.

You don't need to leave your home. No, seriously, you don't need to leave your home.

We've all known for a while that just about anything--legal or illicit--could be purchased on the Internet, but there were certain things that, convenience factor aside, you simply wouldn't buy on the Internet. At the top of that list was probably jeans. I mean, buy a pair of jeans without first trying them on and, well, let's be honest--your ass was going to look fat. According to the NY Times though, a new Internet site has changed all that. The site,, takes down info about your body type (well, right now, only women's), and spits back the fit that's right for you. Apparently, it even kind of works. I tried to vet the site for the Daily Irk fashionistas out there but it seems that the NY Times publicity has them slightly overwhelmed. Rather than loading, the site produced a message apologizing that all of its "fitting rooms" were full. Jesus, it's just like going to the mall.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Dump Pelosi?

Timothy Noah analyzes Nancy Pelosi's choice to back John Murtha for majority leader and wonders if Democrats shouldn't just cut their losses and kick her to the curb. What kind of judgment does it show that she's backing a someone with Abscam in their past, Noah asks. Says Noah:
As a preview of the sort of instincts Pelosi will display as House speaker, her steadfastness in supporting Murtha was discouraging on two levels. Most obviously, it suggested that Pelosi lacks a sincere interest in maintaining ethical standards. On a more Machiavellian level, it suggested that Pelosi harbors the crude and entirely false notion that in order to lead, she must demonstrate an ability to prevail even after she realizes, or ought to realize, that her initial judgment was faulty. This is the same infantile notion about power embraced by President Bush when he pretended, prior to the midterm elections, that he would keep Donald Rumsfeld as secretary of defense.
I guess the bloom is off the rose.

In shocking turn of events, indie hipsters poke fun at corporate culture.

Not content to merely scoff at the corporate bastardizaton of U2's "One" that made the YouTube rounds last week (and that was posted on the Daily Irk here), new Modest Mouse guitarist, Johnny Marr, and off-kilter actor/comedian, David Cross, performed that very song as part of a Modest Mouse gig in New York last night. As the video shows, the hipsters in the crowd laughed with glee. Spokespeople for Modest Mouse's small, indie record label--Sony/Epic Records--could not be reached for comment as to whether the song would be included on the band's upcoming album.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

2006 White House Correspondents' Association Dinner

If you haven't seen this, it's worth a look. At this year's dinner, Bush did a routine with a Bush impersonator. It's pretty funny, though not nearly as awkward as Stephen Colbert's routine at the last one. Click here to watch the video.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

How much do you love your company?

This performance by some Bank of America employees is amazing. Who are these people? As one of the comments on the website says, "Look how earnest this is. Corporations are the new cults." I buy that. At least the guy has a really good voice.

Musical diplomacy.

The NY Times runs this article on the trend for governments to provide funding for indie rock bands to tour overseas. The goal is for these bands to raise the profile of their home country abroad. As to whether this sort of ambassadorial mission provides any returns on the investment, the article isn't clear. Personally, I've seen the band that leads the story--the Figurines--play a couple of times, and while they put on a good show, I'm not sure that Denmark is that much more top of mind for me. I will say, however, that the Danish government might want to think about a dress code for its singing amabassadors. Exceedingly tight jeans are not a fashion that reflect well upon the mother country.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

What century is this anyway?

As I'm sure you all know, Saddam Hussein was recently sentenced to death for crimes against humanity. Perhaps you also noticed that he wasn't just sentenced to death, he was sentenced to death by hanging. For those of you who are curious, Slate is running a particularly morbid piece that explains how hangings work. Did you know that the last major innovation in hanging occurred toward the end of the 19th century? Now you know.