Showing posts with label counterculture. Show all posts
Showing posts with label counterculture. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Does it get any more 1960s than this?

Does it get any more '60s than this 1967 Paul Mauriat LP cover? Inquiring minds, etc., and so on.

My gut reaction is probably not . . . which opens up all kinds of possibilities, being that this is an easy-listening album, not to mention visions of middle-aged Hef wannabes sporting ascots and wildly age-inappropriate garb. Which, of course, argues strongly for this being the most '60s thing ever.

On the other hand, I was 6, my parents had not progressed past 1955, and they made me get a crew cut. Complete with Butch wax.

So my opinion on this might be completely worthless. Alas.

Friday, April 27, 2018

We dropped some brown acid, man

"To get back to the warning that I have received -- you may take it with however many grains of salt you wish -- that the brown acid that has been circulating around us is not, specifically, too good. It's suggested that you do stay away from that. Of course, it's your own trip, so be my guest. But please be advised that there is a warning on that one, OK?"
-- Chip Monck
Master of ceremonies,
Woodstock, 1969

Many odd and sometimes disturbing things about the 1960s and '70s, for those of us who came of age during those decades, can be explained or put into context merely by saying "It was the (fill in the blank)."

If that explanation does not suffice, blame the brown acid, man.

As we consider the person and "music" career of the late Tiny Tim -- seen here in a record-label ad from the June 8, 1968, edition of Billboard magazine -- I'm going straight to the brown-acid excuse.

Dude. Tiny Tim, born Herbert Buckingham Khaury in 1932, was the brown acid. Listening to Tiny Tim on your AM or FM radio . . . watching him on your 21-inch Magnavox . . . it was like being in the presence of an off-key castrato undergoing electroshock treatment.

Boy howdy.

MY UNFORTUNATE double- and triple-knit sartorial choices from the end of 1969 until marrying into a wardrobe-control regimen in 1983? "It was the '70s."

That Tiny Tim sold records and was all over network television and the radio, too? "The brown acid that had been circulating around us was not, specifically, too good."

Seriously. It was some bad shit, man.

You bet your sweet bippy, it was.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Jesusland 1, Anti-H8 Brigade 0

Well, it certainly didn't take long for A&E to quack . . . er, crack

"Tolerance" is one thing in television. Money is another, and in this case money won. A&E execs could see the network losing a lot of it if Duck Dynasty went away.
"After discussions with the Robertson family, as well as consulting with numerous advocacy groups, A&E has decided to resume filming Duck Dynasty later this spring with the entire Robertson family," the channel said in a statement. 

In an apparent gesture to the advocacy groups, A&E said that it would "also use this moment" to broadcast public service announcements "promoting unity, tolerance and acceptance among all people."
EXPECT THE Forces of Tolerance (TM) to pitch another fit. Because that's what we do in this country.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Ol' Phil from Jesusland

Nuance is dead.

Hyperbole is alive.

Willfully reading the worst into every word out of every mouth, then demonizing The Other for "hate speech" is a growth industry for which there is no apparent ceiling.

OK, so Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty notoriety ain't down with the gay agenda. Considering that he's a 67-year-old evangelical Christian from north Louisiana, that should be no surprise. 

Given that the A&E cable network is raking in record earnings based on the proposition that the hirsute, duck-call-making Robertson clan is a postmodern version of the Beverly Hillbillies -- minus the Beverly Hills part -- and do wacky things because they're wacky rednecks, it beggars credulity that the TV execs are shocked and offended that ol' Phil gave an interview that sounded like something you'd expect from Ol' Phil from Bumf***, Louisiana. For example:
“We’re Bible-thumpers who just happened to end up on television,” he tells me. “You put in your article that the Robertson family really believes strongly that if the human race loved each other and they loved God, we would just be better off. We ought to just be repentant, turn to God, and let’s get on with it, and everything will turn around.”
“Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men,” he says. Then he paraphrases Corinthians: “Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers—they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.”
I GUESS some things are too real for "reality" TV. Probably a good quarter of the United States' population is too "real" for TV, actually.

Two things are absolutely true today. First, we are a nation divided and at each other's throats. Second, what a person says is way more important than what a person does, and the muddled things we think -- or haven't thought out, exactly -- will get us written out of polite humanity, regardless of how we actually live our lives or treat our fellow man.

Amid the never-ending tribal warfare that passes for American society today, Phil Robertson made the fatal error of sounding weird in saying something politically incorrect. The man A&E made famous for being a "good ol' boy" -- a rich good ol' boy, but a good ol' boy nevertheless --  has been made a non-person for living out his typecasting.

And 25 percent of Americans just got the message, loud and clear. Throw another stick of dynamite on the fire, wouldja?

One thing I appreciate about being Catholic is that Catholicism knows the value of nuance when it comes to things like homosexuality. In other words, we try to make it clear that the person is not the sin, and the condition is not the sin. Only the sin is the sin -- it's what we do that can become problematic, not what we are or who we are.

OR . . . as the Catechism of the Catholic Church says about homosexuality:
2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,141 tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered."142 They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.
2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.
2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.
I WISH Robertson had the moral, cultural and religious vocabulary to have been a lot more nuanced about this matter. And not flippantly gross. (You'll know it when you read it in the GQ piece.)

Saying the right thing the right way probably wouldn't have kept GLAAD's indignant harpies at bay, and it might not have even kept Ol' Phil in the good graces of Hollywood, Inc. It, however,
would have been more faithful to the biblical truth Robertson seeks to proclaim -- and added just a little clear water to the muck of another culture-war fever swamp.

*  *  *

THEN, OF COURSE, there's what Ol' Phil from Bumf***, La., had to say about race. Which, again, is utterly unsurprising. Which means the man is completely clueless, and perhaps morally obtuse.

As others have said, he's lucky the gays have made such a stink because it's taking attention away from this:

“I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I’m with the blacks, because we’re white trash. We’re going across the field.... They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, ‘I tell you what: These doggone white people’—not a word!... Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.”
OH, GOD . . .  the Happy Negroes live on in Southern lore. This ain't religious; this is the staying power of a disordered and deviant culture. This is how one is formed by that rotten culture, and formed to the point where the deviant looks completely normal.

Where vice looks like virtue. Where empathy not only fails, but moral blindness prevails.

And it's just ignorant.

Well, we
at least can say Phil Robertson deserves a good shunning because of that, right? Well . . . hold on there, Hoss. There's this:
Willie has just come back from Washington, D.C., where he accepted an award at the Angels in Adoption Gala. (He and his wife, Korie, adopted a biracial child named Will and are dedicated advocates of the practice.) As we speak, there’s a film crew outside the house, prepping for a State Farm ad that the family will be shooting here on the property tomorrow. The Robertsons receive more than 500 media requests a day, and Willie had to negotiate down to four shooting days a week with A&E just so the family would have a bit of breathing room. Phil knows it won’t last. He can already see that the end is near, and he’s prepared for it.
MR. IGNORANT REDNECK managed to raise a son who adopted a biracial child. He raised a son who tirelessly advocates adopting biracial children.

I'd say it would be reasonable to assume Phil Robertson loves that half-black grandbaby with all his heart. No matter what crazy s*** he said for the benefit of a magazine writer. Meantime:
“So you and your woman: Are y’all Bible people?”

Not really, I’m sorry to say.

“If you simply put your faith in Jesus coming down in flesh, through a human being, God becoming flesh living on the earth, dying on the cross for the sins of the world, being buried, and being raised from the dead—yours and mine and everybody else’s problems will be solved. And the next time we see you, we will say: ‘You are now a brother. Our brother.’ So then we look at you totally different then. See what I’m saying?”

I think so?

We hop back in the ATV and plow toward the sunset, back to the Robertson home. There will be no family dinner tonight. No cameras in the house. No rowdy squirrel-hunting stories from back in the day. There will be only the realest version of Phil Robertson, hosting a private Bible study with a woman who, according to him, “has been on cocaine for years and is making her decision to repent. I’m going to point her in the right direction.”
OBVIOUSLY, we're dealing with a horrible person here. Absolutely irredeemable. Mandatorily ostracizable.

Life isn't always logical, and neither are the people who live it. A lot of times, the heart is a lot smarter than the brain, and our actions are a lot nobler than our words. God forbid that the total of our human worth should be less than the sum of our all-too-human faults.

Not that that matters anymore. Not here, not now.

Crucify him!

Monday, July 09, 2012

Pride and paradox in New Orleans

"Uncle Lionel" Batiste, I imagine, never made nearly as much money as he did sweet jazz music.

And when Katrina hit New Orleans, the co-leader, vocalist and bass drummer for the Tremé Brass Band floated to safety from his ground-floor apartment in the Lafitte project by hanging onto his drum.

Floating with Uncle Lionel in that big bass drum, some say, was the pulse of the Crescent City. That pulse survives him, as evidenced by the massive "second line" Sunday night on Frenchmen Street in the city's Faubourg Marigny district, outside some of his favored musical haunts just hours after Uncle Lionel died of cancer at age 80. Above is a picture of that.

In any other American city, there would be something deeply nonsensical about Paragraphs 1 and 2 naturally leading into Paragraph 3. A poor man, chased from public housing when the federal levees gave way and the waters rushed in, bore the pulse of a great city, kept the beat of the music of its soul and is sent to his heavenly reward with an outpouring fit for an earthly king.

In this country, in these times, that is just foolishness.

ALMOST 2,000 years ago, the people of Corinth probably thought much as Americans do. So much so that the apostle Paul had to set them straight with a little crazy talk -- a little nonsense now preserved in the New Testament to benefit wise guys such as your average American.
18 Let no one deceive himself. If any one among you considers himself wise in this age, let him become a fool so as to become wise.

19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in the eyes of God, for it is written:

“He catches the wise in their own ruses,”

20 and again:

“The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.”

21 So let no one boast about human beings, for everything belongs to you,

22 Paul or Apollos or Cephas, or the world or life or death, or the present or the future: all belong to you,

23 and you to Christ, and Christ to God.
IF NOTHING ELSE, we Americans think we know it all, that we possess the wisdom of the world. Especially since August 2005, we've been pretty sure that New Orleans folk are pretty foolish.

Foolish to live in a saucer too near the rising sea.

Foolish to rebuild after -- And isn't it all too obvious? -- God, or Gaia, or Mother Nature, or climatological science . . . or the wisdom of human civilization, for Socrates' sake, strongly suggested that rebuilding the next Atlantis might be a colossal waste of resources and federal funds. How dumb can you be?

Dumb enough to re-elect Ray Nagin, that's for sure. I think Paul would be on board with us "wise" Americans on that one.

In short, the Crescent City is a sinking ship of fools, according to
"the wisdom of the world."

The Almighty's mileage may vary, however.

, in a paradox of biblical proportions, it would seem the meek have inherited the cultural landscape in this caste-riven city near the drain plug of the class-obsessed American South. This in a riddle of a city, ensconced in an enigmatic region that has played so large a role in status-obsessed America's long-running mystery -- which revolves around how we reconcile our status-obsession with "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. . . ."

Common sense holds these truths to be self-evident, that there are bunches and bunches of ways in which we really don't want to follow New Orleans. We don't want to tolerate endemic poverty, for one, or endemic insouciance about the value of a good education, for another.

We don't want to be the nation's murder capital.

We want to believe that "Can we all just get along?" is a game plan worth implementing as a society. That's not one the Crescent City has been particularly committed to, not across the racial divide and not across the class divide, either.
They say if you's white, should be all right,
If you's brown, stick around,
But if you's black, well, brothers, get back, get back, get back.
IN NEW ORLEANS, the white, brown and black in the chorus of Big Bill Broonzy's "Get Back" transposes to white, Creole and black, a racial and caste system once rigorously enforced . . . and which holds considerable social, if not de jure, relevance even now. About as relevant to -- as defining of -- a sinking city near the mouth of the Mississippi as a dapper black bass drummer who embodied the soul of a city as he pounded out its heartbeat in second lines and night spots from the Tremé to Times Square. Sometimes, the heart of New Orleans beat on the two and the four . . . other times on the one and the three.

The Big Easy usually isn't -- not when so many bullets have someone's name on them, not when so many have so little, and not when the idea of hope sometimes seems about as tenuous as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' levees.


New Orleans hasn't mastered so many things. Honest and effective government, it probably never will. But it has paradox nailed. Pride of place, too. And soul. And heavenly music. And heavenly eating. And home . . . and Mama an' dem. And, Lord, those second lines!

It understands -- understands in a way we "wise men" never will, metaphysical fools that we are -- that the worth of a man isn't necessarily his net worth or how much power he amasses. It understands that, yeah, Warren Buffett might be a bazillionnaire, but Uncle Lionel was a hell of a drummer, and a mean dancer, and a great mentor for generations of musicians, and a faithful keeper of the cultural flame . . . and damn, Cap, didn't he look sharp?

Oh! didn't he ramble, ramble?

YOU CAN'T BUY that shit, brah. And you can't buy a sendoff like the one Uncle Lionel has earned from the city whose pulse he kept. Not any more than you can buy an immortal soul -- or the profound, life-giving wisdom of holy fools.

Long may they ramble.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Listen my friends . . . to the Moby Grapes

Guten Morgen! This is your daily Omaha or, in this case, your daily "Omaha," with Moby Grape on the Mike Douglas Show in 1968.

Perhaps, though, I ought to just call the seminal psychedelic group
"the Moby Grapes," so as to not publicly embarrass the ghost of Mike Douglas. Moby Grape, and the whole counterculture thing, confused Mike*. A lot.

(I had forgotten to add the asterisk to Mike Douglas*, which is a major faux pas for anyone who lived through 1960s and '70s television. Mike Douglas* always gets an *. It may have been somewhere in federal law, actually.)

But, yeah, Moby Grape confused the hell out of Mike* in 1968.

OF COURSE, things had not gotten any better by 1976, when Tom Waits first appeared on The Mike Douglas Show*. Tom Waits may have confused Mike Douglas* even more than "the Moby Grapes" did.

Mainstream America doesn't do eccentricity well. It does "eccentric genius" even less well.

And by the time you're done watching Mike Douglas* and Marvin Hamlisch -- and let's face it, Mike* wasn't musically fit to hold Waits' ashtray -- awkwardly condescend to the young eccentric genius, you have this intense desire to travel back in time, flick your Bic and hold it really close to their polyester duds.

Don't miss the end of the show. Young people
's lack of exposure to really, really dumb, really, really awkward spectacles such as that has left them wholly unequipped to deal with a lot of crap life can throw at a person.

Is what I'm saying.