There’s cross-ideological agreement that Tom Morello (currently of Prophets of Rage, formerly of Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave) is a superb guitarist. It’s a different story when it comes to his political acumen, which some would say is about as impressive as the singing talent of Florence Foster Jenkins. Morello, a staunch leftist who’s given to comments such as “words like ‘socialism’ and ‘Marxism’ have been so demonized that it's difficult to have intelligent discussion about what they mean,” was at it again in a Saturday Instagram post concerning the death of Fidel Castro, writing that “by defying Yankee imperialism for 50 years, instituting the best healthcare, child immunization and literacy systems in the Western Hemisphere (surpassing the US and Canada), exporting doctors to countries in need all over the globe…and being an unrepentant advocate of the poor and exploited it is no surprise that millions will mourn [Castro's] passing.”
The leftward lunge of the New York Times arts pages as the election looms continues apace. In Sunday’s Arts & Leisure, Brett Anderson hailed the new aggressively “progressive” strain in Southern rock while dismissing conservative bands and listeners in “Southern Bands, Progressive and Proud": "Citing as an example the Dixie Chicks’ 2003 criticism of President George W. Bush, and the CD-burning and widespread radio bans that followed, Mr. Gaillard said it still takes 'a certain amount of bravery' for Southern musicians to speak their liberal minds. Mainstream country’s conservative fans can still operate like unofficial censors."
DJ Khaled hosted the BET Hip Hop Awards, which were recorded September 17, 2016, and aired on that network Tuesday night. He remarked the show would be about “real lyricists, talking about real issues.” As you might guess, the real issues were all about the election and Black Lives Matter narrative.
Think old media are biased? New media is vying to be worse. Spotify, the streaming music service with 100 million active users, is rolling out an election issues video series targeting millennials through a partnership with Mic. And from the start it is leaning left. The Clarify video series will address a number of subjects like student debt, gun control, the economy and civil rights, according to Billboard.com.
President Obama, demi-god of cool. The New York Times Gardiner Harris hailed Obama’s musical taste in his Monday “White House Letter,” “The President’s Revealing Disclosure, in Rhythm and Prose.” Yep, it’s more of that tough Times coverage of the president, as Harris got way too excited over the president's “Musical taste that includes surf rock, soul and the blues.” But when it came to documenting Obama’s cultural signifiers that appeal to the liberal elite, Harris was only following in the fawning footsteps of his colleagues.
The Hillary Clinton propaganda machine has been hard at work leading up to her presumptive presidential nomination. Entertainment media have been littered with a multitude of TV shows, movies, children’s books, and even songs inspired by the Democratic candidate.
Did you realize Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer” could be “weaponized” to instigate violence and that Billy Joel’s “Uptown Girl” was “authoritarian hold music” similar to Adolf Hitler? If not, then you just aren’t listening, man. Washington Post music critic Chris Richards made the front page of the Style section with “And the Bland Played On.” The original online headline to the post was kookier: “Authoritarian hold music: How Donald Trump’s banal playlist cultivates danger at his rallies.” The essay reads more like an obscure blog post gone awry than somethhing worth of prominent play in a national newspaper:
Washington City Paper reports with cheerleading that the pop-punk band PWR BTTM (don’t google power bottom) is using its “unmistakable charisma and candor” (captured in part by NPR promotion) to impose on concert venues a “gender-neutral” restroom policy.
Last month, the ABC/Univision-owned website Fusion celebrated the emphasis on "trans-friendly" bathrooms.
The best-known of the three declared presidential candidates for 2020 (not kidding) appears to be off to a good start as a leftist politician in love with deficit spending.
According to a celebrity income estimate maintained by Forbes Magazine, rapper Kanye West has earned well over $200 million during the past 12 years. Saturday evening, he tweeted that he is carrying "$53 million in personal debt," and asked his fans to "Please pray we overcome." West's use of "we" is interesting, given that he is married to Kim Kardashian, who, again according to Forbes, earned $52.5 million in 2015 alone. Is it really possible that West's completely undeserved free ride from the press, which goes back over a decade, may finally end?
Macklemore is the stage name of a white rapper from Seattle named Ben Haggerty. He and his publicists are currently trying to convince the hip-hop press and the music media to notice the greatness of his new nine-minute song “White Privilege II.”
He raps: “White supremacy isn't just a white dude in Idaho. White supremacy protects the privilege I hold. White supremacy is the soil, the foundation, the cement and the flag that flies outside of my home. White supremacy is our country's lineage, designed for us to be indifferent.”
Given all the feminist hype for HBO star Lena Dunham, what she recently said about music is making her sound more like vintage Tipper Gore than a modern-day Gloria Steinem.
Dunham was speaking at Variety’s Power of Women 2015 lunch when she made the following comments attacking music (most notably hip-hop and rap), which she says, “celebrates the exploiters and hides the exploited.”
Which was the bigger insult to Hillary: that she might have committed hanky-panky with the handling of her email, or that she's a huge Barry Manilow fan?
On today's With All Due Respect, Mark Halperin mocked Hillary's decision to delete thousands of supposedly personal emails: "was she running out of server space because she was, like, downloading every Barry Manilow song?" John Heilemann was equally unimpressed, quoting someone who tweeted: "Nixon didn't burn the tapes but Hillary destroyed the emails." Ouch.