Friday, January 30, 2009

Britney Spears and Situational Rhetoric

Watching Bill O'Reilly last night, Harrogate learned about Britney's new song: "If You Seek Amy." Heh.

And a few Google searches since then shows that already, the song has the political Right screaming bloody murder. This is of course nothing compared to what is coming; it will not surprise Harrogate in the slightest if White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs winds up having to field questions about Spears' song.

Harrogate is no Libertarian, as ye all know, but he is enough of one to be a pure hater of the FCC--an organization which routinely winks at Media Consolidation but which remains angry at Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake. Thus, it is not so much on the merits of artistry or cleverness, but rather due entirely to the Rhetorical Situation at hand, that Harrogate declares Spears' song positively delightful, and pledges to buy the record at the nearest possible opportunity.

Weekly Address #1

I thought it might behoove us to have Obama's weekly address posted to TRS each week. This one's a little late and I'm sure we've all seen it, but if anyone has thoughts, please share.

(Oh, and if I forget to do this every week, feel free to pick up my slack!)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The ($3.8 Million) Question of The Day

And is it a good one, with a few sub-questions.

Meet Natalie Dylan, as 22-year-old Women's Studies graduate (BA) who will soon begin an MA in Marriage and Family Therapy.

Natalie Dylan is a unique individual. Natalie is selling her virginity to pay for her MA and a few other things. Well, auctioning it really through the Bunny Ranch's website. The Moonlite Bunny Ranch, of course, is a legal and licensed brothel in Nevada and the "act" will take place there.

So, why Natalie she doing this (--besides paying for Graduate work). At The Daily Beast, Dylan writes:
Like most little girls, I was raised to believe that virginity is a sacred gift a woman should reserve for just the right man. But college taught me that this concept is just a tool to keep the status quo intact. Deflowering is historically oppressive—early European marriages began with a dowry, in which a father would sell his virginal daughter to the man whose family could offer the most agricultural wealth. Dads were basically their daughters’ pimps.

When I learned this, it became apparent to me that idealized virginity is just a tool to keep women in their place. But then I realized something else: if virginity is considered that valuable, what’s to stop me from benefiting from that? It is mine, after all. And the value of my chastity is one level on which men cannot compete with me. I decided to flip the equation, and turn my virginity into something that allows me to gain power and opportunity from men. I took the ancient notion that a woman’s virginity is priceless and used it as a vehicle for capitalism.

The questions:

(1) Is Dylan correct about the nature of virginity or is this just more academic banality or is she just another capitalist, um, I won't say it?

(2) If Dylan is correct, would you encourage your child to do this, knowing that is could make your child financially secure for the rest of her, or his, life?

(3) Is this comparable to pornography, which some scholars, such as Catherine MacKinnon, argue is just another violent and oppressive act against women or does Dylan possess agency and does her auction "transcend" the oppression?

Yet another reason why I like Obama

I didn't need any more reasons; I really like our new president a lot. He's thoughtful, he's intelligent, he's funny, and he's serious. A little over a week into his presidency, he hasn't backed down from any serious issues, and so far, I'm proud of everything he has done. Frankly, it is nice to say that again: I'm proud to be an American. There was a long, long time I couldn't way that at all.

Today President Obama signed the Lily Ledbetter Equal Pay Act into law. While it doesn't do everything I want an equal pay act to do, it does make it infinitely easier for people to sue their employers on the basis of pay discrimination, effectively nullifying the previous Supreme Court ruling, which said employees had to sue employers within 180 days of a company's initial decision to pay an employee less than another. Obama seems to get what the Bush administration and event the Supreme Court didn't: this isn't only a gender issue. This is a family issue as pay discrimination makes it impossible for families to improve and to get ahead. Further, the bill is worded in such a way that employees can sue discrimination they suffered on the basis of gender, racial, religion, age, or nationality. This is a good day for America.

A Paradelle for Roof Almighty, Because Roof Once Indicated on Facebook That He Likes Paradelles

A lot of the scholarship on this poem, ranging from Collins' own words to a Wikipedia entry, suggests the poet was not being serious with this poem, but was rather Funning with Form. But hey. Make your own call.

"A Paradelle for Susan"

by Billy Collins
I remember the quick, nervous bird of your love.
I remember the quick, nervous bird of your love.
Always perched on the thinnest, highest branch.
Always perched on the thinnest, highest branch.
Thinnest love, remember the quick branch.
Always nervous, I perched on your highest bird the.

It is time for me to cross the mountain.
It is time for me to cross the mountain.
And find another shore to darken with my pain.
And find another shore to darken with my pain.
Another pain for me to darken the mountain.
And find the time, cross my shore, to with it is to.

The weather warm, the handwriting familiar.
The weather warm, the handwriting familiar.
Your letter flies from my hand into the waters below.
Your letter flies from my hand into the waters below.
The familiar waters below my warm hand.
Into handwriting your weather flies you letter the from the.

I always cross the highest letter, the thinnest bird.
Below the waters of my warm familiar pain,
Another hand to remember your handwriting.
The weather perched for me on the shore.
Quick, your nervous branch flew from love.
Darken the mountain, time and find was my into it was with to to.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Ashlee Simpson-Wentz makes an excellent point

This morning, as I was skimming the various news sites I keep up with, I counted no less than 3 stories about Jessica Simpson's alleged weight gain. Um, ok. I see images of Jessica Simpson everywhere, and frankly, she doesn't look like she's gained any weight to me. I am constantly miffed by the media's obsession with skinny women--as in emaciated women who look like they are about to pass out from lack of food. So, here's something I never thought I'd do: I'm vehemently agreeing with Ashlee Simpson-Wentz wrote on her blog about her sister's alledged weight gain. I wish everyone in Hollywood had as much sense about this particular issue.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Not Exactly a Musical Tribute, But....

This is a message Harrogate needed, today, and perhaps he isn't alone here.

One reason to be grateful for You Tube. You can get your fix on a song like this one.

Coolest picture ever....

This picture is from the Inauguration. You can click anywhere on the photo and zoom in.

For some reason, I love looking to the Supreme Court Justices. Justice Clarence Thomas looks like he is asleep. Justice Antonin Scalia looks constipated. Chief Justice Roberts looks as if he is thinking nasty thoughts, especially in regards to their upcoming Constitutional fights.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Congratulations to the New Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductees

Congratulations to three very different 2009 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductees: Run DMC, Jeff Beck, and Metallica.

One question never settled of course is what are the criteria for (Heidi Klum impersonation beginning now) who is in the Rock Hall, and who is out. Harrogate would appreciate thoughts from the floor, on this issue. Meanwhile, From the Rolling Stone Link.

For the Rap-o-Philes Amongst us, this will be of interest:

Run-DMC are the second rap group to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame, two years after pioneers Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five were selected for induction. "I can't even comprehend this is happening," Daryl "DMC" McDaniels tells Rolling Stone. "I want to let the world know that there are others receiving this honor with us. I'm talking about our heroes Afrika Bambaataa, Treacherous Three, the Cold Crush Brothers and DJ Kool Herc." The group's performance at the April 4th induction ceremony in Cleveland will be their since founding member Jam Master Jay was murdered seven years ago in Queens, New York.

Hopefully Harrogate and Oxymoron will not be the only ones, meanwhile, who will say "about time!" with respect to Jeff Beck finally getting in as a solo artist. In the process his elite status is exemplified:

Jeff Beck is joining an exclusive club of artists that have entered the Hall of Fame twice: The guitarist was first inducted in 1992 as a member of the Yardbirds, and now 17 years later he'll be honored for his solo career. (Coincidentally, Beck's Yardbirds predecessor Eric Clapton is the only musician to be inducted three times: With the Yardbirds, Cream and as a solo artist.)

Hmmmm. As for Metallica. The never-at-a-loss for words drummer, Lars Ulrich, spoke the way, well, that he tends to speak:

Metallica, who inducted Black Sabbath into the Hall three years ago, are one of the few metal bands to get the RRHOF nod. "I'm not going to give a whole schpeel about 'come back in 20 years or something,' " says drummer Lars Ulrich. "I'll fucking take it right now. I'm fucking psyched that anybody still gives a shit about this band."

Metallica, Harrogate enjoyed ye very, very much back in the day, and as a result of this induction, he may well celebrate by breaking out the old CDs. Metallica fans as a general rule seem largely comprised of two diametrically opposed contingents: the adherents to the old stuff ("hard core, man!") and everything from the Black Album forward ("it's just so much more complex, you see. they really grew musically"). Harrogate is one of the ones who celebrates it all.

And in that vein, here is a song that both honored the old and signalled the new, one of Harrogate's very favorites. It speaks to him, you see.

Enjoy, and as always, Harrogate will leave the light on for ye.