Expert Witness Post About Graphics

I noticed a couple trenchant complaints about fine albums by Boz Scaggs and Leonard Cohen having cheap, dirtbag graphics. Welcome to the modern world. Only physical objects can pay for wowzer graphics to advantage. The LP classics might become something like those lovely detailed antique posters about cars and bicycles. (Didn’t I note something about Mucha on a Twitter note this week? Ah, ho ho.)

On Fighting Old Battles

One of the surest signs that a mode of art is no longer vital is that it loses its ability to inspire fresh arguments. Abstract art, for instance, has not taken over everything as proponents predicted, but few feel compelled to attack it any more.

[Note: several comments in here will indeed refer to posts and reviews in Expert Witness, not a bad idea for Fridays.]

A post from Dr. Cam over at “Expert Witness” linked to a windy essay attacking the Police (it’s worthless, I won’t link) and I was reminded of what an old battle this has become. Decades ago, the Village Voice ran an impassioned defense of the Police in general and Sting in particular. I did not find it persuasive but shrugged and moved on until it elicited such heated backlash. Sting as Great Satan, man. In one of his many wise and prescient remarks, Mark Moses defended the String piece if only because it provoked the backlash. He predicted that the Police and Sting would be target of vitriol for years and years, though I suspect even he would be amazed at how eternal the battle has become. And how irrelevant. (I’m more interested that the Police had such a strong impact on indie rock bands in Argentina — some of which found variants at least as interesting as the originators ever managed.)

This is related to the equally outdated attitude that somebody has to be hating on rock in order for you to love it. Rebel music cannot continue to be good if its not in revolt any more. Dwight Garner wrote a pleasant-enough salute to Greil Marcus that provoked some of the once-ubiquitous “fine art is art but popular art is trash” cracks. But the true sign of the times is that there were plenty of level heads more than ready to refute the old snooty dictum. The fight is finished. Only fringoid cranks flip out when Walt Whitman and Elvis hang out together in your head.

I mean, what are you? Square as Yale?

A couple posts ago I mentioned that Grandpa Keef seemed small-minded, ignorant, and worst of all old and out of it when he dissed hip-hop with all the insight of Bill Cosby. But one of his attacks — yet another salvo at the Beatles — turns out to be part of a tussle that shows more staying power and convolutions than I would have ever imagined. The Stones “won” the original competition by outliving the FF and by seeming the incarnation of later periods of popular culture. But around the time solo Beatles stopped diluting their legacy with so-so new releases, the Stones also lost track of the times. (Not to mention their wads of so-so releases.) Eventually, when the Stones got out of their van (Winkle) with A Bigger Bang, younger fans and critics (mistakenly) dismissed it.

During the past year or so I’ve been talking up my discovery of the brief Japanese issue of the Kinfauns recordings. To a person, the 20-something children of friends (fairly sophisticated music fans, btw) have been about 10X more excited to hear them than I expected — “New Beatles? OMG — bring it, bring it!” So maybe Grandpa Keef is onto something there.

PS EW Note: Glad to see the one star for Can’t Even Do Wrong Right. It’s an alert, well-done release. But it’s been rather overpraised.

The TV Cartoon with the Weirdest Karma

Offbeat things turn up at the very end of summer. Strange insects you didn’t know existed. Strange clothes you didn’t know existed. And in a classic hot-weather wacky coincidence, over the last couple days I’ve run across enough funny-peculiar and funny-haha bits of information to conclude there’s a famous TV cartoon series that has weirder karma than any other:

Rugrats

Both of you who don’t know the scoop on the show can get informed right here.

The two bizarro bits of information I learned are (1) the famously self-destroyed author John O’Brien, who wrote Leaving Las Vegas about a successful Hollywood script-writer drinking himself to death, main claim to script-writing fame is that he wrote the “Toys in the Attic” episode of the show:

(2) the animators were louche enough to put together an obscene storyboard, only one panel of which survives.

These were on top of a lotta oddball stuff that was right out front in the show proper.

Jessica Booth’s Gurl.com blog has a list of peculiar facts. And another list of freaky, disturbing episodes.

And then BuzzFeed expands on that.

Finally, there’s the reliable list of frankly adult references in the episodes.

PS: The Prime Suspect — Gabor Csupo is one weeeeird dude. Moments in the show did remind me of dark, Eastern European horror-fairy-tales.