Chuck Berry — And the Whole First Wave of Rock and Rollers — Have a Right To Be Pissed

Can’t be said often enough about a peculiar phenomenon I have never understood. The sex-terrified reactionaries of the ’50s wanted rock and roll to just go away — by banning if necessary. Send that monster Elvis into the Army. Send that threat to white women Chuck Berry to jail.

And damned if it didn’t work in a funhouse-mirror way. The rock of the British Invasion and later (up to a point) is annoyingly present (just consider the nonstop soundtrack we had to put up with while the car was worked on this Sat. — maybe the single most painful part was the inclusion of “I Wanna Be Sedated” like it was the hit it shoulda been). But the whole original wave of rockers is neglected except for oldies moments.

C’mon everybody (ahem), you can program that stuff right in with the Boss and related acts.

TrumpTrumpTrumpTrumpTrumpTrump — Another Thing To Dump

An important piece by Farhad Manjoo. The stupid tabloid mentality of too many news outlets now plays right into a tyrant’s agenda.

Here’s a key passage:

Unlike old-school media, today’s media works according to social feedback loops. Every story that shows any signs of life on Facebook or Twitter is copied endlessly by every outlet, becoming unavoidable.

On a horrid December week many years ago when John Lennon was assassinated, The Real Paper in Cambridge made a journalistic misjudgement as off-base as any I’ve ever encountered. The reasoning went: “Everybody is going to feature John Lennon. Let’s do Christmas instead.” The depth of the mistake is evident in picking a trivial automatic subject over a profoundly necessary one. Likewise, we now lack any focus on what’s important: “Trump’s popular. Cover Trump. Trump’s popular. Cover Trump.”

It’s been pretty clear in other countries that the actions, not the blithering blabber of the current tyrant, is what needs to be covered. What is the source and nature of all this rising savagery about “immigrants”?

Another Shriek About Psychedelics

It isn’t quite Acid Madness, but I heard and read this sort of argument since years before I ever got close to one of those renegade blotters.

There are always the same tip-offs:

There’s not enough top-notch, inhumanly flawless research on the effects and safety of psychedelics. Never mind that classifying the drugs as eeeee-vil and useless has prevented such research from getting past square one. Besides, no matter how much the subject is studied, it will never be good enough — you know, results strong as a law of physics.

People freak out and have bad trips!!! But it’s much more rare than the tone indicates. And even then it’s usually people with underlying conditions that might have been triggered by any number of things.

Cocaine! (And Morphine!!) (And Heroin!!!) Nothing but scare-tactic bad science. Maryjuana got the same pointless treatment for ages and ages.

I’m all in favor of rigorous, well-designed research into the effects of psychedelics. But pieces like this seem designed to make sure that never happens. Sorta like that endless rash of articles in the ’80s that hollered: we can’t legalize Maryjuana because it’s 857% stronger than it was back in the ’60s. Bad trips guaranteed!!

On Stefan Zweig

When I first read The World of Yesterday in the early ’70s I had a naive youngster’s response to Zweig’s heartbreaking, tragic story — both in his book and his life. “How sad he and his wife committed suicide in 1942 when things looked bleakest. If he had just held on, I’m sure he would have lived long enough to sense that the world was stumbling forward in the direction he wanted.”

Now that I know some actual exiles, I much more appreciate and understand Zweig’s inescapable hollow feelings. And now that I’m five years older than he was at the end, I comprehend how the promise of a vanished future can haunt you, and even change your life. I had more than one dear friend who, consciously or not, destroyed themselves after the early ’80s made it obvious that the dreams of the ’60s and ’70s were dashed for good.

“Trump Knows You Better Than You Know Yourself”

I agree this is an incredibly important article and must be read. Makes sense of several key mysteries — including how Trump won without spending bupkiss on standard advertising. And indeed, the creepy icing on the freaky cake is that the article has not yet been officially translated from the original German.