Aug 16th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey


  • Did Mexico’s Huichol people create what we now know as “psychedelic” art?
  • Central Washington’s bad, no-good week was caused by human carelessness. (Remember what Smokey says, everybody.)
  • Soon, you’ll be able to go to an Arco station and not be supporting BP—but only if you’re in southern California, Nevada, or Arizona. BP’s holding on to the Arco stations in the Northwest, and to the Cherry Point, WA refinery that feeds them.
  • Save the Silver Fork! It’s an indie diner! A real one, not a hip-retro pastiche! It’s the Rainier Valley’s favorite “third place,” a site of community-gathering and conviving. It’s threatened with demolition, for nothing more than a gas station.
  • As you might know, the cover model for Herb Alpert’s classic LP Whipped Cream and Other Delights is an ex-Seattleite now living in southwest Washington. And she’s still a charmer.
  • The Young Fresh Fellows, deans of Seattle power pop, have a new album coming out! And you can access an online stream if you follow the band’s clever little marketing gimmick.
  • Rep. Jim McDermott, for most of his political career, has been a man only a Republican could dislike. Until his wife became his ex-wife, that is.
  • Just as I figured would happen, a compromise with the Port of Seattle may enable the Sonics arena scheme to go forward.
  • Getty Images, Seattle’s king of stock photos, is being bought by the Carlyle Group. That’s the D.C.-based private-equity outfit with strong ties to the Bush family and to the Saudi royals.
  • During the Olympics, Nike put out a T-shirt with the slogan GOLD DIGGING. A sexist slap or just good clean fun?
  • Maria Konnikova at the Atlantic explains just how famous quotations get mixed up, rearranged, or misattributed.
  • Among the publishing old-timers trying to make sense of the Internet age: onetime Sassy editor and “perpetual teenager” Jane Pratt.
  • Angela Neustatter at the Guardian would really like married people to be a lot more accepting/forgiving of cheatin’ spouses. It’s only natural, she says. (There goes half the subject matter of classic lit and country songs….)
  • Americans are having fewer babies, too few to maintain the population size. This has been happening in Japan for a while, to the point that kids’ manga and related media are in financial freefall. But what’s bad news for the makers of baby clothes could be good news for an overextended planet.
  • PBS’s Frontline goes Jesus-freaky. In the process, a lot’s revealed about cultural cross-pollination. Long before hip white kids pretended to be Buddhists, Romans disgusted by their corrupt society embraced the simple love-and-respect teachings of a tiny Jewish splinter sect.
  • Whites are still far more likely than minorities to have home broadband connections. But Hispanics, Asian Americans, and African Americans are more likely than whites to have smartphones. This is what could be known as burrowing under the Digital Divide.
  • Cheating at tournament-level Scrabble! Is nothing pure anymore? (On the other hand, it allows me to revive the tagline from the Scrabble game show: “It’s the crossword game you’ve played all your life, but never quite like this!”)
  • When the teen offspring of the One Percent post Tweets® and photos of their obscenely opulent lifestyles, it’s all fun and snark. Until somebody figures out that potential burglars/kidnappers could be reading them.
  • As I keep telling you, if you don’t vote, you’re doing exactly what the extreme right wing wants you to do.
  • Political spending this season has been swamped by Karl Rove’s and the Koch brothers’ Super PACs, and their oh-so-anonymous donors.
  • Paul Constant describes Paul Ryan as:

A wealthy young white man who refuses to, for one second, consider what it must be like to be a woman, or a minority, or a member of the lower class, or old. A man whose words mean less than nothing.

Aug 9th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

  • To be celebrated this weekend: one hundred years of Volunteer Park.
  • Paul Constant attends an “American Idol for Startups.” He finds a bunch of hopeful entrepreneurs showing off gimmicky little smartphone apps based on “tiny little ideas, ideas that are almost petty in their inconsequentiality,” and promoted using jargon “as tepid and lifeless and dumb as any language that ever existed.”
  • Now that all companies, nonprofits, and individuals in the western world have been exhorted to revamp their entire existences around the Web, they’re about to be exhorted to forget all that and re-revamp their entire existences around “mobile media.”
  • We knew it was coming (it’s in the way of Amazon’s TriTowers HQ project), but it’s still sad to see the King Cat Theater closed for good.
  • The “24 hour news cycle” is sooooo day-before-yesterday. But it does make for a lot of fun reporting mistakes.
  • Meet this election’s top right wing attack groups (or at least as much about them as has been uncovered to date, which isn’t much).
  • A Portland motivational blogger meets one of the original computing pioneers, and gets, well, motivated.
  • Media reports about Olympic champion Gabby Douglas have been loaded with racial dog-whistle jargon.
  • A self-professed “skeptic” and “rationalist” claims to be more skeptical and rational than other self-professed “skeptics” and “rationalists”:

Let’s admit it, skepticism does have a way to make us feel intellectually superior to others. They are the ones believing in absurd notions like UFOs, ghosts, and the like! We are on the side of science and reason. Except when we aren’t, which ought to at least give us pause and enroll in the nearest hubris-reducing ten-step program.

Aug 9th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

wikimedia commons

  • The warm weather’s speeding up the life cycle of the aphids spreading “zebra chip” disease to Washington’s potato crops, making the spuds unsalable.
  • Let’s raise a thousand guitar picks to the 10th anniversary of Seattle’s All Ages Dance Ordinance, and the repeal of the infamously restrictive “Teen Dance Ordinance” (which had banned almost all all-ages live music shows for nearly two decades). A lot of people worked a lot of years to make that happen. They can tell you that change doesn’t really happen any other way.
  • It began in ’10, took last year off due to funding problems, but is back this weekend. It’s Seattle Founders Days in Belltown, a weekend celebration of one of America’s liveliest neighborhoods, its spectacular past and its portentious future.
  • When truly affordable housing remains in short supply anywhere in Seattle, should the Seattle Housing Authority sell off huge chunks of Yesler Terrace to “market rate” developers?
  • RealNetworks, after many losses, turned a profit this past quarter. But it’s only because they sold a bunch of patents to Intel.
  • Now that the reservoirs are all lidded, your best chance for a peek at Seattle’s water supply comes with a “Tap Tour” to the Cedar River Watershed.
  • Romney outrage of the day (this will probably be a regular department for the next 90 days): Bain Capital’s original investors included figures tied to El Salvador’s murderous right-wing death squads.
  • One more reason why no state can afford a Republican one-party government: Louisiana’s set to dole out public education bucks to anti-science fundamentalist private schools.
  • The Susan G. Komen Foundation announced new national bosses, who might (just might, mind you) end the homophobia and Planned Parenthood-bashing of the group’s recent past. But it’ll probably remain an outfit less interested in health care than in big-bucks corporate sponsorships.
  • We here in BlueStateLand like to scoff at slimy voter suppression tactics elsewhere. But why aren’t Washington’s own majority-Hispanic pockets seeing more majority-Hispanic voting profiles?
  • You could live directly above the future U District light rail station, as soon as 2021.
Jul 31st, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

Let’s face it, my fellow futurists.

Outer space is boring. Or rather, being out there would be boring.

No air, no water, nothing to do for light-years.

This is the expression held by German music hall star Marika Rökk (1913-2004) in her big production number “Mir Ist So Langweilig” (“I Am SOOO Bored”). It’s from the 1958 revue film Bühne Frei für Marika (“Stage Free for Marika”).

She portrays an ice princess on some desolate planet, surrounded by a family of male toadies. She langorously sings of yearning for something to do that’s not the same old same old.

She peers out her space telescope, sees happy Earthlings dancing, and immediately sets forth in an amazing gyroscope/spaceship (!).

The ship takes her to a quasi-racist German depiction of an African jungle.

She picks up a (real) snake and dances with it, lying down and spreading her legs (!).

She cavorts for a while with some “natives” and a (real) elephant. (She rubs the bare chest of one of “native” males to see “if the dirt comes off.”)

But even that’s not enough to slake her boredom for long.

(Thanx and a hat tip to Mr. Dante Fontana’s Visual Guidance Ltd.)

Jul 29th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

The Seafair Torchlight Parade is more than a relic of “a simpler time,” or an opportunity for Seattle merchants and restaurants to make money from visiting suburbanites and exurbanites.

It’s an opportunity for all of us to get back in touch with the values and aesthetics that helped make this city great.

At a time and place where these values are often scoffed at, Seafair proclaims there’s still plenty to admire in squareness.

Squares gave us the Space Needle. Squares gave us Boeing (and, hence, the “international jet set”). Squares gave us computers and software.

Towns at at least a little removed from the metro core still understand the positive aspects of squareness, and revel in them. I come from one of these.

Remember: Square DOES NOT necessarily equal boring or white. Values of family, tradition, and togetherness cut across all ethnic and subcultural lines.

There are three special things to mention about this year’s parade. The first is the Seafair Clowns’ heartfelt tribute to Chris Wedes/J.P. Patches.

The second thing was something I’d previously noticed last month at the gay parade—spectators using cam-equipped iPads to get a better-than-the-naked eye view of the proceedings.

And finally, what was Grand Marshal (and Fastbacks drummer #2) Duff McKagan doing in a horse and buggy? Wouldn’t a bitchin’ vintage muscle car be more his flavor?

Jul 29th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

The Burke Museum has posted a lovely You Tube video showing how the Pioneer Square area was not only settled by Seattle’s founders but altered, filled in, and transformed from a little isthmus into the historic district it is today.

  • A B.C.-based blogger about classic cartoons offers his own tribute to J.P. Patches, on whose show he first saw many of those shorts.
  • Meanwhile, sometime Seattle musician (and this year’s Seafair grand marshal) Duff McKagan cites the Patches show as exemplifying/promoting a quirky, particularly “Seattle” sense of humor.
  • Paul Constant believes the Seattle library levy would stand a better chance of passage if its promoters expressed more appreciation toward librarians, not just toward buildings and acquisitions.
  • The Dept. of Justice deal with the Seattle Police includes a court appointed monitor and strict reporting of “uses of force.”
  • You’ve got about a month to get your needles together for the big quilters’ convention.
  • A Florida renegade Republican claims his state party has deliberately tried to suppress the black vote.
  • Paul Krugman suggests Mitt Romney’s wealth, and the insularity that goes with it, is his potential undoing.
  • If you don’t have health insurance, today’s Republican Party officially doesn’t give a flying frack about you.
  • The number of “swing states” in this Presidential election: 8. That’s it.
  • Pat Buchanan really needn’t worry about the Republicans facing long-term oblivion as America becomes steadily less white. Some future generation of GOP operatives could easily dump the racism (disguised and otherwise), and instead proclaim that passive-aggressive fealty to Big Money is for everyone.
  • Roger Rosenblatt wants writers to “write great;” that is, to go beyond the merely personal and embrace reality’s greater issues.
  • In the opposite direction from “writing great,” there’s now an online Fifty Shades of Grey-esque cliché generator.
  • And finally, this day’s most incisive, most informative piece of Seattle Times reportage:

Jul 25th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

This is the UW’s Lander Hall dormitory, where thousands of students over the past four-plus decades have slept, drank, toked, screwed, and even studied. It’s being razed this summer so the U can build a new (though not necessarily less ugly) residence-hall complex. It was really time for the building to come down. So much so, that a big slab of a concrete wall cracked off during demolition last Saturday. It crashed down on the closed cab of the excavator machine. The operator is still in the hospital.

  • It’s garbage strike time, right during the dog-days-O-summer! “Oh it’s the moooost/stinkiest tiiiime/of the year….”
  • We now know what will (partly) fill the old Borders Book site downtown. It’s Yard House, a Calif.-based bar and grill chain with one of those 100-plus-beer-tap bars.
  • The ferry Kalakala’s current owner is suing the state. He claims they’ve unnecessarily impeded his efforts to restore the historic bucket-O-bolts.
  • In one of its rare unsigned editorials, the Stranger gives some darned lucid reasons for supporting the Sonics arena scheme.
  • Defenders of Chick-Fil-A’s homo-hatin’ include ex-Sen. Rick Santorum and a fictional teenage girl, invented by the fast food chain’s PR reps.
  • Wednesday was the fourth straight night of police brutality-inspired protests in Anaheim CA. It’s become a cycle. Every police over-reaction leads to protests, that become targeted with another wave of over-reaction.
  • NPR talks to a guy who claims to know “how to manipulate people to say ‘yes.’” Yes, the story mentions how these techniques might show up on a future pledge drive.
  • Google may be cracking down on sites that use “search engine optimization” tricks to manipulate their way to the top of the search rankings. That would be nice, since (as previously griped about here) so many of those sites turn out to be worthless arrays of bland, uninformative self-help texts.
  • When Buckyballs are outlawed, only outlaws will accidentally swallow tiny spherical magnets.
Jul 15th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

the bon marche at northgate circa 1956, via mallsofamerica.blogspot.com

  • Emily Badger at the Atlantic pontificates that “The Shopping Mall Turns 60 (and Prepares to Retire).” Malls are actually 62 years old, counting from Seattle’s own Northgate. Badger’s timeline dates from urban planner Victor Gruen, who published a prototype concept in an architectural magazine two years after Northgate opened. (The one thing Gruen’s design had but Northgate hadn’t (yet) was a roof on the central plaza.) Badger is right, though, that malls have passed their peak as American institutions. The last new one opened in ’06; big-box stores and strip malls have stolen a lot of their business and clout.
  • After years of speculation, MSNBC.com is now wholly owned by Comcast/NBC Universal. It’s immediately been renamed NBCNews.com. Microsoft sold NBC its half of the online joint venture, having divested its interest in the same-named cable channel back in ’05. NBC claims the site’s Redmond-based staff will stay in the Seattle area. [Update: 100 techies will stay here, but around 80 editorial jobs could move to New York.] Microsoft claims it will start its own news site later this year.
  • Meanwhile, a recently-unearthed NBC documentary about the deep south during the civil rights struggles reminds us that, at the time, many white southerners actually believed that black people liked being segregated.
  • Trend-analyst Richard Florida never said the rise of the “creative class” would be a panacea for the professional caste, or for the cities that hope to attract this caste.
  • A hockey fan site ponders what the heck Seattle’s anti-arena factions are thinking:

There aren’t many cities that would seriously consider turning their backs on an investment of nearly $300 million in private capital within their boundaries, particularly during trying economic times.

  • Celeste Holm, 1917-2012: The Oscar-winning film star and venerable stage actress had been in financial straits in her latter years. She was estranged from her family after she married a 41-year-old opera singer when she was 87. One of those family members was son Theodor Holm Nelson, the computing visionary who coined the term “hypertext” and inspired much of the conceptual underpinning of this whole WWW thang.
Jun 13th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

  • Gay marriage update: Now that the opponents of equality have filed enough petition signatures, Ref. 74 goes to the ballot in November. Pro-equality folks, who were asked to “decline to sign” the referendum petitions, will now have to vote “yes” on the referendum itself to keep marriage for all on our state’s books. (Too bad, though, about the “Approve R 74” campaign logo. It looks too much like a Hanford radiation leak.)
  • Heads up, TV viewers in Comcast-less areas of Seattle. The full transition from the pathetic Broadstripe Cable to the much more promising Wave Broadband takes full effect on July 17. Soon to arrive at last: Current TV! IFC! Ovation! MLB Network! NFL Network! C-SPAN 2! And HD versions of HBO, TCM, CNN, MSNBC, Comedy Central, and Cartoon Network! (Still no Sundance or the French channel TV5, though.)
  • In previous posts about the above topic, I’d called Wave Broadband “locally owned.” It’s now been sold to out-of-state private equity interests, but remains locally based.
  • That Seattle Children’s Hospital patients’ lip-sync music video, based on the Kelly Clarkson song “Stronger?” The record label got it pulled from YouTube. You can still see it at the Huffington Post.
  • CNN wants to pick a fight between Seattle and Portland, apparently in the name of regional bragging rights. Why bother?
  • Some Shell Oil execs held a PR fest at the Space Needle, celebrating the opening of a new drilling platform in Alaska. Only the three-foot-tall “oil rig” drink dispenser malfunctioned, making a big mess. Lots of blogs snickered at the ill-timed fail. Except: It wasn’t real. It was all a hoax stunt, devised by anticorporate hoax-stunt devisers The Yes Men.
  • We must say goodbye to Travelers Tea Co., the East Indian themed gift, food, and home-furnishings shop and cafe on East Pine, after 14 years. Travelers’ one-year-old second restaurant location on Beacon Hill remains.
  • I haven’t seen ’em, but supposedly there are web-guru essays chastizing Pinterest for attracting a predominantly female user base; as if Grand Theft Auto discussion boards were valuable “mainstream” services but “girls’ stuff” was just too insubstantial for tech investors to put their money into.
  • An ad man claims we’re heading into “the golden age of mobile.” He means media and advertising made for smartphones and tablets.
  • Is an ex-Coca-Cola marketing exec really sincere about renouncing his junk-food-shilling past, or is he just trying to sell himself in a new shtick as a health-food marketing exec?
  • The print magazine business has apparently stabilized, if you believe this account from, ahem, a print magazine.
  • Colson Whitehead has a lovely memoir of his childhood as a horror movie fanatic.
  • Black activist A. Phillip Randolph put out a short book in 1967 advocating A Freedom Budget for All Americans. Randolph and his co-authors claimed their plan, based on Federal economic incentive spending, would essentially end poverty in America within eight years. The whole document’s now online, and it’s full of economic-wonk language to support its claims.
May 24th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey


  • What’s the world’s most prolific retail brand today? 7-Eleven! And, after a few years of retreating from parts of the U.S., it’s expanding like mad.
  • Coming next month and tons more exciting than any ol’ glass gallery, it’s Seattle Center’s first Seattle Science Festival! Hear Steven Hawking’s voice box live and in person!
  • Nearly 40 percent of Puget Sound homeowners owe more money on their homes than the homes are now worth. Nearly nine percent owe twice as much money as their homes are worth (twice the national average).
  • Anthony Robinson explains “how to talk politics with religious voters.”
  • How does the Seattle LGBTQLSMFT pride parade thank the politicians who helped pass marriage equality in Wash. state? By charging them almost twice as much money to appear in the parade as it charges corporate entrants.
  • Amazon’s quitting the virulently far-right lobbying group ALEC, and will make its warehouses more hospitable workplaces.
  • Oregon native nations say they don’t mind high schools using Indian sports-team names, and that they do mind when PC whites try to ban such names.
  • Comcast/NBC Universal might buy up all of MSNBC.com. The web site is still half owned by Microsoft (and still has a major editorial presence in Bellevue), even after NBC took full ownership of the same-named cable channel.
  • The TV networks would really, really like Dish Network to not offer an “ad skipping” feature on its DVRs.
  • Jonathan Chiat parses the “conservative fantasy history of civil rights,” in which the likes of Ronald Reagan and Strom Thurmond were supposedly not the racists they really were.
  • Yes, a sexually demeaning image of a woman is still wrong even if the woman being insulted is anti-choice.
  • Single-load “laundry pods,” delicious but deadly.
  • The province of Quebec now demands that all political protests get official police approval first. Protesters immediately protested the law, in a big way.
May 17th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

u.s. geological survey

Happy Mount St. Helens Day!

May 15th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

The recession has claimed another victim, the Betsey Johnson boutique on Fifth Avenue.

  • King County Exec Dow Constantine was caught with an email revealing he’d had an affair with a co-worker. At a press conference, “No Drama Dow” (who has an unmarried live-in partner) quietly admitted the indiscretion.
  • The city and county could announce they’re signing off on the Sodo arena plan as early as today.
  • KOMO’s Ken Schram insists that the poor (and everybody else) should still get to buy things with cash.
  • A community activist group says light rail has accelerated the gentrification of the Rainier Valley, making the mixed-race neighborhood a lot paler.
  • Video footage helps a May Day protester escape prosecution.
  • The wages of not supporting the iPhone: T-Mobile USA‘s laying off another 900 workers.
  • First it was nuns. Now the right-wing Catholic bishops are harassing the Girl Scouts. (Make your own joke about how everybody knows they prefer boys.)
  • ‘Future of News’ Dept.: A spokescritter for Rupert Murdoch’s iPad news app The Daily (no relation to the infinitely more distinguished UW Daily) insists the online newspaper is on the road to profitability.
  • Even with health insurance, medical care is getting prohibitively expensive.
  • America’s real first gay president? Buchanan.
  • Michael Lind at Salon asks, “Why do conservatives hate freedom?”…
  • …while “MinistryOfTruth” at Daily Kos makes brutal accusations toward your sterotypical teabag conservative:

I don’t think you do love America. At least, not as much as you hate everyone in America who isn’t exactly like you.


May 7th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey


Every person I talk to at a signing, every exchange I have online (sometimes dozens a day), every random music video or art gallery link sent to me by a fan that I curiously follow, every strange bed I’ve crashed on… all of that real human connecting has led to this moment, where I came back around, asking for direct help with a record. Asking EVERYBODY.… And they help because they know I’m good for it. Because they KNOW me.

  • After nearly a decade of study and planning, Seattle’s finally giving up on the idea of a city-owned broadband network. Pathetic.
  • Time is running out for any hope of saving the historic streamlined ferry Kalakala. Estimated cost of a full restoration: $50 million.
  • Ah, if only the Mariners still had some of the players they’d let slip away. If only….
  • A Long Island, NY woman is accused of using her hot-dog truck as a cover for arranging “compensated dates” (to use a recent Japanese euphemism). No “sausage” or “buns” puns here, at least not today.
  • A Utah woman claims to have found cocaine packed in a box of tampons. Just think of it as an extra measure of pain relief that also leaves you feeling fresh.
  • Bill Maher says what everyone except Fox News viewers already knows—that many of the most fervent Obama haters are racist, with different degrees of denial.
  • Meanwhile, a Washington Monthly writer believes the Presidential election will be decided by Hispanic voters (i.e., one of the groups the Rabid Right is most virulently bigoted against).
  • There’s an anonymous novel out of Portland (originally self published by the author, who only calls himself “The Author”). It’s getting a lot of attention. It’s about a young man’s doomed relationship with “someone who considers Courtney Love to be her role model.” What makes it extra-special is it’s formatted like one of those old “Choose Your Own Adventure” kids’ books. Only every choice “you” make leads to the same miserable ending. I also like the title: Love Is Not Constantly Wondering If You Are Making the Biggest Mistake of Your Life.
  • Not only are grad students getting buried in piles of student-loan debt, they might not even get into the careers for which they’re studying (cf. the rising number of Ph.Ds on food stamps).
  • A marketing analyst calls 2012 “the year of inverse retro-futurism.” Whatever the heck that is.
May 3rd, 2012 by Clark Humphrey


  • The above vintage paperback cover comes from a blog located in a college town—Columbus OH, not Spokane WA. (Found via Pulp International.)
  • The Seattle Police have an on-staff graffiti interpreter. And he says only 3 percent of Seattle’s graffiti has anything to do with street gangs.
  • State Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna may have found his most potent nemesis—not election rival Jay Inslee but 90 women who are suing McKenna for participating (in the name of the people of Washington) in the right wing’s anti-Obamacare crusade.
  • Scott North at the Everett Herald looks back to Wash. state’s own U.S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas and his role in making forest conservation a real thing.
  • Amazon, continuing in its quest to become kings of all media, is starting its own movie production company. And it’s soliciting concepts for “TV style” web shows—sitcoms and kids’ shows, live-action and animated. And unlike some online “screenwriting contest” scam sites, they don’t keep the rights to works they don’t use.
  • “He who controls the Spice controls the universe.”
  • As the Seattle arena proposal moves forward quickly, ex-City Council member Richard McIver suggests putting it instead in the Rainier Valley, near the Mt. Baker light rail station and I-90. (It would also be near the former site of Sicks’ Stadium, home of minor league baseball for 30 years and Major League Baseball for oen year.)
  • Meanwhile, a member of the ownership team that stole the Sonics has lost his chairman role at Chesapeake Energy, due to alleged conflicts of interest. Couldn’t happen to an un-nicer guy.
  • From the verdant town of Corvallis (where I spent two formative years of my life) comes the tale of a bright young woman who became a hit with a sports-gambling blog, then became a top contributor to ESPN.com, and then allegedly used this fame to scam would-be business colleagues.
  • Ashton Kutcher sure can get all high-horse righteous when he’s denouncing the sex industry. But perpetuating racist stereotypes in commercials—that’s something he apparently doesn’t mind at all.
  • Some people don’t want to be Americans anymore. They’re one-percenters trying to flee tax evasion charges.
  • Former Wall Street operative Alexis Goldstein describes the milieu of Big Finance as a place where people strive…

to earn enough money so that you can behave in a way that makes the very existence of other people irrelevant.…

Wall Street is far too self-absorbed to be concerned with the outside world unless it is forced to. But Wall Street is also, on the whole, a very unhappy place. While there is always the whisper that maybe you too can one day earn fuck-you money, at the end of a long day, sometimes all you take with you are your misguided feelings of self-righteousness.

Apr 30th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey


Pere Ubu founder, noise-rock legend, and great Clevelander David Thomas is, by his own admission, a middle class boy.

And in a recent interview he claims that…

all adventurous art is done by middle-class people. Because middle-class people don’t care. Because middle-class people don’t care. “I’m going to do what I want, because I can do something else better and make more money than this.”

At the Collapse Board site (started by ex-Seattleite Everett True), blogger Wallace Wylie begs to disagree:

It surely does not need pointing out that almost every adventurous musical innovation of the 20th Century came from working-class origins. The blues, jazz, country, rock’n’roll, soul, reggae, disco, r&b, hip-hop, techno, house; the list goes on. It would take a mixture of ignorance and arrogance on a monumental scale to appropriate all of these innovations for the middle-classes.

You can probably think of your own exceptions, in music and other artistic fields as well.

Then the Scottish-born Wylie goes on to repeat the longtime meme that most American middle-class teens didn’t know about large swaths of American blues and R&B, until they heard them from British rockers:

…While British bands were playing Chuck Berry, embryonic American garage bands were cutting their chops on ‘Gloria’ by Them. In other words, rock music is a British creation that Americans subsequently copied. Bob Dylan named his fifth album Bringing It All Back Home in reference to the fact that British bands had shown Americans music from their own country that they didn’t know existed and now it was time for an American to take these influences back.

That familiar tale neglects the role American “hip” whites (including Cleveland’s own DJ legend Alan Freed) played in bringing R&B across the color line, leading to the commercial teenybopper variant Freed billed as “rock n’ roll.”

It neglects the white garage bands (such as Tacoma’s own Fabulous Wailers) who studiously covered and imitated their favorite R&B sides, especially during the pre-Beatles years.

Methinks Wylie has his own cultural blinders with which to deal.

»  Substance:WordPress   »  Style:Ahren Ahimsa
© Copyright 2015 Clark Humphrey (clark (at) miscmedia (dotcom)).