The Spectacle Blog

BDS Movement Forces Spanish Festival Organizers to Kick Matisyahu Off The Bill

By on 8.17.15 | 11:08PM

If you've never heard of Matisyahu, he is a Jewish hip hop, reggae artist. He was an Ultra Orthodox Jew who would not perform on Friday although over the past couple of years he has taken a more secular approach to his music.

Whatever his approach, Matisyahu performs all over the world. He was scheduled to perform at the Rototom Sunsplash Reggae Festival in Benicassim, Spain this weekend. However, organizers pulled the rug out from under Matisyahu by abruptly cancelling his performance.

The local BDS movement (Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions) demanded Matisyahu issue a statement denouncing Israel or cancel his performance. Organizers issued the following statement, "Rototom Sunsplash, after having repeatedly sought dialogue in the face of the artist's unavailability to give a clear statement against war and on the right of the Palestinian people to their own state, has decided to cancel the concert."

Bob Johnston, R.I.P.

By on 8.17.15 | 9:45PM

Record producer Bob Johnston passed away on Friday at the age of 83.

Johnston produced a who's who of rock and country acts including Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Simon & Garfunkel, Marty Robbins, Flatt & Scruggs, Leonard Cohen, Michael Martin Murphey, Hoyt Axton, Jimmy Cliff, Alvin Lee, Patti Page, Willie Nelson, Carl Perkins, The Byrds and The New Riders of the Purple Sage. 

He would produce six of Dylan's albums - Highway 61 Revisited, Blonde on Blonde, John Wesley Harding, Nashville Skyline, Self Portrait and New Morning. 

He wasn't a household name, but I knew about him because of Nashville Skyline. On the intro to the track "To Be Alone With You", Dylan asks, "Is it rolling Bob?" The Bob in question was Bob Johnston and the answer is yes, it was rolling.

Only 2% of Americans Think Hillary Clinton Told the Truth About Her Email

By on 8.17.15 | 5:14PM

I don't really know how you get a poll result this low. Even when you're using Gallup to conduct a poll of unmentionables - say, the approval ratings for things like zombies, pond scum and members of Congress - you get at least a 5 - 10% favorability from any given group of registered American voters. 

But regardless of general expectations of the American public, according to a Fox News poll of registered voters, only 2% - two percent - of Americans believe that Hillary Clinton was telling the truth when she said that no emails containing classified information ever passed through the hallowed walls of her ClintonMail server in her Chappaqua basement. The poll sample, which leanded somewhat Democratic by a few points, demonstrates pretty confidently that when we say "literally no one actually believes Hillary Clinton," we're not even being metaphorical.


James Harrison Calls Time Out on “Participation Trophies”

By on 8.17.15 | 4:47PM

Nowadays, we aren't allowed to offend anyone's sensibilities with things like intellectual banter, or an offhand reference to a vague gender identity we may have been given at birth. Everyone is a very special butterfly, a unicorn worthy of adoration and praise. Differences are only to be celebrated when they confer an added benefit on a government reference chart, or when their very presence helps an entity qualify for additional grant money.

And so, was birthed, the "participation trophy." I didn't have these when I was a kid, but they've become wildly popular in the last decade or so, culminating, even, with the disbursement of a Nobel Peace Prize for "potential." Now, at least one parent - Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison - is fighting back. When his sons brought home "participation trophies" for their work as part of a sports team, he made them give the trophies back...but only after he wrote about it on Instagram.

Let “DJ POTUS” Soundtrack Your Summer

By on 8.17.15 | 4:33PM

Technically, summer's over. I mean, my Facebook timeline is packed to the gills with "back to school" photos that children clearly don't want to take but their parents see as necessary to catalogue, lest the kids one day require proof they went to third grade. But the boundaries of reality are never enough to stop President Obama from doing things like, inking nuclear deals with Iran or buying high-waisted denim, so why shouldn't the President's Spotfiy playlist be released on the last full weekend of beach season?

Hillary Clinton Meets With President Obama as FBI Seeks Backup Server

By on 8.17.15 | 1:37PM

The Clintons were in chatty moods over the weekend, as they took a break from the grueling Iowa State Fair routine to catch a little R&R in Martha's Vineyard. After all, there's a limit to how much "folksiness" even Hillary Clinton can stand, and she'd spent all weekend pretending to eat corndogs, dressed like Martha Stewart in a cute wide-collared blue gingham shirt, designed to coordinate with the ribbons on the pies she'd never even consider touching for fear of "proletariat cooties" (she was upstaged there by Trump, who was giving free rides in the helicopter he came in).

The Big Screen Version of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is Better Than I Expected

By on 8.15.15 | 7:55PM

When I sang the praises of the original The Man from U.N.C.L.E. TV series the other day, I had very strong misgivings about the movie.

This afternoon I saw the big screen version of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. While I still prefer the original, the movie is better than I expected.

Both Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer were good as Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin, respectively. I didn't quite like the backstory they gave Solo though. He was a black market war profiteer turned art thief. With that background, Solo reminded my roommate and I of Neil Caffrey on the USA Network TV series White Collar. That Cavill bears a remarkable resemblance to Matt Bomer (the actor who played Caffrey) was not lost on either of us. Nevertheless, Cavill and Hammer had good chemistry with each other and Hugh Grant was his usual charming self as Alexander Waverly albeit with limited screen time. 

ISIS is Conducting a Real War on Women

By on 8.15.15 | 2:22AM

On Friday, it was revealed that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi had repeatedly raped American relief worker Kayla Mueller while she was in captivity. 

Mueller was kidnapped in Syria two years ago and would never get out alive. ISIS claimed she had been killed as a result of Jordanian bombing of ISIS positions in Syria, but this is a most dubious claim. While ISIS was eager to claim she did not die at their hands they were not so eager to say their leader is a sexual sadist.

Baghdadi is hardly the only ISIS leader to engage in such evil. ISIS often kidnaps women, particularly the Yazidis, and forces them into sexual slavery. Earlier this month, 19 brave women who refused to have sex with ISIS leaders were executed

Red Sox Manager John Farrell Diagnosed with Lymphoma; Lovullo to Manage Team For Remainder of Season UPDATE

By on 8.14.15 | 8:29PM

Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell has announced that he was diagnosed with Stage 1 lymphoma and will miss the rest of the season. Bench coach Torey Lovullo will manage the team for the remainder of the year. 

Earlier in the week, Farrell had surgery in Detroit on Monday to treat a hernia. At the time, Farrell believed he injured himself moving gear while the team was in New York a week ago. However, the cancer would be discovered following the surgery. It is believed that the cancer is treatable and should be ready to resume his duties in time for spring training in 2016. 

Farrell, who turned 53 earlier this month, became manager of the Red Sox in 2013 and took them to a World Series title. However, the Sox fell to last place in 2014 and are likely headed for another last place finish in the AL East this season. Previously, Farrell managed the Toronto Blue Jays. He also pitched in the big leagues for 10 seasons with the Cleveland Indians, California Angels and the Detroit Tigers.