A NEW OPTIMISM
Re: Daniel J. Flynn’s How the Knack Conquered Disco:
Funny how one’s memories of a time or event are illuminated by an academic’s spotlight trained on the period decades hence. In 1979 I was eighteen, on my own in happening South Florida and thoroughly tired of disco. I was openly contemptuous of it for all of the usual indictments — cheesy, shallow, chickified, but also secretly jealous because it was primarily the domain of our older boomer sisters and brothers who were moving on from their hippy days and thus what it offered was mostly out of reach to us. What was out of reach about it, as anyone a little too young to fully participate will admit if he’s honest, was the explicit wenching and whoring that beckoned because a man needed flashy clothes, cars, drugs, legal access to bars, dance moves and a rap with the ladies to fully realize the disco scene. After all, wasn’t the allure of Studio 54 making the grade and through the door as much as dancing on its floor? All of those items required (and still do) the most necessary ingredient of all — money, which 18 year old guys working a loading dock didn’t have in quantity enough to be a player. No, I had thrown my lot in with Led Zeppelin, the Stones and all the lesser lights of what we call today “classic Rock” years before. Like anything tribal, our embrace of hard rock or “real rock ‘n roll”, as we called it at the time, was as much an open rejection of the boomer’s disco scene and a self-conscious differentiation as it was an affinity for the music.
And then came The Knack with a new sound. Out of nowhere. I loved My Sharona, still do and I have it on my gym workout mp3 playlist. Until today I never knew Doug Fieger’s name and still couldn’t tell you who the other guys where. In fact, I remember stories at the time circulated over the airwaves of real rock stations, defined as those that played the rock greats when their stuff was new (103.5 WSHE- Miami- “She’s Only Rock ‘n Roll”), that they were all highly talented studio pros who had gotten together for the express purpose of releasing a hit album to make a fortune after which they would vanish. They were to be one hit wonders and proud of it. And that’s about exactly how it went and more or less confirmed by Mr. Flynn.
Was The Knack single handedly responsible for dethroning disco? Perhaps, but there were other forces gathering strength at the time so I suspect if not The Knack, some other group would have come along and done the job. For as Mr. Flynn notes, disco was as much a cultural phenomenon as a musical genre and thus, as all cultural moments are, of finite mortality. Disco had played out its string. Journey, The Cars, The Talking Heads, Divo and even Blondie along with The Knack and many others were elements of a new sound we called “New Wave” and consciously recognized as the departure from disco and 60’s style rock, the two sides of the same boomer coin, we were waiting for. New Wave fully blossomed in the early ’80s, not incoincidently, during America’s reinvigoration and a palpable optimism in the air of “morning in America” and perfectly suited the times. It is fully consistent that as America rejected the malaise and defeatism of the ’70s it created a new soundtrack of upbeat optimism to go with it and New Wave was that. It was a new land for a new tribe and lots of us, particularly those of us who would come fully of age in that decade, de-camped to it.
One quibble I do have with Mr. Flynn’s critique of My Sharona’s “slightly less catchy guitar riff”, however. He must have heard the “radio edit” version which tragically cuts out approximately one minute, and the very heart, of the riff. I’d invite him to listen to the full album version for a reappraisal.
— Mark Shepler
BREAKING THE LOCK
Re: W. James Antle, III.’s Conservatism’s Constitution:
This is all well and good but someone should tell the Republican establishment about it. The Republican establishment is already trying to co-opt the tea party movement through the likes of Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck.
I was initially a fervent supporter of both of these people but Palin’s campaign support for John McCain and Rick Perry have revealed her to be just another establishment front person. Likewise for Glenn Beck who recently revealed himself to also be a tool of the establishment by criticizing Debra Medina for her failure to give a definitive”no” when she was questioned by Mr. Beck about truther movement. She actually gave the same answer I would have given, that she didn’t have enough information to give an opinion. This is exactly what I would have said because I, like most Americans, view it as a non-issue.
That’s not to say that I have dismissed it completely, after all we have what amounts to a one party gangster government in Washington, D.C. A government that is as corrupt and dictatorial as the old Soviet government. They are just more sophisticated and instead of using terror to control the populace they use propaganda, bread, and circuses. ( welfare, food stamps, televised sporting events, the MSM, and our educational system).
Let me just make a prediction: The Republicans will retake Congress in 2010 and the presidency in 2012. Once in office the Republican establishment will re-assert itself and we will have more open borders, illegal immigration, outsourcing of our jobs and manufacturing base, more affirmative action, importation of more cheap labor via the Visa and refugee rackets, bigger government, more wars, more borrowing from abroad, a failing educational system, increased spending and a growing budget deficit. It will be business as usual but the upside is that this will finally lead to the formation of a third party strong enough to break the lock that this one party system has had on our government for the last century.
— Paul Martell
Re: RiShawn Biddle’s Election Boilermakers:
One fact of life in Indiana is that the weather changes about every 15 minutes, but nothing much else ever does.
This year is shaping up to be one of those exceptional years where everything could change.
This year, unlike many others election years I’ve seen, the response of average voters isn’t a barely concerned “Oh, I don’t know…” but a determined “Let me tell you something…” Normally, the average Indiana voter is far more concerned this time of year with basketball rivalries and hasn’t given any thought to politics. So when someone around here who isn’t one of the usual political animals starts telling you about politics, you’d better sit up and take note.
Much of the anger I’ve seen is focused — people know what they’re angry about — but they haven’t quite figured out what to do about it. One thing is certain; any candidate that in our eyes offers more of the same is in for one helluva fight this time around. One of the challenges any political hopeful faces is that the BS filters around here are cranked up to max. Any politician who thinks the party talking points will carry him through is in for a rude surprise in short order.
So my sense of the Indiana voters is that we’re aware of the problems we have and the ones headed our way, we’re ticked off at the usual Washington games (self-serving, double-dealing, back stabbing, and larding everything up with pork in particular), and we’re looking for someone who has a sound approach to problems and the fiber to back it up. The most important thing a hopeful politician can have is a clear vision of where he’d like to get us and how to get us there.
Of course, a clear vision can be a dangerous thing from a politician’s perspective. Too little detail and he’ll have a hard time getting through the BS filters. Too much and the vision narrows leaving us voters to challenge how he’ll react to the inevitable setbacks and obstacles. Evan Bayh read the tea leaves correctly and saw the buzz saw coming for him. His vision as we see it back here is limited to what serves Evan Bayh’s interests and how to advance Evan Bayh. Dan Coats faces a similar problem. Reaction to his candidacy is usually “Where’s he been?” The answer — Washington D.C. — is met with a knowing and extremely skeptical look (at least when people are being polite).
All told, this year the political season should be lots more interesting than watching the corn grow.
— Warren D. Murphy
RATS IN A BARN
Re: Peter Ferrara’s The Disappearing Science of Global Warming:
This is only the beginning. Corruption is like rats in a barn. For every one you see, there are twenty you missed.
We need to take a hard look at ALL the “science in the public interest.”
Not a day goes by without some allegedly neutral study, test result or database being presented to our lawmakers as the basis to outlaw this, tax that, or make something else mandatory. Or used as evidence in a court of law to show harm done and damages due. Not a corner of American life is unaffected — education, jobs, industry, defense, food, health care, recreation, you name it.
But think — these bent climate scientists didn’t just show up one day. They are products of the same system, and went to the same schools as the medical researchers, the public-hygiene crowd, and so on. Subject to the same pressures: publish or perish, grants at all costs. How many other scientists and researchers in other fields have also quietly decided that the end justifies the means, and manipulated the data, the scope of the inquiry, the definitions used? How many of their critics have been ostracized or exiled professionally for questioning the Cause?
We’d better find out fast , because we’re losing our freedoms AND going broke to humor these jokers.
— Martin Owens
Re: Jay D. Homnick’s The Men on the Streets:
Obama and his highly educated but similarly inexperienced thugocrats tried intimidation, flagellation, deprecation and strangulation of America, its people and Constitution — and didn’t win. And now they expect this self-serving political triangulation to work?
Of course they do. They’ve no experience outside their politically and intellectually inbred leftist circles, including academia.
— C. Kenna Amos Jr.
It’s too late for mere feints and smears. The President stands revealed as a marginal new-hire, and as such will be denied tenure.
— David Govett
YOU SAID IT
Re: Jeffrey Lord’s Gorbamastein: The Political Monster Turns on Its Creators:
Hooray!! Your article answered my prayers. Finally somebody telling it like it is. Since late last year with Climategate, the (almost) 1-trillion dollar bailout, and the horrific development in the Health Care Bill (talk about a Frankenstein Monster…) I was getting really scared our government had finally gone totally out of control. American MSM have either ignored the stories or have functioned as sycophantic cheerleaders for the Gorbamastein Monster. I am more politically involved than I have ever been and am supporting and contributing to sane candidates who will stand up and fight this monster. Thanks for the great article — you put my feelings perfectly into words.
— Greg Olsen
EXAMPLES OF BAD SCIENCE
Re: Tom Bethell’s A Disgrace to Science:
As a scientist, it has always been obvious that global warming was a farce parading as science that is actually a political agenda. All money corrupts, whether from oil companies, pharmaceutical companies, or the government, but money is necessary to science. Money is not the evil. Promulgating the lie is evil. Science is supposed to be an exercise in discovering facts and presenting them truthfully. When this is perverted and allowed to stand then we get things like global warming, a fear of nuclear power, a fear of vaccines, and many other over-blown fears. It is not rational to me that science allowed these people to present this theory over and over again except by virtue of the fact that scientists, like many academics, are liberals and politically to the left. Therefore they sold the virtue of their scientific principles for their political principles, and should never be funded publicly again; should never be allowed to publish in any of the big journals. Their names should be mentioned in ethics classes as examples of bad science.
THE GREATEST MAN
Re: John Berlau’s Founding Father:
America’s greatest president and the man who single handedly kept us from being like the failed democracies of Latin America. King George III called him the “greatest man” and he was right.
Re: Walter E. Williams’s Who’s to Blame?:
Mr. Williams’s wisdom is the result of a truly educated person unlike the uneducated ramblings of the Obamas, the Bidens, the Clintons etc.
— Jack Wheatley
Royal Oak, Michigan
Re: Quin Hillyer’s Conservatives Laugh at Media Bias:
Regarding these left wing blog insights, I remember a comment I heard when I was employed: “You can’t fix dumb.”
Re: Ralph R. Reiland’s Obama’s Anti-Business Prejudice:
Whenever I hear the term “public servant,” I envision a wood tick. When I hear “dedicated public servant,” I see a bloated wood tick.
— Tom McGonnell