One of the jokes that has stayed with me the longest after listening to comedy pretty much uninterrupted for seven years is from Jen Kirkman’s first album, after realizing that the guy she’s gone home with has self-help books on his coffee table: “well then who do I get to be?”
i mean the basic starting point of my tony stark feels, the simplest place to begin, is that he’s a gifted kid with a shitty dad. this plays out in a lot of ways — in not being good at the whole “trust” thing, in not admitting that, you know, maybe there are feelings around…
To all those who don’t think the rape joke was a problem, or rape jokes are a problem.
I get it, you’re a decent guy. I can even believe it. You’ve never raped anybody. You would NEVER rape anybody. You’re upset that all these feminists are trying to accuse you of doing something or connect you to doing something that, as far as you’re concerned, you’ve never done and would never condone.
And they’ve told you about triggers, and PTSD, and how one in six women is a survivor, and you get it. You do. But you can’t let every time someone gets all upset get in the way of you having a good time, right?
So fine. If all those arguments aren’t going anything for you, let me tell you this. And I tell you this because I genuinely believe you mean it when you say you don’t want to hurt anybody, and you don’t see the harm, and that it’s important to you to do your best to be a decent and good person. And I genuinely believe you when you say you would never associate with a rapist and you think rape really is a very bad thing.
Because this is why I refuse to take rape jokes sitting down-
6% of college age men, slightly over 1 in 20, will admit to raping someone in anonymous surveys, as long as the word “rape” isn’t used in the description of the act.
6% of Penny Arcade’s target demographic will admit to actually being rapists when asked.
A lot of people accuse feminists of thinking that all men are rapists. That’s not true. But do you know who think all men are rapists?
They really do. In psychological study, the profiling, the studies, it comes out again and again.
Virtually all rapists genuinely believe that all men rape, and other men just keep it hushed up better. And more, these people who really are rapists are constantly reaffirmed in their belief about the rest of mankind being rapists like them by things like rape jokes, that dismiss and normalize the idea of rape.
If one in twenty guys is a real and true rapist, and you have any amount of social activity with other guys like yourself, really cool guy, then it is almost a statistical certainty that one time hanging out with friends and their friends, playing Halo with a bunch of guys online, in a WoW guild, or elsewhere, you were talking to a rapist. Not your fault. You can’t tell a rapist apart any better than anyone else can. It’s not like they announce themselves.
But, here’s the thing. It’s very likely that in some of these interactions with these guys, at some point or another someone told a rape joke. You, decent guy that you are, understood that they didn’t mean it, and it was just a joke. And so you laughed.
And, decent guy who would never condone rape, who would step in and stop rape if he saw it, who understands that rape is awful and wrong and bad, when you laughed?
That rapist who was in the group with you, that rapist thought that you were on his side. That rapist knew that you were a rapist like him. And he felt validated, and he felt he was among his comrades.
You. The rapist’s comrade.
And if that doesn’t make you feel sick to your stomach, if that doesn’t make you want to throw up, if that doesn’t disturb you or bother you or make you feel like maybe you should at least consider not participating in that kind of humor anymore…
Well, maybe you aren’t as opposed to rapists as you claim.
“When you feel perpetually unmotivated, you start questioning your existence in an unhealthy way; everything becomes a pseudo intellectual question you have no interest in responding whatsoever. This whole process becomes your very skin and it does not merely affect you; it actually defines you. So, you see yourself as a shadowy figure unworthy of developing interest, unworthy of wondering about the world - profoundly unworthy in every sense and deeply absent in your very presence.”—
“Our education systems are failing. People aren’t excited to leave college with a degree anymore. They’re scared. College graduates are having hard times finding jobs that pay anything beyond minimum wage. They’re overqualified. There’s nothing for them. There is so much anxiety about the future and our traditional methods aren’t fixing it. And more and more, people like me are burying ourselves in student debt only to feel trapped by what we’ve invested so much time and energy into. I think there are a lot of us in our late 20s who did the math and realized we’d be more financially well off if we opted out of college and worked at McDonald’s after high school. I have brilliant friends with college degrees who don’t feel any better off for it because they’re working a job that isn’t fulfilling. The only difference is that they HAVE to work that unfulfilling job now because they’re chained to debt; debt that was incurred so they could be happy in their work from day to day. It’s not delivering and people are restless.
And I could be wrong. But there’s a thing inside of me that looks at all of the anxious, depressed people around me and it hits me that in a lot of ways our generation is completely lost and bottoming out. And bottoming out is a magical thing. When a person bottoms out they start from zero. They get to recreate the rules. They don’t feel pressured to get a job that uses their degree so they don’t feel like they’ve wasted time. They get to dream up new rules. When an entire generation bottoms out, they change the world and dream up a new way to look at it.”—Ted Winkworth, Why I’m Trading a House and Salary for a Motorcycle and Map (via lenticular-clouds)
Usually when Otis came to town, he waited until he checked into the Holiday Inn before calling me to work with him on songs in his room. This time he couldn’t wait. He said, “Crop, I’ve got a hit. I’m coming right over.”
When Otis walked in, he said, “Crop, get your gut-tar.” I always kept a Gibson B-29 around. He grabbed it, tuned it to an open E-chord, which made the guitar easier to play slide. Then Otis played and sang a verse he had written: Sittin’ in the mornin’ sun/I’ll be sittin’ when the evenin’ come/Watching the ships roll in/And then I watch ‘em roll away again.
This year I’ve been in the process of ripping CDs in the hopes of getting rid of them. Somewhere along the line I realized that I only have so much space for physical media in these undersized apartments that I rent in cities, and I’d rather keep my LPs than my CDs. So there are many bags of them from my last move that I’ve never unpacked (I gave away my racks, so I wouldn’t have anywhere to put them) and little-by-little I’m trying to do high-quality rips of the digital information to use as my source for listening to music.
Going through a box a couple of weeks ago, I came across a CD-R that I’d made in 2002 called Mark’s Xmas Mix 2002. I made this as a gift for my friends at year-end, and it consisted of tracks that I really liked from the year previous (they weren’t Christmas songs, and they weren’t all from 2002, but I did listen to them all a lot that year). And you know how it is—it’s 10 years, a nice round number, and so much has changed in music and my life. So I want to write about this CD-R. I’ll post all the tracks individually here as streams with a couple of thoughts, and then at the end I’ll post the whole mix for download.
The first thing I have to mention about 2002 is that I was reading the I Love Music board pretty much constantly. If you’ve not heard of it, ILM is a music discussion board started in 2000 by Tom Ewing, who was then writing a very early music blog called New York London Paris Munich (and who runs an online pop web magazine called Freaky Trigger). Tom later wrote for Pitchfork and had a column called Poptimist which ran for 45 installments and was wonderful. He still contributes to Pitchfork sometimes.
In any event, Tom started ILM, I heard about it because I was a regular reader of NYLPM, and I followed along with his message board from the first thread. And by 2002, it had been around for a couple of years and was in its mature state. I learned a great deal from reading it; it’s absolutely one of the biggest influences on me in terms of thinking about music writing. At that point, there were so many smart people on it who were bursting with ideas and getting on there and talking about music with them was an education (maybe it’s still just as good but I look at it very rarely now, just not as much time and I probably spend more of what spare online time I do have here).
So in 2002, I was on ILM all the time. One of the board’s hallmarks, which could probably be traced to Tom, who was active on the board then, is that it was very much pro-pop and anti-rockist. In fact, the 2000s-era discussions of “rockism” you’ve seen around can pretty much be directly traced to discussions on ILM (not that the board invented the term or the idea, but it definitely brought it back into the public discourse in the last 15 years). So this CD-R I made for my friends was a Christmas present was very heavy on one-off pop-ish oddities that made sense within a poptimist framework, many of which I discovered while reading ILM and which I downloaded to my computer over my 56k dial-up modem using SoulSeek.
Not this song, though. My mix starts with a song I’m quite sure none of you have ever heard, because it was not commercially released. This track is by a young bedroom producer who also happened to write about music and was then a regular at ILM. He’s since become one of the most important music writers working today and if you follow me here you probably know his work. Another thing about this writer is that he was very into electroclash, which was a reasonably new thing in 2002. And he and I started exchanging emails and I asked him to make me a mix of electroclash that he liked and he did so and mailed me a CD-R. And the very first song on this mix that he made for me (a different mix from the one I’ll be discussing here) was this track, which he made himself. The intro. It’s his own song. And I love it.
One thing about this intro track is that there’s a point where this person inserts “This is an electro mix for Mark Richardson” into it. And since I chose to make this person’s song the first song on my year-end mix for friends, maybe it sounds like it’s coming from me. But no, this was a song that was customized for me, and when I heard it, it made me happy. I thought, wow, this guy I barely know did this nice thing for me and put in so much effort. Just doesn’t happen every day. And it has my name in it. And now, 10 years later, not sure if you’ve ever had this experience, I have this uncanny feeling when I hear it: “This is an electro mix for Mark Richardson” and I think, “Hey, that’s me. That’s my name.” Hard to describe.
Stay tuned for more from this mix in the coming weeks.
“That was the year, my twenty-eight, when I was discovering that not all of the promises would be kept, that some things are in fact irrevocable and that it had counted after all, every evasion and ever procrastination, every word, all of it.”—Joan Didion, "Goodbye To All That"
Pitchfork gave it Best New Music. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with Pitchfork—or, at least, nothing more wrong with Pitchfork than with any other popular music publication/sentient and so flawed human being—but I think even Pitchfork’s writers would admit that choosing their favorite…
Yesterday was 10 years since Layne Staley’s death. I never cared for Alice in Chains but somehow I think about this guy pretty regularly. The end of his life is without question my worst nightmare, in that he was dead in his apartment for two weeks before anyone noticed. And then it was only because his accountant saw that he’d stopped withdrawing money from his checking account and asked someone from his family to look in on him. Just the thought of being that alone. It happens.
“Mystery Science Theater 3000 inhabits a special place in entertainment history: it was the culmination of a curatorial tradition developed by the TV hosts of Saturday afternoon creature-features, and the predecessor to the more universal, arguably less sophisticated snarkiness enabled by the Internet. As such it is a flagship, sailing forth from the Gilded Age of Snark, worthy of respect and admiration. Bow your heads when you speak its name.”—aberjona: Things I did not know in my 30s that I know now (not a continuing series) (via l3fan-o-rama)