March 16, 2009

"I'll go outside and get some leaves and pretend to be a tree..."

"You can be a squirrel and store my nuts for me."



"I Told You I Was Freekie"... just a Flight of the Conchords thing I thought you'd like... brought in by my "squirrel" Google alert.

29 comments:

traditionalguy said...

Cincinatti Chili may not be a good thing to eat before taking a nap. If squirrels have become the new Freakie symbol for men without mates and nests, then you should de-squirrel Mr Cincinattus and help build him a new nest.

Triangle Man said...

They are coming to Madison at the end of April. Got your tickets?

pj said...

Check out their Bowie song:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iR2L98gobTQ

Ann Althouse said...

I blogged the Bowie thing back in '07.

Issob Morocco said...

The Smith's song, "Squirrel Friend In A Coma" comes to mind.

dbp said...

"Too Many Dicks (On the Dancefloor)" - Flight of the Conchords

Just see if you can stay in your chair when they break-out the disco balls...

Jason (the commenter) said...

I have to get their album now.

Chet said...

This is much better:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TivVcfSBVSM&eurl=http://blog.indecisionforever.com/2009/03/02/richard-nixon-explains-all-in-the-family-for-you-and-yours/






____________

pj said...

Brett reminds me of my first live-in boyfriend. Extremely entertaining - best kept at a distance. If it were now, I think I'd try Jermaine...see how that worked out. Probably not much better.

John Stodder said...

I have to get their album now.

Not unless you already have the season 1 dvd set.

Between "Conchords" and the much improved "Big Love," HBO is having a minor renaissance. I also loved the recent HBO film, "Taking Chance." This is the only worthwhile Iraq-war related movie so far.

Host with the Most said...

"I'll go outside and get some leaves . . . "

used to mean something else entirely before there was indoor plumbing.

The Crack Emcee said...

This is the "humor" of France come to life in America. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to be laughing at - is it funny? (Not to me.) What's it even a commentary on?

It mostly reminds me of when I was living in France and saw the French version of "Jackass" with a crowd of frogs (it was called "The 11 Commandments"). I sat stone faced as the French died laughing, tears streaming down, from watching a group of guys fill a house with about 3 feet of water and dance around in it. That was the level of the "stunts" those idiots were fascinated by.

Frankly, this shames me into thinking of all the talented people out there who can't catch a break, because we give so much time to juvenile BS like this, when we should be pushing this nonsense out of the way for those who are truly creative but, for whatever reason, probably aren't going to make the effort to reach us (becoming cynical, usually, for being made to stand in line behind this crap).

Sorry for (almost) always being such a fucking downer, Ann, but Jesus.

I'd rather watch car crash videos.

Freeman Hunt said...

It mostly reminds me of when I was living in France and saw the French version of "Jackass" with a crowd of frogs (it was called "The 11 Commandments"). I sat stone faced as the French died laughing, tears streaming down, from watching a group of guys fill a house with about 3 feet of water and dance around in it. That was the level of the "stunts" those idiots were fascinated by.

Hilarious. More stories of France, please, CE.

John Stodder said...

Crack Emcee,

Context is important. "Conchords" is actually very smart in an absurd sort of way. If you'd not seen it, perhaps this clip isn't the best introduction.

The Crack Emcee said...

John Stodder,

Nope, haven't seen Flight Of The Conchords. Heard of it, though. It's supposed to be like a kind of "hip" suburban humor, no? A little too cool for school? I've just watched "The Bowie Song" and the most striking thing to me is the way people are laughing - they remind me of Dane Cook's audience. Actually, this whole experience makes me think of a trend today:

Worshipful audiences applauding themselves for catching the references in dumbed-down comedy.

There's nothing challenging there. I can barely watch The Daily Show because of it, and The Colbert Report is completely off my radar now, the audience is so sickening. They laugh at anything, as long as it's Leftist and makes them feel good about being Leftist, and I see the same tendency here, except the emphasis is on suburban cultural touchstones.

If I want "Acid Comedy," I'll watch Adult Swim's Tim and Eric Awesome Show (Great Job!) It's funny, multicultural, challenging, and so bizarre I never know where they're coming from or going. Check it out.

Freeman Hunt,

Pick one:

My encounter with Nazis.

The day I was paraded through the streets for being black.

French intelligence.

Old Maui said...

Crack,
They're Kiwis not Frenchmen. Are you implying their rhymes are sissy?

The Crack Emcee said...

Dude,

Weak, man. Very weak. And another thing:

If white artists were held to the same standard that black artists are - when it comes to maintaining the meter of lyrics - there would, almost, be no such thing as white artists.

I say "almost" because Eminem's early recordings keep y'all in the race, so to speak: Outrageously smart, biting, humor and he never missed a beat.

And rappers, especially, have to maintain meter while using, like, 10 times the words. Most country artists can't hold it together for the first verse. (And, yea, I'm a fan of country.)

pj said...

CMC- are you holding them to humor standards or music/rhyme/meter standards?

I agree the ironical pop culture reference meme got stale at least a decade ago - Jon Stewart got popular in his 20s and is well into middle age now. So where's the new challenging stuff of which you speak? Point us to it.

Still, FoC are decent college humor and have a somewhat belabored, but nevertheless charming Kiwi innocence.

(IIRC Jermaine's biracial anyway and coincidentally can go back and forth between gentle ironical mocking and a semblance of what he might be able to do if he weren't busy being so ironical. )

jr565 said...

Another great song from FOTC:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=beQ9yChEcHw&feature=related

We're Both In Love with A Sexy Lady (which is like a takeoff of RKelly's and Ushers duet - Same Girl)

jr565 said...

Also,
Hurt Feelings
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FldGK1fR2NA&feature=related

Clever and catchy.

The Crack Emcee said...

PJ,

I'm saying I have standards and I'm not going to lower them because the rest of you will settle for anything and declare it brilliance. As far as FOTC is concerned (and I've watched every video suggested here):

No, they're not funny, they have no sense of meter, and, with all the real talent out there, why people would want to clog up the airwaves with such tripe - and, at the same time, even occasionally complain about the emptiness of our culture - is beyond me. I hate such hypocrisy: you guys are the problem. If you want better culture, stop playing to the lowest common denominator.

And BTW, hip-hop fans don't listen to the shit that Usher, Lil Wayne, T-Pain, and the like make - that shit's for media tools. The sound is still dominated by Prefuse 73 (a white producer) and, currently, L.A.'s Flying Lotus.

jr565 said...

Crack,
Humor and music is subjective. Some people find things funny that others don't and some people like certain music while it hits other people exactly the right way. Don't know if there's a way to argue any real absolute when it comes to taste.

When I was a kid I thought the Beatles were the best thing since sliced bread and when I played the Beatles for someone who was more into R&B and rap he said there was no beat and you couldn't dance to it. Which to me was heresy and I seriously questioned (in my mind that is) what his problem was. Did he not have ears and coulnd't he hear the great melodies and harmonies? But different strokes for different folks as they say.

You write:
If white artists were held to the same standard that black artists are - when it comes to maintaining the meter of lyrics - there would, almost, be no such thing as white artists. Who is holding black artists to a standard of maintaining the meter of lyrics? Who is holding any artist to such a standard? Not even sure what that really means, but music is not simply adhering to a meter. There's chords, melodies, harmonies, countermelodies.THere's also synchopation(which breaks from a strict meter)there's odd time signatures, and then there's aggression. So you might find a rap artist who's great on sticking to the meter, but crappy with coming up with melodies. In fact, very few rappers seem to have any clue about melody (personal opinion).Just sticking to a meter discounts a lot of music.


I say "almost" because Eminem's early recordings keep y'all in the race, so to speak: Outrageously smart, biting, humor and he never missed a beat.I actually don't mind Eminem and even find some of his stuff funny. But it's not particularly clever, nor does it raise the culture all that much.But if you want catchy songs about behaving like an antisocial jerk and choking your girlfriend I suppose it fills its niche.But it's certainly juvenile. So, according to your own standard, why should we give any time to Eminem when there are better artists out there? Does Eminem elevate culture somehow? Does he not play to the lowest common denominator?

Seriously, not saying that FOTC is the best group of all time, just that they write clever funny songs that fit well within the confines of a tv show which is smartly written and very funny. And while they don't stick that well to a meter I don't think that's their intent. They're not rappers, though a few of the songs on the second season seem to be r&bish. (though clearly done deliberately as parodies).
They also play songs on acoustic guitars for example,and I doubt Eminem could even tune a guitar nor has Eminem tried songs in those niches.

The Crack Emcee said...

JR565,

"Crack, Humor and music is subjective."

That's bullshit - all losers say that as a defense of their bad taste. Someone may not like The Beatles music but to deny their place at the top of the music pile (or Carlin's place in comedy) is undeniable. As Louis Armstrong, the inventor of modern music, said:

"There's just two kinds of music - good and bad."

And most of what's made, bought, and sold is downright awful.

"Some people find things funny that others don't and some people like certain music while it hits other people exactly the right way. Don't know if there's a way to argue any real absolute when it comes to taste."

This isn't about "taste" but quality. That's where so many of you get lost in this shit: it ain't all about YOU. Art has it's own role to play and guess what? YOU ain't in it. Jazz artists don't abuse themselves, practicing their instrument, for YOU. They don't get together at night, playing music you'll never buy, for YOU. They do it for Art. They do it because they have to. Because you, with your Flight of the Concorde/American Idol/T-Pain and "I've got two girls" mentality have lost all touch with what's important. As Camille Paglia keeps trying to tell you: Art's important - and shouldn't be traded for Cheeze-Whiz because that's what suits your bad "taste". We all suffer for your "taste" or haven't you noticed the preponderance of idiots who make up our cultural and celebrity culture? You've done that - you created it - while hiding behind that stupid cop-out of a defense. When you get some (higher) standards, then we can have that conversation in the soup commercial:

"What's that taste?"

"Taste."

"I like taste."

"When I was a kid I thought the Beatles were the best thing since sliced bread and when I played the Beatles for someone who was more into R&B and rap he said there was no beat and you couldn't dance to it. Which to me was heresy and I seriously questioned (in my mind that is) what his problem was. Did he not have ears and coulnd't he hear the great melodies and harmonies? But different strokes for different folks as they say."

Bullshit again. You're insecure cult material who allowed someone to convince you reality doesn't exist. For instance, what kind of dancing we talking about? Because I've wailed out to "I saw her standing there," countless times, and The Beatles have always been sampled on hip-hop records, so there must've been a beat somewhere. (And, considering one of their first stateside hits, "Twist and Shout," was an Isley Brothers cover, you know whoever shot you down was an ass.) You just didn't have the strength of your convictions - total cult material. Sorry, Dude, but I know what's-what and can't be swayed so easily: you've got to prove me wrong.

"Who is holding black artists to a standard of maintaining the meter of lyrics? Who is holding any artist to such a standard?"

Doofus, the canon!!! In case you haven't noticed, there's a history of musical excellence out there - and black people, almost intuitively, know it - because in American music, to a large measure, it was established with Jazz. (Such standards are why Vanilla Ice "can't rap" and Eminem can.) As I said, by not "holding any artist to such a standard" you're letting down society as a whole. We're awash in crap of all kinds - economically and even in our social lives - because so many try to pretend that standards don't matter. They do. They're the difference between real success and real failure. Britney Spears may sell a lot of CDs, and even a lot of tickets for shows, but she won't make the canon - and, in 30 years, no one will be found playing her songs because they don't matter. her phenomena was just a lot of people whose lousy "taste" allowed them to think music (something for the ears) was a visual medium for the eyes. It doesn't get any stupider than that - and is another excellent example of how confused these baby hippie generations have become. And it's no wonder they're getting sucked into cults, today, like a toilet's being flushed.

"Music is not simply adhering to a meter. There's chords, melodies, harmonies, countermelodies.THere's also synchopation(which breaks from a strict meter)there's odd time signatures, and then there's aggression."

Dude, who are you talking to? I've played music professionally for 20 years, and Charles Mingus was my step-father. My real father was a drummer; my mother was a singer; I got a sister who sang with almost everybody from the 60's on (Sly Stone, etc.) and my grandfather and his brother can be seen in the big band musicals of the 30's and 40's. Eubie Blake was a regular visitor to my house. I still fall asleep with headphones on, almost every night, and, when that happens, it's just as likely to be Korn or Scraping Foetus Off The Wheel playing as Jackie Wilson, Lily Allen, Erik Satie, Old Dirty Bastard, The Shaggs, or Zappa. Believe me:

I know what music is.

"You might find a rap artist who's great on sticking to the meter, but crappy with coming up with melodies. In fact, very few rappers seem to have any clue about melody (personal opinion).Just sticking to a meter discounts a lot of music."

Now you're challenging a thesis I wasn't selling - and you're still wrong. I won't go into all of it now (it's late, I'm tired, and I'm still trying to polish up my, really long, One Taste post for tomorrow) but I'll just say the best rap artists not only show they know meter but do so by breaking it intelligently: The Old Dirty Bastards first solo album is a fine example. Talking about rap and melody would take too long - please, another time.

"I actually don't mind Eminem and even find some of his stuff funny. But it's not particularly clever, nor does it raise the culture all that much.But if you want catchy songs about behaving like an antisocial jerk and choking your girlfriend I suppose it fills its niche.But it's certainly juvenile. So, according to your own standard, why should we give any time to Eminem when there are better artists out there? Does Eminem elevate culture somehow? Does he not play to the lowest common denominator?"

No, for a while there, he crushed bourgeois PC notions of right and wrong - pointed out it's hypocrisies while re-establishing some basic truths - and took out the Britney/American Idol/NewAge celebrity culture by making *everyone* laugh at them. Eminem did good by us, but the culture still got him. He was just too young to survive it.

"Seriously, not saying that FOTC is the best group of all time, just that they write clever funny songs that fit well within the confines of a tv show which is smartly written and very funny. And while they don't stick that well to a meter I don't think that's their intent. They're not rappers, though a few of the songs on the second season seem to be r&bish. (though clearly done deliberately as parodies)."

Then why aren't I laughing? South Park makes funnier, clever, parodies of our culture than they do - and, hell, this Tim Minchin song is more important, culturally, than all the FOTC songs I've heard, put together. Where are those, wide-open and deserving of parody, subjects getting the boot in your cultural landscape? They aren't - instead, they (which, as far as I'm concerned, are the source of all our problems) are either supported or ignored in favor of FOTC nonsense. Hitting Usher is too easy - who cares? Let me hear someone talk about what seems to be so important to everyone now: being accepted by a cult group blindly worshiping a stupid person or idea. That'll be challenging - and good for the nation - just as Eminem was. He was willing to step up and say "no". I don't know what FOTC is saying, but, whatever it is, it's wimpy.

They also play songs on acoustic guitars for example,and I doubt Eminem could even tune a guitar nor has Eminem tried songs in those niches."

Who gives a shit in 2009? Kid Koala in the studio can outplay whole orchestras - and live, he simply amazes. Most hip-hop producers can't play a lick but we're past that now. Like Frank Zappa said, before he died in front of his beloved synclaver, it's the difference between being able to think about flying at the speed of sound and actually being able to do it. And with the machines we have, today, artists can do things musicians could never imagine and will never be able to play. The rise of Techno, and now Glitch, is a testament to that.

You're stuck in the musical Dark Ages, but then, our entire culture, right now, seems determined to stay there or, at the very least, remind us constantly of them. While, personally, I want out as soon as possible - and I ain't getting too picky about how that happens.

Ain't that a pip:

Swimming in this seemingly never-ending cesspool of stinking vacuous nonsense is making me very, very tired - and it's happening as everyone's laughing.

The emperor has no clothes.

dbp said...

@The Crack Emcee: "Because you, with your Flight of the Concorde/American Idol/T-Pain and "I've got two girls" mentality have lost all touch with what's important."

You clearly know a lot about music, but that you would put FotC in the same category as AI indicates to me that you haven't got a clue as to what FofC are doing.

AI singers never fail to inject fatal (to aesthetic pleasure) levels of earnistness into their covers. FotC does the opposite: They mercilessly skewer, all while maintaining a catchy tune and clever lyrics. It is to some extent Weird Al-ien, but without his paint-by-numbers approach.

jr565 said...

It's probably not worth responding to crack considering he's taking like or dislike of FOTC awfully personally. But here goes.

That's bullshit - all losers say that as a defense of their bad taste. Someone may not like The Beatles music but to deny their place at the top of the music pile (or Carlin's place in comedy) is undeniable. As Louis Armstrong, the inventor of modern music, said:

"There's just two kinds of music - good and bad."

How do you know my tastes or anyones tastes for that matter. Is it possible that someone could like the Beatles and Louis Armstrong and FOTC without all sorts of cognitive disonnance crashing thorugh Crack's mind and shutting down his programming? Is it simply an either or? And Armstrong is wrong, there is music that you like and music that you don't like. Because there's no accounting for taste. Louis Armstrong for example might find 90% of what you think as good music to be bad music. Does that mean you have bad taste or that Louis Armstrong in not liking Korn is somehow an idiot? As I stated, there is no way to argue this defnitively. And While I certainly would agree with the beatles being on the top of any list of artists both historically and musically, that's ultimately my opinion (one shared by a lot of people) but if someone doesn't feel the beatles the way I feel about the beatles then they simply don't.

And most of what's made, bought, and sold is downright awful.Agreed, but you'd then have to produce a list of what you currently like and buy and I could then judge it based on my own tastes and see if you are on my wavelength and have culture or have no culture and thus are an idiot. (or as Carlin would say "My shit is stuff and your stuff is shit").

This isn't about "taste" but quality. That's where so many of you get lost in this shit: it ain't all about YOU. Art has it's own role to play and guess what? YOU ain't in it.

Judging quality is based on taste. And I wouldn't discount the audience from the artist. The artist can have all the intent to be true to art, whatever that means, but if he puts out a product that noone likes then what?His intent is ultimately secondary to whether he connects to an audience.

Jazz artists don't abuse themselves, practicing their instrument, for YOU. They don't get together at night, playing music you'll never buy, for YOU. They do it for Art. They do it because they have to. Because you, with your Flight of the Concorde/American Idol/T-Pain and "I've got two girls" mentality have lost all touch with what's important. Why assume that the jazz artists punishing themselves for art and putting out inaccessible music for themselves only is any more valid in terms of art than someone trying to put out songs that are accessible to an audience. Again, people want different things from music. Some people want a catchy tune, some people want to explore the boundaries of where music can go. In fact I'd think jazz artists with their experimentation would violate your sticking to your meter rule. And in truth I don't like all that much jazz truthfully (since I'd rather listen to a completed piece of music where all the ideas are fleshed out as opposed to someone trying to find where he's going by improvising). But just because one likes FOTC doesn't mean that one couldn't also like jazz, or that one therefore also likes American idol. I frankly hate american idol. The two are not mutually exclusive.


As Camille Paglia keeps trying to tell you: Art's important - and shouldn't be traded for Cheeze-Whiz because that's what suits your bad "taste". We all suffer for your "taste" or haven't you noticed the preponderance of idiots who make up our cultural and celebrity culture?
I agree art is important, but all I'm saying is what camille paglia values in art is not what you or I would necessarily value in art. Camille Paglia is not the arbiter of all that is relevant in art. She expresses an opinion and we will agree or disagree based on our tastes.
In truth I find most rap to be boring, not particularly imaginative lyrically, not particularly impressive musically, so would probably lump a lot of what you consider art, into what i'd consider crap.

You've done that - you created it - while hiding behind that stupid cop-out of a defense. When you get some (higher) standards, then we can have that conversation in the soup commercial:
Again, how do you know my standards, and why do you assume that your standards are higher than others? What if I think the Beatles are the bees knees (which would meet your standar of approval) but also find FOTW to be funny and also like Eminem but think Louis Armstrong is boring? there might be overlap between your taste and my taste but there might be differentation as well. How then are you judging my standards?

Bullshit again. You're insecure cult material who allowed someone to convince you reality doesn't exist. For instance, what kind of dancing we talking about? Because I've wailed out to "I saw her standing there," countless times, and The Beatles have always been sampled on hip-hop records, so there must've been a beat somewhere. (And, considering one of their first stateside hits, "Twist and Shout," was an Isley Brothers cover, you know whoever shot you down was an ass.)
Hey I agree with you about the Beatles. Of course, why assume that the Isley Brothers are the pinnacle of art either. Maybe the Isley's are redundant and overrated. They're certainly no Beatles. Point is though, if you like the Isleys then they're great, if you don't then they're not. I'm sure at the time the Isleys were popular there were people saying they're great, and others saying they're no Mozart or that R&B or rock n roll in general was simplistic crap and that jazz is where its at. There is no way to argue anything other than taste here.

You just didn't have the strength of your convictions - total cult material. Sorry, Dude, but I know what's-what and can't be swayed so easily: you've got to prove me wrong. I have the strength of my convictions. I like what I like and don't like what I don't. And there's no way I could prove you wrong because taste is taste adn if you like something you like it and if you don't you don't. Likewise you can't prove me wrong either because of the exact same reason.

Doofus, the canon!!! In case you haven't noticed, there's a history of musical excellence out there - and black people, almost intuitively, know it - because in American music, to a large measure, it was established with Jazz. (Such standards are why Vanilla Ice "can't rap" and Eminem can.) As I said, by not "holding any artist to such a standard" you're letting down society as a whole.
Please, as if Eminem is adhering to a "cannon" or most rappers are adhering to a cannon of excellence. Most rappers can't even tune instruments let alone play them. So we're a long way from people like Coltrane or Miles Davis who knew scales and how to play instruments.How are rappers upholders of a grand tradition when they can't even play instruments and most of their songs are simply grooves over an existing backbeat most likely sampled from someone else's record.
And one can slavishly adhere to standards and at the same time produce shlocky generic crap. Whereas artists branch out from the default standard cannon and follow their muse even if it leads them to sometimes break the mold.

And britney spears if you must know is as authentic as rappers or r&b stars. She adheres to the bubble gum standard rigidly. If you want bubblegum she's your gal.But why assume that the Isley Brothers somehow elevate bubblegum when they do something as simplistic as Twist And Shout? I like it better as a throwaway pop song, but its still a throw away pop song.

We're awash in crap of all kinds - economically and even in our social lives - because so many try to pretend that standards don't matter. They do. They're the difference between real success and real failure. I'm not saying that standars don't matter. But you (or me) are not the arbiter of standars ultimately. I'd have to hear what you consider good or bad to judge where you're coming from, but ultimately its just your opinion anyway. I woudn't say that FOTW are not adhering to standards. They write catchy songs that are deliberately written to be silly, and their show is designed the same way. If you are into that kind of thing then you'll like it and if you're not then you wont. The fact that you don't enjoy it doesn't meant that therefore they have no standards or whoever likes it has no standards, because who are you to judge? I like brocolli you don't. Who's right?


Britney Spears may sell a lot of CDs, and even a lot of tickets for shows, but she won't make the canon - and, in 30 years, no one will be found playing her songs because they don't matter. her phenomena was just a lot of people whose lousy "taste" allowed them to think music (something for the ears) was a visual medium for the eyes. It doesn't get any stupider than that - and is another excellent example of how confused these baby hippie generations have become. And it's no wonder they're getting sucked into cults, today, like a toilet's being flushed.I agree that Britney is shit. But that doesn't mean that what you think is great couldn't also be viewed as shit.Some people think Frank Sinatra is the pinnacle of music, some people like show tunes, some r&b, some rap, some think all popular music is crap.There is no right answer only opinion.

Dude, who are you talking to? I've played music professionally for 20 years, and Charles Mingus was my step-father. My real father was a drummer; my mother was a singer; I got a sister who sang with almost everybody from the 60's on (Sly Stone, etc.) and my grandfather and his brother can be seen in the big band musicals of the 30's and 40's. Eubie Blake was a regular visitor to my house. I still fall asleep with headphones on, almost every night, and, when that happens, it's just as likely to be Korn or Scraping Foetus Off The Wheel playing as Jackie Wilson, Lily Allen, Erik Satie, Old Dirty Bastard, The Shaggs, or Zappa. Believe me:

I know what music is.
Im not doubting your bona fides, but again what you're arguing is your particular taste. one could find just as many reasons to question your opinion of Korn or Ol Dirty Bastard for example as you can find reasons to question others preference for FOTW.

I'll just say the best rap artists not only show they know meter but do so by breaking it intelligently: The Old Dirty Bastards first solo album is a fine example. Talking about rap and melody would take too long - please, another time. So now it's not necessary to adhere to meter and some of the best artists break from adherence to meter by design. Which suggests that adhering to the meter is not the be all end all. In FOTW's case they are deliberately in certain cases breaking meter or tradition so as to get a laugh, just as you say ODB is breaking the meter arfully for whatever reason he deems appropriate. And if it works its good and if it doesn't itn's not. And whether you think it works or not is based on whether you like the result or not.


No, for a while there, he crushed bourgeois PC notions of right and wrong - pointed out it's hypocrisies while re-establishing some basic truths - and took out the Britney/American Idol/NewAge celebrity culture by making *everyone* laugh at them. If that's what you're looking for then he did good. Not everyone is looking for that in music though.

Then why aren't I laughing? Because you don't find it funny?

South Park makes funnier, clever, parodies of our culture than they do - and, hell, this Tim Minchin song is more important, culturally, than all the FOTC songs I've heard, put together. Where are those, wide-open and deserving of parody, subjects getting the boot in your cultural landscape? They aren't - instead, they (which, as far as I'm concerned, are the source of all our problems) are either supported or ignored in favor of FOTC nonsense. That's assuming that South park is the be all and end all of comedy. One might laugh at one and not the other. Or both. What if you find both FOTW AND South Park funny? What if you don't like either but find something else funny?


Hitting Usher is too easy - who cares? Let me hear someone talk about what seems to be so important to everyone now: being accepted by a cult group blindly worshiping a stupid person or idea. It sounds like you want comedy or music to adhere to a certain format and to appeal to your sensibilities and tastes and those that do are good, and those that don't are dumb. Which is your perogative and you're absolutely right to have your opinion. But its not the only opinion. Why is Usher off limits? Why does one have to make jokes about being accepted by a cult group blindly worshipinga fool? is that the only thing worthy of ridicule? Also, FOTW is not going after Usher to denigrate Usher. They're mocking the idea of a song about two guys both falling in love with the same girl and singing about it and turning it into a silly excercise of deliberate absurdity.The degree to which it's absurd is part of the joke.


Who gives a shit in 2009? Kid Koala in the studio can outplay whole orchestras - and live, he simply amazes. Most hip-hop producers can't play a lick but we're past that now. Like Frank Zappa said, before he died in front of his beloved synclaver, it's the difference between being able to think about flying at the speed of sound and actually being able to do it. And with the machines we have, today, artists can do things musicians could never imagine and will never be able to play. The rise of Techno, and now Glitch, is a testament to that.
Go back to the notion of a cannon. Do you think those who spend their lives playing music live and perfecting their live chops think those who just use sythesizers and studio tricks to get a sound are adhering to the cannon? Granted you don't need to play live anymore or even know how to play music, and that does point out how the times have changed. But if you're talking about purity I don't see how rappers who can't perform actual music is any different than a britney spears who can't really sing. If all you're looking at is the product, then if you like the product then they're great artists and being purists doesn't matter. As far as britney is concerned I think she's shite, but I'm not looking for vacuous bubble gum. but if you are, then she might be just what you're looking for. However, I might be looking for smart bubblegum or bubblegum that is arch in which case I'll try to find artists that fill that need. it all boils down to you can't argue taste.

You're stuck in the musical Dark Ages, but then, our entire culture, right now, seems determined to stay there or, at the very least, remind us constantly of them. While, personally, I want out as soon as possible - and I ain't getting too picky about how that happens.

I don't see why you would say I'm stuck in the musical dark ages simply for liking particular songs. If you mention other songs that you like and I like those as well, can we then hang? Or does one have to like exactly what you like to be considered cool, or to not be considered "in the dark ages". Don't know why what you like is englighted, but what others like is necessarily uncouth (especially when bringing up a band like Korn).

The Crack Emcee said...

I'm at work now - can't talk at length - butyou're, still, wrong.

I'll tell you why, tonight, but it still comes down to the canon - not your or my "opinion". And, yea, my "opinion" matters more because I respect the canon.

The Crack Emcee said...

"Is it possible that someone could like the Beatles and Louis Armstrong and FOTC without all sorts of cognitive disonnance crashing thorugh Crack's mind and shutting down his programming?"

Of course, but that still doesn't make FOTC "good." People like a lot of crap - it's still crap. FOTC is, at best, moderately amusing (I'm being very gracious there) so these claims of hilarity, and brilliance, ring hollow. You like them? Fine, you like them, but let's not guild the lily.

"Armstrong is wrong, there is music that you like and music that you don't like. Because there's no accounting for taste. Louis Armstrong for example might find 90% of what you think as good music to be bad music. Does that mean you have bad taste or that Louis Armstrong in not liking Korn is somehow an idiot?"

You still don't get it: What does Armstrong's statement about music, as a whole, have to do with his liking Korn? He could hate Korn but still be right about the nature of music. (I like how you've assumed my listening to Korn means I actually like them; such assumptions say a lot about how your mind works: you're not paying attention to what I say and, instead, are just making shit up to suit your desired vision. For the record, Korn has, at best, a few good songs. Most of it - 80% maybe - is crap. But I have to listen to it to know that, right?) Louis Armstrong didn't like Be-Bop when it started, but he eventually had to concede to what the Young Turks built on his work. That's what mature people do. He didn't start spouting "it's all opinion." The same thing happened with The Beatles. Dude, I'm telling you, you're tripping.

"If someone doesn't feel the beatles the way I feel about the beatles then they simply don't."

Dude, how you feel about The Beatles bears no reflection on where they stand in music. Your "opinion" or "taste" doesn't matter - what they created does. It stands on it's own. Nobody liked The Shaggs' first album until it met the canon - then it was declared brilliant ("Better than The Beatles" said Frank Zappa). Popularity (or lack of it) taste and opinion mean nothing. What came before, and how a work of art stacks up against that, is all that matters.

"You'd,...have to produce a list of what you currently like and buy and I could then judge it based on my own tastes and see if you are on my wavelength and have culture or have no culture and thus are an idiot. (or as Carlin would say "My shit is stuff and your stuff is shit")."

Wow: you really don't understand what we're discussing here. Is George Carlin shit because some idiot out there doesn't like him? Or is he one of the greats of stand-up comedy no matter what an idiot thinks? (I've got a friend who almost missed one of Carlin's last performances because the woman he was with said Carlin had a "potty mouth." He stared at her like she was insane - which she was - and bought his god damn ticket.) How do we know - know - Carlin's work was/is great? Because we know the history and players of this thing we call "stand-up comedy." I don't even agree with some of Carlin's opinions but that's not what's important: Carlin was important. Important to stand-up.

"Judging quality is based on taste. And I wouldn't discount the audience from the artist. The artist can have all the intent to be true to art, whatever that means, but if he puts out a product that noone likes then what?His intent is ultimately secondary to whether he connects to an audience."

As my Shaggs example proves, that's bullshit. Their work was brilliant before anyone heard it; when those that originally heard it declared it shit; and after it was put in context and found to be genius. Van Gogh died broke. Lots of greats do - because you're supporting FOTC instead of demanding better. All you're doing is confusing popularity with worth, when the two have absolutely nothing to do with each other. A lot of people like Kenny G - so what? It's still horrible music.

"Why assume that the jazz artists punishing themselves for art and putting out inaccessible music for themselves only is any more valid in terms of art than someone trying to put out songs that are accessible to an audience."

I never said that: you're assuming things again.

"People want different things from music. Some people want a catchy tune, some people want to explore the boundaries of where music can go."

Agreed. All I'm saying is make it good. Don't hand me shit, demanding I call it gold. Or, as Judge Judy says, don't pee on my leg and try to tell me it's raining. Like I said, regarding your conversation with that R&B guy about The Beatles, the problem was with you - not The Beatles. He was ignorant but you let him get under your skin. Now you've crouched into a self-defensive NewAge "non-judgmental" position - no one can question taste - but that shit is no defense: reality ain't going away. You've already admitted it:

"Most of what's made, bought, and sold is downright awful. Agreed,..."

Popular or not, what's the rest?

"I'd think jazz artists with their experimentation would violate your sticking to your meter rule."

You're not listening: I didn't say one has to "stick" to it. I said they have to understand it to do it correctly - or to break it correctly. FOTC is bad, musically speaking, because they're just doing any ol' thing - and the fact it's comedy isn't a defense of it. South Park is comedy. That Tim Minchin piece I linked to is comedy. Eminem is comedy. There's no excuse for FOTC's obliviousness to the craft. (BTW, today, Tucker Carlson, made pretty much the same argument I made last night - even using South Park as the example of how satire is done right.)

"In truth I don't like all that much jazz truthfully (since I'd rather listen to a completed piece of music where all the ideas are fleshed out as opposed to someone trying to find where he's going by improvising)."

I'm sorry to sound so mean - you seem like a nice enough person - but that's about the dumbest thing I've heard said about Jazz (recently). As I said, you don't have a clue what you're talking about. The mature thing to do, at this point, would be to concede the point - you lose nothing by doing so - but, instead, gain an enhanced reputation as a person who's reasonable. Saving "face" is over-rated, my friend.

"Just because one likes FOTC doesn't mean that one couldn't also like jazz, or that one therefore also likes American idol. I frankly hate american idol. The two are not mutually exclusive."

Again: your assumptions have you off on a whole other playing field.

"I agree art is important, but all I'm saying is what camille paglia values in art is not what you or I would necessarily value in art."

"Art is important" is the point - not what Paglia or you (or I) "like." I respect the canon, so in my music collection I have lots of music I don't "like" but, damn it, like it or not, it deserves to be in there. It's important. It's genre doesn't matter - Bubblegum Pop? Sure. - what matters is answering the questions A) what was (creatively) going on at the time B) what did it add (creatively) to what came before, and C) what's it (creatively) worth now. (When asked, by someone who didn't know him, why he'd been invited to a White House dinner, Miles Davis famously said "I created five different styles of music, what you got?") In the case of Britney Spears, or FOTC, the answers to all of the above would be: not much, not much, and not much.

"In truth I find most rap to be boring, not particularly imaginative lyrically, not particularly impressive musically, so would probably lump a lot of what you consider art, into what i'd consider crap."

Wow. I like your honesty. Let's see, that boring crap spawned a culture (which I don't always like or agree with) changed the musical landscape, created countless new artists, bands and genres, invented new instruments (like the 808 kick drum) redefined the use of older ones (samplers) and turned common household appliances (record players) into instruments; it produced lyricists who became so important their words were front page news (NWA, Public Enemy, Eminem) and their words are still becoming popular phrases to this day; it's given us producers who surpassed George Martin's "Sgt. Pepper"-era creations (Public Enemy's Bomb Squad) and are now respected by purists (Rick Rubin/Johnny Cash) as artists who can even out-innovate "the walking hit of acid" Brian Eno (Timbaland, for instance, created the first pop hit with an unsingable hook - because the lyric was reversed - on Missy Elliott's "Get Ur Freak On") not to mention also being capable of breathing life into the dead careers of older "respectable" bands, like Run DMC did for Aerosmith, by re-working "Walk This Way."

And you say this art is boring, unimaginative, non-musical crap? Like Miles said, "What you got?"

"Why do you assume that your standards are higher than others?"

Avoiding going into another whole list, for starters, I have some.

"What if I think the Beatles are the bees knees (which would meet your standar of approval) but also find FOTW to be funny and also like Eminem but think Louis Armstrong is boring?"

You'd just be ignorant. (Armstrong, boring? He's practically the reason we nod our heads to music.) Ignorance ain't no crime. Defending such ignorance is. The canon is like the law, and ignorance of the law is no excuse for shooting your mouth off.

"Why assume that the Isley Brothers are the pinnacle of art either. Maybe the Isley's are redundant and overrated. They're certainly no Beatles."

Whoo-hoo!!! Dude, stop it, you're killing me!!! The Isley Brothers (dear friends of Jimi Hendrix) are the only music group - the only one - that are an entire real family (all brothers except for a cousin) which has lasted through the entire history of modern popular music (From the beginnings of Rock to Hip-Hop) and had several major hits in every one of the decades in between. They are also acknowledged synthesizer and guitar (Hendrix, remember?) innovators and pioneers.

They're no Beatles? They never had to be.

Now, Girlfriend, stop. Your slip is showing.

"I'm sure at the time the Isleys were popular ,..."

The Isley's have always been popular.

"You can't prove me wrong,..."

Well, I'm proving something.

"Please, as if Eminem is adhering to a "cannon" or most rappers are adhering to a cannon of excellence. Most rappers can't even tune instruments let alone play them."

Back to the Dark Ages we go,...

"How are rappers upholders of a grand tradition when,...their songs are simply grooves over an existing backbeat most likely sampled from someone else's record."

Good question, Grasshopper: rather than "simply" being "an existing backbeat,...from someone else's record," these are golden nuggets, mostly panned from the B-Side backwaters of half-assed western music, by a special breed of hip-hop innovator called "Crate Diggers." These are the people, like me, who listen to everything, "searching for the prefect beat" (as Afrika Baambaatta said) in songs that may have been nothing more then curiosities, because the verse and hook sucked, but, hopefully, it contained a bridge that was pure dynamite. Dynamite that a Crate Digger could use to blow up a dance floor or even an entire genre. Crate Diggers will spend hours, days, months, years, looking for such a "break" in songs or albums. There's nothing "simple" about it, partially because most music is so awful. (Hear any new songs based on Grateful Dead breaks? Nope. Why? Because Mickey Hart and Co. couldn't write or maintain a decent beat, or break, to save their lives. Believe me, I've tried. They really sucked. Too much brown acid, man.)

"Britney spears if you must know is as authentic as rappers or r&b stars."

And who's discussing authenticity? Not me. The word never passed my keyboard. You know, you should work on that little problem of making assumptions and then projecting them on to others: it's really mental.

"[Britney] adheres to the bubble gum standard rigidly. If you want bubblegum she's your gal.But why assume that the Isley Brothers somehow elevate bubblegum when they do something as simplistic as Twist And Shout? I like it better as a throwaway pop song, but its still a throw away pop song."

First, The Archie's "Sugar, Sugar" is Bubblegum Pop - not the little whorefest Britney Spears parades before us. She's a waaay over-produced, lowest common denominator, Synth Pop cock tease with hip-hop pretentions, and nothing more. (The fact you can't see that shows the delusional nature of culture today. Put your little sister in lipstick and a strap-on and, today, your kind will call it a Sunday School getup.) Second, I never said the Isley's "elevate bubblegum" - it's fucking bubblegum - and I'm really starting to wonder about you.

"I'm not saying that standars don't matter. But you (or me) are not the arbiter of standars ultimately."

I never said that either - I said the canon, the standards that have already been set, are to be respected, and, in that way, we will get something better out of society. Remember me saying it's not about your or my taste? Quit saying I didn't. Quit making shit up, or maintain a fight, and try to learn something.

"The fact that you don't enjoy it doesn't meant that therefore they have no standards or whoever likes it has no standards, because who are you to judge? "

And, finally, we get there - the NewAgers ultimate gambit: no one can pass judgment with you assholes around, right? Tell me: how do you decide to buy things? Don't you decide one is a better bargain than the other? You pass judgment on one of them, right? Of course, we all do, about everything. But you can't stand anyone directing it at YOU, right? You must be seen as perfect or, at least, get an excuse to avoid scrutiny as you spout off nonsensically about music and culture and (good lord) politics or whatever. No passing judgment on YOU, right? Bollucks. You're an immature tramp with no reason for anyone to talk to you because you're too stupid to understand the value of just admitting when you, either, don't understand something or you're wrong.

God, I hate NewAgers. Look at all these fucking words - all this wasted time and energy I've devoted to you - just to hear you admit I'm talking to a fucking child. No, wait - I'd rather be talking to a child because then what you say would at least be understandable to me as an adult. Who's to fucking judge?

Adults. You know, the people who make fucking decisions, that's who!

I'm not going on with this: you're too immature for words and, clearly, I've wasted too many on you already.

Who's to judge? I swear, I don't believe you people,....

jr565 said...

Crack,
Opinions are like assholes. Everyone’s got one.As far as Louis Armstrong’s argument that there is only good and bad music, how he determines what is good and bad is based on his opinion, derived from qualities he likes in music. These could conform to a canon or musical theory, but they are ultimatel subjective decisions based on personal preference. So he might judge music as good or bad based on what he’s looking for in music, but it doesn’t mean that he is ultimately right or always right. Frank Sinatra famously derided Mick Jagger as not being able to sing or enunciate. Yet the Rolling Stones are routinely voted in the top 50 bands of all time by critics. So who’s right? Isn’t it a subjective thing? If you like the Stones then Frank Sinatra is full of crap, if you like Frank Sinatra then Mick Jagger doesn’tknow how to sing.Maybe you like both Mick Jagger and Sinatra though. It’s all based on personal preference, and there’s no way to judge absolutely (except that you like something and don’t like something else).Historical judgement is a separate issue but ultimately immaterial to personal opinion.
Herman Melville wrote Moby Dick. Moby Dick is an “important work”. It doesn’t mean that you have to like Moby Dick. I’ve tried reading it and it’s boring as hell. Just because Van Gogh is now celebrated as a famous artist doesn’t mean that you have to like Vang Gogh’s work even if you recognize his place in history. He could still be overrated even if paintings are selling for millions (and those buying said painitings might be spending the vast amount of money because of status and not because they really value the work).
The ultimate point though is, when it comes to art, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.What is beautiful to some is ugly to others and there is no way to force people to like or not like music. It's a subjective experience.
Back when the Clash were popular a phrase went around that the Clash were "the only band that mattered". To who though? Not to people who didn't like the Clash, certainly. That is an opinion (that the clash is the only band that matters) not a fact, and there is no empirical way to prove that the Clash was the only band that mattered. You'd probably find some people who would ask who the Clash even were, and you'd have others saying that the Clash weren't real punk rock. (and others saying punk rock was sloppy music performed by people who had little talent). Where you came down on that issue depends completely on where your sensibilities lie. If you like smooth jazz the last thing you'd want to here is the Clash whatever their relevance to the rock n roll pantheon.
You mention Zappa saying that the Shaggs were better than the Beatles (ha!) and that at first the Shaggs were dismissed but later declared brilliant once their context on the canon became known. First off, Zappa's opinion, was idiotic (in my opinion) but more importantly was just his opinion based on his own subjective views of how music should be. so to him the Shaggs met the criterion while the Beatles did not. And who are the people declaring the Shaggs brilliant? probably the people who like the Shaggs or maybe critics. But there is no uniformity of thought that the shaggs are the be all end all of music or even good let alone brilliant (this is not my personal judgement on the Shaggs).

Not all music appeals to all people in all ways equally. Some people like Polka. I'm sure there are some incredible polka players out there who are at the top of their game when it comes to polka. I could care less. Polka is not for me. I don't care if they are part of the polka canon or are historically great, if I don't like polka I don't like polka and you can't get me to like polka if it doesn't speak to me the way music I like speaks to me. I don't care if there's a polka family that has survived for 40 years getting hit after hit in the polka community or gets invited to the white house after inventing five kinds of polka, none of which appeal to me. If I don't like it, I don't like it. If I like it, I like it. IF you like it I don't have to like it and if I like it you don't have to like it.There is no right answer here. One cannot say blues > Polka > pop. Its either like or dislike. Period.which is based on subjective thought. Some people like fast songs, some like slow songs, some like smooth songs, some like distorted guitars,some people like blues,some people like alt. Which one is right? How can you answer that?
As for me being a new ager. Far from it. Talking about music is not the same as talking about social issues or politics. But in any case, I'm not arguing that one can't make judgements. If I like or dislike FOTC or the Shags, that's a judgement.I'm saying the exact opposite of what you're saying. Music is to be judged based on what value you assign to it. I can only like that which I like, and whatever you say is valid and valuable is really only ultimately valid to you.

The Crack Emcee said...

You're a broken record.