September 17, 2019

"So far this morning, you’ve mentioned Frank Zappa, Ric Ocasek and the Talking Heads. I’m sure there are lots of musical threads that attach the three. But..."

"... there’s something else, too: Baltimore childhoods. Frank Zappa and Ric Ocasek were both born in Baltimore and David Byrne moved to town when he was in elementary school. I grew up just outside the city and live here now. It’s a challenging and frustrating place on a lot of levels but it’s also a town that celebrates creativity and inspires a lot of loyalty."

A reader writes.

I wrote about Talking Heads in the context of saying goodbye to Ric Ocasek, who always reminded me a bit of David Byrne. Maybe it was the Baltimore connection! I often think of Frank Zappa, but until now, I don't think his connection to Baltimore ever figured in my musings. I wrote about him yesterday as I contemplated the NYT story about Brett Kavanaugh:
And I'd like to know... When can people get naked at parties and waggle their genitalia at each other?... I'm inclined to believe that people at private parties can get naked. We were just talking about Woodstock, that revered historical event where young people got naked. In the words of Frank Zappa:
There will come a time when everybody who is lonely
Will be free to sing and dance and love
There will come a time when every evil that we know
Will be an evil that we can rise above
Who cares if you're so poor you can't afford
To buy a pair of mod-a-go-go stretch elastic pants?
There will come a time when you can even take your clothes off when you dance
Another song for this morning: "What's New in Baltimore?"
Hey! What's new in Baltimore?
I don't know!
Hey! What's new in Baltimore?
Better go back and find out
By the way, did you see that the NYT, promoting its Kavanaugh article, tweeted "Having a penis thrust in your face at a drunken dorm party may seem like harmless fun…"? and then deleted the tweet and apologized because nobody they cared about identified with the notion. I hope you don't think that what I wrote indicates that I am the kind of person the NYT was tweeting about. The Kavanaugh article doesn't say a penis was thrust in anyone's face! It says "thrust his penis at her" — just "her," not "her face." So that's another thing wrong with the deleted tweet. It worsened the allegation — having the penis thrust at the face — which makes the allegation sound much less like dancing and more like an outright sexual assault. In making that aggressive move — that journalistic thrust in the face — the tweet undermined itself. We might think that getting naked and dancing at a party is harmless fun, but we won't think that way about a penis thrust at a face.


Kay said...

Never knew about this Baltimore connection, but now it makes sense why Ocasek ended up in a John Waters movie.

rhhardin said...

What is the fake horror about penises from women. It has always been played as a joke. Stan Laurel's kilt blew up and a lady fainted.

The sort of lady who faints at the sight of a penis is humor.

It's actually the brain development that makes men magical, not the penis. Women are just displacing their awe.

Temujin said...

What's the Ugliest Part of your Body

Laslo Spatula said...

If you want a vision of the future of feminism, imagine a penis thrusting in a human face - forever.

I am Laslo.

stevew said...

"Having a penis thrust in your face at a drunken dorm party may seem like harmless fun…"?

Are there people that think doing that is harmless fun? Among NYT readers?

rhhardin said...

It's all about maintaining a consensus about meaning.

But women being serious about nothing at all is stereotypically woman. Part of the drollness of the world.

What is going on here, as a topic itself in precarious situations

"Behavior in Private Places - sustaining definitions of reality in gynecological examinations" by Joan P Emerson (1970)
- precarious nonsexual definition maintained

"Precarious Situations in a Strip Club - exotic dancers and the problem of reality maintenance" Kari Lerum (2001)
- sexual situation in reality nonsexual, enforced by bouncers

Today it's all handled by outrage.

Bob Boyd said...

How does this kind of calculated journalistic malpractice compare ethically to an Animal House Era college student getting drunk and unlimbering his penis at a party...on a scale of one to ten say...?

Ralph L said...

A nudist told me that you're really naked only when you don't have something handy to put on.
You don't have to get naked to throw your penis around.

rhhardin said...

Kavanaugh unfurled his manhood. Nobody gets the prose right.

rhhardin said...

Outrage stands in for orgasm. Then it makes sense.

tim maguire said...

I still want to know who did the thrusting. Who was in control of Kavanaugh's penis?

I never put Rik Ocasik and David Byrne together, but now that you have, the obvious similarity is that they are both tall and very skinny.

FYI, Rik Ocasik is forever my enemy for marrying the woman of my teen-aged dreams.

David Begley said...

To some extent I think we - as a society - have outrage exhaustion. What has happened here is that four totally and completely false allegations have been publicly lodged against an innocent man in order to smear him and deny him a SCOTUS job. The whole thing is a political dirty trick. This last one is the worse as the victim says it didn’t happen.

The worst of it is the Dem presidential candidates calling for Kavanaugh’s impeachment. Absurd.

Bob Boyd said...

How about un-trousered?

Shouting Thomas said...

We might think that getting naked and dancing at a party is harmless fun, but we won't think that way about a penis thrust at a face.

Unless you enjoy have a penis (even a stranger’s) thrust in your face.

Some women do. I speak from experience.

A lot of gay men like strange dicks thrust in their faces. Thus, the Glory Hole!

This is like Althouse’s campaign to release women from subordination. Some (in fact a hell of a lot of women) like being in a subordinate role.

Almost every woman I’ve ever been involved with insists that the way she likes sex is true for every woman. Except for the ones who know better.

daskol said...

How many more mistakes like this from the NYT before respectable and thoughtful people stop thinking of it as a real newspaper? The power of the NYT derived from that impression of it, but it’s constantly one-upping itself in feats of journalistic malpractice that erode its own status.

Bob Boyd said...

Juanita Broaddrick remembered the incident, but that's different.

Birkel said...

It's a shithole.

Darrell said...

Most NYT readers were teabagged with hairy balls in college when they passed out drunk. A totally different thing.

Phil 314 said...

Growing up, Mom always insisted on using the proper name: not “dick”, not “cock”, it’s a “penis”. The word still made us giggle a little.

I did the same with my kids but also included words like “vagina”, “clitoris” and “anus”. I may have recommended those words be used but I never pushed them.

Iowan2 said...

The author of that tweet was asked on cnn just now to confirm she wrote it. She declined to confirm or deny. It’s in the past, and the identity of the author is nothing but a distraction. She he’s given every politician anywhere a get out of jail free card

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

It's Ok if Clinton waggles his penis in your face - in a private party.

But a drunken college party? no way. Esp if your future self isn't properly leftwing.

Qwinn said...

Not only did he shove his penis in her face, he told her to "Kiss it"!

Oh wait, that was Bill Clinton.

Never mind, and anyone else who brings up "Kiss it" in this discussion is just an alt right raciss hater!

Tom T. said...

Baltimore has a museum devoted to "outsider art," basically meaning art produced by people who were not conventionally trained. The city has always had an odd, highly local and insular aesthetic -- think of all the fake stone townhouses and the weird beehive hairdos. Personally, I think it's all kind of ugly, but I can see where Baltimore would produce artistic oddballs.

Francisco D said...

Thrusting a penis at someone requires a rather large member and great hip flexibility/dance skills. Irish Whiteboy Kavanaugh doesn't seem to fit the bill.

On a more serious note, I strongly suspect that the Yale stories are purposefully bizarre because people will wonder if Kavanaugh is some kind of pervert even if they doubt the story. The lefties at school with him thought he was a pervert because he was a virgin and a conservative.

On a more ominous note, Big Brother NYT/Wapo journalism is trying to create new realities out of thin air. Thus, Trump is a Russian asset and White Supremacist while Kavanaugh is a peverted rapist. If they keep shouting the story, well meaning liberals (like AA) will have to wonder.

MadisonMan said...

I note that the Crossword Puzzle in the State Journal yesterday had a clue: 'Rocker Ocasek'. What's that mean when it appears on the day he dies?

Sebastian said...

"We might think that getting naked and dancing at a party is harmless fun, but we won't think that way about a penis thrust at a face."

Actually, we might think that anything emanating from the MSM, and the NYT in particular, is malicious BS, harmful to the body politic, and that having it thrust in our face is a form of assault, and that all such BS ought to be dismissed rather than be subjected to quasi-feminist hairsplitting.

Brian McKim and/or Traci Skene said...

Is there a city that doesn't celebrate creativity? If so, where is this city and how does this failure or refusal to celebrate creativity manifest itself? And what are the rents like?

BJM said...

Nancy Pelosi is also from Baltimore...she learned old school Dem machine politics at her father's knee.

Bill Peschel said...

People who live in cities have a particular vibe. Part of their self-image comes from where they live. We're a communal species, so it's natural to adopt the local coloring.

I lived outside of Baltimore for four years (1984-1988), working for Avalon Hill, a longtime game company. I was miserable, beset by personal trauma, but the area I worked in (near the Grumman plant on Long Green Pike) was beautiful, and I met some awesome people. I loved driving down to the waterfront where I could drink at the bars and listen to live music.

I even got to see John Waters in a bookstore (I didn't approach him; he was absorbed in a book and at the time I hadn't seen any of his movies), and the dance scenes for "Hairspray" were being filmed at the V.F.W. hall on Harford Road. I was able to walk down the street from the Emerald Tavern, drunk on my ass, and watch from outside the building.

Anyway, it seems like there's a hierarchy of cities, and people who live in one city seem to aspire to be like another city higher up. At least that's what I read in the newspapers.

So people in Baltimore wish they could be more cosmopolitan like D.C., and people in D.C. wished they could be as respected as people who live in New York City.

Just like, when I grew up in Charlotte, N.C., the city fathers promoted their civic projects as if it'll make them the next Atlanta, while Atlantians wanted to be the next D.C.


daskol said...

The way this gets expressed in NYC is the strong feeling some residents have that people living in other cities are kidding themselves.

rcocean said...

Yes, where was kavanaugh's Penis, where was it headed, and who was in control?
35 years ago.

There's a Supreme Court seat at stake.

rcocean said...

Baltimore seems like a good place to be from. Like many US Cities it went downhill fast after 1960. Reason? Unknown.

Churchy LaFemme: said...

"Having a penis thrust in your face at a drunken dorm party may seem like harmless fun…"?

It bugs me that "our" side is ostentatiously taking this seriously, they way their side acts like every Trump joke was meant utterly seriously and is the end of the world.

Clearly this was meant ironically, ie: "Having a penis thrust in your face is *not* fun".

That said, it was certainly in bad taste and should not have gone out in an official NYT tweet.