Daily Archives: March 30, 2004

Roy’s 28 partners in crime

Senate votes for Ten Commandments display

The Alabama Senate voted — unanimously — to pass a Constitutional Amendment calling for the display of the Commandments in public buildings. Anything to avoid doing something productive.

It includes the usual caveat that no state funds will be used to defend the obviously unconstitutional measure. This is a false solution, because even if the state doesn’t pay for the defense itself, the time of state employees will be lost. And — once the law is ruled unconstitutional — the state will have to pay the fees of the ACLU lawyers challenging it. I hate repeats.

What a strange article

Simply Simpson – Why pop songwriting’s not what it used to be. By Kevin Canfield

While I agree that Jessica Simpson probably isn’t much of a songwriter (if she actually wrote anything to speak of) Canfield is far too dismissive of the tradition of pop performer as songwriter. (A trend he, bizarrely, attributes to Madonna, which is like saying that the electric guitar was invented in 1982 by Andy Taylor.) While I don’t see any factual errors, the whole tone of the article is bizarre, a pop-cultural history written by someone who apparently has little knowledge of the popular culture he’s supposedly talking about.

Buddy Holly — who is not mentioned in the article — co-wrote most of his hits in the late fifties. It certainly isn’t true that the “biggest hits of the ’50s and ’60s were written by songwriters like Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller…” I have a lot of respect for those songwriters, but that’s not true — the biggest hits of the Fifties may have been written by non-performing songwriters. (And among them, Canfield never mentions Goffin and King, or the Motown writers.)

The biggest hits of the Sixties were mostly — except for Motown — written by performers like the Beatles and Stones. (Both groups are mentioned only in passing, and strangely placed — seemingly chronologically — after Simon & Garfunkel, James Taylor, and Joni Mitchell.) Lennon & McCartney — with the proverbial help from their friends — created, or promoted, a tradition that has faded but never quite died. Elton John, the Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, the Police, U2, Springsteen, Prince, REM… These were all hugely successful acts that wrote all, or nearly all, of their own material.

Madonna, indeed.

UPDATE: As Haggai points out in comments, Chuck Berry — who more or less invented rock & roll — wrote his own material. Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis were songwriters as well. I should also point out that some of the Motown performers, too — notably Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, and especially Stevie Wonder — wrote, or write, their own material.

I could probably trace this back even further, to the beginnings of recorded music. I today cataloged an album based upon a player-piano roll made by George Gershwin. (And beyond “pop” music, the great classical composers were also performers and/or conductors. I read just the other day that J.S. Bach, in his own time, was mostly celebrated as a keyboardist.) It’s simply a dumb claim as stated so broadly. In a narrow sense — that poppy, non-instrument-playing, usually female singers of the Jessica Simpson “type” didn’t used to pretend to write their own material — it may have some merit.

A step up from Roy Moore

Re-enactment to mark anniversary of landmark case

Library workers at the Alabama Supreme Court are organizing a reenactment of and play about Brown v. Board of Education, to be held May 7 and 8 in the Supreme Court chambers to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the decision that never would have been made if George W. Bush’s favored type of judges were around back then. Sorry, sorry, editorial comment…

Blood, Devastation, Death, War, and Horror

nbc13.com – Home

I know the news is going to tilt negative, but Channel 13’s site seems to have gone overboard. Under Alabama Headlines, they have six consecutive stories about one or more people getting killed:

Burglary Suspect Killed In Confrontation With Officer
Suspect In Lee County Triple Killing Found Dead
Three Dead In Multiple Car Accident
Univ. of Alabama Student Dies In Central Florida Accident
Alabama Man Among Two Killed In Police Chase In Georgia
Lee County Looking For Suspects In Triple Killing

Special kudos to the guy who first killed three people then shows up dead in another story for his two-fer. Other stories have a truck crashing into a strip mall and a home invasion, but I guess nobody’s dead from those. Still, it’s a wonder anyone can get from home to work and back without being killed.

What can I say?

Woolard to run for Majette’s seat

Cynthia McKinney’s first declared opponent in her attempt to regain her Congressional seat (to be vacated by Denise Majette, who’s running for Senate) is Atlanta City Council President Cathy Woolard. Woolard is openly gay. If that wasn’t trouble enough, she’s white in a majority-black (especially among Democrats) district.

No, not as the ape

CNN.com – Jack Black takes on ‘King Kong’ – Mar 30, 2004

Peter Jackson and Jack Black? If nothing else, the sartorial possibilities are staggering.

You don’t want to get bit there

Alligator Bites Woman in Back of Pickup

My pickup hurts just thinking about it.