Monday, July 21, 2008

Uptight (Paglia's not alright)

Your mom's iPod + an undergraduate course on postmodernism = Camille Paglia's music playlist for the NY Times.

Some lowlights:
2) Ballad of a Thin Man, Bob Dylan (1965). Sinister atmospherics of the garish sexual underground in the repressive pre-Stonewall world. A naive voyeur reporter steps through the looking-glass and may or may not escape.

3) Season of the Witch,
Donovan (1966). Nature and society in turmoil, as identity dissolves in the psychedelic ’60s. The witch marks the return of the occult, a pagan subversion of organized religion.

8) Bitch,
The Rolling Stones (1971). Powerful, jagged, stabbing chords that seize the mind. Is the Stones’ bitch goddess a capricious woman or enslaving heroin?
I don't know!

She also calls Heart's "Straight On for You" "a throbbing, sonorous tour of erotic neurology" and claims that Pink Floyd's post-relevance single "On the Turning Away" is not by-the-numbers classic rock stadium-lighter-whoring schmaltz after all, but rather "Celtic mysticism rising to a grand, Wagnerian finale." Who knew? Does that mean that it's worth buying the new Eagles album, after all?

Best is when she wonders whether James Brown's "Lickin' Stick" refers to "an antebellum whip or melting phallic candy."

It's a cock, Camille, a cock.

Here are some of Paglia's picks that didn't make the cut:
Dancing in the Street, Jagger/Bowie duet (1985). Two Dionysian demi-gods (one in animal print - very telling!) call out the blue-balled Gordon Gecko wannabe's of the mid-eighties, only one year after Orwell's prophecy was revealed to be both true and false, truth having become as slippery a commodity as the old Glimmer Twin and the Thin Caucasian Duke themselves.

Happy Birthday
, (1913). Proof, if proof were needed, of our clinging paganism in its chanted celebration of one solar year. An aggressive, almost sexual offering of joy, with implicit demand that "you" accept it willingly. The thrusting repetition puts the emphasis on the day – but who are "you?" Are you a cypher, a song-and-dance convention, or a very personal pronoun?

Axel F
, Crazy Frog (2005). The ultimate rockstar - mentally unstable, non-existent, amphibious. Perfect for our unhinged, virtual, rising-oceans times. Fully digital and downloadable, the next stage of evolution, perhaps, for us just-add-protein-and-water beings. A star from the world of cellphones, a triumph of communication as entertainment, and a final death knell for the pedophilic priests of classicism. This medium is a message, and the message is "we are insane."

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