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More On Rocking The Casbah
Steve Sailer has a piece up on UPI on Strummer.
Punky Cons Unite
I think some criteria need to be established in order to dispel my doubts. Certainly the live version of “Where’s Captain Kirk” is an all time Geek Rock classic (the studio version is sterile). But there are so many less gimmicky punky songs that really get the party started, such as the Buzzcocks “Ever Fallen in Love,” the Clash’s “Bored With the USA,” the Bush Tetra’s “Too Many Creeps,” the Dickies “You Drive Me Ape,” X’s “Beyond and Back,” Hüsker Dü’s “Could You Be The One,” Johnny Thunders’ “Chinese Rock,” the Stranglers’ “Hanging Around,” or the Violent Femmes’ “Kiss Off,” to name a few. Just my two cents. Also, I would not call Devo’s “Satisfaction” a punk tune. Not sure what to call it, since the term “New Wave” was a marketing gimmick, but “Punk” was too. Devo was a great experimental group that went in directions I would never associate with punk, especially in using electronics, which was definitely not a punk thing to do. Punk bands were stripped down, basic, 3-chord rock with a hard fast beat, part rediscovery of 60s garage sound, part rebellion against 70s self-indulgence. Almost any Ramones tune sums it up. I heard a tale once of a guy who was hearing the Ramones for the first time, back in the late 70s. “Check out the guitar solo,” he was told. When the song ended he asked, “Where was the guitar solo?” “Exactly.”
Merry Christmas. This dead-sober Washington Post story reminds us how vulnerable America remains to terrorist mass murder. One official quoted here anonymously says it’s inevitable that al-Qaeda will destroy the White House. Sitting here in one of the nation’s top two terrorist targets, I’m with the retired general in this story who says to hell with pussyfooting around with rules of engagement: first kill the bastards, then let the goo-goos figure it out.
Cross With The Red Cross (2)
Regular readers of the Corner will remember that, in a gesture of unusually crass political correctness, the British Red Cross banned Nativity scenes from its shop windows. The organization is now paying the price. The Daily Telegraph is reporting that the Red Cross is “facing a sharp drop in donations.”
The British press this morning is filled with tributes to Joe Strummer, a reminder of the importance that the country still attaches to the rise of punk rock in the late 1970s. This is more than just a question of musical taste or the durability of the wider punk aesthetic. Those often crude chord progressions and shouted-out lyrics turned out to have a real historical importance. They formed the soundtrack for the drama that was the collapse of Britain’s cozy, but crumbling, collectivist post-war consensus, a crisis that led, ironically, enough not to the sort of socialist republic that Strummer might have wanted – but to Mrs. Thatcher.
As for Strummer himself, he never gave up his left-wing politics, but the Daily Telegraph notes with more than a touch of satisfaction that the “former public [private] schoolboy’s lifestyle was not entirely unconventional. He read the Daily Telegraph…”
There Is Still Time
A reader writes:
I’m a faithful reader of NRO and The Corner, but haven’t subscribed to NRODT
to this point because a) I rarely have time to sit down and read a print
publication while at law school and b) my law school has its own subscription
to NRODT that I can enjoy in the reading room on those rare occasions I have
Today, however, I was out shopping (with everyone else in Kansas City,
evidently) for my brother’s Christmas gift, but with little success. After
fighting the crowds for several hours with nothing to show and a lack of
ideas, I thought “magazine subscription.” But which one? No sooner did I ask
the question than images flashed across my mind of the regular pleas on The
Corner for readers to subscribe to NRODT. Then I thought of the hours of
thoughtful entertainment and enlightenment I’ve received from NR…I came home
immediately, got online, and ordered my brother’s gift subscription.
Thanks for simplifying my holiday shopping…merry Christmas!
Africa’s a big place. How much do you know about it? Find out with BBC
Africa’s quiz. Sample
question: “How many wives does Swaziland’s King Mswati III have?” Possible
answers given are: 10, 33, or 113. Be interesting to know how well Randall
Robinson, Kweisi Mfume, or any other of our “African-American” leaders would
do on this quiz.
The Clash? I’m sorry that Joe Strummer has died too, but, with the exception of a couple of tracks, the Clash were never that good. Best punk band? The Sex Pistols, of course or, if you want to go back into the mists of time and actually find some musical talent, the Velvets. And if we are in list land, the best punk tune of all time is undoubtedly Where’s Captain Kirk? by Spizz Energi. The runner up? Devo’s version of Satisfaction.
Joe Strummer, Rip
I was sad to see that Joe Strummer had died. I was a fan of the Clash from early on, even before they were on commercial radio. There were a lot of politically motivated punk bands I was into back then (e.g. the Gang of Four and the Dead Kennedys) because, despite their ideological bent, they could crank out great tunes. I used to take heat from Lefties who objected to me enjoying the music while not buying (and frequently mocking) the political message. They thought these bands were popular because of their social relevance. But most kids just wanted to dance. And the biggest Clash hits, like “Train in Vain” and “Should I Stay or Should I Go” had nothing to do with politics. And the first song over the airwaves of the US Armed Forces radio station set up in Saudi to bolster troop morale in the weeks leading up to Desert Storm was “Rock the Casbah.” (Note that in November 2001, Strummer came out strongly against the 9/11 terrorists, stating: “I think you have to grow up and realize that we’re facing religious fanatics who would kill everyone in the world who doesn’t do what they say. The more time you give them the more bombs they’ll get.”)
Now, decades after the Clash hit the scene, the Revolution is a youthful ideal spoken of with some embarrassment by our radical contemporaries, and punk rock sells luxury cars. Be sure to check out “Brand New Cadillac” on London Calling, which may be coming to a TV commercial someday soon, not to mention being one of my all time favorite songs to play louder than the neighbors would like.
Crunchy Con Gets Wired
A faithful NYC correspondent writes:
“After a night of alcohol drinking and Gangs-of-New-York watching (just concluded), I parted ways with my comrades and headed over to the 33rd St. PATH station, for the ride home to Jersey City. Picked up a copy of WIRED Magazine at that skanky newsstand across from the McDonald’s sign (you know the one), and lo! I have violated my ‘no email after drinking’ rule in the hope of being the first to inform you that “Crunchy Conservative” made the WIRED Jargon Watch, along with ‘Newater,’ ‘Portal Shields’ and ‘Post-Traumatic Job-Switcher.’
“They define it thusly:
CRUNCHY CONSERVATIVE: Someone right of center of foreign policy and the economy but more liberal when it comes to issues associated with granola lefties, like the environment, homeschooling and alternative medicine.
“Homeschooling? Anyway. Neither NRO nor Mr. Dreher are credited, which is probably for the best. I can readily imagine ‘crunchy con’ turning into the ’soccer mom’ of the 2004 election, and the fewer people who know it was coined by Dreher, the better. I sure wouldn’t want that on my conscience. (‘Course if Old Strom was elected in ‘48, ‘Crunchy Con’ would never have been coined.)
“Anyway, I’m half in the bag and should probably call it a night. Merry Christmas.”
Back atcha, pal. Go put that free-range goose in the oven, open a bottle of microbrew, and imagine a Joe Strummer Christmas.
“Death or Glory”
Joe Strummer of The Clash has died. What a great band. A bunch of commies, to be sure, but a great band. I’m going home from work tonight, taking the carols off the turntable, opening a bottle of bourbon and listening to London Calling from start to finish. Haven’t done that in years. Cheers, mate, and rest in peace.
Re: Pacifist Christians
A Washington-area law enforcement official read this, and responded in this way (I’ve removed identifying details):
“I was working in DC on 9/11. When we were heard the Pentagon get hit, we mistakenly thought it was the White House and ran over there. There, we were told the Capitol had been hit and we ran to the Capitol – full tilt all the way in wing tips. There we helped with the evacuation and reinforced the Capitol police. I went home that night in bloody socks and threw away my shirt because my tie bled all over it from sweat. The attacks of that day were very real to me. I can still recall my amazement at watching military aircraft hover over my city to defend it.
“When my wife and I went to church that evening, I resolved not to attend that church anymore. Soft people, safely removed from what happened were holding hands and singing songs of reconciliation and atonement (atonement?!). I’d have thrown a twenty at the organist just to launch into the Battle Hymn of the Republic if I thought she would have.”
Winners and Losers
Working on syndicated column. If you have any suggestions for winners and losers of 2002 please send ‘em to [email protected] I’m going to be done by 2:00, so please no responses after then.
BBC Radio 4 is reporting the startling results of a new poll of British Muslims. According to the survey, more than half of those questioned said that they did not believe that Al Qaeda should be blamed for the 9/11 atrocities.