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the making of bobby jindal June 23, 2008

Posted by KG in 2008 Elections, comedy, politics, race, religion.
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details magazine:

When Bobby Jindal was 12, a Southern Baptist friend named Kent gave him a paperback Bible for Christmas. Jindal was disappointed, not least because the Bible was engraved with his name and thus unreturnable. “I was raised in a strong Hindu culture, attended weekly pujas, or ceremonial rites, and read the Vedic scriptures,” Jindal wrote in a 1993 article in America, a Jesuit magazine, one of many religious essays he published in the early nineties. “I considered myself anti-Christian,” he wrote in another piece; elsewhere, he confided that he thought Christians worshipped fish (“in the same way that many Westerners think Hindus worship cows”). The Bible went into a closet, and might have remained there had Jindal not sneaked away with a girl from a high-school dance at a Baton Rouge hotel.

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“and he aren’t” June 23, 2008

Posted by KG in 2008 Elections, comedy, foreign policy, iraq war, politics, psychology, race, religion.
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“full metal mccain” – matt taibi at rolling stone… hilarious article:

Even the briefest of surveys of the supporters gracing McCain’s events underscores the kind of red-meat appeal he’s making. Immediately after his speech in New Orleans, a pair of sweet-looking old ladies put down their McCain signs long enough to fill me in on why they’re here. “I tell you,” says one, “if Michelle Obama really doesn’t like it here in America, I’d be very pleased to raise the money to send her back to Africa.”

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george carlin, 1937-2008 June 22, 2008

Posted by KG in comedy, news, religion.
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nytimes:

During his live 1996 HBO special, “Back in Town,” he raged over the shallowness of the ’90s “me first” culture — mocking the infatuation with camcorders, hyphenated names, sneakers with lights on them, and lambasting white guys over 10 years old who wear their baseball hats backwards. Baby boomers, “who went from ‘do your thing’ to ‘just say no’ …from cocaine to Rogaine,” and pro life advocates (“How come when it’s us it’s an abortion, and when it’s a chicken it’s an omelet?”), were some of his prime targets.

Although some criticized parts of his later work as too contentious, Mr. Carlin defended the material, insisting that his comedy had always been driven by an intolerance for the shortcomings of humanity and society. “Scratch any cynic,” he said, “and you’ll find a disappointed idealist.”

another great ?uestlove interview April 23, 2008

Posted by KG in arts/culture, comedy, design, hip-hop, interviews, legal, marketing, media, music, news, radio.
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onsmash:

With less than a week till the release of their 8th (!) masterpiece, Rising Down, OnSMASH linked up with The Roots mouthpiece and unofficial leader ?uestlove to talk about his legendary crew and the state of this art we call hip-hop.

I want to talk about Rising Down right now. From what I’ve been hearing, with the exception of one song [“Birthday Girl”], this record sounds very, very serious, very aggressive, and kind of dark. The last Roots record, I got that kind feeling from like that, was Illadelph Half Life. What was the intent behind this record?

Hip-hop is about as apolitical as it’s ever been. I guess there’s some sort of unsaid science to how we made this record. In order not to come off like we’re on our soapbox we knew that musically this album had to be bangin’. But of course the 2008 definition of bangin’ definitely varies from the 1996 definition of bangin’, but that’s the standard with which we feel most comfortable. So there’s this sort of boom bap element [on the album]. At the very most today when you get a hip-hop record you can only hope for that one cut that has that “boom bap element”, similar to how what the one radio cut was back in the day, like Brand Nubian’s “Tried To Do Me” or Diamond D “I’m So Confused” song. One token radio cut on a hip-hop record now turned into one Primo cut on a commercial record [in 2008].

Very true

We just wanted to put out an album of bangers because we kind of knew we had to sort of offset the heavy message. I guess if anything probably the hardest thing to do on this record was to put everything in first person perspective. Because normally whenever we did touch something political it was always from a very safe arm’s length third person perspective.

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who’s bitter? April 22, 2008

Posted by KG in comedy, econ, news, politics, religion.
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jonathan chait in the new republic:

But nobody’s challenging the validity of caring more about your religion, or even your right to hunt, than your income. The objection is whether it makes sense to vote on that basis. There are, after all, stark differences between the two parties on economic matters. Republicans do want to make working-class voters pay a higher proportion of the tax burden, restrain popular social programs, erode the value of the minimum wage, and so on.

Democrats, on the other hand, have no plans to keep anybody from attending church or hunting. A few years ago, their gun-control agenda revolved around issues like safety locks, banning assault weapons, and other restrictions carefully designed to have virtually no impact on hunters or average gun owners. Now Democrats have abandoned even those meager steps. The GOP’s appeal on those “issues” rests on cultural pandering rather than any concrete legislative program.

Now, it’s true that many working-class whites also vote on social issues that do have some political relevance, like abortion or gay marriage. It’s certainly not irrational on its face to vote your values over your wallet. (Democratic billionaires do it, too.) On the other hand, conservatives routinely express their fury that a majority of Jews stubbornly flout their own “self-interest”–defined as low tax rates and a maximally hawkish Middle East policy–to vote Democratic. The process of trying to persuade others to reconsider the nature of their self-interest is not some Marxist exercise or an accusation of false consciousness. It’s what we call “democracy.”

Sorry, did that sound condescending?

mos def – pretty dancer April 7, 2008

Posted by KG in comedy, hip-hop, interviews, music, sports.
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vote nader March 16, 2008

Posted by AP in 2008 Elections, comedy, politics.
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sesame street, 1988:
 

88 keys interview March 6, 2008

Posted by KG in arts/culture, comedy, hip-hop, interviews, music.
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awesome interview with 88:

DX: How’d you link with Mos and Talib?
88-Keys:
I linked up with Mos through my good friend, Shawn J Period. I used to go to a lot of sessions with The Artifacts, and at the time, Shawn J Period was working with them, and Duro, who’s now “Super-engineer Duro,” who’s recording mixing the album and Platinum Island Studios in New York City. So I would go there and hang out just to get the vibe and see professionals at work, and see what the goings-on was. So Mos would eventually start coming by. It’s funny, because I’d say “What up” to Mos, and he’d say “What’s up,” but he never used to acknowledge me other than the initial meeting. I saw him every now and then, and he would just be in the room, I’d be in the room…we’d stare each other down for like half a second and keep it moving or whatever. So I’m looking at this guy, like, “Oh man, this guy is trying to play me, and he’s a nobody just like me.” So eventually, at the “Stakes Is High” video shoot, Mos was there, and I was trying to get up in the video. Again, I have to repeat, I was a nobody, so ain’t get no love shown this way. I gave Mos a beat tape, back when the actual tape cassettes (were in), with my 30 second beat snippets. He called me a day or two later, and he’s like, “Your shit is dope, your shit is dope.” And the next time I saw him in the studio, it’s pounds all around the room. [Laughs]

DX: Did you record that track in the studio with them?
88-Keys:
That’s a funny story. Kweli picked the beat from me, and he was saying he had an idea for the song, that him and Mos were recording an album together, and that he wanted a song for the album. I’m like, “Cool, let’s do it.” … I’m like, “I’ma hit up Mos, to see what’s good.” Come to find out, Mos didn’t like the beat at all, but he was doing it as a favor for Kweli. I was living with my parents at the time, I had my equipment in the basement in Long Island. These dudes took a cab all the way from Brooklyn—this was foreshadowing of baller status, I should have peeped it back then—but they took a cab all the way from Brooklyn, Kweli had a son who was like one year old at the time, almost in the middle of the night, on some seven o’clock shit. One of my sisters babysat Kweli’s son, and we went to the basement. Kweli already had his verse written, and I had a four-track recorder with a little BS microphone, so I recorded the joint, and after Kweli laid his verse, he explained to Mos what the song was about, and his inspiration for the song was a book called The Bluest Eye. Mos did a complete 180—I don’t even know if he liked the beat at that time still, but he liked Kweli’s rap and how the whole joint came together—so not only did Mos write his verse, but he wrote a 44-bar verse that he was pretty adamant about not shortening it. Me and Kweli are looking at him like, “He’s buggin’. That’s not a 16, Rawkus ain’t havin’ that.Mos was like, “I don’t care. All this is staying.

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edumacation March 4, 2008

Posted by AP in comedy, design, terrorism.
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chronicle of higher education readers submit designs for the forthcoming george w bush … library.

religion and modernity February 25, 2008

Posted by AP in comedy, religion, science.
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alan wolfe writes a piece on wealth and religiosity at theatlantic.com:

Until relatively recently, most social theorists, from Marx to Freud to Weber, believed that as societies became more modern, religion would lose its capacity to inspire. Industrialization would substitute the rational pursuit of self-interest for blind submission to authority. Science would undermine belief in miracles. Democracy would encourage the separation of church and state. Gender equality would undermine patriarchy, and with it, clerical authority. However one defined modernity, it always seemed likely to involve societies focused on this world rather than on some other.

But intellectual fashions are fickle, and the idea of inevitable secularization has fallen out of favor with many scholars and journalists. Still, its most basic tenet—that material progress will slowly erode religious fervor—appears unassailable. Last October, the Pew Global Attitudes Project plotted 44 countries according to per capita gross domestic product and intensity of religious belief, gauged by the responses to several questions about faith (a rendition of the Pew data appears on the opposite page). The pattern, as seen in the Pew study and a number of other sources, is hard to miss: when God and Mammon collide, Mammon usually wins.

but wait! you may be thinking, i just netflixed jesus camp and boy are people here crazy!

You’ll have noticed that I’ve said nothing yet about the United States. Talk about an outlier—there on the Pew chart it stands, nearly alone, as the only country in the world, apart from Kuwait, that is both wealthy and religious. Americans are not only more religious than Europeans; they are more religious than the citizens of some Latin American countries. If proof is needed that religion will remain a dominant force in history for a long time to come, the fact that the world’s most affluent society is also well up among the faithful would seem to provide it. When the president says that his decision to invade another country was influenced by a call from God, or when school boards decide to include creationism in their curriculum, it appears safe to conclude that Americans are not living in the world envisioned by Marx or Freud.

and finally, wolfe details what i have informally called my “hey let’s hang out at jesus’s house, he’s got a ps3 and a trampoline” theory:

So what happens to religions that find themselves with many competitors? Consider what is occurring within the growing American evangelical movement. It has built megachurches that meet the needs of time-pressed professionals by offering such things as day-care centers, self-help groups, and networking opportunities. Its music owes more to Janis Joplin than to Johann Sebastian Bach. Its church officials learn more from business-school case studies than from theological texts. And its young people—well, as the children of parents who have gone through a born-again experience, they are not likely to be as obedient as the evangelical leader James Dobson wants them to be. Having opted to grow on secular terms, American evangelicalism is becoming less hostile to liberal ideas such as tolerance and pluralism. New efforts to take it in directions sympathetic to environmentalism and social justice are a direct result of the maturing of the faith, which followed from earlier decisions to make the movement more appealing to large numbers of Americans, especially the young.