Weekly Roundup: Floating Like A Lilo Edition

Arrogant and unpleasant disclaimer: sit this one out, or skip to the end, unless you’re at least 1 SD+. I don’t feel like reading comments from people who will be moving their lips to read the next 2300 words. Sorry about that.

Of all the expensive delicacies out there, from white pearl albino caviar to the “Stingray Burger” at the National Corvette Museum, surely the most indulgent would be the intellectual notion that there is a universal human experience, capable of being accessed by any sufficiently broad-minded person. Our distant ancestors would have scoffed at the notion; virtually all ancient languages make no distinction between “people” and “our people”, the implication being that others are inherently different and probably worse besides. The Romans did not seek to understand the Vandals. Even among the Greek city-states there was always this simmering notion of cultural incompatibility, accompanied by the baggage of equal parts disdain and fear.

Not until the Enlightenment did the intellectual class start to get the notion Amberthat the similarities across races and cultures were greater than the differences. By the middle of the Twentieth Century this had morphed into a sort of outsider worship; I’m thinking in particular of the Western fascination with Indian and Chinese thought and dogma as exemplified by the “guru” fetish and a blossoming interest in Zen. (The late Jeff Cooper, in one of his Commentaries, despaired that young men in the Seventies and Eighties had utterly abandoned the study of Roman and Greek culture in favor of Eastern mysticism and obscurity, thus becoming incompetent at understanding two cultures instead of at least being masters in their own.)

From that outsider worship fifty years ago, we have now degraded to a sort of infantile volunteer tribalism, a perverse figure-ground approach in which power, relevance, and even safety are derived by calculating one’s distance from the untouchable (in the Dalit sense, not the exalted one) state of white Christian American “cis-straight” male. Everything in our society, from hiring decisions to quality of medical care, is now determined via this calculus. The comedian Dave Chappelle just released a comedy special in which he discusses a confrontation he had with a white man at a nightclub. The white man threatened to call the police on Chappelle; the implication here, to anyone sufficiently versed in the identity catechism, is that such a call would be tantamount to attempted murder, since police are killing unarmed Black men at the feverish, breakneck rate of one in 1.3 million annually. This makes the white man a clear villain, and absolutely deserving of some mob justice, real or virtual — until Chappelle notes that the white man was gay. At that point, every person who does any business in modern society finds themselves doing back-of-the-envelope perceived-privilege calculations. Who’s more oppressed here?

In this way, we have leached all meaning from action, which can then only be truly understood in the context of the societal value accorded to each different type of person. If I call the police on you, is that bad? Fifty years ago, we would say “It depends on what you’ve done.” Now, we say that it depends on what you are. Sometimes it is good to burn a Federal building. Sometimes it is treason to walk past one. It all depends on who you are.

This new morality would confuse the living hell out of Pascal or Sartre, but it would have sat perfectly well with any illiterate cave-dweller of prehistoric times. So in a sense it is more authentic, truer, than any outdated notions regarding a “brotherhood of Man” or any of the goofy stuff in our country’s thoroughly irrelevant founding documents. You ignore it at your peril.

All of this is a long-winded way for me to say: I’m not sure I’m allowed to listen to, comment or, or apply critical thinking to the topic at hand, namely: two of the greatest pop records to be released in years, maybe decades. Why? Simple: they are the product of a relationship between two young British lesbians.

Let’s go.

This is a story of Amber and Marika, both British women in their early twenties. Amber Bain is the artist who performs as The Japanese House, for various reasons related to residual shyness and an overabundance of precocious wit. Marika Hackman performs as, well, Marika Hackman, although in her latest album she is careful to point out that she is inhabiting a character known as “Marika Hackman”, for much the same reasons that the Philip Roth in Operation Shylock is not quite the real Philip Roth and the Jack Baruth you read here and elsewhere is not precisely the person who tucks his son into bed each evening. (I don’t really do that, for one thing; we are not a family in which people touch or show noticeable affection to each other.)

Amber and Marika began a relationship in 2015, around the same time that both artists released their debut recordings. At first, Marika was the star, with her ethereal We Slept At Last. Amber… well, she wasn’t even using her name. People thought she was a side project of another artist who called himself “The 1975”. The two girls toured and traveled separately and alone, falling in and out of love, through a disappointing second record for Marika and a series of EPs for The Japanese House. And then, after four years, there was a breakup.

Any twentieth-century intellectual would recognize the idea of a Universal Human Thing here. Your humble author is not a 23-year-old British lesbian, but he has done most of his best work (if any of it has been good) while in the grip of sorrow. Joy, like Dilaudid, blanks the mind, it dulls the reasoning, it kills the artistic impulse. There is an iron band between misery and creativity. Suicidal ideation led Yeats to write “The Second Coming”, while relentless good humor just gets you another Foo Fighters record. So I am not surprised that Amber and Marika were driven by sorrow to create two astounding albums in the aftermath: Good At Falling and Any Human Friend, respectively.

To my knowledge, neither Amber nor Marika have indicated who broke up with whom, or why — but even a 49-year-old white straight-dude dinosaur like me can figure it out by listening to the music. Marika’s breakout track from Any Human Friend is the rollicking “the one”, seen here:

Strip away the various flourishes, and it’s about a woman who truly desires other women, in the strong and insistent way we experience as men, but can’t get anyone to return the feeling.

Sold out
I’ve given up my soul now
I thought that I could be unique
Fuck it I am just so weak

I’m not the one you want
I fucked it up with the saddest songs
I’m not the one you want
But leave it on
Leave it on

Bow down
Vanilla and I’m proud now
They’re saying I’m a god sent gift
And all you fuckers want my dick
Love me more
Rub me ’til my ego is raw
(That’s not what we came here for!)
I’ve got BDE
I think it’s a venereal disease
I’m not the one you want
I fucked it up with the saddest songs
I’m not the one you want
But leave it on
Leave it on

“BDE”, by the way, is the rather ridiculous new-meme social concept of “Big Dick Energy”. In another track, called “conventional ride”, she gripes at a girlfriend who only wants to receive oral sex, not give it:

I’ve been this girl before
Some fantasy you’d love to adore
Impossible to sustain, it’s ingrained
Four hands, two mouths
Is that not enough, the feminine touch?
Could it be that you need a conventional ride?
Conventional ride
A conventional ride
Conventional ride
XX, our sex is best
I-M-H-O, but you seem depressed
We got to sleep straight away, that’s okay
But I’m close to done with playing the nun
Are you having fun?

Now, let’s flick over to Amber, who sings in the furious “We Talk All The Time”:

We don’t fuck anymore
But we talk all the time so it’s fine
Can somebody tell me what I want?
‘Cause I keep changing my mind
I can see a progression
And I guess it’s happening
A different direction
And I guess it’s happening

Another track, the luminous and car-stereo-limit-exposing “Worms”, says that

I’m so much better
I don’t have to be on my own
There’s so much pressure not to be alone
You’re sharing a house, you’re sharing a life
You’re sharing a home
There’s so much pressure not to be alone

So yeah, it’s obvious that Amber was what they call a “pillow princess” and she dumped Marika for being too aggressive about, you know, the sexual part of being a lesbian. If the lyrics didn’t tell you, the music would: Marika plays a Stratocaster from the hips forward and struts before the camera, while Amber is happier laying a sonic assault one piece at a time via sequencer. (She can play a guitar, however. Good tone. Strong finger pressure. Holds the instrument like a dead fish. The anti-Slash.) Marika is “butch”; Amber is “fem”, but it’s not in the way they look, which is eerily identical. It’s in the way they act.

Which album is better? Amber’s. By a long shot. She deserves the sobriquet Eliot gave to Pound: il miglior fabbro. Where Any Human Friend is uneven, angry, emotional, Good At Falling simply stacks picture-perfect tracks one above another. The two albums share much, from their cutesy kerning and lowercase in the tracks (something that goes wrong in Ambers somethingfartoogoodtoofeel which will strike any callous boy of my generation as “SOMETHING FART…”) to the affectation of simultaneously demanding and rejecting sexual attention by appearing topless in deliberately unglamorous album art (Marika poses topless with her breasts obscured by a piglet on the cover of her record, while Amber frees the nipple all the way in the followup EP, chewing cotton wool). But while Any Human Friend is simply the best pop record you would hear in almost any year after 1985, Good At Falling is better, more significant than that, largely due to a single gut-wrenching artistic decision.

This is the video for “Lilo”:

A “lilo” is a personal flotation device, by the way; even your Anglophile, Savile-Row-wearing author didn’t know that. “Lilo” is the story of meeting someone, from the moment you hear about her to the moment you realize you have to walk away from her or lose everything you are. The lyrics are alternately trite, perceptive, eternal; the music is simple but produced with enough care to make the late Walter Becker shed a tear. But it is the video that elevates “Lilo” from mere art to pure art, because the character of Marika Hackman is played by… Marika Hackman. They re-enact every aspect of their relationship: the early joy, the quiet contentment, the secret desire… the turning away, the distancing, the longing, the regret.

By the end of the video, they are dressed identically, barbered identically, bare-faced in makeup-free androgyny. Amber rests her head on Marika’s shoulder as Marika looks into the distance, looking every bit like someone who hates the same person she loves. They watch a car burn together; the fact that it’s a Volvo 240 would be too on-the-nose for an American artist but the British don’t have the same cultural Portlandia associations with that car, to them it’s more of how we would see a mid-Nineties Accord.

I have to admit that I suffer from an overwhelming feeling of desire while watching the video — and I bet John Mayer would as well, if he knew about it. To break up with someone, to indulge endlessly in my own self-loathing and narcissism after the fact? I do it all the time, and most of my readers know about whom, and Mayer does it as well, most notably with “Split Screen Sadness” and “Moving On And Getting Over”. But to get the woman you loved and let go to APPEAR IN A VIDEO, PLAYING HERSELF, SO YOU CAN EXPERIENCE THE WHOLE THING ALL OVER AGAIN AND SHARE IT WITH EVERYONE?

My God, I haven’t been this envious of someone since Randy Whatshisname got Flight Cranks for his Haro FST in 1987!

And this is why I continue to believe in the universal human experience, despite our segregated theology, despite all evidence to the contrary, despite the chorus of voices that would scream at me about even listening to music that is so obviously Not For Old White Cis Males should this column ever make it into the Cheetos-stained hands of the Twitterati, despite the astounding dimensions of the gap between my experience and that of an Amber Bain or Marika Hackman. I believe in it because when I watch “Lilo”, I can see myself in every frame. I can see a particular woman in every frame, as well. I know how Amber felt, because I’ve felt that way. And it doesn’t matter that we wouldn’t understand eachother at all were we to meet somehow, it doesn’t matter what she’s suffered or what I’ve seen. These things are deeper, stronger, more gravitational than any of that. I do not believe that universality is the measure of art, even though to do so would be to strike a death blow into the heart of the modern non-representational trash that is used for money laundering and oligarch gratification around the world. But I believe that universality is certainly one measure of art.

And these feelings, these songs, are universal.

How glad I am to have them, and to share them with you.

* * *

For Hagerty this week, I did a Viper test, considered the magic unto the third generation, and wrote about a Marquis that never was.

73 Replies to “Weekly Roundup: Floating Like A Lilo Edition”

  1. sightline

    Thank you for this. I follow the genre a bit but had, amazingly, missed these two, and am better for your leading me here.

    I’ve found as I’ve gotten older I’ve gained a stronger appreciation for female indie artists – Japanese Breakfast, Girl in Red, Lucy Dacus, etc. And despite them singing about situations I could never find myself in, it’s the universal human experience that they evoke. To be completely foreign but utterly relatable at the same time? Art.

    Reply
  2. gb

    While y’all are wallowing in deep lesbian sex angst may I interrupt to point out that of course Becky borrowed that fucking IROC-Z from her cucked older boyfriend who probably spent years digging himself out of whatever hell she put through in the years following. There was a purpose built cigarette pouch sewn into the headliner. Bitch….why are your smokes in the visor?

    Carry on.

    Reply
  3. John C.

    The music of those young, clean cut, lipstick enough to sell lesbians was really quite depressing. The narcissism and style of arrangement that has not progressed from 35 year ago Till Tuesday/Susanne Vega is bad enough. Adding the open homosexuality is a way to distract the young male and female from coming and staying together even if that means hard work and struggle with the at least possible result of building society. Instead some “ideal” world where no one works and two drama queens revel in their Peloton world angst. Yuk, and a bad thing to promote. A 49 year old man should know better. We are not trying to seduce them, but teach them from our acquired wisdom.

    Reply
      • Jack Baruth Post author

        It’s not for everyone, and the more well-adjusted you are the less likely it is to appeal to you.

        Reply
        • DaveL

          Exactly! We’re the same age and I’ve been happily married for 26 years and have 2 well adjusted college age kids. Although I find this unappealing, who am I to music shame those that can connect to art via shared experiences.

          Reply
          • John C.

            Are we now to the point where we are not allowed to say that being well adjusted is superior to being not well adjusted. If so, aren’t we choosing politeness over honesty?

    • hank chinaski

      In my limited experience the female drama quotient in those relationships is squared, not additive. The (caveat, self reported) stats on abusive relationships and infidelity support this. To paraphrase CH, ‘Let’s you and her fight’ is a thing. I guess it’s harder to play up the victimhood outsider card when there are rainbow flags literally everywhere.

      And hey, ‘The Queen and the Solider’ is a pretty good song.

      Reply
  4. Fat Baby Driver

    Jack – this yearning is prominent in a lot of your writing lately. Do you miss the person, or do you miss the sorrow that fueled your creativity during those years?

    Reply
  5. Will

    I must have no taste in music because the first video is utter trash and hard to listen to (dare I say it, ear rape). The 2nd one is ok and the 3rd is boring as shit. I’ve always said that most music is really just shit poetry and utter drivel, and these songs seem to reinforce that thought. Musicians sing about the same crap because none of them really go through anything to have any insight into life, adversity or the world outside of some basic breakup. I suppose this is why there is such staying power for Johnny Cash, Marvin Gaye and Bob Dylan. I could be wrong, but hey, that’s OK.

    Reply
    • rpn453

      Yeah, it does nothing for me. While [i]The Color and the Shape[/i] and [i]Wasting Light[/i] – both from Foo Fighters – are a couple of my favorites. Different strokes.

      Pink Floyd’s [i]Animals[/i] was getting a lot of play on my stereo a few weeks ago. Somehow my perspective changed and this horror movie I’m in is now a black comedy. So I’ve been listening to the Country Classics channel on galaxie radio. Simple, pleasant background music that reminds me of my childhood and nothing more. Maybe Juice Newton will be belting out “Angel of the Morning” when they come to take me away to prison camp.

      Reply
      • Jack Baruth Post author

        Last time I was cuffed in a courtroom I shouted “I didn’t do it! IT WAS A ONE-ARMED MAN!”

        Just try getting a reasonable bail set after urinating into the mouth of the court like that…

        Reply
    • stingray65

      Boring, pretentious, sad – what’s not to like? I’ve always wondered why homosexuals took/received the label “gay” because they mostly seem some bad combination of mentally disturbed, unhappy, and angry, which may be why homosexuality (and transgenderism) were counted as mental illnesses until political correctness made such classifications untenable.

      Reply
      • Jack Baruth Post author

        It was originally an attempt to subvert what is either a bigoted perception of a lifestyle or an accurate observation based on centuries of experience, depending on your chosen side of the fence…

        Reply
    • Ronnie Schreiber

      It’s a shame that Marvin Gaye didn’t have as much staying power as his music. The mental illness that plagued his family ended up killing him. I can’t watch the clip of him undressing on stage during a performance of Sexual Healing (a scene that Eddie Murphy replayed in the movie Dreamgirls). Who wants to watch someone have a mental breakdown?

      Reply
  6. JustPassinThru

    Re the Marquis wagon:

    Althea.

    Interesting name for a drug-runner’s squeeze who made it into the big time, and then grew old.

    Calls to mind one Althea Leasure…who came to Columbus as a teen, and by body and selling-of-soul, rose to the top of one dung-heap publishing empire that moved from Ohio to Los Angeles.

    Althea Leasure Flynt would be about 68 years old now, had she lived. And I’d bet she’d done much the same as your grandmother, in her early years.

    Reply
    • Jack Baruth Post author

      I was looking for a name that communicated a certain racial demographic without descending into something that read like parody…

      Reply
      • JustPassinThru

        I’d never heard that; but then, I was never a Deadhead. But in the back of my mind I have to wonder if it’s all tied to the aformentioned Althea Leasure.

        We forget now…I was quite young; Jack would have been a preschooler, and you are a few years younger than I. But Althea Flynt made quite the stir.

        While faithful hubby Larry was in the dock in Georgia, and then in the hospital having been shot on the sidewalk in front of the courthouse, and then with him struggling with bipolar disorder…she took over the role of publisher of Hustler.

        IIRC, that was about the time Hustler’s parent (whatever name they were using, it varied with the years) moved to LA. Althea always claimed she got AIDS from a dirty-blood transfusion…but, let’s be real. She was a teenage runaway and was stripping in Larry Flynt’s first club when she was 17. Anyone think she was NOT a whore? But she made it big, riding Larry’s…back…and that’s the kind of success story that Hollywood, America’s Babylon, just LOVES.

        I can easily see the Grateful Dead picking up on this vibe.

        Reply
  7. Ronnie Schreiber

    Rejection hurts. Participating in a recapitulation of the rejection seems to me to be almost masochistic.

    I’ve come to accept the likelihood that I will spend the last part of my life alone.

    On the other hand, there are a handful of people who are always happy to see me, my grandchildren.

    Reply
    • Jack Baruth Post author

      We all end up alone, Ronnie, but you’ve shared so much of yourself to so many that you won’t die unremembered, or unlamented.

      Reply
      • Ronnie Schreiber

        Thank you for the kind words. Knowing that I’ll be lamented (at least by some folks) and remembered is comforting. Whether it’s as comforting as waking up next to someone I care about and who cares about me is an open question.

        I watch more than my share of “red pill” and MGTOW videos but when it comes down to it, I like women more than I dislike how modern women act. They’re soft, they usually smell nice, and they have fun parts. Guys can always find women who will barter (power, money, drugs) for sex, particularly these days, but it’s nice to have a trusted companion.

        Reply
  8. Snavehtrebor

    I enjoyed this one very much, and confess to being ignorant of these two artists. I’ve always loved the female songwriting perspective, from Brandi Carlisle to Harriet Wheeler to Bjork to Aimee Mann to Grace Potter. Very early on, I discovered that the young ladies I pined for were not always interested in blasting Van Halen. If you were okay with being labeled Sensitive or Artistic or Emotional (or even perhaps being called a pussy) there was a whole lot of art to be consumed and shared with the feminine half of your brain and humanity itself.

    Reply
  9. Newbie Jeff

    I’m just shy of 2 SD+ so I guess I feel qualified to comment? While the music is good, I don’t see it as a standout. Outside of the massive pop genre – if that’s indeed where the two girls’ music falls – there is plenty of melodious, ethereal content that beat them to the line… (just off the top of my head, I’m thinking PacificUV, the XX, or Best Coast). The video for “Lilo” was indeed visually impressive… more so knowing the back story of their relationship…

    …but since Jack brought it up, I can’t help but think what I always think about this stuff: we must be a pretty tolerant, advanced, progressive society that two twenty-something lesbians can pour their despaired hearts out for all the world to see and turn it into monetized content. Behind their self-absorbed “art”, I always think about the camera guys filming the video, the companies that produced their instruments or their outfits, the workers who built the Volvo… you know, people who make real things. My attention, my appreciation always returns to the people who take on the difficult process of restoring an old Volvo instead of just lighting it on fire to “get the shot”…

    I bring it up because it shoots a hole in the “universal human experience” concept… while I don’t think two young British lesbians consumed by their relationship EXACTLY means their politics are radical and they’re violent activists, I also don’t think they’re EXACTLY voting Conservative, stumping for Brexit, and advocating for the British blue-collar class. I can take a pretty educated guess about what their opinions are on Donald Trump… This might seem like an irrelevant, petty political jab, but the point is I don’t think the whole “universal human experience” thing goes both ways… at least not lately. You may identify with their emotional longing, loneliness, and pain, but I don’t expect to see any videos from Amber or Marika exploring the despair a lot of us feel watching modern society burned at the stake. I doubt they’ll explore the demoralizing process of the normal people class being subjugated and replaced by the weird people class. If anything, they’ll grow up a little more and, either by force or choice, join the mainstream herd of social activism… just like Tyler Childers or T-swift or that Pat Methany guy Jack loves so much…

    I don’t think they should be ostracized or endure discrimination… but maybe we’ve been “celebrating” these types a little too much…

    Reply
    • stingray65

      I expect you are correct about their politics – I’ll bet they are all in on “diversity is a strength”, “no human is illegal” and “science is real” (except for the part about only 2 genders, IQ, human life begins at conception), and are very distressed about patriarchal, capitalistic, racist, homophobic Western culture. I wonder if they considered touring with their music in more tolerant places such as Iran, Syria, Somalia, or Afghanistan, or in the Muslim sections of London and other large European cities?

      Reply
    • Jack Baruth Post author

      This comment is what I live for here. You’re stoutly right on all counts. And you bring up a salient point: art is usually left wing because creativity stems from brokenness and sorrow. Most right wing folks are fairly happy and well adjusted. They might not like their jobs or their finances but they aren’t dabbling in suicidal ideation.

      Therefore right wing art is almost always second rate, except when it is the art of technical excellence and raw effort. The Nazis were right to focus their artistic support on architecture and representational portraiture, both of which are fiendishly difficult and best done by sane human beings working hard over time.

      As I’ve said many times before, good people produce bad art and vice versa. The question is: is better art worth taking a hatchet to decent social conventions? Probably not, but that ship sailed with the Beatles and it would take bloodshed to set it right again.

      Reply
      • Ronnie Schreiber

        I’m not so sure I accept the tortured artist trope. Bach had a pretty normal life. Maybe there’s a Dave Brubeck for every Chet Baker.

        Speaking of Chet Baker, his quartet provided music for the original 1954 The Fast and the Furious, one of Roger Corman’s first films.

        Reply
        • stingray65

          The tortured artist trope is interesting because it is so easy to think of examples of famous artists, musicians/song-writers, authors, actors/directors who had episodes with mental illness, various destructive addiction problems, and were just not very nice human beings. In contrast, it seems much harder to come up with a comparable list of great creatives who seemed sane, did not become excessive with destructive habits, and were generally pleasant people to be around. The question is whether the arts/creative endeavors attracts crazy/anguished people or whether the fame and fortune that great artistry/creativity can generate makes many people crazy/anguished.

          Reply
      • Will

        Were the Nazi’s really right-wing? I would suppose they aren’t, just more into collectivism than individualism (One could argue, socialist). Great art comes from adversity, rejection of the status quo but it doesn’t necessarily have to be left-wing. I think this is why a lot of great comedians are black or jewish as there’s an ability to laugh at their current or historical plight and with the ability to use humor to effectively neuter it. I often find myself laughing at situations where people would be unable to deal with because of the adversity/experiences I’ve had in my relatively short life. I think great art challenges and we’re seeing this play out in real-time in that our “art” today is basically crap because it plays to the powerful and to the status quo. These videos only enhance that the alphabet soup people aren’t creative if you’re forced to have certain opinions.

        Reply
        • CJinSD

          That there can be such a thing as an authoritarian right is just more evidence that academia has long been in the hands of subversives.

          Reply
          • stingray65

            Historians and political scientists write the books and teach the courses, and since 95% of them are Leftists they don’t want to have their favored ideology linked to Hitler, the Gestapo, and the Final Solution so they make the Nazi’s into Far Right because they were nationalists and ignore the socialist part of National Socialism. But Bernie Sanders, AOC, and most any Leftist party around the world has adopted/supports almost all the key policies of the Nazis including high taxation (especially of the rich but also the middle class), heavy regulation of industry/markets, state control of schools, health care, and pensions, gun control, support for the environmental and abortion, and demonization/persecution/imprisonment of political opponents.

        • JustPassinThru

          Answer to your question: “Nazi” is a contraction of the German for National Socialist.

          Is Socialism right-wing? Maybe in another world. My understanding of American conservatism, is, it is based on the Constitution, the Founding Principles, Natural Rights of Man.

          Nazism doesn’t fit in there anywhere.

          The Communists liked to slam the Nazis, and the Nazis the Communists…because, they were competing for the SAME PAWNS. It’s like a bar argument, Ford versus Chevy pickups. They’re basically the same, yet two drunks on the dark side of the Bell Curve will break beer mugs over each other’s heads over it.

          German Communism and National Socialism wanted mostly the same thing: TOTALITARIANISM. What they were fighting over, was which Grand Poobah would be in charge. That’s all. They were competing for customers/clients/recruits/pawns. And both sides did it by demonizing the others.

          In the end, IMHO, the Nazis won, because the Fascist program, of NOT nationalizing industry, was less threatening to German oligarchs than was the Communist dogma, already seen applied in Russia.

          Reply
          • yossarian

            “In the end, IMHO, the Nazis won, because the Fascist program, of NOT nationalizing industry, was less threatening to German oligarchs than was the Communist dogma, already seen applied in Russia.”
            I couldn’t agree more. I believe this is why the corporations seem so willing to go along with current agenda. The alternative is the end of their place in the world.

        • John C.

          I think one should be very circumspect about throwing around not playfully labels like Nazi or Commie because it becomes a crutch to avoid a discussion. As part of a country first agenda, a moratorium on new immigration is something worth serious debate. Also a possible component might be tariffs or other protections/ exemptions for a heritage industry/ institution. It is easy to throw around labels at policies like these but doing so prevents proper consideration in what is supposed to be a free marketplace of ideas.

          Reply
        • Harry

          One of the hardest things about writing something publicly for me is giving attribution to what I express. I struggled hard with it in undergrad when bringing in concepts about the topic from outside the assigned reading. What follows is a poor paraphrase of what I have read a few years back but cannot find the original source, only other sources dancing around the conclusion. For all I know I read this here.

          Nazism is difficult to place on a left-right spectrum because it is not a political philosophy but an aesthetic one. It is of course authoritarian, but not idealogical in the traditional sense. It has attributes but not universality of application. It’s economic , social, and diplomatic ethos, if it had one, was subserviant to the goals of achieving the aesthetic “purity” as envisioned by its leadership.

          I do not think the Nazis cared much about communism, other than communists stood in the way of achieving that purity because they were an essentially internationalist pacifist (sorta, in regards to nationalist war goals at least). Therefore because they weakened the German “spirit” as envisioned by the Nazis they must be expunged, eradicated, as unpure. The Versailles Diktat was a stain on the purity of the German soul, it must be expunged. The morals of the Weimar years weakened the unity needed to overturn the Diktat, they must be expunged.

          Because as it was an aesthetic philosophy it did not have constraining values, it was pulled in multiple directions by a respect for personal property, liberty, life itself. Everything seen through that aesthetic lens could be pursued maximally. It did not need to give lip service to being a workers paradise, or even improving the lot of the German. It must purify regardless of the consequences.

          A lot of ink has been spilled on why the German people accepted that deal, the extent that they knew what they were accepting, and what cultural and psychological factors were in play.

          Umberto Eco’s essay “Ur-Facism” (attribution!) is an excellent way to separate out some of how Nazism and Facism overlap but are not the same. Nazism was both aberrant and abhorrent, even to other facist. This does not excuse the horrors of other facist regimes. Like all absolutist and authoritarian regimes, the horror is a feature, not a bug.

          I think I have a point, and it is that it important to think about Nazis as a specific case, an insanity that can be repeated but there is little evidence that it will be in a meaningfully same way. There are many excuses for carrying out the horrors associated with it, and we must be vigilant against those rather than Nazism itself.

          Reply
          • Will

            Nazis hated the commies and were for state-controlled or heavily regulated business and pro-welfare. People often misplace them on the political spectrum within the US as the right-wing in this country is anarchy/libertarianism which still values the individual and fervent belief in capitalism whereas they fit more in with left-wing policies of gov’t control. They are left-wing on the political spectrum and if you look at their 25-point plan, they have more in common with the American left than they do the American right. If you remove the Jewish aspect of the Nazi party, then you can clearly see how they operated is nothing like someone who thinks limited gov’t should be the way forward. Remember, scientists were part of his inner circle and a few NASA ones were gold party badge members. They had faith in science.

            https://www.vaholocaust.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/25Points.pdf

      • Newbie Jeff

        “…except when it is the art of technical excellence and raw effort”

        Agree. The lines of a P-51 Mustang are breathtaking, almost from any angle… it’s a functional work of art that rivals history’s most admired sculptures. I feel the same way about a Forgeline 3-piece wheel, the intake manifold on the 2000 Cobra R, or the exhaust on a GT40. Actually, the whole GT40 (spoiler alert: I’m a Ford guy)…

        Not to drag it out, but like others have said I also disagree characterizing the Third Reich as “right-wing”. Hitler’s staunchest opponents within Germany were evangelical Christians who saw the Nazis as a threat to German morality and traditional culture. Some became literal domestic terrorists to end Hitler’s regime… interesting that history has shown them to be righteous for opposing an evil regime obsessed with power and control.

        Reply
        • stingray65

          Can anyone think of a beautiful and functional engineering output such as the P-51 P-38, Constellation, F-86, SR71, 707, Cord 810, 63-65 Riviera, C2 Corvette, Jaguar E-Type, Empire State Building, Hoover Dam, etc. that was the product of Leftist/tortured mind?

          Reply
          • Ronnie Schreiber

            In centrally planned economies, most innovation and creativity seems to be focused on how to achieve things with limited resources. Of course, resources are limited in free markets too, but they are limited by reality, supply and demand, not by central fiat.

            One of the problems that postwar automotive startups like Tucker and Kaiser-Frazer faced was that the War Production Board was still controlling commodities and raw materials. British specialists turned to aluminum for bodies in part because after the Battle of Britain there was a lot of scrap aluminum around while steel was still controlled.

            If the central planners have already decided which industries will get materials and equipment, how can an innovator start a new enterprise.

      • JMcG

        My two favorite living musicians are Lyle Lovett and Mark Knopfler. Neither has struck me as tortured. Of course, perhaps they aren’t that good in the scheme of things. My two favorite dead musicians are Jeff Buckley and Duane Allman. More of an argument there.

        Reply
      • hank chinaski

        Lesbian ennui to Nazis. What a thread.

        Artists and entertainers were derided as carny trash except for the aristocratic patrons that used them to assuage their own egos. Before that, most, and arguably the best work, was in service to God (and before that, gods). The steady march to base, degenerate garbage created and peddled by broken and evil people and beamed into our pockets has not been an improvement.

        FWIW, would the National Socialists have existed in a Germany without the contagion of Bolshevism, a Wilson enabled national humiliation of poverty, hyperinflation, starvation, and degeneracy? Would Franco’s Fascists have existed if the Republicans had not disinterred nuns and upended Spain’s entire social structure? We’ve seen this movie before and the franchise is being rebooted as we speak.

        Reply
        • Will

          Europe has always had a strong authoritarian streak, mostly because of its monarchical past and constant war for the need to feel safe. The break from this came with the US and this country was allowed to do their own thing with minimal external threat. It’s fascinating to study, but remember, Facsim is an Italian invention that was for state control. Coronavirus put the fear into people and we’re seeing the repercussions because we have been so safe and comfortable for so long so now we’re seeing European-style authoritarianism being implemented. Good times.

          Reply
  10. David Florida

    Feelings. The woman I miss told me that it was unhealthy to “hold them in.” I hope that someday I’ll have a chance to do something about that, and other things that sucked.

    Regarding Amber and Marina: I have always been intuitive/subconscious rather than rational/checklist user, and that included the notion to never explore further a kiss on the cheek from the high school classmate who spoke of repeatedly reading Marion Zimmer Bradley’s ’Avalon.’ I wish them well.

    Art should inspire any human, but what the audience sees is… we should just finish the thought with a reference to Alanis Morissette’s comment on ego, eh?

    Reply
  11. Daniel J

    Did you watch the Chapelle special? I’ll come back to this in a minute.

    I generally like to step out of my comfort zone when it comes to music, so I appreciate the listen here. While I did watch the video to “Lilo”, I listened to both the albums fully. “Lilo” was about the only song I really cared for on the “Good at Falling” album. I honestly don’t think this is really pop in as much as Indie or something, but it would never find a rotation in any of my playlist. On the other hand, I could easily find “Hold On” and “Any Human Friend” in my playlist. Something almost Sarah McLachlan/Dido going on there. Of course, when it comes to any sort of “Pop” music, I typically listen to EDM Pop produced by European producers (Some from here) as I find it so much more enjoyable.

    Now, getting to the universal experience you are talking about here, we all know that much of it doesn’t matter one’s own sexual prescription, religious denomination, or even racial background to find much of it in common.

    But guess, what? That is exactly what Dave Chapelle was talking about at the end of his special.

    Reply
  12. John C.

    I wonder about the parents of these girls. How are they supposed to take pride in the talent that they provided and helped develop and the career success they are experiencing when it is so tied up with angst, self destruction, and even insanity? They must hope all the drama is manufactured for image sake or at worst a phase of todays extended youth.

    Reply
    • stingray65

      Is the hope that all the insanity, self-destruction, and angst is simply an act for public consumption or something they will outgrow also shared by the parents of almost all college professors and administrators, DIE administrators, media personalities, and Leftist political party leadership?

      Reply
  13. Erik

    Remember, victimhood is the social currency of the day. The more boxes you can check off showing how miserable you are, the higher your standing among your fellows.

    Reply
  14. Ronnie Schreiber

    When it comes to contemporary female musicians, I kinda prefer Samantha Fish and Ana Popovic. Who wants to listen to an audio version of Sylvia Plath?

    Reply
    • stingray65

      Yes that is more like it Ronnie – music with some life in it. Here is another female oriented/performed song with some life that also has a surprise cameo by Jack.

      Reply
      • gb

        I was just delving into some Bobbie Gentry yesterday. A fascinating and talented woman who played nearly every instrument on her second album. For a town that would try to put the same session musicians behind every singer that blew me away.

        Reply
        • John C.

          She retired from performing in 1979. In the late 1990s she lived in Savannah on Skidaway Island, where I also lived at the time. I knew which house was hers but never met her.

          Reply
  15. TAFKADG

    I’m late to the party, but I brought lots of beer and ephedrine.

    Full disclosure; I haven’t liked a British female fronted band since Wolf Alice. They made me want to party like it’s 1991. (Hat tip to Best Coast mentioned above.)

    I watched all three videos Jack posted and this raises a larger question; Is the defining characteristic of Zoomer music a crippling psychological fear of intensity?

    The songs were well written, but entertainingly dull. While the lyrics were interesting on paper, she’s just phoning-in that performance. In the hands of a Liz Phair or an Alanis Morissette, I’d probably have a boner, but the only thing that made Amber and Marika less depressing than real lesbians is the fact that neither of them are 80 lbs overweight (yet).

    This same phenomenon applies to hip-hop, and pop music in the current year. It’s quite, droning and mumbled. They have nothing to say, and don’t say it particularly well. Not everyone needs to be PANTERA, but Jeebus, lay off the weed and try some caffeine, get in a fist fight, go on a bender and kick over some trash cans.

    Otherwise, shut up, get in the Volvo together and adopt 40 rescue pit-bulls.

    GET OFF MY LAWN!!!

    Reply
    • Jack Baruth Post author

      Much of Marika’s work comes off as Whip-Smart-lite, so yeah, you’re locked on target like Red Leader in my opinion.

      Today’s hip-pop is the worst trash ever foisted on humanity IMO. They’ve managed to make depravity BORING.

      Reply

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