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Our Last 50 Referrers

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February 05, 2008


Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

* YummyOrYucky posts a little peanut-butter porn.

* More and more journalists are thinking of leaving their field.

* Alan Little turns up a sensational map that shows the birthplaces of many American blues musicians. A nice passage from the text accompanying the map:

Mississippi is the poorest of all states, but fortunately also has a happier distinction: it’s the place where most of the quintessentially American music genres originated, from blues and jazz to rock ‘n roll. An amazing accomplishment for a state that has under three million inhabitants ...

* At his own weblog, Alan confesses that he has been growing more and more interested in yoga theory. I've poked around yoga philosophy and yoga theory myself, and I'm happy to second Alan's opinion.

* Don Boudreaux thinks that the just-deceased industrial designer Viktor Schreckengost deserves attention and appreciation. (Link thanks to Dave Lull.)

* Laurence Jarvik enjoys 48 hours in Montreal.

* The postmodern miaowing at the chickblog Jezebel can make me feel like I'm trapped in a TV showroom where all the sets have been tuned to "Sex in the City" and "Ally McBeel." But I found this posting by an anonymous model about what the modeling life is actually like very interesting. (Link thanks to the Communicatrix.)

* Did you know that there's a lost, abandoned H-bomb in the ocean just a few miles off the coast of Savannah, Georgia? Don't I remember that metal has a tendency to corrode?

* Jim Kalb writes a lovely, short appreciation of Yasujiro Ozu's "Early Summer." Ozu is one of those landmark filmmakers whose work all filmbuffs should get to know, and "Early Summer" is certainly a good place to start.

* Penelope Green thinks that the Slow Movement has been picking up steam. I blogged about the Slow Movement here and here. Fab factlet reported by Penelope Green:

A 2005 study sponsored by Hewlett-Packard showed that the I.Q.s of workers who responded quickly to the constant barrage of e-mails they received during the day fell 10 points, more than double the I.Q. drop of someone smoking marijuana.

* Bill Kauffman writes a memoir of the Rochester regional writer and novelist Henry Clune. (Link thanks to Dave Lull.)

* MBlowhard Rewind: I watched a documentary about L.A.'s poet of grunge, Charles Bukowski.



posted by Michael at February 5, 2008


"Mississippi is the poorest of all states, but fortunately also has a happier distinction: it’s the place where most of the quintessentially American music genres originated, from blues and jazz to rock ‘n roll."

A couple of my favorite bluesmen come from Mississippi, B.B. King and Muddy Waters. The statement that most American genres originated from there... well, that's wild hyperbole.

The eternal argument over authenticity (or lack of it) when it comes to the blues can drive you stark raving mad. Elvis is a contemporary of B.B. King and Muddy Waters, and yet he is so often accused of having "stolen" something from them.

Willie Nelson and Ray Charles made an album together, with what I think was the clear intent of tossing away this categorization of music as black and white.

The blues, like rock and roll came from a wide variety of sources, spread out across America.

These discussions about authenticity can have the most hilarious, unintended consequences. White musicians stream from all over America to Chicago to play in the jam sessions at blues clubs. One of the favorite tricks of the house band is to call up an entirely white band of out of towners and let them stand up there all alone to play.

Mississippi certainly produced some great musicians. But, no, it did not originate those idioms. The Mississippi River and the Illinois Central played key rolls in the constant movement of musical ideas from New Orleans to Chicago. Then again, East-West railway routes and the Ohio River played similar roles in keeping the ideas flowing from New York City to Chicago. The ideas flowed in all directions all at once. If there is any constant character trait of musicians, it is that they are rolling stones.

I love the blues. But, this constant harping about authenticity is a brain dead remnant of the Civil Rights era. Like affirmative action, this discussion centers around building the "self-esteem" of blacks, by granting them territory when they reign supreme. It's nonsense. Whites are just as important in the development of those music idioms. The chordal and melodic structures came from Scotch, Irish and Italian folk music.

When I die, one of the happier outcomes of my demise will be that I will never again have to hear white intellectuals or musicians harping on the authenticity of the blues or rock and roll. As an added bonus, I won't have to listen to black intellectuals or musicians harping about their special "soul." Those themes has been dead meat for 40 years.

Posted by: Shouting Thomas on February 5, 2008 3:13 PM

More abut that bomb off Savannah...

Posted by: Charlton Griffin on February 5, 2008 3:15 PM

There are a disturbing number of H-bombs lost around the world. My father was on a flight that accidentally dropped one into the St. Lawrence Seaway during the Korean War. And it's just the American bombs we're gradually hearing about. Lord knows how many Soviet bombs were dropped where they shouldn't be.

Posted by: Ned on February 6, 2008 4:23 PM

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