And it wasn't just the departure of Chuck Klosterman.
Sometime last year Spin gussied herself up with a new format, one that looked more like a hipster version of the those supermarket celeb rags than an entertaining music mag. I only had an issue or two left, and the new format change made it much easier to just let my 5 year subscription expire. It was the first time I stopped reading a magazine because I got too old for it since Jr. High, when my parents stopped getting Focus on the Family's Breakaway for me every year for Christmas. In regards to Spin, I was only 26, yet I suddenly realized this magazine wasn't geared towards me any longer.*
Enter an article I found on MusicSnobbery.com today while looking for record reviews on the net. The format change was part of a larger target demographic shift** for the magazine spearheaded by their new editor, Andy Pemberton, formerly of Blender Magazine -- one of the few music magazines whose birth was used to herald the beginning of the end times. While Spin hadn't resorted to centerfold spreads of the Pussycat Dolls, it had dumbed down much of its content, choosing to spend more time reviewing hot party scenes and rock star sitings than actual music journalism. I have no idea if the format shift has helped the bottom line in recent months, but one can only hope that its sales volume has gone down the crapper -- and left Chuck Klosterman laughing at his good luck to get the hell out with his dignity intact.
...At least as much dignity as one could hope to have after having written for the Entertainment Weekly of music magazines.
*Contrast that to two years ago when I stopped subscribing to Paste Magazine after realizing I was too young for its format. There were some great interviews and it sure looked pretty, but I couldn't stand the lack of emphasis on anything outside of the Triple-A genre.
**And prior ownership change
Saturday, February 24, 2007
Saturday, February 17, 2007
I knew it was coming. Carson Daly has announced his candidacy for the 12:30 timeslot in 2009 when Conan moves to Burbank (Burbank!) to take over the Tonight Show. While an 11:30 Conan brings joy to my heart, a promotion for Daly makes me want to throw up for hours and hours and hours, then give my eyeballs papercuts while drinking a lawn fertilizer/buttermilk cocktail. This has disaster written all over it.
Please, NBC. Don't do this to America. If nothing else, consider you're old pal Andy Richter. Now wouldn't that be a latenite one-two punch in the face! Come on, feel the Conannoise!
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
First off, I have to get this out of the way. I love Ted Haggard. It wasn't always this way. But since the whole brouhaha in November, I have had serious feelings of love and affection for this man. He loves God. He struggles. He messes things up. What's not to love, exactly?
That being said, I am seriously disappointed with this man I love -- in Christian love, both the agape and philial varieties -- because of his supposed three week turnaround from confused sexual being to raging heterosexual. You heard me right: Ted Haggard says he's completely hetero after three weeks of counseling. Restoration, indeed! Hallelujah!
Except not. Another disclaimer: in this post I will not argue the point that counseling a body/mind from homosexuality to heterosexuality is/is not possible. Instead I'll defer to the Kinsey scale and chalk up Haggard's behavior to the distinct probability that he lies within the 80% of the population that is neither exclusively straight or exclusively gay. Using that logic, it's absurd to force the man to pick a side and draw up battle lines. Let Haggard be Haggard. And not either Will Truman or Magnum P.I. There's some middle ground here that we ought not to ignore.
The Haggard camp doesn't see it that way. And that's a sad fact. One of the pastors who oversaw Haggard "recovery" had this to say: "He is completely heterosexual. That is something he discovered. It was the acting-out situations where things took place. It wasn't a constant thing."
So according to Haggard's boys, his dalliance with Mike Jones was "acting-out." In other words, his gay-ness wasn't 24/7; it was a outlet he pursued to deal with certain problems. No word on what those problems were -- the drug habit is a good guess (though Haggard never admitted to using), and marital problems could be implied from the statement, too. But in the end it doesn't matter. Because it's not true.
Andrew Sullivan of the Atlantic Online points out the tragedy of it all -- that Haggard, in denying his bisexual tendencies, is only making himself sicker. Talk about hitting the nail on the head. This doesn't mean that Ted has to have sex with guys to fulfill himself as a human being. No. What it does mean is this: Haggard needs to admit to himself that he likes guys on occasion, and that it's part of him that won't ever go away. But because of his beliefs, he will deny that urge and focus his energies elsewhere. It's the same thing millions of Christians do every year during the season of Lent. It's the same thing priests (well, most of them) and nuns have done for centuries. It's the same thing a married man does when he sees a good-looking woman that isn't his wife. It's done every day. That doesn't make it easy. But it does make it possible.
By refusing to accept the truth, and claiming he's 100% all woman-lovin', Haggard only makes it harder on himself to move on and minister to others. Hopefully, he comes to his senses and realizes that no amount of calling an oak tree a fire hydrant makes it a fire hydrant. Yet no matter what, I'll keep on loving him. Because my love for Haggard is agape, and my affection is hesed. And it doesn't go away because he's a toolbag.
Friday, February 09, 2007
Musings on sticking around for the main event
I was thinking some about the Rapture today; not the band but the eschatological event, and I was kind of hoping that if there is an actual Rapture, maybe I could skip it.
It's not that I don't want to meet Jesus in the clouds, that does sound fairly awesome, but moreso that it would be interesting to live in a world where there were no Christians or Christian bookstores or Christian bracelets or even Christian ocelots. Think of all the things you could do if you were the last Christian on earth:
- You could have a Christian band, and you'd be the only Christian band on earth. You could cover every song by DC Talk and the Newsboys and Phillips, Craig and Dean and Zao and no would could tell you not to because they'd all be in heaven and you could tell them to shut the hell and they'd have to obey because they couldn't talk back.
- You could be on all the talk shows and talking heads shows as the last living expert on Christianity. You could probably run for governor of Alabama or North Dakota on the Christian ticket and still stand a good chance of winning. You could run for president and most likely lose but still garner enough votes to find yourself in a cabinet position. Mostly, politics would be a hoot, at least for those first three-and-a-half years.
- Then there's the Tribulation. Okay, that might suck. But, if I played my cards right, I might be able to land myself a spot on the Tribulation Force, and get to shoot rocket-propelled grenades at the Anti-Christ, who would be my good buddy from the old cabinet days. He's most likely a dick anyways, so the whole rocket thing might not be so bad.
- Two words: Bible Smuggler. I could be the next Brother Andrew!
- That's all I got. Except maybe I would push for Armageddon to happen on the moon, because that does sound pretty sweet. Moon Wars!
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
If you watched the Super Bowl, you most likely watched the commercials, too. And if you most likely watched the the commercials, too, then you probably remember the Snickers Kiss. Two manly men eating a Snickers bar accidentally kiss in the process, followed by the ripping of chest hair in order to prove their said manliness. Funny commercial, right? WRONG!
After a number of organizations representing the gay community doth protested, Snickers promised to never run the ad again. Yet according to this USA Today story, the gay community is divided on whether or not the ad was offensive. Cyd Zeigler, who founded Outsports.com, a sports website that caters to the gay community, thought nothing of it. On the other hand, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation was outraged, saying "Mars needs to apologize for the deplorable actions of its Snickers brand." Which, incidentally, is my favorite quote of the year thus far.*
Fortunately, in the Web 2.0 Age, we have dozens of video websites where this commercial will live on and on and on, doing what Snickers would have had to pay millions for were they to air the spot on their own. So if anything, this kind of publicity only serves to heighten my cravings for Snickers brand candy bars, deplorable though their actions may be. America seems to agree, with web site visits to Snickers.com up 1478% (though to be fair, a good number of those hits were redirects from afterthekiss.com, the website Snickers pulled that was to continue the saga of the Kiss online).
Snickers has yet to apologize for the ad, and many people aren't happy with their decision. But if all else fails, and Snickers sticks to their guns, at least they'll have frat boys, mechanics and the Christian Right. Not bad for market share if you ask me.
*'Deplorable' used in reference to the actions of a candy bar? Now that's great rhetoric.
Monday, February 05, 2007
President Bush Wants To Kill The Muppets, Then Drink Their Blood And Sacrifice Their Flesh To His All-Seeing Sky-God...
...Then Piss In Their Smoldering Eye-Sockets, Then Laugh Maniacally While Outlawing Gay Marriage, So Please Give Us Money (...was that too much?)
President Bush has a budget. A $2.9 trillion budget to keep this country running for another year. And in his budget this year he's made his disdain known for the Corporation of Public Broadcasting, asking for Congress to cut its annual budget by almost 25%. But don't worry about Grover and Company (wait a tic, is Grover still on Sesame Street anymore? all I see is Elmo when I flip by); it's not going to happen for two reasons.
One, we've got a Democratic Congress. And they looooooove PBS. No dice, Mr. President. Those nasty Checks and Balances win again.
And two, no one takes this budget seriously. Not even in the good old days when the Republicans ran the Capital Rotunda.
Actually, when I said this budget was for the next year, I kind of lied. This proposed budget will keep the country running for 365 days from October 2007, when the fiscal year for the federal government actually begins. Basically, the president presents a budget every year on the first Monday of February. The Senate and the House kick it around for a couple of months, add things, delete things, add things, rewrite things, argue loudly, then quietly add a few more things and pass it. The end result looks very different from what the president proposed, but that's just the way things go -- no matter who's in control of Congress.
This president has run up quite the tab since he took office, turning an annual budget surplus (taking in more money than the government could spend) into a sizable annual deficit (spending more money than the government collected). It's all over those books you see propped up in Borders or Barnes and Noble -- you know the ones: Spend That Money, You Big-Government Jackass!; Lies, Lies, Lies and Where the Hell Did Our Surplus Go?; and my personal favorite, Our President is a Great, Big Douchebag Who Spent All Our Children's Money, Right After He Stole the Election and Invaded Iraq to Liberate Their Oil....Douchebag.*
What my point is, is this: Our president is trying to make up for all that spending by presenting a paper-tiger budget with a bunch of cuts that he knows and Congress knows and really everyone in Washington knows will never be passed. With a Republican Congress, maybe you get a few. With a Democratic one, fat chance. But the president has promised to cut the annual budget deficit by the time he leaves office, which in Washington lingo means, "Pretend to try to cut the annual budget deficit, then blame Congress when your pretense fails, thus cementing your legacy as a 'trier' who couldn't get his way, but was basically a good guy with a good heart so please vote for Condi. Please."
And everyone comes out happy. President Bush looks like a tough, fiscal conservative (excuse while I laugh for a few minutes, uncontrollably, until I pass out....okay, I'm back). Democrats in Congress get a fun punching bag to punch to rally the troops 'round. And progressive groups get a few punches in too, raising millions of dollars with which to fight the Evil Empire in the process (the president is taking away Sesame Street and NOVA! give Concerned Citizens against Abstinence and Coal Power craploads of your money!). See, smiles all around.
Cause it's this game. A game that both sides have been playing for a long time. And the funny things is, after all the blustering about killing Grover or Elmo or John McLaughlin, nothing actually changes, except for the hundreds of millions of dollars that change hands during that whole punching process I mentioned above. If we were smart, we'd just ignore this budget, try not to get so pissy, and write a new budget, a better budget, a budget with little hearts and smiley faces drawn in the margins.
But who can resist scaring the crap out of America? They're taking away Elmo for Godsakes! For the actual sake of Christ-crucified, don't you see what we must do! Don't you see why this man in so terrible and evil and wants to rape your country! Don't you see the monstrous overhead it takes to run this non-profit organization that protects you from this evil man, who is wanting to rape your country!
See? Now isn't screaming that so much more satisfying than reason and compromise? I'll say.
*I'm pretty sure those books don't actually exist. They might. I just haven't been inside a Borders for while to either confirm nor deny their physical existence.
Saturday, February 03, 2007
Leaves Room for Improvement
I did a Google search for that title phrase above the pic and nothing came up. I guess I'm a little frustrated with Vermont's Public Radio Network, and wanted to see if anyone else was. Alas, no takers, at least in the blogosphere. So let's write a post about it that no one will ever read! Come on!
Here Is Why:
1. We have a couple of days in January with 60 degree weather, and suddenly you go crazy with how it's always going to be this way because global warming is going to change our way of life and it'll be like Connecticut weather for the rest of our lives. Geez, never heard of a warm front?
2. You call yourself an independent radio station but I don't buy it. You're not some 100 watt station pumping out the jams free form to Vermont residents. Sure, you're not corporate, either. But indy? With all the power of NPR, PRI and BBC Radio (if so desired) behind you? Not hardly. Be yourself, VPR. Don't worry, you can still stick it to the man.
3. Where's the beef? We got Morning Edition and All Things Considered, but what about Day to Day and the World and To the Point and BBC Newshour and etc., etc., etc. Now, don't get me wrong, classical music makes really great morning tunes, but from 9am-3pm every weekday? And don't even get me started on how much Music from the Hearts of Space sucks ass. I want my WBEZ back. But the old one, not the one they switched to after I left.
4. Tavis Smiley, bitches. Where the hell is Tavis Smiley's weekend show?
You could do better. Make some room for more talk after the noon hour. Bring the Beef. Find Tavis Smiley. Drop Hearts of Space for American Routes or Whad' Ya Know? or quite literally anything else ever recorded. And keep on stickin' it to the man.
Friday, February 02, 2007
Holy shit! Hot shit! New posts! Re-posts! Rebar! Fubar! Fubu! Where the hell did all these posts come from you ask? Hither and thither, of course! Where did this new hell template come from? Well, it's like the second template, only opposite! The days just keep getting better and better! Be on the look out! Cause guess who's hell comin' to dinner? Look out!
Thursday, February 01, 2007
Day Break is back! Well, sort of. ABC has finally resumed their streaming of new episodes on their website, after some bullshit about how they couldn't because of music clearance issues. Of course, you have no idea what I'm talking about because I was one of fourteen people who actually watched Day Break before it was cancelled by ABC a few weeks ago. But it was a fun show; more fun than shit-faced Lost season 3. And I missed it. And now I get to see the how the series concludes, so myself and the 13 others who are fans of the show are very happy campers now. Camp fire!