Friday, September 25, 2015

Loos, 1915

Today, September 25, is the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Loos. It's an important battle - the largest fought by the British in 1915; the first use of gas by the British in the war; and the first significant use of New Army troops in the war. It was, for the most part, a disaster. The Brits had a huge numerical superiority, but their preliminaries did not dislodge the Germans, who mowed them down, as machine guns will - the Germans then brought up reserves and drove back subsequent attacks. They kept fighting for a few more days - dragged it on for weeks - but nothing really changed. (That's the basic description of every battle of WWI - bloody and disastrous initial attack, that maybe made some progress - reinforcements and counter-attacks that negate whatever advantages were gained - weeks of both sides trying it again - nothing different at the end.) (You can read all the details here, matter of factly - with casualty numbers at the end.)

Loos was very badly handled. It was the first big British attack, and it was fraught with trouble. There weren't enough shells - so the artillery barrage didn't really suppress the German lines, even the front lines. didn't break the wire. didn't support the initial waves of attack. (This would become a major scandal - it would help to bring down the British commanding general, John French, leading to Douglas Haig taking his place.) The gas (the "accessory") didn't do much good - the Brits released it from canisters, hoping the winds would carry it into the German lines. The wind wasn't blowing; it hung over the battlefield and sometimes drifted back into the British lines. It probably could have been worse - Robert Graves says that the gas-company had the wrong spanners, and couldn't get the canisters open - only a few of them went off, though of course they did the Brits more harm than the Germans. The Germans were ready (says Graves) - and managed to do what the gas company couldn't - scored a couple direct hits on the unopened canisters, releasing their contents to add to the confusion... All this mess was compounded by French's misuse of reserves - by supply problems (Graves writes about a New Army division that made notable advances, only to have to retreat when they ran out of rations) - and by general and complete confusion.

I know the battle best through Robert Graves' account in Goodbye to All That. It's a masterpiece of understated fury. Graves was at the left of the line, part of the attack on the town of La Bassée, a diversion from the main assault in theory. He described the attack as a complete fiasco - even before the battle, with drunken subalterns and staff officers abusing their commanders. Everyone expects disaster - a "glorious balls-up". And it is. Not enough artillery; the gas attack goes all wrong; when the attack gets going, the communication lines are broken, so no one behind the lines knows what is happening, no orders come up, no information goes back. The fighting itself is pure confusion - men go forward, are shot, and come back, or lay in shell holes sniping at the Germans to no effect. There is heroism - almost all of it involving men risking their lives to save their comrades. Or a fatally wounded man choking himself to stop crying so no one else will be killed to try saving him.

He had no love for the higher officers, Graves. He tells us how the colonel went to the rear with the wounded, "with a slight cut on the hand." (The junior officer who chewed his hand to stop himself from screaming, meanwhile, was hit 17 times. Lieutenants and captains take the brunt of the damage and acquit themselves well in Graves' account.) He ends his story of the battle with a very nasty (but typically understated) story of two second lieutenants who survived the brunt of the fighting. (2 of 3 officers in their battalion to emerge from the battle unwounded.) They reported to their commander, who they found eating a meat pie; he took their report, and sent them on their way (without offering any of the pie), with an admonition to make sure that men remembered to button their shoulder straps. Graves adds that the colonel was heard to complain “that he only had two blankets and that it was a deucedly cold night.” At least another officer, having heard the story, gets some payback, by helping himself to the meat pie without being invited...

It's an extraordinary passage, and well worth seeking out. (The book, of course, is itself extraordinary, and well worth the read.) It gets at so much of what was wrong in the war - the pointlessness of the tactics; the endless screw ups, undermining the already bad plans; the absurdity of the class structure and command structure that kept haunting the war effort. (He tells the story of the son of a prominent Jamaican planter who got appointed a first lieutenant by the governor of Jamaica. The boy (a kid, 18 or so) was hopelessly incompetent, but outranked most of the other officers. He was appointed to the mortal battalion, since he was otherwise useless - at first, mortars were useless too, but they were starting to become valuable by the end of 1915. When the battle started, the kid ("Jamaica" as Graves call shim) did all right, working the mortars - but in the middle of the battle, a captain, the only man in the battalion to treat him well, was mortally wounded - and "Jamaica" fell to pieces. Abandoned the mortars - leaving one German machine gun unscathed, machine gun that proceeded to cut down attackers in swaths. And more - "Jamaica" and his wounded captain blocked the trenches, so men couldn't move top and from the battle - another disaster. But all too typical, given the men in positions of authority because of who they knew, rather than what they knew...) Grave's account is, in miniature, as clear eyed a picture of what the hwole war was like as you can get.

End of the Week Music Plus

Welcome back Friday, glad to see you, as always.

This is not going to be a huge post - music, mainly. Saw the Feelies again last week - they were, as always, spectacular. Took me back 30 years. It is strange - nothing has changed, they might be older, but they look and act the same, and sound more or less the same - one of their essential qualities, that: everything sounds as though you've heard it a thousand times before, and everything sounds absolutely new. I notice it in the guitar parts - they can play riffs exactly as they always played them, but they still sound somehow completely new. It's in the tone, it's in the twists around the edges of the notes, in the details. Seeing them live is still a euphoric experience.

And - anything else? The 100th anniversary of the Battle of Loos is today - first use of poison gas by the British in WWI. With disastrous results. I hope to have a longer post up this weekend - Loos is the centerpiece of Robert Grave's writing about WWI in Goodbye to All That - a particularly scathing account of a badly run battle. I can't say "particularly" badly run battle (though it was), because most WWI battles were complete fuck ups for almost all concerned.

For now though, just some random music to hold you over.

1. Louis Armstrong & Hot Five - You're Next
2. Ric Ocasek - Crashland Consequences
3. Wire - 99.9
4. James White and the Blacks - Bleached Black
5. Outkast - ?
6. The Rolling Stones - Let It Loose
7. Wire - I Am The Fly
8. Radiohead - I Might Be Wrong
9. Melt Banana - Mind Thief
10. Husker Du - Divide and Conquer

Video? start with a clip from last week's Feelies show, because, there's a clip from last week's Feelies show:

And since iTunes wants Wire - here's I am the Fly, from the Peel sessions:

And if you need more Wire than that (and who doesn't?) here's a full show from Rockpalast, 1979:

Friday, September 18, 2015

Radio Burnin Up Above

Iggy Iggy Iggy Iggy.... This month's band of the month will be Iggy Pop and the Stooges. It will also be short (at least comparatively). Not that there isn't plenty to say about Detroit's finest, but you don't have to say it all.

They are simple and direct and powerful always. They get called the fathers of punk, though not very many punk bands live up to them. They have a savvy about them, though - which punks did too, let's be fair - an ability to slip sideways into those long grooves of Fun House. They never fail to rock, and they rock all over the place, at least on those first 2 records - they manage to be calculated and completely raw, musically adventurous and brutal at once. They are almost alone out there.

And Iggy - the Stooges made three records and then he went off on his own, and something was lost. Not his doing exactly - he made a lot of good (to great) music on his own - and Iggy himself was always a beast. But he spent decades seeming wildly out of place with his surroundings - way cooler and scarier and better than anyone around him, spending a lot of time playing with journeymen. Even when he played with people who were great artists in their own right, Bowie and Lou Reed, say, he was different, off kilter - too much, even for David Bowie. Too wild, too cool - as a performer - just beyond everyone else. He's not the only rock and roller to put on an extreme show - but he's one of the few who is both awe inspiring and a bit terrifying who never comes off as even remotely desperate. He is in control, no matter how out of control he is.

But still: after those Stooges records - it's all a bit less. Which is credit to the Asheton brothers, as much as anything - I can't say they're particularly great musicians, but they are dead on to what they are doing. They had a sound, and they nailed it - fuzzy guitar, the wah wah solos, the plain, relentless drumming - it's a sound that fits Iggy's voice, growling and punching along, distilling that garage sound to its perfect form. It is relentless and punchy and I can listen to them forever. Ron's guitar sound - that's something brought to perfection right there.

All right - here are my Ten favorite songs from Iggy's long and illustrious career. The songs are still pretty good in the late 70s - but the x sound misses the Ashetons. All right - here goes:

1. 1970
2. 1969
3. TV Eye
4. I Wanna Be Your Dog
5. Loose
6. Search and Destroy
7. Lust for Life
8. Passenger
9. Mexican Guy - even in their late incarnations, they can be funny and very funky
10. No Fun

Video: I wish there was more of them in their heyday - what there is is pretty mindblowing. Here's 1970, in 1970 -

And a short documentary, that works in most of the old footage (Iggy and his peanut butter!), along with some interviews from the time of their comeback: "we never failed to make an impression"

Lust for Life, later:

Full concert from 2003:

Searching and Destroying at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, with James Williamson:

Finally, since I'm going to see them tonight, here are the Feelies covering Real Cool Time, Bill and Glenn trading solo, though Bill gets the better of them, for once:

And finally, a tribute to the power of the internet - here is a cute girl covering The Passenger on the Polish Voice:

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Ivan's Childhood

[Also cross posted at Wonders in the Dark as part of their ongoing Childhood films countdown.]

Andrei Tarkovsky's Ivan’s Childhood begins with the sound of a cuckoo, and a shot of a boy standing behind a tree, looking up at us through cobweb. It ends with the same boy chasing a little girl along a beach, the two of them circling a dead black tree, that seems to keep forcing itself into the image. Both are dreams: the boy, Ivan, is in the middle of a war, dreaming of the world before the war, his childhood. He is still a child in the present of the film, but his childhood is long gone.

Ivan’s Childhood, like Germany Year Zero, is a war film about childhood that is also a childhood film about war, using each side of the equation to heighten the emotion of the other. Ivan is already a hardened veteran when Ivan’s Childhood begins - orphaned, a partisan, now working for the regular army as a scout. That is where he is when the film’s story begins - but that is not how the film begins. It begins with the dream, Ivan walking, running, flying, through fields and forests, coming to rest at his mother’s feet, drinking from a bucket of water. It begins with the childhood he has lost, before waking him to the war he is living in. But it is a very thin line between waking and dreaming. The difference may mean everything to Ivan, but it is very permeable for Tarkovsky’s filmmaking. In Ivan’s dream, Tarkovsky’s camera soars and swirls, almost gleefully defying gravity and rules of space. But when Ivan wakes in a ruined windmill and goes out, the camera remains as vertiginous as in the dream, swinging around, taking extreme angles, cutting up his experiences into flashes of imagery. Real life is immediately established as being as disorienting and strange as any dream.

As we come to know Ivan, we see that he thinks of himself as an adult, the equal of anyone around him - but he is still a child. In the banal outside world, he tries to be an adult, but he isn't, and he remains at the mercy of the men around him. They try to force him to be a child, to go to school, to find surrogate parents, none of which he he thinks he needs. And Tarkovsky's filmmaking emphasizes Ivan’s subjectivity, both awake and in dreams, in ways that show just how close he is to his lost childhood. Dreams and childhood push into his life, haunting him. Ivan isn't always sure which is which - he worries that he is talking in his sleep, his dreams and memories escaping into the world where he wants to be treated as an adult. And apart from the dreams, we see that Ivan has a kind of psychic bond to the world around him. Much of the film is set in a house serving as headquarters for Lt. Galtsev's unit, a house where 8 Russians, none over 19, were held before being shot by the Germans. Their last message is written on the wall - “Avenge us” they say. Tarkovsky emphasizes this graffiti throughout the film - and Ivan, when left alone in the room, is swept up into the story of those executed children. He hears them; feels them; sees them (and his mother, and himself). He seems to slip between his present and the past, theirs and his own, increasingly acting out their story. They are palpable ghosts for him.

It’s not just how Ivan sees the world, but how Tarkovsky sees the world that keeps the boundaries between reality and visions permeable. The camera work remains fluid and inventive throughout; the editing disruptive, jumping across time and space without connections. Things appear out of context, and Tarkovsky takes his time to reveal the context. For example, the first sight we have of Lt. Galtsev - a hand sticking up out of a blackness. A hand coming out of the ground? Out of the swamp Ivan had been wading through? No - eventually we see it is just a man, sleeping. But Tarkovsky delays the revelation. Similar imagery continues - isolated body parts (of the living or the dead); slippage between reality, flashbacks, visions and dreams; and the nature shots - vertiginous rows of trees, people moving through them; the earth disappearing under their feet. Some of this harkens back to other films - especially to Cranes Are Flying, another crucial Soviet war film. Tarkovsky’s camera work owes a lot to that film - the camera flying, spinning, moving, dancing, all of it in luscious black and white. As well as specific scenes and moments - particularly the scenes in a wooded swamp, referring to the death of the hero of Cranes Are Flying.

There are thematic parallels as well - the way human beings are swallowed by nature; the god’s eye views and worm’s eye views of the world. But we can see some of Tarkovsky’s obsessions appearing as well. Bells - pervasive natural imagery, the elements (earth water air and fire) - flying - memories, visions, dreams - and images and words on walls, seeming to come off the walls, into the minds of the characters in the film.

And in the end, Tarkovsky blurs all the lines of the film - between reality and visions, between Ivan's subjectivity and others, between all the times of the film. The final sequence takes place at the end of the war, the Soviets going throught he ruins of Germany - Galtsev, the only survivor, going through old Nazi records, looking at the fate of their prisoners. He finds Ivan's record - and it is as if he can follow the records into Ivan's memories and dreams. He imagines/sees/feels Ivan’s death - rather, the film shows it, but shows it as if Galtsev were experiencing it. And Tarkovsky moves from the vision of Ivan’s death to another dream, children on a beach, Ivan and his mother again - in a way here that links Galtsev to Ivan's mother, making identical gestures, reality and dream combining:

And so we end, with Ivan playing on the beach, running, laughing, with a little girl - though still haunted by the image of the war, that gaunt stark tree in the middle of the beach. (That reminds me, maybe incongruously, but maybe not, of the hanging tree in Budd Boetticher’s Ride Lonesome.) The kids play, but around that tree, that seems to keep intruding into the frame, and finally swallows them up.

Germany Year Zero

[Cross posted from Wonders in the Dark as part of their Childhood films countdown. I neglected to post here when I posted it there - the holiday weekend and all, traveling, things were hectic... I wish I were taking this WWII class just now - I took it a couple years ago.... Childhood in WWII films would make a good paper; this and my other post for WITD would almost make a paper between them.]

War films often use children as protagonists - we've seen several in this countdown already (Come and See, Empire of the Sun, The Tin Drum, among others), with more to come surely. There are many reasons for this - I think those reasons add up to to the fact that the plight of children, of childhood, in wartime brings the horror of war into very sharp focus. Children in war films may be victims, they may be corrupted, may become (or be) evil, or at least hard-boiled, they may not seem to understand the nature of war, may not seem to treat it as completely real - but however they act, or are affected by the war, they reveal its nature through what it makes them. Children are new people - they are pliable, in the process of being formed - and what war turns them into shows us what war is. (And this, in turn, is why so many great films about childhood seem to be war films - because childhood is about becoming what you will be, and war heightens that, the way childhood heighten the effects of war. And maybe because childhood isn't necessarily as innocent, pleasant, secure as we wish it were - children in war become hyperbolic versions of childhood in any difficult situation.) Beyond this, children in war films draw the viewer in - child protagonists are often in the position of the viewer, having to learn about their world as they move through it. And maybe most of all - whatever a child might do in a war film, we know the child did not cause the ear. Children are always acted on by the war, no matter how active they are - adults in warfare raise questions of responsibility that children can sidestep.

In Roberto Rossellini's Germany Year Zero, his protagonist, Edmund, does all these things. He is innocent - but he is corrupted, even before the film started (with his Nazi education), and is led to more and more compromised actions that culminate in murder. He is formed by the war, and by the horrific aftermath of the war - learning from it, made what he is by it. And he is our guide to the world of the film, Berlin after the war. This is quite literal - the camera often follows him through the streets, watching him in his environment, showing us the city and what happens there. He guides us through many encounters, vignettes of suffering and cruelty, in the streets and at home. At the same time, though, he is not just guide but quester - searching for food, searching (quite explicitly - Rossellini's symbolism and ideas aren't subtle here) for meaning, what the war meant, what he is, what life means for himself and others. He is both Virgil and Dante in the inferno of ruined Berlin - and one of the damned souls as well, a ghost in a ghost of a city.

There is no question that it is hell, and these are the damned. Rossellini doesn't dwell on Germany's role in the war, but the tone of the film, and the overall gist of the story doesn't leave much doubt about it - the people of Berlin are in hell, a hell on earth, and one they created, and one they damned themselves to. This is a relentlessly pessimistic film. Everyone Edmund encounters is a kind of monster. His father is weak and useless, full of self pity, if basically a decent man; his brother hides from the Allies, a burden to his family, who then whines at them for doing what they have to to help him. His sister, actually, might be the one truly admirable person in the film - willing to do what she can to help her father and brother, unwilling to condemn Edmund for what he does to help them, constantly trying to get Karl-Heinz to take responsibility, all while waiting in vain for her own lover, who is held in a prison camp somewhere. And those are the good guys - their neighbors are selfish bullies who steal and condemn and pass the blame. Edmund meets a former teacher who is a particularly overdetermined monster - a pedophile who seems to live with a ring of pedophiles, an unrepentant Nazi, still preaching its ethos of the strong living at the expense of the weak (while ducking work on some kind of health exemption) and living off the black market. The other kids Edmund encounters are hard-bitten thieves and gangsters. The people in the streets are selfish and dangerous - they fight over a dead horse in the street; old women chase Edmund away from a job he gets, claiming he's too young, though really doing it to get more for themselves. Even the Allies are shown as careless jerks, taking pictures at Hitler's bunker and buying Nazi memorobilia. (Nothing new about nitwits taking selfies at Auschwitz.) There isn't much relief from it, and even good deeds come wrapped in cynicism - a doctor who does a good deed; Christl's relative kindness; Edmund's sister, and Edmund himself, up toa point...

Only up to a point. As things go from bad to worse for Edmund and his family, he begins to consider desperate measures. His father is sick, and after a brief stay in a hospital, he comes home, to find the family in very dire straights. There is no more power in the house; they have no money, no food - they are in trouble. The old man's self-pity is getting the best of him - he tells Edmund he'd be better off dead; when he comes home he says he has been "condemned to live." Well - not for long. Edmund, still scrambling for food or a way out of this, had been talking to the teacher again - Henning spouted Nazi platitudes about letting the weak die so the strong can live, and Edmund took it to heart. He acts: he poisons the old man, hoping that would let the other three get on with their lives. It immediately backfires - the minute he gives his father the poison the police arrive and Karl Heinz decides to do the right thing. (I told you Rossellini wasn't being subtle.) In fact, Karl-Heinz is very quickly released (as his father and sister had told him would happen), but it is too late - the father is dead, and Edmund realizes he killed his father for nothing. It's too much - he runs - retracing many of his steps from earlier in the film, but especially going back to Henning - who drives him away in horror, refusing to take responsibility for what he said.

That (as Rossellini says in the introduction to the film on the Criterion disk) is the key idea of the film - it is about bad education. Edmund is trained by Nazism, grows up in it, internalizing its values - but when he acts on those values, his elders deny responsibility. The symbolism behind this, of the German people creating Nazism willingly, and then trying to pretend it wasn’t them, is clear enough as well. Germans do not come off well. The father, who seems to have disliked Nazism, clearly never had the courage or strength to do anything about it. His sons embrace it unambiguously. Henning is the other side - an unrepentant Nazi, but one who ducks and dodges - avoiding work, avoiding responsibility, dispensing bad advice and running away from it. Getting a former student to peddle Hitler records to soldiers for him (which I suppose is better than the other fate he had in mind for Edmund.) He’s a thoroughly loathsome creature.

And yet, the film is not just about damnation. Alongside Edmund's story runs his brother's story - in some ways, Karl Heinz is the hidden center of the film. He is the source of the family's trouble, being on the run - they have to feed him, and he not only costs them a ration card, but he is the most employable member of the family and does nothing. He is hard to take - preaching at his sister and Edmund for the things they do to feed him (self-righteously refusing to eat the food Edmund brings back from his nighttime adventure, all while reclining on a cot.) But one of the most interesting aspects of the film is the way it balances his story against Edmund's. The ironies of their stories are not subtle, the way Karl-Heinz does the right thing at exactly the time Edmund does the worst possible thing - but the construction is more sophisticated than the obvious irony might indicate. Karl-Heinz’s story unfolds in the background - Rossellini watches Edmund, but in a way the real battle is fought over Karl-Heinz - his struggle and his decision is the decisive one. Except it isn’t. The film plays as though we think Edmund’s story is the real one, but the real story that is his brother's - except it isn’t, Edmund's is the real center.

Both brothers act at the same time - Edmund to poison his father; Karl-Heinz to surrender to the Allies - and their actions cancel each other out. Karl-Heinz gives himself up to save his father; Edmund kills his father to save his brother - but when he does, Karl-Heinz no longer needs saving, and when Karl-Heinz acts his father is beyond saving. The final sting of the story comes from the fact that Karl-Heinz could in fact save the family - had he done so at any other time, he would have, but he waited just a bit too long. And, consistent with Rossellini's theme, he waited because of his education - he took to heart what he learned from the Nazis, the need to fight to the death, the lack of mercy to expect from the Allies (probably justified, if he'd been caught by the Russians) - and held until it was too late. And Edmund is doomed.

The final section of the film is devastating. Edmunds walks through the city, retracing many of his travels from earlier in the film. He goes to Henning, who drives him out; he looks for the kids, Joe and Christl, but they chase him away; he wanders the streets, increasingly isolated - he tries to play soccer with some kids, but they won't have him; he hears music, and stands outside a church - but as others go toward the music, he turns away, alone.

And goes on, drawn on to death. But never quite shedding his place as a child. He tries to play, hopscotch, soccer - right up to the end, he is sliding down a bar he finds in a ruined house. But he also can't escape his place as a killer, as the product of a monstrous system who has become monstrous himself...

Friday, September 11, 2015

Music and Sports

Another Friday. Another second Friday of the month, but I don't have anything ready. Hectic week - labor day in Maine, soccer game Tuesday (US vs Brasil, with predictable results). So no Band of the Month quite yet.

Maybe some brief comments on the anniversary. Apparently, someone found some hazardous chemicals in the basement of a convenience store in the Fenway this week. The cops moved in and closed down the area as they investigated. The stuff turned out to be an unauthorized fish oil lab - nothing sinister, just someone cutting corners. Since this was in the Fenway, the Red Sox sent out an advisory through their social media channels - I saw it - and saw that the first comment under it was some wag asking if they found a store of Don Orsillo merchandise.* Another commenter duly weighted in on Taking Threats Seriously and Don't You Remember 9/11? - at least the other commentators snickered at the poor fellow. Yes - it is time to get out from under the bed.

*Don Orsillo - for those of you who are not New Englanders - Orsillo is the Red Sox TV announcer. He was fired this year (his contract not renewed) after 15 years in the booth. He is very popular - and the fans have made their opinions known. And the Red Sox (an organization that usually manages its public presentation pretty well, but are not shy about going full Stalin if they need to), may or may not have gone full Stalin on the fans - confiscating pro-Orsillo signs at the gates. Thus - jokes about the Sox calling in Hazmat teams to confiscate Orsillo merch. Pretty good jokes, actually - gave me a chuckle.

All right. Random songs! hopefully next week we will get a band post (though I have enough coming up to mess that up too... we'll see.)

1. Nick Cave & Bad Seeds - As I Sat Sadly by Her Side
2. White Stripes - A Martyr for my Love for You
3. The Carter Family - Lulu Walls
4. Van Halen - Atomic Punk
5. Derek Bailey - What it Is
6. Yo La Tengo - The Whole of the Law
7. The Who - Trilby's Piano
8. Meat Puppets - Love Mountain
9. Times New Viking - No Room to Live
10. METZ - Wet Blanket

And Video? How about some muddy, but occasionally very nice footage of Van Halen live in 1977?

Some Jack and Meg:

And let's do METZ...

Friday, September 04, 2015

Friday in the World

Hello September. Maybe the world will get less stupid coming up - is August really the month of madness? (Via Slacktivist.) Might be - Donald Trump? This Kim Davis nitwit? I see she's off to jail, since she still won't issue marriage licenses, or allow others in the office to issue them instead. And since she is elected, she apparently can't be removed from office - it's jail for contempt for her!

Well - she deserves it. She is a disgrace. Her personal history is bad enough - the 4 marriages, apparently ending up with a fellow religious nut - but even so, she shows a particularly poor understanding of religion. First, those 4 marriages - if you don't recognize divorce, only the first one counts, getting saved isn't going to change that, so unless she goes back to #1, she is committing adultery.... And then there's her job - she talks about the right to exercise her religion - but what does any of this have to do wit her religion? No one is asking her to marry a woman - exercising her religion does not include stopping other people from exercising theirs. A pretty fundamental principal of religious freedom there. And finally - if she were sincere about her religious beliefs - she would have to resign. How could she not resign? If she is so worried that she will go to hell if she somehow facilitates someone else doing something she thinks is a sin - how can she serve in the government at all? By holding the job, drawing the paycheck, she endorses the laws of the land - whether she practices them or not. Any notion of god that forces her to not issue marriage licenses is going to hold her responsible for every single same sex marriage in the country. So all this posturing isn't going to fool a truly jealous god.

It makes one wonder if she might have a different motive, hm?

I've lost most sympathy for this kind of crap. You don't have to be a bigot to be a Christian. Though these days, way too much of Christianity seems to be invested in displaying bigotry. It's all politics - the bigotry drives the rest, people like this Davis call themselves Christians to cover for their vicious politics. She has nothing to do with religious freedom or religion - treating her actions as the sincere (if deluded) beliefs of a true believer is unjustified. She is a political bully, a bigot, a self-promoting thug, wrapping her nastiness in religion to confuse the punters. Though - I know: the punters aren't confused. That brand of Christianity is political from A to Z and it's an authoritarian, racist, violent politics.

I know: too much negativity. Here's a commentary on Kim Davis, dating from the early 70s. The fact that these loons end up reenacting Monty Python, 40 years after the fact - ought to tell us something:

Before getting to the musical part of the program, a somewhat more comical piece of nitwittery: the complaints about Obama renaming Mount McKinley as Denali. This is very amusing, mainly because that's what most people have been calling the mountain for many years - Alaska renamed it some time ago (more accurately: Alaska officially restored the original name some time ago), the Ultimate Arbiter of Truth in America, the Large Corporation, has long since accepted Denali as the name - I mean, Car Companies. This was just Obama making it official federally, bypassing the long standing efforts by Ohio congressmen to block the change. I doubt anyone cares outside the Ohio congressional delegation - though that hasn't stopped the professional Obama haters from milking it for copy. (Kinda like I'm doing here!) This particular claim, that Denali means "Black Power" - it's things like that... An obvious put on, that people (apparently) spread around as if they mean it? You can't tell the rat-fuckers from the Poes sometimes.

enough. Music:

1. Erase Errata - Fault List
2. Slapp Happy/Henry Cow - Giants
3. Pink Floyd - empty Spaces
4. The Flaming Lips - Ego Tripping at the Gates of Hell
5. Liars - Who is the Hunter
6. Chambers Brothers - Time Has Come Today
7. Modest Mouse - Little Motel
8. Billie Holiday - Billie's Blues
9. Badfinger - Day After Day
10. Lou Reed & Metallica - Mistress Dread

Video? Loutallica!

And time has come today, hasn't it?

And Badfinger, because - I am obliged to post any Badfinger that comes up, I think.