While the ongoing gloom/doom of shrinking sales figures haunt the music industry, one ongoing bright spot are the long-life albums which continue to sell thousands of copies each year (which alone would outsell many items on the charts now). It used to be that Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon was the top dog, raking up 100’s of weeks on the charts but other long-term faves as witnessed by this AP article: the New Canon.
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Originating in 1979, the Beastie Boys are still turning out new and great music to this day. Combining rock and punk with rap, the Beastie Boys achieved fame, reaching Rolling Stone’s “100 Greatest Artists of All Time” at #77. On June 26th, they released their latest album, The Mix-Up, an album of only instrumental songs.
Off The Grid from The Mix-Up:
An earlier hit, Sabotage:
Musings on the Ethics of Contemporary Journalism
I abhor online predators like any ordinary parent, teacher, police officer, or citizen. They represent a fissure in our society that undermines the foundation of our communities. That foundation rests on trust, and predators poison that trust. However, apprehending them is best left to law enforcement officials and not journalists. When the two entities conspire together, as they have in MSNBC Dateline’s To Catch a Predator, lapses in journalism ethics are inevitable.
Online predation is so repugnant and emotional it elicits visceral reactions from law-abiding citizens, including police and journalists, who are human too. They have emotions that are sometimes hard to check. Having respect or summoning sympathy for someone who sexually preys on adolescents is beyond difficult. However, that’s not what is worrying many journalists because most can empathize with Chris Hansen, the show’s host, as he withholds his emotions while snagging predators.
However, what they cannot understand are Hansen’s methods, and many are asking for more ethical common sense. The profession and public deserve that as much as the suspects, their victims, and their families. Journalism is also founded on trust, and when that trust is undermined due to questionable newsgathering tactics, one must ask if the ends justify the means. Most citizens and journalists want these predators behind bars; the question is how to place them there, not whether they belong there.
Hey! How’s it going? Long time, no see. Everything okay? Good. Glad to hear it. Sorry we’ve been away for the last couple of weeks, but when the digital domain can’t be bothered to provide the home video enthusiast anything other than recycled rejects and mindless merchandising, there’s no reason to help in their senseless shill. Indeed, had SE&L decided to struggle on with regular updates of any and all DVD releases, we’d be championing crappy independent horror, oddball double feature combinations, and more than one bottom of the barrel Z-list title. So we sat back and waited – waited for a Tuesday when things weren’t unbridled bilge. And so, here we are again. Granted, there’s still some god awful gunk here (just say no to more mutant mayhem – Wes Craven), but for the most part, 17 July provides a few forgotten gems, including our choice for product du jour:
Ace in the Hole: The Criterion Collection
Other Titles of Interest
The Hills Have Eyes 2
Raymond Bernard – Eclipse Series 4
Yo Yo Girl Cop
And Now for Something Completely Different
The Happy Hooker Trilogy
This is the first of what I hope will be a series of short looks at books from academic presses which I think might interest a wider readership. In each, there will be first a mini-review, and then a brief interview with the author.—JBJ
Impotence: A Cultural History
by Angus McLaren
(University of Chicago Press, 2007)
Laughing at erections is the province of middle- and high-school humor; laughing at impotence is a more adult entertainment. In the Friends episode, “The One with Monica’s Thunder,” Chandler has a momentary loss of power. Shaken, he asks Joey if it’s ever happened to him. Joey says, sure—happens to everybody. Not a problem. But when Chandler asks what he does in those situations, Joey’s answer leaves him even more disturbed: “Do it anyway.”
This brief scene illustrates a central difficulty with conversations about erections and impotence: Questions of definition abound. What looks like a simple question—am I hard or not?—turns out to have a long and interesting backstory. Angus McLaren’s new book, Impotence: A Cultural History (University of Chicago Press, 2007), surveys Western approaches to erection, impotence, and infertility since the Greeks. And these approaches are shockingly different. An early Christian culture emphasizing celibacy, for instance, is necessarily going to take a very different view of impotence than is, say, a late-Victorian one worrying about the decadence of the West.
Impotence is a fascinating book, one that easily sustains its most basic claim, which is that “every age has turned impotence to its own purposes, each advancing a model of masculinity that informed men if they were sexual successes, and if not, why not.” Despite the presence of a blurb from Dr. Ruth on the back cover, McLaren is a refreshingly low-key guide to the vicissitudes of impotence. The book is almost unmissable for its extensive cataloging of tests (“fifteenth-century English courts sometimes employed ‘honest women’ to examine the man”) and treatments (ranging from the implantation of monkey and goat glands, to the construction of mechanical scaffolding, to various forms of pastes, salves, and unguents, applied topically, orally, or anally).