Eco ego

More entertainment-ad blogging. On the way up the stairs from my subway stop at 49th St. is a poster for what I guess is a new TV show starring Will Arnett (Gob from Arrested Development) and Keri Russell called Running Wilde -- I know, I know, with a funny pun like that as the title, it couldn't possibly fail -- or fail to be hilarious. This is the poster I am talking about:

It's probably been up for a few weeks, but today was the first day I realized that it does not read "Ego meets ego."

I can't decide whether my misreading is a matter of my believing that promoting one's interest in "eco" is really all about "ego," or if I just see two large head shots of celebrities and automatically assume two big egos. Either way, this show will certainly contribute to the elision of the two by stereotyping eco-consciousness as a personality trait rather than a set of policy positions or political beliefs. Maybe the tagline is meant to be open to a double reading, and this show will illustrate the point at which ego and eco become inseparable.

Eco, we are supposed to assume from this poster, is a lifestyle choice, a potential character flaw marked by carrying a stainless-steel water bottle, which is just as absurd in its way as drinking champagne for no special reason. Arnett is probably putatively the butt of the show's jokes, being an obnoxious and semi-clueless Archie Bunker type whom audiences, the producers hope, will secretly love for his refusal to cave to the PC-obsessed termagant Russell presumably plays. Then the producers get to have ii both ways -- they can claim to be progressive by showing anti-greens to be louts while actually giving succor to those louts and dignifying them with all the laugh lines.

I am always surprised at how often people make a point of saying that they are not "PC," as if anybody really supports the kind of Thought Police fascism that is meant to evoke. Usually they say it precisely when they are trying to be sensitive, when they realize that they are not going to air some lazy stereotype or are even about to argue against one. But PC remains there for them to rebel against and establish themselves to be what passes in much of America as reasonableness -- that is, pretending to not really care about other people's sensitivities. A chief thrust of right-wing ideology is invested in making green and "eco" the heirs to their earlier success with "politically correct," turning them into bywords for phoniness and self-righteousness that "ordinary" people everywhere will strive to define themselves against.

From genre-busting electronic music to new highs in the ever-evolving R&B scene, from hip-hop and Americana to rock and pop, 2017's music scenes bestowed an embarrassment of riches upon us.

60. White Hills - Stop Mute Defeat (Thrill Jockey)

White Hills epic '80s callback Stop Mute Defeat is a determined march against encroaching imperial darkness; their eyes boring into the shadows for danger but they're aware that blinding lights can kill and distort truth. From "Overlord's" dark stomp casting nets for totalitarian warnings to "Attack Mode", which roars in with the tribal certainty that we can survive the madness if we keep our wits, the record is a true and timely win for Dave W. and Ego Sensation. Martin Bisi and the poster band's mysterious but relevant cool make a great team and deliver one of their least psych yet most mind destroying records to date. Much like the first time you heard Joy Division or early Pigface, for example, you'll experience being startled at first before becoming addicted to the band's unique microcosm of dystopia that is simultaneously corrupting and seducing your ears. - Morgan Y. Evans

Keep reading... Show less

The year in song reflected the state of the world around us. Here are the 70 songs that spoke to us this year.

70. The Horrors - "Machine"

On their fifth album V, the Horrors expand on the bright, psychedelic territory they explored with Luminous, anchoring the ten new tracks with retro synths and guitar fuzz freakouts. "Machine" is the delicious outlier and the most vitriolic cut on the record, with Faris Badwan belting out accusations to the song's subject, who may even be us. The concept of alienation is nothing new, but here the Brits incorporate a beautiful metaphor of an insect trapped in amber as an illustration of the human caught within modernity. Whether our trappings are technological, psychological, or something else entirely makes the statement all the more chilling. - Tristan Kneschke

Keep reading... Show less

Net Neutrality and the Music Ecosystem: Defending the Last Mile

Still from Whiplash (2014) (Photo by Daniel McFadden - © Courtesy of Sundance Institute) (IMDB)

"...when the history books get written about this era, they'll show that the music community recognized the potential impacts and were strong leaders." An interview with Kevin Erickson of Future of Music Coalition.

Last week, the musician Phil Elverum, a.k.a. Mount Eerie, celebrated the fact that his album A Crow Looked at Me had been ranked #3 on the New York Times' Best of 2017 list. You might expect that high praise from the prestigious newspaper would result in a significant spike in album sales. In a tweet, Elverum divulged that since making the list, he'd sold…six. Six copies.

Keep reading... Show less

Forty years after its initial release, one of the defining albums of US punk rock finally gets the legacy treatment it deserves.

If you ever want to start a fistfight in a group of rock history know-it-alls, just pop this little question: "Was it the US or the UK who created punk rock?" Within five minutes, I guarantee there'll be chairs flying and dozens of bloodstained Guided By Voices T-shirts. One thing they'll all agree on is who gave punk rock its look. That person, ladies, and gentlemen is Richard Hell.

Keep reading... Show less

Tokyo Nights shines a light on the roots of vaporwave with a neon-lit collection of peak '80s dance music.

If Tokyo Nights sounds like a cheesy name for an album, it's only fitting. A collection of Japanese city pop from the daring vintage record collectors over at Cultures of Soul, this is an album coated in Pepto-Bismol pink, the peak of saccharine '80s dance music, a whole world of garish neon from which there is no respite.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.