Music

EMA - "Active Shooter" (Singles Going Steady)

The medium being the message may award EMA extra points.

Timothy Gabriele: The medium being the message may award EMA extra points. As Obama points out in his quoted speech, “Somehow this has become routine” and here form facilitates content. The sound is throbbing and cold, still painful and yet numb. The brief underneath the disturbing video of a simulation by Texas law enforcement inside a public school, which is precisely the type of thing we gripe about instead of actual mass shootings, links to suicide prevention resources. While most politicians would rather criminalize mental illness than deadly weaponry, here’s the real rub -- the majority of gun deaths in our country are suicides, and mass shootings -- often where the killer ends his (almost always his) own life -- are an extreme byproduct of that. The song, bubbles, broods, and goes nowhere, but this in a sense is depression exemplified. Sensation, emotion, empathy, is a luxury. Depression owns you, takes over your better judgment. Our seemingly permanent predicament deserves a soundtrack that accurate reflects the deadening, distorted realism of our acceptance of dead kindergarteners as the price for not overthrowing this arcane and bureaucratically malevolent power structure. [8/10]

Dustin Ragucos: "Active Shooter" manages to do several things right: samples of what sounds like scurrying children; an ominous bass; noisy guitar; and almost nightmarish vocals. There even happens to be lyrics about how "angry white boys get uptight", which acts to puncture a societal vein that needed to be pricked. Though the Obama sample feels contrived, the video is still as shaking as seeing gory pictures in a class regarding forensics. [6/10]

John Garratt: Sing/moan/scream anything through a filter and it will be praised as "disturbing". Rather than playing around with a keyboard and calling it a song, can't we just, you know, solve gun violence? [3/10]

The Cigarette: A Political History (By the Book)

Sarah Milov's The Cigarette restores politics to its rightful place in the tale of tobacco's rise and fall, illustrating America's continuing battles over corporate influence, individual responsibility, collective choice, and the scope of governmental power. Enjoy this excerpt from Chapter 5. "Inventing the Nonsmoker".

Sarah Milov
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