Kiss Me A Lot (Official Video)

Above is the official video for Morrissey’s song Kiss Me A Lot, which in my opinion is from the best album from the last few years, World Peace is None of Your Business.  This is easily the most straightforward pop song on the album.  I like the fact that even in a straightforward pop song he can get a term in like, “Bastille mausoleum.”

This video has created a lot of controversy in the world of Morrissey.  He has strongly supported feminism throughout his career.  The fact that this video features scantily clad models, which are so normal in most pop music, has caused disbelief amongst fans.  I admit that I was surprised to see them.

However, I love the song and the man.  Even if you count the above video as a stumble in his career, his life’s work still towers above most of modern pop music.

The Greed of Beyonce

The other night in the hotel I caught part of Beyonce’s HBO special and ever since I have been trying to figure out why it was so vile.  It is true that is was style without substance, that it was music without musicians, that it featured politics of the shallowest kind, and that it was more Las Vegas show than concert.  But even none of these things really get to the core of why it was so awful. 

The part of the concert I saw was championing feminism.  But that was it’s explicit premise.  Implicitly it was really championing materialism of the worst kind.  If you believe in yourself you too can be rich and successful and this is the height of human achievement.  This was really nothing but Joel Osteen without pants. 

Earlier this year I saw Buffy Sainte-Marie.  She spoke about how the way we treat others, and not money, should be our defining purpose.  There was something not only powerful about her, but subversive as well.  You felt as if you were seeing a great spiritual warrior for good. 

Buffy Sainte-Marie was, once upon a time, blacklisted by President Johnson for her brave political stances.  Beyonce has been invited into all of the halls of power, even the White House,  because at the end of the day she rubber stamps the status quo. 

During the concert I saw there was a giant sign behind Beyonce that put up words pertaining to feminism.  Subliminally it was saying the same thing as Wall Street’s Gordon Gecko:  Greed is good. 

Girl Power

I am still recovering from the Austin City Limits Festival.  I mean to blog some on this, but I want a few days to let some ideas that I have percolate.  The festival is why my blogging dropped off for a few days.  It’s a large crazy event and took what little mental power I possessed those days.

Anytime you are a white American male and you decide to write about race, gender, or feminism, you find yourself on dodgy ground.  Lately I have been reading The Handmaid’s Tale and listening to a lot of female dominated music.  My favorite female musicians were always the one that didn’t shy away from the fact that they were female, but also didn’t let it define them.  Joni Mitchell, Chrissie Hynde, Sinead O’Connor, and Kirsty MacColl are four of my absolute favorites, female or not.  Sure they wrote songs from a female perspective, but their imaginations weren’t confined by that.  They could write about anything and everything.  Joni is every bit as good a lyricist as Bob Dylan.  This isn’t because she was female or not, she was just a great writer expressing her truth.

In the 90’s there was that whole Lilith Fair thing and much of it seemed so forced and contrived to me.  It stemmed out of the whole, “I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar”, kind of thing.  It was marketing and it was propaganda.  I’m not saying that no artists of value played that.  An artist will take a gig if it pays well and gets them exposure.  One would be a fool not to.

This isn’t to say that a lot of the time female artists have stupid labels pinned upon them through no fault of their own.  It’s just that sometimes female artists impose their own borders upon themselves.  If you have to put your flag down every five minutes and declare what you are, you probably are neglecting time being something else.

Look, there are definite biological differences between males and females.  Anyone that says otherwise is making things up.  That being said, women are every bit as capable and intelligent as men.  Maybe more so if you look at half the things that men have done throughout history.  There are women out there that are smarter and stronger than me, and I am perfectly fine with that.

There are two bands in particular that I would like to point out that has promise.  One is HAIM and the other is a band that is called The Shondes.  Both would put to shame most of the male dominated bands I’ve seen lately.  I realize that I’m putting them in a box by even talking about them in regards to other things that are related to being a woman.  These bands are good enough to be put up against any band, let alone just female bands.  The reason I am bringing them up in this context is to say that it’s great to see new bands that actually do stand outside the confines of what society would dictate through gender roles.  These are just great bands, period.  They are the best two new bands I have heard lately, and they just happen to be led by females.  I can’t help but think with these bands, and some others I have heard lately, that there is a new scene developing.  That’s my hope anyway.  Most of the rock bands that have been making waves that have been male lately have been really boring.  They are often too clever for their own good.  Hopefully these girls will school the boys and everyone’s game will rise.

Anyway, there are about a hundred points that I want to bring up, but I try not to make these blogs too long.  I’m trying for five to ten minutes of reading to read at work or whatever else you have going on in the day.

One thing I wanted to talk about is how you see a lot of females in male dominated roles these days, and unfortunately too often they are behaving just like their male counterpoints.  Men have started too many wars and been too greedy economically over the centuries.  Women are people, with all of the good and bad that entails, so maybe I’m hoping for too much.  It would just be good to see as more women rise to power, that they not only want to be equal, but better.

Girls, please don’t just be a CEO.  Please be one that shows compassion to their workers.  Girls, please don’t want to just be in combat in the military.  Please be soldiers that question if we are going to war for the right reasons or not.  Girls, please don’t just be politicians.  Be the kind of politicians that care about education and the environment and the gap between rich and poor.  Men have fucked this planet up flatter than hammered shit.  Don’t be our equals, be our betters.