Bryan Ferry Knows How to Make an Entrance

My brother and I get a good laugh every time we watch this Roxy Music concert (The High Road), especially when Bryan Ferry makes his entrance.  I’m convinced that no one thinks Bryan Ferry is as sweet as Bryan Ferry thinks he is, but that is actually part of what makes him great.  The song he makes his entrance to is The Main Thing off Roxy Music’s Avalon, which is a fantastic late night record.  It is unique sonically and has greatly influenced modern music.  (Listen to Avalon and then listen to the new War On Drugs record that critics are raving about for proof.)

Bonus Points:  If you watch the whole concert, pay attention to the band, especially the percussionist.  Cocaine is a hell of a drug!

They Are Not Exactly Charlie

They Are Not Exactly Charlie

Matt Taibbi, truly getting better and better all of the time, on some of the backpedaling that has gone on in defense of free speech since the French attacks.    A really interesting article that I believe is correct in its assessment.  He spares no one on the right or the left that has gone soft on defending free speech out of either defense of religion or political correctness.

Nationalism On the Rise In Europe

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Nationalism On the Rise In Europe

The above link is an interesting article about the rise of nationalism in Europe.  There is no doubt that the murders in France, and other acts of violence by Muslims, have helped give nationalism a footing.  However, it also goes into detail about how certain conservative economic policies, that are hurting the working class and poor, are also helping to bring about this change.

Large Peaceful Rally of Solidarity Held In France

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France Stands in Unity at Massive Rally

This morning I started reading the news about the large demonstration in Paris in mourning and defiance of the recent acts of terrorism that have taken place there.  It was a peaceful demonstration that posed large security risks due to its size.  I found myself more moved than I thought I would be, or than I probably have any right to be.

The picture above is famous French cartoon Asterix.  I remember it from when I was a kid, but I haven’t thought of it in ages.  Apparently the 87 year old cartoonist Albert Uderzo, who created the character, came out of retirement to draw the above image and one other to pay tribute to those killed in the Charlie Hebdo attack.

Asterix Artist Comes Out of Retirement to Pay Tribute to Charlie Hebdo

The Blame for the Charlie Hebdo Murders

The Blame for the Charlie Hebdo Murders

Here is another good piece on the attack in France that a friend sent my way.  This piece is in the New Yorker.

One of the reasons I find this kind of attack so troublesome is that it is a direct attack on the culture of freedom of thought.  This isn’t an attack with a political motivation at its core, as if these were people carrying out an attack in response to a particular war.  I’m not saying that global politics don’t play any role, only that they are not the specific reason behind these kind of attacks.  Whether it is the Koch brothers trying to destroy critical thinking in education, or fanatic Muslims trying to censor people through scaring them with violence, I am against any acts that try to prevent thinking.  (And I am not equating the two.  As much as I dislike what the Koch brothers are trying to do to public education, it is nowhere near as perverse as violence carried out against people in the name of religion.)  Having the freedom to think through things, to have an open debate, even if it occasionally leads to places people don’t want to go, is crucial to creating a future worth living in.

Matt Taibbi On Media Response to French Attack

Matt Taibbi On Media Response to French Attack

This is a really great piece by Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone about the shameful response of media outlets in the wake of the French attack.  A sample:

The implication is that, yes, we have a right to be offensive, but let’s not be offensive this time, maybe just this once, because — and this is the part that’s usually not said out loud — this particular group of satire targets is more than unusually violent and nuts and struggles more even than the average fundamentalist on the sense of humor front.

That point of view is a gross and shameful capitulation. I’m against easing back on the offensive cartoons “just this once” for the same reason I don’t believe in fighting al-Qaeda by “temporarily” tossing out habeas corpus and committing acts of torture: you lose in advance when you give up your culture.