Mixed Media

Friday Top Five: '80s-Style Remixes, Songs About Alderan, French Techno

| Fri Mar. 14, 2008 6:05 PM EDT

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1. The Ting Tings – "Great DJ" (Calvin Harris Remix) (mp3 via Check the Availability)
While the British duo's recent SF live show was enjoyable enough, it was also a bit disconcerting due to the prominence of the backing tape. But this remix by an '80s-loving producer turns "Great DJ" into an epic floorfiller, without a care in the world.

2. James Combs – "Barely Contained" (buy on iTunes)
LA singer-songwriter Combs balances a tense, PJ Harvey-like arrangement with a dreamlike whisperiness on this swaying, triple-time track. It's great, but one wonders, is it a conflict of interest when a KCRW producer gets KCRW's "Today's Top Tune"?

3. Neon Neon – "I Told Her on Alderan" (mp3 via Pop Tarts Suck Toasted)
Who knew that when you put together a Super Furry Animal and Boom Bip, they'd sound like the Cars and sing about Star Wars. Actually, that would have been as good a guess as any.

After the jump, yes it offends me, and French techno that sounds like American hip-hop!

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"Kristen" Is a Blameworthy Slut? Yawn.

| Fri Mar. 14, 2008 5:30 PM EDT

Today in a Salon video post, Farhad Manjoo calls the MySpace dimension of the Eliot Spitzer scandal "interesting and kind of fascinating and cool."

Really? I'm not so sure MySpace makes this scandal any different than the old ones. At the end of the day, the media is doing exactly what they always do: backhandedly blaming the object of a politician's lust for bringing about his downfall with her sluttiness.

At the risk of alienating my friends in the Facebook Generation, here's the thing: I could give a crap about the "true identity" (if that's what a MySpace page is) of the young woman whom Eliot Spitzer paid for sex, let alone the fact that she once sang "Respect" in the shower at her boyfriend's house.

And now, as Feministing points out, we're also supposed to believe that she's into it. That Dupre is under the impression that this turn of events is going to make her into the superstar she's always wanted to be.

Simmer down, Kiera, commenters will undoubtedly say. Who wouldn't want to know about the sordid details of an admittedly beautiful woman involved in a high-class prostitution ring? Well, I think it's more complicated—and insidious—than that.

When I read the New York Times piece about Dupre, my first thought was, she sounds totally annoying. I found myself blaming her for her irritating narcissism ("I am all about my music and my music is all about me. It flows from what I've been through, what I've seen and how I feel"), and her delusions of grandeur. This girl sounds insufferable, I thought.

And all of a sudden I had forgotten a key point: Dupre didn't do anything wrong. Spitzer did.


SXSW Dispatch: 17 Hours in Austin

| Fri Mar. 14, 2008 4:30 PM EDT

thurston.jpgAustin during SXSW is a whirlwind of tattoos, cigarette smoke, amplifiers, bratwurst, fliers, long lines, nonstop (loud) music, bad pizza, and a ton of local volunteers who are super friendly but don't often know the answer to your questions. It's chaotic, noisy, and exciting, and it never takes breaks. Here's how my first 17 hours here went:

Would English Be Eleganter Without Feminists?

| Fri Mar. 14, 2008 2:15 PM EDT

little_five_points_1458528_l.jpgOver at the Weekly Standard, Yale computer science professor David Gelerntner thinks feminism has no place in the English language:

When students have been ordered since first grade to put "he or she" in spots where "he" would mean exactly the same thing…How can we then tell them, "Make every word, every syllable count!" They may be ignorant but they're not stupid.

He also complains that we're taught to use "'firefighter' where 'fireman' would mean exactly the same thing." I'm willing to concede "waiter" for "waitress," but I simply can't accept that "fireman" is superior to "firefighter." So even though my instincts were telling me that Gelerntner was cloaking sexism in the guise of linguistic purity, I paused to consider whether that "or she" appendage really is dragging us, and the English language, down the wrong path.

SXSW Dispatch: Why Lou Reed Hates Mp3s

| Fri Mar. 14, 2008 12:30 PM EDT
reed.jpgLou Reed reminds me a little bit of my grandmother. He's old, he's got bad posture and a New York accent, and he's a little pessimistic. But if you stick around long enough, he'll offer up some keen insight and make you laugh.

The rock singer-songwriter/guitarist, during a SXSW keynote speech at Austin's convention center Thursday, told a packed house that his favorite movie is The Bourne Ultimatum. Why? Because of the fight scenes.

Aggression seems to be a recurring theme for Reed. "Punk is aggressive, steel, street, action. All that young guy stuff," he said. "Where else is it gonna go? It's [music] or jail." He later became more self-reflective about his attitude and his music, adding, "I have a B.A. in dope. And a PhD in soul."

The SXSW Slog Begins

| Thu Mar. 13, 2008 3:40 PM EDT

sxsw.jpgAfter listening to our flight attendant—a former auctioneer from Dallas—rattle off emergency escape instructions in double time and then tell jokes about her co-workers for the entire flight (one was a former Miss Dallas, the other Southwest's steward of the year), I arrived in Austin, Texas, in high spirits.

I'm here to cover SXSW, Austin's ginormous film-music-interactive festival that draws (last I heard) about 10,000 folks from around the country (and abroad) to the Texas capitol.

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Times Calls Out Spitzer's Boo on Use of "Boo"

| Thu Mar. 13, 2008 3:02 PM EDT

Buried in the New York Times' outing of "Kristen"—a.k.a Ashley Alexandra Dupré—a.k.a. Eliot Spitzer's boo—comes this strange line:

On [Dupré's MySpace] Web page was a recording of what she described as her latest track, "What We Want," an amateurish, hip-hop inflected rhythm and blues tune that asks, "Can you handle me, boy?" and used some dated slang, calling someone her "boo."

Now, to pick apart this less than charitable and, frankly, catty article would take quite a while. But for now, let's address the linguistic issue here. Opinion at MoJo tends toward "boo" being not only current, but timeless. Urban Dictionary traces the origins of "boo" all the way back to the adoption of the French "beau" at the time of Caribbean colonization. Fast forward a couple of centuries and Tupac deployed "boo" in "It Ain't Easy" off his 1995 Me Against the World album. A full decade later, the term was still in use, as Usher's "My Boo" (feat. Alicia Keys) won a Grammy for best R&B performance in 2005 (see below). The next year, Brooke Valentine sang "He can call me his boo / But he call me dope girl, cuz I got that oooh." So it's pretty clear "boo" is here to stay. But did anyone really trust the Times as an arbiter of slang?

—Justin Elliott

Spitzer Gets Pimped Out on Nation's T-Shirts

| Wed Mar. 12, 2008 7:36 PM EDT

mojo-photo-spitzershirt.jpgFeeling like the Eliot Spitzer scandal isn't getting enough attention around the office or your local watering hole? Well, why not remind everyone of the eternal hypocrisy of our nation's elected officials in that most American of ways: with an amusing, topical t-shirt. Besides, your "Larry Craig Wide Stance" shirt is getting a little tattered.

First up, Busted Tees' "Client 9" shirt (pictured at left) is already on sale, but won't ship until March 21st, by which point one assumes there will already be another government sex scandal taking this one's place and you'll have to get a whole new t-shirt. It's so hard to keep up!

After the jump, fun with puns!

Neato Viddies: McLaughlin Groove, Hulu, CSS, Justice

| Wed Mar. 12, 2008 5:07 PM EDT

First up, the still-baffling and still-awesome "McLaughlin Groove," Andrew W.K.'s ode to the rollicking political screamfest, gets a video from Salon's Scott Bateman. Funny, Andrew looks a lot like Mimi did in his Low video–is Bateman the Cathy Guisewite of money-hemorrhaging web sites?
Andrew W.K. - "McLaughlin Groove"

Next, NME is reporting that a homemade music video to Sao Paulo's iPod-shilling "Music is My Hot Hot Sex" has become the most-watched clip on YouTube, racking up over 100 million views. Really? Is that more than Obama Girl?
CSS - "Music is My Hot Hot Sex"

After the jump: get fierce, and play name that logo!

Lyrical Analysis Proves New Portishead Album a Tad Mopey

| Tue Mar. 11, 2008 6:08 PM EDT

mojo-photo-portisheadthirdcover.jpgBristol, UK-based trip-hop combo Portishead are known for two of the bleakest albums of the late '90s, Dummy and Portishead, whose claustrophobic, atonal soundscapes drew from jazz, soundtracks and cabaret. The music's chill was matched by singer Beth Gibbons' angst-ridden lyrics—witness 1997's "Only You," that kicks off the fun with the line "We suffer every day." Well, good morning to you too Beth. So, the band have been "on hiatus" for nearly ten years, but their comeback album Third has just leaked onto the intertubes. One wonders: have the intervening years lightened them up at all?

To be blunt: oh, hell no. On the contrary, they seem to have spent their time off in an underground factory/torture chamber in Antarctica, returning to the surface only to be betrayed by objects of affection and promptly sent back down to their cold, echoey prison. Lyrics sheets aren't yet available, so I poured a stiff drink and listened to the whole album, taking notes, and checking in with a counselor every few minutes. After the jump, a chart of all significant words that make more than one appearance.