Mixed Media

Remixing Rudy Giuliani's Broken Record

| Mon Nov. 26, 2007 5:57 PM PST
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Nice. WFMU's Beware of the Blog is collecting remixes of Rudy Giuliani mentioning his favorite (only?) topic. As DJ Joe Biden might say, all Rudy needs is a noun, a verb, September 11... and a beat. My favorite so far is Miguelito Contraband's "Gold Plated 9-11 Diapers" [MP3].

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Party Ben's European Tour Update #2: Warsaw, Prague, Belgium, Munich...

| Mon Nov. 26, 2007 9:53 AM PST

mojo-photo-pbposter3.JPG"...everybody talk about, pop music." Ahem. Anyway, holy moley, Riff, it's been an eventful week around central Europe and my sincerest apologies if you've been awaiting my latest update, wondering if I'm still alive or if I'd succumbed to a plague or a hostel that turned out to be a crazy movie torture prison or something. No, and no, everything's fine, but with barely enough time to sleep a few hours each night I'm afraid Riffing has slid a little on the priority list. Here's a quick recap.

The Intellectual Street Brawler: What if They Held a Street Fight But Nobody Watched?

| Mon Nov. 26, 2007 7:31 AM PST

Way to come back from T-day festivities and get all depressed over the state of our humanity.
What the hell, misery loves company. Check out Sucker Punch: The art, the poetry, the idiocy of YouTube street fights over at Slate. Yup, knuckle draggers staging, then taping, disgusting street fights all for your viewing pleasure.

The author is an English professor and fight fan who's using the education his parents denied themselves to give him making street brawls high brow. That's unfair, I know, but so is glamorizing hooliganism (these folks go around 'happy slapping' unsuspecting women) which writing like this certainly does. As does my linking to it.

Anybody Here Seen my Old Friend Ian Smith?: Where do Evil People Go When They Die?

| Tue Nov. 20, 2007 4:56 PM PST

When I saw the name, that name, Ian Smith, in the paper's today, I shrunk back from my own computer.

I'm 48 and was raised to be apolitical by fundamentalist Southern Baptists who thought having a news awareness, with all the ungodliness on display there, was, well, ungodly. We weren't allowed to play cards (tools of the devil) or games with dice in them (like Monopoly). Needless to say, we weren't allowed to watch the news, listen to news radio or read newspapers. Both the Civil Rights Movement and the Viet Nam War, which raged through my adolescence, were tumults I learned of during my 20's in the 1980's. Still, even I somehow knew how much that man hated me and how much his hatred was required to justify white privilege. His racism, and the larger reality of racism in general, was a poison I couldn't avoid inhaling. It's hard to describe what knowing how thoroughly you're despised does to you. And now, like Richard Nixon, Smith's gotten to die peacefully in his feather-bedded mansion. Where's the justice for those who brutalize the world, curse an entire race/continent, and go to their graves defiant?

Race Matters. Even on the Internet.

| Tue Nov. 20, 2007 3:25 PM PST

myspace200.jpgRemember how the Internet was supposed to allow you to abandon your real-world identity in favor of a totally different virtual one?

Yeah, not so much.

According to a Northwestern study, college students' choice of social networking sites varies according to the the race or ethnicity with which they identify and the level of education their parents have attained. Some of the key findings:

An Inside Look At Newspaper Cuts

| Mon Nov. 19, 2007 7:45 PM PST

I blogged last week with a few updates on newspaper cutbacks, and the Washington Post this week offers an insider's take on cuts at the San Jose Mercury News. Some readers' pride in the paper has dropped pretty low ("Personality: The Merc has none"); and their criticism is often harsh ("Most of the articles seem to be written at a 6th grade level at best").

Make sure to read all the way through for thoughts on the risks of un-fact-checked blog rumors guiding the news.

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"Bombingham" Pastor Dead at 82

| Mon Nov. 19, 2007 5:48 PM PST

The pastor of Sixteenth Street Baptist in "Bombingham" where the "four little girls" died, has also died.

I haven't been able to find out what 'flavor' Baptist the church was, but I'm betting it wasn't Southern Baptist, given that it split with the national Baptist convention in 1845 over slavery. The Southern baptists were in favor of it, just so you know.

Quarterlife: Angst 2.0

| Mon Nov. 19, 2007 4:30 PM PST

Sure, My So-Called Life was cheesy, but as a 14-year-old, I bought the sixteenth best cult show ever hook line and sinker. I swooned over dreamy Jordan Catalano. Rayanne "I Wear My Slip on the Outside" Graff was my grunge fashion inspiration. When Angela Chase observed, "My parents keep asking how school was. It's like saying, 'How was that drive-by shooting?' You don't care how it was, you're lucky to get out alive," I thought, How true.

So when I heard that the new web series Quarterlife was produced by MSCL masterminds Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick, I hoped it would be just like old times. The problem was, it is.

The premise of the show is familiar enough TV territory: Twentysomethings share house, drama, shenanigans (see Three's Company, Friends, How I Met Your Mother, for starters). In each 8-minute episode, the gang does all the things that we've expected modern singles to do ever since, well, Singles: They flop onto their unmade beds. They leave empty beer bottles around their kitchens. They wonder whether to move in with their girlfriends and boyfriends.

The bummer is this:

Agnostics for Jesus: Why My Kids Won't Be Seeing The Golden Compass. Yet.

| Sun Nov. 18, 2007 2:21 AM PST

I usually speed-delete emails from particular relatives of mine who are still steeped in urban legends (women be warned: there's a rapist under your car!) and the Southern Baptist beliefs we were raised in, with all their fire, brimstone, and intolerance for non-believers. I'm so over God that their emails bore, rather than infuriate, me by now. For some reason, though, I opened this one and learned that the previews I'd been seeing for the big budget "fantasy/quest" movie The Golden Compass were really for a movie about kids killing a senile God so "everyone can do as they please." I'd planned for months to take them when it opened next month but not now. No way this apostate wants her kids seeing that.

Unbeknownst to me, British author and atheist Phillip Pullman wrote a best-selling trilogy of books, His Dark Materials, explicitly in response to the religiosity of The Chronicles of Narnia," in which God is an imposter, angels are sexually ambiguous and the Church kidnaps, tortures and assassinates to achieve its goals, one of which is stealing children's souls." In the face of the usual backlash, the movie has been toned down and the books' anti-religiosity beclouded and muffled into mere spectacle. Reasonably fearing that uninformed parents will enjoy the bowdlerized movie, buy their unsuspecting children the books upon which it was based, and infect their own young with atheism, the believers are in an uproar. Leaving aside the entirely valid notion of why it's ok for the religious to try to convert others but not the other way around, unless you're consciously raising your kids to be atheists or agnostics, why put them through the emotional anguish of dissing, let alone killing, God? Today's kids have enough on their plates what with roofie-laced toys from China and the sky-high divorce rate. Why give them Santa, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny but give them the straight skinny on God?

RZA Draws His Wu-Tang Sword in Movie Soundtracks

| Fri Nov. 16, 2007 7:20 PM PST

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The RZA is a genius at putting music to fight scenes, and even better at putting the sounds of fight scenes to music. To complement this Wired interview with Bobby Digital himself, here's a Riff rundown of the Wu-Tang Clan co-founder's best cinematic work.

1. Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (1999)
This Jim Jarmusch mob/samurai drama is a hybrid of Japanese, African American and Italian American cultures. Who better to compose the soundtrack than the man who first synthesized East Asian martial arts culture and New York hip-hop on the Clan's 1993 debut, Enter The Wu-Tang? RZA sets an eerie tone for the movie, with dark and heavy bass lines and samples that propel the movie's narrative forward. During fight scenes, the mellow music matches Ghost Dog's cool, thoughtful demeanor. Works as a stand-alone album as well as a soundtrack.