Mixed Media

2009: Predictions For the Year In Music

Will 2009 be better than the kind of sucky 2008, music-wise? Let's take a look into the fuuuutuuure...

| Fri Jan. 2, 2009 4:10 PM EST

mojo-photo-2009glasses2.jpg2008 is dead and gone, and the universal opinion seems to be, from the economy to our government to music: "good riddance." As Slant put it, "the cliché that oppressive Republican administrations foster the most compelling music was disproved over nearly each of the last 52 weeks." Music seemed splintered and aimless, and year-end best-of lists seemed to reflect the confusion, with the same 50 records showing up a lot, but in completely different orders. Some of the year's most successful and compelling music was actually made months, or even years, before the start of 2008. So, 2009, will you be any better? Here's a quick (and admittedly somewhat fanciful) look ahead at the year ahead's most anticipated releases.

Advertise on MotherJones.com

Drudge, NY Post Have Field Day with Kathy Griffin's CNN "Trash Talk"

Comedian Kathy Griffin is making news for uttering an expletive during CNN's New Year's Eve broadcast, which the D-lister hosted with Anderson Cooper. The network's enemies are having a field day. Here's how the New York Post described the moment: Comedienne Kathy Griffin may be doomed to life on CNN's S-list after answering a heckler with a shrieking, vulgar tirade during the network's live...

| Fri Jan. 2, 2009 2:23 PM EST

Kathy Griffin CNNComedian Kathy Griffin is making news for uttering an expletive during CNN's New Year's Eve broadcast, which the D-lister hosted with Anderson Cooper. The network's enemies are having a field day. Here's how the New York Post described the moment:

Comedienne Kathy Griffin may be doomed to life on CNN's S-list after answering a heckler with a shrieking, vulgar tirade during the network's live New Year's Eve broadcast.
"Screw you," she told the heckler. "Why don't you get a job, buddy? You know what? I don't go to your job and knock the d- - - out of your mouth."
The raunchy exchange, which occurred well after the ball dropped at midnight, was received with guffaws by the camera crew.

That's because everyone at CNN is a godless, liberal heathen, right, everybody? Actually, if you watch the clip (which you can do after the jump) it's clear she was responding sarcastically to good-natured ribbing, not a "heckler," and I'd say the "shrieking" part is debatable, too. Either way, we watched CNN's coverage New Year's Eve before heading out for DJ gigs, and honestly, the almost-always-hilarious Griffin was the best thing about that sloppy, nonsensical broadcast—can someone teach them how to avoid the talk-over-each other problem during live remotes? Also amusing: watching both Griffin and drag queen Sushi (live from Key West!) hold themselves back from making gay jokes about Cooper. Do you think they sign a contract?

Stop Getting Your News from TV!

I want to add a thought about Kevin's chart of the day, which shows that more people now get their news from the internet than from newspapers, an unsurprisingly but still foreboding development. The chart also shows that people still get most of their news from TV. Internet and newspapers lag far behind. This is at the root of so many of the complaints...

| Wed Dec. 31, 2008 1:51 PM EST

I want to add a thought about Kevin's chart of the day, which shows that more people now get their news from the internet than from newspapers, an unsurprisingly but still foreboding development.

The chart also shows that people still get most of their news from TV. Internet and newspapers lag far behind. This is at the root of so many of the complaints Americans have about the news media. The worst and most common sins of the media are committed by TV news: substituting confrontational debates for substantive discussions; treating serious subjects too briefly or not at all; spending too much time on Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, and missing blond women in Aruba or wherever. I recognized that newspapers and especially blogs and internet outlets have serious problems. But if you want long-form journalism that takes a single subject and works it over for 10,000 words (something that will take 45 minutes to read and really teach you something in the process), you've got to turn to magazines and their websites. (Try here, here, or here to begin.) And if you want breaking news that brings horrible things like warrantless wiretapping or black sites into the open, you've got to turn to newspapers and their websites. So next time someone tells you they're fed up with the media, take away his or her TV remote and hand him or her a copy of The New Yorker. I'd bet Wolf Blitzer, in his heart of hearts, would recommend the same thing.

Year's Best Culture Interviews

From John Cusack banter to Joss Whedon podcasts, MoJo talked with some fascinating culture-makers this year. Below, six of our favorite culture interviews of 2008....

| Wed Dec. 31, 2008 10:09 AM EST

From John Cusack banter to Joss Whedon podcasts, MoJo talked with some fascinating culture-makers this year. Below, six of our favorite culture interviews of 2008.

MoJo Faves of 2008: Phone Sex, Aryan Outfitters, and More Photo Editor's Picks

| Tue Dec. 30, 2008 8:43 PM EST

We get a lot of exceptional photo essays submitted each week. It's hard to pick just one per issue, and even with the expanded outlet of the website, there's still not enough room for everything worthy that passes across my desk. Between the photo essays that ran in the magazine in 2008, and those that found a home on the Mother Jones website, this was a bang-up year for picture stories here.

That said, below are my five personal favorite MoJo photo essays of 2008.

What Kind of New Year's Eve Will You Have?

Gawker claims there are only five kinds of New Year's Eve parties. Poor me, I'm a definite number 4....

| Mon Dec. 29, 2008 9:07 PM EST

Gawker claims there are only five kinds of New Year's Eve parties.

Poor me, I'm a definite number 4.

Advertise on MotherJones.com

Eartha Kitt Dies at 81

Legendary singer and actress Eartha Kitt died yesterday of cancer at age 81. The AP described her as rising "from South Carolina cotton fields to become an international symbol of elegance and sensuality," while the New York Times called her a "seducer of audiences" whose wide-ranging career presaged current entertainers: Ms. Kitt, who began performing in the late '40s as a dancer in New...

| Fri Dec. 26, 2008 3:30 PM EST

Eartha KittLegendary singer and actress Eartha Kitt died yesterday of cancer at age 81. The AP described her as rising "from South Carolina cotton fields to become an international symbol of elegance and sensuality," while the New York Times called her a "seducer of audiences" whose wide-ranging career presaged current entertainers:

Ms. Kitt, who began performing in the late '40s as a dancer in New York, went on to achieve success and acclaim in a variety of mediums long before other entertainment multitaskers like Julie Andrews, Barbra Streisand and Bette Midler. ... With her curvaceous frame and unabashed vocal come-ons, she was also, along with Lena Horne, among the first widely known African-American sex symbols.

After the jump, video of Kitt singing "Santa Baby," a hit in 1953.

Melissa Etheridge Meets with Rick Warren, Responds to Controversy

Singer Melissa Etheridge has posted a statement about the Rick Warren "wrangle" at HuffPo in which she describes meeting the pastor at an event for the Muslim Public Affairs Council over the weekend. She called the pastor "very thoughtful" and said he "regretted" comparing gays to pedophiles: On the day of the conference I received a call from Pastor Rick, and before I could...

| Tue Dec. 23, 2008 7:37 PM EST

mojo-photo-etheridgewarren.jpgSinger Melissa Etheridge has posted a statement about the Rick Warren "wrangle" at HuffPo in which she describes meeting the pastor at an event for the Muslim Public Affairs Council over the weekend. She called the pastor "very thoughtful" and said he "regretted" comparing gays to pedophiles:

On the day of the conference I received a call from Pastor Rick, and before I could say anything, he told me what a fan he was. He had most of my albums from the very first one. What? This didn't sound like a gay hater, much less a preacher. He explained in very thoughtful words that as a Christian he believed in equal rights for everyone. He believed every loving relationship should have equal protection. He struggled with proposition 8 because he didn't want to see marriage redefined as anything other than between a man and a woman. He said he regretted his choice of words in his video message to his congregation about proposition 8 when he mentioned pedophiles and those who commit incest. He said that in no way, is that how he thought about gays. He invited me to his church, I invited him to my home to meet my wife and kids.

Hooray?

2008 Box Office Champs Prove Americans Like Flying Guys, Talking Animals

Box Office Mojo's chart of the past 365 days at the box office has a couple surprises, and none of them are reassuring about our nation's taste in movies. While even a cave-dweller would know that The Dark Knight snagged the most of our hard-earned cash in its batty claws this year, I bet you can't guess the #2 movie, or tell me what...

| Tue Dec. 23, 2008 6:07 PM EST

mojo-photo-darkknightdollars.jpgBox Office Mojo's chart of the past 365 days at the box office has a couple surprises, and none of them are reassuring about our nation's taste in movies. While even a cave-dweller would know that The Dark Knight snagged the most of our hard-earned cash in its batty claws this year, I bet you can't guess the #2 movie, or tell me what three (or four?) kiddie flicks giggled their computer-generated, disturbingly-anthropomorphic ways into the Top 10. It's all pretty depressing, to be honest, so take a deep breath and click "continues" to find out.

Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young Set for Glastonbury; Coachella Rumors Heat Up

What better pastime on this dreary winter day than happily imagining ourselves sprawled on the lawn at a summer music festival, trying to catch a glimpse of the performers between the dancing hippies? Festival promoters are even helping with our creative visualizations by making some lineup announcements. The UK Sun reports that Glastonbury has "gone back to basics" this year with two legendary performers...

| Mon Dec. 22, 2008 5:26 PM EST

Neil Young Bruce SpringsteenWhat better pastime on this dreary winter day than happily imagining ourselves sprawled on the lawn at a summer music festival, trying to catch a glimpse of the performers between the dancing hippies? Festival promoters are even helping with our creative visualizations by making some lineup announcements. The UK Sun reports that Glastonbury has "gone back to basics" this year with two legendary performers set as headliners: Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young. God bless those guys, but they're probably the only respectable musicians around who could make co-headliners Blur seem young. Ouch, I know, but for reals. Of course, this is the festival that caused an outburst of creepily-verging-on-racist complaints when headliner Jay-Z was announced for the 2008 edition, although the fact that the rapper ended up cheekily covering Oasis' "Wonderwall" at the show seemed to make it all worthwhile. But you can't help wondering if festival boss Michael Eavis is so desperate to avoid a similar controversy, he's going with the oldest, whitest, most respectable rockers around? (And Blur?) (Why am I being so mean to them?)

After the jump: can we legally start Coachella rumors before January 1?