The Riff - July 2008

McCain Finally Gets His Very Own Song

| Thu Jul. 31, 2008 8:35 PM EDT

mojo-photo-mccainandrich.jpgWith all these terrible tributes to Obama, it has seemed unfair that McCain hasn't had any unintentionally hilarious tunes penned for his campaign. But now that imbalance has been rectified, and it's almost too good to be true: it's a song called "Raising McCain" and it's by John Rich of Big and Rich. Honestly, this is the kind of stuff that makes me glad to be alive. Billboard has this quote from the song's lyrics:

He stayed strong,
Stayed extra long,
Til they let all the other boys out.
Now we've got a real man
With an American plan
We're going to put him in the big White House.
Refrain: We're all just raising McCain.

Does "house" rhyme with "out?" And is anybody else getting a weirdly homoerotic vibe? "Extra long," "real man," "raising"... no? You don't want to go there? Okay, but either way, it's just spectacular. Rich told Billboard that he'll debut the song tomorrow at "Country First," a festival in Panama City, Florida, with McCain in attendance. "The entire world is looking for a way to sucker punch us," said Rich, "I think John McCain is the guy to keep us safe." But who will protect us from terrible country-rock ballads?

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New Music: Plastilina Mosh - All U Need is Mosh

| Thu Jul. 31, 2008 7:09 PM EDT

mojo-photo-pmoshalluneed.jpgWhen is a band not a band? Okay, the bio says Plastilina Mosh is a duo from Monterrey, Mexico, and they have albums and some hit singles just like other bands. But they sure don't take themselves very seriously. In a recent interview, multi-instrumentalist Alejandro Rosso said they didn't think of P-Mosh as a "career":

At this point, if you think about it, most of the groups that started with our generation, like Molotov, Control Machete, Zurdok, they're no longer here, and we go on with the same idea, that is to not take everything so seriously, we do not believe that we are the truth nor are we an innovative group. We are a project that amuses us and we take this lightly, and somehow it's worked.

It's worked, but it can be a little disorienting. For All U Need is Mosh, the duo's first album of new material in five years, they've reinvented themselves again, with strange, intriguing results.

Oliver Stone on the President's Son

| Thu Jul. 31, 2008 3:21 PM EDT

The barely credible drama of the Bush family has been compared before to the Kennedys, the Corleones, and even the Macbeths, so perhaps it was only a matter of time before Oliver Stone took it on.

And now he has.

Here's the trailer for W., the new Stone movie that takes viewers through the 43rd president's action-packed life. Josh Brolin—who apparently got really involved in the role—plays our president from his time as a college student through the days leading up to the invasion of Iraq.

Stone is no supporter of Bush, and the movie is sure to be unflattering.

Still, it doesn't look like there will be any big surprises in W. Bad student, bad businessman, bad governor, bad president. Sprinkle on a little drug use and alcoholism and it's the standard bad Bush presentation. And because this is Oliver Stone, W. will probably be full of lies. That's too bad, because there's not really much need for embellishment in this story.

One made up moment in the film occurs when George Bush Sr. is elected president: "I'll never get out of Poppy's shadow," W. tells his wife. "They'll all keep saying what's the boy ever done … I mean who ever remembers the son of a president?"

The future first lady then reportedly gives a deeply ironic three-word answer: " John Quincy Adams."

W. appears in theaters October 17.

—Daniel Luzer

New Ludacris Song "Obama Is Here" Not Likely to Help With Hillary Supporters

| Wed Jul. 30, 2008 4:49 PM EDT

Here on the Riff, we've covered how conservatives have tried to attack Barack Obama by tying him to scary hip-hop music, as well as the good (and the not-so-good) hip-hop tributes to the presumed Democratic candidate. But none have stirred up the, er, pot, as much as good old Ludacris, who has released a new song that lauds Obama and insults both Hillary Clinton and John McCain. "Politics: Obama is Here" (amateur video above) includes the lines, "Hillary hated on you, so that b**** is irrelevant," and "McCain don't belong in any chair unless he's paralyzed." One can just picture Obama slapping his head in frustration here. Clinton supporters have already demanded Obama condemn the song, oh and whoops, look at that, he has, thanks Drudge.

The song itself, I must say, is terrible, and clearly the lyrics are pushing the boundaries in a desperate attempt to make up for its deficiencies. It's too bad, since Ludacris is generally pretty fantastic. After the jump, a couple of his standout videos to remind us why Obama had Luda on his iPod in the first place.

WANTED: Nanny/(Factchecker) to Start Immmediately (Downtown Frisco)

| Mon Jul. 28, 2008 8:44 PM EDT

Spotted.
On Craigslist, via Gawker, this outlandish nanny job posting which, with a tinker here and there, could double as a MoJo internship listing, sorta... Have a read, and then decide, would you rather nanny 10 Upper East Siders or factcheck the world?


We're a family of ten an office of many. My husband editors-in-chief and myself, our 5 children 12 editors, 2 dogs 6 reporters, and cat creative director. For as long as we've lived Mother Jones has been in the city we have been lucky to have the same nanny/family assistant 700 factcheckers cycle in and out of our offices. Originally starting out as my eldest son's baby nurse fresh newbies and staying with us for nearly 19 years for up to two years before moving on as hardened vets.

The Dark Knight: WSJ Says "Yay," UK Guardian Says "Nay"

| Mon Jul. 28, 2008 6:00 PM EDT

mojo-photo-darkknightjoker.jpg

While commenters had a field day with my admittedly rambling post describing the troubling pro-Bush Administration subtext in Batman: The Dark Knight, there have been a few heavyweight additions to the fight over the last few days. First of all, the Wall Street Journal published an op-ed piece on Friday called "What Bush and Batman Have in Common" which looks at things from, well, the dark side:

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Brian Eno and David Byrne to Join Forces Again

| Mon Jul. 28, 2008 5:27 PM EDT

mojo-photo-enobyrne.jpgSure, it's been 27 years since two of music's great pioneers put their heads together for a ground-breaking album, but hey, they've both been busy. Legendary producer Brian Eno and former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne have completed work on a new album called Everything That Happens Will Happen Today, and following in the footsteps of Radiohead, they'll be self-releasing it online at EverythingThatHappens.com. You'll be able to stream it free or buy the downloads starting August 18, but a preview track will be available for free on August 4.

The web site currently features a brief note from Byrne, revealing that he was the songwriter and lyricist while Eno did the music. In an interview, Eno calls the new material "electronic gospel," which could be good or bad, really, but doesn't sound much like their last album together. Their 1980 effort, My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, fused quirky samples with wildly diverse rhythms, a pop-culture/electro/world-beat mish-mash that was way ahead of its time. In fact, I'm not sure we've even caught up yet: M.I.A.'s 2007 album Kala basically follows the same formula and it still seems utterly groundbreaking.

After the jump, check out "America is Waiting," the first track from Bush of Ghosts, which loops talk-radio samples over a rolling, Cabaret Voltaire-style beat.

Interview: "Garfield Minus Garfield" Creator Dan Walsh

| Fri Jul. 25, 2008 5:50 PM EDT

mojo-photo-gmgstrip.jpgAs we entered the second half of 2008, I thought I'd take a look at Riff page view statistics for the year, just to see what online Mother Jones readers have been clicking on around this fun little blog. And what, dear Riffers, do you think was the number one post of the first six months of 2008? A post mocking George W.'s misinterpretation of a painting? A cynical look at coverage of the Iowa primaries? Abstinence pants? No, no and no. Our most-viewed post was my meditation on the subtext of late-capitalist anxiety in the comic "remix" Garfield Minus Garfield. Riff readers are stoned!

It turns out I was onto something: in the months since the piece's appearance on the Riff, "G-G" has been covered in The New York Times, Time Magazine, and The Washington Post; the latter tracked down original Garfield creator Jim Davis, who called the work "an inspired thing to do." So, who's behind this now-phenomenally-popular bit of inspired photoshoppery? Meet 32-year-old Irishman Dan Walsh, who turns out to be a really nice guy. He answered a few questions via e-mail about the strip.

New Music From Around the Blogs: Pierre de Reeder, Villa Diamante, The Game, Sam Sparro

| Fri Jul. 25, 2008 5:21 PM EDT

mojo-photo-blogmusic0725.jpg

Hey, do you like the New Pornographers, but have you always felt like there were just too many people involved? Well now you can get cozy with bassist Pierre de Reeder, who has a new album of acoustic tracks out August 12. He's kind of like a Canadian Jose Gonzalez. RCRD LBL has an mp3 of "The Long Conversation," which they say is helping them "chill and forget our aching hangover." You too?

I went out to local club Mezzanine to catch some of the hot new Argentinian DJs of Club Zizek fame last night, and that shuffly cumbia rhythm is still shimmying around my brain. If you're intrigued but put off by confusing foreign-language lyrics, check out a mashup over at the Muy Bastard blog by Zizek DJ Villa Diamante, combining young rapper Lil Mama with a minor-key cumbia backing track.

After the jump: a rapper gets existential, and a soul singer gets remixed to shreds

Compare and Contrast: McCain Has His Own Awesome Poster

| Thu Jul. 24, 2008 9:50 PM EDT

mojo-photo-mccainpostersm.jpgWe here in the media elite sure like our liberal posters, since they reference things we studied in school and that makes us feel smart. But in the interest of equal time, let's take a look at some design work from the other side: via Marc Ambinder's blog at TheAtlantic.com, it's a John McCain campaign poster (right). Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy. First of all, I'd say that my mom might have designed this on her rickety old PC, since it appears to use some sort of free PosterMaker software with Plug-In Faux Marble Borders, but the last 7 years have turned even my central Nebraska parents into screaming liberals, so I doubt she'd stoop so low. In the center, we have, well, The Ghost of John McCain, and this should be a lesson to graphic designers: go easy on the see-through filters on the over-70 set. What is cool is that apparently airplanes can fly out of McCain's head. He just thinks, "I'd like to launch some jets," and kafwoop, there they go, from his brain. Now, "Peace is Born of Wisdom" looks like a slogan from one of those Latter-Day Saints TV ads, a demographic that I understand he wants to appeal to, but then why abandon this classic look for a nonsensical reddish-white-and-blue banner featuring a generic "McCain 08" in a totally different sans-serif font? Argh! It's not even good at being bad!!! After the jump, see a larger-size version of the poster, and my theory about how the designer came up with it.