MoJo Author Feeds: Party Ben | Mother Jones Mother Jones logo en White House Boos Sykes 9/11 Joke <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Comedian Wanda Sykes is getting some grief for joking about Rush Limbaugh at the White House Correspondents' Dinner on Saturday Night. Sykes, referring to Limbaugh's infamous claim that he hopes Obama fails, suggested that maybe Limbaugh was "the 20th hijacker" on 9/11, and offered that she "hopes his kidneys fail." It took the right wing about 24 hours to figure out that kidney failure means death, and then they switched right into gear. Drudge breathlessly linked to a couple articles taking Sykes to task, <a href="">asking</a> "What was Obama thinking" for chuckling at the joke, and Fox News <a href="">quoted unnamed sources</a> calling her "mean-spirited," "hateful" and "disgusting." And today, sadly but perhaps inevitably, the White House just caved. Robert Gibbs <a href="">made a statement</a> as part of his daily briefing today saying that 9/11 is one of "a lot of topics that are better left for serious reflection rather than comedy." Oh come on, didn't anybody see The Aristocrats? When Gilbert Gottfried <a href="">did his whole schtick right after 9/11</a>? That was genius.</p> <p>People are giving Sykes <a href="">rave reviews</a> for her bit at the dinner, but her languidly-paced softballs about giving the Queen an iPod seemed kind of tame to me, especially compared to Stephen Colbert's <a href="">head-spinning praise/takedown of George W. Bush</a> back in 2006. I love Wanda, and let's not forget, Openly Gay Comedian Speaks at White House Correspondents Dinner, but her jokes were about 50% throwaways, I thought. More signs of the Obama Comedy-pocalypse, or just her mellow style not really grabbing the audience?&nbsp;Watch the video and decide for yourself after the jump.</p></body></html> <p style="font-size: 1.083em;"><a href="/riff/2009/05/white-house-boos-sykes-911-joke"><strong><em>Continue Reading &raquo;</em></strong></a></p> Riff Media Mon, 11 May 2009 19:10:21 +0000 Party Ben 23763 at I Would Like to Introduce Our Federal Government to Photoshop <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>By now, the profound idiocy of the White House Military Office's decision to stage a <a href="">terrifying photo op</a> for an Air Force One jet over New York City on Monday has been widely, and rightly, condemned. However, I haven't heard anyone offer any proactive, money-saving solutions... until now! Esteemed employees of our federal government, please allow me, your comically named <em>Mother Jones</em> contributor, to acquaint you with a magical, spell-casting piece of computer wizardry called Photoshop. With Photoshop, any<em>thing</em> can be any<em>where</em>, at any <em>time</em>! Skeptical? Well, just take a look at some examples after the jump!</p></body></html> <p style="font-size: 1.083em;"><a href="/riff/2009/04/i-would-introduce-our-federal-government-photoshop"><strong><em>Continue Reading &raquo;</em></strong></a></p> Riff Offbeat Wed, 29 Apr 2009 21:42:35 +0000 Party Ben 23491 at Q&A: Adam Freeland <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>While he may not be a household name, Adam Freeland is a legend in the world of electronic music. He's one of a handful of producers who can legitimately be credited with, if not wholly inventing, at least bringing to the foreground an entirely new genre: a darker, smarter strain of breakbeat music called "nu skool breaks." Moreover, his music has often been politically outspoken, and with his eponymous band, he bridges the gap between rock and dance. I talked with him backstage at the Coachella festival about the changing political scene as well as his upcoming album.</p></body></html> <p style="font-size: 1.083em;"><a href="/riff/2009/04/qa-adam-freeland"><strong><em>Continue Reading &raquo;</em></strong></a></p> Riff Interview Music Wed, 29 Apr 2009 03:34:14 +0000 Party Ben 23460 at Conservatives Think Colbert Is Serious <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Via HuffPo <a href="">comes a study</a> that confirms one thing we already knew&mdash;Stephen Colbert is totally hilarious&mdash;but also points out something surprising: both conservatives and liberals think he's on their side. According to an Ohio State University <a href="">study</a>, <em>The Colbert Report</em> is like a political Rorschach text, and you see what you want to see in it:</p> <blockquote> <p>...Individual-level political ideology significantly predicted perceptions of Colbert's political ideology. Additionally, there was no significant difference between the groups in thinking Colbert was funny, but conservatives were more likely to report that Colbert only pretends to be joking and genuinely meant what he said while liberals were more likely to report that Colbert used satire and was not serious when offering political statements. Conservatism also significantly predicted perceptions that Colbert disliked liberalism.</p> </blockquote> <p>Proof that we live in different worlds came just last week when the National Organization for Marriage (nom nom nom!!) <a href="">thanked Colbert for his parody</a> of their <a href="">insane "Gathering Storm" anti-gay marriage spot</a>. NOM president Maggie Gallagher actually said "I've always thought Colbert was a double-agent, pretending to pretend to be a conservative, to pull one over Hollywood." Wow.&nbsp;Really? Well, I&nbsp;guess if you think gay marriage is a scary lightning storm, coming to take away your rights, your brain is full of neat ideas.</p></body></html> <p style="font-size: 1.083em;"><a href="/riff/2009/04/conservatives-think-colbert-serious"><strong><em>Continue Reading &raquo;</em></strong></a></p> Riff Media Mon, 27 Apr 2009 22:15:03 +0000 Party Ben 23431 at Monday Top Five <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>This week, a couple tunes good for indie dance parties, a surprising and hilarious mashup, a Brooklyn duo takes an eventful trip to Times Square, and Kate Bush fans have a new artist to worship.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>1. Passion Pit &ndash; "The Reeling"</strong> (from <em>Manners </em>out May 26 on French Kiss)</p> <p><object height="340" width="560"> <param value=";hl=en&amp;fs=1" name="movie"><param value="true" name="allowFullScreen"><param value="always" name="allowscriptaccess"><embed height="340" width="560" allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" src=";hl=en&amp;fs=1"></embed></object></p> <p>This Boston-based band charmed me (and lots of other people based on their Top 30 ranking on iTunes) with their quirky "Sleepyhead," but I was wholly unprepared for the raucous good time that is "The Reeling." Tinkly '80s-style synths are offset by stomping rock drums, and the sing-along chorus is irresistible: "Oh, noooo!"</p> <p><strong>2. Bon Jovi vs. Nina Simone &ndash; "Like a Life on a Prayer" </strong>(Mad Mix Mustang mashup, download at <a href="">his web site</a>)</p> <p>Usually, the point of a mashup is to be amused at the transformation of both sources, but I'd never heard this Nina Simone track before. However, it's perfect with the Bon Jovi lyrics, and the track ends up sounding like a Mark Ronson souled-up retro-remix, with some Austin Powers silliness thrown in.</p></body></html> <p style="font-size: 1.083em;"><a href="/riff/2009/04/monday-top-five"><strong><em>Continue Reading &raquo;</em></strong></a></p> Riff Music Mon, 27 Apr 2009 19:50:22 +0000 Party Ben 23421 at Joe Biden Gets Auto-Tuned <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><object height="344" width="425"> <param value=";hl=en&amp;fs=1" name="movie"><param value="true" name="allowFullScreen"><param value="always" name="allowscriptaccess"><embed height="344" width="425" allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" src=";hl=en&amp;fs=1"></embed></object></p> <p>Via <a href="">Boing Boing</a> comes this goofy video that answers the question, "What would happen if we took T-Pain's favorite studio toy, the <a href=";source=web&amp;ct=res&amp;cd=2&amp;;ei=heLwSazCKaOktAPc1aTzCg&amp;usg=AFQjCNEG_lXp-xqZNfjKipu-1tBQ8iKB1w">Auto-Tune</a>, and ran the news through it?" Haven't you ever wondered that? Well, I have, but I've always found the robotic warble that the Antares software produces via its forcing of any sound to its nearest pitch in a pre-defined scale to be <a href="">a legitimate mode of artistic expression</a>, but then again, I'm just generally <a href="">pro-robot</a>. This video, by Michael and Andrew Gregory, features some politicians and sports figures having their blabbering turned into robotic song, with varying success: who knew Joe Biden was a natural pop music talent? Get that guy on American Idol!! The work is apparently part of an <a href="">ongoing project</a> to pitch-correct all broadcasts, perhaps ultimately aiming for the pitch-correction of all sound, everywhere, all the time, into some sort of National Key. I vote for Am7!</p></body></html> Riff Media Music Thu, 23 Apr 2009 21:36:43 +0000 Party Ben 23379 at New Music: Depeche Mode – Sounds of the Universe <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Depeche Mode is not New Order, although you could be forgiven for mixing them up, I suppose, if you're not paying attention, or just looking at their keyboards, or maybe their career arcs. Actually, Depeche Mode's unlikely, meteoric rise to super-fame and subsequent plateau most resembles The Cure's: minimalist, early '80s experiments give way to mid-'80s "alt-culture" idolatry, then early 90's chart-topping mega-success, and finally a semi-retirement based on recycling (with varying degrees of success) the motifs of their earlier output. But there's a reason New Order gets their own section on my record shelves, while D-Mode languishes on the '80s shelf: they've always been a little, well, <em>obvious</em> for my taste, I guess, with their Peoples are Peoples and Personal Jesuses and&nbsp;I Expect to&nbsp;Find God Laffff-ing. Plus, what may be their artistic peak, 1990's "Enjoy the Silence," was basically a New Order homage, at best. But, weirdly enough, <em>Sounds of the Universe</em>, their 12th and latest album, achieves an intriguing complexity by looking to the lessons of early New Order, i.e., being a little obscure might not be such a bad thing.</p></body></html> <p style="font-size: 1.083em;"><a href="/riff/2009/04/new-music-depeche-mode-%E2%80%93-sounds-universe"><strong><em>Continue Reading &raquo;</em></strong></a></p> Riff Music Thu, 23 Apr 2009 00:28:35 +0000 Party Ben 23350 at Music Inspired by J. G. Ballard <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>If you go by numbers of books, J. G. Ballard takes up more room on my shelves than any other author other than Philip K. Dick, and while I don't know if that makes him my second favorite writer, I have enjoyed his work my whole life. The British writer <a href="">died on Sunday</a>, and while his fame was assured by his novels that became movies, <em>Empire of the Sun</em> and <em>Crash</em>, it was his dystopian science fiction work (usually short stories) that I always found most compelling. Their shocking ideas were often powerful precisely because they were aspects of our world taken to their logical&mdash;if extreme&mdash;conclusions. "The Concentration City," for instance, imagines an entirely enclosed conurbation so large its residents believe it to be infinite, while "Billenium" looks forward (almost quaintly now) at an overpopulated Earth so crowded with people the protagonists are stunned to discover a single hidden, empty room.</p> <p>Whether it was his mind-blowing subject matter or edgy style, Ballard's fiction has always appealed to musicians as well, and his work has served as inspirations for songs, albums and even band names. After the jump, a couple examples and their connections (or lack thereof) to Ballard's work.</p></body></html> <p style="font-size: 1.083em;"><a href="/riff/2009/04/music-inspired-j-g-ballard"><strong><em>Continue Reading &raquo;</em></strong></a></p> Riff Books Music Wed, 22 Apr 2009 20:48:06 +0000 Party Ben 23346 at Coachella 2009 <img src="" alt="" title="" width="504" height="378" class="imagecache imagecache-node-gallery-display"/><div class="caption"><p><strong>Buraka Som Sistema</strong></p> <p>Portuguese combo Buraka Som Sistema perform at the 2009 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.</p></div><p style="font-size: 1.083em;"><a href="/slideshows/2009/04/coachella-2009"><strong><em>See all photos from this photo essay &raquo;</em></strong></a></p><div class="photoessay-body"><p>The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival entered its tenth year this past weekend, with headliners including Paul McCartney, Morrissey and M.I.A. Here are some highlights from the festival, which took place Friday through&nbsp;Sunday, April 17-19, 2009, at the Empire Polo Field in Indio, California.</p> </div> Slideshows Slideshows Mon, 20 Apr 2009 18:08:30 +0000 Party Ben 23247 at Coachella 2009 Wrapup - Sunday <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><span class="inline inline-none"><img height="227" width="630" src="" alt="" title="" class="image image-_original"></span></p> <p>Hello again from La Quinta, where we've just returned from what may have been the most action-packed day of the 2009 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. In tonight's exciting edition: Giant creepy eyeballs! Rock star friends have a moment in the sun! And unsuspecting festivalgoers have their ears melted from their heads! Most importantly, we kind of snuck out a little early tonight after our traumatic parking lot experience last night, so hopefully this wrapup will be a little less muddled. Click "more" to jump in.</p></body></html> <p style="font-size: 1.083em;"><a href="/riff/2009/04/coachella-2009-wrapup-sunday"><strong><em>Continue Reading &raquo;</em></strong></a></p> Riff Music Mon, 20 Apr 2009 08:59:32 +0000 Party Ben 23208 at