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American Idiot Slacker Friday | The Nation

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Eric Alterman

Eric Alterman

Well-chosen words on music, movies and politics, with the occasional special guest.

American Idiot Slacker Friday

My new "Think Again" column is called "Mainstream Media to Conservatives: 'Thank You, Sir, May I Have Another?'" It's about right wing narratives being swallowed in re: Acorn, Climate Change, and now the Tea Party. That's here.

And my 'Nation' column is about Bill Moyers' retirement, and that's here.

And numerous Jerusalemites, among them, the admirable Avishai Margalit, and Zeev Sternhell, tell Non-Jerusalemite Elie Wiesel to shut the hell up about his alleged rights to occupy Jerusalem, here. Ron Lauder should also shut the hell up, in my opinion, here.

Alter-reviews:

Eric on "American Idiot:"

So me and the kid saw "American Idiot" last night. It was quite an experience. First off, it is just weird to see so many teenagers at a Broadway show. The median age of the audience was a good fifty years lower than what I'm used to seeing on the proverbial Great White Way. Second, I really like "American Idiot" and pretty much like "21st Century Breakdown" which is pretty similar. (I like "Dookie too, but that's all I know.) But I sure didn't like them for their story line. And I'm pretty far removed from the "life sucks so who gives a shit" attitude of so much suburban teenage angst, (including my own). So I didn't really expect to go for the plot.

As it was, the plot wasn't much. The songs held their own, though sometimes exhibited a bit too much similarity to one another. The choreography, staging and sets, however were terrific. And when it slowed for a bit, it soon picked up. It was maybe not such a great idea to take a 12 year old to see people pretending to shoot up and have sex but this is New York and there's the Internet, and this is a losing battle... So I'm pretty sure if you're the right age for American Idiot, whatever that is, you'll have a pretty great time at this show.

But here's the thing. You won't have as great a time as me and kid did. Sorry to say, because the second encores after you see the show won't be Green Day coming out to perform "American Idiot" and "Basket Case," so powerfully that if you were up close, and the kid was in the front row by this time, it was almost as great as seeing the Clash. Sheesh, what a great band; power, melodies and brains. What more can you ask? Anyway, 12 year old Eve Rose Alterman took the photo here but for a while, the Times tried to steal the credit from the kid. Dad cleared that one up, youbetcha.

Sal on the new Peter Wolf:

It's only April, but I'm calling it. Peter Wolf's "Midnight Souvenirs" is my favorite album of the year. I decided that after the first song, the absolutely perfect first single, "Tragedy," sung with Shelby Lynne. Needless to say, the rest of the record turned out okay, too. I love this record.

What strikes me most about this new album is a quality that seems to be missing from so many records these days--songs. And "Midnight Souvenirs" isn't necessarily better than Wolf's last release, the now 7 year old and still amazing "Sleepless." It's just so much better than everything else, it's hard not to root for it. "Midnight Souvenirs" is filled with songs...with words and music and arrangements, you know, like it used to be.

If you get stuck repeatedly listening to the soulful and completely infectious opener, you will find songs dabbling in country & western, folk, funk, and some good old Stones-y rock and roll. There are two other duets on the record, one with Neko Case and the other with Merle Haggard. Good songs, but my least favorite on a record, that back in the day, may have spawned 5 hit singles.

I love this record. Did I say that?

Sal Nunziato

www.burnwoodtonite.blogspot.com

CHARLES PIERCE NEWTON, MA.

Hey Doc -- "Let us not bow our heads/for we won't be complaining/Life has been good to us all/even when that sky has been raining." -- Weekly WWOZ Pick To Click: "74 Miles Away" (Cannonball Adderley)

Hey, Arizona. You can't see my papers, but I'll sign anything you want testifying how much I love New Orleans.

Part The First: I would like to thank my fellow citizens, especially the conservative ones, for doing all they can in support of the marketing plan for the paperback edition, appearing--with special added idiocy!--in two weeks. But, dammit, the paperback's already out of date. To wit:

Part The Second: As soon as we're done laughing at the crazy chicken-lady in Nevada, let's all remember that, until that moment, she was better than even money to beat the incumbent majority leader of the United States Senate, and that--unless this turns out to be a macaca moment--she still may do it. Ho, ho, ho.

(By the way, if Ms. Lowden has her way, I'm really screwed. I don't have a barterable skill. What do I do? Tell the doctor if he takes the skin cancer off my face, I'll write him 3000 words on Dustin Pedroia?)

Part The Third: And then, there's Arizona, home of the Lost Dutchman Crazee Mine. First, there was the fact that the electorate is so unimpressed by John McCain's talent for throwing temper tantrums while simultaneously groveling for votes that it's made him even money to lose in a primary to a bag of dingy laundry like J. D. Hayworth. Now, the legislature has gone and passed the Conrad Veidt "Your-Papers-Are--In-Order-Yes?" Memorial Act of 2010, and there's a bill about birth certificates coming through the same pipeline as we speak. It's not the heat, it's the stupidity.

Part The Fourth: Meanwhile, down in Georgia, they took testimony in support of a law to keep the government from implanting microchips in the nether regions of its citizens. Then, perhaps to keep the phrase "vaginal-rectal area" from ever appearing in the legislative record again, the committee voted in favor of the ban. Anyway, thanks to you all again for promoting the book.

Part The Penultimate: Hey Lloyd, dude, I assure you that the hurt that the SEC's action will put on "America" is nothing compared to what most of underemployed, underinsured, undercapitalized "America" would like to do to you. Think anthills, the hot sun, and honey smeared in inconvenient places.

Part The Ultimate: Oh, Lord. The Parson Meacham's tenure at Newsweek continues to veer woozily between What Would Jesus Print? and barely disguised appeals for the lunatic Right not to show up on his lawn. This week, he sends Evan Thomas, the only living collector of John McCloy memorabilia, in search of the transcendent political power that is Governor Rick Perry of Texas. Read the piece closely and you will see in it everything that makes elite political journalism in this country unworthy of the implicit trust placed in it by First Amendment. It has become plain in recent months that Perry is a politician beloved of people who should not be trusted to cut their own meat, count their own money, or go out in public without keepers. There should be no serious dispute about this, not with Thomas writing this:

"President Obama, (Perry) says, "is hellbent on taking America towards a socialist country." That kind of catchy talk plays well with a certain--and growing--segment of the American population. According to a new Rasmussen Reports poll, 24 percent of U.S. voters now say they consider themselves to be part of the tea-party movement (up from 16 percent a month ago). According to a Harris Interactive poll, two thirds of Republicans believe Obama is a socialist, while 57 percent believe he is a Muslim, and almost one in four suspect he's the Antichrist."

That is a clinical description of politics that has utterly lost its mind. It is precisely the same as a political movement that states as its goal the elimination of the role played in American politics by arachnid aliens from the planet Zontar. This is the case whether or not the insanity is popular or not. This is the case whether or not it is politically successful. And a politician like Perry who chooses to align himself with it is worthy of nothing but scorn and ridicule. He certainly doesn't need some Beltway bigfoot massaging his ego with talk about how "crafty" he is, or how he has such "good timing." (John Kerry was a flip-flopper, remember? Rick Perry has "good timing." OK, whatever.) The whole piece is one of those phony anthropological studies of the Real America. ( I mean, honestly, "Shuck Donnell, general manager of Coyote Lake Feedyard in Muleshoe, Texas"? How'd they decide to quote him? On the basis of his first name? His company's name? Or the name of his hometown? It sure as hell wasn't on the merits of what he said.) If Rick Perry's ideas triumph in this country, it is because this country's politics have gone moronic, perhaps beyond all recall. Of course, if you say that, people will get mad and show up on the Parson's lawn, and we can't have that.

The Mail:

Name: Stephen Carver
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA

I, too, will miss Bill Moyers. His journalistic integrity is intact, which is more than one can say about many journalists nearing the end of their careers. I can only hope that Moyers' production company releases more in-depth and complicated investigations and illustrations of Americana. He has had his hand on America's pulse for so long now, I hope he continues to doctor us.

As for "American Idiot," I hope you and the kid enjoy it. I think the album is brilliant and I recognized its inherent theatricality the instant I heard it. As a theatre director, I wish I had a hand in turning it into a piece of theatre, but I am just glad to know someone did. It will be interesting to see how Broadway audience react to it (I think they'll love it) and if it wins a Tony for Best Musical as it won a Grammy for Best Album.

Name: Merrill R. Frank
Hometown: Jackson Heights, NYC

When the Fox and Friends morning show team ponders the meaning of the Nuclear Security Initiative logo and sit around wondering if the is some sort of secret message encoded to the Muslim world you figure the cable news world or just Fox must of lost it's collective mind.

http://mediamatters.org/mmtv/201004140003

I know we can't expect much in the way of reasonable dialogue and analysis from a morning "news" team consisting of an ignorant Anita Bryant wannabe, a failed morning show host/weatherman and a sports guy who had his behind handed to him by Jannine Garofolo a few years back.

The Nuclear Security Initiative logo as well as the new Missile Defense agency logo which happened to be designed at the end of the Bush administration seem quite similar to the design of the late-90's to 2004 Oldsmobile logo.

Maybe the tinfoil hat brigade will see some sort of conspiracy there as well. GM bailout, Ike Turner Rocket 88, Werner Von Braun etc.

At least that "fake news guy" John Stewart had the sense to call out this idiocacy.

http://mediamatters.org/blog/201004150001

Name: Michael Green
Hometown: Las Vegas, NV

Now, I come from that odd part of the populace that thinks Bruce is fine, Rosanne is better, her father was better still, but even ol' Johnny dallied too much with rock and roll. Which is why I would like to say a nice word for the singer of the original hit version of "Sea of Heartbreak," Don Gibson, who also was one of the best songwriters ever to wander down the pike. He wrote "Oh, Lonesome Me" and "I Can't Stop Loving You," both major hits in numerous fields of music, on the same day.

Friends sometimes wonder how a lefty can be a country music fan. As the Pulitzer Prize committee noticed in connection with Hank Williams, it's honest when it's done right (and not by so many around today claiming to be country singers), and so is liberalism. We never seem to notice that connection.

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