“I’m a cool black guy!”
Archive for June, 2011
Posted by middlerage on June 28, 2011
Posted by middlerage on June 28, 2011
via the Daily Dish… I find this Mother Jones article on corporate America enslaving us: All Work and No Pay, the Great Speedup.
I highly encourage you to read this two page article, but if you just don’t have the time (get it?) AT LEAST look at the charts. Astounding. You will learn neato bandito things like both Germany and the U.S. are experiencing recovering GDP, but only one of them is rehiring and only one of them mandates paid vacation. Guess which one?
(six muthafucking weeks of paid vacay?!?!?! Suhhhhweeeeet.)
Here is a snippet from the article:
To understand how we got here, first let’s consider the Ben Franklin-Horatio Alger-Henry Ford ur-myth: To balk at working hard—really, really hard—brands you as profoundly un-American. Who besides the archetypical Japanese salaryman derives so much of his self-image from self-sacrifice on the job? Slacker is one of the most biting insults available in polite company.
And so we kowtow to—nay, embrace—a cultural maxim that just happens to be enormously convenient to corporate America (my bold – middlerage). “Our culture has encouraged me to only feel valuable if I’m barely hanging on to my sanity,” one friend emailed as we were working on this article. In fact, each time we mentioned this topic to someone—reader, source, friend—they first took pains to say: I’m not lazy. I love my job. I come from a long line of hard workers. But then it would pour out of them—the fatigue, the isolation, the guilt.
Posted by middlerage on June 24, 2011
This is a post about coolness, that becomes overexposure, that becomes contempt, that becomes absence, that becomes rediscovery, that becomes coolness again.
It is a post about a song. An over popular song. A song my dear readers have heard too much and probably hold my same level of contempt for. So I beg your indulgence in thinking about something you’d rather not think about.
Queen’s album News of the World debuted in 1977 when I was in junior high school. The very first song was the anthem rocker We Will Rock You, which has gone on to become one of the biggest songs of all time. It is ubiquitous. You hear it at every professional sports game, the addictive hook of stomping feet and chanting group vocals of “We will, we will, ROCK you…”
I – along with every other, mid-seventies teenager – loved it the first 100 times I heard it. But, like I say, it became over exposed, and in a few years I didn’t care if I never heard it again in this lifetime. I would actively change radio channels if it came on. Another bother was the jarring about-face of We Are the Champions which was welded right to the end of Rock You. I’m not nearly as enthusiastic about Champions as I am Rock You, but back in the day it was part and parcel of any airplay. Nowadays, with mp3s, you can slice off just the first song, and listen to it in its purest form (which I’m sure the artists are not crazy about, but oh well).
Fast forward 30 years, and I drive around a lot, with two kids in the car. Their Aunt Yoolee made their mother a mix CD for her birthday, and she did a pretty amazing job. The song list runs the gamut from old school to very recent pop, and maybe a sko-tch too much hip hop for my tastes, but all-in-all a fun CD to listen to. It is currently residing in the family car, and we listen to it a lot whilst driving around. The kids have totally fallen in love with track fifteen, and I am constantly hitting the repeat button upon the YK’s pleadings:
I want we wiww we wiww we wiww we wiww wock you ‘gain (how cute is that?)
So I am listening to it again and falling back in love. What is it about this song? I find myself in analysis mode trying to understand. What has hooked my young kids so completely? Does this mean the song is childish (read: bad)? Or primal (read: cool)? In junior high we just loved the rockin’. As an adult, I am diggin’ the musicianship – why did the band construct it the way they did? How brilliant is it that they didn’t opt for power chords the whole song, but led up to them?
As an adult, I think the thing that grabs me the most is the sustained, single note that Brian May crescendos – with computer-like precision – into a three-two-one launch of his crackling power chord. Goosebumps.
So set aside your overfamiliarity, dust off your air guitar, and give this a listen with your new, adult ears. Thanks, kids, and rock on.