My Pazz & Jop ballot, 2014
Singles 2014

1. Wa$$up – "Jingle Bell" – Mafia
2. Chainsmokers – "#Selfie" – 604/Dim Mak
3. HyunA – "Red" – Cube Entertainment
4. BiS – "STUPiG" – Avex Trax
5. Kate Nash – "Sister" – Have 10p
6. Courtney Love – "Wedding Day" – Cherry Forever
7. Orange Caramel – "So Sorry" – Pledis Entertainment
8. Tinashe ft. Schoolboy Q – "2 On" – RCA
9. Nicki Minaj – "Lookin Ass Nigga" – Young Money/Cash Money
10. Crayon Pop – "Uh-ee" – Chrome Entertainment

Albums 2014

1. After School – Dress To Kill – Avex Trax – 15
2. Hong Jin Young – Life Note – Loen Entertainment – 15
3. Wa$$up – Showtime – Mafia – 15
4. Jiyeon – Never Ever – KT Music – 10
5. Kali Mutsa – Souvenance – Shock Music – 10
6. Infinite – Be Back – Woollim Entertainment – 10
7. Hold Steady – Teeth Dreams – Washington Square/Razor & Tie – 10
8. Kitty – Don't Let Me Do This Again – self-released – 5
9. Kelis – Food – Ninja Tune – 5
10. Vixx – Error – Jellyfish Entertainment – 5

Night Without Tiers 2014
From Korea, middling sellers or out-and-out commercial failures that I like a lot. Alphabetical order.

A.Kor "But Go." On the 2NE1 template, being haughty and inviting at once.

Badkiz "Ear Attack." Shouts, whistles, social seriousness, and a squiggle from "Party Rock Anthem." (I wrote about the vid here.)

Choi Sam "Answer." Beat rumbles tectonically; voice dark like rubber that won't go elastic.

Delight "Hate You." Sentiment is evergreen, voices are rough.

GP Basic "Black Bounce." The singers circle relentlessly.

PungDeng-E "잘탕 (잘 시간이 어딨어)." PungDeng-E PungDeng-E Go! PungDeng-E PungDeng-E Go! What others are getting from Lip Service's "Yum Yum Yum" I'm getting from these kids.

Ray.B "살만한가봐." The pang of an '80s New York night, now done better in Seoul than anywhere else.

Scarlet "Hip Song." Also a hiccup song, the vocals jumping and stuttering in rhythm.

Switch "39˚C." Bleary nights, wandering from club to club.

Wa$$up "Stupid Liar." Slow, brooding, bruising. This group has depth and variety, if anyone's ever going to notice.

Z.Hera "D Island." Last year her decor was études and preludes. This year she's livin in smoove. Still impressive, still aches.

Zizo ft. Nan Ah Jin "Spy." Guest singer gets the close-up, rapper feints and darts around her.

They're too popular for this list, but I'm currently also digging Hong Jin Young's "Cheer Up" (h/t Mat), Vixx's "Error," BTS's (Bangtan Boys) "BTS Cypher PT.2: Triptych," After School's "Shine" (Japanese), and everything Orange Caramel have laid their hands on this year.

All human social practices are language-games
Take a very simple Wittgensteinian language-game, e.g., a bricklayer says "BRICK" and the bricklayer's assistant brings her the brick.* All of this is part of the language-game: not just the utterance "BRICK," but also the assistant bringing the brick — so the actions as well as the sound. You don't have one part being language and another part not. It's all language, and if you leave out the actions it's not complete.**

Of course, at times the assistant could understand that he's to bring a brick, yet he chooses not to, in defiance or as a joke; or he may be prevented from doing so, say by an injury; and that doesn't mean the language-game is incomplete in these instances. As long as the practice is there, the established practice of "BRICK" and an assistant bringing the brick, the language-game is in effect. And defiance and humor are expressible in this language, too, even though the language only contains one word, the command "BRICK." (Suppose, somehow, there's miscommunication in the game. Or some misunderstanding, the assistant incorrectly thinking that it's only when the bricklayer has her arm raised as she's uttering "BRICK" that he's to bring the brick. Or maybe sometimes the bricklayer doesn't mean it, and the assistant has to figure out when. A game doesn't have to be conducted with absolutely certainty to be a game; a language doesn't have to have absolute certainty and consistency to be a language.)

We can define "language-games" as being, more or less, "human social practices." The terms "language-game" and "social practice" are near synonyms, language being so ubiquitous. But let's see what happens if we go further. Let's get rid of "more or less." Let's say that all human social practices are language-games, whether or not any word is actually spoken in the practice, and whether or not all the parties even know a language. Yes, at least one of them — the parent of a baby, for instance — will have to know a language; but the other(s) won't have to. So parental action and baby wails and goos and parental response are all in the category "language-game." A baby being initiated into parent-child social behavior is a baby being initiated into language.***

By this definition, all musical events, including the "nonverbal," are nonetheless in some language-game or other. This doesn't mean "can be made part of a language-game by translating musical sounds into words or by describing the music in words." It means that the language-game includes musical sounds as they are, and we can take the sounds and see their role in particular games — particular social practices — just as we can take the utterances and actions in the "BRICK" language and see their roles in that particular practice. In any event, we refuse to give the social practices we call "music" the special status of being "nonverbal." They aren't.

Motive here is to tease out what might be usable in Mark's glimmer of an ideaCollapse )

Footnotes (as opposed to musical notes?)Collapse )

We must decide not to be too busy or stupid to understand some macroeconomics
Emailed this to Dave and Mark the day after the election:

As for yesterday's election, it went even worse than I'd feared (though so far it looks as if the Dems held onto the governor's office in Colorado, though just barely). My only thought, which is not necessarily correct as far as winning elections goes, but:

Of the commercials I saw (mainly while trying to watch YouTube; watching, say, Spanish-language TV could've been a different story), the commercials for Mark Udall, the Democrat, and loser, in the Colorado senate race, mainly attacked his opponent on social issues (Gardner's long opposition to abortion, his confusion around birth control, etc.), while the Republican commercials, for Cory Gardner, consistently attacked Udall on his economic policy. Of course what the Repub ads said was wrong, but that's not my point. We Democrats need to be running against the Repubs on economic issues. But — this is my opinion and my wish, and I'm sure that lots of people would consider it unrealistic — this means that at some point the Dems
have to decide that a significant portion of the electorate isn't too busy or stupid to understand some basic, comprehensible, but counterintuitive principles of macroeconomics, if we're willing to take minutes at a time to teach them. Otherwise, the Dems have no good response when the Repubs simulate being responsible and thoughtful by attacking us for running up debt and deficit and accuse us of burdening the future with our current profligacy etc. etc. Of course, most Dems don't know macro either (and I hardly do, but I've got some sense from Krugman of the basic principles), and whom I mean by "Dems" and “Democrats" and "we" and "us" in this paragraph isn't altogether consistent...
This means that a significant number of Democratic leaders themselves need to understand a few core macroeconomic principles and be willing to communicate them to voters, and a significant number of us rank-and-file Democrats need to understand those principles and communicate them to other Democrats and to the independents and Republicans who are willing to listen.

I'm not claiming to understand macroeconomics enough to truly evaluate the core principles, but I think I know a few of them:

(1) If, in order to save money and pay down debt, everyone is cutting back expenditures at once, none of them will succeed in cutting their own debt. This is because your spending is my income and my spending is your income; so when a lot of people are cutting back, your and my and everyone's respective incomes will fall as far or farther than our cutbacks, we'll turn out to be worse off, and the economy will go into a depression.

(2) In these conditions, cutting taxes on private industry and the very rich will have little or no stimulating effect. This is because private industry and the rich are not going to invest in factories, goods, and services when demand is falling. Instead, they'll sock their savings away.

(3) But a government can counteract the debt spiral and the savings glut by stepping up and spending money. This will get the economy back on its feet.

(4) In the conditions I described in 1 and 2 (so, in these conditions, not in all conditions), this extra government spending isn't going to cause interest rates to rise or cause excess inflation. Now, not having studied macro, I don't claim to understand all the reasons here. But, for example (I'm quoting Paul Krugman), since the private sector has excess savings that can't be invested, government borrowing "gives some of these excess savings a place to go — and in the process expands overall demand, and hence GDP. It does NOT crowd out private spending, at least not until the excess supply of savings has been sopped up." (See here and here.)

(5) Overall (so, now not just talking about current conditions), if the economy is growing faster than interest on government debt, we're not burdening future generations by government borrowing or by deficits. (Which doesn't mean we should always run deficits. But that's a different matter.) I'm sure I'm being too simplistic in the way I've written this point. But I hope it gives a gist and that it's correct.

As I've said, I'm not claiming the expertise to evaluate the ideas I've written here (which are basically my attempts to copy what I've read). But the thing is, it isn't that Republicans and pseudo-responsible centrists have counter-arguments to these points. They don't know that the points exist.* Neither do most lawmakers, and neither does most of the populace. And neither do most of the people likely to read my livejournal, I'm guessing. (Not that many people read my livejournal.)

Anyway, while we may have the constitutional right to be ignorant, it's time we weren't. And billions of people will suffer and millions will die if we don't decide to learn something, and communicate what we know.

*There are exceptions, of course. Ben Bernanke is a Republican, for instance.

Two Paradoxes Of Falsification
Two paradoxes of "falsification":

(1) When you reject an idea, theory, or proposition because it can't be falsified, you've in effect said that it's false because it can't be falsified.

(2) The statement, "Theories cannot be verified, but they can be falsified," doesn't survive the challenge, "Can you verify that the theory has been falsified?"

I'm making a bunch of what I consider good assumptions but ones that most people who use the word "falsification" don't make, the most crucial being that, no matter a theory's merits and problems, it's not under challenge until there's a competitor and that it's not wrong (or false or untrue or superseded or worthless or vacuous or whatever) until it's been replaced. Also that, when used as a reason for rejecting a theory, there's no important difference between "wrong" and the terms that I followed it with in parentheses, including "false."*

Fwiw, I've never actually read more than two paragraphs in a row by Karl Popper, the person whom the term "falsification" is most often associated with. So you shouldn't assume this post applies to Popper, though maybe it accidentally does.

Krugman on productive silliness, economic models
Always meaning to post more, and also need to comment on a shitload of things (three Mark Sinker threads need more input from me — Inuit tech, Oasis, hallway-classroom [UPDATE: Sinker links added] — not to mention what I owe Mark behind the scenes). In the meantime, here are links to four five blogposts from Paul Krugman on the use of models. Krugman's saying that to understand anything about economies you have to make simplifying assumptions, simpler often being better as long as (1) the models still tell you something useful and (2) you know when life is telling you to turn 'em off or rethink 'em. Subtheme is that, according to Krugman, many conservatives do this absolutely backwards, that is, refuse to turn off the microeconomics model as the supposed source from which all macroeconomics must derive, while at the same time decrying macroeconomic models that could save billions of people suffering and millions of lives if policy makers would act on them.

Dare To Be Silly

Too Much Faith In Models, Capital Taxation Division

Economic Realism (Wonkish)

Jean Tirole and the Triumph of Calculated Silliness

The State of Macro, Six Years Later [UPDATE: Added this link here (it's the "Subtheme" link above) because Krugman states his concerns more emphatically than he had in his previous post]

The New Economic Geography, Now Middle-Aged [UPDATE: Added this link here, and here's where I originally discussed it]

Also, there was this, from me:

Neither rational nor irrational

The discussion with Mark, if I ever have time for it, would include my own justification for my simplifying assumptions (hallway-classroom, for instance; also, the Rolling Stones and call-and-response, also jocks-burnouts-and-sometimes-freaks) and where he and I need to create more of them.

HyunA Is Red (Top Singles Through Third-Quarter, 2014)
Distracted, scattershot listening, with some good discoveries nonetheless. Pretty much totally ignored hip-hop, but it kept pushing its way onto this list anyway, either as guest spots or per se. A couple of non-gender-reversible videos by Tahiti and A.Kor. A lot of hard-rocking aggression in my top ten (top twelve if you go down to Future), the non-"rock" (Chainsmokers, HyunA, Nicki) rocking as hard or harder than the "rock" (Kate, Courtney, w/ BiS kinda both rock and nonrock). I guess you could call Orange Caramel aggressively silly, too. HyunA is the highest newbie, a vortex of fake mayhem and real power — also with a problematic couple of seconds that you might miss but it's worth saying a little about: war whoops that are made explicitly American Indian in live performance, the problem being not Oh noes! appropriation! or the inaccuracy, but that even when the portrayal of Native Americans as fighters is positive, as warriors! as braves! as admirable and courageous! they're rarely portrayed as anything else [EDIT: as anything other than fighters, that is]. But fwiw, the suggestion of being overrun by whoops makes this particular song stronger emotionally, the song being an overload as it is. The lyrics, by the way, are a takeoff on a Korean kids' song, or so Google informs me. Kids go "Monkey's butt is red, red apple, apple is delicious, delicious banana, banana is long," etc. So HyunA's song goes "Monkey's butt is red, red is HyunA, HyunA is yeah..." so, implied, HyunA is delicious (some haters went, "So HyunA is a monkey's butt," but that's the Internet).

1. Wa$$up "Jingle Bell"
2. The Chainsmokers "#Selfie"
3. HyunA "Red"

4. BiS "STUPiG"
5. Kate Nash "Sister"
6. Courtney Love "Wedding Day"
7. Orange Caramel "So Sorry"
8. Tinashe ft. Schoolboy Q "2 On"
9. Nicki Minaj "Lookin' Ass Nigga"
10. Crayon Pop "Uh-ee"
11. After School "Shh"
12. Future ft. Pharrell, Pusha T & Casino "Move That Dope"
13. Shakira ft. Rihanna "Can't Remember To Forget You"
14. T-ara "First Love"
15. Puer Kim "Manyo Maash"
16. Danity Kane "Bye Baby"
17. Badkiz "Ear Attack"
18. PungDeng-E "잘탕 (잘 시간이 어딨어)"
19. GP Basic "Black Bounce"

20. Serebro "Ya Tebya Ne Otdam"
21. Dal★shabet "B.B.B (Big Baby Baby)"
22. Ca$h Out "She Twerkin"
23. T-ara "Sugar Free"
24. Arcade Fire "We Exist"
25. The Hold Steady "I Hope This Whole Thing Didn't Frighten You"
26. JunglePussy "Fuck Texting"
27. Shakira "Empire"
28. Jiyeon "Never Ever"
29. Mia Martina ft. Dev "Danse"
30. Infinite "Back"
31. Neon Jungle "Braveheart"
32. Lady Gaga "G.U.Y."
33. Zizo ft. Nan Ah Jin "Spy"

34. Tahiti "Oppa, You Are Mine"
35. Bass Drum Of Death "Black Don't Glow"
36. SNSD "Mr.Mr."
37. Kim Wan Sun ft. Tiger JK and Bizzy "Goodbye My Love"
38. Shakira "Dare"
39. Scarlet "Hip Song"
40. Tyga ft. Young Thug "Hookah"
41. Louie ft. Boy Wonder "Twilight"
42. Low Pros ft. Young Thug & PeeWee Longway "Jack Tripper"
43. Ray.B "살만한가봐"
44. Plan B "Candy"
45. After School "Rock It"
46. Infinite "Last Romeo"
47. Cam & China "Do Dat"
48. A.Kor "But Go"

49. Choi Sam "Answer"
50. Yemi Alade "Tangerine"
51. T-ara "LA'booN"
52. Brantley Gilbert "Bottoms Up"
53. Rascal Flatts "Rewind"
54. Switch "39˚C"
55. Yelle "Bouquet Final"
56. Polly Scattergood "Subsequently Lost"

Some notes on newbies:

A.Kor "But Go": Lil Jon–like shout-outs, CL-like joyously cute toughness, 2NE1ish mideasternisms.

Choi Sam "Answer": Almost subliminally deep electronic wobbles undergird rapping that seems to work from Korean talk as much as from hip-hop. Most distinct track on this list. (H/t Mat.)

Scarlet "Hip Song": Wears its electronics on its sleeve while going in its structure for the feel of a quick little rock 'n' roll knockoff, using the first eight bars of the 12-bar pattern, the voices as blippy and instrumental-like as the instruments.

Okay, briefly on the warrior thing. Historically you had descendants of Europeans going in and invading and displacing American Indians, with the invaders thinking of themselves as pioneers and settlers (albeit with an advanced guard of gunmen and celluloid desperadoes), whereas the people who resisted the invasion are rarely portrayed as anything but warriors, so are shown as fundamentally war-like. That's a ridiculous imbalance, no?

Anyway, that's all I've time for, may be off-line for a day or two. I don't feel censorious towards HyunA. Some persistent truth and education would be more useful, though not enough money's appropriated for education these days.

[Reminder, I've had to disallow anonymous posting, but if you hit the down arrow you can post using your Facebook or Twitter accounts, and Google+ and a couple more things; the dropdown menu will tell you.]

T-ara Tiger Torres freestyle connection?
I've been claiming that K-pop has a load of freestyle embedded in it, though I can't say how much of this is conscious, how much subliminal (e.g., GLAM knew they were sampling Chuli & Miae but seemed unaware that what they'd sampled was already a sample from the Cover Girls), and how much underived convergence (drawing on similar '80s and electronic sources, you can develop strategies and sounds that are similar to freestyle without their coming directly from freestyle). As far as I know, the word "freestyle" doesn't itself tend to pop up in K-pop as a reference to the NY-Miami '80s electronic dance style.*

Be that as it may, producer Shinsadong Tiger only sometimes delves into freestyle,** but there's a moment near the start of the regular mix*** of T-ara's "Sugar Free" where he's doing a fricassee chop and sugar toss right out of Mickey Garcia and Elvin Molina, for instance this from the Garcia-Molina production of Judy Torres' "Come Into My Arms" and this from their production of Cynthia's "Change On Me." Overall, "Sugar Free"'s hard four-four is far from freestyle, but "Sugar Free" has a recurring riff that also reminds me of Garcia and Molina in its bounce and its fast twistiness. Here are the three songs in full, which are very much worth your time:

T-ara "Sugar Free"

Judy Torres "Come Into My Arms"

Cynthia "Change On Me"

"Sugar Free" is the third consecutive riff-heavy throw-you-against-the-wall electronic dance track that Tiger's done for T-ara ("Sexy Love" and "Number 9" being the previous two), and once again I like it, all three being appropriately grimmer than the charming "Roly-Poly" and "Lovey-Dovey" he'd done for them pre-"scandal" (though I'm sure "Sexy Love" was conceived pre-scandal, so this likely is a coincidence). Still, I miss the charm. I have a bit of the same reaction to "Sugar Free" that I had to the Duble Sidekick–produced "Jeon Won Diary," which is that the track itself seems to be overwhelming the T-ara-ness. I feel this might have been more naturally a 4minute song, owing to the crescendo parts reminiscent of "Volume Up" and the way the title chant and the raps seem to be aching for HyunA's comically agressive pouting. These aren't criticisms. Having been thrown down a notch commercially, T-ara are still throwing down gripping music.

As for other recent T-ara product, the Jiyeon EP works very well for me while the Hyomin EP doesn't, though the latter has pretty good material. Hyomin may be the group's most emblematic singer, sounding sketchy yet strong in the higher register, so not quite "fierce" or "emphatic" but the one most defining of the high pitch, the one who makes it shred, even if her singing gets shredded a bit in the process. The shredding comes across as emotional commitment. But maybe she needs the other T-ara voices preceding and following her for everything to jell.

Jiyeon of course has been playing a role in my imagination that may have little to do with her. I cast her as the foil, perhaps? That may not be the right word. She's not counter to the bright T-ara sound, she's just not being the one to light it up. Stands off to the side in a way that draws her emotional attention anyway. On Never Ever her uninflected breathiness paradoxically gives gravity to the light sentimental material.

*As opposed to meaning raps that are off-the-cuff rather than entirely prewritten, this being an entirely different use of the word "freestyle."

**While 4minute's "Hot Issue" feels very freestyle to me, there's not a lot more from Tiger that does so — though in a brief moment in "Number 9," Jiyeon did manage to make me think of Brenda K. Starr's and Pajama Party's "Over And Over." And I feel

***Interestingly, it's not the regular mix but the tougher, bigger, and more spacious Big Room mix that's getting the big promo push from the label.

Country Music In Romania
Ran across this 2005 track, "Stay With Me," by Romanian pop singer Andra that sounds very country, though it's the Faith Hill/Martina McBride/Carrie Underwood type of country that traditionalists eschew. I've yet to find another country song in her oeuvre, and nothing in the video tries to signify country. Nonetheless, I say it's country. And good.

So far I've located no other major Romanian acts going country, though I'd claim that DYA's cod-reggae "Stai" is a bit countryish, including the lead singer's outfit. And I'll turn up a low-budget country song here or there, still leaning pop.

For all I know there are oodles more; Google isn't getting me to them.

How does Hyoyeon keep from being blinded by her own hair?
How does Hyoyeon keep from being blinded by her own hair? I'm not much of a song-and-dance man, so I never realized what an issue this must be for long-haired performers and their choreographers and hairstylists, especially when the dances don't allow for a lot of improvised hand movements.

h/t arbitrary_greay, as usual.

(Also note hat mishap at 0:22.)

Although it's not quite the same topic, I want to say that I myself have seen, live and in person, Iggy falling off the stage (though it was a different Iggy).
Tags: ,

Disco Boybands?
Question that applies to the past and the present: were there/are there many disco boybands and disco girl groups? Except I'm meaning "boyband" and "girl group" a bit more narrowly than I normally would: I'm thinking of the music dating back to the gospel quartets that went secular and was taken over by teens and doo-wop and then the late '50s/early '60s girl groups and permutated through the Impressions and Motown into the Jackson 5 and New Edition and then into New Jack Swing. I have huge gaps in my knowledge, but my sense is that this type of group vocal singing (as opposed to other types of group vocal singing?) made it into funk and '80s black pop much more than into disco and freestyle and house. Obviously there are vocal groups there, too, many I wish I knew better; but not ones that I'd put into a line that goes from doo-wop to Bell Biv DeVoe and the Backstreet Boys and ilk.

Or am I all wrong? Did that sort of boyband or girl group appear much in disco? I kinda feel the Bee Gees might belong here, though despite hitting huge, they seem a bit apart from everyone else, not quite in any line of development (but notice Infinite sounding like the Bee Gees below). I probably ought to count Trammps and Tavares too.

As for the present, K-pop draws hugely on the Jacksons and New Jack Swing while keeping disco and freestyle in its living language. I'm thinking especially of the work of writing/producing duo SweeTune (Han Jaeho, Kim Seungsoo), for instance with boyband Infinite and girl group Nine Muses.


Nine Muses Figaro and Infinite Be MineCollapse )

Actually, not sure if Nine Muses are in enough of the "black vocal group" style I have in mind to count, but "Figaro" is a great track. And I barely have anything definite in my mind. Hoping some visitor to this lj will take over the discussion.

Here's a tentative playlist for Infinite, not in any order except how I think the music would flow best. Is kind of a best-of except my knowledge of Infinite is hardly infinite, in fact is barely adequate. And of course not all of it uses disco beats or horn and synth flourishes.

Infinite playlistCollapse )

"Back" (by Rphabet, not SweeTune)

Exculpatory verbiageCollapse )

Internet Insecurity
Third major security breach in a year — Target, Heartbleed,* and now CyberVor — and for this one, like Heartbleed, what consumers need to know are:

(1) What sites are potentially compromised,
(2) Of these, which sites employed a fix, and
(3) If they did, when did they employ it

— ’cause if you change your password before the fix, you'll need to change it again.

As with Heartbleed, most companies aren't going to tell you they've been compromised,** and the situation is complicated this time by the firm that uncovered the breach — Hold Security — only being willing to give this information out to companies that pay for it.***

In the case of Heartbleed, someone developed a tool allowing us to test a site ourselves, but I doubt info on that tool reached more than a miniscule portion of the people potentially affected; and the tool didn't work for all sites.

The journalists I've read are rarely clear on any of this: the info that people need and how to get it to them. What the story is. Articles on how to strengthen your password are useful but beside the point when it comes to the recent breaches: Once the hackers break into a company or site and have access to your user name and password and likely your email address, it doesn't matter how strong your password is. They've got it. It's the company's defenses that are at issue here, not yours. And there's submerged ideology in some of the reporting, the press in effect saying it's up to you, the individual, to take care of yourself, not up to the institutions or governments that, in instances like these, are the only ones who can take care of us.

A couple more thoughts:

(i) To the extent that security is up to individuals, it's just not going to happen. We can't expect people to remember multiple passwords or to choose ones that are hard to remember, or not to use the same user name and password on multiple sites, or to wait for authentication on their mobile every time they log in. It's like demanding that everyone be a tech version of a survivalist, when we've actually got other stuff to do.

(ii) I'm hardly an expert on technology and government, but (a) I fear that even firms that want to invest in the security of their sites may decide that in the short run they can't afford to, especially if their immediate competitors aren't investing, (b) even if governments and voters wanted to force them to and were willing to devote tax money to such oversight and enforcement, policing this stuff is probably a lot more complicated than inspecting a building for fire exits or demanding a bank hold assets in reserve, and (c) at times, the hackers will run ahead of the security people, no matter what. And the "if" in Point b is a very iffy if.

So, pessimism. I remember back in college a teacher saying that in the early 1900s Teddy Roosevelt's progressive agenda had the support of many big businesses, who really did think that regulation was in the best interests of their industries. We hardly seem to be in such an era now, and even if techies get behind regulation, we need businesses to do so across the board. Not to mention voters. And we need the right regulations, whatever those might be.

*The Heartbleed bug wasn't strictly speaking a breach, rather a vulnerability that may or may not have been exploited.
**Tumblr was an admirable exception, last time.
***That Hold Security is in it for the money and isn't releasing data is raising doubts and eyebrows. But the New York Times report says the paper got an independent security expert to authenticate Hold Security's list. I'm not the one to know here. The NY Times has a reputation for being careful. The paper has botched some things, but it doesn't like to.

Why It Is Fine For Me To Scratch The Curtains
Why It Is Fine For Me To Scratch The Curtains
A 12-Point Manifesto
By Zaza

1. I appreciate that you have provided me with a scratching post with an equally scratchable base, but, while rough and resilient, neither of these has nearly the responsiveness and sensitivity of the ever-movable curtains.

2. Also, my claws can get stuck in the curtains, which gives me the chance to swing, momentarily, providing me needed exercise.

3. Note that it is another inhabitant of this apartment, not I, who expresses opinions on my need for exercise.

4. And I'm not the one who has so far neglected to take me in to have my claws trimmed.

5. Also note that I'm usually very good about the rule that says when two humans are on the bed at the same time I have to stay off.

6. But about this bed thing: when I'm already on the bed, and there are no humans on the bed, or there is only one human on the bed, and then one or more other humans also get on the bed so that the total number of humans on the bed is now two, I don't see why I, rather than one of them, should have to get off the bed. I didn't willfully create this violation.

7. But I let you shoo me off anyway.

8. And bringing out the spray bottle really wasn't called for.

9. It is a cliché of cat manifestos to refer to the inadequate size of a litter box, so I'm not even going to mention it.

10. When I sit on a pile of papers or envelopes, I am simply acclimating them to the apartment, so I wouldn't call them relevant to this particular conversation.

11. And if Frank hadn't left the t-shirt on the floor I wouldn't have considered sitting on it.

12. Therefore, I am right to scratch the curtains.

As attested by Zaza on July 9, 2014.

Anonymity Goes Kerplunk
Reluctantly decided to limit commenting on my livejournal to registered users only. Got 850 spam comments overnight, and that was too much time waste for me, deleting them all. I'm not totally sure what the limits mean — I know you can still post from your Facebook account and perhaps also via Twitter, OpenID, and Google+. My apologies, but the spam was overwhelming me.

Budd Boetticher, James Garner
Just posted this on the I See Dead People (no. 2) thread:

Found an episode of Maverick up on YouTube today. It was rather satisfying, with its twists and its emotions. And in the closing credits the director was listed as Budd Boetticher.

I wouldn't bet on it staying up long, but here's the link:

According to Wikipedia, Boetticher directed the first three episodes of the series. Don't know who scripted this episode ("Point Blank"), but it fits well Sarris's description: "Constructed partly as allegorical Odysseys and partly as floating poker games where every character takes turns about bluffing at his hand until the final showdown, Boetticher's westerns expressed a weary serenity and moral certitude..." Pretty good description of Bret Maverick and Jim Rockford, too.


A little girl named Pity who decided more than anything in the world she wanted to be green
Can you imagine Teena Marie writing for The Singles Jukebox? —Well, she's dead, but I mean someone of her social type and sensibility.

Or Trey Songz or Ty Dolla Sign or Taeyang or Sturgill Simpson or Enrique Iglesias?

Actually, I could imagine a few Sturgill Simpson types doing so. Not the others, though I don't know much about them so perhaps I'm wrong. But a combination of selection and self-selection would keep most of them out.

I'm six days late on this, but The Singles Jukebox is looking for writers — go here for the full pitch, and yes I encourage you to try. Here's an excerpt:

We are not a Pitchfork or a Rolling Stone; we are an international site that thrives on diverse voices and opinions. We are particularly interested in applicants who are under-represented in music writing and strongly encourage women and people of color to apply.
Except the additional women and people of color they get will end up resembling the people who already write for the site, and I don't think the Jukebox could do anything about this even if it (they/we) wanted to. Don't know how many people involved in the site know how to go about wanting to, though.

I don't know if I know how to go about wanting to, but I do have a good idea what "wanting to" means. It means wanting the Jukebox to read more like the comment threads on gossip sites and YouTube but ideally, in utopia, with even more self-reflection than the Jukebox already has.

Gossip sites and YouTube comment threads frequently scare me.

If you're going to think about diversity you have to have to have to think about social class and social types and social conflict, or you're just not serious. How many bank officers write for The Singles Jukebox? How many house painters? How many who back in high school had been called rocks, hoods, greasers, grits, burnouts, dirtbags, jells, farmers, rednecks? (Showing my age here. Don't know the current terminology.) How many of the socs, debs, preppies, jocks?

The Jukebox is volunteer; nobody gets paid; so it's all in people's spare time. What sort of people are socialized to do this in their spare time?

In the pitch, the Jukebox asked applicants to blurb two from a list of tracks. That's where I got my performers above. Here are all of them. So, how many of these performers — i.e., members of their social sets — can you imagine writing for the Jukebox? Or posting on a koganbot comment thread, for that matter? Or posting at Freaky Trigger?

Trey Songz
Nicki Minaj
Brett Kissel
Kira Isabella
Blake Shelton
Gwen Sebastian
Faith Evans
Missy Elliott
Sharaya J
Black M
Jennifer Hudson
Zoe Muth
Ty Dolla $ign
Wiz Khalifa
Sturgill Simpson
Enrique Iglesias

To my embarrassment, there are six names here I don't recognize. I can kinda imagine Nicki Minaj and Blake Shelton getting a kick out of doing something like the Jukebox, though don't know how many in their prime audience would want to themselves.

[I'm not at my home computer, so I don't have the quote exact, but I'm doing a variation on an old riff of mine from 1987, from my fanzine Why Music Sucks, some of whose readers and writers also wrote for or edited at the Village Voice. I said that coverage at the Voice was broad but tone of voice wasn't. Could you imagine Teena Marie or Merle Haggard writing for the Village Voice? Music editor Doug Simmons read this and told me he'd love to print Teena and Merle. But over the years, Teena and Merle types never ended up as Village Voice writers. Fuller Teena quote, from the liner notes to Emerald City: "Once upon a time there lived a little girl named Pity who decided more than anything in the world she wanted to be green."]

*I could be someone helping to run the Jukebox, if I had time and made it a priority. But have barely even posted in half a year.

Who Goes Out On Mondays? (Mid Year Singles, 2014 [and a couple albums])
Even with S. Korea having canceled spring on account of the ferry disaster (as Subdee says), I'm woefully behind on K-pop, and my listening elsewhere has been too random and intermittent even to be called scattershot. But anyway, int'l dance cheese goes strong at its most opportunist (Chainsmokers, Orange Caramel, Badkiz [the "Party Rock Anthem" influence still potent in Seoul], PungDeng-E, Arcade Fire, Mia Martina), whereas the boring int'l amalgamated danceR&Bglaze&crud that's been weighing down charts worldwide since 2009 somehow manages to sound touching in the hands of a Shakira and a Rihanna who've had all their distinctive characteristics removed. Danity Kane go retro, referencing Teena Marie; equally retro Dal★shabet, who still can't sing for shit, nonetheless find themselves immersed in great freestyle riffs. Ole punk manages not to be dead in the hands of poignantly desperate and angry Kate Nash and Courtney Love. T-ara, Jiyeon, and Puer Kim veer smoove and After School master smoove. Few boys' mouths, as is usual on my lists these days; fewer still who sing. And as the biz still invests almost nothing in us oldsters, funky fresh young Crayon Pop represent on our behalf.


1. Wa$$up "Jingle Bell"
2. The Chainsmokers "#Selfie"
3. BiS "STUPiG"
4. Kate Nash "Sister"
5. Courtney Love "Wedding Day"

6. Orange Caramel "So Sorry"
7. Tinashe ft. Schoolboy Q "2 On"
8. Nicki Minaj "Lookin' Ass Nigga"
9. Crayon Pop "Uh-ee"
10. After School "Shh"
Future through ShakiraCollapse )
Bass Drum through RascalCollapse )


1. After School Dress To Kill [Avex Trax]
2. Kali Mutsa Souvenance [Shock Music]

Crayon Pop (artist of the year, 2013): bohemia from nowhere near bohemia
Crayon Pop seem to be occupying a social space that doesn't exist in America: not of the mainstream but with no apparent estrangement from the mainstream either, not even to the extent that the mainstream itself is estranged from the mainstream (being estranged from the mainstream is a mainstream attitude). And while Crayon Pop gathered a fanatic core audience before they hit big — people who traveled miles to the Crayon Pop appearances and chanted along with the guerrilla street performances — that audience seemed to be doting-uncle types, not connoisseur types. But then, what counts as "connoisseur" isn't set in stone. For instance, Sunday evenings are an unofficial car show in the parking lots along Federal Blvd. on Denver's Hispanic west side, people hopping into their vehicles and finding spots to show off. There are many venues for discerning eyes.

In any event, Crayon Pop seem to be into music more for the art of it and the process than for fame and fortune or even a career.* Going "trot" this year with "Uh-ee" (and dressing like aunties) fits this: the attitude is "What can we try next?" Makes me think of the otherwise very different "Gentleman," by Psy: not a followup to "Gangnam Style" so much as "What can I do to shift around and fake you out?" But Psy is coming from a well-trod social territory, the outsider hip-hop guy who breaks big but still wants to set the terms of discussion. Whereas with Crayon Pop it's more like, "What color should we paint our house now?" At least that's how Crayon Pop come across. So even if they are secret bohemians (Way did got to art school, for instance), that's not where they live in the public landscape.

Whether or not you think I'm right about Crayon Pop, and even if you don't pay attention to K-pop, I have this question:

Who else — anywhere, present or past — seems to be occupying a social space similar to the one I describe for Crayon Pop?

I'm thinking that certain potential stuff wouldn't count, the reason being it has too much of a chip on its shoulder and too much outsider status: early hip-hop dj's in the Seventies, for instance, or the custom car shows and stock-car races and demolition derbies of the early Sixties that Tom Wolfe analyzed and celebrated in The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby. Or maybe I'm wrong, and we should count these things.

Anyway, bohemia from nowhere near bohemia.

Also, we need a new term. "Bohemia" is played out. Care to coin one?

As delinquent lollipop girls in "Bing Bing," five months before fame:

Disco trot Hey MisterCollapse )

Opening for Gaga in MilwaukeeCollapse )

Does boys' mischief surpass girls'?
Reposting this from Tumblr, where Tom Ewing links a piece at NPR by Amy Kamenetz. Here are Tom's comments (though I'm not sure whom he's quoting at the start) and underneath them my own speculation:

If kids report that they’re transgender and have one leg and belong to a gang and have several children … take it with a grain of salt.
This is a good article on, basically, kids trolling surveys for a laugh. It happens a lot. If I was a kid in the age of online surveys, I’d do it too. Especially if it was one of those surveys where the sole purpose is a hand-wringing clickbait headline about how kids these days think the Earth is flat or would marry their iPhone or whatever. If you’re offered a ludicrous answer in a survey designed to confirm someone’s view of how crappy the modern world is or how dumb everybody is - well, it’s hardly surprising some people take the hint.

But as one look at the article summary tells you, this is also a real problem. What the industry euphemistically calls “hard-to-reach” populations - small minority populations, basically - are actually harmed by this kind of stuff. The article has a good example - a study that reported negative impacts of adoption turned out to show nothing of the sort when troll answers got taken out.

I am not part of any population that suffers from prejudice or bias - name a privilege and I benefit from it. But I am a researcher, so I see at reasonably close hand what happens to data. And it seems to me that data and representation have a treacherous relationship. Inevitably, since people find in data what they are looking for.

On the one hand, data can offer stark evidence of inequalities, different needs and priorities, and different experiences: numbers that can be vital in making a case for change. On the other, data can be the comfort blanket that tells decision makers that change isn’t important. Research can erase minorities by reducing them to the status of a statistical insignificance, or it can ignore the diversity of their experiences in favour of a data-enforced average. There is every reason for people to mistrust data and research.

And cases like the adoption study one introduce yet another such reason - the possibility that careless research will end up magnifying the voices of the mischievous (or, let’s face it, malicious) and endorse stigmatizing myths instead of revealing anything useful. The remedies outlined - dummy questions in particular - are ingenious, and this kind of internal check should be routine in any important survey. But the uneasy relationship between research and representation - at the analysis stage as well as the collection stage - is harder to solve.
Article doesn't mention gender, but I would wager that most mischievous responders are male. I'd also bet - not quite as confidently - that because the surveys were done in a classroom, and despite their being anonymous, they got a higher rate of mischief than if the responders hadn't been in the same room together in a teen-specific setting.

I'm relying on my imperfect memory here, but I recall an article in Billboard in the '80s that stated that teen girls had an outsize effect on what was played on Top 40 radio because researchers simply didn't trust what teen boys would tell them and therefore discounted what the boys said or wouldn't even survey boys - if I remember right, the article didn't cite boys' tendency towards mischief but rather said that boys were hostile and defensive (and I assume underlying this, frightened; and I assume the mischief is somewhat fear-based itself). Whereas you could trust a girl's response much more, that she listened to what she said she did, that she bought the advertised products she said she did. (But from reading your posts over the years I wouldn't be surprised if you were to tell me that the reliability of girls' responses is only relatively better, that there are all sorts of reasons that even sincere responses can't be trusted, ranging from the respondents' not understanding the question to their not knowing their own mind, etc.)

I knew the parody years before I heard what was being parodied
Allen Sherman:

King Radio:

Sir Lancelot:

Harry Belafonte:

Actually, "parody" is the wrong word, since Sherman's not sending up or spoofing or commenting on an original; rather, his humor is to inject new material that's funny in itself. The album was called My Son, The Folk Singer, Sherman needing to use "traditional" material because most of the authors of the show tunes he'd used in his private performances weren't willing to grant him rights (and he got sued anyway for "My Zelda," as "Mathilda" was under copyright; or so says the not-always-reliable Wikipedia). But actually, whatever songs he drew on, Sherman really is close to the folk process: taking something, adapting it to his own needs.

Strangely, I like the Allen Sherman best, has the most pizzazz, though is also the most blatant so maybe the others will kick in as I get to know them. King Radio has more basic motion, the beats gently somersaulting forward, and Sir Lancelot feels nicely at home in his quasi-swing. Belafonte sounds subdued, track only springing to life when the backup women jump in. There's some unrealized tension there between his smooth delivery and the just as smooth but potentially pushy syncopation of the instruments; so in my imagination there's something coiled ready to strike, which is what I sometimes get from Belafonte's visual manner* but not from this performance, at least not yet.

*Or actually what I get from Bob Dylan's description of Belafonte, which was genuinely exciting to read. Don't have time to find the link this morning. Will update in the comments.

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