comedy, tv

Me on Family Guy at Popdose

This week’s shocking Family Guy episode inspired me to get back to Popdose where I belong:

The question: Is Brian’s death worth it in the long run?

It’s a tricky question because Brian had more or less split into two characters. The old Brian — an acerbic, sharp-witted Greek chorus who happened to act like a dog on occasion — still appeared in the wonderful “Road” episodes and the time-travel exercises. They had so much time travel fun, I figured they were bound to do a Doctor Who crossover at some point. But in other episodes, Brian was just a douchebag.

Family Guy: Death of Brian | Popdose.

creativity, music

Sting and the rise of book-learning

Did Sting’s literate rock help usher in a new age in which esoteric intellectuals like Malcolm Gladwell and Neil deGrasse Tyson could become celebrities?

Or did he at least help rock critics resolve their internal conflicts between their academic backgrounds and the authenticity of rock and roll?

The smart critical establishment of the day had and, to an extent, still has a complicated relationship with the idea of book smarts. Rock critics — many of whom were themselves bookish youths — had an investment in the image of rock ‘n’ roll as a blue-collar vocation. For them, “authenticity” was the coin of the realm, and their notions of rock authenticity were constructed from the template of the hard-knock, half-educated bluesmen and hillbillies who had so electrified them when the music was born. Rockers were supposed to be truth-tellers; but their truths came from personal experience, tough living, and the streets, not secondhand from the pages of books. Eggheads were not to be trusted.

via PopSmarts: Sting’s Library | Popdose.

cynicism, music, videos

Monday Morning Music: Band Aid, “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”

Monday Morning Music is sick of people bashing this song. A bunch of British and Irish folks (plus Jody Watley and a few stray members of Kool and the Gang) gathered for a nice simple charity tune, launching a movement that also gave us the blistering Sun City and the wretched We Are the World. The latter seemed to imply that Band Aid should be doing USA for Africa’s catering.

Paul Young and Boy George’s nicely understated vocals blow away the ego trips on USA for Africa. The chorus is bright and hopeful, not whiny and groaning. And if you’re hung up on the “no snow in Africa” lyric, you’re obviously the target demo for those VH1 specials with Mo Rocca and other postmodern-irony hucksters reading Mellencamp lyrics literally. Congratulations.

So unless you’re Jeff and Jason writing Mellowmas entries taking down cynical Christmas cash-ins, Monday Morning Music has no patience for your Christmas cynicism. Just shut up, find your checkbook and listen.