intertribal: (punk pop)

Katy Perry's Grammy's performance of "Dark Horse" was visually fucking great, but the song didn't come across so well.  Which is not to say I think Katy Perry is any great vocal talent... but I really love this song, it deserves something steadier.  I've been listening to it on repeat today.  So here you go, enjoy this super kitschy lyrics video.  Aside from the central question, "So you wanna play with magic?" the best lines belong to Juicy J: "She's a beast / She'll eat your heart out like Jeffrey Dahmer / be careful, try not to lead her on / shorty's heart is on steroids cuz her love is so strong / she's sweet as pie but if you break her heart, she turn cold as a freezer."  Which of course, goes back to my favorite nursery rhyme: "And when she was good, she was very, very good / and when she was bad, she was horrid."

There's a lot of hate for Katy Perry -- do you ever feel like a plastic bag? -- but she's one of my favorite Top-40 pop stars.  I think I just really enjoy her imagery.  I really like "Roar." The video is quite great.  Any video that has a tiger eating an asshole earns points from me.  I love "E.T." for being as creepy as a Top-40 can be without being, you know, (too) rapey.  Then there's the songs I don't like that much, like "The One That Got Away" and "Part Of Me," but I'm still like, okay, that's an acceptable pop song that's a little different, has a little bit of an attitude.  Still have fun videos.  I like the girl, what can I say.  And I was not expecting to, considering she started off as a Christian artist.  It's okay, she's evil now (title is from a disappointed Christian, but I mean it sincerely!).  She's with the Illuminati.

And then there's "Hot N Cold."  Oh, how I love "Hot N Cold."  The veil, the raccoon eyes, the hair in her hip-hop scene.  In my alternate reality I wear pink matte lipstick, see.  I feel like Katy Perry would wear my fictional make-up line, Frantic.  And then the lyrics, of course. Yeah, you PMS like a bitch.  I would know.

On a related note:

Are you ready for a perfect storm?

Well, are ya, punk?  
intertribal: (paint it black)
Okay, this post is good for nothing except empty-ish entertainment value.  JUST TO GET THAT OUT OF THE WAY.

Supercuts: "obsessive video montages constructed from popular tv shows or movies that repeat a certain theme" (to quote political remix video).  It gets to be a bit like TV Tropes, but on video.  Common ones are "every time somebody says fuck/dude/yeah in X Show/Movie."  I'm going to link to others.

Gun and Badge (cops getting suspended - particularly like the melodramatic music):

No Signal (and other cellular drama) by Richfofo (cell phones not working in horror movies - particularly like the Saw V one - See also Mirror Scare by the same user.  It's probably good, but I can't watch it because mirror scenes scare the hell out of me, LOL.)

I'm Not Here To Make Friends (from reality tv - best comment is the highest-rated one: "AMERICA -not here to make friends.")

François Yordamian was an early Super Montager, working with repeated gestures in soap operas.  This one's of people with their head in their hands.  This one is of people turning around, but seriously do not watch this if you are prone to headaches or dizziness or seizures. 

I got those off a list at  Andy Baio is "credited" with the name "supercut."

There's another good list at KnowYourMeme.  Here's the rather incredible "Get Out of There!" by hh1edits, which reminds me of my high school English teacher going through a writing exercise I'd done and covering it with "C"s, for cliche.

This one actually shocked me.  The Wilhelm Scream Compilation, by Pablo Hidalgo ("movie scenes that sample the “Wilhelm scream,” a popular stock sound effect often heard in TV shows and George Lucas films"):
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I feel like I haven't been to LJ in a while, but that isn't really true.

Dude I'm dating came back from Morocco recently - said there were some nice scenes of police beating protesters because they didn't have the proper permit to protest, of course.  Also, there's a large, beautiful mosque in Casablanca that is built on artificial land on top of the Atlantic - it's architect didn't take into account that the Atlantic will someday come back and bite that artificial land in the butt, eventually sinking the mosque.  It also cost the country a lot of money and displaced a bunch of poor people without compensation.  He also tried to climb this mountain, but failed.

Saw X-Men, don't have anything to say about it beyond what I told [ profile] cafenowhere (Leland Palmer as Dean Rusk?).  Yesterday I watched an interesting little extremely low-budget horror movie on Netflix called The Ceremony (don't ask me what's up with that cover), about a guy graduating college who finds that his roommate has left behind an odd little book surrounded by a ring of burning candles.  Being concerned about fire safety, the main character blows the candles out, and being a curious student, starts reading the book, which turns out to be a history of a ritual used to summon Satan, here "the man in the white suit."  Of course he reads some unfortunate parts aloud and things start happening around the house, culminating in a phone conversation where he tells a friend, "The furniture, it came alive.  It had to be contained."  It takes its cues from Paranormal Activity and had some interesting touches, particularly when the main character learns to his horror that he can understand as well as speak the language being spoken by the presence in his house.  It's creepy, it has a cast of essentially one person, and it's well-made on a shoestring budget.  Good job, director James Palmer.  Horror fans, check check it.

I've been putting all my writing efforts into the novel, which is now at 77,000 words.  Unfortunately, it's nowhere near finished, so looks like I'll be overshooting that 100,000 word goal.  This is how it's getting done: I made an extremely detailed outline of 10,000 words, and I'm writing it scene by scene, often out of order.  I do foresee problems with flow and continuity and a believable evolution of characters, doing it this way, but at least it's getting done this way, right?  I'm going to quit my job in July to devote the rest of the summer to writing this thing before I move to D.C. to start graduate school. 

Had a David Lynch moment today while driving to work.  We've had construction in the left lane of this one big swerving road for a month now, so all the regular commuters automatically drive in the right lane even before we're told to merge right.  But today there was a new big flashing construction sign telling cars that the right lane would be closed up ahead, so go into the left lane.  Everybody's like, wow, maybe they finished the left lane and are starting work on the right lane?  And after about a mile of driving in the left lane, with no sign of construction on the right, the old familiar big flashing sign pops up telling cars that the left lane was closed, so we all scoot back over to where we started.  Calisthenics for cars, I guess.  Speaking of David Lynch, I'm trying to convert my mom to Twin Peaks.  It's going... interestingly.  One of my tactics is comparing it to our favorite shared show, the British cozy-mystery series Midsomer Murders.  They both feature a gamut of weird people in seemingly-innocuous, scenic small towns, grisly murders, and supernatural undertones.  If you're unfamiliar with MM, I've always thought it was what Hot Fuzz was tipping its hat to.  MM is also one of the few TV shows to ever make me cry (in the episode "Green Man," which is very environmentalist).  Someday I'll do an ode to my favorite MM episodes, cuz it's a wonderful show.

I'm almost done with Alan Heathcock's Volt (one more story to read).  Also almost done with Godforsaken Lord of the Rings (two more chapters).  

Here's an acoustic version of Korn's "Freak on a Leash," with Evanescence's Amy Lee.  Shut up, I don't shop at Hot Topic!  Also, Evanescence did a cover of "Thoughtless" that I like, but a lot of Korn fans are all "what the fuck this song has to be full of AGGRESSION and RAGE D:<" and I'm like, whatever.  

intertribal: (Default)
In honor of the short story I just submitted that I'm crossing my fingers for, here's a song I started to associate it for God only knows what reason (probably because I am weird).  Sadly, the only wedding in my story appears off-screen, there are no motorcycles, and no leather.  Oh well.  You can never have too much of the '80s, right?  Don't answer that.

My actual "soundtrack" was a combination of The Hills Have Eyes music (by Tomandandy), like such, and "Proven Lands" off There Will Be Blood (by Jonny Greenwood).  I'm really obsessed with "Proven Lands."  It's like the music of capitalism. 

This song actually fits the story better in theme and atmosphere and such - "Das Tor" by Faun.  I actually didn't look up the translated lyrics until now - I just felt that the song worked with the story: "And when the night is at its darkest, then we shall look at each other, and laugh and laugh and laugh doing so, then we shall look at each other.  And then shall be a meadow with many-coloured flowers.  I shall give you a flower and you shall give me one.  And then we shall run, run through the gate, through the gate to the eternal day, to the eternal day.  I shall give you my hand and you shall hand me yours.  The night, it shall be no more, only a meadow with flowers." 

You have to listen to it to feel how... unreal and dreamlike all this is, or how unworldly.  Like this is a vision that will not be achieved on the earthly plane, or is a pre-death hallucination, or something. 

All this makes the story sound like a romance, but it's not one in any conventional sense.  
intertribal: (baby got a poison gas)
Low is from Duluth, Minnesota, and its anchor is husband-and-wife team Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker, who sound great together.  I'm not really sure how I'd describe their sound, but I'll throw out some adjectives: ethereal, heartfelt, electronic but still homey, and harmonious. 

I owe my knowledge of this band to that lovely little horror movie The Mothman Prophecies, which is another example of horror done right.  They collaborated with Tomandandy (whom I knew of because I own the creepy-yet-triumphant score they made for the remade The Hills Have Eyes) to make the song "Half Light."  I was so enthralled by "Half Light" that I started referring to "the half-light" in passing in my stories.  When I first saw this video was when I was starting to make the mental shift to the idea of writing horror, so this video - I was particularly fixed on the "EARTHQUAKES HAPPEN PLANES CRASH PEOPLE DIE CAN'T EXPLAIN" part - is sort of my emotional and aesthetic base.

From there I got to Drums and Guns, an album of Low's that sort of received mixed reviews from long-time Low fans.  Not being a long-time Low fan, I really enjoyed it.  As the title indicates, it's kind of an anti-war album as a whole, although it's more of an overarching response to state-sponsored killing ("Murderer") and the effect of destructive violence ("Violent Past") than a rant against anything specific. 

"Violent Past."  Be warned, my mother once asked me to shut this song off because she thought it was "off-key."  I guess I'm not so sensitive, because I love it.  And this is my favorite line: "All I can do is fight, even if I know you're right."

"Murderer."  This is a fan video, not an official one.  This song is a heart-stringer, for me - "Don't act so innocent, I've seen you pound your fist into the Earth and I've read your books.  Seems that you could use another fool.  Well I'm cruel, and I look right through." 

"Breaker."  When Low makes official music videos, they look more like this.  YouTube commenter marfis78 gets it right, though: "That's exactly how they want to look you **** : the dumb folks applause while their leader can't get enough."

"Take Your Time," which I added to my post about people who despite their huge contributions to safeguard the lives of others still don't think they've done enough, is my current favorite off Drums and Guns.  My mother's obsessed with it too.  I told her "I didn't want to expose you to any more Low after your reaction to 'Violent Past.'"  I've probably listened to this song about 100 times in the past week.  I just think it's really beautiful in a really... poignant, almost painful way.  Alan Sparhawk's voice really comes through on this one.

I got two other albums recently - The Great Destroyer and C'mon.  "Monkey," off the former album, seems to actually be one of their most well-known songs, because it was in some Mickey Rourke B movie.  It is I would say one of their more accessible songs, a solid alt-rock piece:

Off C'Mon, as of now I love the folksy, lyrically bizarre "Witches", which is just asking for a nice literary horror novel to go with it: "One night I got up and told my father there were witches in my room.  He gave me a baseball bat and said here's what you do: When you have finally submitted to embarrassing capture, take out that baseball bat and show those witches some pasture."

And here's the lovely "Especially Me," which showcases Parker's voice: "Cuz if we knew where we belong, there'd be no doubt where we're from.  But as it stands, we don't have a clue.  Especially me, and probably you."

intertribal: (baby got a poison gas)
I only learned about this band because the song "Chrome" was on a Black Swan fanmix.  "Chrome" is an interesting song, btw, and I can see why that person chose it for Black Swan.  Thanks [ profile] fanmix!  Recoil is similar to Massive Attack, but were founded by a former member of Depeche Mode, and some of their songs (like "Black Box" 2) are way creepier than any Massive Attack song. 

These songs are off their album Liquid.  And the trend of my finding music that I later discover to be somehow inspired by plane crashes continues (started with Rammstein's Reise Reise, whose album cover looks like a damaged cockpit flight recorder), because apparently Liquid is "considered to be a concept album revolving around a near-death experience in 1994. Wilder and his partner, Hepzibah Sessa, were driving in Scotland and a Tornado Bomber hit a hillside in front of them, and two airmen were killed. The idea of the album, especially the bookending track "Black Box", centered around what was going through the pilot's last moments of life."

"Jezebel."  Great, great video (with NiN influences??  I don't know my music video history, it just reminds me of "Closer"'s "infamous" video) and arrangement for a traditional song - we gotta go to judgment and stand trial:

"Supreme," which is basically all in the lyrics.  Which are awesome, explosive, etc.  "She's playing house, he's playing man, and junior is the only one who accepts he's just a child."  And "Says, 'Fatherhood is real cool, and the kid looks like me, so she better not let nothing happen to him or I’ma kill the bitch.'"

"Strange Hours."  Great video:

But this is the promo version.  The version I own is the "alternate version," apparently, and is two minutes longer.  Those extra two minutes are really scary in a David Lynch's Inland Empire way.  I kind of can't listen to it, haha.  Anyway, the alternate version, with the "demonic glossolalia" as a YT commenter calls it, includes the all-important solution to the riddle of this man that kept strange hours: "He had murdered his fiancee.  He sacrificed her for the purity of all mankind."

"Last Call for Liquid Courage," which needs a video, but doesn't have one unfortunately.  I love listening to this one.  It's a trip.  The refrain is simply "One more drink, baby, more drink."

"Black Box (1 and 2)."  This is the plane crash witness confessional song.  It's split into two songs on the album, but this YT user stitched them together.  I actually really prefer the quieter second half, which starts at about 9:30. 
intertribal: (baby got heart attacks)
I can't get over how different the Lord of the Rings books are from the Lord of the Rings movies, and how much I - in general - prefer the movies.  I'm pretty sure this makes me a bad person (writer? fantasy fan?) in some way.  Mostly I am just so tired of Gandalf and all the non-entities that surround him.  I know, I know.  But The Return of the King really should be called The Return of the Gandalf, because he's all Ra-Ra-Rasputin right now.  Uh oh, Boney M segue!

Wow, re-imagining that song with LOTR just made my morning substantially better.  Must resist temptation to revise entire lyrics to fit LOTR.

I also can't get over how my mother refuses to accept that Lord of the Rings was written in the 1940s and not the 1600s.  I keep telling her, and she keeps going, "really??!"

ETA: Crap, I'm becoming convinced that I need to totally re-structure the current short story WIP from the perspective of a new protagonist.  FUCKING HELL AFTER ALL THIS WORK
intertribal: (baby got heart attacks)
Thanks to Pandora suggesting it on my Sneaker Pimps station (and probably me giving thumbs up to other '80s songs), I finally figured out the identity of a song whose melody I had known and loved for a long time (like, since childhood), and would sometimes pop up in my subconscious: "Voices Carry" by 'Til Tuesday.  And that's little Aimee Mann (by little I mean, 25, so still older than me, thank God)!  She was originally singing it to a girl, not a guy, but Epic Records was all "no lesbian songs" so there you have it.

Turns out the reason it never turned up in my frantic lyrics searches was because I thought the chorus was "this is scary." I had "keep it down now" right, though, and I actually always envisioned it taking place on some urban fire escape.  It's actually a little different...

Nice acting, y/y?  I have to say though, I do like the part near the end where she's singing with this zombie-expressionless face in the audience at Carnegie Hall (3:15).

ETA: I just noticed that she essentially kills her boyfriend when she stands up there at the end.  LOL.
intertribal: (twin peaks: cooper)
I think this is true of all online social media, but the amount of bad asses on YouTube is really quite amazing.  This is evident on movies like Storm of the Century.  If you are not familiar, that's the Stephen King teledrama where an island community is terrorized by a wizard/demon/evil spirit (Andre Linoge) during a blizzard, forcing them to make the choice between: a) giving the evil wizard one of the town's children, and b) all dying, including the children (well, presumably.  They all believe this will happen because the evil wizard certainly seems to be capable of it).  In the story, the town decides by majority vote on Choice A.  Through random draw (maybe) the evil wizard takes the child of the one guy (Mike) who wants to do Choice B (while his wife Molly agrees on Choice A).  It's all very sad and tragic.  The narrative is sympathetic to everyone involved, and takes pains to explain why the townspeople made Choice A, even though it's the wrong choice.

But YouTube users want you to know that they would NEVER HAVE MADE THIS CHOICE NEVER EVER:
  • I would have stood along with Mike. Good always wins out. The townspeople should have all taken a stand against the evil.
  • I would walk off the end of the earth before I gave a kid away to demon
  • i cant believe that these people would do something like that
  • michael anderson you are the man!!! his stupid ass cunt wife didnt even stand behind him that shows you that she didnt love her son that hard. respect to michael at least your son will know that you stood behind him and these people are so stupid
  • At least Michael did try to get his son out of this like any good father will.
  • I`d say, better to all die there and then with the possibility of all going to Heaven, rather than living longer but knowing you sent a child to Hell.
  • i would of took my child and left too he had a gun i would of shot my way out and she needs a good slap
  • i would prefer let die my child and let it go with God to heaven, that play with his future might become the son of the devil!! that molly is an asshole
  • Weak townspeople!!
  • no way someone would take my kid without killing me first
  • Fucking cunt Mollie. Of course it was fixed you dumb bitch. Mike should have fought harder and took his son before that queer Lenoge asked if they made their decision yet
I have to say, I have trouble believing them.  Yeah, of course there are a (very) few people like Mike around.  The great majority of us are not like Mike (and I think that's the whole point of Storm of the Century: how easy and common it is to make the wrong choice, how much easier it is to see things clearly in hindsight, when the stress and insanity of the moment is gone!).  I get that we all want to think we're the one exception to the rule, just like all our children are above average here on Lake Wobegon, but I do not think the point is that this town is just wretched and evil for choosing Choice A.  The town is excruciatingly normal and human.  We fit that definition as well.  Like my favorite quote from "Courage" goes, "The human tragedy consists in the necessity of living with the consequences."  See also the chorus: "Courage, it didn't come, it doesn't matter/ Courage, couldn't come at a worse time."  Here, just have the damn song.

I'd even go so far as to say Not In My Back Yard tough guy antics actually make people more susceptible to the moral trickery that Andre Linoge sets in motion... it's so dogmatic, so self-assured for no good reason, that it's like putting on blinders.

Anyway, this is ironic timing given that I saw the movie The Rapture last night, which resolves similar themes in a decidedly different way.
intertribal: (Default)
I'm going to Vegas for the next few days with my mom.  So nobody have any crises in the meanwhile, ok?

Enjoy "Heaven or Las Vegas" by the Cocteau Twins:

intertribal: (strum strum)
Man, I have all these movies I want to talk about, but I really don't have the time/structure to do it.  Okay.  This post kind of made itself, and the theme is music in the movies (a continuation of the Music-of-the-Twilight post from a couple days ago, except these movies are actually really, really good).  There's all sorts of shit I could talk about, but I'm focusing on two movies I watched recently.  And really, I'm not going to deconstruct much here.  I think that I actually quite like it when movies use music in healthy quantities - there are also "musical movies" that I can't stand, like Moulin Rouge and every single one of the teacher-in-inner-city-school music movies,

First off, I want to talk about Mulholland Drive, which I watched for a second time recently.  As people 'round here know, I'm a David Lynch fan.  I love many things about Lynch, but one of them is the way he puts songs into his movies.  He's a director that's willing to stop and let the song take over (see the insertion of "The Locomotion" into Inland Empire), I also watched Eraserhead within the last few months, and while I admired it for its virtuosity, I can't say it was to my taste.  I guess I'm more of a late-era fan.  Anyway, Mulholland Drive is far and away my favorite, and it's also fairly accessible.  I don't actually watch Lynch for the puzzles, though.  I like that his movies are set in the "real world" but slip into a sort of "dream world"/"other world," and I like that the mechanics of this are not spelled out (because I think such slips really do happen, and I think they probably don't get spelled out when they do).  But I watch his movies for scenes like this ("Llorando," sung by Rebekah Del Rio, is a cover of Roy Orbison's "Crying," and this scene does make me teary-eyed):

Here's something funny: I only watched Dario Argento's Suspiria for the first time a couple weeks ago.  That's kind of embarrassing, given my taste in movies.  Anyhow, it's a delightful piece of musical gothic horror that I thoroughly enjoyed.  The plot is kind of sensationalist and mundane (yes!  at the same time): American girl goes to a European ballet academy, turns out European ballet academy is a coven of witches, and the students that don't get absorbed into the coven get killed in bloody, bloody ways.  Keep in mind this is a 1977 movie, and apparently the death scenes were shocking for their time - plus Argento is one of those directors who's good at focusing on uncomfortable images from uncomfortable angles for uncomfortable periods of time.  I wouldn't call Suspiria scary, but it is creepy in a sort of ooh-let's-be-scared-it'll-be-fun sort of way.  The use of music (by a band called Goblin) and sound (counting footsteps as an actual plot point; unexplained voices/whispers/laughing) is what made this movie for me.  The witch herself is the Suspiria, the Mother of Sighs.  And you know, I'll grant that her sighs are eerie, in a Ju-On sort of way.  Here's an iconic example of sound in Suspiria:


And finally - and this is even more embarrassing - I watched Pulp Fiction for the first time last month.  Yes, after hearing from various people, "you would really like Pulp Fiction!", it was on TV and the results are: I really like Pulp Fiction.  So thanks for the recommendation, random people.  Clearly I have projected my inner self well.  What's funny is I actually owned the soundtrack before I saw the movie - I think I downloaded it because I wanted "Son of a Preacher Man," of all things.  This is a song I didn't listen to at all before I saw the movie, and I'd like to point out that dance scenes tend to put me to sleep.  What makes this scene work for me, I think, is what makes the entire Jack Rabbit Slim's scene work - the characters are so ridiculously out of place, but care so little (and it all reminds me in a weird way of Who Killed Roger Rabbit).  It's a manic Clash of the Americanas.  And now people use it for their wedding dances


Apr. 15th, 2010 12:20 pm
intertribal: (she just smiled and turned away)

A deer did jump out in front of the car I was driving recently (I've been out in rural Nebraska again), but it got across the road before the car could hit it.  Also spotted were pheasants, turkeys, geese, llamas, goats, Palomino horses, Holstein cows, a loose dog, a small hawk, and a stray cat.  Then there were all the dead animals on the road, on the walls, on dinner plates.
intertribal: (she dyes it black)
THE GHOST WRITER.  I held off on seeing or reading about this one because of the whole Roman Polanski thing.  And while Polanski is still definitely a douche, he can sure make a good movie.  This one doesn't even have any underaged girls (the only female characters are like 40+, so maybe he's trying to be extra careful?).  It's about a nameless ghost writer (Ewan McGregor, who at long last has become attractive) who goes to work writing the memoirs of a former British prime minister on vacation in some horrible rainy island off the coast of Massachusetts.  Unfortunately, he's come at a bad time - charges of war crimes have been filed against the former P.M.  Oh, and the former ghost writer "committed suicide" on the ferry and was washed up on the island.  Oh, and something's rotten in Cambridge.  Oh, and he has to finish the book in FOUR WEEKS [did you hear that people?  FOUR WEEKS].  The Ghost Writer is one of those traditional movie maker's movies.  It's apolitical (a good thing), has no moral, doesn't rely on special effects or action sequences or T&A or emotional manipulation: it's just a well-executed story about contemporary court intrigue.  A couple scenes made me go, "Oh my GOD," because it's such a subtle movie, and when the punches fall, they fall hard.

NOROI: THE CURSE.  This strange little J-horror is available on YouTube, and is quite the indie darling.  It is indeed a refreshing change from the standard J-horror, much like Marebito.  It's a mockumentary purporting to be the last video tell-all of an investigative journalist who's trying to get to the bottom of mysterious deaths and other phenomena, like crying babies that aren't there and dead pigeons.  He discovers that the root of all the problems is a demon that went haywire after the rural village that always performed its pacifying ritual was scheduled to be submerged for a dam project.  I didn't find it very scary, but other people have.  I thought that as a scary movie it was not as effective as The Blair Witch Project, Paranormal Activity, or even Quarantine (all mockumentaries), because it kept breaking the oppressive tension that horror mockumentaries are famous for by pushing the audience away, diverting from the action to look at news articles or variety shows.  A curious choice if you're going the mockumentary route.  The anthropology-infused story itself, however, is very solid, disturbing, and interesting, and I suspect if it had been shot straight through as a dramatic script, I would have been a lot more freaked out.

  • "Don't Fight It" by The Panics.  The song is actually longer than that video, but I love Battlestar Galactica and Sharon is my favorite character.  Plus the band's music video is pretty pathetic.  The end.
  • "Rhinoceros" by The Smashing Pumpkins.  An unusually subtle song, for them, which is probably why it took me a while to sit down and listen to.  Great crescendo.
  • "If I Had A Heart" by Fever Ray (aka the girl from The Knife).  Yeah... FUCKING WHOA.  Maybe I'm just late to the party, but holy shit.  That's my reaction to this one.
intertribal: (medusa)
Everybody knows Westboro Baptist Church, right?  They're in Kansas.  They're famous for "picketing" soldiers' funerals (some family is now suing them for emotional damage or something) as well as the funerals of people who died of AIDS (and Matthew Shepard) because they think 9/11 and American deaths in Iraq are retribution for homosexuality, and apparently drug use (?) (Miss Megan Phelps thinks Heath Ledger was struck down by God, so...).  One family is basically in charge of the whole thing, the Phelpses.  Granddaddy founded the church, Mommy the Minister (one of thirteen children) got arrested in Nebraska* for letting her 8-year-old stomp on the American flag (see?  those flag desecration rules are enforced!!), and Megan Phelps is one of her eleven children.** 

So anyway little Megan made a "parody" of Lady Gaga's Poker Face.  It's called, uh, No Poker Face (surprising it's not Poke Her Face).  I could not stop laughing while watching this thing.

* I have to say, I held it against SVU that their version of the Westboro Church was Nebraskan.  We wouldn't have a church like that.  Neo-Nazis, yes.  Westboro Church, no.

** Look, my grandfather was one of thirteen too.  In the 1900s.
intertribal: (there's a she-wolf in your closet)
This is inspired by my bff [ profile] royinpink's posts on teaching history, and an earlier post I made about Nazis and our perspective on them.  It's just an anecdote, but I like anecdotes.

Indonesian schools are really bad at teaching history.  Sejarah, history, is part of IPS (Ilmu Pengetahuan Sosial), social knowledge, and although I think that history everywhere is often a tool of social control, this is particularly true in countries like Indonesia, where we went from no mass education to the Dutch Ethical Policy to authoritarianism.  So my history classes in elementary school were very, very bad.  Bad as in factually incorrect.  My mother gave me homeschool lessons on top of my actual school lessons.  No idea what it's like now.  Judging by reports of what it's like in Japanese and German history classes, I'm going to go with "tense." 

So obviously I didn't know that in 1965, between 500,000 and 1,000,000 "Communists" were killed in Indonesia, over a span of a few weeks.  Oh, I knew about 1965.  I knew it as Gestapu, Gerakan September 30, when evil Communists kidnapped and killed six military officers and dropped them in a well called Lubang Buaya, Crocodile Hole.  The real tragedy, as taught to us, was that the Communists had also killed one general's little girl.  A reasonably well-done propagandistic movie about her death was supposedly shown to school children every year on September 30, although I have never seen it (my mother has). 

By the time I learned about all the mass executions that were carried out "in revenge" for the generals' deaths, I was in college.  I knew about the Cold War and McCarthyism by then.  I wrote a research paper about who was doing the killing.  The Indonesian Army has always said that angry mobs got out of control and hunted out Communists themselves, but nobody believes that the Army had nothing to do with what was happening.  However, the Army couldn't have killed all those people on its own, and I doubt the Army would have wanted to.  My theory, which seems to square with the few accounts of civilians who were involved in the killings, is that the Army pushed the gory details of the generals' deaths on the already anxious public, drove into towns with guns and tanks, and "strongly encouraged" young patriotic, Muslim men to do their part protecting Indonesia and kill Communists.  I think the Army wanted entire communities to get involved because they wanted to share the blood.  One anecdote I read was about a dentist who had killed Communists in 1965 and had nightmares where he saw the faces of the people he killed, years later.

This was all very horrific for me, and late in my research paper it occurred to me that my father had been 18 in 1965 (my father died in 1998).  I called my mother in a panic - had he been involved?  The thought made me nauseous.  My mother said she didn't know, but he probably just hid somewhere and stayed out of it.  She couldn't imagine him not sharing something like that with her.  I believed that and moved on.  

Half a year later I was in Indonesia for an internship and I visited my relatives in Jogjakarta.  My father was the oldest of ten, and my aunt and uncle are the only relatives on his side of the family that I know, because they were the ones my dad was closest to.  On our last day there, we went to a military museum next to our hotel.  This museum was surreally awful.  Old tanks - made in the U.S.A.! - parked in front, with a dim, un-air-conditioned network of rooms under terracotta roofs.  Every artifact imaginable from various wars is on display, with little explanation.  Photographs of decapitated soldiers and open mass graves cover the walls.  And in the 1965 room, replicas of the dead generals' blood-stained uniforms.  This room quieted my aunt, who had been a teen in 1965, and she started to talk about fighting the Communists with my dad.  Something about storming a theater that was run by a Communist, and breaking into a school, and having bullets shot at her while she was on the roof.  I asked what my dad had done, and she said that he had gone to help "guard the Communists" that had been captured and were awaiting execution.  I don't know if he actually killed anyone or not, and will never know.

This shattered me.  At lunch I started bawling because I felt this made my father "a bad person".  My aunt didn't understand - "no, he wasn't a Communist, he was against the Communists!" - but my uncle, who had been a kid in 1965 but had gone to school in the U.S. (like my dad), got it.  There wasn't really much he could say, other than to remind me that my dad became an anti-government Marxist himself several years later, and smuggled copies of the banned Communist Manifesto into the country on steamships.  I called my mother and told her all this in the hotel that evening.  I felt bad telling her, because it would mean that my dad hadn't told her himself, but my mother just figured that it was a part of his life he didn't want to remember.  My parents were 40 when they got married.  They left behind a lot.

It took me a while longer to accept this without feeling ill.  In the long run I think it actually really helped my understanding of my dad's generation - explained the extreme sense of betrayal evident in the 1970s student protests that he was a part of - and my understanding of atrocities in general and the people that commit them, why they commit them.  It's a cliche, but it made me look at everything I thought I knew about history differently.  It helped me understand nationalism from a less biased perspective.  Of course my understanding is lacking, and always will be.  I don't have my dad to talk to about it.  Which is part of the problem of history in general. 

This song sort of sums up where I am now on this matter: "Freezing" by Philip Glass (vocals by Linda Ronstadt, lyrics by Suzanne Vega).  

intertribal: (life's a witch)
Halloween video!

Audio: "Nobody Likes You When You're Dead" by Zombina and the Skeletones
Video: "Wild Zero" by Guitar Wolf [a rock opera?]
Mash-up by: DeadboyandGravegirl

intertribal: (Default)
"Everything Dies, Baby" is up at Strange Horizons this week. 

I'm going to post the Bruce Springsteen song it's named after (that it's off the Nebraska album is coincidental).  It's one of those songs that resonated immediately with me, and has ever since. 

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