Monday, August 31, 2009

Also, to Rusty...

This site called grooveshark is an online music data base thingy that works kind like you tube does with video. I wonder if we could somehow embed it on the blog so that music picked for the week (for example) would play in some random order when you opened it up. This way, we could have a sound track for our daily shantying. Thoughts??

WEbsite : http://listen.grooveshark.com/

Your daily news brief...

Apparently there is a genre out there called psybient. If you are interested to hear what it sounds like, I recommend starting here.

http://www.myspace.com/flootinggrooves

Phish's new album "Joy" available for presale


Well no shit, Sherlock. We've only known about that since they went ahead and announced in on their website like 3 weeks ago. And even before that, when we were all spreading rumors about it. What a newbie. Pre-order the disc here.


Hey newbie, I'll bet you didn't even know that you could check out two of their new tracks, available for full streaming at their MySpace and Facebook sites, huh?

Balkan Beat Box

So good...

http://www.myspace.com/balkanbeatbox

Sunday, August 30, 2009

belly dancer, not the snake charmer

what do we get when we mix tabla, cello, and a light dose of electronica? besides my ambrosia, you get beats antique. I've been listening to this band all day and am mesmerized.


those this song is damn good it was not the song that was my first introduction to the band but here that is

This really follows in the tradition of global beat fusion. And for once, something beautiful is coming out of increased globalization and assimilation

The Alibi Network

As seen on CSI NY...



The Alibi Network offers their services for the following client needs...

  • Do you need a RESCUE call to be made at any time from any number?
  • Do you need us to make a phone call, but want the phone call to appear from Paris? With the Paris number showing up on the caller id of the intended party?
  • Are you in Dubai, but telling your partner you are in Tokyo? Would you like to have us assign a Tokyo number to you, receive the phone call on your behalf and forward it to your number in Dubai?
  • Do you want to create an impression that you are staying in a certain hotel anywhere in the world? Complete with the 24 hr hotel receptionist answering in the accent of your choice and confirming your stay?
  • Do you want to create an impression that you are flying by a certain airline on a certain date anywhere in the World?
  • Are you married but looking to spice up your relationship by spending romantic time with your spouse away from work, friends and relatives?
  • Do you want to create an impression that you have a job with your own business phone, personal secretary and business cards?
  • Do you have a personal or business sensitive matter that needs to be solved? We have professional actors and actresses who will study your background material and handle your situation effectively whether it is a phone call to a third party or a meeting.

  • I'm not saying you should ever take advantage of their services (priced reasonably from $75 to $175, mind you). I'm just saying if you ever wanted to, it's there.

    Friday, August 28, 2009

    Hey Der!! Finley Quaye

    I'm sorry I haven't been on the Shanty lately. I'll pick up the pace. I came across this guy today, and it was a pleasant surprise. Let me know what ya think. Have a good weekend wodes!




    http://www.myspace.com/finleyquayeuk

    Fun For All Ages

    I just realized that the Shanty Blog has been lacking in one very important, very central component of the original escape shanty - procurement of daytime binge drinking. As a result, I invite you all to visit the website below. It is a city-by-city listing of Happy Hours in your area.

    www.dailyhappyhour.com

    Now get out there and pickle those livers!

    Vetiver - The Swimming Song



    From the album Thing of The Past, a collection of covers tapping frontman Andy Cabic's "catalogue of inspirations." "The Swimming Song" was originally writting and performed by Loudon Wainwright III in 1973 and appeared on the soundtrack for The Squid and The Whale.

    Interestingly, Cabic is a longtime friend of Devendra Banhart. The two have toured together on several occasions.

    Thanks to JMac for showing me these folks.

    Bon Iver Concert Headcount

    As you know, I purchased a few extra tickets to this now sold out show. Below is the list of people that I know want a ticket. Let me know if you or a companion would like to be added to/removed from the list so I can hock the rest at an unreasonable price. After fees and shipping the tix were about $20 each.

    Paul
    Jim
    Scott
    Jason

    Still waiting on confirmation from the Brothers O'Connor, Mrs. Turner, Eric (probably not, right?) and our other acquaintances. Let me know within the next week or two.

    Thursday, August 27, 2009

    Well if Scott's not going to do it...


    Ed Is a Portal - Akron Family


    I don't know about the rest of you, but I'll frequently take the lazy way out and just kind of let Scott and/or Jason tune me in to guys like these. Dudes, many thanks.

    Last weekend, Scott and I were driving down to the lake and popped in a new (to us) disc by Akron/Family. We were immediately impressed. Listening, one cannot help but imagine this band as one composed of at least two really talented songwriters. Two really talented and egocentric songwriters, each of whom were determined to get their unique two cents in on each and every track.

    And it totally worked.

    The above song is perhaps the best example. If you haven't started it at this point, quit reading this and hit play.

    By the way, Scoot, I gave you like four days to get this sucker up. Where were you on this one?

    Wednesday, August 26, 2009

    World's first cocaine bar

    The world's first cocaine bar Route 36 has turned La Paz, Bolivia into a hotspot for drug tourism, tempting backpackers from all over the world


    "Tonight we have two types of cocaine; normal for 100 Bolivianos a gram, and strong cocaine for 150 [Bolivianos] a gram." The waiter has just finished taking our drink order of two rum-and-Cokes here in La Paz, Bolivia, and as everybody in this bar knows, he is now offering the main course. The bottled water is on the house.

    The waiter arrives at the table, lowers the tray and places an empty black CD case in the middle of the table. Next to the CD case are two straws and two little black packets. He is so casual he might as well be delivering a sandwich and fries. And he has seen it all. "We had some Australians; they stayed here for four days. They would take turns sleeping and the only time they left was to go to the ATM," says Roberto, who has worked at Route 36 (in its various locations) for the last six months. Behind the bar, he goes back to casually slicing straws into neat 8cm lengths.

    La Paz, Bolivia, at 3,900m above sea level – an altitude where even two flights of stairs makes your heart race like a hummingbird – is home to the most celebrated bar in all of South America: Route 36, the world's first cocaine lounge. I sit back to take in the scene – table after table of chatty young backpackers, many of whom are taking a gap year, awaiting a new job or simply escaping the northern hemisphere for the delights of South America, which, for many it seems, include cocaine.

    "Since they are an after-hours club and serve cocaine the neighbours tend to complain pretty fast. So they move all the time. Maybe if they are lucky they last three months in the same place, but often it is just two weeks. Route 36 is a movable feast," says a Bolivian newspaper editor who asked not to be named. "One day it is in one zone and then it pops up in another area. Certainly it is the most famous among the backpacker crowd but there are several other places that are offering cocaine as well. Because Route 36 changes addresses so much there is a lot of confusion about how many cocaine bars are out there."

    This new trend of 'cocaine tourism' can be put down to a combination of Bolivia's notoriously corrupt public officials, the chaotic "anything goes" attitude of La Paz, and the national example of President Evo Morales, himself a coca grower. (Coca is the leaf, and cocaine is the highly manufactured and refined powder.) Morales has diligently fought for the rights of coca growers and tossed the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) out of Bolivia. While he has said he will crack down on cocaine production, he appears to be swimming against the current. In early July, the largest ever cocaine factory was discovered in eastern Bolivia. Capable of producing 100kg a day, the lab was run by Colombians and provided the latest evidence that Bolivia is now home to sophisticated cocaine laboratories. The lab was the fourth large facility to be found in Bolivia this year.

    Nowhere in South America is cocaine production growing faster than Bolivia. Reports by the UN show that in Colombia, production dropped 28% last year [2008], while in Bolivia it rose nearly 10%. "There is more interest and and investment in purifying coca paste here and exporting it, rather than sending it to Colombia for purification," Oscar Nina, Bolivia's top anti-drug official, said recently.

    As the US and Colombian military put pressure on drug traffickers, operations are migrating into nearby countries, especially Bolivia, where the turf for illegal operations is as fertile as the valleys where the locals have grown coca for the last five centuries. Stopping cocaine tourism in La Paz could be as difficult as keeping Americans from drinking during prohibition.

    Down in Route 36's main room, the scene is chilled. A half-hearted disco ball sporadically bathes the room in red and green light. Each table has candles and a stash of bottled water, plus whatever mixers one cares to add to your drink. In the corner, a pile of board games includes chess, backgammon, and Jenga, the game in which a steady hand pulls out bricks from a tower of blocks until the whole pile collapses. If it weren't for the heads bobbing down like birds scouring the seashore for food, you would never know that huge amounts of cocaine were being casually ingested. There's a lot of mingling from table to table. Everyone here has stories – the latest adventures from Ecuador, the best bus to Peru – and even the most wired "why-won't-he-shut-up?" traveller is given a generous welcome before being sent back to his table, where he can repeat those stories another 10 times.

    "Everyone knows about this place," says Jonas, a backpacker who arrived two days earlier. "My mate came to Bolivia last year and he said, 'Route 36 is the best lounge in all of South America.'" It is certainly the most bizarre and brazen. Though cocaine is illegal in Bolivia, Route 36 is fast becoming an essential stop for thousands of tourists who come here every year and happily sample the country's cocaine, which is famous for both its availability, price (around €15 a gram) and purity.

    The scene here is peaceful; there seems no fear that anyone will be caught. ("The owner has paid off all the right people," one waiter says with a smile.) A female backpacker from Newcastle slips on to one of the four couches arranged around the table. "We've brought some [cocaine] virgins here. This will be their first time, so we are just rubbing it on their lips. But they are lucky – you could never get such pure coke back home. In London you pay 50 quid for a gram that's been cut so much, all it does it make your lips numb and sends you to the bathroom."

    Travellers' blogs also give the place a good writeup. "I travelled the world for nine months, and for sure La Paz was the craziest city and Route 36 the best bar of my entire trip," writes one, while another says, "Like to burn the candle at both ends? Well, here you can bloody well torch the whole candle."

    And torch your brain as well. Cocaine, as everybody knows, is highly addictive, destructive and easy to abuse. The rationale for outlawing cocaine was to protect public health – but instead the now 40-year experiment in prohibition has done little to protect the lives of millions of users worldwide who will snort whatever white substance is placed before them. The billions in annual profits have corrupted governments worldwide, and La Paz, without intending it, seems to have mutated into the front line of this failed drug war.

    Explosions In The Sky - With Tired Eyes, Tired Minds, Tired Souls, We Slept

    Saw these guys play wicked air guitar in Austin earlier this year at SXSW. I could be wrong, but I'll bet that they didn't know that their sound engineer had tragically failed them until after the show. I think they air-guitared this song.


    Tuesday, August 25, 2009

    Your Guide To Music On The Web

    TechCrunch lists a number of online music service providers with some commentary, some of which I'm sure you're already well versed in. They include...


    Some music visualization sites include...


    Some web radio sites include...


    Check out. Enjoy. (Lean enough for ya?)

    Some Good News from YouTube

    "Search and Delete," the traditional approach to the unauthorized upload of copyrighted material such as songs and video, has recently been substituted by a more practical monetizing approach. You can read the full story at Wired.com.

    Basically, YouTube keeps a database of all of its music and video uploads, separating the audio and visual files. These files have something of a fingerprint which enables ContentID to identify duplicates in its database, even though duplicate files may be coded differently. When a duplicate is identified, like Chris Brown's "Forever" appearing in that stupid catchy wedding video...




    ...YouTube has the option to either remove the infringing material or divert some of the ad revenue generated by the infringing material to the copyright holder. In the event that YouTube diverts a portion of the ad revenue to the copyright holder, it may also provide links on the video to purchase copyrighted material from services like Amazon or iTunes. The option to delete or monetize is decided by information uploaded in those same databases from the copyright holders. Many major and independent labels have decided to monetize with YouTube using this technology. In this way, Chris Brown "doubled his fun" (f'in sell out).

    In a way, it's good news for folks like you an me. Publishing videos with copyrighted tracks may not be such a liability anymore. Assuming such activity exposes you to suit (and isn't protected by fair use or transformative doctrines), you can avoid a lot of legal hassle this way. But you can't help but ask whether the pendulum has swung too far in favor of the copyright holder. I mean, Chris Brown's track had laid pretty dormant for about a year before its reappearance in JK' Wedding. After it's reappearance, it shot up to #4 on iTunes' and #3 on Amazon's best-selling mp3 lists.

    And through no effort of his own.

    In any case, the approach represents a practical appreciation on the part of larger scale music producers for the value that online service providers (ahem, and content providers) can provide. An appreciation not entirely new in American thought.

    "He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me. That ideas should freely spread from one to another over the globe, for the moral and mutual instruction of man, and improvement of his condition, seems to have been peculiarly and benevolently designed by nature, when she made them, like fire, expansible over all space, without lessening their density at any point, and like the air in which we breathe, move, and have our physical being, incapable of confinement or exclusive appropriation."

    Thomas Jefferson, in Writings of Thomas Jefferson, vol. 6, H.A. Washington, Ed.,1854, pp. 180-181.

    Nightman cometh...

    It’s Always Sunny Play The Beacon Theater! Crazy!
    —by Patrick Slevin, August 5, 2009

    Okay, it’s not exactly music news, but it’s news. The cast of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia will be performing their play, The Nightman Cometh (the subject of season 4’s finale) on Sept. 16 at the Beacon Theatre. The Beacon? I remember twiddling my thumbs nervously for a good few months wondering if they’d renew for a fourth season, and now they’re playing the Beacon?

    No word yet as to whether they’ll be performing at a similarly sized room in Philadelphia for the more “authentic” experience, even though they film primarily in L.A. Would that they perform “The Gang Solves The Energy Crisis” as well. One can dream.

    Tickets run from $39.50 – $59.50. beacontheatre.com. Read more for some crappy YouTube video of the live show.

    More Videos from Portugal. The Man

    I may have played "Salt" like 8 times already. Over and over. It may be my new drug for a while. Thanks, you pusher. If you're interested, Portugal. The Man has plenty more videos available on Vimeo. Unfortunately, most of them appear to be acoustic versions of many of his songs, including "Salt." Same thing with his Youtube page. Not that there's anything wrong with that...

    But man, it sounds so much better with a full band.

    Monday, August 24, 2009

    Two Documentaries About Art and Industry


    Art & Copy is a new documentary about creativity and ideas in advertising, featuring some of the most influential creatives in the business. While probably none of you will be as excited about this film as I am, I thought it'd be interesting to post about seeing as everyone of us is exposed to thousands of ads every single day. For those of you in the Lou, a screening is available this weekend only, giving you an opportunity to not only see an awesome film, but also to rub it in my face that you were able to see it before me. See more Art & Copying HERE.


    An older and music-related recommendation is DIG! For anyone that hasn't seen or heard of this, it's a film about The Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Dandy Warhols - specifically the lead singers of both bands - whose friendship fades over differences in opinion about creativity and corporate success. Worth Netflixing sometime.

    Good tune

    Portugal. the man. Song called Salt

    Omaha "Concert Reco" - Fall 2009

    In an effort to promote Omaha tourism, specifically from the St. Louis area, I'd like to take a moment to point out the following concert schedule for Omaha this fall. Two words: Cuh Mon!

    08/27/09 Reverend Horton Heat - Slowdown
    09/02/09 Umphrey's McGee - Whiskey Roadhouse
    09/09/09 Matt & Kim - Waiting Room
    09/10/09 Cotton Jones - Waiting Room
    09/13/09 Buckethead - Slowdown
    09/18/09 Silversun Pickups - Sokol
    09/19/09 Bon Iver - Slowdown
    09/21/09 Phoenix - Slowdown
    09/23/09 Built to Spill - Slowdown
    09/27/09 Amazing Baby - Slowdown
    10/01/09 Tortoise - Waiting Room
    10/07/09 STS9 - Sokol
    10/09/09 Yo La Tengo - Slowdown
    10/12/09 Kings of Leon - Mid America Center
    10/17/09 Blitzen Trapper - Waiting Room
    10/27/09 Dinosaur Jr - Slowdown
    10/28/09 Monsters of Folk - Holland Center
    10/29/09 Yonder Mountain String Band - Sokol

    Island, IS

    Here is a link to "Volcano Choir," a song recently released by Justin Vernon's new side project. I am guessing that Jason will get the biggest kick out of it since it sounds a lot like Coldplay.

    http://www.thefader.com/2009/08/11/volcano-choir-island-is-mp3/

    Friday, August 21, 2009

    Tagging Them

    OK folks. I've noticed a very lamentable state of affairs in The Shanty. You may have noticed it, too. Turns out, we're way too awesome at posting kickin' rad stuff. At times, the Kickin-Rad-ometer makes its way into the red. When this happens, kickin' rad stuff is flying at you at such a kickin' rad pace that you barely have time to take it all in. What's worse is that after that stuff has hit you in the face, it disappears. 

    This is the lamentable state of affairs. It is way too difficult to retrieve past Shanty posts unless you know exactly when it was posted, or what the exact title of the post was. I'd like to try something new.

    You'll notice a couple of new features at The Shanty. Like, we've got our very own search box! Type in anything you want. If it appears in The Shanty, it'll pop up. Don't quite know what you want? This brings me to new great awesome kickin' rad feature No. 2.

    Labels. Below the Search box you'll find a list of topics arranged alphabetically. I went ahead and labeled each post from the months of August, July and June. These labels appear alphabetically. Next to the label appears a number in parentheses. This tells you how many times this label appears in The Shanty.  Check out "Concert Reco" for instance. Every time I came across a post that was recommending a show, I labeled it "Concert Reco." Interested in what shows have been recommended by Shanty writers? Click "Concert Reco." 

    Some other popular labels include "Video" and "Music." Every post that I found which concerned music in some way I went ahead and labeled with "Music." These posts would include music sites like Myspace links (see also, "Myspace link"), band sites and music videos. Likewise, "Video" was used to label all posts which featured a video like an episode clip (see also "episode clip"), movie trailer (see also, "movie trailer"), or music videos (my personal favorite). Also, check out "News," "Joke," and "Picture." Or "Site reco," or "Book reco." Or whatever else.

    You may be thinking what I'm thinking. 

    Dude, some of these labels seem pretty retarded, if not also really repetitive and unnecessary. I mean, look at the size of that list! It's huge! How can that be at all helpful?! I believe I'm now dumber for having read this entire thing! Ugh! "Hey woder"? Whiskey tango foxtrot?!

    You may be right. Undoubtedly, we'll be using more labels than others. But remember, The Shanty has been, is and will always forever be a work in progress. Like that Post Archive feature? How retarded was that? Right? Eventually, after we get some practice at this, we'll have whittled down the necessary list of labels. Let's see which one's you guys use, which one's we don't, and we'll go from there.

    How To Label. Whenever you're making a new post, be sure to label it. I mean, you don't have to. But you risk your post disappearing down that kickin' rad river rapid we call The Shanty. To label your post, look down to the bottom of the text box to find a much smaller text box. "Labels for this post" appears just to the left of the box. "Show all" appears just to the right of the box. Clicking on "Show all" will display all of the currently used labels. Click on the ones that you think are most appropriate. You may want to add another label, like a band name or a song title or whatever. Like for this post, I added a "How To" label, which will go on all posts that show you how to do something. So great, and educational. Just go ahead and type whatever you want into the Label box and separate it with a comma. Go nuts. But there's a 200 character limit which can get kinda frustrating. And remember, HUGE list of labels already. So don't go that nuts. Go a little nuts.

    So whatcha think?

    The Very Best - Warm Heart of Africa

    Here's a fun one.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXrqo4aFjMg


    The Showdown

    video

    Thursday, August 20, 2009

    Aqua - Barbie Girl



    "The First Amendment may offer little protection for a 

    competitor who labels its commercial good with a confusingly 

    similar mark, but “[t]rademark rights do not entitle the owner 

    to quash an unauthorized use of the mark by another who is 

    communicating ideas or expressing points of view.” L.L. 

    Bean, Inc. v. Drake Publishers, Inc., 811 F.2d 26, 29 (1st Cir. 

    1987). Were we to ignore the expressive value that some 

    marks assume, trademark rights would grow to encroach upon 

    the zone protected by the First Amendment. See Yankee 

    Publ’g, Inc. v. News Am. Publ’g, Inc., 809 F. Supp. 267, 276 

    (S.D.N.Y. 1992)."


    "There is no doubt that MCA uses Mattel’s mark: Bar- 

    bie is one half of Barbie Girl. But Barbie Girl is the title of 

    a song about Barbie and Ken, a reference that—at least today 

    —can only be to Mattel’s famous couple. We expect a title to 

    describe the underlying work, not to identify the producer, 

    and Barbie Girl does just that."


    "The Second Circuit has held that “in general the [Lan- 

    ham] Act should be construed to apply to artistic works only 

    where the public interest in avoiding consumer confusion out- 

    weighs the public interest in free expression.” Rogers v. Gri- 

    maldi, 875 F.2d 994, 999 (2d Cir. 1989); see also Cliffs Notes, 

    886 F.2d at 494 (quoting Rogers, 875 F.2d at 999)."



    "Applying Rogers to our case, we conclude that MCA’s 

    use of Barbie is not an infringement of Mattel’s trademark. 

    Under the first prong of Rogers, the use of Barbie in the song 

    title clearly is relevant to the underlying work, namely, the 

    song itself. As noted, the song is about Barbie and the values

    Aqua claims she represents. The song title does not explicitly 

    mislead as to the source of the work; it does not, explicitly or 

    otherwise, suggest that it was produced by Mattel. The only 

    indication that Mattel might be associated with the song is the 

    use of Barbie in the title; if this were enough to satisfy this 

    prong of the Rogers test, it would render Rogers a nullity. We 

    therefore agree with the district court that MCA was entitled 

    to summary judgment on this ground. We need not consider 

    whether the district court was correct in holding that MCA 

    was also entitled to summary judgment because its use of Bar-bie was a nominative fair use."

    "Mattel separately argues that, under the Federal Trademark 

    Dilution Act (“FTDA”), MCA’s song dilutes the Barbie mark 

    in two ways: It diminishes the mark’s capacity to identify and 

    distinguish Mattel products, and tarnishes the mark because 

    the song is inappropriate for young girls. See 15 U.S.C. 

    § 1125(c); see also Panavision Int’l, L.P. v. Toeppen, 141 

    F.3d 1316, 1324 (9th Cir. 1998). 

    “Dilution” refers to the “whittling away of the value of a 

    trademark” when it’s used to identify different products. 4 J. 

    Thomas McCarthy, McCarthy on Trademarks and Unfair 

    Competition § 24.67 at 24-120; § 24.70 at 24-122 (2001). For 

    example, Tylenol snowboards, Netscape sex shops and Harry 

    Potter dry cleaners would all weaken the “commercial magne- 

    tism” of these marks and diminish their ability to evoke their 

    original associations. Ralph S. Brown, Jr., Advertising and the 

    Public Interest: Legal Protection of Trade Symbols, 57 Yale 

    L.J. 1165, 1187 (1948), reprinted in 108 Yale L.J. 1619 

    (1999). These uses dilute the selling power of these trade- 

    marks by blurring their “uniqueness and singularity,” Frank I. 

    Schechter, The Rational Basis of Trademark Protection, 40 

    Harv. L. Rev. 813, 831 (1927), and/or by tarnishing them with 

    negative associations."


    "MCA’s use of the mark is dilutive. MCA does not dispute 

    that, while a reference to Barbie would previously have 

    brought to mind only Mattel’s doll, after the song’s popular 

    success, some consumers hearing Barbie’s name will think of 

    both the doll and the song, or perhaps of the song only. This 

    is a classic blurring injury and is in no way diminished by the 

    fact that the song itself refers back to Barbie the doll. To be 

    dilutive, use of the mark need not bring to mind the junior 

    user alone. The distinctiveness of the mark is diminished if 

    the mark no longer brings to mind the senior user alone."


    "A “noncommercial use” exemption, on its face, presents a 

    bit of a conundrum because it seems at odds with the earlier 

    requirement that the junior use be a “commercial use in com- 

    merce.” If a use has to be commercial in order to be dilutive, 

    how then can it also be noncommercial so as to satisfy the 

    exception of section 1125(c)(4)(B)? If the term “commercial 

    use” had the same meaning in both provisions, this would 

    eliminate one of the three statutory exemptions defined by 

    this subsection, because any use found to be dilutive would, 

    of necessity, not be noncommercial."


    "Fortunately, the legislative history of the FTDA suggests an 

    interpretation of the “noncommercial use” exemption that 

    both solves our interpretive dilemma and diminishes some 

    First Amendment concerns: “Noncommercial use” refers to a 

    use that consists entirely of noncommercial, or fully constitu- 

    tionally protected, speech. See 2 Jerome Gilson et al., Trade- 

    mark Protection and Practice § 5.12[1][c][vi] at 5-240 (this 

    exemption “is intended to prevent the courts from enjoining 

    speech that has been recognized to be [fully] constitutionally 

    protected,” “such as parodies”). Where, as here, a statute’s 

    plain meaning “produces an absurd, and perhaps unconstitu- 

    tional, result[, it is] entirely appropriate to consult all public 

    materials, including the background of [the statute] and the 

    legislative history of its adoption.” Green v. Bock Laundry 

    Mach. Co., 490 U.S. 504, 527 (1989) (Scalia, J., concurring)."


    "Barbie Girl is not purely commercial 

    speech, and is therefore fully protected. To be sure, MCA 

    used Barbie’s name to sell copies of the song. However, as 

    we’ve already observed, see pp. 10489-90 supra, the song 

    also lampoons the Barbie image and comments humorously 

    on the cultural values Aqua claims she represents. Use of the 

    Barbie mark in the song Barbie Girl therefore falls within the 

    noncommercial use exemption to the FTDA. For precisely the 

    same reasons, use of the mark in the song’s title is also 

    exempted."



    Mattel, Inc. v. MCA Records, Inc. (2002)



    Harvard Primatologist Says Joys of Barbecue Sparked Evolution


    May have looked more like...


    At least that's what Professor Richard Wrangham claims in his book Catching Fire.  In an interview with the folks at Bloomberg, Wrangham states:

    You have these two big effects -- you get more energy out of your food, so humans could survive and reproduce faster. Cooking also made the food softer, which changed the activity budgets: It reduced chewing time enormously, so suddenly you have individuals who have several extra hours a day to reorganize their lives.

    Initially, I resisted his second point. It's very clear that when anybody lights up a grill today, others in the area have to stand around it. They don't even have to talk. Beer helps.



    Wrangham makes a few claims with regard to the several extra hours a day to reorganize. Specifically, the advent of cooking permitted more time to fool with tools, roam the land as well as...

    Smaller guts (What's that Bill Dauterive?)
    Obesity (Ahh, I hear ya.)
    Patriarchy, and
    Dangerous Behaviors

    Obesity? Patriarchy? Dangerous behaviors? Are we really better off? I mean, Bonobos have it pretty good, and they don't cook at all. I'm sure Prometheus has something to say on the matter...


    Oh, never mind. 

    Secret Oyster - My Second Hand Rose



    Secret Oyster, the Evan Williams to Pink Floyd's Jack Daniels.

    Damien Marley ft. Stephen Marley - All Night

    Tuesday, August 18, 2009

    Roland Barthes - Mythologies

    As a semiologist, Roland Barthes studies the structure of language as a symbol and how it operates. His major contribution to semiology and literary criticism is his theory of the "myth." Far from our standard understanding of myth as an ancient story or recurring elements of a story, Barthes uses the term to identify a semiological structure. The term builds on the idea of a "sign" expounded by Ferdinand de Saussure in his "Course in General Linguistics." Essentially what Barthes did was explain how something with a meaning and an identity all its own can be used in a way that gives that same thing an entirely different and independent meaning and identity.

    As a semiological structure, the Saussurian sign is made up of the combination of a "signifier" and a "signified" (as well as a lot of spitty s's) and can be diagramed in this way:

    With regards to language, the sign can be used to describe a word. For instance, "Tree." The sound made when we pronounce "Tree" functions as the signifier. Likewise, the text "Tree" on a page functions as a signifier. Even a picture might function as a signifier, but more on that later. Our understanding of tree functions as the signified. A sign is the simultaneous occurrence of the signifier and the signified. A sign occurs when we say "Tree," either to ourselves and/or someone else.
    Barthes expanded Saussure's sign in Mythologies (1957), a collection of short journalistic entries on topics ranging from films to magazines to cars and children's toys, collectively la culture de masse. Mythologies also contains the theoretical essay "Myth Today" which introduces the idea of mythological signification. To put it one (perhaps needlessly confusing) way, any system of signfication which uses the sign in the way described above is a semiological system in the first order. Barthes development of Saussurian linguistics proceeds by claiming that myth is a second order semiological system, since it appropriates an already full sign as a signifier for a second form or signification, which is mythological signification. Barthes graphically represents myth in the following way:
    In keeping with the Tree example above the image Scootro posted of that magnificent redwood can function as a sign all by itself.  There's the image which can function as the signifier:


    In that case, the signified is a particular redwood tree. It's the tree that Scooter and Alysse stood by some time ago. According to some, the redwood stands in "the most beautiful place in the continental us." When we see the image posted up on the walls of The Shanty, the image and our understanding of the image occur simultaneously; Scott's picture functions as a sign, full of meaning and identity. A semiological system in the first order.

    When I responded to Scott's post, I attempted to impart mythological signification on Scott's tree. Years ago, Scott introduced some of us to Brightblack Morning Light. Shortly after, I think Gumthum said it best:

    It's just perfect. Exactly the kind of band you'd expect from Scott. Honestly, I don't know where he finds these guys. I'm not saying they're bad or anything. I really like 'em. But you can just imagine them, can't you? A bunch of hippies sitting around in the woods by a tree or something getting all stoned and just chanting music.

    Yea, I could imagine that. 


    And it stuck. Forever, when I think of Brightblack Morning Light I think of the misty woods and hippies chanting religiously. Same thing happened when I saw Scott's tree. By framing Scott's tree next to the music of BBML, I attempted to add a second layer of signification. I attempted to take the sign which was Scott's tree and make it a signifier for all that imagery surrounding mine and Gumthum's understanding surrounding BBML. Stoned hippies. Religious chanting. A transcendent mist surrounding everything. And ancient looking trees in a forest.

    Barthes uses the following example to explain the same concept. Please keep in mind the context, the date, the place and whatnot when reading:

    And here is now another example: I am at the barber's, and a copy of Paris- Match is offered to me. On the cover, a young Negro in a French uniform is saluting, with his eyes uplifted, probably fixed on a fold of the tricolour. 


    All this is the meaning of the picture. But, whether naively or not, I see very well what it signifies to me: that France is a great Empire, that all her sons, without any color discrimination, faithfully serve under her flag, and that there is no better answer to the detractors of an alleged colonialism than the zeal shown by this Negro in serving his so- called oppressors. I am therefore again faced with a greater semiological system: there is a signifier, itself already formed with a previous system (a black soldier is giving the French salute); there is a signified (it is here a purposeful mixture of Frenchness and militariness); finally, there is a presence of the signified through the signifier.

    So that is how one thing, with a meaning and an identity all its own can be used in a way that gives that same thing an entirely different and independent meaning and identity. Whether it's a Tree or a young saluting soldier. 

    Or a Hitler Youth slogan. 

    Or a song.

    In this regard, it may be important to conclude with the following note from "Myth Today":

    What is characteristic of myth? To transform a meaning into form. In other words, myth is always a language-robbery. I rob the Negro who is saluting, the white and brown chalet, the seasonal fall in fruit prices, not to make them into examples or symbols, but to naturalize through them the Empire, my taste for Basque things, the Government. Are all primary languages a prey for myth? Is there no meaning which can resist this capture with which form threatens it? In fact, nothing can be safe from myth, myth can develop its second-order schema from any meaning and, as we saw, start from the very lack of meaning.

    David Bowie - Changes

    Seu Jorge - Changes

    Monday, August 17, 2009

    "Blood and Honour" is not "Blut und Ehre"

    Recently, the German Federal Court of Justice overturned a lower court's decision to convict an unnamed defendant under a German statute prohibiting the display of Nazi symbols and slogans. The defendant was caught trying to transport a shipment of 100 t-shirts bearing the phrase "Blood and Honour," a direct translation of the German "Blut und Ehre," the motto of Hitler Youth. Factoring into the Court's decision to overturn the conviction was the fact that the t-shirts were in English and not in German.

    "By translation into another language, the Nazi slogan, which is characterized not just by its meaning but also by the German language, is fundamentally transformed," it said.

    The decision would appear to set a dangerous precedent for copyright owners, specifically musicians. I hope you remember Korean Boy singing "Tuts my Barreh." For words like "ice cream," the importation into another language and culture doesn't seem to be much of a problem. But for material protected by copyright or trademark, the situation gets sticky. The German Court's decision seems to say that by translating a phrase out of the forum court's language, the phrase is taken out of that forum's regulatory framework. In this case, the relevant regulatory framework apparently concerns hate speech associated with a country's lamentable political and military history.

    The name of the defendant has not been released, which makes finding the text of the actual decision rather difficult. Any inference made with regards to international intellectual property regulation would be strictly hypothetical without any real bearing in actual case law. Without the text of the actual decision, I'm left spinning my head around the decision by myself. Which is fine by me. Head spinning is one of my favorite past times. My guess is that the mere fact of translation is insufficient to promote the type of restraint exercised by the German Court. Rather, "Blood and Honour" must have obtained a significance that is independent of the original Nazi promotional material prohibited by the German statute. I'll betcha the white power punk scene bore that independent significance.

    In July of 1926, Hitler Jugend (or Hitler Youth) became the Nazi party's official youth organization in Germany. It appears that one objective of HJ was to foster membership and support for the Third Reich. Later, they were reformed to perform actual war duties during World War II.




    The organization was disbanded by Allied forces after World War II. Though some of it's adult leadership were later tried for war crimes and crimes against humanity, its youth membership were never prosecuted. In fact, membership in the organization was compulsory after 1936. Many of its members resisted HJ's ideological indoctrination successfully and went on to live compassionate and charitably significant lives.

    Unfortunately, the message of the Third Reich found fertile ground among other young recruits and later generations outside of post-war Germany. The group's motto, "Blut und Ehre" has since made several appearances in youth and young adult culture. After WWII, world powers competed for allegiance on the global economic, political and social stages during The Cold War. The youth of Europe reacted in a variety of ways, one of which was the resurgence of the Nazi ideology of self-preservation and the development of neo-nazi and white power hate groups. In 1985, the newly reformed British punk rock band Skrewdriver recorded "Blood and Honour," the lyrics of the title track appear as follows:

    To dream of freedom in this world
    Our banners flying proudly are unfurled
    Even if we stand alone we must never hide
    For in our hearts there is a sense of pride
    Chorus:
    For the blood and honor
    For the blood and for the pride
    For the blood and honor
    We must never let our Europe be taken for a ride
    We look with caution to the east
    We can see the red flag of the beast
    Countless millions have died at the Marxists' hands
    We would fight and die to keep our land
    (Repeat Chorus)
    solo
    (Repeat Chorus)
    Marxists' greedy hands around our throats
    Bankers buying up your lives and sitting back to gloat
    We should fight to control our people's fate
    Europe never was no puppet state
    (Repeat Chorus) x3 

    Later in 1986, Skrewdriver's frontman Ian Stuart Donaldson helped create a music promotions network for neo-nazi and white power punk bands under the same name, "Blood and Honour."  


    With T Shirts to boot.


    And it was for a shirt much like this one (well, 100 shirts to be precise) that our unnamed German defendant was originally convicted. For this reason, the Court's focus (or at least the focus of the press) on the fact of translation may be misleading. I believe the Court's restraint, it's decision to keep "Blood and Honour" out of the statutory framework prohibiting Nazi slogans and symbols was informed by Germany's own free speech jurisprudence. 

    Freedom of speech is perceived as a fundamental right in most if not all liberal-democratic states. Government intrusion into that right is illegitimate if it's only purpose is to prohibit or preclude certain types of speech. Rather, such an intrusion needs an independently legitimate basis, like the preservation and promotion of a different set of fundamental rights such as those protecting personal and bodily integrity, and should be narrowly tailored. Given Germany's past with anti-semitism and racial persecution focused in the Nazi movement, it would seem perfectly reasonable to prohibit speech promoting Nazi values and agendas. The mere translation of such speech into a different language, by itself, wouldn't seem to dilute the anti-Nazi concerns. The Court can't suppose that nobody in Germany would understand the English translation.

    "Blood and Honour," then, must carry more significance than a mere English translation of the German "Blut und Ehre." More than a translation, the phrase's life in European white power punk gives it just as much a Cold War significance as it does WWII. As much of a European (and perhaps American) significance as it does a German significance. In this way, the Court's restraint reflects just as much an internationalist perspective as it does a liberal-democratic perspective. This is a good sign for Korean Boy, assuming "Tuts my Barreh" has obtained a comparable independent significance (at least with regard to American courts).

    This isn't to say that the t-shirts aren't otherwise sufficiently offensive to warrant prosecution. It appears that the German Court remanded the case to the lower court to decide two additional issues. The first was whether the use of the Nazi symbols in the phrase "Blood and Honour," aside from the phrase itself, was prohibited by the same anti-Nazi statute. The other issue was whether use of the phrase is sufficient to convict the defendant under a different statute which bans a far right organization of the same name. It's unclear whether that organization is the same as the promotions network. Stay tuned.