Monday, January 03, 2005


Oh, I only say "crappy" because of the "re-election" of George W. Bush. Today is the day of Jesse Jackson's "Count Every Vote" rally in Columbus Ohio. I haven't had a chance to read much today, so let's go together to "Ohio Election Fraud," a blog about the vote situation in Ohio, and this story from the Columbus Post.

OK, so not much about how it went. I guess we'll know tomorrow what the results were--but only if you read Buzzflash or Democratic Underground or maybe this spot.


That damn tsunami is taking all the juice out of this election story. Can't the American media effectively cover more than one big story at once? We were told every gory detail of Scott Peterson's case over and over again in various media outlets, but this election thing--nope, can't spare a column inch.

It's like Matt Miller asked in his recent column "Whose Agenda Is It Anyway" (interesting note--this column is dated 12-8-04 on Miller's website and appeared in my local paper just today):

Public life is like any bulletin board (or a front page) of finite size. When some things are chosen for that bulletin board, others are by definition crowded out. So, "hard news" (like bombs in Iraq) aside, a citizen should always ask when he plucks his newspaper off the driveway in the morning: "Why are we discussing what we are discussing?"

Hmmm...maybe because Jesse Jackson and John Conyers are trying to bring up disconcerting questions about the election in which the media basically forced John Kerry to concede (he shouldn't have, but I can't say that I would have done anything differently were I in his situation) prematurely. So it's a good thing for the press that there was a horrific disaster in Asia--and to be sure, it's a very important story--so there doesn't have to be any real coverage of our own possibly stolen election. Which is in itself a hugely important story.

The Media Forced Him?

Well of course "the media" didn't put a gun to Kerry's head and make him concede. But reading through the "Fahrenheit 9/11 Reader," which I got from my pals for Christmas, it occurred to me that the national television networks should not "call" states for one candidate or the other, especially not on election night.

We don't have to know who won the night of the election. Most states don't finalize and certify their vote counts until days or weeks after an actual election, so why are TV networks prematurely usurping the states' (by which I mean "the people's" power?

It's a bad idea. Instead of "calling" an election, they could just report the preliminary percentages they receive, i.e., "NBC News reports that exit polls from Ohio show candidate X with 5% of the vote and candidate Y with 4%." The operative phrase from the last two elections is "too close to call." Why the hell are they even trying to "call" an election at all? They should just wait until the states count their votes and then we can find out who won.

What's Up With Strokin'?

My band played a New Year's Eve party at the Forrest County Multi-Purpose Center on Friday, and we were pressured into faking the Clarence Carter tune "Strokin'." We'd never played it before and in fact, we had to get an audience member to sing with us--he did quite a good job, by the way.

At any rate, we announced that we were going to play it after I suggested a chord progression to the group that I thought was close enough. So we start playing 3 chords over and over again (E-D-A, kinda like "Gloria" or "Let It All Hang Out") with a funky beat behind it.

Well, it had the desired effect because a bunch of people started grinding to the music. But what struck me about it was that we didn't even really (and still don't) know the song. We were just playing some simple chords over a funky beat. Which is kind of what we do with our original tunes, but they don't necessarily inspire people to start grinding and losing their minds.

I understand that people like "Strokin'" and there is sort of a predictable, prepared reaction that people have to it, but why is that? If we had played the exact same chord progression with the exact same beat, with lyrics just as suggestive and horny, would people have reacted the same way? I don't think so.

Because as I say, our originals are fairly simple affairs--our lyrics aren't really salacious, but I don't think suggestiveness has anything to do with a crowd's reaction to a song (see "Brown-Eyed Girl" or "Mustang Sally"). We play three or four chords in various sequences over danceable beats (as do lots of bands), but they don't necessarily create such a reaction. I mean, people enjoy the songs, but they don't dry hump each other.

Is It The Beat?

So I'm wondering, what is it about that stupid song that gets that reaction? I think I've ruled out the beat, the chords, the type of lyrics--pretty much everything having to do with the makeup of a song. So what is it? I mean, I wonder the same thing about "Brown-Eyed Girl" and "Mustang Sally" too, but the thing is, we actually know those songs. We didn't really know "Strokin'," but people reacted to it like it was the sexiest, funkiest thing they'd ever heard.


Calling Just One Senator

Will a Senator stand with John Conyers or will we relive the first scene in "Fahrenheit 9/11" all over again? Let's WATCH C-SPAN on Jan. 6 and find out!!

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