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Carolina Chocolate Drops – drop it like it’s sweet

This is what’s making me happy today…

Carolina Chocolate Drops, “Hit Em Up Style” – from the album Genuine Negro Jig

Ann Powers over on NPR’s All Songs Considered turned me on to this.  And turned on is right. Jazzed up. Knocked out.  Normally, in the past, this kind of roots music didn’t appeal to me, but I think Gillian Welch kind of opened my eyes/ears to being more receptive to what I had dismissed as “country” in the past.  This new alt bluegrass and roots music is amazing stuff.  New and old, deeply American, but in a way that is authenticate and interesting.  The racial dimension of Carolina Chocolate Drops is also compelling.  So much of what we take as American music comes out of this weird amalgam of Irish folk music and slave music that grew out African and Afro-Caribbean folk and native sounds.  As the LA Times described it, they “underline the connections between American bluegrass and folk with the genres’ little-known ancestry in Africa.”  And later that met up with Klezmer and Jewish music, when the other stuff hit New York and the songwriters and musicians working there, so many of whom were Jewish, starting working with it.

That’s the real American experience right there: Irish and British immigration, poor Irish getting off the boat and going straight into the maw of the American Civil War and ending up in Appalachia, slavery, Eastern European immigration in huge waves at the beginning of the 20th Century.  And it led to jazz, blues, r&b and rock. And then to alt bluegrass.

That’s what I like about America. That’s what people around the world like about America. Mitt Romney is the other America: lazy, stupid, arrogant, complacent, greedy, loud, utterly self-absorbed, contemptuous of other people and other cultures,  convinced that there is still a Manifest Destiny entitling people like himand his friends to get rich off the despoliation of the planet, and the exploitation and emiseration of others.

For more….

Filed under: Music, , , ,

Nerdware: Even Nerds Stand Up for Justice

Warning: This product is not safe to wear in any jurisdiction with “Stand Your Ground” legislation.  Or, you know, “walking while black” legislation…

How To Be Black Pullover $50.00

This American Apparel pullover has 20% more pocket space and 100% less zipper than the zip-up, choose accordingly. (via How To Be Black – Shop.)

#trayvonmartin

Filed under: Nerdware, Politics, , , ,

Hey, Hey, Hey

If you are of an age and a class and a space with me, then we probably share similar memories of a Saturday morning – eating big bowls of breakfast cereal and watching cartoons, like Scooby-Doo (the original, not any of the later, lesser incarnations), Johnny Quest, and… Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids.

You’ll have some fun now…

As Time Out Chicago suggests, for those of us who grew up on them and now have kids of our own, TV shows such as Fat Albert can make a nice change from the dreck being dished out on TV for our kids these days.

But Fat Albert serves another important role in my relationship with my stepson Misha beyond just keeping him occupied and entertained – it gives him some insight into the culture that shaped me, and crucially introduces him to African American life and culture, which was so formative for me, growing up in a black neighborhood in the 1970s, but is completely foreign to him out in the white suburbs of Australia.

(I’ve stocked the basket of reading material in the toilet with Boondocks collections to give him a more up-to-date version and vision of that life and culture. And in a year or two… The Autobiography of Malcolm X and Eyes on the Prize)

Filed under: Autobiography, TV, , , ,

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zerode by nick chapman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

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zerode

is an over-caffeinated and under-employed grad school dropout, aspiring leftwing intellectual and cultural studies academic, cinéaste, and former poet. Raised in San Francisco on classic film, radical politics, burritos and soul music, then set loose upon the world. He spends his time in coffee shops with his laptop and headphones, caffeinating and trying to construct a post-whatever life.

 

What's in a name... The handle "zerode" is a contraction of Zéro de Conduite, the title of Jean Vigo's 1933 movie masterpiece about schoolboy rebellion.

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