Briefly Noted: Books, Television, Museums, and More

Foie gras fight, quality of life vs. efficiency, the phony war between punk and metal, The Secret Life of an American Teenager, and the Newseum

Foie Fight

Mark Caro, author of The Foie Gras Wars (Simon & Schuster), inadvertently kicked off a national debate about the much-derided delicacy with a 2006 story for the Chicago Tribune about an inter-chef squabble.

The famously temperamental chef Charlie Trotter had stopped serving the fatty duck livers, citing ethical qualms about the ducks’ treatment. A rival chef called him a “hypocrite.” Trotter threatened to eat his fellow culinarian’s liver. Caro’s initial story was delayed because Tribune editors didn’t like the parallels between feeding the comatose Terri Schiavo through a tube and force-feeding ducks through a tube, which is how you make foie gras. A Chicago alderman read the article and pushed through a ban on the organ meat treat. That ban has since been repealed.

Chef Trotter—who supports drug legalization and calls animal rights activists “idiots”—opposed the ban even as he opposed the foodstuff. This colorful, sympathetic history suggests that Caro agrees.—Katherine Mangu-Ward


Power Pestering

The exhibition “Spark!” at the Charlottesville Community Design Center in Charlottesville, Virginia, is meant to prepare us for “a widespread switch to clean and renewable sources” by encouraging visitors to “address their own carbon footprint.”

The exhibit consists of type-dense posters explaining things like how to get federal and state tax breaks for wrapping hot water heaters in snazzy silver-colored insulation or installing solar panels on your roof. The information isn’t always accurate. The solar energy display, for example, misleadingly claims that “generating your own energy is a cushion against rising oil prices” and “minimizes our nation’s dependence on foreign oil.” Generating your own electricity (while taking advantage of tax breaks) could lower your electric bills, but it will not displace much oil, which mostly fuels automobiles.

We do need to understand more about our energy use, but there’s more to that than exhortations to lower our quality of life in pursuit of efficiency.—Ronald Bailey


Punk/Metal Rules!

Despite its distracting academic jargon, Steve Waksman’s This Ain’t the Summer of Love: Conflict and Crossover in Heavy Metal and Punk (University of California Press) pinpoints an underappreciated truth: While elite critics have championed punk as the vanguard of pop cultural revolution, “the emergence of metal has never been treated as a historically significant event.” Punk struck the intellectuals as properly conceptual and arty; metal just seemed like brutal noise for brutes.

Waksman, who teaches music and American studies at Smith College, retells the history of pop music from 1970 to the present. His topics range from the depth and richness of Motörhead’s pioneering thrash to the genre- (and gender-) bending theatricality of Alice Cooper and David Lee Roth. The two quick-and-noisy musical arts communities, separated by the critics, have mingled and cross-pollinated on their own, helping to create today’s dynamic and delightful world of self-chosen, mix-and-match subcultures and musical identities.—Damon W. Root


Secret Lives, Fictional Sex

ABC Family’s hit Monday night series The Secret Life of an American Teenager offers salacious plots and characters not normally associated with Disney, the network’s corporate owner. The show’s protagonist is Amy Juergens, a 15-year-old girl knocked up during a single wild night at band camp. Since this is ABC Family, she keeps the baby after considering adoption and abortion.

Secret Life promises an inside look at how the younger generation lives. Following the conventions of a genre that pre-dates ancient Rome, it highlights adolescent sexual activity (there’s much bed hopping from other characters) and angst over carnal desires both fulfilled and frustrated. But with fewer and fewer high schoolers having intercourse—between 1991 and 2005, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the proportion of 12th-graders reporting they had ever had sex dropped from 54 percent to 47 percent—Secret Life is less a description of reality than an anxiety-inducing fantasy for curious kids and worried parents alike.—Nick Gillespie


News That Stays News

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  • Kyle Jordan||

    LEMMY!!!!!!

    Fuckin' A!!! \m/

  • Kyle Jordan||

    \

  • Zach B.||

    Other than Southern California, is there anywhere where the Metal and Punk crowds were truly different?

  • ||

    I am the one, Orgasmatron, the outstretched grasping hand

    My image is of agony, my servants rape the land

    Obsequious and arrogant, clandestine and vain

    Two thousand years of misery, of torture in my name

  • Gac||

    The punk and metal shows I went to in DC had very different crowds. Punk bands tended to draw much younger crowds (well, except for the Sex Pistols - average age for that show was almost as old as the band itself...), while the metal shows tended a bit older. Think high schoolers vs. college graduates...

  • ||

    You know, Epi, I never could get into Sepultura. But I cranked Slayer all the time.

  • ||

    That better be a joke, sage.

  • ||

    Annihilator...

  • Brett Stevens||

    The Dark Legions Archive (the net's oldest underground metal site) has recognized this connection for years: how Iggy Pop inspired early heavy metal, how Motorhead inspired punk, how Discharge and GBH inspired underground metal (Bathory, Sodom, Hellhammer, Slayer) and how metal then inspired bands like the Cro-Mags and Amebix.

    Good punk and good metal share an idea: society cut its own balls off out of fear, and now we live in dystopia, but this dystopia might be fun to destroy...

  • ||

    Jethro Tull is my favorite heavy metal band.

  • Brett Stevens||

    Epi,

    Is sage referring to the awesome "Orgasmatron" cover that Sepultura did around the Arise era?

    Sepultura is best understood in three eras: their early death metal stuff, from Morbid Visions to Schizophrenia; their speed metal/death metal crossover like Beneath the Remains and Arise; and their bounce-metal stuff, which has been everything since.

  • ||

    Is sage referring to the awesome "Orgasmatron" cover that Sepultura did around the Arise era?

    I was. And I dint know Epi would be so sensitive about it. I was big on Anthrax too, what of it? Before Joey Belladona left, that is.

  • ||

    Epi's just sensitive 'cause nobody mentiones stryper yet.

  • ||

    Epi's just sensitive 'cause nobody mentiones stryper yet.

    (head explodes)

    sage, I was just unsure whether you knew where the song originally came from. My bad.

    You guys know that Lemmy was originally in Hawkwind, right? That the song "Motorhead" was a song he wrote with and performed with (originally) Hawkwind?

  • ||

    Didn't know that, Epi. He used to be a regular guest on Headbanger's Ball back when MTV played music videos. What a character he is.

  • ||

    You guys know that Lemmy was originally in Hawkwind, right? That the song "Motorhead" was a song he wrote with and performed with (originally) Hawkwind?

    Tell me more, tell me more!

  • ||

    When I was a wee Bairn back in the early 80s, A Motorhead show was the only place where you would see mohawk punks and dirtbag metalheads enjoying the same concert.

    It's not that big deal of a deal now, but it was a strange sight back then.

  • Kyle Jordan||

    "Epi's just sensitive 'cause nobody mentiones stryper yet."

    Micheal Sweet had phenomenal tone on "To Hell With the Devil". Using Mesa/Boogie Studio and Quad preamps.

  • ||

    Punk struck the intellectuals as properly conceptual and arty; metal just seemed like brutal noise for brutes.

    Is it just me, or does is this statement completely backward?

    Tell me more, tell me more!

    I think Lemmy was originally a roadie (maybe a bass tech?) who got pulled into active duty in an emergency.

    Another tidbit: Hawkwind has 47 albums that all have the same 8 songs on them. They have other albums, but it's impossible to fine them.

  • ||

    find

  • Old Bull Lee||

    I was talking with a friend's dad who is a music teacher and thought metal was the most musically sophisticated genre of rock music besides possibly prog rock.

    I think the intellectuals prefer punk because (GENERALLY SPEAKING) it's 1) less testosterone-heavy and 2) more likely to have some kind of leftist political bent.

  • Barry||

    "Other than Southern California, is there anywhere where the Metal and Punk crowds were truly different?"
    Yeah; early-80s New Orleans. I can vouch for the thesis of this book: the metal kids were blue-collar catholics from the outlying parishes; punk kids were usually from Uptown old-money. The lines blurred in the mid-80s, but the revisionist take on Punk as some sort of revolt against the rich is total leftist hogwash.

  • ||

    "Who's cooler, Lemmy or God?"
    "Trick question, Lemmy IS God"
    -airheads

    I love Lemmy, but I will never understand the physiology of how he sings with the mic a foot above his head.

  • Justen||

    Punk tends to be more political than metal. In punk you'll find a lot of social commentary, much of it with a strongly anarchist/socialist bent that is appealing to liberal youth. Metal is occupied mostly with epic fiction, its commentary indirect and via metaphor rather than angsty cries of rage. There's no comparison really, other than that they are both loud, often angry, and use the same set of core instruments you find in all rock. A music fan who tries to contrast the two is missing the point as broadly as contrasting jazz with folk.

    On foie gras: it really is a disgusting practice, both from a humane and a health point of view, but regulation isn't going to solve it. Awareness will curb demand faster than regulation will curb supply, and as long as there are ducks and fat people with mouths it'll continue to get eaten. Okay, maybe that was a little harsh. Still, live by example.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Another tidbit: Hawkwind has 47 albums that all have the same 8 songs on them. They have other albums, but it's impossible to find them.



    And 3 of those 8 songs are "Silver Machine".

    The Hawkwind version of "Motorhead" is hilarious, especially if you only heard it after the Motorhead version. Sort of like hearing Blind Melon do "Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath".

  • Brett Stevens||

    Originally inspired by the National Day of Prayer that religious groups created to draw attention to their beliefs, the National Day of Slayer was thought to be a holiday on June 6, 2006 -- that's 6/6/06 -- but now it has grown.

    http://www.nationaldayofprayer.org/

    Thanks to support and enjoyment around the world, the National Day of Slayer is now the INTER-National Day of Slayer, and it happens every year on June 6 starting at hour six. On this day, metalheads worldwide stop the pointless activities of a boring world and listen to Slayer.

    International Day of Slayer is bigger than one nation, or even one band. It's a celebration of metal music through one of its most articulate spokesbands. It's also revelry in the spirit that makes metal great. So on June 6, stop everything... and listen to SLAYER!

    http://www.nationaldayofslayer.org/

  • Brett Stevens||

    Sage,

    Nothing wrong with Anthrax/S.O.D., or bassist Dan Lilker's grindcore project, Brutal Truth, which just released a new album (Lilker was also in Nuclear Assault, Hemlock and other bands).

    I got a chance to interview him for The Dark Legions Archive and was grateful for it. Smart, witty chap.

    I will always have a weak spot for thrash -- these were the original blurspeed punk/metal crossover bands like DRI, Cryptic Slaughter, COC, MDC, dead horse, Fearless Iranians from Hell, etc.

  • ..||

    a friend's dad who is a music teacher and thought metal was the most musically sophisticated genre of rock music

    Let me guess: his students take the short bus?

  • Hacha Cha||

    did Motordamned ever release their collaborations?

  • Billy Beck||

    "I think the intellectuals prefer punk because (GENERALLY SPEAKING) it's 1) less testosterone-heavy and 2) more likely to have some kind of leftist political bent."

    It's a lot more basic than that. Punk was an elevation of people who could not play or sing, precisely because they couldn't. It was the egalitarian impulse of the 20th century brought to popular music. That's why they loved it: because it was rotten.

    BTW: the very first true voice of American heavy metal was Blue Öyster Cult. Go look at history and think about it.

  • nike shox||

    is good

  • قبلة الوداع||

    thank u

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