Libertarian History/Philosophy

Reason Writers Around Town: Splice Today Interviews Nick Gillespie

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Splice Today, the legitimately new-media new-media site, has an interview up with Reason.tv and Reason.com's Nick Gillespie. Snippets:

SPLICE TODAY: Do you expect the content of Reason and reason.com to change much during the Age of Obama, or are you impervious to who's in the White House? And what are you immediate goals for your empire?

NICK GILLESPIE: Like Cincinnatus, George Washington, and Todd Rundgren (proclaimed "God" by at least a dozen fans in the late 1970s, and not without reason), I walk away from empire in all its forms, including writing hit records at will. Until you mentioned it, I wasn't aware I had any relation to empire other than the one we're all living in now: The Bailout Empire. Look upon my public works, ye mighty, and despair!

Reason in all its forms-print, web, and video-was an early and persistent critic of the Bush administration and the idiotic GOP Congress that busted the budget while layering on more levels of regulation and federalized frosting than you'd get in a Cheesecake Factory dessert. Based on his first days in office, during which he backed away from his own incredibly mild ethical rules, bombed Pakistan, and bumped up the amount of his own bailout plan, I'm sure we'll be equally antagonistic to the Obama presidency. And let's not get started yet on the Democratic Congress, which, like the stock market of late, demonstrates that however low you think you are, you can always go lower….

ST: Are you as appalled as me that Bruce Springsteen, that Philip Berrigan kind of liberal who eschews materialism, is playing the half-time show at the Super Bowl?

NG: Why Springsteen? Is Gary Glitter still stuck in Thailand? Is Buddy Holly not returning the NFL's phone calls?

I grew up in Monmouth County, New Jersey, which contains both Springsteen's hometown (Freehold) and his early haunt (Asbury Park), so I can't stand him in the same way that only a New Yorker can really, really hate the Yankees. I'll say this much about the Boss: His output over the past 25 years or so would make even Beethoven nostalgic for the first few albums. Springsteen is in that elite group of rock stars who have objectively sucked two, three, or even four times longer than they were ever any good (are you listening Sting, David Bowie, R.E.M., Patti Smith?). That, and in the video for "Glory Days," he had the worst fake baseball throwing arm since Gary Cooper in Pride of the Yankees. Which is saying something.

Watching Springsteen perform at the Super Bowl-and before him, rock mummies like Tom Petty and Rolling Stones—let's just say I'd rather go straight to the Bodies exhibition, where at least no one is pretending that the corpses on display aren't actually dead…

ST: Christopher Hitchens wrote recently in The Atlantic that perhaps with Obama's election, political correctness might be dialed back and that the word "cat" would no longer raise eyebrows as being racist. Do you agree, or, as a friend said, might the day after Thanksgiving now be referred to as "African-American Friday"?

NG:… One of my unironic hopes for the Obama presidency is that it does close out 400 years and more of odious racial discourse in America and with it, a good chunk of political correctness. Then again, right on Inauguration Day, you get the minister Joseph Lowery praying about how he hopes that one day the U.S. will become anti-discriminatory: "Lord…we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get back, when brown can stick around, when yellow will be mellow, when the red man can get ahead, man, and when white will embrace what is right."

What the hell was that? An unpublished Nipsey Russell rhyme from a lost episode of The $100,000 Pyramid? Yellow will be mellow? When the Jew can drink Mountain Dew? The wop can be a cop? The kraut can give a shout? Between Lowery, Rick "I've eaten dinner in gay homes" Warren, and Obama himself, there was way too much god-talk for me. I think religion is a great thing, but I also think that religiosity in a limited-government, small-r republican structure is always annoying, whether it's coming from a biblical literalist such as George W. Bush (who could only bring himself to read a condensed "One Year" version of the Bible) or from a cosmopolitan such as Obama.

I realize Lowery is an old man and I cut him some slack for all the crap that he and too many others like him had to deal with for far too long. But I think we've hit that day where black is not asked to go back. And Asians, those poor, sad-sack model minorities, don't have to be any more mellow than the fans at a Ted Nugent concert. That's good news…

Whole thing here.

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  1. Joseph Lowery praying about how he hopes that one day the U.S. will become anti-discriminatory: “Lord…we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get back, when brown can stick around, when yellow will be mellow, when the red man can get ahead, man, and when white will embrace what is right.”

    What the hell was that? An unpublished Nipsey Russell rhyme from a lost episode of The $100,000 Pyramid? Yellow will be mellow? When the Jew can drink Mountain Dew? The wop can be a cop? The kraut can give a shout?

    Nick, we’ll set up cameras, so you and Lowery can do a call-and-response routine in the old church tradition.

  2. Wow.. I guess Nick must be the coolest kid inside the beltway. I mean, he’s cool enough to crap on rock stars. He must not be jealous of them at all.

    -jcr

  3. “I’ve eaten dinner in gay homes”

    Dinner? Is that what they’re calling it these days?

  4. Good lord, the picture make it seem as if Gillespie has been eaten by Blagojevic.

  5. the word “cat” would no longer raise eyebrows as being racist

    Errm, what the f*ck?

  6. Springsting sucks. I’m glad that I’ll be flushing the toilet while he’s performing.

  7. I’m not sure who Springsting is, but surely he’s a better musician than Bruce Springsteen.

  8. Why the opprobrium for Lowery? Everyone likes rhymes, it made Obama and everyone else laugh, thus destroying Warren’s invocation, and leading right into Micah 4:3

    Help us then, now, Lord, to work for that day when nation shall not lift up sword against nation, when tanks will be beaten into tractors, when every man and every woman shall sit under his or her own vine and fig tree, and none shall be afraid; when justice will roll down like waters and righteousness as a mighty stream.

    If you watch a recording of Lowery delivering the benediction, Barack is especially tickled by this passage, nodding at the part about tanks and tractors. Tell me that’s not a good thing.

  9. Errm, what the f*ck?

    Were you even alive during the 60’s?

  10. OK, Nick, you’re back on my good guy list. Excellent interview.

    Why the opprobrium for Lowery?

    Because he played the fucking race card, right in the middle of the inauguration?

  11. So, so wrong about Springsteen. But James is even more wrong than Nick, because while it’s perfectly fine to hate his music, the man is still a fine and accomplished musician.

  12. An unpublished Nipsey Russell rhyme from a lost episode of The $100,000 Pyramid?

    Do you mean from the John Davidson-hosted run from the early ’90s (when Dick Clark was hosting [and producing] “The Challengers”)? 😉

  13. At the outset, FDR was good on prohibition and pretty much bad on everything else. According to many economists, his frenzied activity froze investments and his laws restricting flexibility in wages and prices exacerbated and lengthened the economic recession

    Obama has already signed the fair pay act.

  14. Bruce Springsteen RULES!!!

  15. Les, Born in the USA was bad enough to disqualify the decent early stuff. Maybe he can play instruments and sing, but he hasn’t put out a listenable record since 1975.

  16. I’m not sure that a One Year Bible is one that is condensed. Traditionally, One Year Bibles are simply Bibles split into 365 daily readings. I’ve owned two, myself. It takes about 20 minutes a day, if the splits are even.

  17. We Didn’t Start the Fire, anyone?

  18. Because he played the fucking race card, right in the middle of the inauguration?

    Sense of humor FAIL.

  19. Bruce Springsteen RULES!!!

    Rules what?

  20. We Didn’t Start the Fire, anyone?

    Uhh…that’s Billy Joel.

    And Springsteen blows. Untalented hack.

  21. Springsteen sucks, Springsteen has always sucked.

    Bless you Mr. Gillespie, and bless your Thunderbirds-puppet-like hairdo.

  22. Great recommendation for Ghostbusters, the most stealthily libertarian movie ever made.

    “The university gave us money and facilities, we didn’t have to produce anything! I’ve worked in the private sector. They expect results.”

  23. That’s some funny shit. I think Nick is moonlighting as a comedian somewhere.

  24. My bad, Epi. I’m trying to come up with another song, but I can’t think of any that got radio play.

  25. Maybe he can play instruments and sing, but he hasn’t put out a listenable record since 1975.

    I dunno, I think “Darkness on the Edge of Town” and “Nebraska” are pretty listenable. True, that was sometime ago, and his albums aren’t as powerful as they were in 70’s, but he’s written and released a good number of beautiful, timeless songs since then. And his performances are still amazing and unsurpassed in terms of energy, craft, and showmanship.

    And Springsteen blows. Untalented hack.

    Again, can’t argue with not liking his music, but to call him an “untalented hack” indicates that you don’t know what those words mean.

  26. the mick will finally be slick! the bohunk won’t get drunk! the frog will be agog! the beaner will be keener! the inuit will get into it! the pygmy will sound borborygmi*! the canuck will learn to fuck!

    *yes, borborygmi is a word. the plural of borborygmus, the proper medical term for when your stomach makes a growling noise.

  27. Errm, what the f*ck?

    Were you even alive during the 60’s?

    No. Care to explain the cat = racist thing?

  28. The Worst Pop Singer Ever
    Why, exactly, is Billy Joel so bad?

  29. Hey now, I know busting on DC is cool and all but DC’s only fake if you choose to hang out with the fakes. If you never leave Adams Morgan except for occasional trips to the Hill then you are missing out on a pretty unique little city.

  30. P.S. Springsteen sucks. I thought his career ended with Lucky Town and Human Touch. What the hell is he still doing around?

  31. Personally, I much prefer Cheech and Chong’s “Born in East L.A.” to “Born in the USA”.

    Again, can’t argue with not liking his music, but to call him an “untalented hack” indicates that you don’t know what those words mean.

    Oh yeah? Well, if you like Springsteen so much, why don’t you marry him?

  32. What the hell is he still doing around?

    Maybe because millions of people pay him lots of money to see him perform and listen to his music? What are you still doing around?

    Well, if you like Springsteen so much, why don’t you marry him?

    I would have if that Scialfa tramp hadn’t stolen his heart! And now you go and rub it in!

  33. Peter Wolf can make a show out of average music, Bruce Springsteen, not so much.

  34. layering on more levels of regulation and federalized frosting than you’d get in a Cheesecake Factory dessert

    Wait, a somewhat imprecise metaphor using a corporate name brand? I think someone’s auditioning for the openning in the NYT op-ed page.

  35. ST: Christopher Hitchens wrote recently in The Atlantic that perhaps with Obama’s election, political correctness might be dialed back and that the word “cat” would no longer raise eyebrows as being racist. Do you agree, or, as a friend said, might the day after Thanksgiving now be referred to as “African-American Friday”?

    Count me as another who says ‘what?’

    I mean Hitchens, as a drunk, has an excuse for occasionally not making a lick of sense, but then the Splice interviewer turns it up a notch.

  36. Yeah, the only guys I know who use ‘cat’ are old black dudes (my mail carrier for instance), and my late, very beatnik dad, so the racisms thing is likely Hitchens being his usual muddled self.

    I recall being in a Borders a year or so back and management decided to strangulate our ears with a Springsteen live album. To describe it as awful would be to understate it. Springsteen reached in to his grab bag of phony emotionalistic asshattery on every other tune, and for the rest, brrrrrr, the hoaky motherfucker did a cover of ‘Old Man Tucker.’ Cue, the ending of Apocalypse Now for a proper shit cleansing of the soul.

  37. Has “cat” actually been considered racist at some point? If so, I was completely unaware of it. My boss (a white guy) calls people cat and/or baby all the time. I just consider it a sign of him being lost in the 60s. Everybody gets a laugh out of it.

  38. Yeah, I refer to people as “you cats” and stuff all the time. I thought it was just 50s/60s slang like daddy-o, dig, rumble, chick, etc.

  39. Ha! My boss-man refers to his wife as “the chick”. I think I’ve heard daddy-o a few times.

  40. Gillespie, “he’s the new man in black!”

  41. “Cat” being racist doesn’t make a ton of sense to me since it is so often preceded by “cool.”

  42. I know it’s been said, but I genuinely thought this was a post about Blagojevich on first glance.

  43. “Springsteen is in that elite group of rock stars who have objectively sucked two, three, or even four times longer than they were ever any good (are you listening Sting, David Bowie, R.E.M., Patti Smith?).”

    No, Nick, they aren’t. They have lots and lots of money, and they don’t give a damn about you.*

    *But of course we do. Please feel free to run extended rants about your favorite albums, complete with reminiscences about how stoned you were when you first heard, you know, “In the Wee, Small Hours.”

  44. No, Nick, they aren’t. They have lots and lots of money, and they don’t give a damn about you.

    I’m sure Nick realizes that. When people attack rock stars, like Nick did, they aren’t really attacking the rock stars. Of course Sting is perfectly happy making millions of dollars churning out shitty half assed albums. I would be happy to be Sting. No, the person Nick and others are really attacking when he makes a comment like that is you – the Springsteen fan, the Sting fan, the Billy Joel fan, the Rolling Stones fan. The rock stars are in it for the money and the adulation – but what’s your excuse for listening to their shite product, and even paying money for it? You encourage these aging rock stars and then force us to watch them during Superbowls. Please stop.

  45. Post of the week there, Vanya. Concise.

  46. Put Gillespie in the NYT’s op-ed page!

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