Peak Songs

Peak Songs. The affect is powerful, distinct: flushing, tearing, breathlessness — physical changes . . . a totality of feeling — SUBSUMED, abstract and concrete merging . . . Usually induced by a certain strain of dulcet female vocals.

What is the anatomy of mystique, the blueprint for the sublime? Ask Neko Case — it seems she can plumb the emotional depths at will, with that singular voice. Chills EVERY TIME! Who else can do that? (Did you ever hear a song on the radio, for the first time, and literally run out to buy the CD? I did, she made me.) “Haunting” or “aching” or any words can’t describe the frissons she unleashes.

More Peak Songs


If al-Qaida Could Get Britney Spears They Wouldn't Be Blowing Up Our Buildings (A Modest Proposal to Aid the War on Terrorism)

The Sex Bomb as Smart Weapon

WASHINGTON (June 12, 2005) — Time magazine reported a top al-Qaida suspect interrogated at Guantanamo Bay, was made to bark like a dog and kept awake with pop music by Christina Aguilera.

* * *

“Numerous Marines said that porn was one of the ways they were motivating the Iraqis to go out on patrols and find weapons hidden by the insurgents . . . the Americans all have pornography, which the Iraqis really want.” interview w/ Evan Wright (Generation Kill)

At the root of Islamic fundamentalism is an acute case of sexual repression—psychopathology on a massive, culture-wide scale. Broad-minded relativism is impotent as a means of understanding how the extreme state of fundamentalist gender roles actually threatens our existence. The good liberal’s mantra, “That’s just how they do things over there,” is no longer relevant.

Honor killing is the not uncommon practice in which Muslim men murder young female family members who have been raped. Muslim Africa has given the world clitorectomies and stoning as a punishment for adultery. Such rituals, whether officially sanctioned or not, are routine in the Muslim world because gynophobia/dread of the body courses throughout the nightmare that is Sharia.

Several of the 9/11 hijackers, including the ringleader Mohammed Atta, spent part of their final days imbibing demon alcohol in strip clubs, where glorious visions of the Koran-ordained afterlife danced in their heads, while blond strippers danced on their laps. These pre-jihad revels, no mere footnotes to infamy, illustrate the psychosexual conflicts that pervade the terrorist mind. (Could the whole inventory of suicide bombings represent an immense and explosive displacement of unfulfilled libidos?) The world “out there,” history itself, is being affected by the internal tumult of these brainwashed sexual cripples, spawned from a culture that offers few healthy outlets for carnal desires.

To those defending the fortress of Islamicism, the influence of America—in any form—is inherently antagonistic. To them, Internet porn, Victoria’s Secret, and scantily clad sirens singing their songs of desire represent an endless salvo aimed at the core of their beliefs; to them, our globally accessible culture is a weaponized instrument of upheaval. Indeed, take a poorly educated adolescent male from some Islamic backwater, his head awash in jihadist doctrine and poisonous fables about America, and expose him to the sultry magic of Britney Spears, well, he just might realize there’s another way.

If we are truly in the midst of a continuous “war on terror,” where victory is assured only if we adopt the credo “by any means necessary,” then it stands to reason that every sector of the country should be mobilized in the fight against the jihadist rabble. The culture industries could be enlisted to help strike at hearts and minds, through propaganda and “psy-ops.” For example, inundating hotbeds of fundamentalism with hardcore pornography, lascivious music, and other popular entertainments—a more radical version of Voice of America—might help to subvert and eventually transform these pre-modern societies.

This would be deeply offensive and disruptive to them, of course, and would enflame the situation at first. But wars of liberation are always painful—you have to break some eggs to make an omelet (just ask Japan). They may be required to sacrifice their souls so that global harmony may triumph, but eventually all will agree that the fairy tales that have spurred zealots throughout history never did anyone much good. It’s all in the name of progress.

Written c. 2005 (Special thanks to Jonathan Swift) . . .  A prescient piece maybe? See this article from an April 2012 issue of Foreign Policy (8 paragraphs down, “What they fail to consider . . .”).


Gift Ideas (No. 1)

“I just go from one creative crisis to another . . . I'm always in crisis because my whole way of living is predicated on this very fragile membrane of matching the ability to write songs to the popular taste.”


*Gunfire Lullaby

CNN: my gunfire lullaby. Snippets of fragments from the world-at-large mesh with belligerent voices from the street, waft through the window, snake under my bed, and into my dreams. A cavalcade of pageantry—the American celebration, featuring the whitebread teenybopper pop phenom, a scrubbed visage from the sun-kissed wasteland. Her insistent Republican gloss spurs a reaction at the awards show, a loud boo-hiss . . . The atonal Japanese band is waylaid and I feel the knife, the pummeling—blow for blow and thrust for thrust, in tactile lockstep with the subplot . . . More violence. Gangs of looters selling magazines on the street. I conk a guy with a toaster but he doesn't wince, so I catch up with my boys. I'm a rugged sort . . . A weird hybrid of Kiss and action films, lots of torso shots, writhing and leather-bedecked, gnashing to a bubblegum din, great heaping tubs of food backstage, an interview with the bandleader about how he was discovered, going crazy at a show with lots of flash and vigor . . . pan, wipe, zoom—vaudeville, superheroes, cartoons, childhood parties, an odd carousel . . . old faces morph into amalgams of the vaguely familiar and deeply unknowable . . . tapping the mother lode, a strange inner life, explosion from lethargy, farewell to sloth and jaded demise . . . military actions, storms of confetti, hounded by reporters; a dismal place with unmarked train cars . . . the chanteuse and the telerobic instructor battle each other for my affections in front of a childhood sweetheart's house . . . true love and populism triumph over cigar chomping plutocrats . . . Manson Family offspring, now young adults, discuss career plans . . . an emaciated crack whore with the face of Marcia Brady screams obscenities in guttural Spanish . . . RRRRRRing.

* Initial post for this blog