Thursday, June 25, 2009

An Angel Remembered

I normally distinguish between celebrities and heroes, because the term has been so abused and made meaningless. But Farrah Fawcett certainly qualifies as a hero, not only for her fictional heroic role as Jill Munroe on Charlie's Angels, but for her portrayal of an abused woman in The Burning Bed (I grew up in a house like that, it may has well been a documentary). Farrah also fought a brave battle against cancer, which was nothing less than heroic. Even at the worst of it, she still kept that heavenly smile. Earth has one less angel tonight. Shine on.

(And for those who still think she was just "cheesecake," consider the "Ayn Rand Factor": The Brainy Side of Farrah.)

Monday, June 22, 2009

"Look at this Brave Iranian Lioness"

A special note has to be made for the brave women protesters in Iran, who are even more oppressed under the Islamic theocracy. A Iranian commentator on CNN used the word
shirzan, meaning"lioness," to describe them. What an apt

Check out this video of one such lioness taking on an armed soldier. I wish more American men had her spirit.

And many have taken the death of a young woman named
Neda as a rallying moment; reminiscent of Spartacus, many are claiming "I am Neda."

Heroism in Iran: "Live Free or Die"

I'm currently taking time away from Superhero Babylon to work on music and other matters (not that I owe any explanations; I do this for free, gaddumit.) I really haven't had much to say on heroic matters recently, with Heroes and Smallville having concluded their seasons. I haven't had much inspiration from reality, either; it seems the concept of heroism in America has taken a hiatus as well...

But the situation in Iran demands acknowledgement.

I hesitate to say too much, because I really don't know much about Iran beyond the immediate fact that it's a theocratic state that is usually depicted as being anti-American whose people are usually depicted burning American flags while the leader vows "Death to Israel." I'm not rushing in to comment on the goals and motives of the protesters beyond the immediate surface level motive of dissatisfaction with the election results; I find it hard to believe that suddenly Iranians are "pro-freedom," given the strong Islamic tradition there. There is also the question of Mir-Hossein Mousavi's past involvement with the Islamic fundamentalists. I know nothing about him, but I am hearing a lot of contradictory information, that he is a hardliner and a reformist, that he had to say what they wanted to hear in order to get this far, etc..

I am not going to theorize on what I don't know, or pretend to be able to infer anything to make any real meaningful commentary beyond a personal statement. That said, to the extent that the protesters are putting their own lives on the line for what they believe in, and the readiness of Mousavi to accept martyrdom, I can't help but feel admiration. When you compare the fire and spirit of the Iranians versus the apathy and complacency of too many Americans towards the government advance into outright fascism, it's hard not to feel a little bit that we've entered the Bizarro world. While American "tea party" protesters" are afraid to violate a permit law, Iranians, whatever their motives, are standing up and telling their government just who is in charge, giving life to the Colonial American phrase "Live free or die."

I'd like to say that "we are all Iranians now," except that too many Americans still don't understand what's happening at home. Hopefully, the situation in Iran will remind everyone that "the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." If the protesters in Iran are truly fighting for freedom (and not just another form of tyranny), they have my utmost support and are true heroes. And if the picture above is an accurate reflection, then I, too, am an Iranian now.

(It's strange that such a revolution would start in Iran, but on reflection, not so strange if one takes into account in heroic mythology of the Trickster archetype. I've been meaning to take on this topic here, but haven't have the time or motivation. Well, it seems the Trickster will have his way with me anyway, and this will soon change.)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Heroism in Music: Alanis Morissette

I honestly never thought that I'd write something along these lines about Alanis Morissette. I tend to not be a big fan of music from the 1990's in general, and my main interaction with her prior to this is that for a short period of time I dated a girl who was obsessed with "Jagged Little Pill." But the video below should fully explain why.

It can be said that what could be called
soulfulness in the 1990's got to be so freakishly common that it completely lost its effect. Ms. Morisette was in a large way part of this trend. The backlash to this movement was a shift towards bubblegum pop in the form of The Spice Girls, Brittney Spears, Mandy Moore, Jessica Simpson, the Backstreet Boys, Nsync etc etc etc... To be honest for a while it was nice to just have a happy little melody that you could hum to with a distinct lack of heartfelt ballads about abortion anxiety, the plight of workers in the third world etc...

For me that fun ended with the Black Eyed Peas and
Fergie. And specifically the song Ms. Morisette covers in the video below. The song "My Humps" is an experience in killing your brain. Repetitive beats, IDIOTIC lyrics. Lyrics which go as far as using a pathetic euphemism and then a verse later spell out the euphemism's literal meaning.

"What you gonna do with all that junk? All that junk inside that trunk?" becomes "What you gonna do with all that ass? All that ass inside those jeans?" and the collective IQ of western civilization drops five points. Add to this a pseudo-female empowerment theme that makes the pornographic parody of Spice World "The 5 Sins" look like "The Color Purple" or "Iron Jawed Angels" by comparison.

Quite frankly what Ms.
Morisette's cover/parody of this song does is embody a favored line of Internet and radio personality Lindsey Perigo, which I often don't agree with and who would not likely agree with this assessment. When discussing music he always uses the question "Why eat shit when you can have food?"

This shows a song with complex unbroken melodies as well as skilled and soulful vocals contrasted against the depths to which modern music has dropped. This version of the song, makes all of modern pop music leave you less than satisfied and maybe even feeling a little unclean. It should. So kudos to you Ms.
Morisette for reminding the world a little bit of what it's missing out on.