32. Africa – Weezer

1 Song, 3 Minutes Released: May 29, 2018 ℗ 2018 Weezer under exclusive license to Crush Music / Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and Crush Music / WEA International Inc. for the world excluding the United States. A Warner Music Company. Also Available in iTunes About Weezer As one of the most popular groups to emerge in the post-grunge alternative rock aftermath, Weezer received equal amounts of criticism and praise for their hook-heavy guitar pop. Drawing from the heavy power pop of arena rockers like Cheap Trick and the angular guitar leads of the Pixies, Weezer leavened their melodies with doses of ’70s metal gleaned from bands like Kiss. What truly set the band apart, though, was their geekiness. None of the members of Weezer, especially leader Rivers Cuomo, were conventional rockers: they were kids who holed up in their garage to play along with their favorite records when they weren’t studying or watching TV.As a result, their music was infused with a quirky sense of humor and an endearing awkwardness that made songs from their debut Weezer (aka the blue album), like “Undone (The Sweater Song),””Buddy Holly,” and “Say It Ain’t So” into big modern rock hits during the mid-’90s. All the singles were helped immeasurably by clever videos, which may have made the songs into hits, but they also made many critics believe that the band was a one-hit wonder. Perversely, Cuomo began to feel the same way, and decided that the band would not rely on any visual gimmicks for its second album, 1996’s Pinkerton. Simultaneously, Cuomo took control of the band, making it into a vehicle for his songwriting. While the album didn’t sell as well as their 1994 eponymous debut, it did earn stronger reviews than its predecessor and paved the way for Weezer’s long career. Cuomo’s assumption of Weezer’s leadership wasn’t entirely a surprise, since he had been the band’s primary songwriter since its inception in 1993. Raised in Massachusetts, Cuomo moved to Los Angeles to attend college in the late ’80s. During high school, he had played with a number of metal bands, but his interests broadened to include alternative and post-punk music upon his move out West. By 1993, he had fused such interests together and formed Weezer with bassist Matt Sharp and drummer Patrick Wilson. Over the course of the next year, the group played in the competitive Los Angeles club scene, eventually landing a deal with DGC during the post-Nirvana alternative signing boom. Three days before Weezer began recording a debut album with producer Ric Ocasek, they added guitarist Brian Bell to the mix. Upon completing the record, Weezer went on hiatus; Cuomo was studying at Harvard when their eponymous debut record came out. With the support of DGC and a striking, Spike Jonze-directed video, “Undone (The Sweater Song)” became a modern rock hit in the fall of 1994, but what made Weezer a crossover hit was “Buddy Holly.” Jonze created an innovative video that spliced the group into old footage from the sitcom Happy Days and the single quickly became a hit, making the album a multi-platinum success as well. By the time the album’s final single, “Say It Ain’t So,” was released in the summer of 1995, the group had gone on hiatus once again, with Cuomo returning to Harvard. During the time off, Sharp and Wilson formed the new wave revival band the Rentals, who had a hit later that year with “Friends of P.” During the hiatus, Cuomo became a recluse, disappearing at Harvard and suffering writer’s block. When Weezer reconvened in the spring of 1996 to record their second album, he had written a loose concept album that featured far more introspective material than their debut. Ironically, the band sounded tighter on the resulting album, Pinkerton. Released in the fall to generally strong reviews, the album failed to become a hit, partially because Cuomo did not want the band to record another series of clever videos. Grudgingly, the remainder of the bandmembers contented themselves being a supporting group for Cuomo, largely because each member had his own solo project scheduled for release within the next year. DGC, however, had the band make one last stab at a hit with “The Good Life,” but by the time the single was released, MTV and modern rock radio had withdrawn their support not only of Weezer, but their style of guitar-driven punk-pop in general. Shortly after the tour in support of Pinkerton was completed in 1997, it appeared as though Weezer had fallen off the face of the planet. Stung by the public’s initial reaction to their sophomore effort (Rolling Stone even named Pinkerton the Worst Album of 1996), the band took time off to regroup and plan its next move. Unhappy with the sluggish rate of the reassessment period, Sharp left the group to concentrate more fully on the Rentals, fueling rumors that Weezer had broken up. But a funny thing happened during Weezer’s self-imposed exile — while their copycat offspring were falling by the wayside (Nerf Herder, Nada Surf), a whole new generation of emocore enthusiasts discovered Weezer’s diamond-in-the-rough sophomore effort for the first time, and their audience grew despite not having a new album in the stores. Once Weezer’s members wrapped up work on their side projects (Bell with Space Twins; Wilson with the Special Goodness), the band recruited former Juliana Hatfield bassist Mikey Welsh to take the place of Sharp and began working on new material. Before they could enter the recording studio to record their third release, however, Weezer tested the waters by landing a spot on the 2000 edition of the Warped Tour, where they were consistently the day’s highlight. Hooking up again with the producer of their 1994 debut, Ric Ocasek, Weezer recorded what would be known as “The Green Album” (an informal title given by fans, since it was actually their second self-titled release). The album was an immediate hit, debuting at number four in May 2001 and camping out in the upper reaches of the charts for much of the spring/summer, during which such songs like “Hash Pipe” and “Island in the Sun” became radio and MTV staples, reestablishing Weezer as one of alt-rock’s top dogs. During their tour that summer, Welsh fell ill and was replaced by Scott Shriner, also of the band Broken. (Welsh died in Chicago in October 2011 at the age of 40.) That fall and winter, the group busied itself with touring alongside bands like Tenacious D and recording its next album, Maladroit, which arrived a year after The Green Album’s release. Just before Maladroit’s release, former bassist Matt Sharp sued Weezer, seeking compensation and songwriting credit for songs such as “Undone (The Sweater Song),””El Scorcho,” and “The Good Life.” The band eventually reconciled with Sharp, though he didn’t rejoin, and Weezer continued on with the lineup of Cuomo, Bell, Wilson, and Shriner. The limited-edition live EP Lion and the Witch appeared in May 2002, and Maladroit’s “Keep Fishin'” was released as a single. Most of 2003 was spent on side projects; Cuomo did some hired-gun songwriting, Bell’s band the Space Twins put out End of Imagining, and Wilson’s Special Goodness project issued Land Air Sea. Weezer returned to the studio in 2004, working with Rick Rubin on their fifth full-length album. Make Believe appeared in May 2005, prepped by the single “Beverly Hills,” and eventually went platinum in multiple countries. Weezer (Red Album) followed in 2008 and featured a more collaborative approach, with several bandmembers contributing songwriting ideas and lead vocals to the tracks. One year later, the band returned with Raditude. Greeted with mixed reviews, Raditude marked Weezer’s last album for Universal. They jumped to the indies in 2010, releasing Hurley on Epitaph. The new album was quickly followed by two archival releases: an expanded deluxe edition of Pinkerton, and the outtakes collection Death to False Metal. Weezer took their time returning to the studio, finally re-emerging in the autumn of 2014 with Everything Will Be Alright in the End, a record produced by Ric Ocasek and released on Republic Records. Greeted by generally good reviews, the album debuted at five on the Billboard 200 upon its October 2014 release. In the fall of 2015, the band delivered a pair of new singles — “Thank God for Girls” and “Do You Want to Get High? — the first fruits of their sessions with producer Jake Sinclair. One other single, “King of the World,” appeared in January 2016, timed to arrive at the announcement of their tenth studio album. Another self-titled, color-coded (this time, it was white) album saw release in April. Weezer’s White Album peaked on the Billboard 200 at number four and was followed by an extensive tour with Panic! At the Disco.A year after the release of the White Album, the band returned with “Feels Like Summer,” the first single from their 11th LP, Pacific Daydream. Released in October 2017, Pacific Daydream boasted a more modern sound than its predecessor and rose into the top four of the Billboard Alternative and Rock charts. Months later in 2018, the band placated social media fan demand by delivering a faithful cover of Toto’s classic “Africa,” but not before they first issued a cover of that band’s “Rosanna.””Africa” became the band’s first Hot 100 hit since 2009’s “(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To,” entering the chart at number 89. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine & Greg Prato ORIGIN

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The Complicated Relevance of Dr. Seuss’s Political Cartoons – The Atlantic

Culture The Complicated Relevance of Dr. Seuss’s Political Cartoons The children’s author’s early works have been finding a new audience among those opposed to the “America First” policies of President Trump.
Sophie Gilbert Jan 31, 2017 UC San Diego Library Of all the significant cultural figures finding new relevance during a turbulent news cycle, one of the more intriguing is Dr. Seuss. The German American cartoonist and author, born Theodor Seuss Geisel, is best known for his children’s books, The Cat in the Hat , The Lorax , and Horton Hears a Who among them. But for two years starting in 1941, Geisel worked as a political cartoonist for the liberal New York newspaper PM , crafting more than 400 cartoons on the subject of World War Two. One of these in particular, a drawing lampooning the non-Interventionist America First movement, has been reemerging recently amid protests against President Trump’s executive order barring immigrants and refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries.
UC San Diego Library The cartoon, which mocks an apparent blithe naiveté about the dangers posed by Nazi Germany, as well as a callousness regarding the lives of children who aren’t American citizens, makes it a striking accompaniment to modern protests, not least of which is that Trump has named one of his own official platforms “America First.” As a collection, Geisel’s war cartoons target isolationism, anti-Semitism, and racism. They skewer Hitler , Mussolini , and a variety of American nationalists, including Charles Lindbergh and the Catholic priest and radio host Father Charles Coughlin , a fervent anti-Semite and conspiracy theorist. But they also deploy a fierce anti-authoritarianism and humanism that runs through all of Dr. Seuss’s books. Geisel’s political cartoons go a long way in demonstrating how the spirit of Seuss—zany, honest, brash, and brave—was born.
They also have their own flaws, most notably their racist portrayal of both Japanese citizens and Japanese Americans. Geisel’s bigoted treatment of both only a few months before the forced internment of Japanese Americans was something many believe he tried to atone for in his later books. But the body of work he created during the war helped establish the foundations of what the writer Philip Nel has described as “America’s first anti-Fascist children’s writer.” And it helps explain why Dr. Seuss continues to resonate now, more than 25 years after his death, and as American nationalism gains momentum once again. *
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{{#user.created}}Please check your email to confirm your subscription.{{/user.created}} {{^user.created}}Your newsletter subscription preferences have been updated.{{/user.created}} An unknown error occurred. According to Dr. Seuss Goes to War , Richard H. Minear’s 1999 book on Geisel’s editorial cartoons, PM was founded as an outspoken liberal publication, free of advertising, and funded by its five-cent purchase price. Ralph Ingersoll, its founder, described part of the paper’s mission as opposing “people who push other people around just for the fun of pushing, whether in this country or abroad.” Sometime around January 1941, Geisel drafted his first political cartoon and showed it to a friend who worked at PM , who passed it on to Ingersoll. It depicted Virginio Gayda, an Italian journalist and Fascist whom many saw as a mouthpiece for the dictator Benito Mussolini, beating furiously at the keys of a steam-emitting typewriter, all while suspended from a hook behind him. Geisel attached a note about Gayda with the cartoon that read, “Almost every day, in amongst the thousands of words that he spews forth, there are one or two sentences that, in their complete and obvious disregard of fact, epitomize the Fascist point of view.”
By May 1941, Geisel was publishing as many as seven cartoons a week in PM , and many of his most impassioned works came during this time, in the months leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor. One drawing, published in April, depicted a coin featuring an ostrich burying its head in the sand, inscribed as “The Lindbergh Quarter.” Another published the next day showed Americans standing in line to purchase their own ostrich hats, guaranteed to relieve “Hitler headache.” The caption: “We always were suckers for ridiculous hats.”
UC San Diego Library Geisel’s antipathy toward anti-interventionists possibly stemmed from his German-American upbringing in Springfield, Massachusetts, and his circle of friends in New York. Minear told me that in 1976, Geisel wrote a note responding to an interview request from Dartmouth College, saying, “I believed the USA would go down the drain if we listened to the America-First-isms of Charles Lindbergh and Senators Wheeler and Nye, and the rotten rot that the Fascist priest Father Coughlin was spewing out on radio. I, probably, was intemperate in my attacks on them. But they almost disarmed this country at the time it was obviously about to be destroyed.”
Geisel took aim at Hitler and Mussolini, at Lindbergh , and particularly at America First adherents, whom he saw as turning a willful blind eye to the dangers posed by Hitler’s Fascist regime, or even directly associating themselves with Nazism . One cartoon, “The Isolationist,” even featured a limerick, accompanying a drawing of a whale suspending himself “safely” on top of a mountain, out of water, and thus out of danger. It reads, “Said a whale, ‘There is so much commotion/Such fights among fish in the ocean/I’m saving my scalp/Living high on an Alp/(Dear Lindy! He gave me the notion!)”
UC San Diego Library UC San Diego Library But after Pearl Harbor, Geisel’s cartoons became more overtly opposed to Japan, and more crude in style. He depicted Hideki Tojo , the Prime Minister and Supreme Military Leader of Japan, as an ugly stereotype, with squinting eyes and a sneering grin. In February 1942, he drew a long line of Japanese Americans on the Pacific Coast of the U.S. collecting blocks of TNT from a kiosk labeled “Honorable 5th Column,” with one pointing a telescope across the ocean. The caption read, “Waiting for a signal from home.”
It’s more than a little baffling now to see Geisel, who’d railed repeatedly against racism , Jim Crow , and anti-Semitism in his cartoons, proffer up such bigoted depictions of Asians both in the U.S. and overseas. “We all have blind spots,” Minear told me. “I use that as a teaching moment—even Dr. Seuss went astray.” In his book, Minear also points out that such sentiment was common in the New York circles Geisel moved in at the time. Although there were reader complaints about drawings he made mocking dachshunds, and the pacifist John Haynes Holmes, there were no letters recorded objecting to his treatment of Asians.
More Stories Saturday Night Live Mocks Brett Kavanaugh the Frat Bro David Sims How iRacing Is Democratizing Motorsports Andrew Lawrence The Good Place Offers a Heavenly Reprieve Hannah Giorgis The Pernicious Double Standards Around Brett Kavanaugh’s Drinking Megan Garber Minear believes, though, that Geisel tried to make up for his earlier prejudice in later works. “ Horton Hears a Who came after a trip to Japan, and is easy to read allegorically,” he told me. “The people of Whoville are Japan, Vlad Vladikoff is Russia, Horton is us/democracy, etc.” Geisel supposedly came up with the idea for Horton, in which an elephant discovers a microscopic universe, on a trip to Japan, and dedicated the 1954 book to a Japanese friend. The theme of the story, that “a person’s a person no matter how small,” seems to offer a note of contrition for jingoistic wartime expressions. In the 1980s, too, according to the writer Donald E. Pease , Geisel scanned his earlier books for racial stereotypes, and altered a reference to a “yellow-faced Chinaman who eats with sticks” in And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street.
Horton isn’t the only book that echoes themes explored in Geisel’s political cartoons. Minear thinks that almost all of his later books (with the exception of the ones designed as reading aids) are political in some way or another. The Lorax is an obvious parable about environmentalism. The Sneetches and Other Stories includes an absurd fable about strange yellow creatures, half of whom have stars on their bellies and discriminate against the other half, and vice versa. The Butter Battle Book seems particularly potent today, with its tales of the Yongs and the Zooks, who live on either side of a vast wall, and hate each other because of the different ways they eat their bread and butter. The two sides create increasingly inventive and destructive weapons to fire over the wall until both come up with a device called the Bitsy Big-Boy Boomeroo, which means mutually assured destruction should it ever be fired. The book ends with a standoff, with both sides waiting to see what the other does. It’s a message to children made explicit in what Geisel wanted his last words to be, which he told his biographers, Judith and Neil Morgan, were: “We can and must do better than this!”
Then there’s Yertle the Turtle , a book of stories whose title character is the king of the pond, a ruthless authoritarian who demands that the other turtles stack themselves on top of each other so he can ascend to the top and get a better view. Yertle, who ignores the pain of his underlings, is finally bested by a burp, in a suitably absurd revolution. In the first drawing of him, Minear says, Geisel gave Yertle a Hitler mustache. But now Minear sees another figure in him. Between the narcissism and the arrogance, he says, Yertle “is Trump 50 years ago.”
Little surprise, then, that Geisel’s cartoons, political and non, are finding a new audience now, as protests ramp up against the 45th president, whose affects and actions are at times as recognizable and cartoonish as Dr. Seuss’s characters. It’s hard not to assume Geisel would be cheered by seeing his work inspire signs and memes and viral tweets . “Humor has a tremendous place in this sordid world,” he once said. “It’s more than just a matter of laughing. If you can see things out of whack, then you can see how they can be in whack.”

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The Republican Party Abandons Conservatism

The conservative virtues remain real virtues, the conservative insights real insights, and the conservative temperament an indispensable internal gyro keeping a country stable and sane.
Sep 30, 2018
Eliot A. Cohen Professor of strategic studies at Johns Hopkins University
Mike Theiler / Reuters I gnoring the dictum that if one is not of the left as a young person, one has no heart, and not of the right in middle age, one has no head, I have always been a conservative. I voted Republican most of the time, affiliated with the GOP, and served proudly as a political appointee under two Republican presidents. I bitterly opposed Donald Trump’s candidacy and dropped my Republican affiliation once he won in 2016, figuring that the party would soon fall in line. I said as much in public, and my predictions were borne out. But it is only now that I have concluded that the break between conservative beliefs and the party that claimed to uphold them is complete and irreversible.
Being a conservative has always meant, to me, taking a certain view of human nature, and embracing a certain set of values and virtues. The conservative is warier than her liberal counterpart about the darker impulses and desires that lurk in men and women, more doubtful of their perfectibility, skeptical of and opposed to the engineering of individual souls, and more inclined to celebrate freedom moderated by law, custom, education, and culture. She knows that power tends to corrupt, and likes to see it checked and divided. Words like responsibility , stoicism , self-control , frugality , fidelity , decorum , honor , character , independence , and integrity appeal to most decent people. They come particularly easily to the admirers of thinkers from Edmund Burke to Irving Kristol.
The GOP threw frugality and fiscal responsibility away long ago, initially in the Reagan years, but now on a stunning scale involving trillion-dollar deficits as far as can be forecast. It abandoned most of its beliefs in fidelity and character when it embraced a liar, cheat, and philanderer as its nominee and then as president. But something else snapped this week.
Read Neil J. Young on how Republicans are losing the white women they’ll need in the midterms
Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s judicial philosophy as expressed in various statements and conclusions was, for the most part, pretty standard conservative fare, save for one telltale element: his ascription of very high levels of immunity and discretion to the executive. In this respect, what passes today for conservatism is anything but. Where traditionally conservatives have wanted “ambition to check ambition,” as Alexander Hamilton put it, Republicans are now executive-branch kinds of people. It is not surprising that Kavanaugh himself worked at a high level in a Republican White House. The disdain of many contemporary Republicans for congressional power and prerogative makes them indistinguishable from liberals who (as recently as the Obama years) turned to sweeping uses of executive power to circumvent a balky House of Representatives and Senate.
It was, however, in the epic clash over the testimony of Christine Blasey Ford that the collapse of conservatism in the Republican Party became most evident. Eleven men, most of them old, hid behind a female prosecutor wheeled in from Arizona, because they could not, apparently, trust themselves to treat a victim of sexual assault with consideration and respect. So much for courage. Their anger at Democratic shenanigans was understandable, but virtually without exception. When they did summon up the nerve to speak (during Kavanaugh’s turn), their questions consisted almost exclusively of partisan baying at the opposition. Genuine conservatives might have snarled initially, but would have, out of regard for the truth, tried to figure out exactly what happened to Ford 35 years ago, and whether the character of the man before them was what it was said to be.
Perhaps the collapse of modern conservatism came out most clearly in Kavanaugh’s own testimony—its self-pity, its hysteria, its conjuring up of conspiracies, its vindictiveness. He and his family had no doubt suffered agonies. But if we expect steely resolve from a police officer confronting a knife-wielding assailant, or disciplined courage from a firefighter rushing into a burning house, we should expect stoic self-control and calm from a conservative judge, even if his heart is being eaten out. No one watching those proceedings could imagine that a Democrat standing before this judge’s bench in the future would get a fair hearing. This was not the conservative temperament on display. It was, rather, personalized grievance politics.
Further reading: Kavanaugh’s partisanship is a threat to the Supreme Court’s legitimacy
R eal conservatives have always prided themselves on their willingness to stand up to their own kind in the name of moral principle. Think of Senator Robert Taft opposing the North Atlantic Treaty, knowing that those positions could destroy his political career. Taft was wrong in his views, but he was principled, he was courageous, and he went down speaking truth as he saw it. William F. Buckley took on the John Birch Society in the middle of the 20th century, and the anti-Semites in the conservative camp later on. In 1993, when Buckley had to choose between loyalty to Joseph Sobran, his longtime protégé and colleague at the National Review , and rejection of bigotry, principle won and he fired his friend.
During the Ford and Kavanaugh testimonies, Americans watched the cranky maunderings of Senator Chuck Grassley and the spitting, menacing fury of Senator Lindsey Graham. The combination of calm strength and good humor that characterized the modern conservative icon, Ronald Reagan, was nowhere to be found. But that spirit, the spirit of a president who celebrated America as a city on a hill that was generous abroad, welcoming to newcomers, and self-confident at home, has been replaced by the sour meanness of a party chiefly of men, who build walls to keep the world out, erect tariffs to destroy free trade, despise the alliances that keep Americans secure, and sanction the deliberate plucking of babes from their mothers’ breasts in order to teach illegal immigrants a painful lesson. In such a world, decorum and courtesy are irrelevant.
There has always been a dark side to American conservatism, much of it originating in the antebellum curse of a society, large parts of which favored slavery and the extermination of America’s native population, the exclusion of immigrants from American life, and discrimination against Catholics and Jews. Many of us had hoped that the civil-rights achievements of the mid-20th century (in which Republicans were indispensable partners), changing social norms regarding women, and rising levels of education had eliminated the germs that produced secession, lynching, and Indian massacres. Instead, those microbes simply went into dormancy, and now, in the presence of Trump, erupt again like plague buboes—bitter, potent, and vile.
Further reading: Trump is winning on trade
The last twitches of conservative independence consisted of Senator Jeff Flake securing a week-long FBI investigation of Ford’s charges. For the rest, there was not a profile in courage to be seen. Not one.
It is impossible at this moment to envisage the Republican Party coming back. Like a brontosaurus with some brain-eating disorder, it might lumber forward in the direction dictated by its past, favoring deregulation of businesses here and standing up to a rising China there, but there will be no higher mental functioning at work. And so it will plod into a future in which it is detested in a general way by women, African Americans, recent immigrants, and the educated young as well as progressives pure and simple. It might stumble into a political tar pit and cease to exist or it might survive as a curious, decaying relic of more savage times and more primitive instincts, lashing out and crushing things but incapable of much else.
Intellectuals do not build American political parties. Politicians do. The most we can do is point out the truths as we see them, and cheer on those who can do the necessary work. It is supposedly inconceivable that a genuinely conservative party could emerge, but then again, who thought the United States could be where it is now? And progressives, no less than bereft conservatives, should want this to happen, because the conservative virtues remain real virtues, the conservative insights real insights, and the conservative temperament an indispensable internal gyro keeping a country stable and sane. “Cometh the hour, cometh the man” runs the proverb. The hour is upon the country: Conservatives wait for the men (or, more likely, women) to meet it.
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