THE INFORMATION #918 DECEMBER 9, 2016

THE INFORMATION #918
DECEMBER 9, 2016
There he goes on another voyage of his own delusion never knowing where the next thought will take him.– John “Twink” Alder

WHEN THIS WORLD CATCHES FIRE

BOOK THREE: SAVAGE NOXTOWN
CHAPTER ELEVEN: PART ONE: DAYS OF WRATH
 
“Every time I see a campaign poster for some Yellof or another who hopes to be elected and become a local muck-a-muck,” said Count Victor Justin, in one of his confidential palavers given during one of our evening constitutionals, “I smile and I say to myself, ‘Of course none of this would be possible if the Gib Yellof didn’t give the go-ahead.’  You do know who I mean, I suppose, when I speak of the G.Y. If not, Yob, then say so.”
 
I started to utter the name Richard B. Stolas when, quite uncharacteristically, the Count hushed me with a look of mingled anger and fear. 
 
“Nit. Ix-nay. Never mention that name. Listen good, you green Yellof: In the future, stroke your fingers along your beardless chin if you want to refer to him. In that way I will get the picture, and know that you mean to say ‘The Bearded One,’  on the hush-hush, on the q.t., and withouten having to say the name out loud. What’s the need of it? Say, Yob, why don’t you get wise to yourself? Don’t you know that he has rubbernecking spies who are practically everywhere? Both policemen, and crooks, who he calls his ‘confidential informants’. People who work for him, and people who just want to get in good with him. Don’t you know that he heads the Citywide Improvement Association, which has on its board every bank president, every school superintendent, every judge, and every up-and-coming shyster? Don’t you know that all the crooked politicos who gather down at Feist’s Cigar Store are in his pocket? He’s got his fat finger in every crooked little pie there is, and not a sparrow that falls from the sky does so without him knowing all about it. 
 
“There’s all kinds of flapdoodle circulating about him by way of the man on the street. Some say he sold his soul to the devil. Some say he never had a soul at all. And still other folks insist that he has extracted the souls of  his many slaves through their noses, and put them in a little green bottle which he keeps under his enormous four-poster bed. They even say that to protect himself from being poisoned, he bathes weekly in a bathtub full of goat’s blood. Others say he can mesmerize men to do his will; that he can make men bark and slobber like mad dogs, or turn them into gibbering lunakicks. They claim that he has horns on his head, and the vestiges of a forked tail which his parents had surgically removed when he was but a tot. They say that when he was matriculating at Ivy U., he pissed and shat and puked anywhere that took his fancy, and had one of his hired flunkies tag along behind him to dispense baksheesh to the peasants who had to clean up after him.
 
“I have studied his habits closely, and I do know this. He arises every day at the unseemly hour of 430 am, like a monk–this after a day in which he doesn’t get to bed until one in the morning. He hardly ever sleeps at all, it seems. He doesn’t read himself to sleep; he reads himself awake. Newspapers and magazines–he reads ’em all. Very little escapes his notice, or so I am led to believe. 
 
“There are certain asthma and catarrh powders which he uses on a regular basis, to induce this state of wakefulness. Plus copious cups of coffee. Also, he is enormously fat–weighs some 300 pounds. Probably from sucking the marrow from the bones of his defeated foemen. Who knows? Madre Dios! That is not my tale to tell.
 
“Remember when I said that there were certain types of chicanery which were too raw for even a dyed-in-the-wool con man to essay? Well, ‘Beardo’ and his plutocratic cronies have perpetrated them all. D’ye suppose he cares one whit for anything except squeezing out another dollar from his victims? Nit! Even the most low-down carny who has wiped you out on a gaffed skillo will lend you carfare so you can get back home. Not these boys. They don’t want you to have nothin’. Extracting blood from a turnip? Check. Holding on to a dollar until the eagle screams? Check, and double-check.
 
“Forgive me, Yob, if I wax incoherent. Even the most dyed in the wool cynic needs must let his jaw gape open in awe-struck wonderment and utmost stupefaction at the evil wrought by this gang of vultures and freebooters. They make the depredations of the so-called Robber Barons of old look like a slapping party between pantywaists. 
 
“Do you want to know how The Money Power truly works in this man’s Town? Sit tight, Yob, and I’ll bend your earie. The Gib Yellof is like a eight-armed spider who presides over the web of all the conflicting interests here in Noxtown. F’r instance, just to give ye but one example, the corrupt patent medicine trust has been taking a lot of heat lately, what with peddling their poison to sick babies and tired old widder women. Endless misery is the result, with thousands of slum-dwellers hooked on their awful dope–a path which leads only to the laughing academy or the jailhouse, and then the boneyard. Some of the more respectable newspapers have gotten to the point where they are refusing to accept advertisements for these quack remedies. But a little pow-wow between the Gib Yellof and the publisher set this squabble aright., sho’ nuff.  
 
“Of course, the peddlers of quack nostrums are opposed by legions of physicians, many of whom are so old-fashioned that they themselves are little more than quacks. But they are often very well-off and respectable; they have a reputation as learned men even if the only skill they ever truly mastered was to gouge the well-to-do; nevertheless,they have a lot of influence, and so in return for their cooperation, the Gib Yellof gives them a free hand to run their hospitals any way they choose, which, of course, is bound to leave room for a great many unsavory practices. Like the mysterious ‘Black Bottle,’ which hoboes and querulous bohunks will swear up and down is administered to the poor as medicine, but is actually poison, and they pass it out in order to give charity cases a quick send-off and free up a profitable hospital bed for a customer who can pay the full freight.
 
“I’m not saying it’s true; and I’m not sayin’ it ain’t. But from what I know about human nature, I wouldn’t be surprised if at least once or twice a particularly troublesome indigent was slipped some sort of fatal Mickey Finn to get him off the nurses’ hands. 
 
“All I know is, if you’re ever all in, you should avoid the charity wards at all cost. Take your chances in the hobo jungle, Yob; you surely don’t want to croak on account of having to suck on the black bottle.” 
 
1*SALUTATION
THE PRETTY THINGS
PRIVATE SORROW (FRENCH TV 1968)
2*REFERENCE
WHITE WORKING CLASS VOTERS
 
ALSO SEE:
WHO EXACTLY IS THE WHITE WORKING CLASS AND WHAT DO THEY BELIEVE?
SEE ALSO:
WHEN ITALIAN IMMIGRANTS WERE ‘THE OTHER’
http://www.cnn.com/2012/07/10/opinion/falco-italian-immigrants/
3*HUMOR

Back when times were tough, I would go to Wal-Mart and buy the budget pet food:
Diamond Low Energy Dog Food
Diamond All-Fat Dog Food
Diamond Maintenance Service Floor Sweepins Dog Food
Diamond Minimal Performance Dog Food
Diamond Premium Adult Dog Meat
Diamond Puppy Meat
Diamond Chinese Restaurant Floor Sweepins Cat Food
Country Value Cream of Sick Puppy Fixins ‘n’ Gravy
Country Value Newspaper Trimmings for Your Adult Dog
Country Value Crispy Puppy
Country Value 99 Dead Dawg Soo-prise
Diamond Ground Up Horsemeat and Hooves
Diamond Crispy Chicken Beaks ‘n’ Claws
Diamond Crunchy Hog Maws ‘n’ Eyebrows
Professional Tapewormz in Gravy for your Grotesquely Obese Cat
Country Value Paper Pulp ‘n Sawdust for Your Sluggish Fat Dog

4*NOVELTY
BOSTON MOLASSES FLOOD OF 1919
5*AVATAR OF THE ZEITGEIST
ACUTE FINANCIAL STRESS: AN ALL-AMERICAN STORY


6* DAILY UTILITY
THE WORLD’S MOST HEALTHY CUISINES
7*CARTOON
HOMER AND JETHRO
GONNA SEND ‘EM HOME
ALSO SEE:
ALLEN SHERMAN
POP HATES THE BEATLES
 
SEE ALSO:
DORA BRYAN
ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS A BEATLE
8*PRESCRIPTION 
Smithsonian makes more than 5,000 Arhoolie Records tracks available
IS SOCIAL MEDIA DISCONNECTING US FROM THE BIG PICTURE?
10* LAGNIAPPE
THE GOONS
I’M WALKING BACKWARDS FOR CHRISTMAS
ALSO SEE:
JAMES BROWN
SANTA CLAUS GO STRAIGHT TO THE GHETTO
11* DEVIATIONS FROM THE PREPARED TEXT: A REVIEW OF OTHER MEDIA
The Sun & The Moon & The Rolling Stones.
By Rich Cohen. Spiegel & Grau, 2016. Hardcover. 381 pages.
Cohn has most of the serious credentials deemed necessary to write about “The Greatest Rock Band in the World.” In spite of having been born in 1968. (Which is actually good; it gives him a certain necessary generational distance to balance his overarching enthusiasm for the band.)  He has written for both Rolling Stone and The New Yorker. He has also collaborated with Mick Jagger and filmmaker Martin Scorcese on the HBO drama Vinyl. And, need I add mention yet again, he is an ardent Rolling Stones fan; albeit one who has written extensively about and gotten to know most of the individual members of the band in most of its incarnations, as well as having conducted extended interviews with the people who helped make them what they were, including Chris Barber (father of the British Skiffle movement); Marshall Chess (son of the famous Chess Records impresario), Bobby Keys (saxophonist and sometime band sideman), Rock Scully (Grateful Dead manager who was involved with the selection of the site for the infamous Altamont concert), and many others. Cohn even takes the time to track down the nephew of their swindling manager, the notorious Allan Klein.
 
Early on, Cohn delves into the influence which the early British Blues scene had on the formation of the band, and how Jagger and Richards happened to meet the golden boy, brilliant and doomed, named Brian Jones (previously known as Elmo James). Much is made of how Brian was probably destined to become an acid casualty from the time of his very first trip. He was not the first, nor would be be the last, to be sucked into the sinister vortex of drugs, sex, and other assorted debaucheries which came, first to define, and eventually to at least partially subsume, The Rolling Stones. What made the fall of Brian Jones so tragic was that he was exceptionally talented. Listen, for instance, to the slide guitar on “No Expectations”. The trouble with Brian was that he started a band which was intended to serve as a homage to the American Blues: “Brian was the band’s spirit. It was his vision, his dream; a blues engine….” However, the rise of the Beatles and the concomitant British Invasion (which Cohn hardly mentions as such) buried that dream. Because the endless money to be had from selling out made Jagger and Richards see dollar signs. If only they could write their own songs, like the Beatles. If only they could produce a number one hit–which they eventually did with “Satisfaction,” a song which, legend has it, came to Keith Richards in a dream. If only they could make it to the top–then there would be no more starving in an unheated apartment, and no more scuffling from one half-filled provincial venue to the next. Instead, they could tour to sold-out stadiums swollen with screaming pre-pubescent girls.Instead of mere musicians, they could be stars. But poor Brian wasn’t exactly with the program; he wrote songs, which the band rejected, and saw his dominant control of the band’s trajectory slip out from under him. He became moody; erratic. He began missing practices and gigs. When the band fired him, he was already far more than halfway to being dead. So his early death, at 27, which occurred in circumstances which are still murky nearly 50 years later, was perhaps merely inevitable. Brian had a death wish. According to Cohn, “I’m not saying he committed suicide. I’m saying that he put himself in a position where he could easily die.”     
 
Cohn is equally good on the the minutiae regarding the Altamont Concert; he is scrupulously careful to relate the side of the story told by Hell’s Angel head honcho Sonny Barger; perhaps too much so. Again, the circumstances surrounding the death of Meredith Hunter, who, we are informed, was no angel, remain enshrouded in mystery. Did he pull out a gun because he was preparing to shoot a member of the band–or because he was surrounded by menacing, murderous, and thoroughly drunk motorcycle gang members? Cohn gives us all sorts of side details which you may not find elsewhere, in more standard biographies. Apparently, the Rolling Stones were practically shamed into giving a free concert in the first place because critic Ralph Gleason laid a major guilt trip on them owing to the high ticket prices for their shows. 
 
We also learn from Cohn that Ry Cooder was the one who taught Keith Richards the open tuning that he used for many of the band’s most memorable songs, notably “Honky Tonk Woman.” And that Gram Parsons–another doomed soul–was the one person most responsible for imbuing the Rolling Stones with an appreciation for American Country music. This is a fact which, Cohn archly observes, is most likely all the more true simply because Mick Jagger denies it so vociferously. Exhibit one: “Country Honk.” Cohn takes a side trip to chronicle the last days of Parsons, and it is a harrowing story. Keith Richards may not be directly responsible for his dissipation and his early death, but Cohn implies that he surely bears some blame.The author is certainly not shy about pointing out the band’s myriad experiences with illicit drugs, which, after all, formed a large part of their sinister mystique. (The only part of the book which made me question the author’s credentials was his casual mention of teens smoking the high-potency “Thai Stick”…in 1967. Possible–though not likely.) 
 
Cohn is particularly good at chronicling the band’s “golden run”: Beggar’s BanquetLet It BleedSticky Fingers, and Exile on Main Street. A run which was, he implies, in part made possible by the absence of their friends and rivals, the Beatles. In those chapters, his obsessiveness regarding the Stones pays off. However, rather than trace the trajectory of the band’s slow decline into irrelevance and nostalgia, Cohn simply informs us of it by omission. He deems Some Girls the last great Rolling Stones album and declares that Tattoo You, which was partially assembled from out-takes form that record, was “the last true Stones album”. (He certainly has a point.) This is not a biography, per se, and not exactly a memoir; it’s more in the nature of an exploration of a mystique, and a clarification of the legends and folklore which surround the band. When it comes to the major landmarks defining how the band came to be–details which every fan knows (or should know), Cohn leaves few stones (so to speak) unturned. All in all, this is a book which any Rolling Stones fan, even a casual one, and particularly an obsessive one, will read with great pleasure.     
 
*11a BOOKS READ AND REVIEWED
A-FORCE. HYPERTIME. **1/2
ADVENTURES OF SUPERGIRL. GATES. ***
ALEISTER & ADOLF. RUSHKOFF & OEMING. ****1/2
ALL NEW X-MEN INEVITABLE 1. GHOSTS OF CYCLOPS. ***1/2
THE ATTACK. DAUVILLIER & CHAPRON. ****1/2 
BATMAN/SUPERMAN V. 5. TRUTH HURTS. ***1/2
BLACK MAGICK. RUCKA & SCOTT. ****
THE CAPED CRUSADE. WALDON. ***1/2
THE COMPLETE NEAT STUFF 1 &2. BAGGE. ****
CRY HAVOC 1. MYTHING IN ACTION. SPURRIER & KELLY. ****
DARK MONEY. MAYER. ****1/2
INHUMANITY. ***1/2
INJUSTICE: GODS AMONG US. YEAR 4. VOLUME 2. ****
JUSTICE LEAGUE 8. DARKSEID WAR PART 2. ***
THE LOST WORK OF WILL EISNER. ***
LUKE CAGE: AVENGER. **1/2
OMEGA MEN: THE END IS HERE. ****
OUR TIMES: THE AGE OF ELIZABETH ii. WILSON. ***1/2
PANTHER. EVANS. ****1/2
QUEER: A GRAPHIC HISTORY. BAKER & SCHEELE. ***1/2
SANDMAN MYSTERY THEATRE. BOOK ONE. WAGNER. ***1/2
SPIDER-MAN 1. MILES MORALES. BENDIS. ***1/2
SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL 1. ISN’T IT BROMANTIC. ***
SUCH A LOVELY LITTLE WAR. TRUONG. ****
SUICIDE SQUAD 2. MONSTERS. ***1/2
THE SUN, THE MOON & THE ROLLING STONES. COHEN. ****
THE UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL BEATS UP THE MARVEL UNIVERSE. ***1/2
WHY THE RIGHT WENT WRONG. DIONNE, JR. ****
WOLVERINE: OLD MAN LOGAN: BERSERKER. LEMIRE. ***
WONDER WOMAN: A CELEBRATION OF 75 YEARS. ***
X-MEN. WORST X-MAN EVER. ***1/2
 
CONTROVERSIES IN POPULAR CULTURE.
877. ZAPPA DIGS SAB SHOCK!

Zappa: I tried to help Wild Man Fischer and he turned out to be just as crazy as everybody thought he was.
Sandy: Does that mean he’s impossible to work with?
Zappa: Well, I think he’s dangerous to work with. He’d come to my house at one time … he used to live in the street, his hair was all dirty, he lived in dirty clothes. I brought him in, my wife shampooed his hair for him – he started breaking the kids’ toys and punched the babysitter and left.
http://www.afka.net/Articles/1978-01_Sounds.htm

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s