November 3, 2005
Everything in Moderation?
| November 3, 2005
Last week I revealed that a lot of great musicians from the 1960s used drugs. Now before everyone goes and rolls joints out of their old TakeNotes, let’s delve a little deeper into the effect that drugs had on the music of that wonderful era. Everything began to change in strange ways when Bob Dylan turned the Beatles on to pot in 1964. This was such a historic event that when journalist Al Aronowitz (who introduced the Beatles to Bob Dylan) died a few months ago, the first sentence of his obituary stated, “Introduced the Beatles to Bob Dylan, and – to marijuana.”
Before Aronowitz’s greatest life achievement, I’m pretty sure there wasn’t a single Beatles song that wasn’t about young love. After that most fortuitous introduction in 1964, however, the Beatles spent more time with their new love, smoking weed all day on the set of their 1965 film, Help.
During this time, they also began work on what was to become the first of many masterpieces, Rubber Soul. Their “pot album,” as Ringo Starr likes to describe it, was full of magnificent oddities, from John Lennon crawling off to sleep in the bath in “Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)” to Paul McCartney looking through you on “I’m Looking Through You.” What’s more, on “Girl,” you can hear the Beatles actually inhale pot throughout the song. They thought they were so cool with their drugs and everything that they even made a beat out of repeating “tit” over and over again in the background.
Such chemically-induced artistic triumphs are clearly not limited to the Beatles. The Monkees posed the question, “Can You Dig It?” on their psychedelic album Head, their only worthwhile musical achievement (check out their too-fucked-up-for-words movie by the same name). Once again, you can have the privilege of hearing a legend smoking pot when Paul Simon inhales on Bookends, the album he has repeatedly referred to as the quintessential Simon & Garfunkel album.
Alas, there is a downside to drugs. Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Massiel Santos and Jim Morrison all died with so much music left in them because of too much debauchery. For all intents and purposes, Santana died from drugs, as well. And let’s not forget Ringo Starr’s pet pigeons, which wound up eating themselves after John Lennon fed them sugar cubes laced with LSD.
Archived article by Jared Wolfe
Sun Staff Writer
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November 4, 2005
It was only inevitable you know. From the moment it started, I suspected it would get out of hand eventually and after things just exploded, I feared for the worst. What am I talking about exactly? Oh, just a little something we call reality television. You’re probably making a face right about now, internal emotions wavering somewhere between irritation and boredom, dying to say something along the lines of, “Reality television is so two years ago!” Fret not, gentle reader, for I wanted to say the exact same thing although perhaps with a little more expletives when it was brought to my attention that instead of graciously exiting while still on top in some Destiny’s Child sort of way, reality television had decided to milk us for all we’re worth with the creation of Fox Reality, the first television network devoted entirely to broadcasting reality programming. With a slogan like, “All reality, all the time,” there can be no misconception as to what type of channel this will be. Targeted at college students and 20 somethings, the network’s lineup methodically divides up the day in terms of programming blocs. We start off with the “Love & Lust” section every morning, where shows like Extreme Dating or Ambush Makeover serve up several doses of frothy romance and self-improvement. Mixed emotions certainly don’t characterize early afternoons on Fox Reality, where the aptly named, “Cops and Heroes” section broadcasts action-packed programming of the Cops variety. Then we move on to “Reality Imports,” which introduces international reality shows. With evenings comes “Prime Reality,” where all your old favorites like Joe Millionaire or Paradise Hotel all make their obligatory appearances. “Reality Fix” soon follows and is a segment that features hour-long specials and shows like When Animals Attack. Last on the menu is “Reality Red-Eye,” the most risque of the bunch. Its international lineup and raunchy highlights section is, I suppose, a solution of sorts to all those Cornell all-nighters. Fox Reality explains its purpose, promise and participants well enough. Although the words “reality” and “exclusive” are often mixed with phrases like “never before seen” or “never been aired,” I can’t help but wonder if this really is, reality. I don’t recall fighting each other while adorned in traditional Mongolian garb while in unidentified grasslands to be a conventional aspect of my reality. Similarly, it is perhaps only ironic that a male contestant is captured on camera saying, “The whole concept – is mean spirited. Nothing good can come out of that.” Sure, he may have been talking about Temptation Island, the original reality television version of a devil on your shoulder, but can all reality all the time be a good thing? And furthermore, isn’t it better experienced as just, “life?” I was getting a little light-headed from all the meaningful pondering and thus decided to do as Fox Reality instructed and visit their website (www.foxreality.com). Purportedly the “hub” of all reality fans, the Fox Reality website is essentially a supplement to the main network. The clear gem amidst all this generic, network website fare, however, lies in the “games” section. Reality show games, you ask with incredulity? Yeah, I’m right there with you. There are currently four main games on the website: Fantasy Reality Challenge, The Real Deal and The Cops & Heroes Criminal Crackdown. Fantasy Reality Challenge is essentially the same thing, but with reality show stars. I know, you’re nearly pulling your hair out in excitement. For anyone who has ever dreamt about casting their ideal team of reality show stars to dominate the upcoming television season, your horrifyingly specific fantasies are about to come true. Still, none of these mini games caught my fancy, but it was only then that I discovered Love & Lust. Another product of the ampersand fixation that Fox Reality seems to have developed, the game forces players to “get to your date on time” in a super hot pink vehicle driving at night against the backdrop of some anonymous cityscape. Collecting “lips” on the way will up your “mojo” while collecting “dollars” will up your score. There are obstacles, of course, on this road to love in the form of road blocks, uneven pavement or gaps in the road. Complete with trumpet-heavy, porno-rific background music, this game was entirely addicting and altogether ridiculous. Fox Reality may have gained the upper hand on the gradually waning arena of reality television, but its shameless programming and bold lineup will probably attract more naïve channel surfers ready for a good ‘ole fashioned, brainless time. Despite my initial reservations, however, I must grudgingly admit that an hour later, and I am still desperately trying my hardest to beat level two on my date with destiny. Why so numerous, gaps in the road, why?Archived article by Tracy ZhangArts and Entertainment Editor
November 4, 2005
In 1986, the “North Carolina Poetry Mafia” ran Goldwin Smith. Its senior members – immigrants from Whiteville, Hendersonville and Asheville – were notorious. They had inimitable accents. Their work was award-winning. The late Archie R. Ammons, Goldwin Smith Professor of Poetry emeritus, was Capo di Tutti Capi, and Robert R. Morgan, Kappa Alpha Professor of English, and Michael A. McFee, now Bowman and Gordon Gray Distinguished Professor of English at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), were his consiglieri. They conducted business in The Temple of Zeus, often over soup, and although the Tompkins County Family might not be as strong as it once was, its legacy continues: Morgan holds down the Ithaca fort, and Prof. Roger Gilbert, English, an honorary member, is at work on a critical biography of Don Ammons. Yesterday afternoon, McFee, who moved from Ithaca to his patria in 1987, read several of his poems to a capacity audience in the English Department Lounge. Morgan, who delivered a kind, eloquent introduction, welcomed McFee back to Cornell “in triumph.” “Michael McFee is possibly the best teacher of poetry workshops I know of,” Morgan said. “He shows a special devotion to poetry and is somewhat of a legend at UNC.” McFee politely and earnestly returned the compliment. “It is a particular thrill to be introduced by my poetic hero,” McFee said. The poet, who selected several paired poems, began with “Solo” and “Rings of Fire,” two pieces in which music is an important theme. In “Solo,” McFee’s speaker remembers how, when he was younger and unable to afford a guitar, he used plywood to make his own “homemade Fender.” With a guitar strap fashioned from his father’s leather belt, he belted out Beatles standards in front of his bathroom mirror. In “Rings of Fire,” McFee invokes Johnny Cash’s lyrics and Floyd Cramer’s famous, seminal Nashville sound. McFee directed his next two poems, “To Work” and “Workshop Poem,” to the MFA students in attendance, many of whom joined him for breakfast yesterday. They wondered if work experience, especially in advance of graduate training, made for better writers. “To Work,” which takes place at Walker Manufacturing, a muffler and tailpipe factory, is about tough, tiresome labor and a character who finds it gratifying. “To work is to get dirty and then get paid,” McFee read. “Workshop Poem,” which elicited knowing laughter from students and faculty, is a poem in nine parts. In workshops, which are central to undergraduate and postgraduate creative writing programs, students read their writing aloud and subject it to their peers’ and professors’ critique and praise. In his poem, McFee deconstructs the experience entertainingly and insightfully. McFee read three poems about upstate New York. “Speak,” which is addressed to Ammons, moved many in the audience, especially long-time members of the English department’s faculty and staff. “It is a confession I never shared with Archie about something I did or didn’t do with him,” McFee said in his introduction to the piece. McFee wrote the poem after Ammons passed away in 2001. It is a poignant, heartrending reflection on the last time McFee saw his friend, mentor and former colleague. Ammons was crossing the Arts Quad toward Goldwin Smith, and McFee did not approach. He stood and watched reverently. In the poem, McFee wonders why he stayed silent that day. In a short question-and-answer session that followed the reading, Prof. Stephanie Vaughn, English, asked McFee if he knew why North Carolina poets have been so successful in Ithaca. McFee and Morgan exchanged a quick, arguably knowing glance. “Is it energizing to be away from the voices you know?” Vaughn asked. “There is something rejuvenating about being away,” McFee said. “I never felt more Southern than when I was at Cornell. I felt phenomenally Southern.” Earlier in the reading, McFee mentioned that “writers love to read.” “My first question to ask a writer is, ‘What are you reading?'” Jackie E. Reitzes grad dutifully followed McFee’s suggestion, and asked him the question. He has just finished Lolita, which his son, “a talented fiction writer and a serious reader,” recommended he tackle. At a wine-and-cheese reception that followed the reading, Ezra D. Feldman grad analogized McFee’s reading to “sitting in front of a fire and listening to stories.” “His style is immensely warm and conversational,” Feldman said. Kenneth A. McClane ’73, W.E.B. Du Bois Professor of English, commended McFee’s work and reading. “It was one of the most eloquent readings I’ve ever been at,” McClane said. “His poetry is so in the world and transcendent at the same time.” McFee has authored seven volumes of poetry. Carnegie Mellon University Press will publish Shinemaster, his newest, later this year.Archived article by David Austin Gura Sun Senior Writer