The place where Love dare not sing in baritone.

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The Jim Neighbors Masculinity Project
Thursday, July 17, 2003  
Photo 5: Behind the Scenes
8:18 PM

Friday, December 20, 2002  

2:35 AM

Thursday, December 19, 2002  
Some things need to be said about Pop Culture, but I am not sure if I am qualified anymore. The Jim Neighbors Masculinity Project was started in 1974 to provide a forum for my Very Important Musings on the pop cultural landscape. And it has served us all well. I believe I was the first person to go on record that C.W. McCall of “Convoy” fame and Gloria “I Will SurviveGaynor would probably not have enduring careers. Like Cassandra, I also foretold the doom of Luke and Laura’s relationship on “General Hospital” and *nobody listened to me.*

But, this noble project has not been depository of gloom and negativity, either. When 47 crazy kids (and a series of managers and “advisers”) in various parts of Latin America had a dream to conquer the world with precision dancing, angelic singing, doe-eyed seduction and a vast array of aqua headbands, I was right behind them spurring them on to greatness (often with a hearty cha-cha-cha). And my faith in Menudo was proved right. You’re welcome.

My public encouragement to Michael Jackson on this website to seek the solace and counsel of children and Liza Minelli during the turbulent days while recording “Thriller” may very well have saved his career. Again, I graciously accept your collective kudos for my service to Pop Culture. Sure, I may have made some seemingly bizarre pronouncements here on occasion. My initial impressions that Sigue Sigue Sputnik and “Shanghai Surprise” were revolutionary might have been off the mark, but I don’t want to open old wounds. In a 100 years people will rediscover these treasures…ok, they will still suck, but I had a rough time in the ‘80’s, ok? For my English friends, only, is New Order *that* much better than Sigue Sigue Sputnik? But, (uncharacteristically), I digress…

Since moving to New Zealand I am completely out of the loop. I have seen, like, two movies in six months, I watch total bullshit home improvement DIY television almost exclusively and my finger is closer to the rectum than the pulse of today’s music. I don’t want to be one of those old bastards who label something crap out of sheer ignorance. That is why the focus our little project on the web that we started some 28 years ago will have to change. My ill-formed thoughts on popular culture, the sustaining milk of world civilization since 1956, will thus have to take a slight step back in the order of priorities around here. Sure, I’ll tell you about what images and sounds I am excited about, but, alas, my role as being the Prime Definer of the World Pop Cultural Zeitgeist is probably over. I have left Rome for the Barbarians. Henceforth, The Jim Neighbors Masculinity Project will concern itself with less weighty matters like Politics, Death, History, Literature and Ping Pong. As ever, your faithful servant….

10:07 PM

Friday, September 13, 2002  
I didn't expect to take most of the summer *and* winter off from communicating with you, oh Great Leader, pop culture. Such are the perils of living the life of the international jet set and traipsing past the international dateline. For the past few months, I have been setting up camp (with as much Liza Minelli paraphanalia as necessery, though that may be a bit too Camp 1977, if you know what I mean..) in the spiritual home of Getting Away From It All, New Zealand. May I just say that we are way the fuck away from the metropolitan Way Fucking Away area? We are so far away that UFO's don't bother showing up. New Zealand is as isolated as a National Man-Love Boy Love Association information booth at a Judas Priest concert. As some of you Heavy Metal Scholars may point out, however, things are usually a little more complicated than they first appear in sex *and* geography. You're never as far away from anything as you might think you are, says Mr. Freud.

Still, part of me is very happy to be so physically far away from the rest of the world. Jean-Paul Sartre once said that hell is other people (he also said "pass the salt" and "my feet hurt" numerous times, but these utterences were less celebrated) and viewing history and contemporary events in the clear, cold air of today, I tend to agree. The World Dickhead Index is not coincidentally composed mostly of men who are feverently religious. Praise be to the Agnostics! When was the last Agnostic Crusade? Ever hear of an Agnostic pogrom of jews? Have agnostics ever occupied the West Bank, or blew themselves up for their confusion? Hell no! (I should say a-not-entirely-sure-about-the-existence-of-Hell no!) I love many things about my new home: New Zealand has the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen, pleasant people, clean and crisp air, wonderous and unique scenery and most of all, a resolutely non-religious population. Grasshopper, when people insist that God is On Our Side there is always a small (and not so small) hell just around the corner.

7:21 PM

Monday, June 03, 2002  
I just returned from California and I decided to dip back into my proper grounded world by watching a documentary about the Hamptons. (My wife is in New Zealand, so I have do something with my time...miss you, D.) I have to say that despite having read F. Scott Fitzgerald, the Bonfire of the Vanities and voraciously watching the E channel over the years, the rich, fabulous, famous and their disciples sure are boring motherfuckers. I know my share of shallow bastards, but these people take the cake (and deign to let the masses eat it in a massive fit of faux-liberal noblise oblige at whatever charity gala they write off on their taxes). I am not saying that only the wealthy delude themselves (he says, reflecting on his devastating intellect and piercing blue eyes), but my trip to the belly of the entertainment beast and this documentary disturbs me. It's not merely the vanity of it all - that can be pitied, you know? Like a Prada tide, thousands of former It Girls wash up onto the beach every year, rejected by gods of fashion, age and conceit more mysterious than Poseidon, or Karl Lagerfeld. No, what is upsetting (even more than footage of Paul Simon wearing a teal baseball cap to a funeral!) is - let me coin a phrase - the democritization of snobby elitism. It's not only that living the good life on a level of even the most minor Hollywood "star" is impossible for the vast majority of recorded humanity, or the unfairness of living in a world where there are such disparities in living conditions at all. What is most galling is that the Great Gatsby life is no longer a cautionary tale, but the paragon of existence right now in the states. What exactly did 9-11 change other than the spike in meaningless platitudes about "how we're forever changed" and the rise in sales of American flag paraphenalia? People here are really patting *themselves* on the back when they go on and on about the undeniable bravery of NYC firemen and safety workers and still refuse to make even the most minor sacrifices in their daily lives. I still see the same push-me-pull-me society of self-absorbed preening and reactionary hypocrisy that was there on September 10th. At least we got some charity concerts out of the tragedy!

Ok, enough of this bitching...let me tell you about Leonardo di Caprio's house!

10:07 PM

Thursday, May 23, 2002  
I am very depressed right now. We can't bring our cat, Shamaloo, to New Zealand because it is too expensive for us to transport. I am leaving family, friends, most of the history of my life and all kinds of creature comforts, but I am only really upset about this. I haven't cried like this since my grandma died. Strange. I feel like Morrissey, or something. I am supposed to be finishing up my master's thesis on Joan of Arc in Vichy France this week, so I should have enough to keep my mind off of this, but it is hard. Danielle is really upset, too, but she is putting on a brave face since I can't do the same at the moment. I had not had a pet of my own since I was 13, or so, so I think I poured an inordinate ammount of love (and silly cat toys and bad photography) into Shamaloo. That's really bullshit, though. Shamaloo is great and I will miss him.
4:28 AM

Tuesday, May 07, 2002  
As they used to say about Richard Nixon and his ilk, after a short break I am tan and rested and ready to lead again! It has been over a month since I last posted and I suppose I have been preoccupied with the middle east, rabid concert going, class A drugs, procrastination and general leaving-the-continent-soon jitters. In no particular order, of course.

Lots to talk about, but what more can I say about all of this stuff that hasn't been covered better, respectively, in the New York Times, deadhead message boards, deadhead message boards/Bret Easton Ellis novels, my general life example and the collected works of Kenny Loggins. Ok, that joke didn't work, but it does bring up Kenny Loggins and I always have a very good reason to mention Kenny Loggins.

The reason that Kenny Loggins is pertinent because the cutting edge folks at Rolling Stone compiled a recomended list of the 50 "uncoolest" albums ever. This list brings up some of the eternal pop culture questions. When is something merely vomit inducing (as opposed to bad pop culture which evolves into kitschy fun?).

Where to begin on the uncool list: remember The Outfield?They are actually much less cool than dorky staltwarts Rush, or Styx, but I don't have time to explain right now. They sure do suck on epic Ginger Lynn-ian levels, though.

How about Natalie Merchent's solo records? Humorless soccer mom music for those who want to cut loose with a margarita once a month at Chilis...owww! Mick Jagger/ anyone? Can't leave out the dumbest huge band since - what? The Mongolian Horde? - Oasis. "Be Here Now" is uncool to the point of embarassment. Is it possible that this pile of dung will transform into a cool record from an uncool? There are easily more uncool records, generally, than cool ones, so musical preservation might depend on the evolving acceptance of crap. Besides the musical God of Uncool (the anti-Nick Lowe ?)Huey Lewis, how could any uncool albums list leave out Michael Jackson's 90's output? He is as essential to 90's suckage as he was to 70's and 80's musical brilliance.

Lists like this are tricky, though. Here's an example: The The Osmonds "Crazy Horses" is so incredibly uncool that it transforms itself into Miles Davis-in-the-50's cool. Unlike Miles Davis fusion albums in the 80's...very uncool. I will have to think on this issue some more and get back to you...

1:28 AM

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