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On November 10, Taylor Swift had the physical release for her 6th studio album, “reputation.” I remember the day for two reasons; one because I rushed out to buy the album (twice) in order to move up in the priority list for Reputation Tour tickets on Ticketmaster…and two, because it was released on the 10-year anniversary of the death of Kanye West’s mom, Donda!
Just a coincidence, I’m sure…🐍
Today, however, December 1st, marks the day that her album becomes available on all streaming services so that even the casual fans and those not desperate for front-row tickets can listen. So I held off on my official review until now!
The mainstream has been slowly shying away from Taylor Swift. The blond white female pop star motif is seem by some as problematic. The only way you’re allowed to be a blond pop sensation is if you’re already aged-out like Gwen Stefani & Christina Aguilera…or all your fans are gay, like Britney Spears.
Here, in the land of the living, Taylor Swift just put out the best pop album of the year; and quite possibly, the best of her career. But an album is only as good as the songs on it, right? So let’s go through each delicious track one by one…
1. …Ready For It?–The first track on this album pairs nicely with the recently released music video. It creates a powerful opening to the record, but also lets you know exactly what you’re going to get a mixture of catchy pop choruses and angsty rap-inspired tracks. Any single verse from this song beats a clumsy Eminem cypher hands down.
2. End Game (feat. Ed Sheeran & Future)–This may be one of my favorite tracks on the album. I can forgive the obligatory “let’s bring a notable rap-guy into a pop song” trope since it actually fits the song. Swift has done this before in a now conspicuously missing remix of Bad Blood with Kendrick Lamar.
3. I Did Something Bad–In an album themed entirely around Taylor Swift’s transformation into kayfabe pop princess to problematic alt-right queen (kidding…or am I?), this song encapsulates her flippant mood in the face of losing an integral part of her character.
The character of Taylor Swift, in pop kay fabe, is a serial dater who hangs out, parties, and travels with an elaborate who’s-who squad of celebs and models.
But something happened between last year and this year that turned all of that upside down. It seemingly began with a petty feud over lyrics with Kanye West and Kim Kardashian. That’s when we first saw the “snake” come out.
But then, it moved on to Swift being constantly criticized for not speaking out publicly during politically hostile and fiery moments when it seemed like almost every one of her contemporaries couldn’t keep quiet.
We may never know what cost Taylor Swift her fake friends, fake relationships, and (sorry) reputation…but I have a theory.
4. Don’t Blame Me–Another album highlight, Don’t Blame Me sets a larger than life tone early on. There’s a very smooth and sultry feel in this track that perfectly puts Swift’s new “good girl gone bad” imagery on display.
5. Delicate–Tracks 4 & 5 blend together perfectly in a kind of digital harmony. This track almost serves as a break after the first several songs that Taylor hits her fans with. In Delicate, she essentially asks the listener if they’re still on this ride with her–do we believe her new persona, or are we suspicious?
And if we’re ready to go forward, we can get crazy again.
6. Look What You Made Me Do–Obviously if you ever listen to music you’ve heard this album single. This almost-irritating track quickly gets stuck in your head, and when you realize that it’s just a retooling of I’m Too Sexy by Right Said Fred, it all starts to make sense.
The oddly manic music video for this song caused many to speculate about Taylor Swift’s intentions and what story she was prepared to share. The music video is actually more intriguing and worthy of a vast pop culture discussion than the actual song, but that’s a story for another day.
The song also includes the very cringe line “I’m sorry, the old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now. Why? Oh–cause she’s dead!” but we can forgive her this once.
7. So It Goes…–After Look What You Made Me Do, the album begins to slow down into more traditional pop ballads. There’s nothing wrong with this, and the total shift in mood is actually pretty exciting given that most artists have been releasing albums that sound like one long song.
8. Gorgeous–If you were worried that this album wouldn’t sound anything like the Taylor Swift you used to know and love, you’re in luck. The entire second half of the album is more in line with what you’ve come to expect from the tha Tay. Gorgeous is self-referential, self-deprecating, and doesn’t take itself too seriously.
It even contains an audible “Ugh…” in response to her own reference to her beloved cats.
9. Getaway Car–Every time I hear the beginning of this song (and it’s been many times), I can’t help but cringe a little. The opening lyric It was the best of times, the worst of crimes can’t escape giving me douche-chills and I keep expecting her to say:
10. King of My Heart–I’m pretty crazy about the heavy bass in this song. It’s a scattered type of song, but I think/hope that was intentional. It’s almost as if it doesn’t know what it wants to be–an acoustic ballad, or an unhinged jungle beat jam–and I’m happy with both, especially when thrown together. It conjures up an elite metropolitan romance, aggressively regal in some ways, youthful and defiant in others.
11. Dancing With Our Hands Tied–This track is a good example of a solid beat with fun drops, but a song that feels lyrically hollow. However, if you can tune out the words, it’s still a fun song to dance to.
12. Dress–The album is starting to wind to a close with some of the more provocative tracks on the whole record. My guess is that this will be a fan favorite both due to its inherent sexuality and its pop mastery. It includes one of the most evocative lyrics I’ve ever heard from Taylor Swift: I only bought this dress so you could take it off.
13. This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things–Have you ever noticed, no matter how many times you listen to an album, there’s always a track that seems to come out of nowhere? A track you could swear you never heard before, even though it’s been there all along? I don’t think this song was on the album yesterday, I swear to god.
But now that I’ve discovered it, I can’t stop listening to it. It’s possible I’ll play it out and start to hate it, but as of now it’s my favorite track on the album and I’ll go crazy if I get to see it live. If you want a comparison, I’d say it’s the We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together of this album.
14. Call It What You Want–I believe this track was the third single released, and that was an appropriate choice. It acts as a finale to the album, even though it’s not the last track on the record. Call It What You Want perfectly sums up the mood of the album and it might be the track I’d most like to see covered by other artists. The song totally rules, and the lyrics are exceptional.
The whole feel of the album has this Tony Robbins aesthetic of “fuck everybody else, live for yourself” and I think that’s what makes it great.
15. New Year’s Day–I was going to write a whole thing about how Taylor Swift appeared in a movie called New Years Eve and that this could be a call back to that persona she played in that movie…but…then I realized that movie was called Valentine’s Day, so it shit on my entire point. Anywhooo–
While the lyrics are a bit more ‘adult’, you wouldn’t be able to tell this song apart from something she put out 4 albums ago. It’s a beautiful, melancholy pop song that likely would have been a bonus content track, but Swift decided to grace us with 15 songs this time; and I’m so glad for it.
Today’s the day–one of the most unproductive work days of the year for many people: Cyber Monday. But no matter how unproductive you may be at work, while searching for deals on your Christmas purchases today, there will always be someone less productive than you…and that ‘person’ is Kathy Griffin.
It was way back during the sweaty Summer daze of 2017 that Z-list comedian, Kathy Griffin, made the finest mistake of her career: trying to stump the Trump.
Evidently, the mass media hysteria and the hyperbolic flippancy of the emotionally compromised majority, all made Kathy think that doing a photo-shoot with the fake severed head of President Donald Trump would go over swimmingly.
The backlash to this thoughtless act of self-promotion and self-degradation led to Kathy losing many of her stand-up dates and, perhaps more significantly, her role as CNN‘s ginger minstrel.
Back then, I predicted that by December 31st, 2017, Kathy Griffin would be back on the air doing the New Years Shit-talkin’ Eve show, or whatever. You can’t have Anderson “Giggles” Cooper running that hellscape on his lonesome.
But now, I’m not so sure.
According to the Hollywood rumor mill, Griffin may be suffering from what’s called “financial catastrofuck.” She is allegedly not listening to reason and deluding herself into believing she will eventually make an enormous comeback.
The Blind Items would suggest that she may have upwards of 80% of her worth tied up in real estate, and therefore, her “public confidence” could be some kind of clever charade.
Huge, if true; but I wouldn’t exactly categorize public escapades like the video below to be “bolstering confidence.” People who are doing well and not suffering from any kind of severe mental illness typically refrain from saying things like “…watch me survive.”
But you be the judge…
(Watch above, Listen below)
Season 2 of #RTR is back again for a special Thanksgiving show! Alex discusses Philadelphia’s corruption scandals and LGBTQ ‘issues.’ We turn our attention to the bizarre CNN interview with Lavar Ball, Jimmy Kimmel does blackface, and we take a peek into the worlds of Review Brah & V.E.R.N.E.
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Welcome back to Rox Trash Radio / Independent Philly’s mischief lands me in Facebook Jail / The people in your neighborhood / Learning together / A look back on the goings-on since election day 2016 / Screaming at the sky in Philly / Octavius Catto and the myth of the switch / Let’s play Little Weinsteins / Outta time for now!
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Last weekend, thousands of Harry Potter fans descended on Chestnut Hill, PA for the 7th annual Harry Potter Festival on Germantown Avenue. For seven years, this flamboyantly jejune exhibition has granted both disappointed children and brazen developmentally halted adults the ability to frolic in unfettered glee in what would otherwise be an unmitigated playground of derision, a sisyphean task in the hands of dedicated and motivated bullies, to be sure.
What would otherwise be a rather enjoyable romp for the kiddies has turned into a free-range exposé of adult auto-eroticism, prancing without a care through a world of childlike wonder. But not this time.
Perhaps even more unabashedly cringe than the Potter Fans themselves are the perpetual storm-clouds known as the fundamentalist Christian right. These sign and megaphone-wielding butt-marauders seem bent on wasting everyone’s time, despite the fact that by the sheer nature of the event, the clientele have no limitation on the amount of time they’re willing to have wasted.
Of course, not to be outdone on the self-humiliation front by the sycophantic bastard children of the Westboro Baptist Church, the Harry Potter Fans stepped in to cast the only Patronum spell they knew: oblivious virtue signaling.
One of the attendees immediately took to Facebook after the harrowing affair to detail (at length) her stoic heroism in the face of “bigotry.” I’ll let Hillary (ugh) speak for herself (assuming gender).
Full text and link to original post here:
Dear Chestnut Hill Neighbors, As many of you who came out to enjoy the first magical night of the Harry Potter Festival likely already know ... we had some incredibly awful and deeply hateful visitors in the form of a group of 10 or 11 of the most racist, bigoted, misogynistic, women-hating, gay-hating, everyone-but-them-hating, and certainly Harry Potter-hating sign-waving and megaphone-screaming protestors I could ever have imagined showing up in our town, who chose to gather on the corner of Highland and Germantown Ave. for the sake of taunting passers-by for about four hours last night. The things they were shouting to children and the mothers of children walking past them were so beyond horrible, so profoundly UN-Christ-like ... that I will certainly not repeat them here. After trying a few other peaceful methods (my mighty Bose speaker playing serene music, etc.) of drowning them out and trying to protect the little kids, I got the idea into my head that we could surround them with "hate has no home here" signs (to make a wall between them and the passing children) and I knew EXACTLY where to get them and quick: YOUR HOUSES. (I'm sorry.) But within half an hour, I was able to gather up 20 to 30 signs just from running up and down only five or six of our beautiful neighborhood streets. (East Meade, West Meade, parts of Shawnee, and Gravers Lane.) In some cases, I was able to ask for your permission, and thankfully, you graciously gave it. But in most cases, there were no lights on in your house (it was 5:30) and I became a thief (for a good cause) to steal your sign. I want you to know that I know that I had no actual right to take anything from your property and that I am truly sorry for that. I am also sorry that not all of the signs came back to me after it was all over (even though I tried for that) ... and so I can't return each one to every yard from which it came. What I CAN do to make amends for this is to order 50 new HHNHH yard signs from the creator (I know her) and bring most of them back to each of your yards as soon as I can get them from her (perhaps Sunday?) ... as well as provide free ones to anyone who lives in Chestnut Hill from my shop for the next few weeks. (It's Isabella Sparrow ... between Starbucks and the Cheese Shop.) What I can also do is say THANK YOU. Because you are the kind of person who would have put such a dear and loving sign in your front yard all those many months ago ... and because we are the kind of neighborhood that just has so MANY of these signs within such a very small distance from that temporarily-awful intersection ... the people I gave your signs to to hold up were able to completely surround those angry and hate-filled people, who were yelling truly horrible things to five year old children on our beautiful village streets. Your signs (and many loving voices who chanted "love lives here") DROWNED THEM OUT ... and eventually they could barely even be seen or heard ... and they left. I don't know if they will try to come back tomorrow ... but I do know that Chestnut Hill will not allow them to spew whatever it is that has turned them into such agonized souls with so much hideous vitriol to unleash. ______ I am grateful beyond words to live here. ______ And I will do all that I can to get you your signs back. ❤️ Text your address to (deleted) if you have a missing sign that I haven't replaced ... or if you'd like me to bring one to your house so that you can join the many houses here who have unequivocally said: "Hate has no home here." ❤️ ❤️ ❤️
The comments on this post are pure cancer, which is predictable. But, juvenile or not, their plan paid off and the “un-Christlike” champions of the Lord were dispelled from the land of Make Believe. I’d say that knowing the kind of behavior Jesus was capable of when he was pissed off, these people should be glad the protesters were “un-Christlike.”
In the end, it’s good that the neighborhood took it upon themselves to drive out an element that was purposefully harassing and frightening young children (alleged by reports). Kids don’t deserve to go through the same real-world bananas nonsense as their adult (but intellectually comparable) counterparts. I’m all for shitting on this parade, but leave the kids out of it.
So, in this scenario–even though I viscerally hate the methodology–I’m glad that the protesters were shut down so that the little wizards could enjoy their fairy tale in peace. And then, I see videos like this…
…and all I can think is: we need a better caliber of bully.
In the past week, we’ve seen a very carefully orchestrated and targeted media campaign to officially sink the often-accused and decades-long-known serial Hollywood Creep, Harvey Weinstein.
There isn’t much to explain that articles from The New Yorker, New York Times, etc haven’t already covered; but these allegations of sexually inappropriate behavior (to say the least) have been going on publicly for years and years. Finally, the ramp-up and exposing of these alleged incidents have reached a fever pitch and the White Whale has been harpooned.
What comes next is anyone’s guess. With Weinstein’s firing, one of the most powerful (if not, the most powerful) men in show business is out of commission. But, is this where it ends? It conjures up a conversation from everyone’s favorite Star Wars film: The Phantom Menace…
Years ago, former child-star and current kinda-star, Corey Feldman alleged a bigger problem pervasive in Hollywood…bigger than creepy producers and casting couch massages: an ever-present, ubiquitous ring of pedophilia.
Does Harvey Weinstein play into a larger Hollywood cover-up, or was he simply deemed inconvenient to keep around?
Uncertain, the boy’s future is.
It’s been far too long since the last Disney Pre-9/11 Video Vault–last November, actually! Not to pat myself on the back too much, but I think I picked the perfect film to cover this time around. Disney has recently announced its plan to remake a favorite amongst Millennials specifically for the Disney Channel. But isn’t every pre-9/11 Disney film a Millennial Holy Grail? Of course they are.
In the immediate aftermath of Clinton-era cruise missile attacks on Iraqi Intelligence Headquarters, Gian Ferri committed a mass shooting at 101 California Street leading to the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act. Weeks later, three things would happen: the Clinton Administration would enact “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” which allowed gays to serve in the military as long as they weren’t being gay about it, Deputy White House Counsel Vince Foster was found dead amidst an ethics controversy, and a little horror comedy called Hocus Pocus was released to little critical or commercial success.
Hocus Pocus, directed by Disney superstar, Kenny Ortega, centers around three witches named Winifred (Bette Midler), Mary (Kathy Najimy) and Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker)…the Sanderson Sisters. Walt Disney, himself, would have been endlessly proud of the way Jewish women were portrayed as vain egomaniacal occultists.
We open the film on Halloween night, 1693 in Salem, Massachusetts. Spooky stuff. A boy named Thackery Binx witnesses his sister’s youth absorbed by the Sanderson sisters. When he confronts them, they transform him into a spinster’s fantasy: an immortal cat. This will serve as a strange and forced plot device to bring a good character from the olden times into the present.
In 1693, the Sanderson sisters are hanged–but not before casting a spell that ensures their resurrection on a full moon…on Halloween…when a virgin lights a Black Flame Candle. Spoiler alert: it takes exactly 300 years for this shit to happen. And a Disney movie wouldn’t begin with a hanging until Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End.
If these witches died in 2017, it would’ve taken about 15 minutes to get a virgin to light a black candle on Halloween. And, of course, the real magic in this fun children’s flick was managing to convince young boys that Sarah Jessica Parker was hot.
300 Years Later, it’s 1993 and our main character, Max Dennison (good solid name for every kids’ movie character ever), has just moved from LA to fucking Salem fucking Massachusetts. He’s a wise-crackin’ smart ass know-it-all who makes an ass out of himself in front of his class of teenagers who are unrealistically excited about Halloween. He responds to the utter humiliation by giving Allison–the hottest girl in class, I guess?–a note with his number on it…in front of the whole class!
We have to pause for a moment and reiterate something about 90’s Disney movie boys. They are always too cool for school. Even if they’re bullied, it’s because they’re too cool and the bullies are all dorks. And in those rare circumstances where our protagonist is an actual loser, he’ll be vindicated in the first act by doing something anticlimactic like joining in on a prank or catching a baseball.
Moving on–Max’s cool guy LA attitude and his tie-dye shirt are no match for the conservative yet questionably superstitious attitudes of his classmates and he doesn’t get the date. So just as we were rooting for our cool hero, he gets played–hard. Not so cool after all, are we, Max? But Disney won’t stop there. No sir! Enter…the bullies!
Jay and Ernie…I mean…Jay and ICE…are almost certainly the highlight of the entire film. These two mentally challenged teens more than make up for the film’s stale plot and obvious anti-Semitic overtones. They’re pretty stylish for dumb kids, and they smoke. It’s odd, though that they decide to steal Max’s sneakers but not his bike…
When Max returns home, we find out that his parents are just getting moved in to their new home and Max is very upset to have been transplanted from cool tie-dye LA to bland, bully-ridden Massachusetts. Just as Max had finished lamenting his lot in life and settled into bed to masturbate to the memory of being rejected by Allison, we get a surprise introduction to Max’s 8-year old sister Dani (Thora Birch). Not so fast, Max!
Max is forced to take Dani trick-or-treating by his disturbingly-normal-for-a-kids-movie parents. Dani dresses as a witch (of course), and a reluctant Max dresses like a “rap singer” (without the blackface). When the bullies show up again, he is forced to defend his honor and stick up for his little sister, solidifying Max as not just the good guy of our story…but the best guy of the story. His flaws have officially been erased. Now we can get on with our Disney flick.
The two inadvertently wander into Allison’s house where she’s having some kind of weird Eyes Wide Shut meets Amadeus Halloween Party. Dani and Max also introduce us to a new word for breasts: Yabbos.
Allison wants to take Max and Dani on a tour of the Sanderson Sisters House to prove that Salem is all ’bout dem witchez! But when they inevitably break into the house, they get more than they bargain for as shit starts to get real about 30 minutes in.
The Sanderson House is supposed to be some kind of museum to the three witches’ legacy, but it appears like it’s never been in use–covered in cobwebs and dust. Max gets viciously attacked by Immortal Cat and, trying to show he’s not scared, proceeds to light the BLACK CANDLE! He claimed that all that witch stuff is just a bunch of “Hocus Pocus.” Get it? That’s the name of the movie. So Max fucks up and the witches come back, of course–which tells us two things about this universe: Magic is Real…and Max is a Virgin. No wonder he’s been yankin’ it to Allison’s yabbos.
Naturally, the three resurrected Jewish Witches want to eat Thora Birch and Sarah Jessica Parker wants to make Max less of a virgin. She was always my favorite witch as she didn’t really seem all that evil in the grand scheme of things.
It’s been quite a while since I’ve seen Hocus Pocus but the movie is both intensely suggestive and intensely silly. I suppose once you’ve raised three Jewish Witches from their 300 year slumber, a talking cat is no big deal.
Our heroes run into a graveyard where the witches can’t go. I’m not sure if it’s because they’re demonic or Jewish, but either way, they can’t set foot on Christian Turf. So, instead, they decide to raise a random corpse from the grave to help them catch dem kidz. The dead guy they raise is called “Billy Butcherson“, because why not? We don’t know much about Billy except that he was a “Lost Soul”…whatever that means.
As this nonsense goes on it becomes clear that this film is semi-autobiographical in that Kenny Ortega must use the souls of young gay men to remain so fresh and youthful in the Disney universe. There’s also an oddly out of place scene where the witches wind up at some old Jewish man’s house where they watch TV and piss off his wife. None of this belongs in the film at all and I can’t comprehend why it exists.
About half-way through the movie we get another pair of suggestive and then torturous scenes for a children’s movie. Sarah Jessica Parker is driving a bus while bouncing on the bus driver’s lap when, suddenly and without warning, our Immortal Talking Cat gets run over. Cut to…a close-up of a roadkill cat. Fun for the whole family.
But, just kidding. He’s immortal, right? The cat’s fine. As always happens in fantasy/horror films, the kids quickly realize this situation is entirely out of their control so they go to the adults for help. But the adults don’t believe a word. Also, the fake police officer they go to seems a little too interested in Max being a virgin.
At this point we’ve established that the ultimate goal of the Sanderson Sisters is…to…not die? This seems perfectly reasonable to me, other than added detail that they need the souls of the young to live forever. But don’t we all?
What’s the best way to captivate the kiddos for long enough to suck out their souls? I mean, besides putting on Disney’s Hocus Pocus. How about a lame Halloween-themed concert being attended by Max’s parents? Next best thing. The Sanderson Sisters need to find Max and get their Book of Spells back. Good thing Max decides to take center stage and once again brazenly make a fool of himself, while disclosing his whereabouts to our three witches…at least it’s a good excuse to get Bette Midler to sing.
So while Bette Midler hypnotizes all of the town’s mommies and daddies into dancing all night, the kids make their escape. Every scene in this movie seems more redundant than the last. There was no reason to hypnotize the parents. Sarah finds the kids and lets them go for some reason. And then, the witches wind up finding the kids who have taken refuge in the school…when suddenly another grisly and wholly offensive scene takes place…
Now, read this carefully because it’s…shocking if you don’t recall this scene from your childhood. Max and the kids force the trio of 300-year old Jewish Women into an OVEN and set them on fire. Yes. You’ve read that correctly. I wonder if that scene will be in the remake…
As dawn approaches, the witches kidnap Dani and fly away. Then we get another song. Sarah Jessica Parker sings an enchantment spell that causes all of the town’s children to follow them to their resting place, which begs the question…why did they need DANI at all? Why not just do this from the beginning? And why did they need the spell book?! Presumably they’ve done this before…we know at least once at the beginning of the movie.
For some reason the Sandersons have kidnapped Jay and Ice and are force-feeding them candy…which is a pretty extreme come-uppins for the bullies, but whatever.
All Max needs to do now is use his wit and knowledge of modern conveniences (like car headlights) to trick the Sandersons into believing it’s morning and they’re going to die. Spoiler Alert, they don’t die. At least, not yet. Nothing in this film makes sense, but that’s why it’s a cult classic and not a real classic.
As it turns out, all our heroes had to do was survive until morning…which would have been easier to do if not for all of their scheming.
The ending we get is even more confounding as our zombie friend Billy returns to his grave, our immortal cat actually dies, and the ghost of the young man who embodied the immortal cat has some kind of romantic connection to a drastically underage Thora Birch.
Then, as if it were a last-ditch effort to wrap up loose ends, we see the parents of Salem exiting their house party, while Jay and Ice remain locked in cages. But…what? The spell book opens up once again! Could there be a sequel in the works?
No. Not now. Not ever. Hopefully. The remake will be a Disney Channel Original so it won’t be surprising when it tries and fails to match the appeal (whatever appeal there was) about the original while falling into all the same plot holes.
Look, I know you all remember loving this movie, and that’s fine. Nothing can take that away from you; not even a remake. But let’s be honest, this movie makes zero sense and there is no way anyone will convince me that Mick Garris, Neil Cuthbert, and David Mickey Evans weren’t mentally impaired while writing it.
It was fun watching it again, though! Maybe I’ll give it another shot in 20 more years…
Despite being oversaturated with historic monuments, murals, structures, and artifacts in the great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and specifically the city of Philadelphia, it is endlessly troubling how detached our citizens seem to be from that history.
Recently, a small, but nevertheless obnoxious, group of individuals led by Councilwoman-at-Large and Asian spirit who kills you seven days after seeing her face, Helen Gym, has been raising a stink about the existence of a monument for former Mayor Frank Rizzo. Largely due to these (pardon the expression) “bitch-fits”, Philadelphia has taken a larger initiative in generating more progressive and social-justice oriented statues around the city.
Recently a new monument was unveiled on the south side of City Hall featuring a large statue of Civil War Era Philadelphia resident, Octavius Catto. The monument reads:
“There must come a change which shall force upon this nation that course which providence seems wisely to be directing for the mutual benefit of peoples.”
Nothing confusing about that…
The monument is also titled A Quest for Parity, which is clearly an attempt to find a suitable synonym for “equality” that went horribly awry. Almost everything about this monument is a slap in the face both to the intellectually honest and, most hilariously, to the government of the City of Philadelphia.
So, who is Octavius Catto? Good question, because no one in this city seems to have any idea.
Octavius Catto was a mixed-race free man from South Carolina who moved out of the slave state as a child with his family to Baltimore, then Philadelphia. While in Philadelphia, he became a teacher and began to organize other free black men to fight for the Union war effort.
Although he was commissioned to be a major in the Union Army, he did not join–as a 2013 Philadelphia memorial placard would have us believe.
He was a celebrated community organizer who fought against segregation and spoke on behalf of racial progress; specifically encouraging the ratification of the 15th Amendment in 1870. He accomplished a lot, succeeded in his goals, made a significant impact on the city, state, and nation. So why don’t we hear more about him?
Well, that’s the sticky wicket…see…Octavius Catto was a Republican, as many of the privileged classes in the North were. The lower immigrant classes, however, were Democrats–notably, the Irish–who would consistently clash with black voters and other Republicans in the streets of Philadelphia. These clashes led to further reasons for educated black men like Catto to defend themselves. Unfortunately for him, he was shot and killed by an Irish Democrat on Election Day, one year after the nation ratified the 15th Amendment, enshrining his right to vote.
To put things in historical perspective, the Democratic Party was the party of slavery, anti-reconstruction, segregation, the KKK, and continued to be so through voting against all civil rights acts through the 1960s. Today, every major city run by Democrats experiences intense crime and destitute minority populations caused by (and perpetuated by) debilitating policies of constant welfare. The Democratic Party has never wavered in their attempts to keep black populations in the hole; they just gained power in the major cities and changed their tactics.
Octavius Catto is a martyr to the black Republican cause; not the first “woke” black man, but one among many who escaped the proverbial and literal “Democrat Plantation.”
One would need to look no further than a famous quote by Democratic hero and possible worst President ever, LBJ:
“These Negroes, they’re getting pretty uppity these days and that’s a problem for us since they’ve got something now they never had before, the political pull to back up their uppityness. Now we’ve got to do something about this, we’ve got to give them a little something, just enough to quiet them down, not enough to make a difference.”
This quote is often confused with the more notable LBJ quote (but less corroborated): “I’ll have those niggers voting Democratic for 200 years.”
The Democratic Party tends to get very touchy when their motivations and history are put into perspective; which ultimately caused me to question the installation of this monument. After all, they wanted to tear down statues of other notable Democrats from history: Robert E. Lee…Frank Rizzo…
So, why would an almost entirely Democratic City commission and raise a monument to a Republican Martyr? Pure incompetence? Arrogance?
Or is it something more sinister?
Perhaps the Octavius Catto statue isn’t meant as a memorial to the accomplishments of a particular champion for civil rights and Negro League Baseball…but as a warning to the city’s minority population from Democratic Leadership; reminding them what happens when they step out of line.
You may have already forgotten (good for you) that the “rap rock supergroup” Prophets of Rage formed last year featuring most of Rage Against the Machine/AudioSlave, two members of Public Enemy, and B-Real of Cypress Hill.
The amalgamation of middle-aged artists who have never written a good song in their 30+ years in the industry (with the possible exception of Chuck D) were described by Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine as “…an elite task force of revolutionary musicians determined to confront the mountain of election year bullshit, and confront it head on…”
Leave it to Communist “artists” in Che Guevara shirts to tell you whose opinions deserve to be violently “silenced” in this video for the incomprehensible Radical Eyes.
Last January, when Prophets of Rage came onto the scene, people were excited for a refreshing hardcore take on the “system” and the “racist evil” of the man running for President–a man who couldn’t possibly win.
Predictably, the project’s excitement and virility went flaccid, and a major album release from Prophets of Rage in September 2017 falls on deaf ears. But that won’t stop Tom Morello and Chuck D trying to sound cool on the failing Daily Show while they stumble through tired political rhetoric and drag their feet through another version of the same song they’ve been making for three decades.
None of this stopped me from checking out the album out of morbid curiosity. Let’s call it…my version of “cutting.” I’m always anxious to test my tolerance for pain. To get the full effect, you’d have to force yourself to listen to these individual tracks (don’t). But let’s establish that they all sound the same, and they’re all faux-edgy with goofy outdated record scratches. Now let’s get into the best part: the cringe lyrics.
TRACK 1: Radical Eyes
Can’t resist don’t even draw / All the things all you do / Now your part on the trees / You’ve distracted again / Your fantasy when you walk and for the fight for the win
They didn’t hear my cry / He said fuck my pride
The say I’m radicalized
(See my radical eyes)
It’s actually amazing that the album starts out like this. It’s the most apt introduction to what the rest of the album is going to be. The lyrics make no artistic or literal sense, and it’s clear that whoever is writing the words is deeply struggling for loose rhymes that sound like they may be intentionally deep. They’re not. But what else is new for Rage Against the Machine, Public Enemy, or Cypress Hill?
TRACK 2: Unfuck the World
No Hatred / Fuck Racists / Blank Faces / Time’s Changin’ / One Nation / Unification / The Vibration / Unfuck the World!
There are so many good lines in this track, but the desperate attempt for the chorus to become a chant reminiscent of Green Day‘s “No Trump, No KKK, No Fascist USA” is palpable. This is Black Eyed Peas level cringe.
TRACK 3: Legalize Me
Yo, where those candles lit / Teenagers blown to bits / I’m filling radio with hits / Prime nights at the Ritz
I’ll be honest, it was refreshing to find out this song wasn’t about illegal immigration. But it was distressing when I couldn’t fathom what else it could possibly be about. I don’t know. You tell me. Weed, maybe?
TRACK 4: Living on the 110
Living on the 110 / There’s no end to the poverty, stopping me / You pretend there’s democracy, hypocrisy / This is the reality / Living on the 110 / There’s no end to the poverty, stopping me / You depend on democracy, hypocrisy / This is the reality
OK–finally we get a song with a defined purpose. The 110 is a California highway with lots of tent cities. Got it. Tom Morello said that everyone is rich and the tent city people are the ones suffering. Because Tom Morello lives in a world of grandstanding black & white. Sorry, Tom. You’re the elite. You’re sucking Trevor Noah’s cock while LA’s Democratic gov’t does nothing for homelessness. You do have democracy, Tom. But you depend on hypocrisy. Oh, shit. I should be Chuck D.
TRACK 5: The Counteroffensive
[Scattered Vocals Amongst Record Scratching] / Counteroffensive / Counteroffensive / Prophets of Rage / Counteroffensive / Prophets of Rage
Um…let’s call this one an “intermission”? Oof…
TRACK 6: Hail to the Chief
All Hail to the chief who came in the name of a Thief to cease Peace / He’ll be comin’ round that mountain / All Hail to the chief who came in the name of Thief to cease Peace / And he didn’t even run
It’s becoming more and more clear that this album was either written in 2003 and released today, or that it was written and recorded last weekend. Title makes it sound like it would be the album’s big ANTI-TRUMP song…but I’m not even sure what this is. Lots of cowboy references. I honestly don’t get it; nor do I see why anyone else would.
TRACK 7: Take Me Higher
Drones! / They got ya tapped, they got ya phone / Look out! / Drones! / They got ya trapped, they spot ya home / Cuz you’re a target! / Drones gonna take you out / Drones gonna shut yo mouth / Drones flyin’ checkin’ ya’ll out / Drones in the hood like ‘wow’
So far, that’s two songs in a row with titles that other artists performed much more competently. This one…this one was a doozy. I have to believe this is the last song they wrote. Tom Morello said “We need 12 tracks! We have 11!” to which Chuck D replied, “So what, man? I’m tired of writin’.” To which Cypress Hill responded, “What about just yelling DRONEZ?” And the rest is history. Seriously, though. This track is a fucking embarrassment to rap, rock, and rap-rock.
TRACK 8: Strength in Numbers
Standing on a rock / Staring at the cop / With the [?] / While you wanna hit the fucking blunt / We don’t want no pipeline / Injustice of a lifetime / Brothers turn away / Like they don’t see us spend a lifeline / High crimes / Does it make you wonder? / Stand together / Because there’s strength in numbers
Even the hardcore dedicated fans who scribe and dissect these awful lyrics have given up trying to figure this shit out. This is a mishmash of references to Left Wing causes randomly assorted with zero context. “Standing on a rock”? May be a throwaway allusion to the Standing Rock protest? Who’s to say? There has to be someone literate in this “super-group.” Right?
TRACK 9: Fired a Shot
Look who fired the shot / I just fired the shot / We fired the shot / Look who fired the shot / Look who fired the shot / I just fired the shot / We fired the shot / Look who fired the shot
Everyone in this “super group” has Down Syndrome. They should’ve called it Prophets of the Syndrome and gave all the proceeds to some kind of charity that takes WEED away from these water-heads.
TRACK 10: Who Owns Who
Know your rights but you should understand / Who owns who / Systematic breakdown / Know your rights but you should understand / Who owns who / We fuckin’ matter
I think this song is about immigrants crossing the borders, having sex with American women, burning the American flag, and then whining about how they own the streets and matter to the country. I disagree.
TRACK 11: Hands Up
Hands up x3 / Had enough x3 / What the fuck?
I truly hope you’re starting to sense a theme here, and I think if you’re playing along at home, you too could write a Prophets of Rage song (or really any Rage Against the Machine song).
Pick a phrase that’s mildly provocative, but only enough to rile up a 13 year old. Repeat phrase with some familiar power-guitar riffs and some archaic record scratches that make you sound even more out-of-it than you ever could have done verbally. Done.
TRACK 12: Smashit
They say what the must to gain our trust / But once the ballot’s cast they forget about us / Standing on a mountain high above the downtrodden / They forgot about Michigan like all is magnificent
Well it was a long road, but we finally made it. Last track of the album. The only possibly respectful thing I could say about this album is that it clearly would have been exactly the same no matter who won the election; but that has very sinister undertones. Because while their political ideology isn’t swayed by Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, they aren’t swayed by reality at all.
It’s all just a ledger of causes their retarded fan-base can feel politically stimulated over. Does anyone believe that these wealthy hall-of-famers give a shit about “the downtrodden”? Are we supposed to believe that these has-been performers whose aging fans only respond to out of nostalgia have any real clue about the nature of the world outside of violent rhetoric and communist iconography?
If you liked this album, you may want to have your chromosomes checked.
My review: Zero out of Ten Hot Dogs. Fuck it.
We’ve all seen those atrocious virtue signaling Hillary Clinton Bandwagon “Hate Has No Home Here” signs, darkening the doorsteps of those desperate to say to their friends, neighbors and colleagues, “I don’t know about you, but I’M certainly not a racist.”
Like many other Democratic strategies, the HHNHH campaign was created by children and transformed into a money-making scheme by adults.
So why not get on board? I’ve developed a similar sign that you can feel free to print out and post for free, or click on the links to purchase a full-quality poster from our store. We encourage you to do so, as it does help us out financially in some small way…but we’d never put this gem behind a paywall.
Together, let’s get the word out that Virtue Signaling Has No Home Here.
In addition, we have another treat for you to combat the Antifa “Refuse Fascism/NO!” Campaign. This sticker/poster/insignia is an open-source campaign that we like to call, simply, “YES!”
Yesterday, a publicly funded organization called Monument Lab unveiled its latest Fall installment at Dilworth Park in Center City Philadelphia. The “monument” is an 800 lb. statue of an afro pick topped with a “Black Power” fist…because a slogan and symbol associated with African American terrorist groups like The Black Panthers is seen by the social justice left as an appropriate image to display outside of our City Hall & Municipal Building.
If Philly really wanted to send a message, they’d install a new statue of the first black Mayor of Philadelphia: Wilson Goode! That’ll show a history of pride and—oh wait, the MOVE bombings that they decided to blame on someone else…yikes on a bike.
But clearly, the right answer to “Monument Hysteria” is the force removal of statues dedicated to the men and women who fought for the country, established the constitution, and contributed to the stability of major parts of the nation…and replace them with black supremacist Afro Picks that conjure up nothing more powerful than a certain scene from Spaceballs.
The modern artist, Hank Willis Thomas is responsible for several other art installments highlighting similar themes from black cultural branding, black criminal demonization, and the “hands up don’t shoot” mythology.
To some, this installment has been seen as a ‘refreshing take’ on a part of the city’s history not expressly covered by the limitless black history and cultural murals scattered everywhere in the city.
To others, it’s an obvious gut response to the recent faux outrage over the continued presence of the statue of Philly’s former Mayor Frank Rizzo led by Councilwoman-at-Large and Babadook/Elisa Lam Ghoul stand-in, Helen Gym.
But it doesn’t stop there.
A few weeks prior, another publicly funded art project started up at the Municipal Services Building in Dilworth Park. This one seems more like an exercise in how distinctly anti-American and pro-Eastern culture we could force ourselves to be while still spending taxpayer money in a public space.
This installation is set to continue through the end of the year and is titled “Immigrant Alphabet.” It includes an A-Z of childish and insulting cultural amalgamations sponsored by the Islamic Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture. Puzzling panels like:
…and my personal favorite…
What does your city do with your money? Self-described social justice public installations served to shame and disorient the majority of Americans? Or maybe productive architectural and reconstructive efforts on sections that have been forgotten or left in disrepair?
But, hey…why bother trying to attain sustainable employment, improved educational institutions, and communities strengthened by families and order?
We’ve got a statue of a fucking comb.
Ask yourself a question. What moral authority do you have over your neighbor? If your answer is anything other than “None, whatsoever,” we have a serious problem on our hands. We live in an environment right now where large sections of our populous and governing bodies, regardless of intention, are both shameless and authoritarian. Shameless, through nature. Authoritarian, through nurture.
First, you need to know that your wholly unoriginal “hot take” on the very real and, for many, visceral issue of removing certain monuments and statues from the public eye is myopic at best and iconoclastic at worst.
There are two primary “hot takes” circulating amongst those with an outrageous and unfounded sense of moral superiority. The first being, “You lost, get over it. Losers don’t get statues.” This sentiment is very specific to monuments to the American Confederate Soldiers who lost an economic war during a time of political strife over the legality and moral corruption of slavery. Many of these statues simply honor the memory of the over 200,000 conscripted soldiers who fought for a cause they didn’t necessarily have any stake in whatsoever. Should these men, the history and legacy of an entire section of the now United States, not be remembered?
Don’t get it twisted. These are not Nazis. These are children and men who were handed guns and sent to die.
But let’s take “Losers don’t get statues” a step further. Which losers are we referring to? People who were killed while fighting a cause we now find morally questionable? People who were killed or conquered by American forces? Imagine if that were the case. Just for a second, think outside the bun and imagine a group–just ONE–who were destroyed or conquered throughout American History who we now honor the memory of with our monuments to history. Now imagine ripping them down.
The second “hot take” you’ll be familiar with is, “What do you need statues to remember history for? Can’t go to a museum? Can’t read a book?” This one is a little trickier; because clearly the simple answer is: You don’t need statues. They’re expensive, they’re largely obnoxious, and most of the time they’re actually kind of ugly. The same goes for murals.
(There’s a particularly hideous Bernie Sanders mural in South Philadelphia which would fit the categories of both “Loser” and “What do you need this for?” but, I digress…)
The fact remains, murals, statues and monuments are not only how we preserve and remember our cultural history, but how we ensure that it isn’t erased. A statue to an unknown Confederate soldier may, to practically everyone, stand for a victory over an game-changing dark age in American history. But it may also stand for young men who were both emboldened or conscripted to fight and die for a place they called their home, and a system they felt was tyrannical.
We burned the South to the ground. But then we rebuilt it. We wanted to remember, not erase.
While you snicker at those who correctly compare this new iconoclasm to the cultural tornado of ISIS and Al Qaeda, consider the implications of these actions. What does the removal of one group’s heritage from the public square say about the group who removed it? That they’re frightened? Weak? Intimidated by a historical comparisons? When you destroy or dismantle, or relocate something to the halls of a museum, you’re now putting it in a new historic context. Instead of “this is important to this place, and that’s why it is in this place” you’re saying “this needed to be destroyed or removed from its original place because…reasons.”
While the Left enjoys their culturally genocidal game of chicken, they forget that they won’t always be in the position they’re currently in: given free range to hurl tantrums while the would-be adults in the room cave to their demands. What happens when someone else gets to decide what’s allowed in the public square? Statues of Malcolm X? Statues of Lenin? Your only true respite is that the side that you claim to fight is not as keen on ripping shit down as you guys seem to be.
Lastly, you can scoff about the exhausted notion of the “slippery slope,” but it’s been validated with near metaphysical certitude on practically every occasion. It didn’t even take a whole 24-hours for the angry mob to move from memorials of the Confederacy to statues of former Presidents…to statues in memory of Philadelphia’s perhaps most venerated cop and mayor.
But, hey, it’s easy to call the other side “fascists” when you’re the ones destroying art, monuments and culture, right? Especially when the culture you’re destroying isn’t your own.
There is certainly a debate to be had on the subject of Confederate Memorial statues. There’s always a debate. But that debate should be had where they exist and should be of literally negative impact and concern to anyone outside of where they exist.
The fact that people in New York or LA have a say in how the Southern States remember their heritage and history is, frankly, mentally ill. It can not be understated how dangerous of a notion it is for one politically motivated group to decide what statues are allowed to remain.
It won’t stop at Robert E. Lee; because it was never even intended to stop at Robert E. Lee.
I’d like to say that violent protests and hyperbolic political discourse in the streets throughout our country was a new phenomenon; that our “Cheeto Dictator” President–or whatever–has inspired some insane reactionary hate movement.
Fortunately, despite what your illiterate Facebook friends may think, that’s not the case. But unfortunately, this kind of assault on western values, common sense and better judgement has been going on for quite some time. It’s been happening on college campuses, it’s taken over cities, shut down public spaces, and whether it’s White Supremacy, Radical Islamism, Faux-Marxist Revolutionaries, or a good ol’ fashioned Book Burning…fascism will gain ground where humanist and classical liberal values cease to exist.
So, in the spirit of Jeff Foxworthy (blessings and peace be upon him), here’s a short list of signs you just might be a real-life-honest-to-goodness Fascist.
Starting with the most important…
1. If you control the academic space enough to alter the definition of Fascism so it can’t possibly include you…you MIGHT be a Fascist.
Sites like Google have long controlled broad and mainstream access to information. We exist in a world where any question one could possibly ask is met with a ubiquitous, “Google it.”
Google has enveloped the educational space by pairing up with left-wing sites like Politifact and Snopes with the goal of providing users with faster access to their questions about news & politics. Seems reasonable enough, until you see the sinister side.
Originally when you Googled a definition for “Fascism,” you’d find this Dictionary.com result:
Pretty broad strokes, right? Flexible to include all suppressors of freedom? Well, in March 2016, seeing a rise in Populism against the Democratic agenda, Google decided to write their own definition:
After backlash against the company, they have since scrapped this definition and simply re-directed to Wikipedia.org which illustrates a more broad and historic context, despite flaws in its model.
Controlling the means to information is just as dangerous and controlling the information itself. You can re-write history to inflate and excuse any type of behavior. You can generate and dictate the language and use of words so that anyone falls into a category of oppression and dehumanization.
Imagine we passed a rule where American Nazis were no longer granted voting rights. If you identified as a member of a Nazi or White Supremacist group, you could no longer take part in American elections; and many would, perhaps cautiously at first, support this lunacy.
For a time, the 5,000 or so individuals who identify as White Supremacists would be alone in the removal of their Constitutional Rights. But then, who determines what classifies as “nazi”? Google? A politician? The foaming-at-the-mouth communist mob? Currently everyone from the President of the United States to Conservative TV pundits and academics are referred to as “nazis.”
Suddenly the rights of 5,000 skinheads turn into the rights of tens of millions of people.
SO…if your ‘team’ needs to control the narrative of science, history, and language in order to paint your opposition as an existential threat, you just may be a fascist.
2. If you create a movement for disenfranchised voters, then turn around and make it a race-centered authoritarian socialist ethno-state party…you may be a Fascist.
The dynamic of the Alt-Right has consistently been a confusing one. No one knows precisely how to define them, which is important to note because it implies divergency amongst their numbers. Mainstream media has made some attempts in the past to outline the dozen-or-so ideologies that make up members of the supposed “Alt-Right.”
Most of the time, media just gives up and uses buzzwords like “nazi group” and “white supremacists.” It’s easier that way, and nobody has to do any actual homework.
Last year, when everyone was trying to figure out what the Alt-Right really were they were free to kind of be whatever they wanted to be. They could be trolls, Internet hooligans, shit-posters, anti-SJWs, supporters of Donald Trump, and yes, even literal racists.
As it became clearer what the leaders of the movement, or at least the power-players, were really all about, the fracturing began, though the central belief in white nationalism socialism wasn’t essential to be part of the movement.
The media didn’t have to speculate. The Alt-Right became very open with their beliefs to anyone who willing to listen. The inconvenient truth was that their beliefs weren’t based on hate, but simply and authoritarian nationalism based on racial identity; and that was too much for the more libertarian conservatives to handle. And even though specific beliefs about race mixing were not required, it became the main focus of the organization.
However, the Alt-Right aren’t alone in their embrace of identity politics and victimization to shoehorn their radical ideology. There is also a growing force that believes strongly that a single party needs to rule consistently. This totalitarian ideology brings about the notion that only liberal progressive values must prevail at the expense of individual rights, free markets, culture and democracy.
Those who fight on behalf of this form of fascism are especially prone to violence, as we’ve seen all over the world. But we’ll get there next.
But let’s leave it at this: when you Trojan Horse identity politics and authoritarian national socialism into a movement people had convinced themselves was based on unique American Values, you might be a fascist.
3. When political violence exists in your tool-belt for silencing ideas your side finds offensive or ideologically harmful…you may be a Fascist.
It’s long been common knowledge that fascism’s first course of action is removing a population’s ability to defend themselves. For some, that means the right to bear arms, for others it means the right to have safe spaces where objectionable language is not permitted. Let’s put aside firearms and private “safe” spaces for a moment and focus on a more direct and visceral human value: speech.
We’ve touched on the academic aspects of redefining terms, but there are other core authoritarian issues that fly under the radar as well; revisionist history, erasure of cultural and historical elements that tie individuals to an identity, ethnicity or period of time. Toppling statues, destroying memorials, and creating a general fear for one’s safety or livelihood should they be guilty of the wrong ideas are all aspects of a Fascist authoritarian system, most closely tied to either Radical Islam or the supposedly Anti-Fascist Left.
Lately, Islam and Antifa have been becoming closer bedfellows in both support and behavior. The populous has been gaslighted by special interest groups, self-proclaimed social justice advocates, and even western politicians to believe that they must support radical fascist ideologies in the spirit of protecting the “little guy,” never stopping to wonder if this authoritarian cultural mindset is an ideal match for a nation that values free speech and diversity of thought.
But neither group supports either of these western social values, so they get along swimmingly. It will certainly be a shame when Islamo-fascism comes to impede the values of the Left, while they proceed to self-censor, de-platform themselves, support killers, and wrap each other in prohibitive clothing…it will certainly call to mind other cultures who welcomed fascist occupation with open arms.
If you’re using violence and threats of violent destruction as a means of keeping individuals from working, living comfortably, or sharing their ideas peacefully; when part of your belief system is that speech and ideas of any kind are tantamount to violence…you are a fascist.
That’s it for today, folks! See ya next time!
The chronicles of our trip to Enid, OK / Fly Film Festival, Auto Shop and lap Alfredo / A Song of Fire and Fire with Game of Thrones / American Airlines finally gets us home / Roxborough Night Market / A Festival of Alt-Lights / We are men, not Nazis / Tragedy in Charlottesville / Funktaculis lives
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