Good Reviews: “Common Ground: Brenda Stevenson’s ‘The Contested Murder of Latasha Harlins'”

As a blog person, I do my best to profit secondarily from brilliant friends. Rachel Monroe is one of these, and, lucky for you, she just wrote a cool piece about a cool book about American violence (et cetera) for the Los Angeles Review of Books. Stop looking out the windows! Stop checking Instagram! Go read!


Weekend Beats: “Miss You”

By the late 1970s the musical residue of the late 1960s had become troublesome ground, given the passage of time’s ability to turn the cool into the passé as well as the rise of genres that challenged first-wave rock’s popular ascendance, some of them enduring (punk) and others (disco) not so much. To be honest, postwar rock had taken some gross turns, like prog.  And the musically abetted idealism of “The Sixties” hadn’t done much in terms of, you know, preventing Nixon or a terrible recession. And a lot of great postwar bands were gone (the Beatles), close to disintegrating (Zeppelin), or on the early slopes of a long decline (the Kinks). And really, the Sixties in general *did* suck (ewww, Baby Boomers as young people are even worse than Boomers as anything else).

The Rolling Stones endured these winds with their standard vulgar genius, so different from the Beatles’ awkwardly self-conscious, cerebral magic. In 1978, as the Clash exploded toward London Calling (1979), the Stones dropped Some Girls. You’ve heard the lead song from this honky-tonk scumbag-disco masterpiece a thousand times, but I’ll bet “Miss You” still feels as urgently dirty as it did the first time you heard it bump. What’s a matter, man? We’re gonna come round at 12 with some Puerto Rican girls that’s just dyyyyyyin to meet you.

Picking the best RS albums is like picking the best Shakespeare, as in about fifty percent of the work they did in their prime could legitimately be called their “best.” On the other hand, this album clears most of the decks: Some Girls is their second-best album, after Sticky Fingers, and I will fight anyone who says otherwise, which is probably, like, eighty percent of Stones fans, given the above-noted reality of all those classics.

Cash Flows (in the classroom)

Oh, hi there. Here is a dispatch from the Department of “When Teachers Talk About the Pay, They Aren’t Being Greedy, Just Honest About a Destructive Institutional Reality,” in conjunction with the Foundation for the Seemingly Obvious Fact that Treating Highly Skilled People Well Makes Them Even More Productive, with editorial assistance from the Council on DUUUUUURRRR, Ya Think?

Sometimes a situation gets so dire, you cite something Dave Eggers wrote in 2011.