Can we talk about this Chelsea Clinton headline in WaPo?

Chelsea Clinton during her R-rated comedy tour “Blue State”

Chelsea Clinton was a featured guest at Variety’s Power of Women Luncheon in New York on Friday. Presumably, she reminded the women in attendance that they could do anything they set their minds to if they worked hard, stood up for their beliefs, and were the daughters of former US presidents. Let us not pretend that C. Clinton has achieved anything. There is nothing wrong with her, but she’s not inspiring. She’s a child of privilege who has held various sinecures. Normally I wouldn’t be a jerk about that, but she’s been all over the news lately, sometimes with rumors she will run for Congress. Let’s not do that, you guys. Let’s not make nepotism a more powerful force in American politics than it already is. And above all, let us not pretend that Chelsea Clinton has been persecuted or otherwise treated unfairly. I direct you to this headline in the Washington Post: An SNL star made an awkward Hillary joke at a luncheon. Chelsea Clinton went high. Props to Stubble for the link. It captures at least three bad narratives currently at large in American public discourse. Close reading after the jump.

Continue reading

A calm and reasoned explanation of why I dislike Ke$ha


Regular readers of Combat! blog know that I do not like Ke$ha. For sheer use in lists and arbitrary examples, you could make a textually-supported argument that I like Ke$ha less than virtually all other pop culture phenomena. I dislike her music. I dislike her persona. I especially dislike what she represents about the music industry and, to a lesser extent, music journalism. Last week, on Grantland, the otherwise respectable Steven Hyden remarked that he is glad pop music critics like Ke$ha’s new album, Warrior. He cited Simon Reynolds’s favorable review at the New York Times. His argument was so compelling that I listened to “Crazy Kids” from Warrior. It did not make me like Ke$ha. Instead, it focused my Ke$ha-hating into a powerful laser, which I then passed through the prism of my liberal arts education to separate into its two components:

  1. I dislike her horrible rap-singing voice.
  2. Her “garbage chic” ethos appeals to narcissism in order to draw a false equivalence between hedonism and transgression, encouraging the listener to believe that going out is an act of self-expression—one of the most pernicious lies of contemporary culture.

Item (1) is a matter of personal taste. Discussion of item (2) after the jump.

Continue reading