December 17, 2012

do the fakers drop out

Joy Feasley, You Made Me Very Happy, 2008

* From Harper's January 2013:

-- Percentage of public U.S. colleges and universities whose tuition has increased by more than half in the past five years: 15

-- Percentage of U.S. girl who are Girl Scouts: 8

-- Of female senators who are: 70

-- Cost of a pair of "all-American" blue jeans designed by Glenn Beck: $129.99

-- Minutes the average U.S. worker must work to pay for 12 ounces of beer: 3.3

-- The average Indian worker: 36

* Magnet interviews Chuck Prophet. excerpt:

Q: How many of the characters in the songs are real? I recognized a lot of the places, or have found out about them after hearing the songs, but how much are the people in there actual people of San Francisco?

CP: We kind of leaned a little more toward the mythological side of things, but, I mean, Willie Mays is very real. There’s also a whole host of characters on the record, from the Mitchell Brothers to Redman to Jim Jones—a lot of people who probably wouldn’t be caught dead with Willie Mays, or Willie Mays probably wouldn’t be caught dead with them. We knew he was going to be on the record somehow, and he’s a very real person, and he’s sort of the hero of the record. He’s a kinda quiet guy, and he’s a man of substance and stood up to racism. There’s probably a lot of thick books written about him, but all we knew about him is that he always swung for the fence.

Q: The reason I ask is I read an interview from January, where you’d said, “I’ll always take the myth over the truth.” When you’re writing creatively, that’s always kind of what you’re doing, shaping the truth or the memory, but do you see mythmaking as part of your goal in writing these songs?

CP: No. Well, if you’re lucky, sure. I’m trying to think of the guy from the Silver Jews (David Berman). He has an expression that somebody told me. He calls it “Google Pure.” If you can Google something and not find it, and it doesn’t come up anywhere, he calls it “Google Pure.” A lot about this record is sort of “Wikipedia Pure.” We didn’t really know. We were definitely in a woodshed when we wrote the songs, in the sense that we didn’t have any Internet. Even a song like “Castro Halloween,” that we snuck out about the parade that happens really only a couple blocks from my apartment every year, I thought two people were killed, but it turns out that really two people were shot and nine people were injured. The first line of the song is “When the shots rang out/And two men died,” so somebody corrected me, like, “Actually, Chuck, you know, nobody died.” Spoilsports.

* Lego versions of classic photographs.

* "The misfortune of ethics: because it knows everything better, it learns nothing." -- Elias Canetti


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