Daily Archives: November 14, 2011

Recurring Feature: Herman Cain says more things that don’t make sense…

I neglected to include this gem in my previous piece on Herman Cain’s recent GQ interview:

CAIN:… I grew up in the South during the civil rights movement. The Democrats co-opted the credit for the Civil Rights Act of 1964. But if you go back and look at the history, a larger percentage of Republicans voted for that than did Democrats. But a Democrat president signed it, so they co-opted credit for having passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

This would make sense if you ignored history — just as Godfather’s Pizza would be the best in the country if you excluded pizzas from New York, Chicago, and California. Oh, and Domino’s, Little Caesars, Pizza Hut, and DiGiorno.

From the actual Congressional vote:

Of the 420 members who voted, 290 supported the civil rights bill and 130 opposed it. Republicans favored the bill 138 to 34; Democrats supported it 152-96. It is interesting to note that Democrats from northern states voted overwhelmingly for the bill, 141 to 4, while Democrats from southern states voted overwhelmingly against the bill, 92 to 11.

It is also disingenuous for Cain to compare the Republicans of the 1960s to the Tea-Party-co-opted far-right group of today. The Rockefeller Republicans are no more. Much of this was due to Richard Nixon’s “Southern Strategy” of 1968 — “efforts to use race as a wedge issue — on matters such as desegregation and busing — to appeal to white southern voters,” for which then-Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman actually apologized.

“By the ’70s and into the ’80s and ’90s, the Democratic Party solidified its gains in the African American community, and we Republicans did not effectively reach out,” Mehlman says in his prepared text. “Some Republicans gave up on winning the African American vote, looking the other way or trying to benefit politically from racial polarization. I am here today as the Republican chairman to tell you we were wrong.”

To borrow from the Godfather of Soul, the Godfather of Pizza insists on “talking loud and saying nothing.”

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Posted by on November 14, 2011 in Political Theatre


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It’s Official: Herman Cain Is a Jerk…

Presidential candidate Herman Cain apparently confused GQ with Maxim given his comments in a recent interview with the men’s magazine.

Chris Heath: What can you tell about a man by the type of pizza that he likes?

Herman Cain: [repeats the question aloud, then pauses for a long moment] The more toppings a man has on his pizza, I believe the more manly he is.

Chris Heath: Why is that?

Herman Cain: Because the more manly man is not afraid of abundance. [laughs]

Devin Gordon: Is that purely a meat question?

Herman Cain: A manly man don’t want it piled high with vegetables! He would call that a sissy pizza.

According to Cain, a manly man also hasn’t had a bowel movement since 1978. I might not question the motives of someone else who used the word “sissy” in the 21st Century but I’m less inclined to do so in Cain’s case, given his statements on gays.

(By the way, this Piers Morgan interview with Cain makes me smile wider than Marilyn in “Bus Stop.”)

Chris Heath: Why do you think that most black Americans traditionally vote Democrat?

Herman Cain: The reason is because many of them are discouraged to even consider an idea or a candidate that’s not Democrat. They are brainwashed to not consider an alternative idea if they perceive you as a Republican.

Chris Heath: Who’s doing the brainwashing?

Herman Cain: The Democrats.

If Democrats are capable of brainwashing on this scale, then how did they lose the House in 2010? Why haven’t they conquered Poland? Is Cain’s plan to woo the black vote to state that we are feeble-minded buffoons who Democrats have manipulated for almost 50 years? That makes as much sense as selecting “Move Bitch (Get Out the Way)” as your wedding song.

Could Cain consider for a moment that Republican policies — not just on civil rights but on social programs that would disproportionately impact minorities — might play some factor in the party’s inability to effectively reach black voters? Or perhaps blacks don’t enjoy ads like this:

Or this:

Once done insulting blacks, Cain stated that if fellow candidate Michele Bachmann was an ice-cream flavor, she’d be “tutti-frutti.” Classy.

Devin Gordon: Do you think that there is a greater tendency among the Muslim faith for … extremism?

Herman Cain: That would be a judgment call that I’m probably not qualified to make, because I can’t speak on behalf of the entire Muslim community. I have talked with Muslims that are peaceful Muslims. And I have had one very well known Muslim voice say to me directly that a majority of Muslims share the extremist views.

Chris Heath: A majority?

Herman Cain: Yes, a majority.

Devin Gordon: Do you think he’s right?

Herman Cain: Yes, because that’s his community. That’s his community. I can’t tell you his name, but he is a very prominent voice in the Muslim community, and he said that.

Chris Heath: I just find that hard to believe.

Herman Cain: I find it hard to believe.

Chris Heath: But you’re believing it?

Herman Cain: Yes, because of the respect that I have for this individual. Because when he told me this, he said he wouldn’t want to be quoted or identified as having said that.

Alan Richman: Are you talking about the Muslim community in America? Or the world?

Herman Cain: America. America.

This is the sort of thing that makes me wish Rachel Maddow was right and the Cain campaign is just a “performance art project.”

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Posted by on November 14, 2011 in Political Theatre


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Music Flashback: The Lingering Influence of Milli Vanilli…

Back in the late 1980s, when the world almost trusted Germany again, record producer Frank Farian discovered model/dancers Rob Pilatus and Fabrice Morvan in a Munich nightclub and decided to have them front his band Milli Vanilli.

Farian believed the actual singers on what became the “Girl You Know It’s True” album (a title that would prove to have certain dramatic irony) were not marketable. However, it’s hard to imagine them proving more of a laughingstock than Rob and Fab, who were ridiculed frequently for their curious dance moves and Whoopi Goldberg fright wigs.

Milli Vanilli won the 1990 Best New Artist Grammy, which was later revoked when it was revealed that the duo was a fraud. That always seemed curious to me because the actual music was legitimate. Why not give the Grammy to the poor schmuck singing for them?

Later that year, George Michael embraced the Milli Vanilli concept in his “Freedom ’90” video but this was the polar extreme of vanity. Michael was so attractive he felt burdened by it and refused to appear in the videos for his “Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1” album so that his music could stand on its own. The debut single, “Praying for Time,” was just white lyrics against a black background. I guess they decided to jazz things up for the follow-up.

Eddie Murphy in “Delirious” commented that all you had to do was “sing” but the MTV Generation had ensured that vocal talent alone was not sufficient if you had a face for radio rather than video. Live performances were now just extensions of the music video.

One of my favorite singers is Martha Wash, who had a memorable hit in the early 1980s — “It’s Raining Men” — as one half of The Weather Girls. The song has been covered multiple times but never equaled.

By the 1990s, the marketing geniuses also declared her appearance unacceptable. They were idiots for several reasons: One, Wash is a beautiful woman, but I concede that all that is subjective. However, the “marketable image” position implies that only heterosexual men are buying the records or watching the videos. Maybe people who look like Wash would appreciate seeing someone similar to themselves in a video rather than a model mindlessly voguing while mouthing the words. Unfortunately, C+C Music Factory went with the latter option when it released its video for 1990’s “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now).”

Wash sued to receive proper credit in the video. She later sued Black Box for pulling the same racket on the three songs for which she provided lead vocals — “Everybody Everybody” (I’ve left instructions for the song to be played at my funeral),”Strike It Up,” and “I Don’t Know Anybody Else.” Wash’s actions had a permanent impact on the industry, making it mandatory to properly identify the vocalists in a CD and video.

Burned so badly by all of this, I at first thought Sheryl Crow was a fraud when I saw her “All I Wanna Do” video in 1994. She seemed too cover girl attractive than the girl next door I envisioned in my head when listening to the song on the radio.

In some ways, the Milli Vanilli/Martha Wash controversies were a more innocent time when a record company wouldn’t dare simply present attractive but untalented performers and expect a gullible audience to willingly pay money for their awful music. The industry would soon get over that as evidenced by the careers of The Spice Girls and Britney Spears.

The Grammys had no problem giving Spears an award in 2005. Incidentally, I think the reason the audience is applauding in the above clip is because that’s the only way Spears would release their families.

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Posted by on November 14, 2011 in Pop Life, Social Commentary


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