Posts Tagged milton friedman

2014 In Review: Year of The Metal Subgenre

69_photoA near tsunami of new metal bands came to the forefront of the American music scene in 2014.  After Obama signed the controversial law in 2013 that outlawed country music, boy bands and songs by coke addicted former Mouseketeers, metal began to take off as the most popular form of musical expression in the land.

A wave of new bands brought in a flood of popular subgenres.  After all, how can you possibly catch the attention of an audience numbed into a near coma by a never-ending stream of cute kitten pictures on their computer without some sort of hook?

Years back, a number of metal bands figured out that by coming up with new subgenres you can effectively con the audience into the belief that they are experiencing something totally state-of-the-art.  This was a brilliant assessment, because truthfully, there are only so many ways you can cook an egg.  If you take the story out of metal, it’s mostly just a bunch of sweaty, badly dressed people making loud noises for a bunch of sweaty, badly dressed people who are apoplectically staring into The Nothing.

Honestly, how different is one three and a half minute thrash song from another?  Is technical death metal really all that unique in comparison to, say, regular old garden-variety death metal?  Thus, God created the subgenre and gave us a way to turn tiny, obscure distinctions into whole schools of thought and belief.  One man’s doom is another man’s sludge, as the old saying goes.  Or something.

When the next civilization digs through the rubble a thousand years from now and finds all the 2014 issues of Metal Maniacs it will be clear, this was The Year of The Metal Subgenre.  So, it is with great pleasure that I present to you the best new subgenres created in 2014 along with the band that best represents that style.

New Wave of Soviet Socialist Metal (NWOSSM or NWOCCCP)

When I think about 1980’s power metal, my mind often drifts to the Soviets.  Many people would argue that very little great creativity came out of Russia and its satellite states in the 80’s.  Clearly those people haven’t heard some of the early albums by Lenin’s Tomb or Khrushchev’s Shoe.  As young Russians look back on the glorious days of bureaucratic inefficiency that marked the end of the Soviet Empire, many of them have started playing the music that dominated that era.

Best Band:  Iron Curtain

Unblackened Yachtcore

This quirky fusion between the raw, earthy tones of Christian black metal and 1970 and 80’s soft rock caught fire in 2014.  Many music aficionados were looking for a way to reconcile their passion for the music of Michael McDonald and the songs of Darkthrone.  This cutting edge subgenre gave them the perfect combination.  Lyrically, it blends elegant prose from the New Testament with poignant stories about the dreams and inner longings of Yuppies.

Best Band:  Captain Trips and Tenille

Proto Originalist Doom

Who would have believed that doom metal could possibly be blended with the text of Supreme Court decisions written by Antonin Scalia in order to create a new style of music?  Dark, heavy, Sabbath inspired guitar riffs are used here to celebrate the spirit of unbridled judicial restraint and the idea that just about every thought that was formulated after 1787 is entirely worthless.

Best Band:  Woe vs. Wade

Post-Marxist Extremely Technical Progressive Rawlsian Eco Thrash (PMETPRET)

More of a social movement than a style of music, PMETPRET bands have attempted to use technical death metal as a tool of creating social justice and encouraging recycling.

Best Band: Fates Warming

Anatomical Glam Grindslam

Grindcore was a dying subgenre until it caught an infusion of hair metal earlier this year.  Something about the idea of putting together the catchy, party rock stylings of bands like Poison and Cinderella with the fierce brutality of early Carcass and The County Medical Examiners struck a chord with the American public.

Best Band:  Twisted Blister  

New York City Viking Hardcore (NYHVC)As most Americans know, a Viking gang crime wave hit New York City in early 2014.  Alienated young teens joined Viking gangs in droves and pillaged many of the stores and homes that were not guarded by people with assault rifles and high capacity magazines.  NYHVC has become a way of expressing their rage at our dysfunctional social order.

Best Band:  Freyahazard

Heideggerian Ontological Powerviolence (HOP) 

If you are like most Americans, you feel deeply offended that you grew up in a culture that has been thoroughly shaped by Cartesian Dualism.   You also probably wonder how you can best disclose being-in-the-world as a whole.  And you probably own at least the first four Spazz albums (the ones they did before they sold out).  It is not a coincidence that HOP music caught on overnight and became the top selling subgenre in metal in 2014.

Best Band:  Being-Toward-Death-Angel

Old School Hebraic Nu-Metal

The most surprising comeback in 2014 was the resurgence of Nu-Metal, only this time instead of “borrowing” style and imagery associated with African American culture these musicians began stealing traditional Jewish themes.

Best Band:  Limp Brizkit

Symphonic Free Market Hayekia’N’Roll

In an attempt to connect with younger, hipper Americans, The Heritage Foundation, in conjunction with the Koch Brothers, have spent over 30 billion dollars creating melodic death metal records in order to spread the message of free market intellectual titans like Milton Friedman and the guy who invented the chicken sandwich.

Best Band:  Children of Serfdom

 

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Metallica Names Former Ethiopian Emperor Halie Selassie As New Bass Player

Ending weeks of speculation, Metallica has chosen former Ethiopian Emperor Halie Selassie as their new bass player.  The search began back in 2011 when bassist extraordinaire Robert Trujillo left the band after being named US Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan.  The band had auditioned over 30,000 potential bass players before finally settling yesterday on Selassie.  Selassie, who died in 1975, was known for shepherding his nation through a war with Italy and years of internal strife as well as being a member of Ethiopia’s top Metallica cover band “Purify”.

Selassie remains a controversial figure in the metal community since he ordered Metallica to stop using chemical weapons against Megadeth back in 2009.  He has always been wildly popular among large sections of the Rastafarian metal community, but is universally despised by most Italian Fascist metalheads.  Selassie is perhaps best known for his speech in 1936 in front of the League of Nations where he argued that Iron Maiden, not Manowar, should be considered the rightful Kings of Metal.

Selassie will begin his tenure in Metallica next month when the band gets to work on recording its next album “Exile in Ponyland”.  The new record, due to come out sometime in late 2013, is a concept album that is based on both the popular My Little Pony toy series and Dante’s Inferno.  The album’s story will focus on the travels of Starlight and Bright Eyes Pony as they journey through the darkest regions of hell.  On their journey, they meet and befriend several lovable, unforgettable characters that are suffering eternal damnation.

Unlike some previous Metallica bassists, Selassie will be a major part of the songwriting process.  He has an impeccable reputation throughout the music industry as a top-flight songwriter and has even scored Top 40 hits in the 1970s with the song  “Devil Went Down To Georgia”, performed by The Charlie Daniels Band, and in the 1990s with the song “Crossroads”, recorded by Bone Thugs’n’Harmony.

Many different bass players applied for the job, including several well-known names.  Veteran actor Burt Reynolds was initially considered a shoe-in for the job, but fell out of contention last month when he and guitarist Dom DeLuise joined Corrosion of Conformity.  Former Pittsburgh Steeler coach Bill Cowher, 19th century philosopher John Stuart Mill and Nobel Prize winning economist Milton Friedman were all leading candidates for the position, but Selassie was able to win out due to his leadership and vision for the future of the band.

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Honest Validation of Unfair Cheese: Slayer and The Perils Of Free-Market Fanaticism

In Slayer’s song Blood Red, singer Tom Araya bellows forth a challenging and powerful lyric that cuts to the core of today’s debate between a managed, centralized economy and a free market system where the “invisible hand” balances the wants and needs of the consumer against the production capabilities of the market.  When he shrieks “Honest validation of unfair cheese” at the 41 second mark of the song, it is clear that he is undercutting a basic free-market premise posited by thinkers the likes of Milton Friedman and Frederick Hayek.  The words are enlightening and deeply meaningful, particularly for an electorate on the cusp of deciding what sort of financial decisions it plans to make as it marches forward into a new millennium.

In order to understand the meaning behind Araya’s lyric, it is first critical that we understand the meaning of “unfair cheese”.  Nothing is more disappointing to a lover of cheese than when, upon returning from the supermarket, a shopper finds moldy, poorly preserved cheese in their bag.  Who is supposed to ensure the consumer is safe from a flood of this “unfair cheese”?  If the supermarket is left to its own devices, it might well sell all the out of date cheese it could possibly get away with.  After all, as Buddy Holly said in his 1981 hit song “Who is watching the detectives?”  In this case, maybe we need someone to even watch the people who are watching the detectives.  Or, it is possible we may need to hire detectives to watch the detectives who are watching the detectives.

Back to the cheese thing.  If it weren’t for the Better Food and Cheese Act of 1938, under the esteemed and underappreciated Presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt, humans would be consuming pounds upon pounds of rotting, vile cheese.  The Act empowered the police to arrest and jail any store clerk found selling “unfair cheese” for a period no less than five years in prison.  Higher quality cheeses began to appear.  Productivity flourished.  It was during this period that Gorgonzola cheese was first produced in a laboratory.  It was originally meant to be used as a weapon against the Soviet Union, but later it became appreciated for its velvety texture and tangy flavor.  In the preceding two hundred years, America’s cheese growers had not produced as much as a single new breed of cheese.

So, when Araya asks for “honest validation of unfair cheese”, he’s really questioning whether a purely free market can produce the quality goods needed in a modern economy.  Sure, it’d be nice to believe that the market is such a perfect force that can correct itself and keep the desires of its members in line, but it’s this sort of utopian thinking that caused the Great Wall of China to fall in 1990.

We cannot simply rely on market forces to purify the market.  Human nature tells us that humans, in a perfect state of nature, will do some really unnatural things.  In short, only a neutral arbitrator with no stake in the outcome can possibly make decisions that protect the consumer.

Only when the positions of these regulators are depoliticized and not influenced by corporations or individuals with expensive cars will we truly see an “honest validation of unfair cheese”.  Only then will children of all races and all creeds, of all nationalities and all socio-economic backgrounds, of all hair styles and all blood types be able to sit down at the table of friendship together and eat the same safe and healthy cheese.  Only then will we truly be free.

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Free Market Anatomy

The Silent Majority

Right Lung, you work hard everyday to move oxygen into the blood stream.  I often find myself thinking that right lungs are the hardest working organs in the body.  What you do is a thankless job.   You are one of the good, hardworking organs.  Many of the other “piker” organs like the liver, the pancreas and the embarrassingly lazy appendix spend their days lollygagging around and benefiting from all the sweat and toil you put in.  They reap the same benefits as you for one tenth of the work.  Now I ask you, is that fair?

What do you get for all your labor….nothing.  Bossed around all day by the Brain.  Sure, the Brain sits up there enjoying the good life while you pump oxygen 24 hours a day without a break.  Only like 10 percent of the Brain even does anything, Lung.  But it feels entitled to tell you what to do?  Who gives it the right?  The Brain thinks it knows everything, but let it spend ten minutes trying to convert angiotensin I to angiotensin II.  Puh-lease!

The Brain wastes all this time consulting with different useless departments like the cerebellum, the parietal lobe and the frontal lobe all the while using the precious oxygen that you generously provide it with.  Sipping coffee and making policy decisions while you pump away.  Enforcing its sadistic code of anatomical correctness.  They redistribute your oxygen to every organ regardless of how hard they work and you get nothing but the short end of the trachea.  What is your reward for all of your effort?  Nothing but lectures on how you should produce more oxygen just because the body is running or underwater.  You go underappreciated while the other organs bask in the rewards of your effort.

Right Lung, I want you to know that there is another way to live.  I’m not sure if you are aware of this but the body is essentially a communistic system.  All the organs benefit equally, no matter how important their contribution is.  What is your incentive to work harder than say, the Left Lung?

As we all know, human nature clearly shows us that we can only be happy if we are pitted against each other in bloodthirsty competition for control of all of the vital resources of the body.  Cooperation between the organs has left the lazy viscera sitting pretty while the diligent, enterprising ones do all the work. Instead of allowing this madness to continue, I propose we move towards an “every organ for itself” system.

If one lung produces oxygen really well, I say why punish it for being good at its job?  It should be allowed to keep as much of the oxygen as it makes.  This way all of the weaker organs will die off and the strong ones will be left to create a better body, without free-riding, parasitic entrails.  Let’s face it, you will not be free until the body stops coddling the slothful and the shiftless.

A truly free market anatomy promises each organ will be judged on its merit as an individual and not held back from producing and consuming anything it wants.  When the body stops forcing all of the organs to work together in some socialistic form of “harmony” and begins to compensate organs for what they contribute and no more, then, and only then will we be free.

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