We started out the week with Adam Stephanides returning to xxxholic. He read the whole thing and eh. Could have been worse.

In memory of Howard Zinn’s passing, I sneered at the graphic adaptation of his book.

I mocked the prevaricating title of The Mammoth Book of Best New Manga.

And doing her part to convince Suat that people really do write mean things about manga, Kinukitty dumped on the yaoi Madness.

Vom Marlowe does her part as well by not much liking Book of Friends.

And finally this week’s download features women in extreme metal.

Utilitarians Elsewhere
On Splice Today I join the long line of those who have sneered at Pauline Kael.

In other words, Kael uses “we” because there is no “we”; the point for her is always self-referential; her thesis is always, “I am right.” And that solipsism is, in turn, a function, not of rampant egotism, but of the categories she uses. As “Trash, Art, and the Movies” suggests, Kael is obsessed with what is art and what isn’t art and with the evil “businessmen” who muck up everything and make it “almost impossibly difficult for the artists to try anything new.” To read Pauline Kael, therefore, is to be confronted with a capitalism whose worst sin is making mediocre movies; with a bourgeois society the worst sin of which is enjoying those same mediocre films. Smack dab at the end of the 60s, Kael has nothing to say about Vietnam, or Lyndon Johnson, or civil rights, or any of the cataclysmic upheavals of her day. She manages to write a review of Godard’s La Chinoise in which she explicates Godard’s feelings about revolutionary youth but doesn’t tell us anything about her own position except, “Yep, I think Godard is really clever!”

On Madeloud I look back at the Rolling Stone Record Guide from 1993.

Still, if the Album Guide isn’t exactly useful as reference anymore, it retains sentimental and historical interest. Consider, in 1993:

– Nirvana was a decent band peddling a more pop-laden version of the “metal-edged punk” that typified Soundgarden and Soul Asylum. “At their best,” J.D. Considine says, Nirvana’s songs “typify the low-key passion of post-MTV youth.” Bleach (three-and-a-half stars) is faulted for relying on “metal riffage” as much as on “melodic invention,” while the poppier Nevermind gets four stars. Since Nirvana has not yet been named rock royalty, no one needs to trace its bloodline, and bands such as the Melvins and the Vaselines don’t exist.

On Splice Today I have a review of the latest in dubstep meets doom metal by Necro Deathmort.

On Madeloud I review the quite-good-but-unfortunately-named Scandinavian thrash band Rimfrost.

Also on Madeloud I review the latest slab of endless doom from Holland’s Bunkur.

Other Links

Tom Crippen has been writing some great super-hero pieces on TCJ.com this week, including this sad song for MODOK. Also, a great discussion of Ebony White.

Jessica Hopper’s takedown of Vampire Weekend is nicely done.

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