Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Saturday, February 28, 2021

rage against the rabbit
What with that unpleasant ear-tugging, I don’t blame rabbits for taking a stand against their exploitation by the magic industry.

But no, the above logo is not some sort of protest by the rabbit community. It is, in fact, the symbol for Rabbits Against Magic, a fledgling NYC rock band. I spied this clever-looking graphic in a subway car this week, and snapped a cameraphone photo of it; but that came out blurry, so I found this cleaner-looking substitute online. Glad I did.

Strictly for eyecandy purposes, you understand. From what I can judge of the band’s music, off of their home website and their inevitable MySpace page, I doubt they’re going to go anywhere. Plus, they’re in competition for that seemingly-original name, as “Rabbits Against Magic” is also a syndicated comic strip (not much better, quality-wise, than the band).

So my bet is that the band and/or the name goes under soon enough. But at least it’ll leave behind a good-looking artifact.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 02/28/2009 06:06pm
Category: Creative, New Yorkin', Pop Culture
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I don’t particularly care for “30 Rock” (too over-the-top farcical), but I did like the recent “Larry King” episode. Particularly the featured financial-crisis rants of character Tracy Jordan:

- “It will be the 1970s all over again. People will get mean, the streets won’t be safe, there’ll be graffiti everywhere and movies will only cost $3.”

- “What everyone needs to do is take a deep breath, calm down and prepare their bodies for the Thunderdome, because that is the new law.”

- “I would say the Disneyfication of New York is over. At midnight, your Lexus will turn into a pile of rats fighting over a human finger.”

In advising people to “freak the geek out” and pull their money out of banks, Tracy also notes that he’s hidden a ton of cash at various locations, including work.

Wow, this exactly parallels my predictions of how the Big Apple will fare as things start heading south socio-economically, especially the return of the ’70s hostility. It’s like I have a twin!

I really wish I could find videoclips of the above soundbites. Instead, all I’ve got is the Hulu link to the full ep. I’d particularly love to see that “freak the geek out” moment in a standalone.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 02/28/2009 05:08pm
Category: Business, Comedy, New Yorkin', TV
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The late crisis in American conservatism is finding a locus of blame in the White House — not at the current resident, but rather at the one who just left the Oval Office.

Specifically, the charge is that George W. Bush took from the Republican Party more than he gave back, with corrosive results. Thus the current conservative disowning of the W years. This brief assessment is telling:

While it was obvious that Bush failed to leave a model of governance for conservatives to follow, it was equally clear that there are competing visions for how Republicans can recover.

Because, as it happens, the same assessment was made of the Democrats in 2000, post-Bill Clinton:

The Clintons’ Democratic Party was great for the Clintons but disastrous for the Democratic Party: during the 1990s, they lost the House and the Senate and a ton of governorships and state legislatures, and eventually, with nothing else left to lose, they lost the presidency. Clinton’s heat left the party so parched for talent they had no successful governors to run for president and were forced to turn to a stiff hack weathervane senator in the hope they could so damage Bush they could drag their boy across the finishing line.

Are we starting to see a trend here? Quite possibly. I made note of this phenomenon two-and-a-half years ago, when the same dynamic took hold in New York with outgoing governor George Pataki and his State Republicans; New York is a credibly diverse-enough microcosm for the American body politic, so maybe the conclusions I came to then apply now:

So it was that both men had to build their political capital by simultaneously running under their party label while pulling away from its rank-and-file. That left personal success for a seeming standard-bearer at the top, but an ineffective shell of a party apparatus below.

On the darker side, this suggests the need to create something of a cult of personality to achieve ends. The primacy of the individual candidate over the old-style party machine has been fact for half a century, but do Pataki’s and Clinton’s examples highlight an uncomfortable outgrowth of that trend?

That both a Democrat and a Republican pulled the same trick suggests this mechanism has more to do with American political culture, than with a particular party’s orientation. Fascinating mechanics.

And now, with Bush employing the same slash-and-burn strategy on the Federal level, can we presume that Barack Obama similarly will be repudiated four/eight years from now? Is this the template for getting elected to the Presidency these days — use the party trappings, drain them for all they’re worth, and leave behind an empty, bankrupted husk? Furthermore, is this the only option the parties have to “gain” Executive branch power?

If anything, it suggests a complex interplay between ideology, party politics, and electoral mandate. Maybe a whole new balance of power on the national tier.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 02/28/2009 03:56pm
Category: History, New Yorkin', Politics
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