Monday, June 29, 2015

Justice Roberts Got It Wrong in His Dissent on Gay Marriage

Damn straight (or gay) - pun intended! Just when I thought my country was staying a little off track, we find a way to get it right in a big way. We elected the first African American president way before most thought possible and now - better late than never - we have the audacity to give the Gay Community its American, unalienable right to - above all things - its pursuit of happiness.

An excerpt of Justice Roberts’ dissent, while seemingly and genuinely thoughtful and praising of the Gay Rights Movement, goes to the heart of how misunderstood the concept of equality is even among very, very smart people.

He writes: “Today, however, the Court takes the extraordinary step of ordering every State to license and recognize same-sex marriage. Many people will rejoice at this decision, and I begrudge none their celebration. But for those who believe in a government of laws, not of men, the majority’s approach is deeply disheartening. Supporters of same-sex marriage have achieved considerable success persuading their fellow citizens—through the democratic process—to adopt their view. That ends today. Five lawyers have closed the debate and enacted their own vision of marriage as a matter of constitutional law. Stealing this issue from the people will for many cast a cloud over same-sex marriage, making a dramatic social change that much more difficult to accept.”

What Roberts fails to understand, at least in this excerpt, is that same-sex supporters should not be under any obligation to persuade their “fellow citizens – through the democratic process – to adopt their view.” This was an unnecessary evil because we lived in a society where some people think its okay to impose their belief system and their idea of marriage onto everyone else – a mixture of ignorance or arrogance. What the ruling does, in essence, is do away with this additional requirement the Gay Community had to endure just to “earn” the same right everyone else already has.

Roberts seems to suggest this somehow hijacks or undermines the same-sex movement’s fight – not realizing that there shouldn’t be a fight in the first place! And to his point that this will “cast a cloud over same-sex marriage,” I would ask, “More than the one that already exists?” I think we can let the Gay Community speak to their plight.

Roberts seems to suggest that the onus is on the movement to help those who oppose gave marriage see the light. But here’s the thing: “social change” simply can’t wait on consensus or acceptance. It’s righting a societal wrong. And if that means passing a far-reaching law to force the change, so be it. If we waited on consensus for social change, that tall Black, Ivy League kid named Barack might still be having to take a sip from a different water fountain, sit in the back of the bus, or eat in a designated area. And he sure as hell would not be running our country and lighting the White House red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple tonight.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Weekly Music Recommendation: Los Hacheros

This New York salsa band's "Pilon" 2012 debut went largely unnoticed, probably because another salsa record from New York is about as exciting as another country record from Nashville. In other words, not very. But thanks to their video for "Papote's Guajira" going viral, they're getting a second chance to make a first impression. Vintage-sounding salsa seemingly cut from the same cloth as Fania Record's (sort of like salsa's response to Motown Records)greatest artists has rarely sounded this fresh.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Weekly Music Recommendation: Avid Dancer

Dude ditches Jesus (sorta), smokes lots of weed, and finds sonic salvation by blending organ-laden psychedelic pop with muscular, guitar crunch-injected glam rock. Topped with sunny, dreamy vocals, this former Marine's debut sounds familiar yet surprisingly fresh - perhaps an unintended, albeit welcome, consequence of his limited exposure to music during his strict Christian, formative years.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Weekly Music Recommendation: "Sugar Chile" Robinson

You gotta see him to believe it. And even then, you may not believe this boogie-woogie piano virtuoso and blues singer could do what he did at the age of 8. He even played for President Truman before hitting double digits, and "retired" shortly after to pursue an education.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Weekly Music Recommendation: First Aid Kit

These Swedish folk sisters are the sirens in the Odyssey playing in my head. Their wispy, but potent voices harmonize perfectly over their acoustic Americana guitars to create one powerful, ethereal instrument. It's a sibling "reverbary" we can all cheer on.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Weekly Music Recommendation: La Femme

Perfect pop confection from Biarritz, France. Unapologetic upbeat synthesizer music seemingly right out of the one-hit-wonderful, golden ‘80s, but with dark, dizzying, unexpected turns that keep you on your toes while you dance away solo like a total freakazoid.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Music Saves: Frances Eby's Morrissey Covers

Marriage is about compromise. Lucky for me, my wife is just about perfect, so this part comes easy. But there is a but - a huge, big but. She's not exactly fond of Morrissey. And as anyone who loves Morrissey can attest, or even those who have witnessed us Morrissey diehards at his concerts, this is no good. To us few, fond of the Moz, his awesomeness isn't a matter of opinion. It's not up for discussion. Moz's awesomeness is an empirical fact, supported by just about every song in his repertoire going back to when he was with The Smiths. All of this is to say: my lovely wife, sweet love of my life, wonderful mother of our children, is simply flat out wrong. Over the years, I've been spectacularly unsuccessful in getting her to hear it my way. So sadly, Morrissey only comes on through my headphones or when I'm driving solo or with just the kids. They're early converts, by the way, my sweat, beautiful, little, well- musically calibrated offspring. That said, we had somewhat of a breakthrough a few years ago. You see, both of us - having attended and met at the University of South Carolina - are fond of Hootie and the Blowfish (please, now is not the time to judge). Turns out, Hootie nails a cover of The Smith's "Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want." Please take a second to appreciate the irony in the song title. And, bless her little South Carolina-educated heart, my wife loves the cover. So here's where the compromise part comes in: She's okay with Morrissey songs, as long as he's not the one singing them. Fair enough. I can work with that. So this past weekend, I went on a hunt for Morrissey covers. Downloaded a few on iTunes. But I couldn't find a good cover of one of my favorite Moz songs, "My Love Life," until I found Frances Eby on YouTube. Not only did I love her many Morrissey covers, but I loved that she completely surprised me. Truth be told, I was simply not expecting her to be this damn good. Enjoy.