"Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)
Elliott and the friends with whom he recorded in middle school in Texas (photo courtesy of Dan Pickering)
1. Nancy Grace: People on pot shoot, stab and strangle each other.
It is now abundantly clear that Nancy Grace has never smoked, or known anyone who smoked marijuana. How do we know this? On her show this week, she hysterically ranted hat marijuana is highly addictive, and that it causes people to go on bloody killing sprees.
Her guest, Mason Tvert of the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), tried to inject some reason into the conversation, by pointing out that “marijuana’s addictive properties have been found to be actually pretty mild compared to alcohol and tobacco, and even caffeine.”
Grace interrupted him to say: “So you — you are admitting it is addictive.”
Oohhhhh, madame prosecutor! Gotcha!
When Tvert again tried to reason with her by saying that potsmokers are not so unlike people who might have a cocktail at the end of the day to unwind, she could not resist interrupting again. (Where are your manners, Nancy Grace? Honestly.)
“The reason I’m against legalization is that I’ve seen too many felonies — felonies,” she said. “I mean people on pot that shoot each other, that stab each other, that strangle each other, that kill whole families — wipe out a whole family.”
So, we’ve established that Nancy Grace views “Reefer Madness” as a Ken Burns documentary.
2. David Brooks: Poverty is not an economic problem.
David Brooks started his Friday column sounding somewhat annoyed: “Suddenly the whole world is talking about income inequality,” he wrote. How dare they? This is very irritating to David Brooks because it means that he has to patiently explain that income inequality is all poor people’s fault.
How? You might ask. Because poor people’s moral failings are the reason that they don’t make as much money as rich people do. If poor people would just marry better—like rich people, who have the good sense to marry other rich people— and if poor people would just stop getting born to the wrong parents, they would be a lot better off. That’s why raising the minimum wage will not help them. It’s a crazy idea to think that more money would somehow make poor people less poor.
That really is his argument in a nutshell. He spends more words on this absurd line of reasoning because, for some reason, the Times persists in giving this moron a lot of column inches.
3. Another great Republican idea: People should have to show ID to get food.
Republican determination to humiliate people for the crime of being simultaneously hungry and poor continued this week. Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana suggested that a photo ID be mandatory for food stamp recipients attempting to buy food. Otherwise: No food for you!
Nevermind that millions of low-income Americans have no photo ID, and can’t afford to buy one (as anyone who recently had to renew their driver’s license, passport, etc.. will attest–they cost money.) No, no, we must continue to deny food to the hungry, because they are con artists. Especially, those hungry children—they are the biggest con artists of them all. Don’t even get us started on hungry babies. Some of them are just pretending to be babies. They are actually grown ups.
Fraud is the way Republicans explain the increase in costs for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program which are roughly double what they were in 2008. It could not have anything to do with the fact that there is more poverty, and that people cannot even live on their low-wage Walmart and fast-food jobs. Reality check (thanks to ThinkProgress): “Food programs have the lowest fraud rates of any public program. At 1 percent, SNAP fraud rates pale in comparison to the rate of fraud in the farm assistance programs that conservatives like Vitter are attempting to shelter from cuts in the ongoing farm bill fight.”
4. Fox News Host says Americans don’t know their history—then proves it by not knowing her history.
On Wednesday during Fox News’ The Five, co-host Andrea Tantaros took Americans to task for not knowing their history. So true. What was ingenious was how she proceeded to demonstrate that. She could not have scripted it better.
Tantaros and her fellow panelists were lamenting a new report from the Heritage Foundation, which ranked the U.S. merely 12th in the world for economic freedom. Estonia beat us, Tantaros said, because they “actually know their history, and they study their history, and they study ours and what we’re doing here.”
Americans, by contrast, are lazy, ignorant and stupid.
“If you ask most people, they don’t even know why we left England,” Tantaros said. “They don’t even know why some guy in Boston got his head blown off because he tried to secretly raise the tax on tea. Most people don’t know that.”
It’s true, most Americans don’t know that. You know why they don’t know that? Because it didn’t happen, that’s why. Politifact did some thorough investigating to see what Tantaros was talking about, and said:
“Early American history experts were generally puzzled over what Tantaros was talking about and thought she might have mashed a few Revolutionary War-era stories together.”
It’s a charitable interpretation at best.
But what we do know is that no one secretly tried to raise the tax on tea. It was all out in the open, and part of what was called the Townshend Acts in 1767. And this Townshend fellow was neither in Boston, nor did he get his head blown off.
Read more here:
5. Ted Nugent demonstrates that he is insanely racist . . . again.
We’d attribute the NRA’s favorite rock ‘n’ roller’s most recent rant to a bad case of Cat Scratch Fever, but that would be an insult to cats. And no, we should not be surprised at anything Ted Nugent says anymore, but . . . well, he managed to up his already sky-high ante on vile, racist utterances in a recent op-ed for what Salon called that “batshit insane right-wing fever swamp of a site known as WorldNetDaily.”
The recent viral video of an African-American toddler cursing was like catnip to Nugent and his fellow bigots:
“Just when you think it can’t get any uglier, some street rat will slither out of the sewer and do something that shocks even the most hardened and calloused among us, me included.” He said the video showed “the continuing and unbroken cycle of street-rat savagery” and called the boy’s family “a bunch of gangster thugs, punks, degenerates and criminals.”
All this dysfunction is the fault of the War on Poverty and Democrats, of course, “the result of Fedzilla’s $16 trillion and 50-year-old so-called war on poverty, which created a cycle of dependency, destruction and culture rot for black America.”
The venom-spewing rocker works in Martin Luther King Day by saying that African-Americans have no business celebrating it. Instead, they must, “admit to the self-inflicted destructo-derby they are waging and begin to tell their liberal Democratic slave drivers to take a hike.”
Sorry. No joke for this one. Nugent is the joke.
6. Senator Bob Goodlatte’s jobs plan: Restrict abortion.
If you’re scratching your head over that heading, don’t worry. So are we. But the Senate Judiciary Committee Chair really made this absurd claim, in an attempt to defend his party for wasting precious time once again on legislation aimed at controlling women’s bodies, when there are obviously many more urgent things to attend to. Like job creation, or restoring unemployment benefits. Here’s his convoluted logic in action:
“Those of us in the majority support this (anti-abortion) legislation because it is the morally right thing to do, but it is also very very true that having a growing population and having new children brought into the world is not harmful to job creation. It very much promotes job creation for all the care and services and so on that need to be provided by a lot of people to raise children.”
You know what other things that are totally unrelated to jobs are “not harmful to job creation”? Lots of things. Random things. Jogging in place. Twiddling your thumbs. Being a pyromaniac. Actually, that last thing is good for job creation. More need for firefighters, then construction workers to rebuild the things that burned down.
May we humbly suggest that jobs might be good for job creation?
7. Louie Gohmert: Judges for same-sex marriage need plumbing lessons.
That cut-up of a Tea Partier from Texas, Rep. Louie Gohmert, was at it again this week when he criticized the homosexual-loving federal judges who keep ruling in favor of same-sex marriage.
It’s been a rough month for people who spend all their spare time worrying that people who love each other might be allowed to get legally married. This week one federal judge ruled Oklahoma’s ban on same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional. And a similar decision was handed down inUtah last month, but the Supreme Court has since put that ruling on hold.
Gohmert’s interpretation of those rulings: “‘Basically, we haven’t seen any biological evidence to support marriage being between a man and a woman,’” according to Roll Call. Then he quipped, “They need some basic plumbing lessons.”
Gohmert was joined by other Republican comedians, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and Iowa Rep. Steve King at a “Conversations With Conservatives” event hosted by the Heritage Foundation.
Care to venture a guess on the collective IQ of that panel?
8. Fox’s News’ Dr. (!!!) Keith Ablow: Being transgender is a myth!
Keith Ablow is a doctor, supposedly. A Fox News doctor.
So, one assumes he speaks with a certain calm authority, and has a passing familiarity with the many varieties of the human condition. This week, he felt the need to give his medical opinion on issues which affect the transgender community, first by denying that they exist.
“I don’t believe we have definitive data (although many psychiatrists with very impressive credentials, who seem to mean well, assert that we do) that any male or female soul has ever in the history of the world been born into the wrong anatomic gender,” Ablow wrote in a column on Fox News’ website.
“Let me put that more clearly: I am not convinced by any science I can find that people with definitively male DNA and definitively male anatomy can actually be locked in a cruel joke of nature because they are actually female.”
Wow, so why exactly would people go through this painful process and transition that often subjects them to horrific bullying, hate and violence?
Dunno. Ablow does not say. Because while transgenderism is distubring to him, what he is really going after is that dastardly liberal California Governor Jerry Brown’s bill that allows transgender youth to use whatever bathroom and join whichever sports team they feel matches their gender identity. Dr. Ablow thinks that is “toxic.” Just as he thought Chaz Bono’s appearance on “Dancing with the Stars” was “toxic.”
Our suspicion is that it is not a medical issue for Dr. Ablow. Psychiatric, possibly. But extreme, irrational ignorance and hatred for people who are unlike you in a way that you are unable to fathom, unlike being transgender, seems to be a choice.
9. Another one from Fox’ repository of crazies: Elisabeth Hasselbeck wonders if girlie men are a threat to national security.
Elisabeth Hasselbeck and her guest, Australian author Nick Adams, both know a real men when they see them. They shoot guns, watch football, hate feminists, and don’t let anyone tell them what they can and cannot do. Adams was invited on the show to talk about his book in which he blames feminists for pretty much everything, above all, the “war on men.” You know, the Fox fictional storyline that they pursue when the “war on Christmas” season is over.
Adams has a wonderful way with words, for example, he pointed out how, because of feminists, men who once “wrestled alligators” now “wrestle lattes,” which, despite its apparent humor prompted Hasselbeck to ask a very serious journalistic question. Are feminists and these effeminate men a threat to national security?
No, seriously, stop laughing. She asked that.
“Absolutely, without a doubt,” Adams said. “Weeps and wussies deliver mediocrity. And men win. And what America’s always been about is winning.”
You hear? Winning. Not whining. You latte-swilling wusses.
10. Ken Buck: Pregnancy and cancer, very similar.
Tea Party favorite District Attorney Ken Buck is running for Senate again in Colorado. He’s a very empathic guy. He’s had cancer. So he understands women. Now, don’t get us wrong, he’s not saying that being female is like having cancer. That would be outrageous. He’s saying being pregnant is like having cancer. Wait, whaaa . . . . ? But although you may want to get rid of cancer, you don’t want to get rid of pregnancies.
“Yes, I am pro-life,” he said during a radio interview this week. “While I understand a woman wants to be in control of her body — it’s certainly the feeling that I had when I was a cancer patient, I wanted to be in control of the decisions that were made concerning my body — there is another fundamental issue at stake. And that’s the life of the unborn child.”
Therefore, men and cancer patients get to have control over their bodies, but women don’t. But, he’s sympathetic to women, really. Because he had cancer.
Heatmiser publicity shot (L-R: Tony Lash, Brandt Peterson, Neil Gust, Elliott Smith) (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Elliott and JJ Gonson (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
"Stray" 7-inch, Cavity Search Records (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Elliott's Hampshire College ID photo, 1987
Elliott with "Le Domino," the guitar he used on "Roman Candle" (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Full "Roman Candle" record cover (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Elliott goofing off in Portland (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Heatmiser (L-R: Elliott Smith, Neil Gust, Tony Lash, Brandt Peterson)(courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
The Greenhouse Sleeve -- Cassette sleeve from Murder of Crows release, 1988, with first appearance of Condor Avenue (photo courtesy of Glynnis Fawkes)
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