"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)
As Salon’s Brian Beutler has recently noted, Republicans seem to be having a lot of trouble when it comes to finding a sympathetic spokesperson to represent Obamacare’s “victims.” The GOP has been good at finding people who don’t understand the law and the new options it provides them, and conservatives have had success at hiring actors to appear in their ads as middle-class families suffering under the healthcare law’s yoke — but when it comes to real and actually sympathetic people who were better off before Obamacare, Republicans have come up with essentially bupkis.
In his latest column for the New York Times, Paul Krugman, the best-selling author and award-winning economist, explores this same theme and argues that it’s partially a consequence of Republicans having no plan B when it comes to the politics of Obamacare. “[I]n their world,” Krugman writes, “nobody even dares mention the possibility that health reform might actually prove workable.” The result is a P.R. campaign from the right that assumes Obamacare is failing, abysmally — even when it isn’t.
Does this mean there are no “losers” in the Obamacare story? Krugman says no, but argues that those who have had to deal with overall negative consequences for the healthcare law “generally aren’t very sympathetic.” He continues:
For the most part, they’re either very affluent people affected by the special taxes that help finance reform, or at least moderately well-off young men in very good health who can no longer buy cheap, minimalist plans. Neither group would play well in tear-jerker ads.
No, what the right wants are struggling average Americans, preferably women, facing financial devastation from health reform. So those are the tales they’re telling, even though they haven’t been able to come up with any real examples.
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)