Miners, memorials and music

Think you know the truth about rednecks and rappers? TTers set the record straight this week.

Published January 6, 2006 7:20PM (EST)

White House

Right-Wing Moral Cripples III -- Multiplying

Grace Newton - 12:52 p.m. Pacific Time - Jan. 5, 2006 - #9970 of 10036

The state that fought WARS with Big Business Greedhogs and their imported Bully Boys and finally won the right to unionize, the state that damned near worships FDR and JFK as saints, the state that wore their loyalty to the Democrats as a badge of honor for generations, finally voted for a Republican. And you know why? Because they were finally fed up with a once every four years courting and getting screwed and abused on off elections years. Especially they are fed up with being treated as Pariahs because they hunt, pray and believe in strong families and The Flag.

Yes, there are gun nuts and Bible beaters in West Virginia. Yes, there are racists and homophobes there too. Just as there is in every other fucking state in the country.

Mining is dangerous, dirty, cold, mean, frightening work. Miners aren't dumb -- stupid people don't last long in those filthy, dust-laden, suffocating shafts.

I'm from West Virginia. Most of my family still lives there. My grandfather and my uncles worked in the mines. They all left before the work killed them but some of our family wasn't that lucky.

My grandad carried pieces of Farmington Mine Number Nine coal printed like tattoos across his forehead and his knuckles. He fought in the West Virginia Mine Wars and worked with the union organizers until unions were the rule in W.V. coal fields. He was a lifelong Democrat and proud of it, but I'm not sure he would be proud of a party of elitists who berate their peers for their taste in music or their faith in God.

Music and Performing Arts

The "I cannot believe there isn't a Hip-Hop thread" Thread

Insert Name Here - 10:51 a.m. Pacific Time - Jan. 5, 2006 - #7 of 21

Well certainly, as with any commercial music, there's a great deal of vapidity in hip-hop, but it's not all vapid.

Though there are certain things so common as to become cliché in hip-hop videos, and indeed in hip-hop lyrics, I believe it's not a lack of creativity that creates the situation. Cash and ho's are all rich topics of discussion going back to the very essence of the music. They have a foundation in rhyme that connects to the central impetus for the music.

It's celebration music, music you're supposed to dance to, and the MC is supposed to guide you over the rhythm with his words, and his words are often boastful in order to put one in a mood of celebration.

Hip-hop is cathartic in that way; you may not as a person have the riches that make things possible, but you can identify with the MCs' boasts because you recognize in him the general American dream of success.

The violence and misogyny commonly associated with hip-hop is perhaps well deserved if a little overstated. Certainly hip-hop stars don't go around slapping women like pimps, most of the guys are married now to strong women, and have children. Snoop Dogg, for example.

However, one can understand how certain depictions in videos and certain lyrics can be construed as insulting. I personally let it slide, mostly because the attitudes toward women to me are never that damning. Especially after what most MCs have to say about their own strong mothers.

News and the Media

Obituaries for 2005

LetterMan - 01:09 a.m. Pacific Time - Jan. 5, 2006 - #1698 of 1760

Thread Dies and is Frozen, May be Revived at Later Date - AP January 5, 2006 - Officials at Salon.com announced today that the popular and long-running "Obituaries for 2005" had died a natural death overnight and they had frozen the thread for possible revival at some later date.

"We felt the thread had outlived its usefulness in the past few days and we were glad to see that it finally died out." said Mary Beth Williams, an official with Salon on the thread's demise. "We've frozen it and perhaps we'll attempt to revive at some later date if we feel it may serve some useful purpose later on." she added, saying that the thread was one of the most popular threads in the "News and Media" folder, getting over 1,600 posts before its namesake year was up.

The thread had a varied and storied history over the past 12 months, officials at Salon said. The thread attracted posts from some of Salon.com's most well-known denizens and frequent posters, including kayrob, Beth Meacham, Doxieone, Chuck Lawhorn, Robert Arctor, William Froelich, DebG, LetterMan, and others. Luminaries great and small were chronicled in its posts, ranging from celebrities and major figures in the worlds of sports, politics, arts, entertainment and politics to little-known people whose lives yet had an impact.

A wake will be held at the White House Bar and Grill folder for the thread and its untimely demise, said one poster on the thread, who asked to not be identified (but whose initials are LM), adding that 'we'll all raise our shot glasses in a toast to the Thread that Was!'

The thread will lie in state in the "News and Media" folder, after which time it will be moved into the "Attic" morgue, where curious Salon patrons can continue to view it until such time as it is deleted forever.

Officials at Salon.com will lower their flags to half-staff in the thread's honor, for about two minutes on Friday afternoon, Jan. 6, 2006, at about 2:35 in the afternoon PST and there will be a moment or two of muffled conversation in its honor, officials said.

After that, the thread will be no more.

"Obituaries for 2005" Jan. 1, 2005-Jan. 5, 2006, R.I.P.

By Salon Staff

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