Archive for the ‘Debunk an American Myth’ category

he’s so cool he was in the 27 club before it was even a club

2010/08/13

Out of all the musicians in the morbid “27 Club,” the figure perhaps the most mythologized is Robert Johnson.  On 16 August 1938 he died under mysterious circumstances – and this murky haze surrounding his death hasn’t become any clearer with time. The legends about his life and his music, however, grew strong and became immersed in the American blues musical consciousness.

Johnson is the man that supposedly sold his soul to the devil down at the crossroads. In return, the devil taught him how to play the guitar. Real bluesy like. The crossroads Johnson apparently made his Faustian bargain at was located in the Mississippi Delta.

(And as every good fiddle player knows, Faustian legends from the American south don’t always stick to the guitar.)

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the 27 Club ain’t no picnic

2010/07/27

So like I was saying before, not every musician that died at age 27 went out with a glamorous bang.

Mia Zapata was murdered.

and D. Boon was killed in an automobile accident.

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And now it’s time for some light reading on the Vietnam War

2010/07/16

As every dorky history student knows, justification for the escalation of American involvement in Vietnam was largely based on the Gulf of Tonkin Incident. As every dorky history student probably also knows, there is a really good chance that the whole incident was made up.  Or at the very least the wrong information was getting filtered to LBJ.

This week, 1175 pages of previously classified transcripts from 1967+1968 were released. The documents show senators from the Foreign Relations Committee questioning if the wool had been pulled over their eyes in the Gulf of Tonkin on 4 August 1964. (more…)

Joining the 27 Club isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be

2010/07/13

A lot of American musical heroes have died at the age of 27. Janis Joplin. Jimi Hendrix. Jim Morrison. Kurt Cobain. Heck, Brian Jones was from England but you can count him too. Superstars dying while still in their prime has become the climatic symbol of rock-star excess and glamor – the ultimate and almost necessary outcome for those who believe it’s better to burn out then to rust.

But there have been other American musicians that have died at age 27. While their deaths have still been incredibly tragic and often taken place under mysterious circumstances, their stories have lacked the excess and glamor of  “the Big-Five.”

Mia Zapata is perhaps the best example.

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It’s in the Constitution…Isn’t it?

2010/07/05

Have you ever had somebody cite the United States Constitution to you as justification for something stupid they’ve said? Have you ever cited the United States Constitution as justification for something stupid you’ve said?

Well don’t worry because everyone has done it. Here’s a handy website for next time, where you’ll find:

1) The US Constitution

2) Things that are not in the US Constitution

…and the Onion walked off to look for America

2010/06/28

This week, America’s most trustworthy news source, the Onion, presents “the Patriotic Issue: News Only Visible to Real Americans.”

Try clicking on the link if you aren’t a real American. That’s right, it won’t work.

By delving into the archives and covering contemporary events, the good folks at the Onion really cut to the core of what being American is all about. (more…)

American Justice?

2010/06/25

Here’s a link to an opinion article written by Timothy Egan called “the Last Firing Squad.”

The piece tells tales of executions out on the American Frontier – state sanctioned killings carried out by the noose and by gun-slingers. Not all the stories are from way back in the Wild West though – two are from the last twenty years, and one of those is from last week.

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/23/the-last-firing-squad/?scp=2&sq=firing%20squad&st=cse

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