Author: Steve Prestegard

Presty the DJ for Aug. 11

We begin with a non-musical anniversary, though we can certainly add music:

On Aug. 11, 1919, Green Bay Press–Gazette sports editor George Calhoun and Indian Packing Co. employee Earl “Curly” Lambeau, a former Notre Dame football player, organized a pro football team that would be called the Green Bay Packers:

Today in 1964, the Beatles movie “A Hard Day’s Night” opened in New York:

Two years later, the Beatles opened their last American concert tour on the same day that John Lennon apologized for saying that the Beatles were “more popular than Jesus. … Look, I wasn’t saying The Beatles are better than God or Jesus, I said ‘Beatles’ because it’s easy for me to talk about The Beatles. I could have said ‘TV’ or ‘Cinema’, ‘Motorcars’ or anything popular and would have got away with it…”

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Why liberals are scum and you’re not cynical enough

Paul Mirengoff:

E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post agrees with Bernie Sanders that the big new spending bill passed by the Senate last week falls well short substantively of what’s required from a leftist perspective. “A lot of good was negotiated away,” Dionne sniffs.

But Dionne contends that the bill strikes a blow against cynicism and hopelessness. And “in a democracy cynicism is the enemy of progress.”

My first reaction to Dionne’s column is that there should be cheaper ways to combat cynicism and despair than spending $430 billion. But my second reaction is that no amount of spending can overcome the cynicism and despair of the American left.

The left holds that America is broken. It is incorrigibly racist. It labors under a Constitution that enshrines the views of dead white male racists and, with all of its checks and balance, represents an enormous barrier to meaningful change (Dionne complains, for example, that the Senate is “wildly unrepresentative”). Its laws are enforced by out-of-control police forces bent on harassing blacks and, far too often, killing them without cause.

Worst of all, the world faces the calamitous consequences of climate change. Barring radical changes in industrial policy, and not just by the U.S., we have fewer than ten years left before disaster befalls our species.

Facing imminent disaster in a system rigged to prevent change and a country hard wired to inflict maximum harm on minority group members, how can one be other than profoundly cynical?

The American left has dug itself a deep hole. It demands activism but propounds a bitter ideology the logic of which entails, or at least strongly suggests, that activism is futile.

This marks a major change in leftism. The Marxist model, key parts of which old-fashioned socialists and progressives subscribed to, promises adherents that history is on their side. The class struggle will result in victory for workers. They will enjoy the fruits of their labor — fruits made tasty by the advances wrought by capitalism. History, including its capitalist phase, is a long march forward.

Woke leftism stands much of this on its head. Yes, its adherents are on the right side of history — but only because they are awake to history’s tragic and disastrous course.

For the woke left, history is not a march forward towards a paradise for workers or anyone else of worth. It is a perpetual affront to women, people “of color,” and the environment — one that’s rapidly plunging all of us towards existence-jeopardizing catastrophe.

Marxists celebrated economic growth, including that produced by capitalism. The woke left deplores such growth as the engine driving the world towards disaster. (See this Andrew Stuttaford post and this column by Daniel Hannan describing the left’s millenarianism.)

No spending package can strike a serious blow against this kind of cynicism.

I should add that profound cynicism also exists on the other side of the political spectrum. Many on the right believe the system is rigged to produce bad results.

But the evils the system is producing from their perspective — massive amounts of illegal immigration, assaults on free speech and other core freedoms, and a huge increase in violent crime, to name three main ones — can be overcome by policies it’s not far fetched to believe can be implemented.

Adopting the bipartisan anti-crime measures of the 1990s would curb crime. Adopting Trump’s border agenda would curb illegal immigration. Red states are already fighting back with some effectiveness against woke attacks on our freedoms.

Curbing the power of federal bureaucrats to thwart our democracy by resisting the policies of presidents and Congresses they don’t like is a tougher nut to crack. Significant progress towards restoring the traditional family is tougher yet.

If you believe that anything listed in those previous two paragraphs is possible … you’re too credulous.

But not as tough as rewriting the Constitution to change the structure of our government, radically altering industrial policy in the U.S. and other major economies, and overcoming racism that, in the woke left’s view, is so deep within our national psyche that most of us aren’t conscious of it.

E.J Dionne is right to worry about cynicism and hopelessness on his side of the political divide. He’s wrong to believe that a $450 billion spending bill will dent that cynicism and hopelessness.

Presty the DJ for Aug. 10

Today, this would be the sort of thing to embellish a band’s image, not to mention provide material for an entire segment of VH1’s “Behind the Music.” Not so in 1959, when four members of The Platters were arrested on drug and prostitution charges following a concert in Cincinnati when they were discovered with four women (three of them white) in what was reported as “various stages of undress.” Despite the fact that none of the Platters were convicted of anything, the Platters (who were all black) were removed from several radio stations’ playlists.

Speaking of odd music anniversaries: Today in 1985, Michael Jackson purchased the entire Beatles music library for more than $45 million.

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Presty the DJ for Aug. 9

Today should be a national holiday. That is because this group first entered the music charts today in 1969, getting three or four chart spots lower than its title:

That was the same day the number one single predicted life 556 years in the future:

Today in 1975, the Bee Gees hit number one, even though they were just just just …

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Presty the DJ for Aug. 8

Two anniversaries today demonstrate the fickle nature of the pop charts. This is the number one song today in 1960:

Three years later, the Kingsmen released “Louie Louie.” Some radio stations refused to play it because they claimed it was obscene. Which is ridiculous, because the lyrics were not obscene, merely incomprehensible:

Today in 1969, while the Beatles were wrapping up work on “Abbey Road,” they shot the album cover:

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Presty the DJ for Aug. 6

Today in 1965, the Beatles sought “Help” in purchasing an album:

Two years later, Beatles manager Brian Epstein tried to help quell the worldwide furor over John Lennon’s “bigger than Jesus” comment:

“The quote which John Lennon made to a London columnist has been quoted and misrepresented entirely out of context of the article, which was in fact highly complimentary to Lennon as a person. … Lennon didn’t mean to boast about the Beatles’ fame. He meant to point out that the Beatles’ effect appeared to be a more immediate one upon, certainly, the younger generation. John is deeply concerned and regrets that people with certain religious beliefs should have been offended.”

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Presty the DJ for Aug. 5

First, a non-rock anniversary: Today is the 95th anniversary of the first broadcasted baseball game, on KDKA in Pittsburgh: Harold Arlen described Pittsburgh’s 8–0 win over Philadelphia.

Speaking of Philadelphia … today in 1957, ABC-TV picked up WFIL-TV’s “American Bandstand” …

… though ABC interrupted it in the middle for “The Mickey Mouse Club.”

Today in 1966, the Beatles recorded “Yellow Submarine” …

… and “Eleanor Rigby” …

… which were part of their “Revolver” album, released one year to the day later.

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Presty the DJ for Aug. 4

Today in 1957, the Everly Brothers performed on CBS-TV’s Ed Sullivan Shew …

… performing a song about a couple who falls asleep on a date, making others assume that they spent the night together when they didn’t. The song was banned in some markets.

Today in 1958, Billboard magazine combined its five charts measuring record sales, jukebox plays and radio airplay to the Hot 100. And the first Hot 100 number one was …

Today in 1967, a 16-year-old girl stowed away on the Monkees’ flight from Minneapolis to St. Louis. The girl’s father accused the Monkees of transporting a minor across state lines, presumably for immoral purposes.

Today in 1970, Beach Boy Dennis Wilson married his second wife.

Possibly connected: Jim Morrison of the Doors was arrested for public drunkenness after being found passed out on the front steps of a house.

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