Reappropriating Mother’s Day

Forget Hallmark and Big Flora — Mother’s Day is (and always has been) for radicals:

Mother’s Day began in America in 1870 when Julia Ward Howe wrote the Mother’s Day Proclamation. Written in response to the American Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War, her proclamation called on women to use their position as mothers to influence society in fighting for an end to all wars. She called for women to stand up against the unjust violence of war through their roles as wife and mother, to protest the futility of their sons killing other mothers’ sons.

Howe wrote:

Arise, then, women of this day!

Arise, all women who have hearts, Whether our baptism be of water or of tears!

Say firmly: “We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies, Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy, and patience. We, the women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”

[Read the remainder of Howe's quote here

The holiday caught on years later when a West Virginia women’s group led by Anna Reeves Jarvis began promoting it as a way to reunite families after the Civil War.  After Jarvis’ death, her daughter began a campaign for the creation of an official Mother’s Day in honor of peace. Devoting much of her life to the cause, it wasn’t until 1914 when Woodrow Wilson signed it into national observance in 1914.

The holiday flourished, along with the flower industry.  The business journal, the Florists Review, actually admitted to its desire to exploit the holiday. Jarvis was strongly opposed to every aspect of the holiday’s commercialization, arrested for protesting the sale of flowers, and petitioning to stop the creation of a Mother’s Day postage stamp.

h/t Guerrilla Girls On Tour

x-posted

All the girls at this party are into drama and Ginsberg and lemon lime Bacardi

In lieu of substantive new content (busy busy bastard, etc), here is matttbastard’s top-ten-of-the-moment list, culled from my ever-expanding Bandcamp Discoveries board on Pinterest (yes, Pinterest — shaddap):

1. Hookworms – ‘Form & Function’ (forthcoming limited edition split 7″ w/ Kogumaza on Gringo Records, released 05.28.2012) – Overflowing with naked swagger & ragged analog glory, these droned-out psych rockers from Leeds have reportedly turned on Paisley Underground icon Julian Cope.

2.  Japandroids – ”The House That Heaven Built’ (forthcoming limited edition 7″ – Polyvinyl) – New 7″ single from No Fun City’s favourite sons — Springsteen meets Westerberg in this fine, fist-pumping example of totally anthemic catnip for aging Gen-X college rock geeks (*kaff*).

3. New Coke – ‘He Got Stabbed in the Throat’ (from the He Got Stabbed in the Throat 7″ EP, self-released 04/03/12 [distributed by Slovenly]) – Catchy like the clap, only infinitely more pleasant (er, so I hear). RIYL Les Savy Fav & music that generally doesn’t lick the donkey bag.

4. Single Mothers, ‘Hell (Is My Backup Plan)’ (from S/T 7″ EP on Secret Voices/DeathwishINC, (re)released April 2012) – Local buzz band ends up  putting out the debut release on Touche Amore’s new vanity label. ‘H(IMBP)’ = the most pitch-perfect encapsulation of London, Ontario lifer ennui since the Demics dropped ‘New York City’ back in the proverbial day.

5. Ava Luna – ‘Stages’ (from debut LP Ice Level on Infinite Best Recordings, released 02.28.2012) – Krautrock finds its soul by setting up shop in Brooklyn.

6. Birds in Row – ‘Die, Testosterone, Die’ (from Collected on Throatruiner/Vitriol,  released 04.12.2012 – France has seen a wave of vital, leftfield contemporary hardcore acts; Birds in Row is riding the crest.
7. Lüger – ‘Dracula’s chauffeur wants more’ (from Concrete Light on Giradiscos/Marxophone, released 06/13/2011) – I know next-to nothing re: these kosmik space-rockin’ Spaniards, apart from two key data points: 1. They totally rock. & 2. They totally rock a superfluous umlaut.
And that’s sexy (or sëxy, if you prefer).

8. Nude Beach – ‘Some Kinda Love’ (from II on , released 03/06/2012) – Fantastic new full-length from Brooklyn’s favourite “cheeky bunch of power-pop assassins” (as per Spin). Think Brinsley Schwarz doing an extended set at the Stone Pony with key members of the ‘E’ Street Band sitting in — IOW, damn right yr dad loves it.

9. The Bats Pajamas – ‘Sarai’ (from the Totally EP, self-released 04.13.2012) – These cleverer-than-thou T-Dot garage-rawkers are truly the tree’s knees [sic].

10. The Greys – ‘Bettin’ I Don’t Gamble’ (from the Black EP, self-released 04.20.2012) One mic, live-off-the-basement-floor blues so raw it makes Fort McMurray moonshine taste like Kool-Aid.

Bonus: Titus Andronicus – ‘Oh Bondage! Up Yours!’ (from Rebel on the Underground: A Tribute to X-Ray Spex on Permanent Wave Records, released 04.12.2012) – Standout track from the new X-Ray Spex tribute comp  (because Poly fucking Styrene).

RIP MCA aka Adam Yauch (and RIP the Beastie Boys)

Mark Richardson:

The Beastie Boys turned curiosity into a form of art. They wanted to know more about what was around them and learn everything they could about what wasn’t. Forget about Kurt Cobain for a second: For kids like me, the Beastie Boys invented the 90s. Technology was changing fast and the world was shrinking rapidly. Between their music and label/magazine Grand Royal, the Beasties showed how to reach out and scoop up all the best parts. New York hip-hop and punk rock, Japanese pop, Jamaican dub– all of it could be gathered and re-assembled into something that reflected who you were. This sort of cultural mixing was nothing new, but the Beastie Boys brought it to the mainstream. They were ambassadors, but their hipness didn’t look down on anybody. It felt inclusive.

Related: Forrest Wickman on Adam Yauch’s legacy as successful NYC indie film mogul; Jen Doll on how, for her generational cohort, the Beasties provided “a form of musical New York PR—at least, a “PR” based in coolness, a new style of music, a new form of flouting the rules, a new kind of joy and energy.”

Flashback: NY Mag’s outstanding oral history of the Beastie Boys.

Update: Sarah Seltzer notes how Yauch and the Beasties addressed, renounced, and tried to make amends for their infamously regressive past:

When I think about the Beasties, I think first about the rebellious, obnoxious kids who first became famous. Then I inevitably remember their ability to move forward way past that phase, with rhymes like this one from MCA in the song “Sure Shot”: “I want to say a little something that’s long overdue/ The disrespect to women has got to be through/ To all the mothers and sisters and wives and friends/ I want to offer my love and respect to the end.

They also changed their offensive lyrics in concert and began to chastise regressive content in music — even their own.

[...]

As Ana Carey wrote last year, the Beasties prove that “being a sexist idiot in your youth … doesn’t mean that you can’t grow up and learn something.”

The F-35 boondoggle in context: This “is oppressive, dictatorial regime-building that would do any petro-state proud”

We are definitely not in Kansas anymore, Canuckistan — and Michael Harris says that we just had our “Wizard of Oz moment”:

The curtain has been well and truly whipped away from the PM’s self-promoting deceptions and he is revealed for what he is: a power-tripper on a mission to give Canada an extreme makeover that only the super-rich and the semi-comatose could endorse. And he is doing it with virtually no debate, creating something of a new phenomenon in Canadian politics; sole-source public policy.

We have Peter MacKay to thank for the official revelation — belated though it was. The minister of defensiveness has finally dished after weeks of embarrassing prevarications. It turns out the whole Harper cabinet was in on the F-35 whopper, an exercise that both the Parliamentary Budget Officer and the Auditor General saw for what it was — a studied deception.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office had an even better description of the same process stateside. The Pentagon’s top weapons’ purchaser, Frank Kendall, said the plan to buy the F-35 was “acquisitions malpractice.” In this country, two sets of books were produced – one containing the real scoop, the other the “communications” version for the Great Unwashed. It turns out interim Liberal leader Bob Rae was dead right — the PM and cabinet knew they were lying to Canadians about the true costs of the F-35 during an election and Stephen Harper is ultimately accountable.

This is not “strong, stable government” a la Harper’s PR mantra. It is oppressive, dictatorial regime-building that would do any petro-state proud.

It is also the de-confederation of the country and the death spiral of independent information bearers. The war machine is more important than the social safety net. Canada can apparently have $45 billion jets and $800,000 military fly-overs, but must rein in the Old Age Supplement and cut food inspectors. The PM can blow $45,000 in public money on a baseball junket (why on earth was Harper’s official photographer along for the ride?), but 19,000 public servants must lose their jobs. And if these institutional thugs lose a seat in an election they lust after, there’s a plan B – gerrymander the riding, as they may well do in Saanich-Gulf Islands, where Green Party leader Elizabeth May knocked off former cabinet sock-puppet Gary Lunn.

As for parliament, what’s parliament? Something to ignore, shutter, or the favored option, to geld.

Happy 1 year anniversary, Canuckistan — oh, and re: what Naomi Klein said:

For now, I’m happy, as noted, to let the Harpercons keep tripping over themselves; but that doesn’t mean we can’t reinforce (firmly and forcefully) the enormity of Harpercon efforts to subvert our democracy, and what it ultimately means for Canadians.

(Image: dbking, Flickr.)