Bad Brains live at CBGB 1982:
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.”
New York State Senator Hiram Monserrate, one of the Democrats who helped “defend traditional marriage” in the New York Senate last week by voting against a bill that would have made same-sex marriage legal in the Empire State, was sentenced to 250 hours of community service. 52 weeks of domestic abuse counseling and three years of probation, on an assault conviction stemming from a December 2008 incident where he “accidentally” slashed his girlfriends face while beating the crap out of her after he dragged her through the lobby of his Queens apartment building.
Prosecutors had said that Monserrate, an ex-Marine, lashed out at his domestic partner, Karla Giraldo, with a glass in a fit of rage after he found another man’s business card in her purse. The glass broke against her face, cutting her near her left eye down to her skull and leaving a lasting scar.
Monserrate had been originally charged with two felony counts and two misdemeanor counts of assault after cutting Giraldo’s face during a bitter argument in his apartment on Dec. 19, 2008. However, in October, New York William M. Erlbaum, who presided over his trial, acquitted him on the two felony assault charges, which carried a mandatory sentence of seven years in prison and would have forced him to forfeit his Senate seat.
Has anything really changed since the now-disbanded Canadian Airborne Regiment held a mess dinner to honour Marc Lepine?* I would like to believe so. I would like to think that these annual memorials and the respectful newspaper editorials and the gentle men who wear white ribbons are making a difference.
But the fact that so many still appear to have trouble with woman-hatred–trying to wish it away, reduce its significance, confine its existence to a “lone madman,” blame it on a nonexistent Muslim bringing-up, or even, on the fringes, excuse it, tells me that we have much, much further to go. Violence against women continues to flourish, including mass murder. Still think Marc Lepine was alone?
Indeed, we still have miles to go in this struggle. April Reign charts the course we need to take:
This year as you remember and mourn the loss of 14 of our sisters remember also the words of Joe Hill; Don’t Mourn, Organize!
Help Equal Voice to get more women elected, fight for strong gun control, support women’s reproductive choice, donate to a local shelter, help a woman or a young girl learn tech skills or use those skills to help others.
In the words of Emma Goldman;
“No real social change has ever been brought about without a revolution… revolution is but thought carried into action.”
Let’s get active.
(717) 731-6566 or (717) 975-5718
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Update: The latest from Queerty:
A concerned and peppy Rite Aid spokeswoman just gave us a call to inform us that neither Tom Marquez nor any other Rite Aid employee had anything to do with the lamentable sign. She also told us that the sign’s message “doesn’t represent the views of Rite Aid or their employees.” The police have been contacted and they’re trying to track down the culprit, who Rite Aid hopes will be prosecuted to “the fullest extent of the law” for this “vandalism.” The spokeswoman also used the word “appalled” to describe her and her peers’ feelings about the alleged homophobia. Thanks for the clarification, Rite Aid!
Contra Barack Obama and Frank Rich, the reaction to the Sean Bell verdict shows that Americans still have a long way to go to “[transcend] the racial and cultural rifts that [have] divided them for centuries”, says Max Blumenthal.
- A joint investigation by Colorlines magazine and the Chicago Reporter into police shootings that occurred in the US’ 10 largest cities found that in NYC “the percentage of black people killed by police was at least double that of their share of the city’s total population.” (Gabriel Thompson has more)
- More footage from the Jamaica, Queens protest courtesy Maegan la Mala (by way of cripchick)
- Statement on the Sean Bell verdict from independent presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney:
[W]hile we might be outraged at the Sean Bell decision itself, it comes directly from the flawed jurisprudence that gave us the Dred Scott Decision in 1857, Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896, Bakke in 1978, Croson in 1989, Adarand in 1995, Gratz in 2003, and all of the Ward Connerly-inspired attacks on the very same affirmative action hard won by students facing water hoses and dogs, men and women facing jail, lynch mobs, and death.
The Bush administration’s Abstinence Only Program is an example of a failed national health-care policy directive, based on ideology rather than on sound scientific-based evidence that must be the cornerstone of good public health-care policy.
I believe this is what is commonly known as a “moment of clarity”. Of course, the usual suspects are demonstratively calling for a waahmbulance. Hey, I’ve got the first 25 pennies covered if someone else wants to pony up the other half.