Monday, January 25, 2010

Shirley, You Can't Be Serious?

Paul Shirley no longer writes music columns for ESPN. If you didn't hear, he made some controversial comments regarding the disaster situation in Haiti. I am not going to try and sum up what he wrote, but his entire post can be read here. Obviously, that did not go over well in Bristol (or in the rest of America for that matter), and he was let go less than 24 hours later. (And here is his reaction to all the hoopla.) I always enjoyed his writing and will miss his columns. His piece a few months back about his iTunes and his agonizing over certain songs' respective play counts was really good. Mostly because it hit too close to home. But what I can't understand is how does a seemingly smart guy like Paul Shirley not realize that this sort of act would not fly with the notoriously-PC powers-that-be at ESPN? Even a micro-celebrity like Shirley had to know he didn't stand a chance with a post as incendiary as that one (whether taken out of context or not) with the current 24-hour blog/media cycle the way it is. Did that not cross his mind once while he was putting his thoughts together? Maybe it did and he just didn't care. But what became quickly obvious is that in the grand scheme of things he was probably pretty dispensable at ESPN. He's not exactly Bill Simmons. In fact, when I was discussing this matter with friends, Scott surmised that the meeting at corporate headquarters went something like this:

Guy1: Paul Shirley stated that he wished Haitians would wear condoms.
Guy2: Fire him. Have you tried that new deli on 43rd Street? The stromboli is to die for.

I suspect that this is pretty accurate. And I guess it's time to update the links.


Monday, January 18, 2010

R.I.P.: Jay Reatard

Jay Reatard was a name that I saw all over the Internet a few years ago and summarily ignored because, come on, "Reatard?" No one who chooses that name voluntarily has any business putting out good music. I was also under the false impression that Reatard was part of one of the stupid hot-then movements that I didn't like. Freak-folk or lo-fi or whatever the hell Dan Deacon does or something. That all changed when I saw the cover of Blood Visions. Seeing a dude standing in his underpants against a white background covered in blood made me want to give his music a shot. (...What?). I bought Blood Visions, pressed play, and was impressed within 10 seconds. It's still one of the few albums I happily return to when I think I'm bored with everything else in my collection.

When I heard the news on Wednesday that Reatard had died, I closed the door to my office and threw on Blood Visions. Listening to it made me sad until "Nightmares," my favorite song of his, came through my speakers. Then I remembered the great body of work that Reatard left, and was happy that my world is better because of it.

--Jim Powers
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