The Great Women Composers of Opera

A recent edition of the New York Review of Books contains an article by George B. Stauffer called “Where are the Woman Composers?”.

The writer is astonished that for centuries major musical institutions have performed hardly any operas by women.  I can only presume that there actually were operas composed by women, sufficient numerically and qualitatively to provide a potential body of work that could be drawn upon.

That remains an open question.

Broad draws the reader deep into the lives of four British women who encountered misogyny while attempting to forge careers in the male-dominated field of music composition.  New York Review of Books, 2023-10-05

The writer then proceeded to cite a particular British woman,  Ethel Smythe, who dressed like men, smoked cigars, like to golf and horseback ride, and had affairs with numerous men and women including Virginia Woolf.

Aggressive, determined to gain recognition, and unfazed by tradition, she was described by Woolf as an “uncastrated cat.”  New York Review of Books, 2023-10-05

There you go.

There is a woman composer of an opera who is being denied her rightful place in the repertoire of established musical companies.



Profound Contrived Authencity: Little Bird (the MiniSeries)

Together, they reached for what Moscovitch calls “profound authenticity,” and created an opportunity for narrative activism: the idea that victims can help heal their trauma and change attitudes by telling their stories.  Globe & Mail

I don’t mind if someone wants to make a film or mini-series that “will help heal trauma and change attitudes”.  Just don’t put it on my playlist.

Changing attitudes is not the mission of real art.  Real art is about expression, revelation, insight, and beauty.  The minute you say, “oh, and we want people to  adopt our political views”, you have sold out the aesthetic dimension to the social dimension.  To make a film to tell people what to think about the way indigenous people were treated in Canada is to make a bad film.  To make a film about the way indigenous people were treated in Canada, just make a good film.  And if you are authentic about it, tell us what you know about the subject: not what you want us to think. And be honest: don’t caricature or exaggerate or make things up just to drive your point home.  Watch a film like “Come Sunday” which makes its point without dumbing down the issues.

So when my wife asked me to find the series “Little Bird” for her to watch, I checked it out.  I thought, it might be good.  I might want to watch it.  I looked for reviews on line and found the “review” (it’s not a review: it’s a press release disguised as news) linked above.

I suspect this series is about making liberal viewers feel great about themselves: I watched a sad story about injustice and felt bad for the victims for I am a good person.

I watched the first ten minutes.  As I feared, it starts by showing the girls who were abducted by the Canadian Child Family Services and RCMP living in nearly idyllic conditions with their happy affectionate parents.   Even worse: there’s that jerky hand-held camera work that immediately conveys “oh look how authentic we are we’re pretending we’re actually filming the real thing which wouldn’t be possible if we had a tripod” vibe.

I am immediately repulsed by most films that show parents being incredibly tolerant and affectionate and patient and loving with their kids as a setup for imminent tragedy or threat.  Nobody interacts with their children the way these parents do.  It’s manipulative and dishonest.  It is the hallmark of bad direction.  And that is how “Little Bird” starts.

In “Little Bird,” Bezhig is driven by her newly emerging repressed memories.  Variety

Oh no.  Seriously?  We’ve been through this movie before and it did not turn out well.  Not at all.    Not this time either.

Podemski: We looked at all the various ways in which trauma presents itself. Especially when it has been repressed for many years . We worked with our two story advisors, Nakuset and Raven Sinclair, who supported us in shaping the way in which our lead character, Esther, experienced PTSD through intrusive memory. We were able to express this authentically through the use of acoustic and visual layers which I think played very authentically throughout the story.

Okay, firstly, it’s not the trauma that has been repressed but the memory of it.  And memories are not repressed.  That is a fake trope from the 1980’s that has pretty well lost all credibility.   And the method by which they decided to tell the story of the “repressed” memories sounds more like therapy than art.  But please don’t try to claim anything like “authenticity” when you are clearly constructing a narrative that projects a political and social idea rather than any particular real human experience.


A CBC article on the movie contains this flag:

WARNING: This story contains distressing details

Oh please fuck off with your trigger warnings.   This is bullshit.  What kind of news is “distressing”?    A man falsely accused of rape while feminists claim that women never lie about sexual assault?  Al Franken resigning his seat in the Senate over ridiculously trivial allegations of inappropriate behavior?  Tax-payer subsidized sports stadiums?  Music by Neil Diamond?  Senile white men running the U.S. government?   Prescription drugs developed at publicly-funded universities which cost pennies to manufacture selling for $30,000 a pop?




Buffy’s Identity Problem

It’s one thing to deny what now seems obvious. But to attack the journalists who exposed the truth about your ethnic identity as neo-colonialists and racist and sexist is beyond the pale. And given what Sainte-Marie has said previously about her ancestry, she cannot now claim, with sincerity, that she just “didn’t know”. She actively lied, and made up new lies to misdirect people from the old lies. Now she says, well, “I know who I am”, which is a nice way of refusing to take responsibility.

I have a mental hobby of pretending I’m the PR guy for whoever is embroiled in the latest scandal and have to come up with the best solution. In this case, I think she would have been better served with a line of “I admired indigenous culture so much that I wanted to be part of it, and I went too far, and did lie, and I am very sorry. And yes, it was terribly unfair to those of legitimate indigenous ancestry and if I haven’t already done enough to make up for it, I now wish to try.”

Instead, the stubborn denials and self-pity and claims of victimization leave a bad taste in the mouth.

She also claims to have been black-listed by the U.S. government, presidents Johnson and Nixon, and the FBI.  I can’t find any evidence of this other than her own assertion:

The former FBI director blacklisted Sainte-Marie as her protest songs gained more and more popularity. She didn’t know that it had happened for about 20 years until a deejay “told me that he had letters on White House stationery commending him for having suppressed my music.”  Toronto Star

What deejay?  From who in the White House?  Did she try to obtain the related documents through a Freedom of Information request?

It’s all beginning to sound a little pathetic.  And if it wasn’t pathetic enough, she now tosses out claims that she was sexually abused by her brother and someone else she won’t identify.  The brother is deceased– of course (like Joan Baez’  father)– but his daughter (Sainte-Marie’s niece) revealed letters that strongly suggest that Buffy Sainte-Marie threatened to publicly claim he sexually abused her to deter him from continuing to publicly challenge her claims of being born to an indigenous tribe in Saskatchewan when (as is now overwhelmingly clear) she was actually born to a white Christian family in Massachusetts.   He backed off.

She should want to be remembered instead for these lines:

Now that your big eyes are finally open
Now that you’re wondering, how must they feel?
Meaning them that you chased ‘cross America’s movie screens.

They are very good.  It’s a powerful song.  We can have both.  We can acknowledge her accomplishments and the weaknesses of character and dishonesty and leave it at that.


Joan Baez’s Weird Homage to Slavery

Way back in 1971, Joan Baez released a double album called “Blessed Are”, which, in retrospect, may be one of the weirdest album releases of all time.

Blessed Are... (Joan Baez album - cover art).jpg

Joan Baez, in case you don’t remember or weren’t born yet, was a famous folk singer who became a prominent anti-war, anti-racism protest leader during the 1960’s, and an interpreter of Bob Dylan’s songs.  As a result, unsurprisingly, she pissed off a lot of patriotic war-loving Americans who regarded her, along with Jane Fonda, as treasonous dupes of the radical left.  They may not have liked John Lennon; they may have regarded Dylan with hostile indifference; they may have ignored Pete Seeger; but they hated Baez and Fonda with a toxic rage.

“Blessed Are” appears to be a peace offering of some kind, to southerners, patriots, farmers, and, perhaps, country music fans.    It featured a hit for Baez, “The Night They Drove old Dixie Down”, by Robbie Robertson of The Band (and subject of a bitter dispute between him and The Band’s drummer Levon Helm).

Levon Helm says in his autobiography:

“I remember taking him [Robertson] to the library so he could research the history and geography of the era and make General Robert E. Lee come out with all due respect.”

Helm was so bitterly annoyed by Baez’s version of “The Night They Drove old Dixie Down” that he refused afterwards to sing it in concert.  I wonder if he was more annoyed by her politics than anything else.  What musician gets upset when another artist makes a signature song more popular?

Anyway, to make General Lee come out with “all due respect”– all the respect due to a slave-owning General who led the war effort to preserve the institution of slavery– may strike some as a dubious cause.

Look at the lyrics:

Like my father before me, I’m a working man
I’m like my brother before me, I took a rebel stand
Well, he was just eighteen, proud and brave
When a Yankee laid him in his grave
I swear by the blood below my feet,
You can’t raise a Cain back up with it’s in defeat

Some claim that the song is sympathetic to the Lost Cause ideology and defends slavery.  I think it does neither.  The fact that it was written by a Canadian should clue listeners in: this is an observational song, not propaganda for either side.  In fact, its observational qualities are acute and beautiful and tragic.

The album also has a song by Jagger and Richards, a paean to the “hard-working” average joe who always gets the short end of the stick.  And a tribute to a southern farmer friend with “the slowest drawl I’d ever heard” showing the narrator and friend around his beautiful farm.  There’s an intriguing song about apocalypse: Three Horses.

But let’s move on to “Lincoln Freed Me Today”.  If “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” seems ambiguous, “Lincoln Freed Me Today” is decidedly revisionist.

Been a slave most all my life
So’s my kids and so’s my wife
I been working on the Colonel’s farm
Aint been mistreated, aint done no harm…
The Colonel’s been right good to me
He’s taken care of my family

The Colonel rode his buggy in from town
Hitched his horse and called us all around
Said he couldn’t keep us here no more
I saw a tear as he walked toward the door


I’m sure Baez did not have in mind the idea of rescuing slavery from the dustbin of history, or, giving us the positive side of antebellum culture.  I’m sure she thought, well, it’s a true picture of some slave-owners, and some slaves.  And one must be fair by presenting both sides of the issue.   But the “I saw a tear” is kind of repulsive.  That’s the image we’re supposed to take away from this kindly old slaveholder?

You see how convoluted we become.

The songwriter is variously credited as David Paton, David Patten, and David Paton.  It’s likely David Patton.  There’s very little information out there about him.



Ian and Sylvia do a just peachy version of this song.


This is who you are

I have recently read and heard from Christian apologists who assert, in one form or another, that the Evangelical Christian community that passionately supports Donald Trump actually understands that he is an unworthy person of bad taste and style who is nevertheless God’s chosen vessel to restore America to holiness and conviction and the purity of our bodily fluids.

All right– sarcasm aside, some Christians say that while they are disgusted with Trump’s personal character they support him because he appoints anti-abortion judges, stands up for gun rights, opposes same-sex marriage and homosexuality, and resists the world-wide conspiracy to replace white Americans with people of color.

In other words, they believe that a man who is a serial womanizer, a materialist, a liar, a bragger, and vulgarity incarnated somehow, when it comes to issues that matter to the Christian community, acts in a way that Jesus would approve of.

I don’t believe they really believe that.  They might say they do, but the evidence is overwhelming: they don’t.   Trump is the evangelical community unmasked.  He is what they are.  Vulgar.  Grasping.  Materialistic.  Cruel and dishonest.

They do not see Trump as a corrupt vessel of God’s will; to them, he really is God’s chosen messenger, an avatar of all the values and beliefs that they hold dear but don’t want to publicly acknowledge, a bully and thug who they really like because he is a bully and thug.   The main body of Evangelical Christians  will deny that they embrace Trump the corrupt vessel because he exposes them for what they are:  raging hypocrites who have demonstrated over and over again that they never did really believe in the teachings of Christ or the bible.

A political scientist at Furman University, Jim Guth:

White evangelicals share with Trump a multitude of attitudes, including his hostility toward immigrants, his Islamophobia, his racism, and nativism, as well as his “political style,” with its nasty politics and assertion of strong, solitary leadership. Indeed, Trump’s candidacy may have “authorized” for the first time the widespread expression of such attitudes.

The Evangelical Christian community has always been pro-gun.  They love guns.  They have always been generously forgiving of war criminals like William Calley, Paul Slough, Evan Liberty, Dustin Heard and Nicholas Slatten, if they are Americans.  They have consistently rejected the Bible’s clear mandate to care for creation as obedient stewards, not as exploitive pirates.   They preach abstinence and self-denial but indulge in every possible form of acquisitiveness of property and worship church leaders who brag about their private jets and access to political leaders.   They claim to admire integrity and character but they hated the two presidents with the most integrity and character in the past 50 years, Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama.

As they sit there in their pews, chanting and singing, reciting from scripture, and folding their hands in prayer, they know, deep in their hearts, that what they like about Trump is precisely his pettiness, his vindictiveness, his vulgarity, his bullying, his meanness, and his materialism.  They do not quietly accept him and hold their noses: they bless him and admire him and scream and cheer him when he is at his most divisive and vulgar.

He is you.  And he has revealed to the world the truth of what it means to be an evangelical Christian in the United States in 2024.


I take note of a recent confirmation of this point.

More on the issue.

By the way, in Iowa it is not considered polite to talk about rugged individualism and “pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps” economics and then mention corn subsidies.

Evita, Hamilton Family Theatre, Cambridge, 2023-10-26

With the rise of populism in various countries around the world (Hungary, Poland, India, United States, Italy, etc.) it is worth seeing “Evita” in Cambridge at the Hamilton Family Theatre. It’s a very good production and touches on the nature of populism, the irrational belief people might have that a narcissistic, corrupt, self-serving figure like Evita Peron (and a certain orange-haired American politician) will save the nation, bring social justice and equality, and stick it to those educated, rich, smart-alecky elites that control the media and preside over government bureaucracies.
Regardless of the politics, it’s a fascinating story, and they could have written an entire second opera on what happened to Eva’s body– and Juan Peron– after her death, and, of course, the corpse of the Argentinian economy.
An object lesson in mass media as well: the people thought Eva was saintly because she created a foundation and personally wrote checks to poor people who lined up to see her. The specific stories made great anecdotes, with saturated media coverage, but most of the money probably ended up in the pockets of Juan and Eva Peron.  There is no reason to not account for the income and spending except to hide where the money went.
There is a bit of a drive out there to rehabilitate her image, and argue that Rice’s lyrics for “Evita” are based on a rather biased biography.  It is probably true that she was not as bad as her enemies made her out to be, but there is ample evidence to suggest that her charitable works were never not substantially self-serving even if she did promote unions that bettered the lives of working class individuals in Argentina at the time– and promoted her husband to the presidency and, she hoped, herself to the vice-presidency.
There’s a bit of a feminist angle to the “rehabilitation” of women of historical importance like Josephine, Cleopatra, Marie Antoinette, and Evita.  Most of the time, yes, the negatives stories have been exaggerated over time, but the essential details of their lives remain the same.  And in some cases, the “rehabilitation” glosses over historical facts in order to cleanse their reputations.  Marie Antoinette was involved in conspiracies to restore her husband to the throne; Josephine did not inspire Napoleon’s great strategies or legislative accomplishments, Cleopatra reign was oppressive, and Evita was a self-centered narcissist who used her sexuality to achieve her position of privilege under the Peronist regime.

Elvis on the Throne — Right Next to St. Exlax

Elvis was very caring and compassionate for others. His love for God led him to be generous and help so many people. His faith in God played a huge role in who he was. Anytime anyone has the means to help someone in a big or small way should always do it by following his lead because Elvis led by example.

From someone named Rex Judkins on Facebook.

Once again an objective observer is left wondering what exactly Christians stand for when they adopt people like Trump and Elvis as their own. Obviously nothing like what they say they stand for. Humility. Integrity. Honesty. Self-control. Fidelity. Elvis’ selective acts of personal compassion do nothing to mitigate the corruption of his personal life, his self-indulgence, addictions, and weakness of character.

And a short note on the Monkees after a Facebook admirer lavished praise upon them:

Oh, they were obviously talented: they didn’t come from nowhere. But they were assembled, packaged and promoted by media companies in a deliberate and obvious attempt to copy the Beatles which hurt their credibility enormously. The songs were outsourced to Tin Pan Alley and the recordings were made largely with session musicians. When they did strike out on their own, their music did not impress; only Michael Nesmith was able to establish himself as a serious artist with his song-writing. The rest were trapped as teen pop idols with not much of a legacy. Nostalgia is fine but shouldn’t lead to an over-evaluation of modest talents.

Misplaced Schadenfreude

I keep seeing headlines like “Democrats Keep Hoping it’s Curtains for Trump” and can’t believe them.  I suppose in one sense it’s true: the Democrats keep hoping Trump will be defeated and his movement will fade away.  But in terms of the 2024 election, they can’t seriously be hoping to run against Nikki Haley.

The only chance the Democrats have of winning in 2024, with Biden as their nominee for president, is if Trump is the Republican nominee.  Or maybe DeSantis.  But if the Republicans end up nominating Nikki Haley or Larry Hogan or Chris Christie, Biden will surely lose, by a big margin.

And the only chance Trump has of winning is if the Democratic nominee is Joe Biden.  Consider Trump against Amy Klobuchar or Gretchen Witmer or Sherrod Brown or Gavin Newsom or Sheldon Whitehouse.  He would probably lose by a large margin.

The most bizarre aspect of this entire scenario is that America has the two worst presidential nominees in 100 years and can’t do anything about it.  What does “democracy” mean in this context?  How is this a democratic “choice” when a majority of Americans want to choose from a multitude of candidates that are not the ones they are forced to choose from?

Even a majority of Democrats don’t want Biden.  You would think– in a democracy– that a political party could at least chose it’s own leader.  But, without exactly explaining why, the media make it clear (correctly) that no one is going to challenge the party leader if he is an incumbent.  The last time someone seriously tried this– Ted Kennedy trying to unseat Jimmy Carter– the result was victory for the incumbent and then an electoral loss (to Ronald Reagan in 1979).

One cannot ignore the fact that Biden, and Trudeau, in Canada, are both convinced that they and only they can lead their parties into the next election.  What astounding egos!  It is mind-boggling when there is such overwhelming evidence that both of them might very well, in fact, ensure the election of the most dangerous and incompetent opposing candidates in fifty years.


Not so Swift

Updated 2024-03-20;  I noted below that you rarely hear Taylor Swift playing solo accompanying herself on guitar.  Well, NPR had her over for a Tiny Desk Concert– a great idea, by the way– and here she is.  

I stand by my comments.  She sounds like a talented but amateurish teenager, and, yes, her lyrics remain sophomoric, and, yes, narcissistic (I am SO fascinating).  Her first song tries to convince you that if she were a man, she would not be criticized the way she is as a woman.   There’s a lot of men who could enlighten her on that subject.  (And where does the majority of criticism come from?  That’s right: women.)   But I do give her points for not getting all whiny and self-pitying about it.  And I like Taylor Swift– I do.  She’s just entertainment for a lot of fans who don’t need anything deep or original in their music but she’s a good role model.  I loved that she re-recorded her songs to take back control over her music (and I hope she inspires others to watch what they sign).

I have had various peripheral encounters with the Taylor Swift phenomenon.   I put her in the category of rap music, Harry Potter books, Star Wars, and other cultural products that become extremely popular but have no real value to me.  There is a point at which the sheer magnitude of their popularity can have a transfixing effect on critics and writers who should know better.  Inevitably, someone will write a epic piece on “Star Wars” or “Harry Potter” that will allege that the seeming banality of these works conceals a plethora of significant and substantial meaning that we all now need to proclaim obeisance to.

No it doesn’t.  “Star Wars” was intended as “B Movie” right from the start, a shallow, trivial pastiche of conventionality and cliché.  Lucas himself would never have dreamed that anyone would regard it as “significant” or deep or meaningful until it took in more than $100 million in ticket sales.  It’s just good fun with space ships and aliens.  “Harry Potter”– have you actually read any of the books?– is actually pretty bad literature.  I mean it is actually poorly written.  The sentences, the paragraphs, the pages and pages of repackaged wizards and golems and sorcerers with very little that is fresh, captivating, or inspiring.  And never poetic or allusive or provocative.  Rap music?  Streams of syllables over a packaged beat.  What the hell did anyone ever think was really interesting about it?  The fact that it emerged from black culture, that it supposedly defies authority and the establishment, that it expresses — what?  The desire to rape or kill, or brag, or bully?

And now there is Taylor Swift.  And here is a great mystery.  There is no doubt that Swift is a rather banal, narcissistic, self-referential, sophomoric songwriter.   If it could be said that she actually does write her own songs (I am very skeptical) her songs are almost completely about herself and how she feels about herself and how she feels about others feeling something about herself.    She’s not a particularly good performer either.  Let’s hear her without auto-tune, by herself, playing her own instrument of her choice.  You won’t.  At least, not for a while, until they decide — if they do– to package her that way.  If there are other people in her songs, they are very important because they play a role in how she feels about herself.  [Well, here she is— judge for yourself.]

But, to my astonishment– I mean, complete and utter astonishment– the New York Times Daily Podcast just presented an utterly slavish, adoring, idiotic tribute to her, citing her choice as Time Magazine’s “Person of the Year”, and her massive popularity (of course her tour broke records: inflation never goes backwards, so every new big artist is going to break records).

I thought, did I miss something?  Do I have to go back and listen her to best songs again with a fresh approach to see if there is something in them that I did not notice the first time?  Or…

I listened with great interest.  As cars drove by me on my walk, I turned the volume up on the podcast: I didn’t want to miss this explanation.  Why is Taylor Swift so great?   The podcast was hosted by Michael Barbaro who interviewed Taffy Brodesser-Akner.  Both admitted immediately that they were Taylor Swift fans.  They unembarrassedly admitted they were “swifties”.  Seriously?  This is the New York Times!

Okay, so the Times is giving up the idea of objectivity right off the bat.  But let’s hear the reasons– tell my why her songs are so great, and why she is important.

The answer:  well, she wrote a song about how she wanted to go to the mall once and she called up her girlfriends and none of them wanted to go with her so she went by herself, with her mother, and there, at the mall, were all her girlfriends.  They hadn’t included her.  But her mother was very pleasant about it all and they laughed and she had a great time driving home with her mother in a car.

I am not making this up.  This is an “important” Taylor Swift song.  It is meaningful and substantive and unprecedented (Taffy Bordesser-Akner certainly thought so which immediately prompts the question: are you even familiar with the subject of popular music?).   No one, according to Taffy, has ever expressed the feelings of betrayal and lost innocence like Taylor Swift!

Taffy went on to talk about how Kanye West interrupted her at some awards show and then she befriended him and forgave him and then the cad criticized her in a song.  Egad!  Outrageous!  He used to be her friend and then he wasn’t.  She wrote a song about it and that song is incredibly important and meaningful.  To Taffy and millions of air-heads.

The third song they talked about was “All too Well”.  Once again, he was her friend, then he wasn’t.  Apparently it’s about Jake Gyllenhaal.  One version goes on for ten minutes.  Taffy is deeply impressed by lyrics like

And maybe we got lost in translation
Maybe I asked for too much
But maybe this thing was a masterpiece
’til you tore it all up
Running scared, I was there
I remember it all too well

Come on.  Seriously?

What all of these songs have in common is the over-looked possibility that Taylor Swift is annoying.  Perhaps her friends didn’t accept her invitation to go to the mall because they really wanted to hurt her feelings.  Perhaps they just didn’t like her.    But Taffy, listen to yourself!  It’s a fucking song about going to the mall and hanging out with your friends.  It is not deep.  It’s not original.  It’s not fresh.  It’s not profound.  It’s a trivial song about a trivial transaction blip in an adolescent girls’ social life.  But Taffy– in the ultimate expression of confirmation bias– proclaims it courageous precisely because almost no self-respecting female singer-songwriter would ever embarrass herself by writing such triviality.

It’s true.  Because the female singer-songwriters we think of were into much more substantial and original expressions of their art.  And absolutely, they would be embarrassed by “All too Well”.

Here’s more:

And you call me up again just to break me like a promise
So casually cruel in the name of being honest
I’m a crumpled up piece of paper lying here
‘Cause I remember it all, all, all
Too well

The language is stiff, forced.  “casually cruel” and “in the name of being honest” and “crumpled up piece of paper” are neither striking nor original and certainly not very powerful.   It’s the very definition of sophomoric.

I wonder if Ms. Brodesser-Akner has heard of Joni Mitchell or Ani DiFranco,

It was bad enough that the Times gave overweening preposterous adoration to a trivial, inane pop figure whose success is hugely the result of massive publicity and promotion as much as her own skill at manipulating her public image.  Worse was yet to come:  Taffy was audibly tearful about how she could relate to Swift’s struggles against her music company after it sold her masters to an investor.   She too had been exploited and cheated by people she trusted and loved– paid less then her male colleagues*, not being appreciated for her real talents and skills, being grateful to even have a job, the way Taylor Swift was grateful to her record company for making her famous and rich.  Taffy was astounded at Swift’s stunningly amazing decision to re-record her masters so she could sell them instead of the ones owned by the investors.

What would have been genuinely impressive would be if Swift was smart enough not to sign the deal she signed– willingly, in exchange for fame and riches– in the first place, or if she, like Ani Difranco, a female artist who is light-years more interesting than Taylor Swift, told the record companies to just fuck off while she managed her own recordings and career.



The New Speaker: Mike Johnson

The new Speaker of the House, Mike Johnson, is known to be a devout Christian. He prays very often, leads bible studies, podcasts his wisdom on Godliness and spirituality, and fights passionately against renewable energy, gun control, and anything based on science or fact. Amen. Jesus and Exxon. Amazing how his politics align so much with Trump and so little with actual scripture. He argues that scripture commands individuals to be hospitable to “the stranger at your gate” and treat them well, but governments can pretty well tell them to go to hell.


This man believes in the Bible the way McDonald’s believes in nutrition.