'Stand With Hillary' Is 2016's First Political Pop Smash

Categories: Country, Politics

In a Camarillo strip mall, where a toasty Quiznos breeze mingles with the funk of Jamba Juice, a nameless cowboy strums a guitar. He's thinking of a woman he knew years ago, way back in aught-twelve. She was a good woman, a loyal wife and a patriot, but her country let her down with negativity and gender-based attacks. But now it's 2016 (?) and the time has come to stand at her side. In a gently Auto-Tuned country twang, the cowboy begins his lonesome song.

This poignant country ballad has been bouncing around both wings of the political snarkosphere all day; this morning, it had a couple hundred views and zero comments; this evening, it has nearly 50,000 views and comments have been turned off (and probably not due to an embarrassment of praise).

It's already a minor viral phenomenon, but is this video important? Is it an intriguing preview of the 2016 election or a meaningless piece of cultural jetsam? I decided to find out.

Done. It's the second one. But let's laugh at it anyway.

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Happy Godsmack Day, America

Publicity photo
Today, the people of Boston pause from their daily grind to pay respects to their most cherished native sons: Godsmack, the universally revered critical darlings of modern rock. From the official Republic Records press release:

NEW YORK, NY -- To mark the release of Godsmack's sixth full-length album, 1000hp [Republic Records], Boston's Newbury Comics store at Faneuil Hall (1 N Marketplace #336 Boston, MA 02109) will host "Godsmack Day" on Wednesday, August 6th. As part of the festivities, Godsmack will be on hand to sign albums and Boston's Mayor Martin J. Walsh will declare August 6th "Godsmack Day," in recognition of the band's Boston roots and long success within the music industry. Longtime WAAF radio personality Mike Hsu will introduce the Mayor at 4:30pm.

For those who can't be on hand to witness this momentous occasion, we're thrilled to provide a transcript of the mayor's proclamation.

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Watch: George Martinez, Occupy Wall Street's Congressional Candidate, Raps

Mark Hewko
George Martinez: Congressional candidate, Occupier, Rapper.
As the Voice describes in this week's cover story, George Martinez is running for congress in New York's 7th District, and he's doing so as an Occupy Wall Street-affiliated candidate.

But before he was running for office, and before he first set foot in Zuccotti Park, Martinez was a rapper.

As a high-schooler obsessively recording tracks in his bedroom, as a college kid whose crew was mentioned as an "Unsigned Hype" by The Source, as the founder of two hip-hop-related non-profits and as a "Hip-Hop Ambassador" engaged in cultural diplomacy with the State Department, Martinez has been in some version of the rap game from way back.

After the jump, check out his latest video:

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Why Do People Want Rick Perry To Be More "Disliked" Than Rebecca Black?

You may have heard that Rick Perry's mind-meltingly horrible anti-gay campaign ad has more dislikes on YouTube than Rebecca Black's "Friday." The story has been covered by Time, the Today Show, and the Huffington Post, among many others. There's only one problem: that's not actually true. The current version of "Friday" has only been online since September, even though the Internet's interest in the song clearly dates back to March. That's because the original YouTube upload of the clip was removed in an aborted attempt to put it behind a paywall; when that didn't work, "Friday"'s creators re-upped the original clip, thus resetting the counter on views and dislikes. That current version, it's true, only has some 250k+ dislikes, less than Perry's now-400k+ figure. But before it was taken down, the original upload had more than three million dislikes, far outstripping what Perry's video has accumulated. (Some outlets got it even more wrong, trying to claim that passing Black's video made Perry's the most-disliked in YouTube history, even though two Justin Bieber clips and Black's other video have far more dislikes than Perry's.)

While some outlets have issued corrections, the "fact" has gone viral, leaving the more interesting question of why, exactly, it's important that Perry is more disliked than Black (or Bieber). On one level, of course, it's just good news for liberals, a nice confirmation that their repulsed reaction to Perry's ad is shared by lots of others. But it belies a deeper anxiety about the relationship between politics and entertainment. In the last few years, YouTube has taken a weirdly major role in our political campaigns, serving as the central clearinghouse of everything from campaign ads like Perry's to major campaign speeches, career-ending gaffes, and even presidential debates, to say nothing of all the reaction videos and remixes voters produce.

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Talib Kweli Plays Occupy Wall Street

Categories: Politics

Talib Kweli performed for Occupy Wall Street Protesters Thursday night.
Talib Kweli showed up in Zuccotti Park Thursday night to perform for the protesters of Occupy Wall Street.

After a lengthy General Assembly meeting that had left some protesters feeling spent and frustrated, Kweli arrived and stepped up onto the stone bench that is being used as a podium.

Kweli is soft-spoken, and the occupation is not allowed amplification. The listeners crowded round him in a seated circle, quiet, cameras aloft.

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Jeff Mangum And Michael Franti Play Occupy Wall Street

Jeff Mangum of Neutral Milk Hotel plays for Occupy Wall Street protesters last night.
The Occupy Wall Street protest at Zuccotti Park continues to be a magnet for celebrity musicians offering their support and serenading the occupiers with unamplified sets.

Last night, the performances bracketing the twice-daily General Assembly meeting came from dramatically different corners: the strident protest jams of Michael Franti, and the oblique introversion of Jeff Mangum.

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Common Goes To The White House: In Which Okayplayer Hater Sarah Palin Gets A-Moralizing

Categories: Common, Politics

In case you haven't been paying attention to Sarah Palin's antics lately (in which case: good for you), she recently got mad on the Facebook and the Twitters about noted rapper Common Sense performing at a White House poetry event. Like everything Palin says, this is gross and wrong. She apparently missed Common hosting the White House Christmas tree-lighting ceremony last year, and she was particularly incensed about his presence at an official event during Police Memorial Week even though he's not exactly NWA or anything. (Common is a supporter of Assata Shakur, which makes him exactly like every other rapper in existence.) Rap fans will be relieved to hear that Jon Stewart is going to debate Bill O'Reilly on this topic later today, since no debate about the morality of rap lyrics is really settled until two elderly men have yelled at each other on a cable news channel.

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Beyoncé, "Move Your Body," The Obamas, And The Body Politic

It was popular, for a while, to talk about African-Americans born after the civil rights movement as "the hip-hop generation," which implied that the swath of people being discussed was tied together more by a shared culture than by a shared political purpose. But it was hard not to notice that rap wasn't a part of politics. Sure, you had Michael Jackson and various jazzbos visiting the White House, but the part of culture that supposedly defined this whole mass of young people (both black and white) was conspicuously absent. It was hard not to conclude that if rap was absent from the symbolic center of politics, then young people must themselves be absent from politics as a whole. But then in 2008, candidate Barack Obama brushed the dirt off his shoulder.

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