Obviously you relished the idea of everyone getting up in arms over your “50 States, 50 Bands” selections. I don’t feel angry or upset or ready to start a flame war over it. Rather, your total inability to recognize deserving candidates has me . . . amused?
No disrespect to Ketman, Velvet Underground, Mary J. Blige, or the one and only Stevie Wonder. However, in your attempts to look “smart” and “aware,” you — in the cases of these four categories — completely neglected the most deserving candidates.
I fully expected the Dresden Dolls to be named the best new band from Massachusetts. They’re the finest Boston act of this decade, certainly the most creative and original. You guys in particular have rightfully championed the Dolls for so long that this seemed as obvious as the outcome to a Hulk Hogan title defense.
I have nothing but respect for the work of Velvet Underground. But in terms of who is the best New York band of all time, come on. I know the Phoenix staff has never liked KISS very much, but please, don’t pull a Rolling Stone and show complete ignorance to what makes KISS iconic in the first place. Countless bands and solo artists of the past three decades have pointed to Gene, Paul, and the boys as a primary inspiration and influence.
While some may say Afrika Bambaataa wasn’t exactly a “solo artist,” given some of his work with the Soulsonic Force and Zulu Nation over the years, he is nevertheless the unquestioned Godfather of Rap and a living testament to the endurance of hip-hop, and should have won this category for New York. There would have been no N.W.A, no Jay-Z, no Tupac, and no Biggie had Baambaataa not spent so many years looking for the perfect beat. I’m sure even Mary J. Blige would agree that putting her ahead of this immortal is a bit ridiculous.
Stevie Wonder’s credentials are beyond reproach. However, to deny the fact that Madonna Louise Ciccone is the biggest musical name to ever come out of Michigan, having a career spanning 25 years, entirely spent as a worldwide chart-topping superstar . . . seriously guys, really? Couldn’t you have let the readers decide the all-time best solo artist from Michigan? At this rate, I was half-expecting you guys to pass over the Stooges in favor of Insane Clown Posse. Damn, did you miss the mark on some of these.
I could go off on y’all for dissing Elvis Presley in favor of Robert Johnson, but who am I to encourage 50,000,000 vengeful flying Elvises to converge upon Boston in search of three Phoenix writers who should have known better?
Sly, like Fox
In a letter to the Phoenix this past week, Rich Goggin of Peabody says I was wrong to claim, as I did in the recent “Muzzle Awards”, that Fox News Channel host Bill O’Reilly “loves nothing more than to tell his guests to ‘shut up.’“ Goggin instructs me thusly: “Except O’Reilly only did that once, seven years ago.”
Now, I’m going to make an assumption, but I’m pretty sure the source of Goggin’s misinformation is O’Reilly himself. O’Reilly’s claim was included in Robert Greenwald’s documentary OutFoxed. Greenwald follows that with a hilarious stream of O’Reilly telling both guests and non-guests alike, over and over, to “shut up.” Goggin ought to try looking it up on YouTube. It’s easily found.
If that’s not enough for Goggin, he can google a piece written by Jack Shafer, of Slate, way back in 2003, in which he wrote, “Bill O’Reilly says ‘shut up’ the way other people say ‘um.’ ” Shafer follows that with one, two, three . . . okay, make that 30 examples of O’Reilly telling guests and non-guests alike to “shut up.”
Goggin also seems to labor under the misapprehension that I don’t know much about O’Reilly’s show. Let me assure him that I watch it often enough. And here’s something that may surprise Goggin: not only was I once a guest on The Factor, but O’Reilly and I were on the same side.