Monthly Archives: November 2013

The Cinch Review

Bob Dylan to Stand Trial for Inciting Racism?

Bob Dylan Trial Inciting RacismWell, he’s always been aware that everybody must get stoned.

A group of Croat immigrants living in France have apparently gotten a court in Paris to accept a case against Bob Dylan, under France’s hate speech laws, in order to prosecute him for inciting racism against, naturally, Croatian people. You may not have been aware of Bob Dylan’s long-standing animus against the Croats, but it seems the Croats are very much aware of it. Dylan’s music was reportedly banned from Croatian radio station “Split” after an interview he did with Rolling Stone magazine last year which included the following quote:

If you got a slave master or Klan in your blood, blacks can sense that. That stuff lingers to this day. Just like Jews can sense Nazi blood and the Serbs can sense Croatian blood.

Some Croats were apparently extremely upset at being associated, by implication, with KKK members and Nazis.

It’s really kind of fascinating. And it’s also a matter of interest that non-French citizens can be tried in France for “hate speech” that occurred somewhere else. There’s kind of a lot of hate in the world, isn’t there? It would seem to me that the French courts ought be overflowing with such prosecutions, and they would need to reopen the Bastille, and build a few more, to house all the convicted offenders. Continue reading Bob Dylan to Stand Trial for Inciting Racism?

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Natural Wonders and Belief in God: Important New Research

Natural wonders and belief in GodOnce again, scientists have directed their telescopes and most advanced instruments upward, have spent long months studying the data and spending their grant money, and emerged to deliver their important conclusion: The sky is blue.

The story this time is in the UK’s Daily Mail: “Natural wonders increase our tendency to believe in God and the supernatural.” Doctor Piercarlo Valdesolo of Claremont McKenna College and Jesse Graham of the University of Southern California announced their findings based on studying the reactions of human subjects to awe-inspiring natural sights, and have concluded that such sights increase the tendency of people to believe in God or the supernatural. Amazing. Continue reading Natural Wonders and Belief in God: Important New Research

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Sandy Hook Again

newtown sandy hookWith the release of more details in the case of the massacre at the Sandy Hook school in Newtown, Connecticut on 12/14/2012, and the renewed focus by much of the mainstream media on the perpetrator, it is worth reminding ourselves of what the broader evidence shows about the motivations of those who commit these kinds of crimes. That is, that they are motivated by a desire to inflict spectacular harm that attracts universal attention—even deliberately competing to outdo previous mass killers—in the expectation that the same universal attention will then be focused on themselves and on their own nurtured grievances, frustrations and hatreds, whether contained in published manifestos or not.

They create the most horrifying spectacle possible in order to make a spectacle of their own hatred for the world and everyone in it. And every time the glare of the media spotlight is shone on one of these killers, it provides direct encouragement and inspiration to others who may be teetering at the abyss of similar horror. Continue reading Sandy Hook Again

nixon 1960

What if Richard Nixon Had Won in 1960?

If Nixon won presidency 1960I like hats. Proper men’s hats, that is. It’s an affection that has developed in recent years, after belatedly realizing their utilitarian value and coming to understand that they also provide a relatively inexpensive and fun way of bettering one’s look and mood. When one begins wearing hats, it’s a natural thing to wonder why they ceased being ubiquitous in America, as they appear to have been based on photographs taken wherever men are present during the first half of the twentieth century. No man seemed to ever be without a fedora or other brimmed hat, at least when outdoors. Conventional wisdom has an answer to this—whether fully true or not—and it is that when John F. Kennedy stood hatless at his inauguration in 1961 the image of him doing so changed fashion on a dime, and men’s hats were transformed from a required item into a niche category. And then there came so many cheap baseball caps … and civilization duly collapsed.

This got me thinking: if Richard M. Nixon had been the winner of the 1960 presidential contest, would men’s hats have remained in fashion? On consideration, I don’t think so, because I don’t entirely buy the idea that JFK alone altered that fashion; I think it was bound to take place, and he merely hurried it and provided a prominent symbol. Yet, this train of thought leads to other speculations. The 1960 presidential election was one of the most closely-contested in American history. John F. Kennedy ultimately beat his opponent with only 0.1% of the vote. It was believed by many then that dead voter shenanigans in Richard Daley’s Chicago and similar fraud in Texas swung the election for Kennedy. Nixon chose not to be the first presidential contender in history to dispute an election, whether out of a genuine desire to avoid division or because he didn’t believe he would prevail. And John F. Kennedy was hatlessly sworn in on January 20th, 1961. His was a transformational presidency, though arguably more due to the hinges of history that would turn as a result as opposed to personal accomplishments in office. Continue reading What if Richard Nixon Had Won in 1960?

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“Forever Young” in Kohl’s Commercial (Bob Dylan)

Forever Young Bob Dylan Kohl's commercialYesterday I griped cantankerously about BobDylan.com daring to make some kind of video for his song “Like a Rolling Stone.” Today I’ve become aware of further new visuals for a Bob Dylan song, courtesy of the U.S. discount department store chain known as Kohl’s.

There are some differences. It is not one of Bob Dylan’s versions of the song, but instead a simple cover version by a female singer with a guitar. And it is about thirty-three seconds long. As commercials go, it is tasteful, not pushing the sale of anything in particular but just trying to create a general good feeling. One may understandably recoil from being manipulated, but Lord knows there are worse ways of being manipulated. You can watch it below, embedded via YouTube. Continue reading “Forever Young” in Kohl’s Commercial (Bob Dylan)

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New Video for “Like a Rolling Stone” by Bob Dylan

New video for Like a Rolling Stone Bob DylanWhat’s this about? A “new video” for Bob Dylan’s 1965 masterpiece “Like a Rolling Stone” is to debut on BobDylan.com tomorrow (Tuesday, 11/19/13). The Associated Press reports:

The video will allow viewers to switch between 16 different story lines that mimic television channels. The actors and hosts on each of these channels lip-sync the lyrics to the song and viewers can move from one to another during the song seamlessly. There is a Dylan channel as well that features vintage footage.

It is part of the promotion for the new Complete Album Collection Volume 1. Continue reading New Video for “Like a Rolling Stone” by Bob Dylan

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Let a Smile Be Your Umbrella

Let a smile be your umbrellaResearchers have found a dramatic link between the presence of smiles in photos taken during childhood and young adulthood and the future happiness of the people in those photos (see WSJ article by Matthew Hertenstein). Most specifically, a study of hundreds of college yearbook photos found that those individuals who smiled least were about five times more likely to get divorced later in life versus those who smiled most. Further research indicated that even photos taken at the age of 10 illustrated a strong correlation between a full-faced smile and a future successful marriage, versus a flat or stoic look and the likelihood of experiencing divorce(s) instead. The better-smiling types also seem to live substantially longer.

It seems clear enough that the more research that is done, the more associations there will be between smiling in youthful photographs and successful outcomes in every area of life. This is very depressing for someone like me. Were one to go through my childhood photos, one would conclude that I should be divorced four or five times by now. As it happens, I have failed to get started on even my first divorce. I can only conclude that my wife’s far more cheerful and smiling nature as a child has somehow outweighed the grim misery with which her future husband was obviously burdened. So, therein lies a key lesson for the non-smilers: do not marry someone as sour-faced as yourself. Continue reading Let a Smile Be Your Umbrella