Chrissie Hynde Vs. The Pretenders

Hello hello,

Thanks for stopping by again. Today’s challenge – Treading carefully through a mine field.

The first female singer I absolutely loved is Chrissie Hynde. Before I learned about Janis Joplin, Kate Bush or Annie Lennox. The coolness, her being a rocker and being better at that than so many men. Maddona – who reportedly looked up to Hynde – perhaps brought the (debatable) “courage” to bring sex to the forefront, but for me, it was always Chrissie Hynde that comes up when talking about female rockers in a men’s world (among a few others of course).

And why do I bring all this up? Well, of course, it’s because the Internets caught fire after a quote was posted by this magnificent singer.

You know, if you don’t want to entice a rapist, don’t wear high heels so you can’t run from him. If you’re wearing something that says ‘Come and f–k me’, you’d better be good on your feet…

Instead of listing all the things that were said about Hynde by everyone and their sister (and they were plenty…), I’ll just share THIS column from SPIN magazine.

The over-arching theme of the backlash was – understandably – the rape victim’s responsibility.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Disclaimer: I have thankfully never been assaulted sexually and I won’t pretend to “know how it feels”. I have one thing to say about sex – “NO MEANS NO“. No excuses. No buts, ifs or whys.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

What did Chrissie say? Did any of it actually justify rape? Did any of it actually mean that “some rapes are justifiable”? One could come to this conclusion. But one should not.

We love to pretend. We love to think of ourselves as enlightened, modern and open human beings. But can we stop pretending for a short moment? Can we be honest with ourselves? Let’s try to answer these questions (and you can answer it for yourselves, or here in the comments section):

  • Would you let your daughter wear anything she wants?
  • Would you wear just anything to go anywhere?
  • How safe would you feel about these choices?

And finally:

Is it really a matter of victim’s responsibility? Or is it a matter of us, living in a society, where “provocative” dress code is, in fact, an invitation to some perverts?

Why don’t we get off our high horses for a minute and make the best decisions we can. This is not putting an ounce of responsibility for a rape on the victim. It’s taking responsibility for our choices, and I for one think that Chrissie Hynde did just that.

Not more.

Let me know what you think.

Better than a thousand hollow words

Welcome back folks. It’s nice of you to drop by again.

Today, I want to share a conversation with you. Just a normal Q&A, back and forth, chitchat between two people.

One of them is me. The other one, we will call M.I.F for reasons which will become apparent as you read.

This conversation took place in Facebook, as many these days do. Between two friends who have never met in real life. In light of this, the nature of the conversation is of course, trying to understand who the other person is. What he likes, dislikes and to try and get a peek into his views of the world. Just 2 guys talking here. Also, please excuse some grammar and spelling errors. Both of us speak English as second language.

Here goes:

Gil: Please recommend three places to visit in your country.

M.I.F: To Americans, Israelis and perhaps British, I recommend the following. I said America and Israel cause they have a bad image (perception) of Iran. Not all of them but I know many of them do. These three countries can meet the real Iran. We like guests. We’d especially welcome Israeli people, because in the past, before the Islamic revolution of 1979 many Jews lived in iran and also thousand years ago there was a really good relationship between Persians and Jewish people. Even now in Iran, there are many Jews, Muslims, Christians, many atheists and then Zarathustra live in Iran. We want peace with America and Israel, don’t listen to the media outlets, maybe about 70% Iranians are the friends of peace and they do not agree with this Islamic republic of Iran, and about 70% of Iranians disagree with these Islamic rules and this regime in Iran. They are not happy with that because before 1979 Iran was a free country like the west and we NEVER, EVER had any Islamic rules in Iran and these Islamic rules came to my country from Arabic countries. You can read about this also and make sure my words are correct. Any way, I would welcome all guests to Iran and i hope to see a good relation again between Iran, Israel and America.

Gil: What kind of music do you like? Any favorite artists?

M.I.F: I love sonati (traditional Persian music). I listen to rap, rock, Reggae, and all kinds of music. I don’t hate any kind of music, If that music gives me a good feeling i will listen to it (lol). My favorite artist is Homayoun Shajarian, a Persian singer who sings sonati, and also the Persian rapper (hichkas). I like 50 cent, Bob Marley, Eminem, and many other artists.

Gil: What sports do you like (If you do)? Any favorite teams? Athletes?

M.I.F: I love cycling as I was a cyclist, cars racing, swimming and many kinds of sport, my favorite team is the biking team of Astana, lotto, Columbia htc team etc. My favorite athletes are Marco Pantani, Alberto Contador, Mark Cavendish, Lance Armstrong etc.

Gil: What was the last movie you watched? Would you recommend it?

M.I.F: As i love comedies, my favorite movies were Dictator, Ted, The hangover, American pie etc. I recommend these movies if you didn’t see them (lol).

Gil: The lonely island scenario. What book would you take with you?

M.I.F: (lol) Weird question. If i was there, I think i wouldn’t need Quran(koran) or any holy book cause there is no Allah or god in that time to help me or any different god from different religion. This is my belief. I’d want a book about: how can i live in The lonely island and what can I do and what do I need and how can I run away from this hell (lol). Also, to spend my time with other books, I prefer to read the beautiful Persian poems from Maulana Rumi, Saadi, Hafiz, Omar Khayyam, Ferdowsi etc. I love Omar Khayyam and I think his book is good to spend my time. Let me write one of his poems:

 Khayyam, if you are intoxicated with wine, enjoy! If you are seated with a lover of thine, enjoy! In the end, the Void the whole world employ Imagine thou art not, while waiting in line, enjoy!

Meaning: In life devote yourself to joy and love Behold the beauty of the peaceful dove Those who live, in the end must all perish Live as if you are already in heavens above

Gil: Who was (or is) your greatest inspiration?

M.I.F: My inspiration person is Cyrus the great father of Persia (Iran) from 2600 years ago. When he said respect to all people with any beliefs and anyone is free to choose his/her religion or way and many beautiful words he said on his first charter of human rights in the world about 2600 years ago. He was a great man. I also love Maulana Rumi the Persian (Iranian) poet when he said: Not Christian or Jew or Muslim, not Hindu Buddhist, Sufi, or Zen. Not any religion or cultural system. I am not from the East or the West, not out of the ocean or up from the ground, not natural or ethereal, not composed of elements at all. I do not exist, am not an entity in this world or in the next, did not descend from Adam and Eve or any origin story. My place is placeless, a trace of the traceless. Neither body or soul. I belong to the beloved, have seen the two worlds as one and that one call to and know, first, last, outer, inner, only that breath breathing human being. or one of other poems of him is:I profess the religion of love, Love is my religion and my faith. My mother is love My father is love My prophet is love My God is love I am a child of love I have come only to speak of love. Etc.

Gil: What did you (or do you still) want to be when you grow up?

M.I.F: Well I am happy with what I have and so it should be. I have my 2 shops as I’m 21 years old. It’s true, we say people have many dreams to have all they want and each one of us has different wishes. Some can and their dreams will come true as they work hard for their wishes and some can’t because they didn’t try, or maybe their life changed by other things and they couldn’t do something to make their dreams come true. This world is too weird. My dream is peace between everyone. Each one of us, different countries, and I’m trying to help this world to be in peace. A big/hard wish but I hope slowly this wish will come true too, and many wishes I have which are not just about myself, but rather about the world or even my land Iran. I’m not selfish so i don’t have too much dreams for myself. I am happy with my life.

Gil: If a movie was made about you, who would be playing your part?

M.I.F: I’d prefer that I act in that movie (lol) because I think I can be a good actor and that movie will be more appealing, as it’s my life and I can act all feeling so true, and it will be just the true feeling in each part of my life in that movie.

Gil: What do you value the most about your friends?

M.I.F: Friends always help each other. With my good friend, we help each other, we have fun, When he or she is sad I’m sad, the valued thing with the real friends is that they don’t leave you alone and in the lonely moments they are with you.

Gil: What do you consider the most important lesson life taught you?

M.I.F:As I’m silly sometimes, I do stupid things. Don’t  laugh (lol). I’m sure you did too because we are all human and each one of us do the wrong things sometimes. All of humans, even the biggest persons. Experience – that’s what we get, sometimes. When I make mistakes, I will not be sad about it, maybe you can’t believe that, but I will be happy because it will be experience and is like a medal for me. Or an achievement (lol). It’s true and I’m not kidding. We should never be sad for making mistakes because any mistake is a step towards victory. I believe that we should never give up.

M.I.F: Which places do you like to visit? which place you choose for living (except the place you living now)?

Gil: I appreciate the greatness of nature Vs. the contrasting humbleness of men. For that reason, places that interest me are places where that contrast is evident. Examples include the grand Canyon in the US, the Amazon, Antarctica. I will likely not make it to most of these, but would be happy to see some. If there’s one place I’d like to live it’s the Golan Heights at the north of Israel. A beautiful place.

M.I.F: Which pet would you like to have? which pet wouldn’t you like?

Gil: As far as pets, I’m a dog person. I had a few and loved them. Currently taking a break from pets as I have enough on my plate. I don’t particularly like cats (Sorry internet :)) and I’d never keep a wild animal captive.

M.I.F: Out of the books you read, what are your favorite books?

Gil: Good thing you asked in the plural form, as I have quite a few. The books that really had an impact of me include: 1984/George Orwell, The Man In The Maze/Robert Silverberg, Lord Of The Rings/JRR Tolkien, Otherland/Tad Williams and Foundation/Isaac Asimov among others.

M.I.F: Which behavior don’t you like with people?

Gil: I will phrase it that way, people who do not have capacity for compassion. I feel sad for these folks. No matter what happens in our lives, there’s always someone who might have it less fortunate.

M.I.F: Which person is your biggest inspiration person? and why?

Gil: I’d have to say that on a personal level, my father was and still is my biggest inspiration. A person who’s done his best to be positive, honest and hard-working, who put his family’s needs ahead of his own. A person who fought Cancer for years, so he can see his kids reach a stage in their life where he could let go. A person who did not need anyone’s approval to be a good person. Another person who I’ve always thought highly of is Martin Luther King who showed that non-violence can achieve great things and overcome great wrongs.

M.I.F: What kind of music do you like to hear?

Gil: I love Rock music of many kinds. Some of my favorites include Led Zeppelin, Metallica, Bruce Springsteen, Nirvana and many many more. I’m also a big fan of Israeli singers who mix rock, and other western styles with middle eastern influences. Look up ‘Ehud Banai’ (Who I believe is from a Persian descent) in YouTube 🙂 Another Persian Israeli singer is Rita. Whether I like her style or not, her voice is simply amazing.

M.I.F: What are your dreams and wishes?

Gil: I am very modest in that regard. I believe I share the great dream of being happy. I do my best to be happy at all times, regardless of circumstances. I find that negative feelings tend to invite more such feelings into our lives. Outside of myself, I hope that people will find a way to live with each other in peace. So many lives, so much energy, money and resources are directed towards hate… it makes me wonder how can we not see that directing these to peaceful and productive existence would make this world so much better.

M.I.F: What is your purpose in life? And tell me about ultimate goal in your life.

Gil: This is a question I am still trying to answer myself 🙂 My ultimate goal in life is to try to live in peace with myself and others.

M.I.F: Which person did you want to be? and why?

Gil: As a youngster I wanted to be a DJ on the radio. I love music and always wanted to be the one to share it with people. These days I just want to be the best me I can possibly be.

M.I.F: Tell me about the biggest and important thing you learned from this world.

Gil: There are many great lessons I learned (and I have plenty of room for more). Perhaps the most important thing I learned was to understand that I’m responsible for everything in my life. To realize that nothing in the past could be changed and that the future is not here yet, therefore, I can only change what I do in the present. Because of that realization, I choose to avoid falling into the pitfall called regret, forgive myself and others and do my best at present time.

I hope you enjoyed our conversation. To complete Buddha’s quote in the title

Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace.

I hope you did not find any of these word hollow. Each one of these, and so many more that are spoken every day, are meant to bring about the goal of many in the middle east – Peace.

My Iranian Friend could not be named in this forum to avoid persecution in his homeland.

I’m grateful for your cooperation my friend!

We both met on Facebook as part of the Israel-Love-Iran group and one of the goals of this group is to encourage communication between people of these two countries. I wanted to share this, and encourage others to have more of these! We are not our leaders, we are not politicians, we’re people and as you could see above, we have no problem with each other.

Feel free to share this post, spread the word. Hopefully one day, we could meet in Tel Aviv or in Tehran and chat over some coffee. Until then, Peace, Shalom, man solh raa arezou mikonam.

Come on and ride on the peace train!

What have you done for Peace lately?

Until next time,

Here we are, now entertain us

Welcome everyone.

nirvanaweekHOF

 

Today we bask in the magnificence of one of Rock N’ Roll all times greats the late Nirvana.

Mega-Tons of words were written about this band, and for good reasons. Nirvana had accomplished in a very short life span, what most bands won’t in many years. It transcended its genre in terms of popularity, success and impact.

This will not be a history lesson (though many people may need one). You’d do yourself a good service by reading Charles R. Cross’s biography – Heavier than heavenThe most serious attempt to chronicle Kurt Cobain’s journey as well as one of my favorite biographies in general.

No, What I want to do here is look at a few snippets of Nirvana’s short career and show how awesome this band is and how much it meant to me as a young adult and later on in life.

We ride.

Polly

When I listened to that song for the first time, it blew my mind. The story told in this song, Kurt’s voice, the atmosphere it set, it was a little unnerving but in a different Cobain-y way. The second thought that hit me was perhaps the more significant one. The song is written from the point of view of the antagonist, a would be rapist/murderer? Yet it still demands the listener’s empathy to the victim. Empathy, as would be evident in so many other milestones in Kurt’s life. He would go on to downplay his lyricist talent on plenty of interviews but he was one of my favorites.

Smells Like Teen Spirits

Some snobs would thrash this epic song, but that’s just because they’re pretentious douches… Smells like teen spirits is a land mark, an anthem and a fantastic song in its own rights. Was it overplayed? perhaps. Kurt was getting sick of playing it live and who could blame him. But the fact remains that this song embodies what the phenomena called Nirvana was all about. Loud, Cynical, humorous, a little ambiguous. All the ingredients of Early nineties grunge, packed with a good-looking scruffy front man and his band. Here we are, now entertain us!

In Bloom

While so many rock stars wasted time getting way too serious about themselves, Nirvana was always up for some laughs. The ‘In Bloom’ video was another example for Nirvana’s sarcasm and for why so many people love them. The complete opposite of the ‘Clean’ pop, Nirvana blasted into mainstream status through that grungy sound. For a Beatles fan like me, it was both funny as well as rewarding in a way, to watch this video. It pretty much represented what I felt towards so many things at the time, and to some extent it still does.

Sliver

So many websites, articles, and other outlets seem to miss the fact that Nirvana ever made the album ‘incesticide’ which is a shame. This album is full of gems. A lot of aggression and surprisingly good, if minimal lyrics. Case in hand, ‘Sliver’ which is a heart wrenching song on the one hand, while being a really raunchy piece on the other. Sometimes the most intimate, personal stuff work better loud than as a ballad. Another trick Nirvana taught us.

Rape Me

This is not my favorite song from ‘In Utero’ but it again represents that kick in the gut (or a few inches lower) that Nirvana gave pop culture and its media outlet MTV. No more Mr. nice guy. Nirvana wrote songs from the depth of its acidic stomach and followed them up with some ‘in your face’ videos (honorable mention to my favorite In Utero song – Heart Shaped Box). When Nirvana did not get a green light from MTV to play ‘Rape Me’ on the MTV awards show, Kurt had to mess with them just a little (watch below). This is the same TV channel that wouldn’t allow Foo Fighters ‘Low’ video, sitting on their high and mighty horse while playing countless hours of almost naked under-aged girls.

Interviews

Kurt Cobain might have been a junkie. He may have been a lot of things to many people. But Kurt Cobain was a real artist with a pretty good outlook (for a 20 something). We don’t know what if, but I loved watching these interviews which were mostly funny, sarcastic and at times very candid. I like to think of Nirvana the way they appeared in these interviews, and following Krist and Dave through the years, I think they still are just as awesome as they were back then.

The Man Who Sold The World

Nirvana’s unplugged was not the first one to air. But it was by far, by eons – the best. What makes it so spacial you ask? Well, I think that’s due to three things. One is the fact that it was pretty much tailored to Kurt’s state of mind and sensitivities. Starting from the settings, through the sitting arrangement. The second was the conscious decision to go with a cover heavy and big hit light setlist. I think that part of the magic of that night was Nirvana’s understanding of what might work acoustic and what might not. The third was luck. Dave Grohl says that the idea of using these brush-drum-sticks was only raised after frustrating takes using his regular ones. The toning down of the drums definitely helped achieve that fantastic sound.

April 8th, 1994

On that evening we were having a pool party. While we were busy drinking and dancing someone walked in and said ‘Hey, Kurt Cobain’s dead. He killed himself’. The music stopped, the drinking didn’t. To say I felt sad would be a gross understatement. Beyond the sadness for the lost life of a man (which is the most important), I felt like an era came to an end – and in a way it did. For me, Nirvana came to life after a very long time with very little in terms of contemporary musical heroes. The feeling was ‘Now what?’. It would take less than I thought it would before I’d find the new king (same as the old king).

It’s better to burn out than to fade away

I’ve read Kurt’s suicide note a few times. I’ve read interpretations for this note, and have watched a few documentaries, including the aforementioned biography. For years, I was convinced without a shadow of a doubt that Kurt indeed committed suicide. It made sense (if anything makes sense when a young and talented man dies). But after hearing some of the questions being raised around this, I have to admit that while I can’t say I’m a fully fledged believer in the ‘murder conspiracy theory’, I now have more questions than reasonable answers. The bottom line still hurts though. Kurt is dead and I miss him.

IMG_6614

 Marigold

What if Kurt Cobain didn’t die? What would Rock music look like? What bands would or would not exist? How successful would Nirvana be and for how long? Which direction would their music take? We may never know the answers to these questions, but one thing we do know is that the Foo Fighters project would likely not happen. I’ve had mixed feeling about Dave Grohl never singing Nirvana songs. On the one hand, as a fan it would be tons of fun. On the other, there would be no way he would be able to establish the Foo Fighters status had he felt compelled to satisfy this nostalgic urge. Kurt Cobain thought very highly of Dave as a musician, and the only reason Marigold wasn’t included in In Utero is that they didn’t feel it gelled with the other songs. It did come out as a B-Side to one of Nirvana’s best songs – Heart Shaped Box.

The Foo Fighters is either what Nirvana would have ultimately resemble, or the sweet takeaway from a tragic development.

Either way, Nirvana will always remain an iconic band and I’m happy they were honored to be inducted into the hall of fame immediately following their eligibility.

  • Are you a Nirvana fan?
  • Any idea as to any of the ‘What if’ questions?

Let me know.

Until next time…