R.I.P. Alex ChIlton
Having legendary singer/songwriter Alex Chilton die during the weekend of Austin’s massive music showcase/conference South By Southwest is kind of like if Stan Lee died on the first day of Comic-Con. You’d be hard pressed to find an event where Chilton would be more understood, appreciated and instantly missed. While a minor underground star to the mainstream world, amidst the SXSW crowds he ranks with John Lennon, Paul McCartney and Brian Wilson in terms of influence and respect.
Chilton died from a heart attack on March 17, days before he and his legendary Big Star were to perform at SXSW and participate in a panel discussion about the group’s legacy. Both the panel and show turned into Chilton tributes. Chilton’s influence on the likes of R.E.M., Teenage Fanclub and The Afghan Whigs insures that while he is no longer among the living, he will live on in perpetuity through his amazing music.
Universal Tries to Save Dead Format
The music industry has been crying poor the past few years and putting the blame on, well, you mostly. That’s right, because you dared to sample a song without paying for it or dared to download an album you weren’t sure you wanted for free, you're the death of the music industry.
One thing the big record companies never admitted was that — besides easy, cheap, legal download alternatives — the reason hard-copy CDs weren’t selling was because they cost too much. Universal is about three years too late, but it's finally announced it will drop its CD prices to $10 or less (comparable to download prices) in an effort to keep making money off of the format. If that fails, it’s probably because you bought a Chinese bootleg copy of the new Justin Bieber album at a flea market. You bastard!
Rewriting History in Their Image
A common pundit argument is that facts aren’t partisan. Try telling that to the folks at the State Board of Education in Texas who are trying to up “standards” in high school text books by making sure they include “facts” that bolster conservatives’ theory that all the good things that have happened in this country aren’t based on liberal ideas. (Best headline about the activities comes from The San Francisco Chronicle: “Dear Texas: Please shut up. Sincerely, History.”)
The conservative board members are also apparently not Hip Hop fans. Though cultural studies include movements like The Beats, Rock & Roll, Tin Pan Alley and Country music, it won’t mention Hip Hop because it was deemed offensive (someone hasn’t read much Allen Ginsberg).
So what if kids in secession-ready Texas learn things incorrectly? Because of Texas’ size, it's believed that textbook companies will adopt the new standards, meaning students in other states might be forced to learn that all bad things that have happened to our union are directly Bill Clinton’s penis’ fault.