MONEY PIT | 5 years ago | February 16, 2001 | Jim Hightower dissected George W. Bush’s first-term cabinet.
“Greetings can be quite different around the world. I’m told that New Zealand’s Maori tribesmen rub noses when they meet, that Tibetans stick out their tongues to say hello, and that some East Africans might say howdy by spitting at your feet.
“We the people have now been greeted by the full-fledged presidency of Bush the Second — and although Little George didn’t literally spit at us or stick his tongue out at us, he did rub our noses in the fact that Big Money got him into the White House and, by golly, Big Money is going to govern.
“His new presidential Cabinet has been hailed as rich in diversity for including four women, one Cuban-American, a couple of African-Americans, a Japanese-American, a Lebanese-American, a Chinese-American, and — look! — even a Democrat. But their diversity ends at ethnicity and gender, for the one constant among these new overseers of the federal machinery is that practically all of them have dedicated their careers to advancing corporate interests over working families, the environment, consumers, poor people, family farmers, ordinary taxpayers, and any other people’s interests.”
NATURAL BORN KILLER | 10 years ago | February 16 1996 | Carly Carioli described the macabre imagery on Nick Cave’s new record Murder Ballads.
“First, the gory details: in the course of the 10 songs... Mr. Cave polishes off 45 human beings and one prize-winning terrier. They perish from multiple stab wounds, suffocation gunshots, blunt trauma produced by an ashtray, blunt trauma produced by a rock, and various combinations of the above. The dog is crucified on his owner’s front door. At times, Murder Ballads brings to mind Edward Gorey’s alphabet (‘A is for Alice, she drowned in a well…’). Nick Cave is obsessed with such details. He lingers on the lay of the land, the direction of the breeze, the last thoughts of victim and murderer; in a pinch, he’ll throw in their weight or an abstract remembrance of their character or social status. It’s an approach his literary hero, the crime-fiction author James Ellroy (whose photo hangs in Cave’s work space, alongside a picture of bluesman John Lee Hooker and two prints of Jesus Christ), would appreciate.
“Even on the album’s penultimate, orgiastic conflagration at ‘O’Malley’s Bar’ — an almost Biblical bloodbath where Cave the actor ascends to a fevered pitch in his narration of the crime, boiling over into a madman’s stammer and grunts and ragged humming of bloodlust — Cave the storyteller keeps track of the bullets in the killer’s six-shooter and makes sure he reloads at the appropriate intervals. He keeps the details on file, works them into his other songs as if to test his listener.”