Monday, June 14, 2010

"Do You Really Want To Hurt Me" by Culture Club

Part of the appeal of Culture Club to little 12 year-old me was the fact that Boy George used to drive my father crazy; we'd been rocking out to this song on the radio for months before he finally saw a picture of the Boy, at which point my father's full-on closet-case hypocrisy revealed itself for what it was. Fortunately it happened in the TV room and not on the highway.

Do You Really Want to Hurt Me? was a huge smash all over the world, propelling the band to stardom and their debut album, Kissing to Be Clever, along with them; fame being what it is - namely a hideous bitch goddess - the band's success proved to be its undoing, not that the inevitable descent into tabloid ignominy wasn't as hugely entertaining as it was tragic. While revelations of George's heroin abuse didn't much interest me, the stories about his affair with bandmate Jon Moss* did add an element to the scandal which was then quite unique.

*The object and subject of one of my most long-standing schoolboy crushes.

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Happy Birthday Boy George

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I prefer to remember Boy George this way, before the toxic effects of fame really took effect...

Once upon a time he was a nelly bloke who wrote cryptic poems; now he's a rude bitch, mincing his way to oblivion.

Oh wait... I forget. Were we just talking about me or Boy George?

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In Memoriam: Ernesto 'Che' Guevara

How cool is that? A New Yorker cartoon featuring an iconic image of Che Guevara wearing a Bart Simpson t-shirt... It's so pop, I think I'm gonna pop!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketSeriously though, there are plutocrats and robber barons of all kinds who can't sleep at night (and not just because of their coke habit) who wish they could cram their memes as deep into the culture as this snapshot of a communist by Alberto Korda. I see Che t-shirts all over Vancouver, often layered with Calvin Klein, and the irony fairly makes me quiver.

Oh, and in case you're a plutocrat and a robber baron yourself, the story has a happy capitalist ending. Señor Korda shot his most famous image (some have called it the most famous image of the 20th century) for the Cuban newspaper Revolucion and never received a penny in royalties for it; entitled Guerrillero Heroico, it was taken in March 1960 at a memorial in Havana for the victims of the La Coubre explosion and not published internationally until seven years later.

A great many people have gotten rich with this image, just not the author or the subject... Vive la marketplace!

Born on this day in 1928, Guevara was executed by Mario Terán in October 1967, a day after his capture in Bolivia by CIA operative Félix Rodríguez.
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POPnews - June 14th

[As depicted by Jean Froissart in his famous Chronicles (which principally concerns itself with the events of the Hundred Years' War, albeit from a French perspective) peasants from Essex and Kent opposed to the poll tax stormed into the capital across London Bridge and temporarily seized the Tower of London - summarily executing Simon of Sudbury, the Lord Chancellor and Archbishop of Canterbury, as well as the Lord Treasurer Robert de Hales, both of whom were behind the tax's implementation and had taken refuge there in the (mistaken, as it turns out) belief they would be safe within its sturdy walls; whether or not the rebels had been let in to the Tower by sympathetic keepers remains one of history's great unanswered questions... Meanwhile, in nearby Westminster, another group was responsible for destroying John of Gaunt's Savoy Palace on the Strand.]

- England's 15 year-old King Richard II met with the leaders of the Peasants' Revolt - including a face-to-face confrontation with Wat Tyler - on Blackheath, near London; at the meeting Tyler was mortally wounded by London mayor William Walworth, and without Tyler's leadership the revolt soon dispersed.

1645 - At the Battle of Naseby - the key battle of the first English Civil War - 12,000 Cavalier troops loyal to King Charles I were badly beaten by 15,000 Roundheads of the New Model Army commanded by Sir Thomas Fairfax and Oliver Cromwell.

1775 - At the outset of the American Revolution the Continental Army was established by the Continental Congress, marking the birth of the US Army.

1777 - The Stars and Stripes was adopted by Congress for use as the American Flag, today the source of the little-observed Flag Day.

1807 - Emperor Napoleon I's French Grande Armee defeated its Russian counterpart at the Battle of Friedland in Poland (near the modern-day Russian enclave of Kaliningrad Oblast) ending the War of the Fourth Coalition.

1821 - Badi VII, king of Sennar, surrendered his throne and realm to Ismail Pasha, general of the Ottoman Empire, ending the existence of that Sudanese kingdom.

1846 - The Bear Flag Revolt began when English-speaking settlers in Sonoma, California, started a rebellion against the Mexican government of Alta California and proclaimed the California Republic.

1919 - John Alcock and Arthur Whitten Brown departed St. John's, Newfoundland, on the first nonstop transatlantic flight.

1934 - James J. Braddock scored one of the most upsetting victories of his boxing career - not to mention riveted an America deep in the throes of the Great Depression - by defeating the 'Ozark Cyclone' John 'Corn' Griffin in three rounds. The bout marked the beginning of one of boxing's greatest comeback stories - for Braddock, that is; for Griffin... Not so much. In the days after the fight noted wag Damon Runyon dubbed Braddock 'Cinderella Man', much to his manager Joe Gould's delight; and to think it only took seventy years to be made into a movie!

1937 - The US House of Representatives passed the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act effectively rendering pot illegal.

1941 - The Soviet Union's so-called June Deportation - a series of mass deportations and murder of Estonians, Lithuanians and Latvians - began.

1951 - UNIVAC I was dedicated by the US Census Bureau.

1952 - The keel of the nuclear submarine USS Nautilus was laid by US President Harry S. Truman.

1954 - US President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a bill into law placing the words 'under God' into the Pledge of Allegiance, thereby ruining the nation and all it once stood for.

1962 - Albert DeSalvo, better known as the Boston Strangler, murdered his first victim, Anna Slesers.

1966 - The Vatican announced the abolition of its Index Librorum Prohibitorum - an index of prohibited books originally instituted in 1557.

1967 - Mariner 5 was launched toward Venus.

1982 - The Falklands War ended when Argentine forces in the capital Stanley unconditionally surrendered to Britain.

2002 - The near-Earth asteroid 2002 MN came within 75,000 miles (120,000 km) of the Earth, which is about one-third of the distance between the Earth and the Moon.
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