This election is remarkable in that whoever wins will be absolutely loathed by a plurality of the populace, and distrusted by a majority. It is quite possible that on inauguration day our president elect will have underwater approval ratings. If there is any state out there that splits by less than the margin of error, we are probably going to see a reprise of 2000 and a return to “selected not elected” as a meme, with further damage to the infrastructure of our democracy. Our best case scenario at this point is for Gary Johnson to do well enough to deny anyone an electoral vote majority and kick decision to the incoming congress, something that would make the premise of Designated Survivor look like Reagan’s second term. So here are seven tunes appropriate to watching our republic burn.
O Fortuna— Carl Orff: This election is the bastard stepchild of Fate and Karma, and the final line “mecum omnes plangite!” (“everyone weep with me![“) seems appropriate.
Fortunate Son— Creedence Clearwater Revival: We seem on the verge of electing a Democratic administration set to continue years of unbroken military adventures, so yeah.
Edge of a Revolution— Nickelback: I know what you’re saying. “Nickelback!? Everyone hates Nickelback!” But consider, if Nickelback’s doing protest songs, something is very wrong in this country.
99 Luftballons— Nena: Say what you want about the Cold War, it produced some catchy tunes. Since we’re reviving the specter of nuclear annihilation, we can at least bring back the fatalistic German pop music that went with it.
Crack of Doom— The Tiger Lillies: This one is sort of self explanatory.
Killing Strangers— Marylin Manson: No particular rationale, but every time I see a campaign commercial I have this running in my head accompanied by a John Wick firefight.
Ticking Bomb— Aloe Blacc: Another self-explanatory one, from another action movie.
It also shows that Marvel’s Netflix lineup continues to avoid one of the major problems of the MCU. (See, I’m not a complete drooling Marvel fanboy, I admit the movies do have some problems.) Like its two small-screen predecessors, Luke Cage has a primary villain who isn’t a non-entity, a plot device, or completely ‘meh.’
My favorite Marvel movie, Guardians of the Galaxy has an antagonist that could be swapped with the one from Thor: Dark World and no one would even notice. How many great scenes do you remember with Red Skull or Whiplash? Do you even remember anything about the villain from the first Iron Man movie beyond the climatic fight scene? When the high water mark of cinematic villainy is the guy from Ant Man and Ben Kingsley pretending to be a terrorist, you have a bit of an issue.
But in Luke Cage, Cottonmouth is a villain that’s as fascinating and scary to watch as Wilson Fisk or Killgrave. The achievement is that much more impressive since a lot of his character echoes that of Fisk; the snaps of violence, the deep roots into his city, the desire to be a pillar of his community… but the acting sells it. Cottonmouth has an edge of desperation that makes him both more sympathetic and more threatening. Whenever he starts laughing, you expect someone to die.
I mentioned on Facebook that the best cover songs are ones that bring something new to the table. There’s something magical when an artist takes an existing song, does something radically different with it, and makes it work. In the following cases, I think the result surpasses the original.
One obvious thing is that decent quality source material doesn’t guarantee the quality of a remake. In fact, it often seems that there is an inverse relationship; the better the original, the worse subsequent attempts seem. That may be simply a side effect of comparing the two. After all, it’s easier to improve on a crappy movie than improve on a great one, and making any movie worse is the easiest task of all. It also seems to me that the best remakes take the existing property and do something new with it (counter-example and failure: Psycho). Much is made of “gritty reboots,” so much so that it’s now a cliché, but there’s also the “campy reboot” that can also work/not work just as well (see Dragnet or Dark Shadows), what matters is that the change in tone gives a reason for the remake to exist. The gender flip in Ghostbusters obviously serves a similar meta-purpose, to change the story enough to justify the movie’s existence.
I might also note that chief among my libertarian friends are a pagan SF author and a long-haired dude who makes guitars for rock bands, while every single progressive I know is pretty much part of the establishment.