August 12, 2004 - August 5, 2004
Saturday, August 07, 2004
Return of The Boss
This is a monstrously cynical poster
ROCK AND ROLL
We know we said we'd keep
track of the credentials of the Bush-bashing celebrities. But now The
Boss is taking to the campaign trail, and we just couldn't be happier
for him. No, we didn't even check to see if he ever graduated from high
school. He probably didn't, but we don't care. He's the big guy from
New Jersey, and Philadelphia has adopted him too. When he performed,
all the tragic Eagles and Phillies fans always came in droves and
somehow intuitively understood the blue collar despair of his songs.
It was just a perfect fit somehow.
So we're not going to be objective about his renaissance as a warrior
in the battleground states for the Kerry campaign. It's just so
completely and utterly cool. Last week he was an irrelevant artifact of
rock history, blow-drying his vanishing hair in hopes of postponing his
consignment to greybeard pop dinosaur status; this week he's a valiant,
socially conscious mega-millionaire who knows that the only salvation
for America lies in the platitudes of a multi-mega-millionaire who
isn't even from New Jersey but from Pennsylvania (by
marriage anyway). How great can American democracy get? Shades of "Born
to Run." Now he's going to run all over the USA performing a handful of
songs in between the genius contributions of James Taylor and Bonnie
, and ticket prices will be so incredibly affordable for all
kids who never would have been able to come up with the scratch for a
four-hour performance by Bruce and tycoon E-Street band members like
Max the millionaire drummer and clothhead Stevie Van Zandt, the second
-- no make that the fifth -- coolest guitarist to take the stage even
after he got fat and far too old to carry off his sartorial trademark.
It's all just so great that we have to apologize for abandoning our
usual hard-edged rationalism. We're fans. Forgive us.
GO BRUCE! Sorry. We should be more restrained. But the truth is, we
always looked up to Bruce as a philosopher. How could anyone
know more about political science than a semi-literate from Asbury Park
who became a millionaire before he reached the age of 21? We've never
stopped admiring his ability to cram unscannable syllables into
depressing melodies that persuade his loser audiences of his
commonness, which is as stark and ineradicable as a tattoo. Who can
quarrel with a populist hero of this magnitude, and how low do you have
to be to point out that he's spent his entire adult life shuttling
back and forth between mansions in Beverly Hills and Rumsen, New
Jersey? Who else would be in a better position to persuade the rest of
us poor slobs that the only guy who can lead us ordinary folk properly
is a billionaire gigolo who spent 30 years imitating his average-joe
mentor, John Fitzgerald Kennedy?
Another triumphant tour, but one that's democratically on the cheap.
Another few months of
demi-divinity. Fantastic. Who needs a decent album? When you're The
Boss, all you need is the next excuse for recruiting a new generation
of fans. We're willing to predict, right now, that Bruce is even going
to survive becoming truly bald. That's
how great he is. No retreat. No surrender. Only bucks. Right on.
Friday, August 06, 2004
Thursday, August 05, 2004
"Mon Dieu, Therèse, cherie,
these long green things?"
"They're corn, dammit. You just
peel'em like bananas and chow down."
inevitable that pampered millionaires are going to make fools of
themselves from time to time when they seek to rub shoulders with us
commoners. It happened yesterday in Iowa, where both Kerry and Bush
were trying so hard to demonstrate their solidarity with the ordinary
citizens whose votes they need if they are to secure the most powerful
office in the world. The agent of humiliation in both cases was corn.
Monsieur Kerry seemed to be overwhelmed by the very existence of this
ubiquitous vegetable, brandishing 'ears' as if they were rustic
sceptres awarded him by adoring peasants. To prevent any reoccurrence
of this faux pas
, we are forwarding the following little exegesis on
to the Democratic National Committee. We hope they take
advantage of this opportunity to educate Mr. Kerry about a subject he
might find useful in campaign visits to come. (NOTE TO INSTAPUNK
READERS: You don't need to read the text word for word; it has been
chosen especially to be as dry and academic as the towering
intellectuals of the people's party prefer their reading to be.)
Over a period of thousands of
years, Native Americans purposefully transformed maize through special
cultivation techniques. Maize was developed from a wild grass
(Teosinte) originally growing in Central America (southern Mexico)
7,000 years ago. The ancestral kernels of Teosinte looked very
different from today's corn. These kernels were small and were not
fused together like the kernels on the husked ear of early maize and
By systematically collecting and
cultivating those plants best suited for human consumption, Native
Americans encouraged the formation of ears or cobs on early maize. The
first ears of maize were only a few inches long and had only eight rows
of kernels. Cob length and size of early maize grew over the next
several thousand years which gradually increased the yields of each
Eventually the productivity of
maize cultivation was great enough to make it possible and worthwhile
for a family to produce food for the bulk of their diet for an entire
year from a small area. Although maize agriculture permitted a family
to live in one place for an extended period of time, the commitment to
agriculture involved demands on human time and labor and often
restricted human mobility. The genetic alterations in teosinte changed
its value as a food resource and at the same time affected the human
scheduling necessary for its effective procurement.
Native Americans of New England planted corn in household gardens and
in more extensive fields adjacent to their villages. Fields were often
cleared by controlled burning which enriched not only the soil but the
plant and animal communities as well. Slash and burn agriculture also
helped create an open forest environment, free of underbrush, which
made plant collecting and hunting easier.
Native Americans discovered that,
unlike wild plants and animals, a surplus of maize could be grown and
harvested without harming their environment. Tribes in southern New
England harvested great amounts of maize and dried them in heaps upon
mats. The drying piles of maize, usually two or three for each
Narragansett family, often contained from 12 to 20 bushels of the
grain. Surplus maize would be stored in underground storage pits,
ingeniously constructed and lined with grasses to prevent mildew or
spoiling, for winter consumption of the grain.
George, on the other hand, appears to have some slight idea about
what corn is; he just doesn't know anything about eating it. For
example, even in Iowa, they don't generally consume it raw. So we're
sending this recipe -- courtesy of the Fanny Farmer
website -- to the Republican National Committee in hopes they'll find
someone to prepare and serve some corn on the cob to the
Texan-in-Chief, who has probably never seen a bright green field full
of plants that a human being would want to eat.
There is nothing like
fresh corn on the cob, quickly boiled, spread with lots of sweet
butter, and sprinkled with salt. Two ears per person may seem like a
proper serving, but appetites run high when corn is in season and
freshly picked. Click here
for information about choosing and handling corn.
Just before cooking, husk
the corn, pull off the silky threads, and cut out any blemishes with a
pointed knife. Drop the corn into a large pot filled with boiling
salted water. Cover the pot and let the water return to a boil again,
then turn off the heat and keep the pot covered. After about 5 minutes,
remove enough ears for a first serving. You can keep the remaining corn
warm in the water for another 10 minutes without its becoming tough.
Serve with lots of butter and salt.
Everyone in both parties says they wants to win Iowa.
Well, if the Dems and the GOP are serious about that, they'd better
learn that this particular state is a gridwork of roads at right angles
to one another, subdividing a giant field of corn. Learn what it is, learn
how to cook it and eat it, and you'll have a shot at wooing the voters.
You might also be the beneficiary of a marvelous bit of wisdom:
eating freshly cooked corn on the cob with an ocean of butter and a
half ton of salt is a bit of heaven. But don't tell the Iowans you
found all this out from a native of the place where the very best sweet
corn in the world is grown -- southern New Jersey. Unfortunately, all
that midwestern corn tastes like dirt and is only good for feeding the
pigs. That's something the jayhawks would probably rather not know.
Back to Archive Index