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liner notes


By Kevin Longrie

top me if you’ve heard this one: the animal rights group PETA, despite the innumerable injustices occurring in this country and around the world in regards to the ethical treatment of animals, decides to attack a mostly benign incident by well-known public figure in order to raise the profile of their organization. As a result, they trivialize their own struggle and the work of other animal rights activists by being seen grasping at the spotlight and for political capital. Well, I forget the punch line, but it’s happened again. And this time, it involves KATY PERRY and a lot of bad CGI. “Roar,” Katy Perry’s answer to Baltimora’s “Tarzan Boy,” is a by-the-numbers song about independence and strength that uses jungle metaphors (and, in the video, imagery) to convey its extremely simple point. PETA spokeswoman Merrilee Burke told The Daily Star that “[animals] often become stressed and anxious when hauled around and forced into unfamiliar or frightening situations.” The situations Burke is no doubt describing include a monkey and a bird that were separately standing on or around Perry’s arm or shoulder and a tiger that quite obviously was being handled by a trainer while being filmed. The tiger was asked to sit and then Perry was digitally added later, roaring (which I’m guessing the producers hope viewers will find . . . sexy?). Burke goes on to say that the Serengeti Ranch, those believed to have supplied the animals to Perry and her crew, “has been inspected by the US Department of Agriculture 22 times since 2001.” Unfortunately, she does not add what the Dept. of Agriculture’s findings were and whether or not this rate of inspection is abnormal for businesses like the Serengeti Ranch. This is just like the time that New York City’s Mayor Bloomberg got angry with Perry for launching bosom fireworks off repeatedly without a permit. MUMFORD & SONS have cultivated a massive fan-base by appropriating Appalachian music and southern folk and bending it to pop sensibilities. They even try to dress the part (or at least some retrofitted idea of the part): vests, flannel, and I’ve got to imagine a pocket watch here or there. Steampunk by way of O Brother, Where Art


Thou? It comes as little surprise that Marcus Mumford, who looks like a folked-out version of Ken Marino, and his band mates would want to partake in the ultimate southern rite of passage: being thrown out of an Atlanta strip club. It was karaoke night at one of Atlanta’s finest gentleman’s clubs and banjo player Winston Marshall decided to jump up for a go. The rest of his band mates filmed him with their camera phones, but were asked to put them away as they broke the club’s no video-recording policy. Things were said, oaths were delivered vociferously, and it was all over. The boys were ejected. It does make one wonder what a strip routine to Mumford & Sons would look like, though. MILEY CYRUS’ performance at the VMAs in Brooklyn will likely go down in pop-history as the “twerk heard round the world.” As plastic and flesh clung to each other and Robin Thicke blurred lines (of the age of consent, mostly), viewers watched and reacted and tweeted and blogged and decided that this particular performance was all that social media was allowed to talk about for a solid week. And as she’s rode the wave of bizarre looks and popularity (as well as wrecking balls) after the performance, Cyrus has been nothing but happy with the staging and execu-

tion. She might appear manic to viewers who see her tongue perpetually out or out of sorts to those who see her do a performance on German TV with a band comprised entirely of little people, but if you check out those iTunes sales, they’re going up and up. Even GENE SIMMONS managed to weigh in during a recent interview with Rolling Stone, no doubt asked the question because tongues were once again in the zeitgeist. Of her oral gesticulations, Simmons had only dismissive, sexist comments: “It was okay. But that’s a girl’s version. It’s like girls basketball. It’s as good as girls can get at basketball. But you can’t play with the guys.” You must admit that Simmons has a gift for quickly and cogently displaying the kind of charmless chauvinism that led thousands of misguided women to make the mistake of sleeping with him. c

V I S I T U S AT i R e a d C u l t u r e . c o m

Cmco october2013  
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