john safran

Sheet music album where it’s at for Beck

Remember Beck?

No? Not the Ted Danson show. That was Becker. And it sucked.

Beck. This guy.

The guy John Safran “exposed” as a scientologist (he was already well and truly known as a scientologist).

Anyway. Now that the short primer on Beck is over – he’s doing something a bit cool, he’s releasing an album. As sheet music. Through McSweeney’s – and they’ll be featuring notable user generated versions of the music.


(this is a mockup.)

 

This is ultra low fi. It’s lower fi than a 4 track tape release. It’s also a really nice way to tap into the music culture of the internet – in a fashion similar to Gotye’s remix of covers of his own song – harnessing user generated stuff is my favourite way to use the power of web 2.0.

Backwards Masking Unmasked: A book review (in multiple parts)

I’m a sucker for cheap books. Especially cheap Christian books. Especially dodgy cheap Christian books at a library fire sale because nobody has ever borrowed them… I’m building quite a collection. With the intention of inflicting them on you dear reader blogging my way through all of them.

First cab off the rank is Jacob Aranza’s “Backward Masking Unmasked” published in 1984. The book features an opening letter from a Senator of Louisiana. Senator Bill Keith describes the sinister nature of Rock’n’Roll as one of the “burning issues of our time” – in hindsight I think it’s fair to say that Keith was not a modern day prophet.

Jacob Aranza is described in his cover blurb as being one of the outstanding young ministers of America. And someone who was involved deeply in the drug/rock culture of Houston, Texas at the age of nine. He was obviously uniquely placed to provide insight into the evils of such bands as AC/DC, the Beatles, the Bee Gees, Blondie, John Denver, Bette Midler, Pink Floyd, Fleetwood Mac, and Eric Clapton.

The book only briefly covers the cover issue. Backwards Masking. It features spurious quotes from lobby groups, a weird blend of quotes from disparate psychologists seemingly cherry picked to build a case, and a bunch of conspiracy theory like links between various bands and a particular Satanist. If anybody has seen John Safran’s Music Jamboree it’s a bit like watching him build a case against something – only Aranza is serious. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Safran had read this book – it also accuses the Beatles of adopting backmasking techniques in order to further their own conspiracy theory that Paul McCartney is dead (which featured on the show).

In future posts in this series I’ll be sharing some insights into the bands you shouldn’t be listening to. But let me close with a passage from the introduction.

“If you don’t think this music is affecting the values of young people then listen to a few letters that were written in response to the subject of backwards masking being used satanically by rock groups. These letters were taken out of Hit Parader magazine. Hit Parader is a very popular rock magazine read by young people between the ages of 8 to 18:

“In a recent Hit Parader, a coupe of your readers wrote about rock bands and Satanism. Big fricken deal! The listened to Stairway to Heaven backwards, I’ve heard it too. But I still listen faithfully to Led Zeppelin.” – Gary Walker, Washington.

“All these Satan/Rock comparisons are driving me up a wall. I’m a good Catholic, but I also love rock.” Stan Lapinski, Florida.

“The people who say that rock and roll music and the various groups are devil worshippers are ignorant, and don’t know what rock music is all about. It’s just music! It relieves people from all the everyday problems. If anything it helps people.” – Steve Crocker, Florida

You can plainly see that backward masking and the forward messages of rock have taken tremendous toll already by the responses of these young people. The statement they are making is clear, “Don’t confuse me with the facts.””

This introductory chapter concludes: “So hold on to your earphones, here we go!”

If you have a favourite 80s band you think might be satanic let me know in the comments and I’ll include them in subsequent posts.

Soul Music

This GraphJam assessment of Christian music (not church music the "commercial" part of Christian music that is an industry worth hundreds of millions of dollars per annum) reminded me of this classic South Park episode where Cartman starts a Christian band and writes songs by substituting "you" for "God" in classic songs… these may be offensive to Christian music fans…

Here’s John Safran’s classic segment on Christian music…

Bad movie plot: Mormon Theology

Here’s a fairly old piece of orthodox Christian criticism of Mormon theology… Interesting viewing, this, along with a South Park episode, and some segments of John Safran vs God, forms my understanding of the teachings of the US-centric religion. It’s really not at all linked to Christianity – despite what your friendly neighbourhood doorknocker might tell you.

Commitment

John Safran had himself nailed to a cross yesterday. Apparently.

The man is nothing if not committed to his quest to understand religions of all colours (and creeds).

Father Bob – his radio offsider on JJJ – described it as an attempt to understand religion at a forensic level…

“For him, religion is the heart of the cosmos.

“If he did do it, it would have been for a forensic investigation of religious practices.”

An AFP report from Manila said the Australian, who was half-naked and wearing a long-haired wig with an improvised crown of thorns, joined Filipinos in a procession carrying a huge wooden cross to a crucifixion site.

He could be heard moaning loudly as the nails were driven into his palms and as his cross was hoisted up, allowing him to hang for about five minutes.

When he was taken down, he was rushed by men dressed as centurions to a medical tent for treatment. “

Adventures in TV

We caught Lawrence Leung’s Choose Your Own Adventure last night on the ABC (post Gruen Transfer). It made me laugh until I cried. It’s Safranesque – and produced by the Chaser team.

If you missed it you can watch it here thanks to the magic of iView.

Very funny. I’ll never be able to pick up a copy of the Queensland Presbyterian newspaper, New Directions, again without catching subliminal messages.

One of my favourite bits was when his mum told him what he was doing (trying to track down the object of his grade 3 affections) was creepy.

Here’s the trailer. It uses lego. He’s also a Rubiks Cube master. And used that to get a girl’s phone number. Chicks dig guys with skillz.

What would Jesus watch?

It’s an age old question – as old as moving pictures. But I’m not going to dwell on it now – except to say: Not this. I think it’s safe to assume Jesus has taste. 

Here’s a pretty scathing review from Christ and Pop Culture. This is real. And it is a complete ripoff of High School Musical.

Here’s the trailer from YouTube.

Sadly, it’s probably not the worst Christian kid’s programming on YouTube. No, that probably goes to this one:

Like everyone else – I laughed lots when John Safran pitched “Extreme Mormons” in John Safran vs God.

But it turns out the orthodox Christian church isn’t much better when it comes to sheltering Christians from pop culture. Because we all know that Disney’s High School Musical is dangerous. It contains dancing. Oh, so does Sunday School Musical.

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