If you’d asked me back in 1991, when I was an alt-rock DJ — who was cooler: Morrissey or Rick Astley? — I would’ve been dead wrong. But now I know better.
Once upon a time, there was a brilliant English alt-rock band called The Smiths, who were fronted by one Steven Patrick Morrissey, better known as just Morrissey. They occupied an elevated place in my music collection, and you’d often hear them playing during my DJ gigs at Crazy Go Nuts University’s engineering pub.
As a (relatively) openly gay man — a tricky thing during the band’s time, which was from 1982 to 1986 — the child of Irish Catholics during the era of the IRA, a vegetarian, and lyricist for the excluded, he became a hero of sorts for people who didn’t quite fit in.
But from the 1990s on, he’s been showing his less savory side: the one that sides with the British far right, happily spouts white supremacist rhetoric, and has been all too willing to embrace fascism.
“It stinks,” says Billy Bragg, who worked with, and loved, the Smiths during the 80s. “They were the greatest band of my generation, with the greatest guitar player and the greatest lyricist. I think Johnny [Marr] was a constraint on him … back then he had to fit into the idea of the Smiths. But now he’s betraying those fans, betraying his legacy and empowering the very people Smiths fans were brought into being to oppose. He’s become the Oswald Mosley of pop.”
While I still appreciate the beautiful work that Morrissey did back then — after all, there wouldn’t be a Smiths without him — it’s great to see Rick Astley taking up the mantle. It’s all the Mozzer goodness, and none of the fascism or white supremacy. It’s win-win!
In a Zoom conversation earlier today, one of us asked for the English word for “noun that refers to people who live in a certain place, such as a city, or state, or country.” That word is demonym.
In the process of looking up the word, I stumbled across the map above, which shows the demonyms for a number of midwestern U.S. states. The ones that grabbed my attention were:
Stubtoes (people from Montana)
Bugeaters (people from Nebraska)
Pukes (people from Missouri, and I suspect someone from outside the state came up with that one)
and my personal favorite, Goober Grabbers, which sounds like people who should be on some kind of registry and banned from living near schools, but actually refers to people from Arkansas. “Goober” is a slang term for peanut, and a goober grabber is someone who harvests them.
Today, in South Korea, it’s 광복절 (Gwangbokjeol), which literally translates as “The day the light returned”. It’s also a big day in North Korea, where it’s taken on the unsurprisingly dour name 조국해방의 날 (Chogukhaebangŭi nal), which means “Liberation of the Fatherland Day”.
50 years ago today, on August 15, 1971, then-president Richard Nixon announced a new economic policy, whose measures collectively became known as the Nixon Shock.
In a televised announcement that meant interrupting the popular TV show Bonanza, he effectively announced that the connection between the U.S. dollar and gold was to be broken. The way in which he made the announcement might seem kind of odd to the modern-day viewer; by today’s standards, his announcement looks like a dry reading recorded in a YouTuber conspiracy theorist’s basement and not the bombshell that it actually was:
The money line (pun intended) in his announcement was that the U.S. would — and I quote:
“…suspend temporarily the convertibility of the dollar into gold.”
50 years is still not forever, so technically the “temporarily” qualifier still applies. Temporary or not, the effects of the disconnection between the dollar and gold — the creation of what cryptocurrency people like to refer to as fiat currency (currency that governments issue by fiat, and are not backed by a commodity, such as gold) — have had massive effects on the way the world works today.
I have only a vague notion of Bretton Woods, and international monetary policy, and most of what I know about modern monetary theory comes from the “sink metaphor”. To better my understanding, I’ve put some books on my reading list including this one:
If you’ve been watching the Food Network for some time, the name of the author, Jeffrey Garten, may seem familiar. The author photo may clinch it for you:
That’s right, he’s the Barefoot Contessa’s husband! When he’s not making cameo appearances on her show, he’s kept himself doing money-related things such as being Dean of the Yale School of Management, Undersecretary of Commerce during the Clinton administration and doing other government work during the Carter, Ford, and Nixon administrations, and managing director at Lehman Brothers and Blackstone Group.
The site tells you how to observe this very special day:
Sneak some zucchini into your neighbor’s porch. Don’t be surprised if your gift delights the recipient, either. Those who have none in their garden are usually excited to have some fresh zucchini, especially if they didn’t have to grow it themselves. To alert others, use #SneakSomeZucchiniIntoYourNeighborsPorchDay to post on social media.
I’m simultaneously hoping that “sneak some zucchini into your neighbor’s porch” isandisn’t some kind of euphemism.