A hate on SWAG

From Planet Minecraft

SWAG has by now been so overused that no one, not even the generation that wear their hats sideways and wear their pants so that half their ass shows, seem to know what it means anymore. And I don’t mean that older people don’t know what they mean, but I am not sure that even young people do either.

Sure, you could come across a blog that has some kind of definition fo SWAG, but if it is from a blog appealing to today’s teens, I can guarantee you that 10 websites will garner 10 different and conflicting definitions. Quite often, if the website, such as a blog, has a message to say, then they often must take the trouble to inform you of which definition of SWAG they are referring to. The Urban Dictionary has over a hundred of definitions for SWAG (I gave up counting after the 20th page of definitions). Some of them seemed to get it right when they note that it is the most overused expression since the major media accused Pol Pot of being “Communist” (he was many awful things, but never a communist). And “overused” has a way of soon becoming synonymous with “meaningless”.

From @swagsteppin on Twitter
From @swagsteppin on Twitter

In my day, which wasn’t yesterday, I confess, we had something called a “generation gap”, where parents often complained that they couldn’t understand us, but knew that we young ‘uns understood each other. That is, we may have invented some words to express everyday emotions in a way that seem to give an impression that we were the first generation that ever felt them, but at least teens could talk to other teens.

But what does it mean when “your SWAG is not up to my level?”, or “Mark and I are SWAG?” It might be letters that stand for something like “secretly we are gay”, or “style without admitting greatness”, or “stolen without a gun”, or “stuff we ain’t got”, “scientific wild-ass guess”, “something we all get tired of hearing”, “sexy with a bit of gangsta”, or … well, after 30 pages of SWAG, I can only conclude no one knows what they are saying to each other anymore. The young generation has reduced the dignity of adolescence to incoherent baby-talk.

From Return of Kings

I am genuinely worried about this since I feel that young people are losing the ability to communicate with each other. A lack of definition means that SWAG is a marketable word in advertising. SWAG means whatever you want it to mean, and so if you want to buy clothes that are “Simply SWAG”, or rings that are SWAG, then your only admission into this exclusive club of users of the word SWAG is to have heard the word previously. People who can’t express their wants or needs properly are also likely not to be able to think too critically — an ideal target market for salespeople. A mere generational gap has now become a huge interpersonal gap where the young have lost the ability to express their feelings, emotions, and opinions to each other. Relationships have become shallow, even by 1970s and 1980s standards, when many older people of that generation lamented that us young folk lost touch with seeking out fulfilling relationships, and afraid to be in touch with each other.

The YBF blog

It was not too long ago that SWAG was a word used at conventions and meant “Stuff we all get”, like T-shirts, pens, note pads, and so on. These things were often handed out at convention booths by vendors advertising their businesses to attendees.

When you brought your SWAG home from the convention, you had their names, their logos, their addresses and phone numbers, so that should you need their services, you knew who to contact.

#swaggeriest yo
Found on Tumblr

Crappy Album Covers #39 — Still More Gays

Paddy Roberts, whom allmusic.com claims is in the Rock genre, released this album in the mid-60s, probably the last decade where “gay” only meant “happy”. Likely not an album for queers. Not even queer dogs.In 2006, this album was re-released on CD, bundled with another album, “Funny World”. No detailed information on Paddy Roberts could be found anywhere.
Sticking to the 1960s, this was apparently one of a series of queer parody albums consisting of males singing in effeminate voices. These were released by the Camp Records label, and were advertised in a gay magazine called Vagabond in 1965. J. D. Doyle tells the whole sordid tale, at great lengt (with MP3s).You know this album will not be complimentary toward gays when you notice all of the stereotypes are in the artwork, along with the choice of color. This label had produced songs with titles like “I’d Rather Fight Than Swish”, “Florence of Arabia” and “London Derriere”.

But it has variously been called a “Queer stag” album, and other things. Nearly all of the credits are pseudonyms, and one name stands out: Rodney Dangerfield. That doesn’t sound like a pseudonym.The rest, it is claimed, are famous people, but being the mid-60s, no-one would reveal their names publically.

However, Doyle is doubtful that it is the same Rodney Dangerfield as that fellow Crappy Album Cover maker that got “No Respect”.

Jose Angel’s how to buy tramadol online album “Madre Soy Cristiano Homosexual” translates (I think) to “Mother, I am a Christian Homosexual.” The date of release is unknown. Here is an MP3 of the title track.By all accounts, this is a story of a man who comes out to his mother, that he is a gay Christian. Imagine this confession takes place today. Of course the mother probably flips out. Not over being gay, but over being one of them “Christians”. With all those “Christian Right” people ruining the United States, how dare he come into the house and disgrace the family that he now cavorts with a band of greed-obsessed Jesus freaks?

This photo was taken after Mother disowned him from the family inheritance, and told him he is no longer welcome in their house until he kicks this Christian habit. Maybe living on his own would be good for him.

This is another Jackdaw. I have nowhere else to place the retro Swedish group Larz Kristerz (this link is in Swedish only). So, they are in this post for lack of a better place.It would appear that all of their albums are called “Stuffparty”, their titles differing only by the sequel number.

They seem to have the 70s kitsch mastered. Probably a little too well, right down to the tasteless hairdos.

I tried to get Google to translate “Stuffparty”, from Swedish, but to no avail.

Crappy Album Covers #33 — More Gays and Lesbians

I had promised that I would feature lesbians at some point. But portraying lesbians is way more difficult. In our culture, there are two kinds of lesbians that seem to strike a strong chord in the public consciousness. One is the depiction of really nice looking women with perfect complexions, hairdos, and body build, getting off on each other. This has been known in feminist literature as “the lesbian of male fantasy”. These are the lesbians that are depicted in porn, mostly, underscoring that up until now it has been OK to depict lesbians in certain contexts, so long as men are the ones depicting them, for the entertainment of male audiences.

Then, there are the lesbians that actually exist. That’s a whole other shooting match, and is a horribly complex topic, and it is why lesbians are more difficult to depict in an honest way. There are the Indigo Girls, and singers such as k. d. lang and Melissa Ethridge. There is the actress and talkshow host Ellen Degeneres. All of these celebrities look, well… not too glamourous, and, look, well, … kinda normal. Not much kitch factor there, and not many crappy album covers will come out of pictures of folks like these. That’s why hardly any are listed. But I’ll try.

I’m sorry…. I can’t look at this cover without laughing. I am sure Alix won’t appreciate it. This is Alix Dobkin and her 1975 album “Living With Lesbians”, featuring the Lesbian Power Authority. It is likely the musical answer to the following old joke:

Q: How many feminists does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: That’s not funny.

So, you see, you don’t look for kitsch like you do for gays. You look for women who take themselves WAAAAAAY too seriously. To the point where it would seem that they and their fans are the only ones not in on the joke. But let’s just say that, as stated in the first paragraph, there is a case that can be made for not being overly happy with the male gender.

Alix Dobkin was a pioneer in the area of lesbian songwriting and among the first to advocate for “women-only” space. She has promoted women’s rights and was out of the closet in the mid-60s, decades before it became fashionable and regarded as relatively normal. Back then, homosexuality was still regarded as a mental illness, and it was not declassified by the APA until 1973.

Oranges. They’re good for you. This 1977 anthology of lesbian songs and poems, is called “Lesbian Concentrate: A Lesbianthology of Songs and Poems.”

A bit corny, but in 1977, this is a groundbreaking work. This is the first various artists lesbian-only compilation in music history, to anyone’s knowledge, recorded on the Olivia label of Los Angeles.

Here is a link to enough info on this LP that will beat this topic to death. You also get a long list of Lesbian and feminist organisations. You get lyrics and pictures of all the performers, too.

The record was recorded with female engineers in a 16-track studio built only by women, with women-only performers.

album-cover-crap-50_thriftstoreart_comThis is another Alix Dobkin record, from 1973. I placed it here because I found it on another crappy album list, but this one actually borders on not being crappy.

It’s artsy, it gets the point across, and is not nearly as in-your face as the above album cover.

I believe there is a recent CD compilation where “Lavender” is combined with “Living” to make both albums in a single package, with a total redesigning of both covers. That would make it the third redesigning of both album covers that I have seen.

For those interested in reading more about Alix Dobkin, I provide you with this link.

These, unfortunately, are all the crappy lesbian covers I have. If you have any suggestions, feel free to leave a comment. I am sure lesbians are as capable as any male (gay or not) to make a crappy album cover. But the results so far have been disappointing. I would urge those folks to get on the ball.

This was Fireballet’s second album, released in 1976, called “Two, Two”. These guys were supposed to be contenders for the top of the Classical Rock genre supposedly in the league of such groups as Emerson, Lake and Palmer, King Crimson and Yes.

Fireballet was only known for their first album, “Night on Bald Mountain”. With this second album, they trivialise both themselves and  their musical efforts, both with the cover, and reportedly, the music on the album.

Crappy Album Covers #25 — Da Doktor's In Da House

This album was only released in England in 1976, by a Pop/Country musician from Missouri named Jimmy Payne.

Payne wrote hits for the likes of Gary Puckett and the Union Gap (Remember “Woman, Woman”?), Charlie Pride, Glen Campbell, and Tammy Wynette, among others.

He still lives with his wife in Nashville, and he apparently is still recording music. His last CD was released in 2003.

I now have it on good authority that this album was a charity effort. He gave a concert to some high-risk psychiatric patients at Broadmoor, was well received, and gave a chunk of his album proceeds to the cause of mentally handicapped children in England. You would likely be aware that eight years earlier, Johnny Cash had released his album “Live at Folsom Prison”. Payne made his album in the same spirit as Cash. If you want slightly more info, scroll down.

Broadmoor is one of two high-security psychiatric hospitals in England. Broadmoor is located in Crowthorne, just west of London. “The other” famous psychiatric hospital in London, Bedlam, no longer serves high-security cliients, and I hear they no longer charge admission.

This is the kind of needle used to deliver strong anaesthetic, although I’ve seen something like this used to inject basting juice into the meat of turkeys as they cook.

The visual message here is likely to be that if the syringe doesn’t get you, the music will.

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Somethin’ Smith and The Redheads were a vocal group that had their heyday in the 1950s with the song “It’s a Sin To Tell a Lie” (#7 on Billboard), off the album “Crazy People”.

And here they are checking in for their treatment. The expressions on the faces of the nurses tell me they have been bad, bad, bad, naughty, naughty boys, and therefore require some special treatment. Very special treatment. The kind of treatment that involves the three of them being tied to a bench in straitjackets.

As part of your treatment, you are supposed to let the nurses muss up your hair.

Don’t ask me what the flagpole is about.

I would imagine that Rae Bourbon (was Ray Bourbon) (1892-1971), who died in prison on charges of murder, has a few stories to tell besides his operation.

Bourbon’s operation was the first sex change operation performed in North America. Newspapers told of the Mexican operation in 1956. Before that, he was a female impersonator, and had appeared in movies with Mae West.