Friday Reads: Purple Daze

13015585_10153685323208512_8030450358987371783_nGood Morning!

I love that my favorite color–purple–is bedecking everything from this beautiful cartoon from Bloom County to the Empire State Building to the Super Dome and beyond. I really hate the reason.

Prince is another one of those artists who wrote and sang the soundtrack to the life of a younger me. I can remember dancing to his music alone in the front room of my apartment celebrating the death of disco and the return of some one who could shred like no other! Eric Clapton was once asked what it was like to be the world’s greatest guitarist. He correctly answered  “I don’t know. Ask Prince.”

I loved David Bowie but he was like wise older brother or cousin.  Prince was my bratty twin.

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls

I remember seeing him ever so often in a club he owned in the mid 90s in Minneapolis which featured international music and artists.  He was the type that was either on or off; over-the-top or subdued.  It’s the same with his music.  My favorite thing with Prince was that he used women in his rock bands when using women rockers was a joke to most male musicians and their producers. He hypersexualized everything and every one but at the heart of it all, he was probably the best journeyman musician on the planet.  He could play any instrument.  He could write songs that were poppy pulp hits or boundary-pushing bits of genius.  He was always controversial yet oddly universally accepted.  You have to admire that  in an artist. He could reach millions, stay true to himself, fight for the rights of the creative, and mentor musicians that would have a difficult time finding the main stage without a force like Prince.

At the height of his stardom in the 1980s and ’90s, Prince was ubiquitous, a marquee star who sold out stadiums, stole the silver screen and slayed fans with his bare-chested sass and sexuality.

Then a dispute with his record company changed his worldview and he retreated from the public eye.  Save for the occasional awards show, benefit or tour, Prince kept his private life private — no small feat in the age of social media.

As he fought to protect his brand in an industry known for its formulaic approach, he maintained a tight grip on his music, restricting it from YouTube and streaming services, and prohibiting any photos or videos from being taken at his shows.

All of which made his death Thursday that much more shocking. A look at the last few days of his life provides some clues in hindsight that all was not well, but it’s safe to assume that if Prince knew death was close, he did not want us to know.


New Orleans Super Dome

Prince’s autopsy is scheduled for today. It will likely take awhile to release the results.  The official line is that he was having problems with the flu.  Rumors indicate that it may have been due to overdose or issues with opiate use.

Entertainment Tonight” co-host Kevin Frazier said on “CBS This Morning” Friday that Prince had hip replacement surgery in 2010 and also had health issues with his ankles.

“People close to Prince tell me he struggled with painkillers due to his hip and ankle issues,” Frazier said, noting that for Prince to cancel a performance “something was drastically wrong.”

“The hip and ankle issues were a problem for him for so long,” Frazier said, “and for a man who loved to move and dance so much, it really bothered him.”

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Empire State Building NYC

I really wanted to put this headline up but then thought better of it given social media, but here it is.  Every one to BernieBros:  Kumbaya Motherfuckers!!!  (I’m channeling Samuel Jackson.)  Here we go with one of the Original Obama Dudes on a tear for supporting the real Hillary and not just the cardboard cutout.  Oh, I still am not warming up to the damned monniker of progressive.  But, stay with me here for the words of Fauvre.

Eight years later, we’re approaching the endgame of another Democratic primary. For Bernie Sanders to overtake Hillary Clinton’s lead in pledged delegates—which, at 239, is more than double Obama’s 112 delegate lead in 2008—he would have to win each of the remaining contests by about 18 points, a margin he has only reached in Vermont and New Hampshire. If he doesn’t, his only other option is to convince a few hundred superdelegates to back the candidate who has won fewer votes and fewer delegates.

Bernie faces long odds, but no good reason to drop out. And why should he? Why not keep running through the final primaries in June, just like Hillary did in 2008? Along the way, Sanders will probably win a few more states—especially in May—and continue to build a following that should hearten everyone who wants to see a bigger, bolder progressive movement.

But it’s also in the interest of the progressive moment for both candidates and their campaigns to begin healing the rifts that have deepened over the course of the primary. Neither Sanders nor Clinton seemed very compelling when they were screaming at each other for two hours at the debate in Brooklyn. And no one benefits from another three months of ridiculous lawsuits, overwrought fundraising emails, and surrogates sniping at each other on cable. Already, this friendly fire has taken a toll—in the latest NBC/WSJ poll, Bernie is viewed unfavorably by 20 percent of Clinton supporters, and Hillary is viewed unfavorably by 40 percent of Sanders supporters.

I don’t want to exaggerate the challenge. I still think this primary is less nasty and divisive than 2008, and exponentially less so than the cannibalism we may see in Cleveland. It’s also true that the percentage of Sanders and Clinton voters who say they won’t vote for the other candidate is fairly low. But a year in which Donald Trump or Ted Cruz could become president of the United States is not a year we can afford to have any pissed-off primary voters stay home in November.

I’ve been really nice to my Bernie Supporting friends and continue to be. Most of them aren’t the issue right now anyway.   A lot of

Boston South Station

Boston South Station

them see the need to break on through to the other side already.  But, really, some one needs to tell Jane, Master Taddler and the other one to go back to Rome for a silent retreat. The whining, lies, and irritating right wing memes are over the top now and causing Sanders’ crazier supporters to go full metal misogyny.

The Nation‘s Joshua Holland writes that all good Democrats will realize the danger of a Trump or Cruz come November.   He suggests we all relax.

But if history is any guide, a mass defection of Democrats and Dem-leaning independents is the last thing anyone should worry about. We’ve seen this before and we know how it will play out.

Ironically, in 2008 it was Clinton supporters vowing to stay home—or vote for John McCain—if Obama became the nominee. At the time, that same HuffPo columnist warned that “balkanized Democrats could give the White House to John McCain.” That May, primary exit polls found less than half of Hillary Clinton’s supporters in Indiana and North Carolina saying they’d consider voting for Obama in the general election. Even in early July, after Obama had secured the nomination, only 54 percent of Clinton backers said they planned to vote for him.

Those self-described “PUMAs”—“party unity my ass”—may have stayed home by the dozens that November, but at the end of the day nine out of 10 Democrats supported Obama in an election that featured the highest turnout in 40 years. A similar dynamic played out withHoward Dean supporters in 2004.

In the summer of 2008, George Washington University political scientist John Sides took to the pages of the Los Angeles Times to tell everyone to calm down. “Despite ugly battles and policy differences that sometimes seem intractable, the reality is that presidential campaigns tend to unify each party behind its nominee,” …


San Francisco City Hall, The Forum, Delta Airlines Flight

I have some other things you may want to read today. This one is sad.   Suicide rate in this country have it a 30 year high.  I wanted to link to this NYT story but also to tell you that there’s been a rash of teen suicides on the northshore the past few weeks.   I won’t link to them but the recency effect really hit home for me as I read this article.

Suicide in the United States has surged to the highest levels in nearly 30 years, a federal data analysis has found, with increases in every age group except older adults. The rise was particularly steep for women. It was also substantial among middle-aged Americans, sending a signal of deep anguish from a group whose suicide rates had been stable or falling since the 1950s.

The suicide rate for middle-aged women, ages 45 to 64, jumped by 63 percent over the period of the study, while it rose by 43 percent for men in that age range, the sharpest increase for males of any age. The overall suicide rate rose by 24 percent from 1999 to 2014, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, which released the study on Friday.

The increases were so widespread that they lifted the nation’s suicide rate to 13 per 100,000 people, the highest since 1986. The rate rose by 2 percent a year starting in 2006, double the annual rise in the earlier period of the study. In all, 42,773 people died from suicide in 2014, compared with 29,199 in 1999.

We also have a terrible problem with opiate addiction and gun violence.   This is all symptomatic of the party that refuses to spend


Hard Rock Cafe Times Square

public funds on public health issues, public safety issues, and public infrastructure.  This is the true heart of US class warfare.  Our public Treasury is not going to the public any more.

Maybe the news that Prince had issues with opiate addiction will turn our focus back to mental health in this country.

President Obama has written a Telegraph op Ed to our UK cousins telling them to nix the BREXIT. This is a big story that’s been lost on many US news stations.  If the UK leaves the EU, the economic reverberations around the world–including here in the US–will be large and damaging.  The President is visiting England today and will help with birthday wishes to HRH who is celebrating her 90th.

As citizens of the United Kingdom take stock of their relationship with the EU, you should be proud that the EU has helped spread British values and practices – democracy, the rule of law, open markets – across the continent and to its periphery. The European Union doesn’t moderate British influence – it magnifies it. A strong Europe is not a threat to Britain’s global leadership; it enhances Britain’s global leadership. The United States sees how your powerful voice in Europe ensures that Europe takes a strong stance in the world, and keeps the EU open, outward looking, and closely linked to its allies on the other side of the Atlantic. So the US and the world need your outsized influence to continue – including within Europe.

In this complicated, connected world, the challenges facing the EU – migration, economic inequality, the threats of terrorism and climate change – are the same challenges facing the United States and other nations. And in today’s world, even as we all cherish our sovereignty, the nations who wield their influence most effectively are the nations that do it through the collective action that today’s challenges demand.

So, you can see that many buildings all over the world went Purple to celebrate the life and art of Prince.   It’s taken our attention away from national challenges and back to personal tragedies that characterize the human condition.  It’s always these moments when we look back to where we’ve been and what we’ve come to.  The most important thing is to remember that the time line most surely includes a soundtrack the encompasses love and the people in your life.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

See Prince shred.  Shred Prince Shred.



43 Comments on “Friday Reads: Purple Daze”

  1. Sweet Sue says:

    I don’t think these tributes are over the top because he really was a genius.
    Thanks for another great post, Dak.

  2. dakinikat says:

    Sexy MFers, unite: The feminist power of Prince’s sex-positive songs
    Prince’s music deeply explored loving women for their independence and sexual autonomy

    Amanda Marcotte

  3. Oh…. I am still in shock. I can’t stop thinking about, Prince is dead. It is beyond my comprehension…I’ve been in a stupor since I heard the news. Obviously my post will be focused on Prince this Sunday. He and his music meant so much to me and my generation.

    Prince is not a baby boomer –

    Read that if you can.

    I’m numb.

    ~ ᏠᏠ Ϣѧʟτṡ ~ ʂɛŋɬ ʄཞơɱ ɱყ ı℘ɧơŋɛ…


    • dakinikat says:

      I thought you’d probably spend a lot of time on him.

    • Enheduanna says:

      JJ – I share your sorrow; Here is something that might help lift your spirits. Remember the hysterical Dave Chappelle skit about him?

      • Fannie says:

        Upon hearing his death, you were the first one I thought of, because it was you who pointed out his photo on his passport, and how young he looked. I remember the people who turned me on to his music, group living in Hawaii, and I’m waiting to hear from them. He was wildly successful with fashion, in ways that were really hot. Half dressed, no shirt, I was always looking at his bod. Just hope someone publishes a book on his outfits, his concerts, and what he was like backstage, and at home. I never thought of him as being scandalous, I just loved his music, and his fashion.

        We were lucky to have had him in our time, and I know he rocks on.

    • Sweet Sue says:

      Can’t go to Salon, anymore. But how can they say that Prince, born in1958, was not a Baby Boomer?

      • janicen says:

        Just the youngs in denial that they love a boomer’s music. He was born in 1958, that makes him a baby boomer whether they like it or not. The point in the article is that his music is a departure from what is traditionally thought of as boomer music, classic rock. Sorry kids, he’s from my generation and you can’t claim him. Face it, we had the best music and the best concerts.

  4. bostonboomer says:


    • William says:

      It certainly is far too complex to adequately analyze it in a book, much less a paragraph or two. But I think that there is at least some common thread with regard to the rise in sucides, and the horrifying proliferation of mass killings with guns. This society is creating increasing numbers of people who feel disempowered, hopeless, and angry. Women are more inclined to react by committing suicide, though many men do as well. Men are certainly far more likely than women to grab an assault weapon and shoot a bunch of people before either killing themselves or having the police shoot them. And of course there are now so many guns floating around America, that it seems like a far worse version of the legend of the Wild West, where if you looked at someone the wrong way, he might take out his six-shooter and kill you.

      Hillary is incredibly brave to take on the NRA, which has basically overpowered Democrats in so many states, that most of the Democrats have given up on fighting them. But even if we do somehow get some positive legislation in this regard, all the guns are still out there, and there are so many angry, disturbed people who have them. How does the society possibly dilute the level of despairing anger and hate which seems to suffuse it, from the airwaves, to the social media, to video games, TV shows, and movies? And would it do any good at this stage? We have to try, at least.

      I don’t watch much TV at all, but every time I turn on a sports event, or watch a classic historical drama, I still see endless ads for TV shows which always feature people shooting each other. Even reasonably intelligent people seem to have lost the capacity to watch dialogue, or character developed stories; they are addicted to the adrenaline jolt of shootups and blowups and people crashing into buildings. Obviously most of these people do not engage in mass killings, but more and more of them have arsenals of guns. And people sometimes snap; on the freeways, or because they are lonely, or socially inept, or angry at someone or something, or maybe hate themselves, and then project outward not to kill themselves, but other people instead, There were always disturbed people who were dangerous. But now they have the capacity to kill many people in a few seconds, which was not the case for most of the last century. This does not ordinarily happen in England, for example. Ours is a culture of guns and of violence. And it is obvious that the sometimes ameliorative effects of a community and friends and neighbors, has mostly vanished in a media and entertainment culture which invites people to consider themselves as an avenging force of one.

      • Sweet Sue says:

        Great comment, William.

      • Enheduanna says:

        I share your concern for HRC – these guys rooting for Trump are capable of anything. And really, who in their right mind goes out and buys a GD assault weapon? What for??? That does not seem like a normal or well-adjusted thing to want to do in my book.

        I do not share your concern about TV and movie dramas being a cause of the culture we’ve created for ourselves. A reflection maybe? That is a debate that could consume a whole post I’m sure!

      • quixote says:

        Evidence from today’s casual news, but it could be any day. This is a fashion show. (No, I didn’t make it up. It’s right there in Reuters Photos of the Day.)

          • NW Luna says:

            Automatic weapons as accessories in a fashion show? That is unsettling!

            I think the media, advertising, and movie glorification of guns and thoughtless violence is both reflection and incitement to violence in our culture. All those scenes that show how cool it is to act without thinking, and to blow away your opponent in a second — these examples of violent behavior far outnumber examples of how to work out problems and handle anger in everyday situations.

            Regardless of TV & movies, though, making military weapons available to the civilian market is irrational. There is no legitimate use for such weapons for hunting or self-defense.

            The country and culture is so accepting of violence & right-wingnuttery. Hard to believe that Reagan did indeed work to pass the ban on assault weapons a couple of generations ago. How many Republicans would vote for that today?

  5. NW Luna says:

    From that Daily Mail link dak posted above:

    He had long needed a double hip replacement, but was rumored to have turned down surgery because it would require a blood transfusion – which conflicted with his religious beliefs.

    Hip replacement does not require a blood transfusion. A transfusion would only be needed if a rare complication happened and there was significant excessive bleeding. Kinda weird that his religious beliefs were OK with chronic narcotics though.

  6. ANonOMouse says:

    Democrats Have Gotten More Liberal Since 2008, But Not Enough To Nominate Sanders


  7. Sweet Sue says:

    Of course, Chris Matthews picked up on Biden’s comment about how inspirational a Democrat has to be to win, and used it against Hillary.
    I have some real problems with Biden.
    He can’t seem to stop sniping at “the girl” who’s living his dream.

    • ANonOMouse says:

      Everyone thinks that Biden says these things accidentally, but I believe more often than not he says things knowingly to cause damage. Chris Matthews sure used it that way.

      And if Chris Matthews believes that the opportunity to elect the FIRST Woman president isn’t in and of itself inspirational to a hell of a lot of Americans, then he’s more off his rocker than I suspected.

      • dakinikat says:

        Biden is an insufferable drunk who blurts stuff. I will never forgive him for what he did to Anita Hill. His need for ego stroking and worship is pathetic.

    • William says:

      A few weeks ago, Lawrence O’Donnell was haranguing some Hillary campaign person about the fact that she was proposing a raise in the top tax rate to about 41.2%. He sneered at him, “How are you going to possibly do that; do you think that Paul Ryan is just going to go away for a while?” So there is infinite opportunity for the cable news people to attack Hillary for being too pragmatic, or not being pragmatic enough. And as for thinking big, what big thinking was Obama presenting eight years ago? Except for the meaningless “Hope and Change” slogan, he has run and governed very cautiously. If I run, and say, let’s make the minimum wage $50 an hour, and let’s make the upper tax rate 90%, do I win because I have big ideas, and can inspire a whole bunch of people who are stupid enough to believe I can get them that $50 an hour?