Monthly Archives: June 2015

Mad Max: Fuzz-wah Road

In “Mad Max: Fury Road,” the mechanized army of villain Immortan Joe is led by a truck loaded with loudspeakers and a heavy metal guitarist suspended in a harness. His anthemic thrashing spurs the army into battle.

The craziest driving I’ve ever seen is on the freeway between Austin and Dallas.

Now I’m picturing Texas blues guitarists suspended above the grill of every racing Cadillac and 18-wheeler, blasting “Love Struck Baby” at 85 mph. When dusk comes, and soft purple light settles over land, the vehicles slow, and the strumming becomes brooding and wistful. On a rural delivery road amid fields of cotton, one might even hear strains of “Pancho and Lefty,” lightly picked on a Martin 12-string.

Meanwhile in downtown San Francisco, Priuses dart past busses, pedestrians, and stalled UPS trucks, their Fair-Trade hemp-clothed musicians, beards trimmed and straw fedoras smartly askew, hunch on hoods, fleetly strumming ukuleles.

Clementa Pickney and the Way to Live

“The most irritating thing about Senator Pinckney,” said State Representative William K. Bowers, a Democrat from his district, “is that when you had a debate he would just come over and pat you on the back and say, ‘Maybe tomorrow you’ll be thinking right.’ He was full of love and full of respect.”

What a loss.

Why Can’t the Supreme Court Open Their Sessions This Way?

I’m reading Citizens, Simon Schama’s excellent chronicle of the French Revolution. Here’s how the French Parlements, which were regional courts, opened their sessions in the late 18th century:

And this sense of social solidarity between the robins—the judicial nobility of the “robe”—and their co-citizens was played out every November in the elaborate spectactles that greeted their return to sessions from country vacation. For this “red Mass” they would don scarlet robes in place of their habitual back; parade through the streets attended by militia and music; receive the benediction of the clergy for their new year; and only after more grave mummery, shuffling to and fro in the stylized obeisances (often known as the “dance of the Presidents”), would they finally take up their seats.