Damn The Man/You’re The Man

The dual identity of “the man” in American slang perplexes me. We say “Damn the man” or “Don’t let the man get you down” to sneer at establishment figures, from the police to nameless powers-that-be. Yet at the same time, perhaps even in the same conversation, we praise peers’ success by declaring “You’re the man!” or “You the man!” (“You’re the woman/You the woman” is basically nonexistent, replaced instead with the cheer “You go girl!”)

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Friday Vibes Video: GnR, ‘November Rain’


Friday Vibes Videos are typically poppy and boisterous, but his week’s been looong, and today also happens to be the 27th anniversary of Guns N’ Roses Use Your Illusion I hitting the billboard charts, so I’ve gone a different direction with “November Rain.”

It’s a depressing track, sure, but, I mean, it’s also so great and there’s Stephanie Seymour and Slash’s solo and just… everything. Have good weekends, all!

The First Vampire Was a Lesbian

In case you’re interested, the first vampire novel was 1872’s Carmilla, by Irish author Sheridan Le Fanu, and it had a distinct lesbian bent: The titular character is a succubus-esque creature who tries to seduce and feed upon a young woman, a plot perhaps informed by eons-worth of patriarchal anxieties.

Predating Bram Stoker’s Dracula by 26 years, Le Fanu’s story first appeared as a serial in The Dark Blue, a literary magazine, before being published as a single volume illustrated by D.H. Friston, the same man who first illustrated Sherlock Holmes.

Above, one of Friston’s  images from that collection depicts Carmilla making for her prey, Laura.

Lyndon Johnson Hated ‘The Graduate’

Lyndon Johnson’s greatest presidential legacy was by far the Great Society, a series of New Deal-inspired initiatives expanding social and cultural services in America — public broadcasting, national endowment for the arts, and Medicare and Medicaid were all part of his circa 1964-1965 program. Some of his efforts were successful; others fell short, such as Johnson’s “War on Poverty,” which many, including Martin Luther King Jr., described as  a “war on the poor,” especially people of color, for all its inadequacies, inequalities, and impotencies.

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Friday Vibes Video: Jeannie C. Riley


On this date 50 years ago, country singer Jeannie C. Riley went number one with her instant classic “Harper Valley PTA,” a lyrical rebuke against gossiping, trash talking, shade throwing and general small mindedness. The track and the no nonsense narrative haven’t aged a day.

Have good weekends!