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!”)

This makes me wonder: Is the dual existence of “damn the man” and “you’re the man” simply a colloquial quirk, an example of language’s inherent slipperiness, or is it more of a Freudian slip, a symptom of the United States’ inherent contradiction of being a land of the free where everyone wants to be “like a boss”?

In any event, in case you’re interested, “the man” as a synonym for authority figures first appeared circa 1918, especially among underworld figures, and percolated into the mainstream in the 1960s. Meanwhile, “You’re the man” has a slightly hazier history, but internet detectives point to The Kay-Gees’ oft-sampled 1974 LP “Who’s the Man (With the Master Plan),” which includes just two lyrics, “Who’s the man with the master plan?” and “Inflation in the nation, headed for starvation.”

Here’s the audio:

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!

Friday Vibes Video: Led Zeppelin


Today’s a special day in music history: It’s the 50th anniversary of the first time the Led Zeppelin we know and love performed together, in 1968, at a spot called Teen Club in Denmark.

Of course, back then they were called The New Yardbirds, an updated version of a band called the Yardbirds that changed its name when Jimmy Page came aboard in 1966.

Internal factions led members to come and go, and it wasn’t until 1968 that John Paul Jones, Robert Plant and John Bonham came aboard, rounding out the magic mix that soon took the world by storm — under a new name, a play on “lead balloon,” thanks to a cease and desist letter from a former Yardbird.

Anyway, here’s Led Zeppelin with “Immigrant Song,” from a 1972 show. The footage is… lively.

NY, VA, & NC ❤️ JJ

Google Trends currently has a map of which states are searching for which musicians ahead of the Outside Lands festival. As you can see, The Weeknd dominates out west, Future’s king in the South, and then there’s New York, Virginia, and North Carolina, the outliers in searching for Janet Jackson. While New York’s old school coolness doesn’t surprise me, this revelation gives me new appreciation for North Carolina and Virginia. Literally.

Anyway, on that note, here’s Janet with 1989’s “Escapade,” a perfect track for Monday:

“Daybreak,” Over and Over.


You may not know the name of this image, but you’ve almost certainly seen it — or a variation of it, at least.

Entitled Daybreak, it was created in 1922 by Maxfield Parrish, the legendary artist whose 148th birthday was yesterday. An instant viral sensation, the painting’s popularity only grew as the century unfurled, becoming, like Benji Franklin’s “Join, or Die,” a sort of pre-internet meme.

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