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Rules Of Life

A great look into the comedic work of Louis CK, and anyone can learn from this on how to be a better speaker and conversationalist.

Why is it, do you think, you have been allowed to tour and grow musically without being pigeonholed into being a nostalgia act?

Manson: I think a lot of bands get really attached to their early success, and they don’t want to let go of that achievement. For me and the boys in Garbage, we have let go of everything in the past. We’ve accepted where our career has gone and we’re not trying to remind people that we once were hugely successful. We have just moved through our career and not really looked back. And some of that is fearlessness and some of that is about freedom. You can get really imprisoned by your early success and a lot of artists make the mistake of holding on to what they once were instead of just being willing to jump into whatever new phase awaits them.

What freed you up enough to say we don’t care if we ever have another “Stupid Girl”?

Manson: For me, it was very strange because it actually had nothing to do with music. It was an incredible teacher I studied acting with who really taught me about what it means to be a creative person in the world. I’d done that TV show [Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles], and I was on hiatus with the band. And I went and studied with this teacher [Sarah Chatten], and I just went to school with her and became a student of her. She basically taught me what it meant to be creative, curious and brave from a creative standpoint. That changed my entire view of my career and what it means to be a musician. I also had this moment, I went to Tate Gallery in London, and I saw a Louise Bourgeois retrospective and at the time I think Louise Bourgeois was something like 92 years old, and I saw this body of work this formidable lady had created throughout her life and I was like, “Oh, I don’t actually have to be an entertainer, I don’t actually have to be on Top Of The Pops, I don’t have to be the most popular artist out there. I just have to concentrate on being an artist and trying to concentrate on doing good work and the rest is in the hands of the gods and it’s out of my control.” And once I realized that I broke all the chains that had been clamped on me.


When asked if he had advice for musicians, David Bowie replied: “Yes, never play at a gallery. [Laughs] I think. But you never learn that until much later on. But never work for other people at what you do. Always… always remember that the reason that you initially started working was that there was something inside yourself that you felt, that if you could manifest it in some way, you would understand more about yourself and how you coexist with the rest of society. And I — I think it’s terribly dangerous for an artist to fulfill other people’s expectations; I think they produce — they generally produce their worst work when they do that. And if — the other thing I would say is that if you feel safe in the area you’re working in, you’re not working in the right area. Always go a little further into the water than you feel you’re capable of being in, go a little out of your depth, and when you don’t feel that your feet are quite touching the bottom, you’re just about in the right place to do something exciting.”

Tegan and Sara have created a perfect extension of their work, identity, and commitment to supporting and building progressive social change.  The twin sisters have created The Tegan and Sara Foundation working for economic justice, health, and representation for LGBTQ girls and women. The foundation will work in partnership and solidarity with other organizations fighting for LGBTQ and women’s rights, raising funds and awareness. Their mission is founded on a commitment to feminism and racial, social and gender justice, fighting the inequality that prevents LGBTQ girls and women from reaching their full potential.

In a statement on their website, the twin sisters write, “LGBTQ girls and women are disproportionately affected by poverty. 23% of lesbian women live in poverty. Women of color are 3 times more likely to live in poverty than white, LGB women. Transgender women are four times more likely to have a household income under $10,000 and twice as likely to be unemployed. One in five transgender women have reported being homeless at some point in their lives.

“LGBTQ women have higher rates of obesity, gynecological cancer, depression, suicide and tobacco/alcohol abuse. Discriminatory laws, provider bias, insurance exclusions and inadequate reproductive health coverage leave 29% of LGBTQ women struggling to pay for health insurance.

“Less than 1% of TV characters are lesbian. Since the start of 2016, 25 queer female characters have been killed on-screen – continuing a decades-long trend.”


E.J. Masicampo is teaching a moral psychology class this semester, and the students spent part of the first day discussing the trolley problem, which is a frequently used ethical dilemma in discussions of morality. When E.J. returned home that night and was playing trains with his son, he thought it would be interesting to see his response to the trolley problem. E.J.recorded the response so that he could share and discuss it with his class, given especially that we also will be discussing moral development from birth onward. Let’s just say it doesn’t end well, with potential lawsuits from deaths coming shortly.

I believe that it is difficult to kill an idea because ideas are invisible and contagious, and they move fast.
I believe that you can set your own ideas against ideas you dislike. That you should be free to argue, explain, clarify, debate, offend, insult, rage, mock, sing, dramatize, and deny.
I do not believe that burning, murdering, exploding people, smashing their heads with rocks (to let the bad ideas out), drowning them or even defeating them will work to contain ideas you do not like. Ideas spring up where you do not expect them, like weeds, and are as difficult to control.
I believe that repressing ideas spreads ideas.

Neil Gaiman, The View from the Cheap Seats

More Bjork in 2017. She just wrote this on her Facebook page:

dear little miss media
!!!! happy winter solstice !!!
as you know the majority of my career i havent moaned about sexism and just got on w it . but im feeling there is an enormous positive current in the sky , a flow w possible changes
so i wanted to mention one thing
last weekend i djd twice at a festival in texas . it was a magical event with some of my favorite musicians djing : aphex twin , arca , oneoh trixpoint never and matmos … the list is endless !!
most of us played mostly other peoples music and would slide in instrumentals of what weve been working on recently
i am aware of that it is less of a year since i started djing publicly so this is something people are still getting used to and my fans have been incredibly welcoming to me sharing my musical journey and letting me be me . its been so fun and the nerd in me editing together pieces of others peoples songs for weeks , gets to share the different coordinates i feel between some of the most sublime music i know .
but some media could not get their head around that i was not “performing” and “hiding” behind desks . and my male counterparts not . and i think this is sexism . which at the end of this tumultuous year is something im not going to let slide : because we all deserve maximum changes in this revolutionary energy we are currently in the midst of
its gotta be worth it
women in music are allowed to be singer songwriters singing about their boyfriends . if they change the subject matter to atoms , galaxies , activism , nerdy math beat editing or anything else than being performers singing about their loved ones they get criticized : journalists feel there is just something missing … as if our only lingo is emo …
i made volta and biophilia conscious of the fact that these were not subjects females usually write about . i felt i had earned it . on the activist volta i sang about pregnant suicide bombers and for the independence of faroe islands and greenland . on the pedagogic biophilia i sang about galaxies and atoms but it wasnt until vulnicura where i shared a heartbreak i got full acceptance from the media . men are allowed to go from subject to subject , do sci fi , period pieces , be slapstick and humorous , be music nerds getting lost in sculpting soundscapes but not women . if we dont cut our chest open and bleed about the men and children in our lives we are cheating our audience .
eat your bechtel test heart out
but i know the change is in the air . we are walking inside it . therefore i leave this with you in kindness at the end of this year and i hope that in the next year even though i was brave to share w you a classic female subject matter : the heartbreak , i get to have a costume change and walk out of this role . you froze edith piaf and maria callas in it ( not one documentary i have seen about her doesnt mention onassis but no mention w male musicians the women they loved or broke their hearts )
lets make 2017 the year where we fully make the transformation !!!
!!! the right to variety for all the girls out there !!!
merry christmas

“The things that really scare us are the things that are going on just outside the spotlight that you can’t quite see.” – Stephen King on October 22, 1989

The author takes us on a journey back to his childhood and the roots for his decades crafting memorable horror fiction. This interview originally aired on the Public Radio Book Show and it comes to Blank On Blank courtesy of WAMC Northeast Public Radio and the New York State Writers Institute.