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Editor-in-Chief
Alex Carnevale
(e-mail/tumblr/twitter)

Managing Editor
Kara VanderBijl
(e-mail/tumblr/twitter)

Features Editor
Mia Nguyen
(e-mail/tumblr/twitter)

Senior Editor
Durga Chew-Bose
(e-mail/tumblr/twitter)

Senior Editor
Brittany Julious
(e-mail/tumblr/twitter)

This Recording

is dedicated to the enjoyment of audio and visual stimuli. Please visit our archives where we have uncovered the true importance of nearly everything. Should you want to reach us, e-mail alex dot carnevale at gmail dot com, but don't tell the spam robots. Consider contacting us if you wish to use This Recording in your classroom or club setting. We have given several talks at local Rotarys that we feel went really well.

Pretty used to being with Gwyneth

Regrets that her mother did not smoke

Frank in all directions

Jean Cocteau and Jean Marais

Simply cannot go back to them

Roll your eyes at Samuel Beckett

John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion

Metaphors with eyes

Life of Mary MacLane

Circle what it is you want

Not really talking about women, just Diane

Felicity's disguise

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Friday
Mar122010

In Which We Look Out For That Next Step

The Urge to Rehab

by ALEX CARNEVALE

In 1929 Congress appropriated the first funds that allowed for federal treatment of addicts. The U.S. Public Health Service Hospitals in Lexington, Kentucky and Fort Worth, Texas began treating addicts in the late thirties, although they were essentially prison hospitals from the first. When we compare the ball-licking treatment Tiger Woods receives for his sex addiction to the treatment the first national addicts faced, the difference is rather jarring. Tiger has a dedicated testicle-moistener who operates twice daily (even on weekends!); addicts of the 1930s had to milk cows, or work at the local cannery to justify the cost of incarceration. Back then, there wasn't really such thing as a free ride.

Addicts were routinely hassled by the government; there was no legitimate way to recover from the problems of drug addiction. By 1939, the Christian movement The Oxford Group had given rise to Alcoholics Anonymous, and the organization published The Big Book, the foundational text of AA. The rise of AA was a huge inspiration for the eventual formation of Narcotics Anonymous.

jimmy kinnon's notebook and other materials

A recovering alcoholic named Houston S received a job transfer to Kentucky in 1947. He had helped a man get sober who found himself unable to kick a concurrent morphine habit, and had seen the face of addiction to narcotics firsthand. Once in Kentucky, Houston suggested the AA model could work for addicts as well. The Narco Group began at the Federal Narcotics Farm in Lexington Kentucky around this time. One of the patients in that program, Danny Carlsen, would spread the first iteration of NA to the New York prison in the late forties.

Writing something down where it can be seen by others and verified (or not) has always been a critical part of recovery lore. The addict can't deny what his habit has wrought once he sees it in print. The initial thirteenth step of NA pleaded, "God help me."

Narcotics Anonymous would evolve beyond being a social service organization for victims of drug addiction once it was born-again in southern California over the next decade. The Brown Booklet was the first real piece of NA literature, and it reads wonderfully well even today, with none of the officiousness or preaching that addicts would come to expect from those attempting to change their lives. The organization struggled through the fifties before entering a real renaissance in the 1960s. Jimmy Kinnon, who arrived at Ellis Island from Scotland in 1923, was responsible for much of both the early NA writing, the NA logo, and the formation of the society as we now know it.

Because it has been extraordinarily successful, the basic outline and information provided by Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous has changed little over the years. Even the pamphlets look largely the same. There was an episode of Seinfeld where George convinced his girlfriend that toilet paper hadn't changed in 500 years; this is roughly true of addiction literature, which exists as a cipher through which the addict himself must find a place.

jimmy k's origination text for what would become NAYet the literature itself remains a weird reshaping of codes of behavior. Each of us, unless we were dropped on our head as a child, has a basic moral code we live by. It is impossible to know, Venn-diagram style, where this intersects with the morality of others, so NA literature explains the basic principles of life for addicts. It is a little shocking to see the world spelled out this way, but this is usually necessary for people prone to abusing themselves and/or others.

drug victims (probably)The presence of God - moreso in Alcoholics Anonymous, which also features deep sociological and psychological underpinnings - never leaves the literature or the people who preach it. There is no way to recover from anything without believing someone is watching you, whether it be some omnipotent being or your family and friends. Otherwise, you are accountable to no one, and the use of drugs retains its otherwordly flair. This is another interesting idea that on its face seems immoral to me, since it is based on a lie.

NA tries to go a bit easier on God than its hard-drinking brother-in-law. For those who have difficulty accepting their savior Jesus Christ, members are allowed to substitute the term "higher power" or read God as an acronym for "Good Orderly Direction." Members are not permitted to roll their eyes or make jokes about this aspect of their recovery.

Unlike AA, there is something unprepossessing about Narcotics Anonymous. It is probably related to the disease being recovered from. For those addicted to alcohol, there is always a happy return to use, and the poison itself is available on every street and every corner. Eternal temptation is eternal viligance. Harder drugs rarely offer a happy return, or a positive ending, beyond the thrill of the initial high. As such, addicts usually need to be very real with themselves in order to confront their disease.

What is most amazing about these programs is that they are effective at all. Tiger Woods' experience, and Steve Philips' experience, indicate there is a future full of things we can be addicted to, and treated for. We now view alcoholism as a disease; there is ample proof that it is, but the most striking reason is that we seem to believe it wholeheartedly, and it is best for us to feel this way.

In the old days, it was not easy to become addicted to sex. The overstimulation of the internet celebrates our best senses, elaborates on our finest indiscretions. People are addicted to the internet and they will probably not require recovery. The internet is the solution more than the problem, but it is still a fairly big problem. I don't really know how rehabilitation works - I usually believe it doesn't work, and that's why these organizations that profess eternal viligance are so popular and effective. How did Michael Vick stop believing that betting on staged dogfights wasn't a fun activity on a Saturday afternoon? About the same time he received the Ed Block Courage Award?

There is also something distinctly American about recovery, and to separate it from a Christian impulse would be to sever the head at the neck. There are worse countries to live in than a Christian one. Whether is it good to become a compassionate country, as George W. Bush basically put it, or whether it is better to tolerate less capriciousness from our fellow man is an open question. The degrading conditions of the first American addicts make a strong argument we are improving as a society. I don't know if it's sad or what that this is as good as we've ever been.

Alex Carnevale is the editor of This Recording. He twitters here and tumbls here.

"See If They Salute" - The Streets (mp3)

"Lovelight of My Life" - The Streets (mp3)

"David Hassles" - The Streets (mp3)


Thursday
Mar112010

In Which We Isolate Pleasurable Elements Of Modern Popular Songs

Favorite Rap/R&B Background Ad Libs 2010

by MOLLY LAMBERT

Best Of '09: "L'CHAIM" - Fergie of The Black Eyed Peas, "I Gotta Feeling"

click on the screen caps for links to the youtube videos they originate from

10. "Beckay" - Plies, "Becky"

9. "all day" - California Swag District, "Teach Me How To Dougie" 

8. "Waka. Flocka. Flame." - Waka Flocka Flame, "O Let's Do It"

7. "C.J.!" - Birdman, "4 My Town"

6. "heeeeeeee wah wah" - Robin Thicke, "Sex Therapy"

5. "yurrrrrrrzzzzz" - Ludacris, "My Chick Bad"

4. "Bamaaaaaaaaa" - Yelawolf, "Box Chevy Pt. 2"

3. "big ol'" - Usher, "Little Freak"

2. "YOO! NOO!" - Jay-Z, "Empire State Of Mind" (this part's still in my head)

1. "LEMON!" - Gucci Mane, "Lemonade"

Molly Lambert is the managing editor of This Recording. She tumbls here and twitters here.

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Wednesday
Mar102010

In Which Those Schoolgirl Days of Telling Tales And Biting Nails Are Gone

To Lost With Love

by DICK CHENEY

My career has been one of soothsayer and mystic as much as gun-toting maniac and sexual icon. On two separate occasions I have "smashed up a homie" of my wife Lynne, both times the resulting indiscretion helped elect a burgeoning political candidate I nurtured like one of GWB's hangovers. While I kiss the toe of another, my own toe is extended for the lips of others. There is no such thing as a woman behind a man, it is usually another, balder man.


I even taught high school history, although I wasn't anywhere near the pedantic psycho that Ben Linus was. Like me, Linus cultivated talent. We all need a life coach. Linus' mentor was Jacob, who carried a redemptive hope for the guy in his heart. I recruited political proteges; I was also a cagey hand at spotting an up-and-coming blogger. I was the one who told Andrew Sullivan to go with the whole flaming bear thing. That was me. 

you've never read kathryn harrison? really? you'll like her!Ben used information from a student to blackmail the principal, and somehow was the heroic protagonist of last night's Lost. I worry this teaches the wrong lesson to kids, particularly hot kids. The school principal didn't really do anything technically wrong - yes, he did bang the school nurse in front of a student, but (1) it was a hot student and (2) Bill Clinton is still revered in this country and he did roughly the same thing, except in front of the whole world. How we expect to feel sympathetic for a blackmailer with a heart of gold is beyond me, but it is an encouraging precedent for the inevitable prosecution I'll face in the coming years.

we got you some white face paint. hope it helps, sir.Simon Cowell and the new Ben Linus overall have a lot in common. Their favorite movie is To Sir With Love and they both ask to be addressed by their honorifics. "It's Dr. Linus," Ben snivels to Principal Reynolds, who committed that cardinal sin of making him supervise detention instead of allowing Ben to fondle his own daughter in "history club." In this episode, the show's writers simply get Linus wrong. It is no fun to see the weak Linus. The strong Linus was a bad man, a tasty villain on a show that needed the right antagonist.

Above all, Linus is resourceful. We respect a well-thought out plan, and parallel Linus was putty in the weird sexual relationship he had with his alternate universe daughter. I don't know what was creepier, the fact that Alex Rousseau was flirting with her dad, or the disturbing acknowledgement that the 21-year old Tania Raymonde dates old-enough-to-be-her-father Jeff Goldblum in real life. He is the only person to ever get laid from a role on a Law & Order spinoff.

there's nothing like a May 1979 to December 2054 romanceSimon Cowell also has a somewhat unorthodox relationship with the younger women on his show. He's incredibly sparing with praise with the mass of female contestants, but then he picks out his pet favorite and showers her with compliments and gifts that reek of insincerity, like telling her he liked her Tracy Chapman cover and that "dreads look super-great on a white girl."



Simon's pet this season is the innovatively named Crystal Hornblower. Her day job is as a character in a Patrick O'Brian book. Her boyfriend's penis is shaped like a question mark. Her tattoo is of a rooster pleading for his life. She smells of rosemary, menthol cigarettes, and chiante. Her astrological sign is Virgo.

if she doesn't sing Feist next week, I will be the most surprised man in the world

None of the men on American Idol are showing anywhere near this kind of potential (although every single male contestant at least makes my dick harder than Kris Allen ever did). Simon usually latches onto an artist like Crystal Hornblower when he wants the audience to support another candidate with more star potential. If you don't see the metaphorical connection to Lost, you obviously don't read This Recording very often.

the odds that she ends up dating Robert Pattinson are almost insurmountable

Simon's secret crush is on Cape Cod's own Siobhan Magnus. Weirdly, that's what I named my dick in third grade. Siobhan looks like the kind of girl who thinks owning Blood on the Tracks on vinyl isn't a tremendous fucking cliche. Like Alex Rousseau, she was intended for an Ivy League university before a love of singing (history) took over her life (Lost parallel universe). Unlike Alex Rousseau, her grasp of the particulars of the Dutch East India Company is slim at best - she's been singing her whole life. To be fair, her high note at the end of Aretha Franklin's "Think" made me burst out in hives, but like, good hives.

What short memories we have. We forget that Steve Martin's been making the exact same jokes for the past thirty years, and we forget Benjamin Linus actually saved Lost at one point. I mean, the guy showed up to the Losties' camp one day, pretended he got to the island by a weather balloon, and called himself Henry Gale. Sure he could have gone with a lie that could never be verified as such, but lying without regard for consequences is generally Linus' modus operandi. Sidney Poitier would not approve, but then he named his daughter Sydney, so do we give a flying fuck what he thinks?

The old Linus' enterprising tactics and mysterious background turned Lost from The View hosted by Matthew Fox into a badass struggle for survival against a maniacal sociopath whose team of Others could move silently through the jungle and form a book club at a moment's notice.


The new Linus teaches at the only all-white school in America, the only educational institution where it is appropriate for your hot daughter-protege to show up at your house at dinner and request extra study time. It's hard to be a high school teacher, and most in the profession aren't blessed with the considerable stress relief that dude got from punching Snooki in the face.


Then again, it was Ben Linus himself who taught us that violence against women was another, different kind of violence. Linus was an equal opportunity sociopath, the kind of guy who didn't evac the women and children before gassing the Dharma Initiative. It's fun to see him batting around what could have been with dear old dad: "Son, I wonder what you could have become if we stayed on that island." "Dad, I would have gassed them all, and you. Now you know. I also wouldn't be having a weird flirtation with my own daughter. Now eat your cheerios, and let's watch Hoarders so we can feel better about being alive."

Linus represented the triumph of individual industriousness over physical dominance. His second-in-command represented the victory of suave good looks over television sense-making. The immortal Richard's bright plan to kill himself required an hour long walk, two implicated associates, and a dependence on ancient, unstable dynamite. You had 300 years to orchestrate your own death, and this is what you're going with?

That's about as effective an approach as the time Ari Fleischer tried to end it by maiming his arms with a thousand paper cuts from a particularly sharp issue of Commentary. Lost has been promising to reveal why Richard never ages for many seasons, and when they finally do, their answer is "because Jacob touched me." This does explain why Ilana is so devoted to the idea of Jacob - no one makes her come the way he makes her come.

The return of Chaz Widmore comes not a moment too soon. Can we perhaps also intuit that he comes from the Lost parallel universe? We had no indication that the old Widmore could pilot a Prius, let alone a sub. More to the point, he wasn't able to - he spent most of the previous seasons unable to find the island, and now he just strolls up in a sub and doesn't want to kill Ben Linus? This is a different Widmore than we're used to.

Lost has gotten softer than Ellen DeGeneres' gorgeous blue eyes. Sayid going bad last week was a good start, but he commits murders all the time. Killing off some regulars would be a good start; maybe they can bring back Dominic Monaghan and kill him again. His presence on the set would at least inspire Evangeline Lilly to emote a little. Kill off Jin, I can't understand half of what the guy says anyway. Murder Lapidus - the guy spends half his screen time dropping "did you knows" from Lostpedia. Just kill someone before I start watching Parenthood every Tuesday and spending hours on end weeping for what they've done to Lorelai Gilmour.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording. You can find his previous recaps of Lost here.

"Found Out" - Caribou (mp3)

"Leave House" - Caribou (mp3)

"Sun" - Caribou (mp3)