Here’s an important message to CounterPunch readers from
Here at CounterPunch we love Barbara Ehrenreich for many reasons: her courage, her intelligence and her untarnished optimism. Ehrenreich knows what’s important in life; she knows how hard most Americans have to work just to get by, and she knows what it’s going to take to forge radical change in this country. We’re proud to fight along side her in this long struggle. We hope you agree with Barbara that CounterPunch plays a unique role on the Left. Our future is in your hands. Please donate.
Yes, these are dire political times. Many who optimistically hoped for real change have spent nearly five years under the cold downpour of political reality. Here at CounterPunch we’ve always aimed to tell it like it is, without illusions or despair. That’s why so many of you have found a refuge at CounterPunch and made us your homepage. You tell us that you love CounterPunch because the quality of the writing you find here in the original articles we offer every day and because we never flinch under fire. We appreciate the support and are prepared for the fierce battles to come.
Unlike other outfits, we don’t hit you up for money every month … or even every quarter. We ask only once a year. But when we ask, we mean it.
CounterPunch’s website is supported almost entirely by subscribers to the print edition of our magazine. We aren’t on the receiving end of six-figure grants from big foundations. George Soros doesn’t have us on retainer. We don’t sell tickets on cruise liners. We don’t clog our site with deceptive corporate ads.
The continued existence of CounterPunch depends solely on the support and dedication of our readers. We know there are a lot of you. We get thousands of emails from you every day. Our website receives millions of hits and nearly 100,000 readers each day. And we don’t charge you a dime.
Please, use our brand new secure shopping cart to make a tax-deductible donation to CounterPunch today or purchase a subscription our monthly magazine and a gift sub for someone or one of our explosive books, including the ground-breaking Killing Trayvons. Show a little affection for subversion: consider an automated monthly donation. (We accept checks, credit cards, PayPal and cold-hard cash….)
To contribute by phone you can call Becky or Deva toll free at: 1-800-840-3683
Thank you for your support,
Jeffrey, Joshua, Becky, Deva, and Nathaniel
CounterPunch PO Box 228, Petrolia, CA 95558
Pat Boone Syndrome
Something wonderful happened. I was hanging out with a bunch of my music snob friends, and we were doing the only thing that music snobs do: arguing. Somehow the conversation turned to good and bad covers, and I dropped the name Pat Boone.
My friends changed the subject immediately, not wanting to appear unhip, but I could tell from their faces that they had no idea who Pat Boone was. Now this was a wonderful moment for two reasons, first and most important I knew something that my friends didn’t. That’s the reasons that music snobs wake up in the morning. Second, and it gives me great pleasure to say this, Pat Boone has been forgotten.
However, new "artists" have come to follow the business model that Pat Boone did so well with. Bands like Framing Hanley, with their cover of Lil’ Wayne’s "Lollipop" or I Set My Friends on Fire with their version of "Crank Dat Soulja Boy" have kept his exploitative torch burning. True neither of this bands have reached the fame of the artists they’re covering, but both Framing Hanley and I Set My Friends On Fire are known only for covering these songs, and nothing else. And if Myspace and Youtube hits mean anything, these bands capitalized on a very lucrative thing.
But Pat Boone Syndrome is not as simple as just covering another artist’s song. Many, many artists have done great things with other people’s music, giving new perspectives or new emotions, creating interpretations that add to what the song has to say. Pat Boone Syndrome has none of these endearing qualities. Artists that suffer from this ailment perform songs in a way that is safer than their original versions and less complicated, adding nothing to the content of the song. Listening to The Flying Burrito Brothers perform "Do Right Woman" will give a completely different, but equally intricate, impression than Aretha Franklin’s interpretation. It adds to the range of the song without distorting its intentions. However, James Taylor’s version of "How Sweet it Is" is a slap in the face to both Marvin Gaye and Holland/Dozier/Holland. It turns a proud, joyous anthem into a milquetoast jingle.
But I was reassured by my music snob friends. If they don’t know who Pat Boone is, the rest of the musicians who follow in his footsteps will be forgotten just as quickly. It’s comforting to know that Pat Boone Syndrome isn’t permanent, that time will clear it right up.
LORENZO WOLFF is a musician living in New York. He can be reached at: email@example.com