The Boneyard

LISTcavage: The 5 Best Things I Read in January

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By Adam Vitcavage

I turned 29 on Jan. 3 and made 30 goals of sorts to do prior to the time I turned 30 in 2019. One such goal was to read more. Now, you may think, don’t you already read a lot of books? I do. Fiction, mostly. I also read the news via tweeted links, and I keep up on the entertainment business (production deals, actor hires, viewership ratings, etc). I read a lot. In theory. But I found myself reading a lot of the tl;dr, clickbait versions of article that some sites regurgitate with just the pertinent information.

Not anymore. I’m going to the source. I’m reading in depth reporting about a wide variety of subjects. The whole piece, too. No more petering out near the end of the article because the premium information was at the top of some inverted pyramid.

That’s the reason I’m collecting the best things I’ve read every month. So maybe you can find something interesting as well.


“‘I Want it to Stop’”

By John Woodrow Cox (Washington Post)

I’m cheating. This article, the sixth and last in a series about violence and the American adolescence, was published on Dec. 27, 2017. It’s an important and chilling read nonetheless. John Woodrow Cox navigates the story of 15-year-old Ruben Urbina, who after unsuccessful suicide attempts called to police threatening to blow up his block with a bomb. He didn’t have a bomb and suicide-by-cop was his goal. The narrative weaves his family’s reaction, as well as his best friend Jessica Newburn’s own struggles with depression, with an informative investigation into teen suicide.

On average, one child under the age of 18 committed suicide every six hours last year, according to a Post review of new data released Dec. 21 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Nearly half of those children died from hanging, strangulation or suffocation, while 41 percent used guns. The total number — 1,533 — was the largest in at least a decade, nearly doubling over that period.


“Is This the Golden Age of Drag? Yes. And No.”

By Isaac Oliver (The New York Times)

As a straight, white male, I shouldn’t like drag. At least according to the majority of society. I do, though. It’s art. It’s a great performance. It’s intriguing. VH1’s "RuPaul’s Drag Race" helped launch drag queens into a wider audience. My sister has been watching for years. It’s something we enjoy together. Queens have become stars--going on tours, attending conventions, and selling their won merchandise—but for the cream of the crop, or those past their prime, drag is becoming…a drag.

New York bars pay anywhere from $50 to $250 a gig, plus tips, which can be fruitful — Bob, before “Drag Race,” said she paid off student loans with 10,000 singles — or not.

Regular expenses like new outfits and wigs, makeup replenishment and cabs (to avoid harassment on 3 a.m. subways) add up, as does drag’s physical toll. “There’s athlete’s foot, joint pain, U.T.I.s, pink eye,” Katya said. “There’s bizarre sexualization, not being sexualized when you want it, and the almost complete forfeiture of a regular gay relationship.”

Charlene, laughing at her kitchen table, said, “Unless you win ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race,’ the rewards are mostly spiritual.”


“A New Old Skywalker”

By Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Facebook post)

Never has a fan-base been so split on something the love so much. Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi has divided "Star Wars" fans to the opposite ends of the galaxy. Those who loved it versus those who hated it. I’m in the camp that says, “Yeah, I enjoyed it.” But I’m also someone whose Star Wars mantra is that no film is as good as the world thinks it is, but no film is as bad as the world thinks it is. Fans rank "The Empire Strikes Back" as an A++ and "Attack of the Clones" as an F--. I say the bell curve is closer than you think. Anyway, Johnson’s friend JGL, who also has a cameo in the film, both of which he addresses in the piece, decided to share his opinions on TLJ and film in general.

I also wanna say, I’m not here to tell anybody they’re wrong. Personally, I don’t think it’s possible to be wrong when it comes to movies, or art, or literature, or whatever you wanna call it. In our ever more gamified culture, with endless awards shows, publicized box office figures, and the all-knowing Tomatometer, it seems conversations about movies are more and more often put into quantified terms of good and bad, best and worst, right and wrong. And then there’s the twitface-insta-fueled tribalism, people taking sides, pointing fingers and spitting venom at the other guys. There seems to be a lot of that going around right now from both lovers and haters of this movie. Dear oh dear, folks. This isn’t politics or sports. The fruit is in the subjectivity. If you feel differently than I do, I’m 100% cool with that. I think it’s often in these very differences of perspective that movies can be at their most enlightening, helping us learn something about each other and ourselves.


“Pennsylvania’s gerrymandered House map was just struck down — with huge implications for 2018”

By Andrew Prokop (Vox)

In late January, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court voted that the U.S. House maps were a violation of the state’s constitution. While I was gathering articles for this list I was originally going to suggest this New York Times article about the issue (which I still recommend). But here I’m talking about a simply written, but informative example of how gerrymandering greatly affects the entire nation.

Republicans tried to pack Democratic-leaning areas together into very few districts. The hoped-for result was that the GOP would lose a few districts by large margins, yet win a majority of districts comfortably and consistently.

That’s exactly what happened. In statewide elections, Pennsylvania was a competitive swing state.


“The Invasion of the German Board Games”

By Jonathan Kay

What do I know about board games? Next to nothing. This article is about hobby board games—those niche games for super fans. Settlers of Catan is one. I’ve played it and I see what they mean. While anyone can play a board game, there are some which require skill for the game in particular instead of a general sense of intelligence or humor or what have you.

Hobbyists around the world started paying serious attention to German-style board games (or “Eurogames,” as they’re now more commonly known) following the creation of Settlers of Catan in 1995. While it took more than a decade for that game to gain a cultural foothold, there seems to be no going back: Much in the way that Cold War–era American beer connoisseurs gravitated to the higher quality and vastly larger variety offered by European imports in the era before stateside microbrews took off, players who’d become bored with the likes of Monopoly and Scrabble started to note the inventive new titles coming out of Germany.

Silver Scream: Our Friday the 13th Boneyard of Horror!

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Friday the 13th in October means one thing: a marathon of frightening films (or in my case, a corny Halloween movie binge). Whichever genre you prefer, take a peek at some of our favorite spooky flicks (and podcasts!)from the good, to the bad, to the downright bone-chilling. And while you’re at it, avoid walking under any ladders today.—Stephanie Schaefer

Daniel Ford: Tomorrow's Friday the 13th, which means something horrible will likely befall Sean Tuohy and myself.  

Before the inevitable hot-coffee-spills-in-lap scenario, we want to know what your favorite Halloween/scary movie is and why! (Question from the desk of Stephanie Schaefer.)

Sean Tuohy: Doesn't some horrible happen to us every day?

I mean just this morning I experienced the worse thing ever: I woke up.

Here are some of my favorites:

“Halloween”

Besides being a classic and one of the first teen slasher films, “Halloween” is just a creepy movie. It takes its time building up to the final, tension-filled moments. The music alone (which is just a bongo beat switched to a piano) will cause your skin to crawl.

“E.T.”

Look, that scene when the federal agents show up in EVA suits with the blinding white light shining behind them is terrifying. I refuse to watch this scene as an adult.

“Prince Of Darkness”

The middle film of John Carpenter's Apocalypse Trilogy, “Prince Of Darkness” is a "smart man's" horror film. With an original plot line, a great cast, and some horrifying imaginary, this is one of Carpenter's best movies. 

“Friday the 13th: A New Beginning”

Stop rolling your eyes! Yes, this is a blood-soaked teenage slasher film with some really over-the-top deaths but…there are some really scary moments that cause you to jump out of your chair.

“28 Days Later”

From the opening scene in the dark underground lab that shows a young eco-terrorist get infected (what you deserve, you hippie!) to the final rain-soaked fight sequence, “28 Days Later” is one of my favorite modern horror films.

“Phantom Of The Mall”

Paulie Shore is in this movie. Enough said.

Stephanie Schaefer:

“Halloweentown” Series

I’m not a fan of horror movies, but I can get down with a good Disney Channel Halloween flick. Plus, the late Debbie Reynolds made the movie with her portrayal of kooky Grandma Aggie.

**Looking up last-minute flights to Oregon.**

“Hocus Pocus”

How can you not love this cult classic? From “I Put a Spell on You” sing-alongs to talking cats and an all-star cast of witches, its 1990s nostalgia at its finest.

Rob Bates: So, this isn't a movie, but I just started listening to, and am very much enjoying, the Mysterious Old Radio Listening Society Podcast, where three dudes play an old radio show and then afterwards analyze and geek out about it. It's a lot of fun.

I would recommend these episodes, featuring episodes from the truly creative and wildly innovative series “Quiet Please:”

“The Thing on the Fourble Board”

This is one of the most famous old radio episodes out there, and I've kind of grown obsessed with it. (Patton Oswalt is a fan.) The plot is,let me just warn you, completely ridiculous, but you kind of "buy" it,  thanks to the great lead performance by "Porky" as well as the "guest." Also, you learn a ridiculous amount about oil rigging.

“Whence Came You”

I found this one even freakier than Fourble Board, though it does contain one marginally offensive piece of dialogue, which may be why it isn't well known. But it's awesome.

If you want to hear those shows without the before and after commentary, they are both readily available for download on archive.org.

Remember, the show is called “Quiet Please.” Listen in the dark with headphones!

Mike Nelson:

“Sleepaway Camp”

A basic, campy (like, campy-campy, but also literally about camp), mysterious slasher film that is as stupid as possible until the very end when it becomes genuinely stupider than is conceivably possible in the most fantastic way. I refuse to share a clip. Just go watch it and do not look at spoilers, you jerk.

Sean: I am going to second “Sleepaway Camp.” The ending scene and Judy's death scene make the movie. Also, James Earl Jones's father is in the film.

Daniel: “The Omen” is up with all movies that led to sleep loss for me as a teenager. I remembering watching it with my father, who laughed whenever I'd swear at the television or blankly stare at what was going on. Great flick.

Plus, Gregory Peck. I mean, the guy's a legend.

Caitlin Malcuit:

“The Thing”

John Carpenter’s “The Thing” is a perfect horror movie. It’s gross, it’s scary, and has that amazing Drew Struzan poster. A masterful exercise in body horror and paranoia, “The Thing” is best viewed with the lights out so that deep Antarctic chill can creep into your bones. With fantastic and dark performances by Keith David and Wilford Brimley, it’s also a worthwhile viewing because of Kurt Russell’s beautiful mane.

“Suspiria"

Suspiria is visually stunning, arguably the most beautiful horror film ever made. A standout in Italian giallo master Dario Argento’s oeuvre, this entry in his “The Three Mothers” trilogy is one of the last films ever to be printed in Technicolor. The death scenes alone are enough to put 1980s slashers to shame.

“The Witch”

Robert Eggers’ debut couldn’t be a bigger home run for a director. “The Witch,” moody and slow burning, is one of the most pitch-perfect thrillers in recent memory to hit the genre. Though the forests of Ontario stand in for New England’s onscreen, you won’t be able to walk through your neighborhood woods without a side-eye to the rustling leaves or the next rabbit you see.

Rob Masiello: I'm gonna let you all finish, but "Deep Blue Sea" is the greatest horror movie of all time.

Joking aside, I'd like to submit something arty and weird, but instead am going to recommend “The Conjuring.” It's the first time a movie caused me to audibly shriek, and the whole film is elegantly executed. Even the climax, which is often when horror movies lapse into absurdity (not the good kind), is harrowing. Not to mention Vera Farmiga is always a delight to watch. Sadly, after viewing “The Conjuring,” I read an article criticizing it for socially regressive themes. It got me thinking, and I can't say I disagree. But if you're only after a good spook, it's a must-see.

I'll also second Caitlin's recommendation of “The Witch.” It's a slow-burner that spirals into this urgently fucked up fever dream that will haunt you.

Sean: “The Conjuring” was a solid ghost movie. “The Conjuring 2” starts off great and then falls apart at the end.

Rob Masiello: I agree! The second one was a big disappointment. Never as spooky as the original, and some tacky CGI thrown in to boot. And way too much yelling.

Sean: Yes! Halfway through they got lazy and said, "Screw it! We'll do it on a computer.”

Rob Bates: Can I also recommend the original “Wicker Man?” Saw it a few years ago and it has some weird off-key moments (which kind of work for it) and definitely packs a huge punch. Forget the stupid Nicolas Cage remake; I have never seen it but, based on the excerpts I've seen, I don't want to. And remakes usually suck anyway. But this was great.

If you ever watch the show “Coupling,” one of the characters is obsessed with Britt Ekland in this movie, and if you watch it, you will know why.

Also, “Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein” is the supreme horror-comedy. Funny, and even goofy-scary. Can't wait to show it to my kid.

Emili Vesilind: “The Ring!” Couldn't sleep for weeks after seeing it.

“The Nightmare Before Christmas”

Alison Doherty (Writer's Bone newcomer!): This movie is confused. It doesn’t know if it wants to be a Halloween or Christmas movie. Written by Tim Burton, the movie chronicles the adventures of Jack the Skeleton, King of Halloween Town. Jack is overjoyed when he discovers Christmas Town but things go awry when he tries to bring Christmas to Halloween Town.

Hitting the High Notes: The Sequel!

Back in 2014, the Writer’s Bone crew compiled their favorite musical moments in film. After revisiting the post for our newsletter recently, we decided to stage a sequel. If you want to join the discussion, submit your favorite suggestions in the comments section, post them on our Facebook page, or tweet us @WritersBone.—Daniel Ford

“Dick Tracy”

Mike Nelson: Al Pacino’s finest performance (do not @ me) is laced with misogyny and misunderstanding, but not misguidance. The man knows a crappy dance routine when he sees one, and he exposes Madonna so much in this one scene that her next hit is “Ray of Light,” which, let’s be honest, is complete garbage with a nice brand name attached to it.

“The Commitments”

Daniel Ford: The Commitments give The Wonders a run for their money for best fictional rock band that flamed out too early.

“Top Gun”

Stephanie Schaefer: Pre-Scientology Tom Cruise at his finest. 

"Goodfellas"

Caitlin Malcuit: The three-minute tracking sequence in "Goodfellas" is one of the film's most dazzling moments, but the extra touch comes from the use of The Crystal's "Then He Kissed Me." As Henry takes Karen for a night out at the Copacabana nightclub, introducing her, and us, to the perks of organized crime, the girl group's sweetness heightens the rush of a mesmerizing first date.

“Hedwig and the Angry Inch”

Lindsey Wojcik: After the huge success of the revival of "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" on Broadway, which I saw four times, I became a Hedhead and discovered this 2001 release—an adaptation of the stage book, written, directed and starring the original Hedwig, John Cameron Mitchell. The film has so many powerful and catchy songs, but "Origin of Love" is a gut-wrenching ditty based on a story from Plato's Symposium. It's songwriting at its finest—Stephen Trask is a master—and evokes all the feels about what it's like to love. 

“Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”

Daniel: “What’re you doing?”

“Stealing your woman.”

“Take her.”

“TRON: Legacy”

Mike: Everyone has their motivation tactics at work. Coffee, going outside for some air, doing pushups at your desk (I have seen this happen, and I don’t think it’s that weird, and if you’ve ever seen my arms you know it’s not me), and probably the most common: music. The “TRON: Legacy” soundtrack is mine, and I then turn into Olivia Wilde during this Daft Punk cameo in the movie (meaning, I start absolutely dominating work, and then it fights back and permanently cripples me).

“The Wedding Singer”

Lindsey: "The Wedding Singer" and its soundtrack was the seed that sprouted my never-ending fascination with the culture of the 1980s, a decade in which I was only alive for nearly three years. "Grow Old With You" is one of two only original songs on the soundtrack and it's the sappiest. It perfectly encapsulates what most people are looking for in a partner—someone to share the milestones and monotonous parts of life with for the rest of days. The hilarity of the scene (I'm looking at you, Billy Idol!) does not take away from the sentiment, which is why I consider it of the most powerful musical moments in film.  

“Mulholland Drive”

Rob Masiello: Rumor has it that Rebekah Del Rio's thunderous performance of "Llorando" was recorded on the spot, without her knowledge and with virtually no editing before being worked into “Mulholland Drive.” How it fits into the film's larger narrative is worthy of a much longer analysis than appropriate for this feature. This Spanish cover of Roy Orbison's "Crying" will leave you shaking regardless of what language you speak.

“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze”

Mike: School is a waste of time. I learned everything I needed to get through childhood right here.

“Skyfall”

Matt DiVenere: Check out the reintroduction of the 1964 Aston Martin DB5 in “Skyfall.” Seeing the car, hearing the trumpets...I immediately get goosebumps and smile. Such an iconic car and such an iconic moment.

“True Romance”

Dave Pezza: I've been holding on to this magical scene from a highly underrated Quentin Tarantino movie (he wrote the screenplay). It doesn't get much better than Tarantino dialogue in front of a Hans Zimmer score. So cool.

“Hudson Hawk”

Sean Tuohy: What a weird movie, but Bruce Willis can sing. Really, the man has a set of pipes. This scene is playful, fun, and weird, which sums up “Hudson Hawk.” Also, this captures Willis at his best: charming and a must-watch.

“Baby Driver”

Sean: “Baby Driver” is “La La Land” but with better characters and armed robbery. This clip sums up film perfectly.

“Back to the Future”

Hassel Velasco: Guys...Marvin Berry discovered his cousin's revolutionary sound back in 1955.

“Romeo & Juliet”

Lisa Carroll: I loved loved loved teaching Romeo And Juliet in freshman English, and after we finished reading the play we'd watch Baz's version and discuss the adaptation. The innocence and tension in this scene is so beautifully amplified by the sensuous nature of the song and her captivating voice. Totally swoon-worthy.

“Dreamgirls”

Lisa: Yes, I will take the Oscar, thank you.

“Ella Enchanted”

Lisa: My second favorite Queen song (after “Bohemian Rhapsody” in “Wayne's World”), and one of my favorite Cinderella adaptations.

“The Bodyguard”

Lisa: Whitney Houston’s “The Bodyguard” made Cosmopolitan's “50 Old Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch.”

It has the greatest soundtrack of all time and the worst acting of all time as proven in this clip.

“My Best Friend’s Wedding”

Daniel: If you’re a sappy romantic, you really can’t get better than this.

“La La Land”

Mike: “You know the most psychologically damaging event of your life? Let’s just run it back and see what life looks like if we skipped that part.” Everyone who had a hand in “La La Land” is a jerk and deserved to get bested by “Moonlight” for all the emotional damage you caused me. I’m sending you all of my future wife’s inevitable therapy bills.

The Boneyard Archives

Oxford (Comma) Debate: Is the Serial Comma Really Necessary?

By Dave Pezza and Matt DiVenere

Watching Dave Pezza and Matt DiVenere debate in an email chain is like marveling at a couple of old men try to club each other with their canes. Arms and legs flailing madly, dentures flying out of mouths, and no actual damage done owing to the physical infirmity of the contestants. Enjoy their most recent swashbuckling over the beloved Oxford comma.—Daniel Ford

Dave Pezza: Summation of my argument: I use the Oxford comma, or serial comma, because I am not a neo-fascist, white-privileged stooge of the boys' club known as journalism.

Matt DiVenere: The Oxford comma is for lazy writers who are too drunk to not realize they're rambling on and on. Or they just have a blatant disregard for the reader and are arrogant enough to think the reader will figure it out. Don't be lazy and rewrite your sentence.

Dave: That is inaccurate. The serial comma’s use is recommended by almost every major English style guide and non-journalistic based publishing house in the United States. Those who do not use the serial comma feel as though they belong to a long line of prestigious writers and journalists and have such an uncanny affinity for writing that their syntax never errs on the side of confusion. Therefore, their prose needs not that lowest and most plebeian of punctuation: the serial comma. And that is ironic, because most journalistic publications are written at an eighth- to 12th-grade reading level. And that very same comma would be added to any eighth to 12th graders’ paper.

So please, for the love of writing, stop purporting this high-handed, Machiavellian trope of superior writing and the common man’s inability to follow prose otherwise. It is demeaning, and those who think this way are very much in the minority. But I suppose that makes sense, the small minority pretending that it alone knows what is best for the whole.

Matt: Almost everyone thought the earth was flat.

Almost everyone thinks global warming is a myth.

Almost every time someone defends themselves with "almost everyone," they are wrong.

Almost everyone is never everyone. So why must there be a definitive answer here?

I believe that English professors and authors utilize the Ox because writing consecutively lends more toward description. The Ox makes sense for those long-nosed authors who don't have a fear of heights from looking down it so often at journalists.

But the Ox does not lend itself to the journalistic writing style that I call my own. Therefore, I consider to be a writer's shoehorn. If you're too lazy to put your own shoe on, is wearing shoes your biggest issue? And who owns a shoehorn anymore?

And journalists write to a fifth- to eighth-grade level. So ha!

Dave: We are not arguing about scientific facts that can be proven right or wrong based on research and the scientific method. We are talking about a simple, easy, and straightforward convention used the world over to help readers and writers better understand one another. So when everyone agrees that its use is your best bet, you can believe them.

This isn’t the 1920s. You’re not Ernest Hemingway. The current literary form of the English language is pretty set in stone. Sure, the language changes now and again to conform to contemporary trends, but on the whole we’ve figured it out. So your style isn’t anything new, and its complexities and subtle nuances aren’t so amazing that they preclude the use of a comma at the end of a list. Sorry. It doesn’t. And the people who haven broken the mold, like Hemingway, James, Wallace, and Shakespeare, did so because they were masters of the conventional.

You’re not one of these matters, I’m not, and odds are noone reading this is. Sometimes you have to play by the rules and just suck it up. Be happy that you have to eat it on something as inconsequential to daily life as the serial comma.

Matt: I don't think journalists are trying to say they're better than anyone or even that our way is more right than yours. I'm just saying that you need to be open to other ways of doing things.

So I need to follow 100% the way something was created nearly 100 years ago without questioning it or making any changes? Quite a statement to make. Do you still write on rock with a chisel? And exactly how many years away are you from calling music "noise" and yelling at kids to get off your lawn?

Dave: We are talking about a comma that, when used at the end of a list along with all the other commas in said list, unequivocally avoids confusion between each distinct item. Damn, you really are losing a lot of artistic integrity by following that damn rigorous, old school Oxford comma. Damn those old, white bastards for controlling how your unique 2017 art reads.

Please.

And if using the serial comma is 100% following the way we wrote English 100 years ago, then you need to start reading more turn of the century prose, my friend. Change and progress is most importantly about keeping what works and fixing what doesn’t. The serial comma has always worked. It will continue to always work. And not using is akin to a teenage temper tantrum, throwing up that middle finger to the world that just doesn’t understand your art, Kevin! No, we get it. This is how the world works, get over it.

Matt: Let's do a quick sample sentence and let's see how you read it compared to me:

  • A stripper, Dave, and Dan all had fun together last night.
  • A stripper, Dave and Dan all had fun together last night.

To me, the first sentence says that the strippers' name is Dave. The second sentence says the three of them had fun. 

But the Ox is needed every time right? And I'm the asshole because I think if you just change the sentence around, it'll be easier to read and more concise? Your turn.

Dave: If we are following conventional rules, and we are because we use the Oxford comma, “no comma, however, should separate a noun from a restrictive term of identification,” according to Strunk & White. So when I see this sentence:

  • A stripper, Dave, and Dan all had fun together last week.

I know that we are talking about three different people for two reasons: first, the serial comma tells us that there are three people, and, secondly, if Dave were a stripper the sentence would properly read:

  • The stripper Dave and Dan all had fun together last week.

Or one would have properly added the parenthetical commas distinguishing Dave as a stripper with which we might not know:

  • Dave, a stripper, and Dan all had fun together last week.

But there is no way, if you know your grammar, to confuse a sentence written this way:

  • A stripper, Dave, and Dan all had fun together last week.

But a sentence written the following way could, grammar tells us, only have one meaning: ‘a stripper’ is parenthetical information, leading off the sentence that describes Dave, which would make the word ‘all’ very confusing and ill advised:

  • A stripper, Dave and Dan all had fun together last night.

Final Statements

Dave: Kids, if you see someone not using the serial comma, call them out on it. Life too short to be wrong all the time. Be right. Take those bastards down a peg!

Matt: My conclusion is simple, clean and concise. Which is a perfect way to simply explain why the Ox is a waste of time that only leads to angry conversations, name calling and oversimplified history lessons. In the end, aren't we writers facing the same existential crisis? That people today do not care for the written word as they have in the past. Instead, today's readers seek out five-second videos, internet memes and gifs? We need to stand together as one united front in that battle.

P.S. Sean Spicer uses the Oxford comma.

What do you think? Is the Oxford comma necessary? Reply in the comments section below, on our Facebook page, or tweet us @WritersBone.

The Boneyard Archives

Why Do People Love The Bands/Musicians We Hate?

Photo courtesy of  Rick Harris

Photo courtesy of Rick Harris

Matt DiVenere: What popular band do you hate that people get mad at you for?

Sean Tuohy: None. I may not be the best for this because there is no band or group that I dislike. I really enjoy all music. In the few hours I've been at work, I've listened to classical, an EDM mix, country, and now some Stevie Ray Vaughn. Even the bands I don’t enjoy as much normally have a single song I enjoy to listen to. I used to hate Jon Bon Jovi. Not the band, the person. I really hated him.

Gary Almeter: I loathe reggae. I said this at lunch with colleagues once and everyone was all incredulous and all, "Whaaaaaaaat?" More succinctly, it is a fucking waste of everyone's time. I loathe its laid back offbeat rhythms and its casual evocations of general positivity and folksy folks relaxing on rustic beaches. I loathe Bob Marley. Unrelated, but sort of related, is that I also loathe Bob Marley's fat Irish cousin, Van Morrison. Furthermore, I loathe Bob Marley's margarita-swilling, parrot-wearing brother-in-law Jimmy Buffett. I also loathe Bob Marley's illegitimate stepson, Jack Johnson.

Rob Bates: He's not a band, and not even popular anymore, but I hate Billy Joel. I had to limit my friend's access to my Facebook posts because she objected to one particular rant. I'm usually so vociferous about it, no one wants to argue.

Daniel Ford: I hate Vampire Weekend. Why does everyone under 35 love that band? They suck. I hate their pretentious instruments, their weepy lyrics, and their uninspired hipster garb. Add Band of Horses to that list for similar reasons. Has this generation been so inundated with pop-crap that they can't recognize shitty music when they hear it? "Those lyrics are deep and dope, man." No, they aren't, they're bullshit. And as someone who shovels it on a regular basis, I know of what I speak. 

Matt: I knew this would be a popular topic.

I'm going full heel here, to use a wrestling term. I hate The Beatles.

I hate them. The most overrated band of all time. They're iconic because they walked across some street? I just don't get it.

I'd rather listen to Britney Spears' first album (minus the "hits”). I'd rather use the Oxford comma. I'd rather...you get it. I told my father-in-law this, and I thought he was going to revoke his acceptance of my marriage to his daughter. Still a very touchy subject. He also is mad at me that I think “Jurassic Park” is overrated, but that's another story for another time.

Daniel: I was looking forward to you making a compelling argument about this, but you had to go ahead and insult the Oxford comma. How dare you?

The Beatles changed the face of music. It was more than just pop and lyrics, everything they did was iconic. And not iconic in the form of Instagram posts or sub-tweets. Not to mention, their music, for the most part, is fun. How do you not get fired up listening to "Drive My Car" or "Twist and Shout?”

You're a monster, Matt. Your father-in-law is playing the long game on this one.

Dave Pezza: Not many like Vampire Weekend. In fact I am one of like two people who own all three of their albums. They are a rare band that mixes African beats, crisp melodies, and a purposefully cheerful tone. And Ezra Koeing's voice is amazingly sharp, that shit doesn't even waiver in concert. Lastly, their lyrics are ridiculously good, hard to decipher but good none-the-less, like a good poem. Vampire Weekend is what you get when English majors make music. No one said you had to like them, but your nay-saying speaks more about you than it does about those of us who like them.

But on to the first point, Billy Joel! Come on. When did all of the joy in your life so totally disappear that now Joel's soulful piano and uncannily high voice doesn't pluck at your heartstrings? I once had a girlfriend who hated Billy Joel. I guess it turns out all Billy Joel haters have a bottomless pit of jet black where their hearts should be.

Matt, you need to stop viewing the world from you hyper technological 2016 point-of-view. Imagine listening to the radio in the 1960s and amongst all the dross that passed for pop music, and then "Twist and Shout,” "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," or "A Day in the Life" comes on. These songs were so good people went insane. Brian Wilson allegedly went crazy when he heard “Sgt. Pepper Lonely Hearts Club Band.” So please, for the love of god, use your writer powers to empathize with a people who don't live in our jaded, overanalyzed, hypersensitive contemporary world.

Daniel: I've seen Vampire Weekend’s "African beats" live. I had to be roused from a near-coma. So your argument for liking this band revolves around "English majors making music," "hard to decipher," and "like a poem?" Sounds like a real hoot! I'd rather listen to Death Cab for Cutie's wrist-slitting music fused with Celine Dion's shrieking. 

I was a huge Billy Joel fan in high school. And then I kind of grew out of him. I didn't start hating him or anything, I just found different musicians to like more. I saw him at Fenway last summer and he was great. I can't hate a bald, sweaty fat guy still grinding it out on the road (and by grinding it out I mean stay in five-star hotels and showing off his young wife).

Gary: I don't hate him but I'm sort of tired of Bruce Springsteen. We get it, you're tired of seeing the poor and downtrodden get poorer and downtroddener amidst the smoke stacks and railroad tracks of the Midwestern city. But it's time to move the fuck on. 

Once at a poker game, the fellas were talking about who was the best songwriter of all time—Dylan, Springsteen, and Neil Young. I said, "I think you need to add Billy Joel to the conversation," and you would've thought I had gouged out their pancreases they were so offended. But I think he is part of that conversation.  

Rob: Vampire Weekend is like a Paul Simon rip off band, but they have some decent stuff. It is pleasant to listen to like latter-day Paul.

What kind of monster doesn't like the man behind such gems as,

He's talking to Davy who is still in the navy/You are only human you are supposed to make mistakes.

He writes for three year olds!

Also,

I learned that a man isn't just being macho.

If there is a more horrible lyric in rock, I have yet to hear it.

Daniel: Stephanie Schaefer agrees with Gary's Springsteen comments. Engagement now in the balance. (Just kidding *prepares couch *.)

My reaction to starting this thread:

Dave: 

Lindsey Wojcik: I'm chiming in just to send love to the “Arrested Development”/Will Arnett gif.

Lisa Carroll: I am not going to tell my husband about the Springsteen comments but I have seen "The Boss" six or seven times and the man is amazing live. I'm not going to tell my 15-year-old daughter about The Beatles comments but I will tell you that she and I were belting some Beatles in the car today and I love that she knew that "Hey Jude" had 1:45 of additional "na na na nanananas" left when she forwarded to the next song.

I hate Frank Zappa. I hate Neil Young. I hate Bob Dylan.

I hate that I don't know who Vampire Weekend is but I just Googled them and I have "Oxford Comma" playing in the background as I write this...

I love how passionate you all are and I love reading these crazy threads.

Hassel Velasco: I absolutely despise The Eagles. Yeah, we get it. It's a hotel and we can never leave. For fucks sake! If I had a dollar for every time I've skipped that song since the time I first listened to it, I'd be able to retire comfortably by 70. (I need a new accountant.)

If you don't like The Beatles, you probably don't like anything in general #justkidding #butreally. The Beatles continued to push the boundaries of the recording process by practically leading the transition from two-, to four-, to eight-track recording.

Nickelback is also terrible.

Matt: I'm very aware of all that The Beatles accomplished. They were revolutionary. But that doesn't mean I have to like them. David Ortiz is a legendary figure for Boston, but you won't see me praising him ever.

I'm more of a Rolling Stones fan. And Billy Joel. But my parents never listened to The Beatles growing up so I never did either. It's just not for me. Nothing to do with my age or my view on the world. I'm also more of a Huey Lewis and the News guy too. Saw them a few years ago on the Boston Waterfront...they still got it.

Another band I hate that might turn down the scalding heat of hatred pointed at me from this group: Dave Matthews Band. I just don't get it. A few of his songs are tolerable, but c’mon. I'm not a fan of those "jam bands" at all.

Gary: I too hate Dave Matthews Band. And jam bands in general. Like when are the fucking words going to start you smelly hairy fucks?

I would see Springsteen in concert but for the same reason I would go see Mount Rushmore or the La Brea Tar Pits: the experience has just sort of wended its way into the American psyche and so we feel like we should do it as some sort of duty. The whole Springsteen thing seems to be just an extended skirmish based on hyper-compressed humility and backhanded boasts.  

I also hate Sting.

Stephanie Schaefer: I may risk Daniel taking my ring back, but I have to agree with Lisa. Neil Young sounds like a whining/dying animal. I also only like one U2 song (“With our Without You,” obviously). I was actually upset that iTunes automatically gave me their new album for free (and I initially blamed Daniel for putting it in my music library).

How hasn't anyone mentioned Taylor Swift? I have way more songs of hers on my iPod than I'd like to admit. I'll admit that her songs are super catchy, but the lyrics all seem like they could be written by a fourth grader.

"Today was a fairytale/I wore a dress/You wore a dark grey t-shirt/You told me I was pretty/When I looked like a mess/Today was a fairytale."

Seriously!?

Adam Vitcavage: I don't hate them, but I've never gotten into Radiohead as much as my friends say I should. They're basically required listening to in my world, and I like them enough. But I never swam in the deep end of their discography. They're singles are catchy and I respect them. But there is so much out there to listen to. I'd rather give my heart completely to a small amount of bands than listen to everything out there for a few weeks until the next "must listen" to band comes out there.

I guess I don't really hate any bands. I just choose not to listen to a lot. Like reggae, metal, super twangy country, etc. The usual stuff pretentious and self-indulgent hipsters don't like. But don't worry, I'm seeking help and in a Hipsters Anonymous group.

Alex Tzelnic: I believe in the soul. I believe Adam Levine is a no-talent ass clown. I believe that Maroon 5 is one of the worst band names of all time, and that being a judge on “The Voice” so that you can engage in inane banter with Blake Shelton ruins any artistic "credibility" you have. I believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. I believe that if I hear “Moves Like Jagger” one more time, I'll weep like Brian Wilson, but for the exact opposite reasons. I believe sleeve tattoos do not automatically make you a badass. And I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days. Goodnight.

Hassel: 

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