Friday, November 28, 2008

David Moses Jassy and John T. Osnes: Rap’s Murder of Music Now a Dead Metaphor
By Nicholas Stix

Already 20 years ago, it was clear that rap aka hip-hop would be the death of music. And now, the metaphor has come to death: A rapper has (allegedly) murdered a musician.

Arrested: Rapper David Moses Jassy - also known as Dave Monopoly - is in police custody after a man died in a road-rage incident in Hollywood
David Moses Jassy, 34 alias Dave Monopoly, is in custody in Osnes' death.

In the wee hours of Monday morning, John T. Osnes, a 55-year-old, Minnesota-born jazz pianist, was about to cross a street in Hollywood, when a rented SUV driven by “Swedish” rapper, David Moses Jassy, 34 alias Dave Monopoly, came barging into the pedestrian crosswalk. Osnes slapped on the vehicle, to let the driver know he was out of line, but the driver refused to recognize any lines, at least where his own conduct was concerned.

According to witnesses, Jassy jumped out of the SUV, slugged the older man, knocking his glasses off, and kicking him in the head, when Osnes bent over to pick them up. Jassy, alias Monopoly, then jumped back in the rented SUV, and deliberately ran down Osnes, killing him, and fled.

Someone at the scene took down the SUV’s license plate, and police were able to trace it. Jassy was arrested, and is being held on $1 million bail.

Jassy has been charged with assault and battery, and leaving the scene of an accident. Those are “holding charges,” in order to get the thug, er, artist, under lock and key, and give the LAPD time to put together a case for either murder 2 or felony murder, depending on whether the A&B charge is a misdemeanor or a felony. Felony murder is, in theory, death penalty-eligible, but as a member of the rap/hip-hop “community,” there is little danger of Jassy paying properly for his “alleged” act.

The L.A. Times’ Harriet Ryan writes, “Bystanders, including an off-duty Anaheim police officer, witnessed the assault and tried unsuccessfully to detain Jassy, according to authorities.”

They couldn’t have tried very hard.

The news reports have all called this a “road-rage incident,” which to my ears suggests that someone had done something to set off Jassy. But if anyone had a right to be enraged, it was Osnes, whom Jassy had clearly sought to intimidate.

Jassy already knows how to play the game. He is being defended on the American taxpayer’s dime, and though he had no problem responding to the American judge at his first court hearing, has demanded a Swedish interpreter.
Jassy’s Myspace page has the title, “Dave Monopoly - The Gambia-Sweden-L.A, California Hip Hop / Rap / R&B.” Jassy calls himself “CEO of Jassy World Entertainment,” and says he’s Gambian-Estonian; it’s not clear how long he’s been in Sweden.

Since Gambia’s official language is English, and Jassy appears to do his preening and “songwriting” exclusively in English, I guess he’ll next demand an English interpreter, to translate from the Swedish.

The Web memorial that Osne’s friends posted includes a recording of him playing Gershwin. Meanwhile, the cache for Jassa’s disabled MySpace page presents what some might charitably call “urban sounds.”

But why be charitable?

Tags: John Osnes, David Moses Jassy, John T. Osnes, Dave Monopoly, jazz, rap, hip hop, road rage, murder, black-on-white crime, and Hollywood.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Mortal Danger That Today’s Campuses Pose to Blacks and Hispanics
By Nicholas Stix

At the end of rigorous, scholarly research, I have come to the conclusion that black and Hispanic students, nay, all blacks and Hispanics walking on college and university campuses today are in mortal danger.

At any given moment, any visible black or Hispanic walking on campus is in danger of being hit in the head by a framed, flying bachelor’s, master’s, professional or doctoral degree. Academic administrators take stacks of diplomas to hills on campuses across the country and, spotting defenseless blacks and Hispanics passing nearby, proceed to throw these objects at them, sometimes attacking one victim with three or four degrees at once.

Such attacks have, in fact, been going on for over 40 years. That is how victims such as Leonard Jeffries, Houston Baker, Wahneema Lubiano, Lucius Outlaw, Mary Frances Berry, Patricia Williams, et al., were forced into tenure many years ago. They were brain-damaged by the assaults on them, and thus unable to resist the professorships, tenure, and other privileges that were then foisted upon them.

Police Departments, social work agencies, and other non-profits have also taken such victims captive.

If you are black or Hispanic and are in danger of at some time walking on or near a college or university campus, it is urgent that you wear a motorcycle helmet at all times, and take pains to disguise your racial or ethnic identity.

In case you are wondering what evidence I have for my theory, I have followed the state-of-the-art postmodern method employed by the most respected academic scholarship: I reflected on what pleased me to be the case, all along ignoring the external world.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

From Poetry to Prose: Joni Mitchell’s Narcissism Problem
By Nicholas Stix

Earlier today at WNYC-FM, Jonathan Schwartz played a Joni Mitchell record so godawful, I could write something equally bad: “The Last Time I Saw Richard.”

The record isn’t a song at all, but some bad prose Mitchell scribbled, and then spoke-sang in the terrible style she adopted in the early 1970s, when she lost her way, yet that so endeared her to her groupies. (I suppose, groupies being groupies, that anything she did was bound to endear her to them. After all, to them, she was a “genius.”)

Mitchell is a perfect case of the limitations of the singer-songwriter bard. During the mid-1960s, when she was in her late teens and early twenties, she constantly played in coffee houses in her native Canada, particularly in Toronto. During and immediately after those years, she wrote four songs that are as good as anything written during the period, beginning sometime during the 1960s, in which rock-and-rollers danced on the grave of The Great American Songbook: “Circle Game”; “Big Yellow Taxi”; “Chelsea Morning”; “Both Sides Now.”

During the 1960s, Mitchell had the most lovely, lyrical, albeit undisciplined, voice in rock. Discipline and rock never did get on.

About the same time that she ran out of musical ideas, but insisted on continuing to write “songs,” Mitchell gave up on lyricism, adopting what would become her signature sing-song way of talking her way through songs. (During the late 1970s, when Carly Simon burned out as a songwriter, she also insisted on foisting on the world horrible essays—songs, she called them—about summers spent on Martha’s Vineyard. Eventually, Simon came to her senses, and cut a couple of great albums of American pop standards.)

Meditating on “The Last Time I Saw Richard,” it finally became clear to me why Mitchell gave up on lyrical singing: She couldn’t write lyrically anymore, yet insisted on singing her own, ahem, “songs,” and was forcing her voice to match the bad prose of her writing.

Had Mitchell wanted to remain a great rock singer, she would have merely needed to sing other people’s songs. Her narcissism and insistence on clinging to the role of bard held her back.

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