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The [Tuesday] Papers

First things first. What did I mean yesterday when I said Avril Lavigne was, in a way, like the Replacements? Many readers want to know.

Certainly I don't mean in any musical sense or importance in the rock pantheon. The Replacements are my favorite band of all-time, and once I tried to make the argument (not badly, either) that they were a better band than the Beatles.

Avril Lavigne is hardly in that league. In fact, I hate that producer pop pablum genre in which she works.


One thing that made the Replacements special was the ability of young punks (bassist Tommy Stinson was just 12 - or 13 or 14; sources vary - when the band started) to express themselves so articulately within the vernacular of their time and place, like teenagers who had been given full access to their vocabularies and emotional life. They were able to say - and sound - the way the rest of us were feeling.

And not just in a teenage sense. When I listen to those early Replacements records today, the expressions are still as valid as they were 20 years ago. "Unsatisfied" is true as ever, isn't it? ("Liberty is a lie.") And you wanna know what? "I'm a customerrrrrrr!"

Avril Lavigne is like that though she lives in a very different time and place - one hardly worthy of the Replacements' world. Yet, she is an embodiment of a particular kind of girl, or young woman, and mindset not just in her songs and not even just in her songs and fashion sense, but her stage manner. Each gesture is right out of Central Casting but she doesn't have to try. It's just who she is.

So there's actually an authenticity to Avril Lavigne; the authenticity of squirrelly pink Hot Topic pop produced music star, but an authenticity nonetheless. Contrast that to Britney Spears, who was never anything but a made-up doll with no real identity of her own except that of a small-town Louisiana girl with exceedingly bad taste abused by the record industry.

The Replacements were the Replacements. Perfectly. And that's who Avril Lavigne is too. She is that certain kind of girl. She and Paul Westerberg may have even dated had they gone to high school together; I don't think he could have handled a Detroit Cobra.


Maybe what I'm saying is that she's an authentic young voice - or perfect plastic replica thereof, which in her case still wouldn't be inauthentic. The fact that she's not my kind of voice is beside the point.

Identity Crisis
Who is the Sun-Times?

A befuddled person with an identity crisis.

Multiple Personality Disorder
Jennifer Hunter is now using the third full-length photo of the year to accompany her column. Unfortunately, no matter which photo she uses she still sucks.

You can't change your inside by changing your outside!

Bail Bonds Man
University of Chicago sports economist Allen R. Sanderson has an alternate take on Barry Bonds on the Tribune's Op-Ed page that echoes arguments seen elsewhere including the pages of The Beachwood Reporter. Though I'm still not convinced.

Flight Deck
"O'Hare International Airport needs more flights and fewer delays," Crain's says in an editorial this week. "Until recently, it seemed these goals were compatible and shared by everyone involved in the $7-billion expansion at O'Hare."

As some of us have been saying - and writing - for years, those goals were never compatible. You can't add more flights and reduce delays. Even if the new flights come with new runways to absorb a good share of the new traffic, delays will only get worse. It's like not only adding a new lane to the highway, but adding a new lane and bringing hundreds of new cars with it.

You may not like it, but a third airport has been the answer - or a new second airport and the closing of Midway - all along.

Vicious Bear
Media Matters says it so I don't have to.

But it wasn't just the Tribune. Neil Steinberg, the smartest boy in the world, had this to say about Dennis Hastert: "Rep. J. Dennis Hastert is a class act who did a lot for his district and for Illinois. It is in his character that, upon announcing his departure from Congress after 21 years, he would deliver a parting gift - a reiteration of his plea, first given when he assumed the speakership in 1999, that we not lose ourselves in a 'pool of bitterness."

You'll have to forgive Steinberg. He doesn't read the papers.

Bell Tolls
Bell's beer could be returning to our state with special selections "Brewed especially for the people of the great state of Illinois."

Clout Stout?

MSNBC last night reported that Barack Obama said his childhood years in Indonesia give him the best foreign policy experience of anyone in the field.

Over the shoulder of the anchor, the graphic read: "Is He Kidding?"

If George W. Bush or Dan Quayle made a claim like that, a lot of the people who support Obama would howl. That's what I hate. It's pure bullshit.

Saint Obama
Slate's David Greenberg wonders: "Too Good for Politics: Is Barack Obama just another high-toned liberal doomed to failure?"

He certainly was here in Illinois. You remember all the flak he took for his high-toned rhetoric when it came to taking on Emil Jones's corrupt machine in Springfield, and the outrage he expressed at rampant corruption in Daley's City Hall, and the way he refused to do business with the likes of Tony Rezko, and how he bucked the old politics when he opposed Todd Stroger and especially when he ordered his U.S. Senate campaign not to slime Blair Hull. Barack Obama is just too good for politics.

Dysfunction Junction
What's wrong with our media?

"People often surrender their sanity when they move inside palaces."

Hope Chest
If you want a new kind of politics, vote for Ron Paul, Dennis Kucinich, the Greens, the Libertarians, or an independent candidate to come.

If you want "change" back to the way things were before Bush, vote Hillary Clinton.

If you want "change" from Clinton and Bush, vote Huckabee or Edwards.

If you want straight answers to tough questions, vote Gravel, not Obama.

If you want someone to order a Code Red, vote Duncan Hunter.

Leaving Las Vegas
What the candidates did after the debate. A Special Beachwood Report.

Tonight is Customer Appreciation Night at the Beachwood Inn. All regulars drink for free after 8 p.m. Everyone else gets to watch the mayhem that will ensue at no charge. Maybe I'll see you there.

The Beachwood Tip Line: Appreciating every day.


Posted on November 20, 2007

MUSIC - Chief Keef Changed The Industry.
TV - Vizio's Best Product Is You.
POLITICS - UIC: Soda Taxes Work.
SPORTS - More McCaskey Malpractice.

BOOKS - All About Poop.


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