Short Takes: News From All Over: September 16, 2004

Critical Noir: Our Right to Rock
By Mark Anthony Neal,
Despite the revolutionary phenomena that was Jimi Hendrix, Miller Brewing Company in conjunction with Rolling Stone magazine recently issued ten commemorative cans celebrating the ’50th Anniversary of Rock n’ Roll, and not one black artist was featured. Artists considered great enough to ‘make the can’ include Jon Bon Jovi, Joe Walsh, and two plain ‘guitars.’ This omission represents the pigeonholing, the black boxing, or the mere blacking-out of Black artists in rock and roll. What about Tina and Ike Turner, Chuck Berry, and Funkadelic? What about Lenny Kravitz, Rolling Stone? The struggles and triumphs of black rockers are chronicled in Maureen Mahon’s new book, The Right to Rock: The Black Rock Coalition and Cultural Politics of Race (Duke University Press). — Elizabeth Dwoskin

If We Weren’t Already Fireproof, This Would Burn Us Up
By Staff, Grist
A new study of grocery items that contain animal fat, such as fish, meat, and dairy products, revealed that virtually all of them contain detectable levels of PBDEs, human-made chemical fire retardants used in carpeting, electronics, and furniture that may or may not cause cancer. While PBDEs have not been extensively studied as yet, they have been shown to damage the neurological, reproductive, and hormonal systems of lab animals. Two kinds of PBDEs have been banned by the European Union. — Elizabeth Dwoskin

You Are What You Eat
By Michele Simon, SFGate
Americans like to feel good. When given the choice between two possible explanations for a given phenomenon, most of us will choose the more indulgent, optimistic version. It’s hardly surprising, then that nutri-washing, the adolescent cousin of greenwashing, is taking off in the food industry. Nutri-washing uses corporate spin to pass greasy foodstuffs off as healthy necessities, making it increasingly difficult for consumers to tell the meat from the gristle. — Brendan Themes

Save Betamax
By Staff, Downhill Battle
Betamax may not look too great when placed next to a new TiVo or iPod, but its place in the world of media technology is crucial. In the landmark decision Sony vs. Universal, known as the Betamax decision, the Supreme Court ruled that since even though some people may use VCRs to pirate movies, they are still perfectly legal since they also have legitimate uses. This decision keeps technology like your CD burner and your iPod legal, but it’s currently under assault from legislators backed by large record companies and movie studios. So fight for that big black rectangle — your little white rectangle could depend on it! — Brendan Themes

Exxon Secrets
By Staff, Greenpeace
The so-called climate change skeptics, who fly in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence to dispute the existence of global warming, may not be as disinterested as their skeptical posture indicates. Exxon Secrets documents the funding of such environmental dissidents, tracing the flow of money back to the very people that stand to benefit so outrageously from their misinformation. — Brendan Themes

Tony Blair ‘Shocked’ by Climate Change
By Staff, BBC News
In advance of what’s expected to be a major policy address on climate change, United Kingdom prime minister Tony Blair has begun dropping hints that Britain’s G8 presidency will actively push for change including measures to limit aviation pollution. Blair is expected to warn that 100 million people are threatened by rising sea levels, which are expected to rise by another 88cm by the end of the century. Environmentalists everywhere will be disappointed if Blair fails to outline specific policies. — Michael Fraase

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