Dear Someone: Don Henley, Domesticity, and Hangover Cures

walkerlukenspromoWalker Lukens is a musician living and working in Austin, Texas. His latest album is called Devoted. His advice column Dear Someone runs semimonthly on Pop Press International. You can send in your own inquiries by emailing Walker here or by using the submission form at the bottom of this post. He’ll give you advice if you ask. 

 

DON HENLEY

Dear Someone,

I recently had dinner with my parents and to my surprise we discussed at length the recent kerfuffle between Don Henley, Frank Ocean and Okkervil River’s Will Sheff. Frank Ocean used “Hotel California” as the backing track for one the songs on his mixtape, Nostalgia Ultra. Will Sheff recorded a cover of Don Henley’s song “The End of Innocence” with a reinterpretation of the ending and put it up on his website. Neither Frank Ocean nor Will Sheff profited from releasing the tracks, yet Don Henley had the artists take the tracks down. Basically he said that they were arrogant and disrespected the original recordings. He could do that because he owns the copyright. My parents pretty much agreed with Henley whereas I had trouble seeing what the big deal was if they wasn’t any money involved. We were curious what musicians might think about this. What’s your opinion on the matter?

Sincerely,

Pilot Jones

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Dear Pilot Jones,

There was pretty good coverage of the whole thing in Rolling Stone here and here. As Will Sheff expresses, lots of great art is borrowed, reinterpreted or in conversation with other pieces of art. I, for one, love Marcel Duchamp’s painting of the Mona Lisa with a mustache. No doubt that its value and meaning are inextricable from the original work. Look at the song, “Hound Dog.” The original version, sung by a woman and with different lyrics, makes more sense and is better, in my opinion. The Elvis version has different lyrics, makes less sense and is actually about a dog. I assume the original songwriters did not have time to get upset about the different lyrics on the way to the bank.

I think that copyrights protect artists too. Take the example of Willie Dixon and Led Zeppelin; I think it’s really great that he was able to sue Led Zeppelin and get royalties for all those songs from I and II that definitely borrowed lyrics and melodies from him. Some of my favorite artists are sample-based artists, Four Tet and Jens Lekman come to mind right away, not to mention lots of hip-hop. Sometimes the samples are so well disguised that it seems pretty silly that the sampled artist gets to keep the copyright. Other times, it makes sense.

Let’s set aside the intricacies of copyright law and the inherently collaborative nature of the creative process for a moment. Don Henley is old, uptight and clearly out of touch. Also, both of these interpretations of his songs just are not that good. Maybe, we shouldn’t waste anymore time talking about them. Here’s a playlist of songs with samples in them that I think are awesome:

Sincerely,

Walker Lukens

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PLATO UNEMPLOYED

Dear Someone,

I am a progressive feminist who usually tries to see both sides of every conflict. But my husband is driving me nuts. I am currently the sole income earner of our household (which is fine) because he has been having difficulty finding a job that utilizes his Master’s Degree in Philosophy (which is understandable). The problem: I wake up every morning, work 10+ hours, come home, and hear “What’s for dinner?” No, we do not have children (unless you count my cat). That’s right, he has the nerve to ask me to cook dinner for him after he “job searches” all day while I work so we can pay our bills. I mean, I don’t mind bringing home the bacon, but the least he can do is cook me some for breakfast (or dinner…mmm, bacon…). How do I bring this up without sounding like the heteronormative stereotypical “nag” that I have worked so hard to not become?

Thanks,

The Real M.R.S. Degree

——

Dear Real M.R.S. Degree,

As I write this, I am watching my bread-winning girlfriend mow the lawn. This is after a day of working for myself at home, some years after obtaining a bachelors degree in philosophy. Your email hits close to home, although I love cooking (i’m doing that later) and have never been above any kind of job. Navigating this slightly modified version of traditional coupling can be a little awkward at times, especially when we don’t have immediate models for how its done. You’re already giving him all your money and all you want in return honey is some respect and dinner. I get it, Aretha.

I think that there’s more to your resentment than just dinner and time. As one of my former philosophy professors would say, they are several ways to “unpack” this problem. The Socratic method might be helpful to us. Or, it might bloat what would otherwise be a more straightforward response. (You can ask the well-educated-but-unemployed Plato sitting on your couch about its history if you feel so inclined.)

  1. If Plato worked all day would you feel less resentful about him asking you to cook dinner? If so, then my hunch is your resentment stems from his joblessness and not from the act of cooking dinner.  It doesn’t actually solve the issue though; if you’re both working full time or not, why should cooking just be your responsibility unless you choose that?
  2. If both of you worked all day, would you feel as, if not more, resentful about him asking you to cook dinner? If so, then it probably stems from the fact that he expects you to cook dinner because you’re the only one with cooking prowess or, worse, because you’re a woman—a woman who is currently the only one earning any money! Cooking is not an art, it’s a skill. Anyone can learn to do it moderately well. If you’d like him to dedicate some time to cooking then you need to ask and not assume. “Hell, this is other people” said Sartre, which in this case just means when you assume you make an ass out of u and me, since another’s otherness is irretrievably other to us, no?
  3. Is Plato used to you being the cook? Perhaps the issue is much simpler than you even think. Under “normal” conditions would you be the cook? My guess is that it hasn’t even occurred to your Plato between all the larger ontological issues with which he chronically wrestles. Philosophers tend to be heady creatures. However, if he has a fundamental problem with sharing the cooking duties (or doing it all) then you might have a bigger problem on your hands. M.R.S., did you accidentally marry Al Bundy?
  4. Do you see your Plato as weak or as a failure because he doesn’t have a job? Is Plato’s penance for failing to have a job cooking for you? Once he gets a job will he get his loving chef of a wife back? I’m sure that Plato is feeling like a worthless ball of colored dough these days due to unemployment. As someone who’s dabbled in depression, job hunting is an easy way to catch the sads. Looking for a job is a job until you get a job. His day is a on-going cycle of disappointment-hope-monotony and repeat. Not the same kind of stress as having a 10 hour work day, but stressful nonetheless. After long depressing day, maybe he just needs TLC from his wife through food.
  5. Is Plato depressed? Most men really expect themselves to be successful at what they do even if the career isn’t lucrative. (You could argue that one of feminism’s achievements has been to create the same expectation for women. However, it has been my observation that people are more likely to call a man lazy than they are a woman. I digress, but for the record I am an equal opportunist about laziness.) If he’s depressed then it could be making him less focused and productive and thus prolonging the job search. It could also explain why he hasn’t thought to dedicate any of his time to cooking. He doesn’t see it as free time. He sees it as failure. If he’s depressed maybe he could use some of that extra time to see a therapist. I keep thinking about that O.C. Episode where Sandy forget’s he and Kirsten’s 20th wedding anniversary and he’s got to sing that Solomon Burke song, “Don’t Give Up on Me” in order to express his feelings, his true feelings.
  6. What makes a nag? Are you saying that nagging is anti-feminist or are you saying that being a nag is a stereotypical female trait? It seems to me that it would be more hetero-normative to suffer in silence because your husband’s career and needs are more important than your own. Moreover, expecting your husband to ‘up’ his domestic game because you’re the breadwinner would certainly not make you hetero-normative in the typical sense. (It might make you Don Draper though.) In any case, advocating for yourself and your well-being calmly and effectively seems like a great skill for all of us to have. Lord knows it has yet to leave my goal list. You should be able to talk about anything with your Plato, even if after bringing it up, you realize that you’re not actually upset about who’s cooking.
  7. What if your man never gets a job utilizing his philosophy degree? Being an academic is hard. (I am unaware of any other direct application of a philosophy degree besides more school.) Are you alright with the possibility that he might never contribute financially like you do despite working just as long and hard?  It’s futile to be in a relationship with someone that you’re actively trying to change.

Before broaching the subject with Plato, I suggest you guys first get dinner out of the way. This way, hanger will not make either of you more ornery. Additionally, should the conversation go poorly, neither of you will have to cook in anger afterwards. Hopefully the Socratic method has shed light on some of the reasons behind your resentment. If Plato needs to learn how to cook in order to be your live­-in cook, bacon is great place to start.

Sincerely,

Walker

_____________

HUNGOVER

Dear Someone,

What’s your hangover cure? I feel like a bag of dicks.

Sincerely,

Drank Too Much

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Dear Drank Too Much,

My uncle drinks one glass of water for every alcoholic beverage and rarely if ever experiences hangovers. He’s a visionary. He can outdrink me still. I might be the wrong person to ask as I rarely if ever take medicine. Assuming you’re down with the no-drugs approach (and that you’ve already eaten greasy, starchy food and had lots of water,) here are some things to try.

Method 1: buy a can of coke. Open it and let it breathe for five to ten minutes. Alternatively, you could drink Gatorade but then you’d be that guy.

Method 2: This is more masochistic. Drink a glass of water and walk to restaurant that is at least a half-mile away. If you don’t puke on the way, you’ll have at least pushed the toxins along to the point that some food will finish the job.

Method 3: This is too much for most people. Depending on how long you’ve been drinking, you probably already know when you’re going to be hung-over before you fall asleep. For Christ’s sake, pull the trigger the night before so the gun doesn’t blow up in your gut the next morning.

Sincerely,

Walker

To submit your inquiries for Walker’s next column, email him here, or use the submission form below.





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