April Cargo Cult

By ScottB

A cargo cult is a type of religious practice that may appear in traditional tribal societies in the wake of interaction with technologically advanced cultures. The cults are focused on obtaining the material wealth (the "cargo") of the advanced culture through magic and religious rituals and practices, believing that the wealth was intended for them by their deities and ancestors. - Wikipedia

BOOK: "American Studies" (2002) by Louis Menand

Centering mostly on the intellectual/cultural history of 20th Century America (duh, it's Menand), this book acrobatically straddles the divide between T.S. Eliots' antisemitism and the codependency between the SAT's and the hydrogen bomb. And yes, it's true that most of Menand's paragraphs end with a joke.

Album:"Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere" (1969) by Neil Young and Crazy Horse

Less radio friendly than "Harvest," Neil Young's first album with Crazy Horse offers more to get lost in. Some artists, like Springsteen, take an environment you thought was simple (farms, cars, summer) and transforms them into mobius strips of beautiful complexity. Neil Young takes complex themes (ephemerality, Nietzchean emotional politics between hippies, disillusionment) and makes them cartoonishly simple. And it rocks. There's something life-affirming about walking home through Brooklyn in the rain listening to "Down By The River".

Movie: "The Human Spark" (2009)

I have a soft spot in my heart for PBS docs. I've always wanted to see them get BBC levels of funding and production quality. At least we have Alan Alda to host our shit! And in "The Human Spark," his sincere interest in human origins bubbles over into a childlike enthusiasm. It's like having Hawkeye as a science teacher.

Food: CT Style Lobster Rolls from the Red Hook Lobster Pound

If the cheap, high quality fixed-gear bikes and turn of the century subway maps don't lure you to the Brooklyn Flea, then the lobster rolls from the Red Hook Lobster Pound should. Connecticut style consists of a buttery meat claw sauté, topped with chives, and served on a lightly toasted bun. I wouldn't just die for it, I'd kill you just to eat it out of your mouth.

Cargo: Blublockers and a Stuffed Bat Inside of a Crystal Ball

-The Zach Galifianakis look alike who sold them to me said: "Blublockers...well buddy, now you're on top of the world." But I couldn't respond because my breath had been taken away.

-Those who truly love me know that my Spirit Animal is a bat. I'd like to think that the purchase of my stuffed bat inside of a crystal ball represents my final and lasting victory over the beast inside.


  1. Yum Scott, that Hook thing sounds almost as good as those rolls at Red Lobster!!

  2. This was great! I love the idea of cargo cults. I'm going to start one now

  3. So what is your numerical rating for Everybody Knows? Pitchfork gave it a 6.2 when it came out.

    Great article. Now just put some pictures in it!

  4. Isn't Neil Young just copying all the other girlfriend/wife killing songs in the Appalachian tradition like "pretty polly" and "on the banks of the Ohio" and "in the willow garden"?

  5. Wait...are you suggesting that Rock N' Roll is a patchwork of co-modified folk traditions? Give it up. It sprung fully formed from Zeus' head.

  6. haha. scott, you stole my comment @N8! everybody knows this is nowhere is one of my favorite neil young albums. this is funny and informative. hope it becomes a monthly tradition.

  7. I'm with Maddie (except I haven't yet heard that Neil Young album).

  8. I'd like to see this every month also.

    Also, I'd like to eat some lobster rolls, but now I'm too afraid I will be murdered. Guess it's just store brand white bread dipped in water for me from now on.