Author: Steven Rubio
Steven Rubio has been a fast-food employee, steelworker, student, and teacher, but his goal has always been to be retired. His blog, Steven Rubio's Online Life, is in its ninth year. He has taught Literature, American Studies, Mass Communications, Humanities, and Critical Thinking at various schools in the California Higher Education system. His writing has been published in a variety of anthologies, including The Aesthetics of Cultural Studies, New Punk Cinema, and James Bond in the 21st Century. Steven can currently be found on the Facebook group "If They Move, Kill 'Em!", joining others in writing about his fifty favorite films of all time (#28: Fires on the Plain). He can die a happy man, now that the San Francisco Giants have finally won a World Series.

The expectations for Sleater-Kinney’s new album The Center Won’t Hold are remarkable. They released their first album in 1995, 24 years ago. Their first classic, Call the Doctor, came out in 1996. It is rare in the world of popular music for artists to still be working at the top of their game, 24 years in. But fans still hope for greatness from Sleater-Kinney. Not nostalgia but greatness. (More…)

It is both easy and difficult to label The 1975. Easy, in that they are a pop band; hard because of the hyphenates that attach themselves to the band’s sound (alternative-pop, indie, post-punk-pop). (More…)

The legend of the Velvet Underground, which is on people’s minds with the death of Lou Reed, has its roots in what “really happened.” According to the legend, the band was never popular during its lifetime, but the few people who loved the Velvets in those early years became important parts of subsequent music culture. Yet there are other ways to interpret the group’s history, (More…)

“Groundhog Day” is a real pile driver. The first track off of the new Corin Tucker Band LP, Kill My Blues, it’s the perfect context setter coming from the ex-frontwoman of a legendary riot grrrl band, nearing forty. Tucker paints herself as a “Rip Van Winkle in a denim mini skirt” who “took some time to be a mom” and is now distressed that the place of women hasn’t advanced: “We fight the same battle, over and over again.” (More…)

“Sport has established itself as the spearhead of an army in battle order, which crushes anyone who is stupefied by it,” writes Marc Perelman in Barbaric Sport: A Global Plague. Fittingly, for a project rooted in Adorno and the France of May 1968, Perelman’s concern is with sports as a mass phenomenon, one he locates at the core of capitalist society. (More…)

The original title for Manuel Vázquez Montalbán’s detective novel, Off Side, is El delantero centro fue asesinado at atardecer which translates to “The center forward was murdered at dusk”. The title comes from a series of florid notes sent to FC Barcelona: “Because you use your centre forward to make yourselves feel like gods who can manage victories and defeats, from the comfortable throne of minor Caesars: the centre forward will be killed at dusk.” (More…)

For the last decade, I’ve taught courses in critical thinking at a US college. When I first interviewed for the job, I was asked why I thought I was the best candidate. I responded that the answer was in the syllabi I’d used over the years. I’ve always made every effort to tell students to question things, irrespective of the topic in question. (More…)

Six months ago, when Phil Dellio and Jeff Pike asked me to join a Facebook group where we would list and discuss our fifty favorite movies, I responded with a question: would this be a list of our favorites, or a list of the best? While they sympathized with my frustration to varying degrees, they didn’t feel this distinction would be a problem for them. But I was worried. (More…)

Early this week, I found myself following a piece of breaking baseball news. The subject of the news isn’t what matters; you could substitute the debt-ceiling crisis, or impending revolt in a troubled country, or a terrorist act in Norway. I got a phone call from my son around 10:30 Wednesday morning, telling me that it appeared our favorite baseball team, the San Francisco Giants, was making a trade for a valuable player named Carlos Beltran. We only talked for a few minutes, after which I knew I had to track this story down. (More…)

My wife and I were at a burger joint the other day, waiting for our order. A garrulous fellow with an English accent, upon seeing my San Francisco Giants cap, began regaling me with tales of his life as a fan of the English football club Chelsea. Actually, he said “I love football, and I love Chelsea,” and proceeded to explain why he put the sport first and the favored club second. I understood his argument in the abstract, but for me, when we are talking Giants, baseball comes second. There is nothing abstract about it. (More…)