Saturday, June 30, 2007
REAGAN'S PUNK ROCK. Reagan Youth by Spencer Ackerman Only at TNR OnlinePost date: 06.14.04 [ Editor's Note: This article has been corrected. ] By the time Ronald Reagan was laid to rest this weekend in Simi Valley, it seemed as if every aspect of his character, his presidency, and his legacy had been unearthed and examined. Not without justification--even Reagan's detractors conceded the late president's iconic stature. His supporters deified him, making Reagan almost metaphysically identical to the very concept of human liberty, and proclaiming freedom to be Reagan's greatest bequest. Yet some Reaganites seemed less than confident that their Reagan would be history's. Rush Limbaugh sought to interpret Reagan to the "millions of Americans under the age of 30 [who] have no concrete memory of Ronald Reagan's presidency," explaining in National Review that he "defines the utter beauty and blessing that is America and reminds us all of our destiny." But for a large portion of those under the age of 30, their portrait of Reagan emerged through another of Reagan's gifts to the country--one that went almost completely ignored throughout last week's memorials. They could tell Limbaugh that no accounting of Reagan's cultural legacy is complete without noting a simple truth: Ronald Reagan is responsible for some of the best punk rock ever recorded. While not as eloquent as Reagan's Brandenburg Gate address--Bad Religion perhaps best summarized the contemporaneous punk understanding of Reagan's America by declaring "Fuck Armageddon, this is hell"--the hardcore records of the early 1980s age a lot better than Knute Rockne, All American. As long as there are disaffected teenagers in America able to seek out (and, now, download) that era's music, Reaganites won't just have to battle liberal historians to convince young America that their vision of the Gipper is the right one. They'll have to go up against the Dead Kennedys. If Reagan embodied everything sunny and inspiring about the United States to his supporters, to the preternaturally angry punk rockers of the early '80s, he represented anomie, arbitrary authority, and an ignorance that was socially acceptable, even valued. At the dawn of the Reagan era, pioneering singer and guitarist Bob Mould was a student at St. Paul's Macalaster College. "I remember watching these kids getting up in the morning on my dorm floor, putting on a suit and tie and a briefcase, talking about this guy from California named Ronald Reagan and how he was going to be the next president," Mould told journalist Michael Azerrad. "And I'd be sitting there arguing with those fucks in speech class and poli sci and just hating that, thinking 'This is not acceptable behavior. This is not what we're supposed to be doing with our late teens.'" His response was to start the Minneapolis juggernaut Hüsker Dü, whose musical evolution away from the stifling formula of hardcore punk--blisteringly fast rhythms with the barest patina of melody, performed with all the precision of a prison tattoo--would lead to some of the greatest rock and roll of the decade. The same held for Joey Keithley, who didn't let his Canadian citizenship stand in the way of his Reagan-hatred. "I didn't like the rock 'n' roll I was hearing, and I didn't like Ronald Reagan," he recently recalled, explaining why he started hardcore legend D.O.A. and rechristened himself Joey Shithead. The punk assault on Reagan was relentless. A bunch of Queens high school students called themselves Reagan Youth. Their eponymous anthem took the parallel to its logical conclusion and seig-heiled the president during the chorus. Michigan's gloriously primitive Crucifucks saluted Reagan's would-be assassin in "Hinckley Had a Vision." The Berkeley-based punk rock bible Maximumrocknroll published anti-Reagan screeds in practically every issue. MRR also released what many consider to be the greatest hardcore compilation LP of all time, Welcome To 1984, whose cover featured a mohawked punk defacing a stylized poster of Reagan. The 1983 Rock Against Reagan tour united some of the most potent hardcore bands of the time, including D.R.I. and M.D.C., in a common purpose, and in July of that year they unleashed their vitriol on the National Mall. But no band inveighed against the president with the intensity of the Rock Against Reagan tour's headliners: San Francisco's Dead Kennedys. The DK's first record, Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables, was an eclectic and sardonic take on late '70s California. Reagan drained practically all the subtlety out of the band. In 1981, they released their greatest post-Fresh Fruit offering, the raw and furious EP In God We Trust Inc. The sleeve featured a gold Jesus crucified on a cross of dollar bills. On "Moral Majority," singer Jello Biafra got to the point: "Blow it out your ass, Ronald Reagan." That was nothing compared to "We've Got a Bigger Problem Now," a reworking of Fresh Fruit's classic "California Uber Alles," which skewered the "suede-denim secret police" led by Governor Moonbeam, Jerry Brown. The new version unloaded on "Emperor Ronald Reagan/Born again with fascist cravings" as it built from a low-key lounge groove to a scorched-earth crescendo. In case anyone missed the point, the band took the stage at a show nearby the 1984 Democratic National Convention in Klan hoods, which they removed to reveal rubber Reagan masks. Of course, not every punk rocker used Reagan as a foil. The very existence of any form of human civilization was sufficient to raise the Nietzschean ire of L.A.'s Black Flag, the greatest of all American hardcore bands. Others, deploring the de rigeur anti-Reagan politics of the punk scene, embraced the president. Beloved New York hardcore band Murphy's Law enthused, "Ronnie Reagan, he's our man/If he can't do it, no one can!" The singer of Chicago's Effigies, John Kezdy, ended up a prosecutor and member of the conservative Federalist Society. (He explained, "There is nothing punk rock about voting for a party that wants to put more government in your life.") Still, without Reagan to use as shorthand for everything undesirable about America, punk's intensity lost a certain focus. As punk rock lurched through the Clinton years, California's NOFX released a 1996 EP of retro hardcore, justifying the project by warbling, "Guess what, nostalgia sucks/But I miss the days of Reagan punk." The band's front man, Fat Mike, is actively trying to bring those days back. In April, he released the Rock Against Bush compilation, which brought together 26 contemporary punk bands to rail against Reagan's self-proclaimed ideological successor. He wasn't the only one. Tobi Vail, who drummed for groundbreaking punk band Bikini Kill, wrote a widely circulated essay celebrating the Rock Against Reagan phenomenon before declaring, "[T]he time is ripe for Bands Against Bush." Last October, "Bands Against Bush" concerts were held in San Francisco, New York, Seattle, and other cities. This time, however, the bands involved are hardly the obscure denizens of marginal record labels. Rock Against Bush features multi-platinum acts like Sum 41 and the Offspring. But the project also acknowledges the debt it owes to Reagan-era punk rock: included is a new track, "That's Progress," by Jello Biafra and D.O.A. Their presence on the compilation is a tacit nod to the inadvertent and surely undesired punk-rock legacy of Ronald Reagan. All that's left is for the Reagan Library to reserve wall space for the In God We Trust Inc. cover art. Correction: The quote taken from former Effigies singer John Kezdy--not Kazdy, as the article misreported--"There is nothing punk rock about voting for a party that wants to put more government in your life," should have credited the source from where it originally appeared: an article entitled, "Punk Rock the Vote" by reporter Steve Miller in the March 3 edition of The Washington Times. The author sincerely apologizes for the omission. Spencer Ackerman, a former associate editor of The New Republic, is a senior correspondent for The American Prospect. ©2004 The New Republic
Friday, June 29, 2007
The idiots who listen to their "music" via mp3s through teeny tiny earbuds from their ipods like to put a random "shuffle" of ten items on their "web logs" each Friday, basically because they are pathetic consumerist sheep who want all culture predigested so they don't have to smell it or chew it before it goes down, and, we guess, because in the world of wage-slavery "Friday" means massa has let them have a whole two days in a row away from the cotton fields, so thay can drink enough to have a serious hangover the next morning or early afternoon, in an ultimately futile attempt to forget they are chattel. In a sheepish attempt to be like all the other bloggers, here are ten tunes chosen @ random from the piles of vinyl lying all over the floor here @ the House of Bouffant:
- "Clams Are Groovy" - Beachcomber Bob
- "Bombs Away" - London Terror Plot
- "Love Me, Love My Enema Bag" - English Frank (R. I. P.)
- "What's Your Fucking Problem, Asshole?" - D. Donny Douchebag
- "Concentration Camp Victim" - Hogan's Heroes
- "You Suck, I Hate You, Please Die" - Apartment House & The Salesmen
- "What's A Girl Like You Doing In A Place Like This?" - Fester Plank
- "Why?" - The Phone Books
- "Donkey Scrotum & Saran Wrap" - The Fugs
- "Anal Action" - Scum & The Bags
- Bonus Track: "Showbiz Lice" - Nation Of Sheep
Now there's some motherfucking music!!!
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
& her most recent public offenses against decency & common sense...Hard-ball was an exterior shoot today, apparently to allow a claque of
Monday, June 25, 2007
Sunday, June 24, 2007
Classic buttermilk sky w/ Canterbury Cathedral bycloudman.com.
"I'm going to need a minute, because the dog turds at Google screwed me over again. New password, new email, new bla bla, waste of time, accept new terms of crap, more wasted time, why doesn't somebody just collect every Google employee and use them in nerve gas experiments?"The part at the end is quite nice. Every single one of them, w/ no exceptions.
But this isn't about righteous disgust w/ the Gûglers. That's nothing new, & at this point all invective directed at Google is doubtless like water off the duck's proverbial back. The lovely quote above comes from a self-professed "angry loner (not violent)" in Manhattan (the island, not Manhattan Beach, you local doofuses) who bills herself as Buttermilk Sky, although there's no B. S. involved. This dame can write! Not an obsessive layabout like Just Another Blog™ & its thrice daily posting, her entire bloggic oeuvre can be read in an hour or so, (as we just did, leading to this item) so why don't you? You may be glad you did, and it's not as if there's anything else to do, is there?