An Irregular Column
for MRR 312, May 2009
written in Feb. 2009
by Mykel Board
"I feel very old sometimes... I carry on and would not like to die before having emptied a few more buckets of shit on the heads of my fellow men.” --Gustave Flaubert
“You talkin' to me?”
I stand at the far end of a row of urinals. The farthest end. Urinal Number 8. Away from the prying eyes and ears of the other full bladders. The only other person in this row is way over there at Number 2. Far enough.
A glorious river of the evening's beers floods out of me. As the liquid joyously pours out, a tiny fart nestles itself just inside my back door. A little stomach jerk and it's out.
Slightly louder than I expect, but not a jet engine.
“You talkin' to me?” says the guy at number two.
Wiseguy. I pretend I don't hear him, but it wrecks the ecstasy of the moment. The joy of simultaneity. The beauteous bliss of synchronous urethral and rectal expulsion. Pffft! Gone in the wisecrack of a jerk at the other end of the porcelain street.
Experienced at making lemonade from a life full of lemons, I pick up the spoiled moment and roll it into a ball. Then, I press in the edges, and shape it. Sculpting with my thumbs and forefingers,
I whittle this spoiled moment into a metaphor. It's life, sex, politics. It's getting what you want. Then spoiling it.. easy as piss. We won that election. President Obama... just saying that gives me a thrill. President Obama. President Obama. Obama. Obamarama. Obamamamamamama. The sound slips through my lips like a fart at a urinal. It would be so easy to sit back and wait for my bailout.
It ain't gonna happen. It's a big country. A big new government. And I gotta log of shit to throw.
Cut to the senate: Imagine there's a senator. (It's easy if you try.) Now imagine his views are so outrageous that you wonder how even Americans could be evil enough to elect such a guy.
Examples? Make “illegal immigrants” pay a fine for their illegality. Yep, force the bottom rung, hard-working poor to pay for coming to the U.S. Like this guy's grandparents DIDN'T pay, I bet. Like mine didn't pay... or yours either.
Annie Moore, the first Irish immigrant through Ellis Island... they gave her a ten dollar gold piece and said Good Luck! Welcome to America. But Mexicans? Well, they're not white, so I guess they don't count.
But there's more with this guy. Consider the two kinds of immigrants: the big majority, who work, pay taxes, contribute to the economy... and the tiny minority, who steal, scam welfare, use resources. Imagine punishing one group. Which would you pick?
This senator picks the working immigrants! He wants to terrorize THE EMPLOYERS. Make 'em pay stiff penalties for the evil deed of giving people a job. Fines will encourage the bosses to fire the peons. Put more people on the streets. Penniless. Collecting welfare... or stealing-- instead of paying taxes. Does this guy have stock in jail-building companies-- or what?
There's more with him.
If you go to the grocery store, and not dumpster dive for your food, you've been paying more than ever for it. In places in Africa, and Asia, people can't pay. They then suffer a food deficiency disease called STARVATION.
In Central Africa, a young man has left the countryside to look for work in the city. There is nothing. He has no money. Slowly his stomach distends. His belly button looks like it's going to push itself out of his skin. Somehow, he pan-handles enough money for a loaf of bread. Enough for a loaf of bread yesterday. Today, the price has gone up. It's harder to get bread. Nobody grows wheat these days. Land that could be used for wheat is used for corn. But not corn this guy, or anybody can eat. Corn that's grown to be burned.
Yeah, stuff stuffed inside your car and burned. Biofuels. Instead of growing what people can eat, farmers grow food for your gas tank. And this senator LOVES IT. He wants more. Fuck carrots! They're too hard to grow and what can you do with 'em except eat 'em? Now, BIOFUEL! We can just burn that up. Then buy more. Yeah, it makes as much pollution as gasoline, but it's renewable. Okay, it causes starvation, but that's a small price to pay for the comfort of driving. Right?
How 'bout raising the federal gas tax so people will just drive less? Fewer fuels of all kinds!
NO GAS TAX HIKE, says this guy. SUV owners applaud.
“Okay,” you tell me. “But senators are shmucks. That's a given. Just because Obama is president doesn't mean everyone is a good guy.”
Hang on to your hairpiece, buckaroos. The senator I'm talking about is AL FRANKEN!! Yeah, that liberal guy from Minneapolis. Check his website: www.alfranken.com It's all there, under issues. Immigration. Biofuels. The whole kit and caboodle.
So what the fuck do I care? It doesn't have anything to do with the hair on my balls or the way I've recently been shitting what looks like Mazola oil. (True! It's the weirdest thing. The toilet water looks like a lavalamp after I take a dump... er... a spritz.)
Mental Scene shift: I think the reason MRR doesn't get any mail about me is that I don't talk about punk rock. The letter writers seem to be continuing the time honored punk rock tradition where That guy in DesMoines charges too much for postage is more important than dead people litter the Sahara Desert because Americans put corn in their SUVs.
Such is the triviality of punkrock in the twenty-first century.
In the seventies, when punkrock began, Gerald Ford was president. Then too, it was trivial. It was CBGBs local, fun, a music-- and a clothing-- style. Nothing more.
In the eighties, hardcore burst out like a fartfull of Mazola oil. There were two reasons. His name was Ronald Reagan and hers Margaret Thatcher. The bad guys were in control. The Dead Kennedys stopped singing playfully about the dangers of Jerry Brown.
“We've got a much bigger problem now,” said Biafra.
And so we got Reagan Youth, and a ton of angry, fun, wild, political, punk bands from Agnostic Front through Conflict to Nausea to Warzone.
So what now? We have a lousy economy, but Barak Obama is president. Democrats control the congress and the senate. South America is electing pinkos left and right. Only Israel can manage to vote for a fascist when it has the chance. Oy vey!
What's left, but to do what liberals do the best: eat our own. Go back to complaining about Jerry Brown's denim jackets or Al Franken's stand on immigration. When you win a war, who do you fight? The people on YOUR side, That's who.
It'll still take me awhile to get on Obama's ass. Even though he's
1.Perked up The Whitehouse Faith-Based Office, instead of closing it.
2.Sent more troops to Afghanistan
3.Had Hillary rattle her saber against North Korea.
And this is only FEBRUARY!!
But, I'm gonna leave him alone for now. The magnificence of his Negritude still overwhelms these other considerations. Instead, I'll lower my sights. Aim for the balls.
Al Franken wants to fine “illegal” immigrants? Bang!
Hillary refuses to talk human rights in China? Bang!
You? The biggest bang of all.
What're you gonna do until the next Bush? Until the next Iraq? Until the next market crash? How are you gonna stay punk when there's nothing to punk against? I already know. I know you.
You're gonna get soft.
First, you're gonna powder your own economic acne. Gee, I hope I can get back that job as a bag packer at A&P.
You hope Obama's stimulus package will work well enough to pay for your iPod replacement battery. You'll put on a tie and smile at K-mart customers.
Yeah, I'm talking to you.
You'll be there, begging mom and dad not to take you out of SF State. You'll promise to wash dishes, anything, just to stay in school because there are no jobs out there and that's the whole point of school, isn't it?
Using the technical language that has developed over years of punkrockdom, I salute you with that most punkrock of phrases, Fuck You!
You're hopeless, more worried about your MySpace photo than that just-fired Mexican. You stand right in the middle of that row of urinals, making it difficult for me at the edge.
I'm going to edge passed you. I want to talk to your little sisters and brothers, the 10-year-olds who watch you with disgust. They're the ones who see your punkitude drain into the porcelain when you move back with mom because the punkhouse fell apart.
They're the ones who'll have heard what you've been talking about during the punk times and who'll wonder what you meant.
They won't get it, as they watch you sink below.
They're the ones who'll pick up that guitar you abandoned, and start figuring out chords. Yeah, I'd love to stand next to them at the urinal, but I don't need to. Those ten year olds? They'll know what to do all by themselves. And you'd better watch your back.
Yeah, I'm talking to you.
ENDNOTES: [email subscribers (email@example.com) or website viewers (www.mykelboard.com) will get live links and a chance to email comment on the column]
-->When cool things happen by bad people dept: Bill Gates, one of the world's most disgustingly wealthy people, impressed me for the first time. He released a cloud of mosquitoes at a technology conference in California.
"Malaria is spread by mosquitoes. I brought some here," he said. "There is no reason only poor people should be infected."
In reality, the mosquitoes were malaria-free, but the tactic was punkrock. Get those fuckers to feel the sting of life-- and death-- in the hotlands! 10 punk points, Bill.
-->Death Be Not Proud dept: I'm writing this in the middle of February 2009. Already two notables have kicked off. It does not bode well for the rest of the year. At my age, I could be entering the watch list!
Actually, BILL LANDIS died in December 2008. But I only heard about it this year. For those who don't know, Bill was the founder of THE SLEAZOID EXPRESS, the first newsletter of scum cinema. He liked the sleazy horror, the bizarre, and the camp. Although he was a difficult person in real life, he was a pioneer in print. If it weren't for him, the movie world would be much different now. You wouldn't be able to find DVDs of Cannibal Holocaust and I Spit on Your Grave. There would be no Grindhouse or Scream I,II or III, if there were no Bill Landis.
LUX INTERIOR, singer for The Cramps, died on February 4, the fiftieth anniversary of Buddy Holly's death. The Cramps were maybe the world's first Psychobilly band. (If you don't count Hasil Atkins.) I saw them at CBGBs in 1976-- and several times since-- including a great show at SaltLäger in Copenhagen. Yeah, there would've been a GG Allin without a Lux Interior. But would there be a Reverend Horton Heat? I don't think so.
Uh oh! I just heard about PAUL HARVEY. He's number three!
-->I thought it sucked from the git-go dept: Remember when every corner threatened to have a Starbucks? I even had a plan to map out Manhattan with a green square on those few blocks without one.
Well, buckaroos, those days are gone. Hundreds of the corporate sludge factories have given up the ghost. Even better, a recent review in Consumer Reports ranked Eight O'Clock Coffee as the best-tasting coffee. Starbucks, which costs a fuck of a lot more, didn't even get an honorable mention.
-->Rare victory for the good guy dept: The Senate voted for part of the economic recovery bill that deals with giving money for school building construction. It said that tax funds used for school construction and rehabilitation may not be diverted to religious institutions. Religious Right groups complained that the bill was “hostile to religion.”
I say, I hope so!
-->I think it was Tolstoy who wrote “Without God all things are permitted. He meant it as a criticism. I only wish it were true. Life would be a fuck of a lot more fun.
Still Christians, Muslims and Jews use this argument to say that if people didn't have the threat of God's punishment, they would not act in a moral way. God keeps people moral, they say.
Science Illustrated (July/August 2008) says they're wrong. It reports that Yale researchers have found that pre-God-aware babies can still judge right from wrong, good from evil.
The researchers created a puppet show where one puppet tries to climb a hill and another either helps it, or holds it back. When they gave babies a chance to choose one puppet to hold. 93% chose the helper over the hinderer. The babies were all under 10 months old. God need not apply.
-->The obvious dept: So far, I've had no mail referring to my “rape” at the hands of Jello Biafra, Noam Chomsky, and Oprah Winfrey. I can't believe the 15-year-old readers (an oxymoron?) of MRR had enough sense of humor to realize the April Fools' joke. It was one, of course.