An Irregular Column
Column for MRR 338
by Mykel Board
FLASH AHEAD: I type this at Kennedy Airport while waiting for a flight to San Francisco. The airport: a place I like even less than an Apple store and only slightly more than a hospital or morgue. I sit by the food concessions near the departure gate. The smell of French fries forces itself into my nose like The Top forces one of those ball gags into the mouth of The Bottom in an S&M movie.
An obnoxious blonde 2 tables down shouts into her iPhoneTM You’re just gonna die... I mean did you see...
My computer is plugged into a bank of iPadsTM that offer buttons to press for food brought right to your table. Wow, just like a real restaurant!
For someone who travels as much as I do, you’d think I’d hate airports less than I do. You’d be wrong. Of course I hate SECURITY most, but there’s more. I hate the whole sterile atmosphere. The screaming babies. The smell of French Fries. The Americans... the kind you don’t see in New York: fat... screaming little bundles-of-joy in tow... soda-drinking, Whopper-eating... blond... Americans. White trash without the good food. Rednecks without the moonshine. Tourists without the innocence. At least a hundred people are within my vision. Not one of them is smiling.
I’ve been more or less nauseous since this morning. Is it the egg salad I had for breakfast? No, it started before that. It must be the tension. Dad is in bad shape. Every time I see him, I think it can’t get any worse. It gets worse.
Since he’s been in hospice (that’s a blog), he’s gone downhill fast. Last time I saw him, he weighed less than 100 lbs... was on oxygen... his voice so faint I couldn’t understand him.
“I have a trip planned for next week,” I tell the hospice nurse. “Should I cancel it?”
“If it were my father, I would,” she says.
“You never know,” says my sister. “We’ve got to play it by ear... see what happens.”
I guess she’s right, but I’m so nervous I shut off my phone... dreading THAT text or THAT voicemail. My stomach tense... my blood pressure in the danger zone... I can’t concentrate. In a way, it’s a good time to get away. In another way, it bodes disaster.
Still, Passover calls... I’ve got family and friends... and somewhat of a life... it’s taking all my concentration... except... over there, by the Supersize Me sign... I love the way her jeans curve gently over her buttocks... bulging directly back, like a full parenthesis... must be Hispanic. What other girls have asses like that? Ah, a relief... a distraction. She sits down. It’s over.
The guy next to me must’ve paid his $9.95 for Internet access. He’s reading the news on the iPadTM. I look over his shoulder.
NYTIMES.COM says it’s still up in the air whether California can prohibit the sales of video games to minors. Strange coalitions form on both sides. Rightwing and leftwing libertarians on one side. The religious right and leftwing authoritarian mommies on the other. I’m betting on the badguys. They usually win. (Actually I was wrong here. Since this column was printed, the Supreme Court ruled CORRECTLY!! Overturning the California law.)
That would be mildly interesting. What turns it from mild to spicy is the two people being interviewed: Ron Paul, the most conservative Congressman-- from the hated state of Arizona... and Dennis Kucinich, the most left Congressman... and a guy who is right about almost as much as I am. What the fuck?
Here they are, both agreeing that Obama has usurped his power, declared war wrongly, and created an imperial presidency. Wow!
A great man (me) once wrote a song called CRASSDRIVER. It was about how the left and right were the same. But in that song, I was saying they were both full of shit. Now, they’re both RIGHT!
And then, take Tolstoy... please!
Actually, it’s not Tolstoy, but just a character in Anna Karenina. For him, lower classes are conservative, Christian, monogamous, and boring. Then there’s the rest of us.
In England 2011, the riots against the government are not corporate financed tea parties: conservative, Christian and boring. They’re anarchists, socialists... a bunch of them poor people. The government cuts in France aren’t being welcomed by the French equivalent of the Koch brothers. They’re being fought by the French equivalent of that construction guy who calls out Hey babe... anybody tell you you’ve got nice tits?
Even punk rock, that musical style that began in America as a middle-class reaction to White overblown rock music and Negro (and gay) disco. When it crossed the ocean, poor people took it over. When it came back, it turned from Skrewdriver to The Dead Kennedys.
What the fuck? Things aren’t like they should be. Who’s conservative? Who’s liberal? Who’s a lefty? Is punkrock rightwing or leftwing? What does that mean anyway? Fuck if I...
WAIT A MINUTE!! I GOT IT!! It’s not TEEN SNOW at all! It’s TEENS NOW! TEEN SNOW-dot-fuckin’ com is TEENS NOW-dot-fuckin’ com. How did I miss that?
I just divided it in the wrong place. I split the words where the words shouldn’t have been split. As usual, pornography answers life’s most profound questions.
It’s not a question of left or right, punk or non-punk, dead Dad or live Dad. I’ve been dividing the world where the world shouldn’t have been divided.
Kucinich-Paul makes perfect sense. Both politicians believe the U.S. should avoid doing harm in the world. Both believe that money spent killing people in other countries is not money well spent. Kucinich believes that money should be spent on people who need it. Paul believes that money should be returned to the people who had it before the government took it. THAT’S the dividing line. The idea of left and right is irrelevant.
Skrewdriver was just as punk as Crass. Working-class Sham 69 was no punker than middle-class Ramones. GG Allin is punk. Green Day is punk. Fast music and a fuck-you attitude... that’s the line. It’s not politics, popularity or personality. If you inspire people to throw themselves at one another, sing along, say fuck you to someone with power. It’s punk. Anarcho, pop, post, crusty... they don’t mean shit. You're dividing things in the wrong places.
Dad may indeed kick the bucket while I’m here in California. He may go before this plane touches ground. I could land, call Cousin Shirley from the airport and hear her teary voice on the other end. I have no control. Go or not will not change the end. People die. When they die, we do things (cry, go to funerals, cemeteries, figure out what debts to skip out on, where to go from here). Life and death is what happens. One is the end of the other. There’s no dividing at all.
--> I hate Obama so I’m safe from hell dept: In Greenville South Carolina, Rev. Jay Scott Newman distributed a letter to his congregation. The letter told them that if they voted for Obama or any other “pro-abortion” politician, they “place themselves outside the full communion of Christ’s Church... Persons in this condition should not receive Holy Communion until and unless they are reconciled to God in the Sacrament of Penance, lest they eat and drink their own condemnation.”
--> Recession? What recession? dept: The LA Times reports that the top executives of America’s 4 largest for-profit insurance companies got nearly $200 million last year. The insurance companies also forced double-digit premium hikes on their customers.
I say, YEAH! America is way too big anyway. How ‘bout fifty countries? Then those guys can get what they deserve. Here, dividing lines are clear. Just look at a map.
--> You want Palin with that? dept: Jim Hightower reports on the last week before the 2010 elections. Workers in a McDonald’s outlet in Canton, Ohio found instructions from their boss on how to vote.
Just in case the workers didn’t get it, the McDonald’s owner listed the Republican nominees for Governor, Senate and Congress, designating them as “the right people.”
--> You want truth with that? dept: Republican ad-man Ben Mathis got famous actor Morgan Freeman to do an ad attacking North Carolina’s Democrats. Only he didn’t. Mathis hired a voice double to make the ad, copying Freeman’s voice.
Says Mathis, “we, of course, never say that they are the actual celebrities, but voters recognize their voice and trust it.”
--> Further on the censorship front dept: The Bible Literacy Project is a program for pushing bible-studies in public schools. It's gotten in trouble with Christian fundamentalists. Why? The group published a textbook called The Bible and It’s Influence using a picture where... gasp... Adam and Eve were NAKED! Fundamentalists complained. The textbook’s authors will soon make necessary changes. Besides, everybody knows that Adam and Eve were born wearing JESUS IS MY COACH t-shirts, right?