“Mykel,” asks Gavin, “can't you find us some more fascists to stay with? Those guys fed us well, gave us clean beds, and didn't keep us up all night playing Crass records. Those other guys, those anarchists we usually stay with... they're filthy. The food is awful... and they won't let us sleep.”
“What's the story on those guys?” I ask Steve.
“Oh Mykel,” he says, “you're in for a surprise. That's VEGAN REICH.”
The big guy in the band wears an even bigger t-shirt with MEAT IS MURDER stenciled on the front. He's fiddling around in his backpack.
“Got it!” he says, taking out a box of something.
“What's that?” I ask.
“It's tofuburger mix,” he says.
“Yuck!” I answer. “I wouldn't eat that shit in a million years.”
“That's what you think,” he says. “Steve, get the camera.”
I'm out the door... sprinting across the front yard... into the next yard. I can easily outrun this big guy, I think. I think wrong.
Blam! I'm on the ground. Tackled like some football player. Another guy from the band kneels over me. I can't see him clearly. Things are a blur. I'm face up. The guy clamps my head between his knees. He reaches over my face and squeezes my jaw, forcing my mouth open. He does not open his fly and lower his turgid tumor into my mouth. Instead, the big guy, who's faster than he looks, has that box of Tofu Burger Mix open in his hand. He pours it into my mouth.
It's like he's force-feeding me sand. Awful. Grains of tasteless nothing... filling my mouth... spilling over my cheeks... clustering first around then into my ears. I'm gonna suffocate. I can't talk... breathe... nothing. I try to shake my head... turn away from the granular invasion. The other guy's knees keep my head just where it is.
Then it's over.
They let go of me. And they help me stand up.
I spit out the crap. Stick my fingers into my mouth to scrape the insides of my cheek. Steve is laughing behind the camera. The Vegan Reich guys are laughing. My piss-offedness turns to laughter. It really is funny.
Suddenly, all Muslims have become terrorists in the eyes of America. More than that... everyone who wears a turban... Muslim or Sikh... Christians in Ethiopia wear turbans for Allah's sake... all have become THE ENEMY.
The enemy? Hey: it could be like Sid Vicious in his swastika shirt... singing My Way. What could be punker in the 21st Century than becoming a Muslim? In my April Fool's column of 2002, I explained my conversion to that religion.
This year, Vegan Reich says:
Are they serious?... or is this just an extension of the elaborate put-on that included me being force-fed tofu in Canada? I don't know. Good satire/parody should skirt the border of reality... touching the possible and the funny at the same time.... like THE ONION. If it's a satire, it's a great one. If it's sincere... it's still funny as hell.
Meanwhile, in England, there's THE SLIMELLIGHT, a venue for Industrial and Goth bands... maybe neo-folk, I haven't been able to figure it out yet. Actually, I don't even know what neo-folk is. Billy Bragg? Not so neo, I'd say.
The Slimelight has been the subject of much protest, including boycott calls... and calls to shut them down.
Of course, music clubs throughout history-- from Negro Jazz through Rock'n'Roll through Punkrock to Hip Hop-- have ALWAYS been the subject of shutdown attempts. Good music is threatening. Those who feel threatened want to shut it down.
But this shutdown call is new. It's organized by Islington Alarm a buncha lefty Brits who don't like the “fascist” aspects of this music. Some Celtic Crosses, and band members in right-wing organizations... or having friends with memberships in right-wing organizations... or being EX-members of right-wing organizations. Without really defining fascism, they brand bands or members as fascist and try to ban them from playing.
I'll explain. In England, fascist is a common left-wing bully word, similar to the American hate-group. (The U.S. Southern Poverty Law Center brands more than 1000 American organizations as Hate Groups. This includes a number of bands like Tightrope, Fetch the Rope, and Poker Face.)
What is a fascist? For the average British crusty anarchist, it's anyone with a totalitarian attitude. Anyone who thinks “My way is the only way.” Of course, a certain fashion sense, as well as a certain degree of cleanliness, helps.
But what does fascist REALLY mean? Why not ask a fascist? This is the internet age. You can do anything.
So I go to americanfascistmovement.com to see what they say. I don't have space for the whole list, but here are some key points:
Fascism is NOT Materialism: Fascism does not see history as class struggle, and denies that there is nothing to life, and power politics, except what one can put in one's mouth or pocket.
Fascism is NOT Capitalism or Communism: Those are materialist systems that promote degeneracy and crush the human spirit.... Man cannot live on peace, land and bread alone
Fascism IS Meritocracy: The degree of which men and women manifest honor and merit in the service of their country is determinant of their place in civil society.
Fascism IS Nationalism: Everything in the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.
Fascism IS Virtue: Above all: a Fascist believes in virtue and will thus tell you the truth and not just what you want to hear. Truth, courage, integrity!
No it does not. We can sit and debate the fascist or not of any person or band from here to Laibach. It's likely, just as some great literature has been written by real fascists (Ezra Pound, Celine), great music has been and is probably being made by other real fascists... whatever that means.
If you don't like the politics, protest the politics. Present alternatives. Counter-demonstrate. If you don't like the music, don't listen to it.
But trying to shut down what you don't like... especially if you shut down music because you don't like the politics. Why that's... that's fascist! Just ask any British crusty street punk.