Tuesday, October 16, 2012



MAXIMUM ROCK'N'ROLL refused to print this column. That is their right. They did so without comment, or explanation. That is their wrong. If you disagree with their decision, or if you agree or if you have any other comment, please email  MRR at: mrr@maximumrocknroll.com. Thanks, Mykel

You're Wrong
An Irregular Column
(Mykel's Column for MRR 353, November... not printed)
by Mykel Board

"These self-anointed Protectors of the Overprotected endlessly yammer about breaking the "cycle of abuse," oblivious to the concept that imprisoning someone is a particularly vicious perpetuation of that cycle." --Jim Goad

"In a patriarchal society all heterosexual intercourse is rape because women as a group are not strong enough to give meaningful consent.” --Catherine MacKinnon

I'm madder than Putin at a Pussy Riot show. I get a letter from Amnesty International... one of the few charities I donate to. (Not counting the guys on the street with a cup. Them, I give to every day). A.I. fights torture and government abuse all over the world, usually without giving a fuck about ideology.

But now? What's the first paragraph of their appeal letter?:

I regret to inform you that more than a decade into the 21st century, women and girls are still being raped, beaten, killed by family members and trafficked every day.

What the fuck?

Flash to Abu Ghraib prison: An Arab man lies naked, face up, on a sheet of plywood. His hands and feet are tied to the corners. He's stretched like someone ready to be drawn and quartered. Pulled tight over his face, a cloth immobilizes his head. An American soldier holds a giant watering can. He pours it down... over the man's face... into his nose and mouth. Involuntarily gasping for breath, the tied man inhales the water. His lungs fill. He gags... pukes... inhales his own vomit... chokes... then more water. It's like death... he wants to die.

Says Wikipedia: Waterboarding can cause extreme pain, dry drowning, damage to lungs, brain damage from oxygen deprivation, other physical injuries including broken bones due to struggling against restraints, lasting psychological damage and death. Adverse physical consequences can manifest themselves months after the event, while psychological effects can last for years.

Google Waterboarding Women and the only reports you'll see are people arrested for the CRIME of torturing women. For women, it's abuse. For men, it's business as usual.

Flash to 21st century American laws linking Selective Service registration (compulsory military service) with getting a driver's license.

Here's the scoop:

Federal law (50 U.S.C. App. 451 et seq.) requires virtually all male U.S. citizens, as well as immigrant men residing in the U.S., to register with the Selective Service System (SSS) when reaching age 18. In an effort to ensure compliance among young men, many states have enacted legislation which links SSS registration with the process of applying for a driver's license or state identification card.

MEN, get it? Check out the war reports. When they talk about horrors... evils... who gets mentioned? Women and children, of course. Killing men? It's all in a day's work.

The Amnesty International letter has a PS that says:

Mr. Board, (I HATE being called MR. BOARD) when you hear of girls in Sierra Leone being genitally mutilated against their will... I'm sure you think “What can I do to help?”

Jeeezus fuckin' Christ. BOYS are genitally mutilated against their will in the U.S... thousands every day. It's called circumcision. And is there a PEEP against it? Maybe, but not from Amnesty International.

And don't give me this shit that it's different because boys only loose the tips and girls have to give up the whole shebang. That's wrong! With very few exceptions (and these are evil, I'll grant that), so-called female circumcision is just that. The equivalent of female foreskin. Snip. Snip. Gone. That's it... not the whole kit and caboodle. In any case, it's certainly as painful and as involuntary in boys as in girls.

Even this punkrock magazine is guilty of survivor syndrome... at least the letters section.

I sit on the toilet, a beer shit survivor, reading a letter from a woman who is an inappropriate touching survivor. I don't have the exact quote, but it doesn't matter. Just the idea of a touching survivor should make you puke.

You name it, and some female is a SURVIVOR: a cancer survivor, survivors of “Intimate Partner Violence,” domestic violence survivors, an alcohol abuse survivor, a partner of alcohol abuse survivor, sexual harassment survivors, and, of course, touching survivors.

Some feminists (see the Catherine MacKinnon quote at the beginning of this column) believe every woman who has ever had sex with a man is a rape survivor. Oy vey!

Listen buckaroos, if you get through someone calling you a name... you are NOT a survivor. If someone touches you in the wrong place... you are NOT a survivor. If someone shows you dirty pictures at work... you are NOT a survivor. If some construction worker makes sucking sounds when you walk past... you are NOT a survivor.

FLASH TO THE TURN OF 21st THE CENTURY: I stand on the sidewalk in front of Sophie's bar... fishin' for drinks. The NY SCUM cassette just came out. It's a documentary of a CBGB scumrock festival. I'm the head producer, yah dee dah... man of the hour... now buy me a drink.

Also hangin' out are now columnist George Tabb, and then columnist Jane Guskin.

“Hey George,” I say, resting my arm on his shoulder, “pretty good cassette huh?”

“I'm not buying you a drink, Mykel,” he says.

How'd he know I was gonna ask?

Behind me I hear a voice... loud... threatening.

“Where's Mykel fuckin' Board?” it says.

I turn.

BLAM! A fist to my jaw. I'm down... lying fetally on the sidewalk. CABLOOEY! A boot to my ribs. I curl deeper into the helpless position. Above me is TC, a local who did some postering and organizing for the scumrock festival. He wants money from the tape... for his work... for his effort... I should pay him from the tens of dollars I got from ROIR for producing the cassette.

His foot draws back for another boot to the ribs. I tense. A pair of legs appears between TC's boot and my chest.

“STOP! NO!” shouts the voice belonging to the woman ofthe legs. It's Jane.

“NOW STOP IT!” she yells.

TC cowers... mumbles something... walks away.

In this culture, it's okay for guys to whack away at one another. You gotta be good with your fists. If you don't fight back, you're a sissy. (I'm a sissy.) But girls? Oh no, you should never hit a girl! You just can't hit a girl. That's abuse. It worked for me. Thanks Jane!

Jane is my hero... my heroine. But I'm not in danger of dying.

I was punched and kicked, but I'm a punching-kicking VICTIM at best... not a survivor.

[Note: Being punched or kicked repeatedly by someone you live with does not make you a domestic violence survivor... It makes you an idiot. Get the fuck out of there!]

I am neither a jock-itch nor a hemorrhoid survivor, though I've had both.

Survivors are people who barely beat death and live to tell about it. Those guys tortured in Guantanamo Bay... THEY are survivors. Pakistani families that live through American bombing... THEY are survivors. George Tabb who lived through the World Trade Center attacks and had half his intestines removed because of the aftermath poison air... HE is a survivor.

Foreigners (almost all MEN) forced into the US army to kill in Afghanistan or Pakistan or who-knows-where's-next-stan... THEY are survivors.

[Note: Many U.S. courts give political and economic refugees (men only) the choice of possible death by entering the US military and killing Afghanis... or returning to their home country to a more certain death. Which would you choose?]

FLASH TO NOW: I sit at my desk in nothing but my underpants... boxer briefs. I type with my left hand as the thumb of my right hand digs into my right nostril... fishing out the discomfort. As a booger survivor, I know the strain, heartbreak and suffering of intranasal offal.

I'm thinking about the victims of the Christian shootings at the batman movie in Colorado. And how about the one at the Sikh temple in Wisconsin? People killed. People survived.

[Note: with one exception ALL the mass shootings and other terrorist murders in the last 20 years have been by CHRISTIANS! Why don't the NY cops have a Christian task force? Why aren't they monitoring churches? Infiltrating the Salvation Army? Don't they understand Christianity is a VIOLENT religion? It's very symbol, the cross, is a weapon of death!]

I'm wondering what those who lived through the Sikh attacks... those with bullets in various body places... with friends and family killed or maimed... I'm wondering what they think of survivors of inappropriate touch.

A bubble of gas rises in my bowels. I can feel it on the lower right side... it rises up crosses from right to left... settles above my anus where I blow it out in a burble... a very long burble. As a flatulence survivor, I know I need to make adjustments, to get beyond my pain and get on with my life.

FLASH TO NEWSPRINT: As if survivoritis weren't bad enough, the same issue of MRR as the I-was-touched letter has an interview with some NYC group whose job it is to help survivors. 

Now, if some one is injured, raped, beaten, shot, they need support. I'm happy that people volunteer to help... though from the sound of this one it's women only as victims... er... survivors, and men as perpetrators. But that's not the worst of it.

Oh no, one of the prime functions of this group is not help, but REVENGE. Helping the victim... er... survivor is not enough. But they've got to PUNISH the perpetrator. Give 'em the old backhand. Put 'em in jail. Break 'em. Let 'em get raped by some big stud. That'll cure them of their violent thoughts, right?

Jeezus fuckin' Christ! Prison BUILDS rapists. Your push for revenge MAKES MORE VIOLENCE. (Please don't call it justice. That's what everyone calls revenge.)

Girls, if you don't like being touched, slap that hand. If you want to prevent violence and abuse then act like Jane acted when she bravely stood between me and that kicking boot. More than anything, learn to defend yourselves... to fight back like I never did. That's VICTORY. There's no survivor about it.

ENDNOTES: [email subscribers (god@mykelboard.com) or blog viewers (mykelsblog.blogspot.com/) will get live links and a chance to post comments on the column. Your zines, Cds/records, and... er... private videos... can and should be sent to me at: Mykel Board, POB 137, Prince Street Station, New York NY 10012]

-->A horse is a horse, of course, of course dept: The Progressive Magazine reports that Rafalca, the Romney's horse, costs about $29,000 a year in housing. The average American family spends %16,000 on housing. Hey, turn that barn into cheap accommodations. The horse? Dinner for ten!

-->Are they news agency survivors? dept: Reuters reports that The Japanese Atomic Energy Agency devoted a page on its website on how to "make the hard words used in the nuclear power industry easier to understand, particularly for women."

-->Another report about America's worst hip company dept: Democracy Now says that two Iranian Americans in Georgia were barred from making purchases at local Apple stores. Why? Employees overhead them speaking Farsi. Apple employees cited US export laws on Iran to justify their actions.
          My question: How the fuck did the shlubs who work at Apple identify FARSI when they heard it?

-->Makes perfect sense dept: As I write this, the Presidential campaign wages on. It's as predictable as the hate mail from this column.
       Romney has just named Paul Ryan as his running mate. Ryan is a handsome right-wing lunatic, who likes Rage Against The Machine. He's a wacko who Romney picked for the same reason Obama said he supported gay marriage. Gotta shore up the fringes... balance the ticket. Conservatives would stay away from Romney like Lefties from Obama. Gotta have some bait to bring 'em back to the fold. Let's hope it fails... on both sides.
        Jill Stein already won the Green Party nomination. Her running mate is another woman... a great fuck you to “balancing the ticket.” They've got my vote. Maybe after November, Stein and her running-mate will call themselves election survivors.


Unknown said...

Hey Mykel,
I love this column, and was pissed to find you weren't in MRR this month, even more pissed now that I know why. Fuck them! Their right or not I feel they are fucking assholes. I am sick of seeing all the "poor me, I'm a woman and I feel uncomfortable at the punk shows." letters and columns. I think fuck that it causes a bigger rift than was already there. I feel violence, abuse and molestation is wrong period, you being a women doesn't change anything about that.
Anyway, hope you are in the next issue.

Danny Hatefuck

Michael said...

This was one of the most insightful colums you've ever written. For that reason, I'm not surprised MRR didn't print it. People really don't like it when you piss them off by showing them that they've been wrong, that their reasoning has been fallacious, or when you show them that they no longer have any justifiable reason to feel any sorrier for themselves as anyone else.
The decision to not print this fucking disgusts me. Unless they change their mind, I won't support MRR in any fucking way. I thought it was a punk magazine.

JIM HAYES said...

i don't understand what was wrong this.

Anonymous said...

Mykel, this is Fernando, from Mexico. we've been pals since we met here in '94 0r '95. i think you've written your most important column ever. it amazes me no end that, apparently, the editors didn't get it! you're actually trying to 'empower' (fashionable word)the woman who wrote the letter, telling her, 'you still have the privilige to fight and kick him, don't wait for avengers, others have it way worse than you'..what's wrong with that?! first MRR issue i ever bought was april 1991's. on the cover: fat mike saying, 'if mykel's gone, MRR has been castrated'; but it was an APRIL FOOLS JOKE! now it's come true!and you're actually on the same boat, ideologically speaking. just when i renewed my subs thinking, 'belden and warrell are gone, but if mykel's still there, it's worth every dollar'. FUCK!

Unknown said...

Mykel, I'm sorry MRR wouldn't publish your column. There could have been some really good dialogue about it between you and the readers.

I'm 63. I was given female circumcision as a newborn. I have also experienced incest and rape. I do consider myself a survivor.

Two reasons that over the years I've found it helpful to consider myself a survivor: one is that it helps me understand my "crazy" reactions to ordinariy situations. The other reason is that the language of survival can help on those occasions when others can't understand my "crazy" reactions.

I also wanted to comment on the quotation from Jim Goad at the beginning of your column. I have met and spoken with Jim Goad, and I consider him a very wise person. Whenever I come across something he's written, I study it carefully. The subject of our justice system here in the US is very complex. On rare occasions, such as the prison experience of Malcolm X, someone can benefit from being taken out of their environment and being given time to think. For most of us, though, prison is indeed, and is solely, part of a cycle of abuse.

Catherine MacKinnon's statement, which I've seen before, is very odd. It is wrong in so many ways. I don't know how it could be helpful to anyone who is honestly trying to improve themselves.

If someone I care about considers himself or herself a survivor, I respect that. I also do what I can to affirm the positive aspects of that person. In my case, certainly, being a survivor is not all of who I am. I would not want to be known primarily as someone who was raped and lived to tell about it. I would rather be known as someone who always strives to be a better person and to do what I can to help others do the same.

In case I get called "Anonymous", I want to put my name in here. I'm Susan Mullen.

Anonymous said...

Mykel, are you running for office? Sure seems so, 'cause you play fast and loose with the truth here. The reason your column wasn't published, according to MRR was 'cause you weren't willing to answer any and all hate mail generated by the column in the pages of MRR. Had you been willing to answer the hate mail, this column would have been printed. Seems like you're manufacturing a tempest in a teapot.

Mykel Board said...

Thanks for all the response. The only comment I'd like to make now is that MRR told me something different than they told Anonymous. This is from their email to me:

"As content coordinators, we have to answer for the content in the magazine and we cannot answer for the last column you submitted. Based on the 150+ shitworkers here, many of whom are people who have survived sexual assault and several of which who have survivors of politically motivated torture in their family, we can’t defend that column. Based on the readers and contributors, some of which you make disparaging remarks against, we cannot defend the column. "

If you want to see the entire message, you're welcome to. Just email me at me@mykelboard.com and I'll forward it to you.

Anonymous said...

Mykel, here are my thoughts on your column. It's a loooong rant, so I'll divide it in pieces.

First of all, I am sorry that MRR did not publish Mykel Board's column. The topic at hand is one that the punk community, and the feminist community, really need to discuss. But, as has been proven with this incident, there are topics that are taboo in our little universe of political correctness. That is unfortunate and just goes to show that we have become a microcosm of the society we rant against.

Yes, there are many human rights campaigns, such as the Amnesty International one Mykel mentions, that openly identify girls and women as victims. But I don't see how this is unfair to men. How many human rights campaigns are dedicated to war veterans, for example. Such a campaign may not blatantly promote itself as creating awareness or raising funds for male veterans, but aren't most vets men anyway? I just happened to read that as of 2005, 88% of vets were men.

Anonymous said...

He also mentions cancer survivors, alcohol abuse survivors, etc. Actually, those terms also cover guys, not just women. At least when it comes to cancer, I think it is correct to say that most campaigning for fundraising and awareness is linked to women, but that may not necessarily be a result of women presenting themselves as victims or survivors. I think it is a result of women being more open to campaigning for such causes. For instance, women raise funds for breast cancer research all the time through walks, 5k races, marches, etc., but I've never seen guys marching hand in hand to create awareness of prostate cancer. What? Is someone banning them from doing so? I don't think so. Women don't mind talking about boobs. Prostates are not men's favorite conversation topic. (Well, Mykel enjoys talking about prostates, but he's an anomaly ... and I mean that is the most positive way possible, haha).

But here is the issue I most want to discuss: I agree with Mykel that the concept of an "inappropriate touching survivor" concept is crazy. It is even demeaning. I am not referring to the particular letter Mykel references because I have not read it, but I really detest this "poor little me" attitude, especially in a community where us women tend to portray ourselves or encourage each other to be independent, take-no-bullshit badasses.

How does a label like "inappropriate touching survivor" solve anything or make women stronger? It just encourages us to live in fear and paranoia. If we follow a path of labeling ourselves as survivors when we really aren't, we might as well stay hidden where no one can harm our feelings. The world out there is not a clean and sanitary one where everyone plays nice. We need to grow a pair of ovaries and deal head on with any and all bullshit that is thrown our way.

If a guy touches a woman inappropriately or acts like a jerk in any other way, she has every right to be pissed and to immediately and assertively let him know she's not going to tolerate such actions. She should tell him off and get it over with, instead of ending up traumatized for the rest of her life or going on a campaign to assassinate the guy's character. By telling him off in an assertive manner, she may even teach him a lesson on how to act like a human and not a savage. It works.

Labeling ourselves "survivors" in a situation like this is ridiculous. What's next? Survivor of "that asshole cheated on me with my best friend"? Survivor of "I can't believe that guy yelled at me"? Survivor of "that dude looked at me wrong"? Give me a break!!

However, when it comes to a battered woman -another example Mykel used-, then yes, she effectively is a survivor if she has been able to escape her tormentor. I would not call her an idiot, as Mykel did, because doing so is shallow and simplistic. Humans don't always act in their best interests, regardless of how intelligent they are, and domestic violence is a complex situation with complex causes and roots.

I just want to reiterate that women can't and must not become defenseless victims every time a guy does them wrong. Is it wrong for a guy to mistreat a woman? Yes, absolutely, and there are ways to correct that kind of situation. But if a woman's (or man's) life was not in danger in whatever situation, they are not survivors of anything.


Michael said...

In response to Taina: What I got from the column was that the victim/survivor mentality is, in general, bullshit. The fact that Mykel rightly points out that women are completely unfairly encouraged to adopt this mentality by society is, for one thing a bit of radical feminism, and for another, a point that gets you're attention and makes you critically analyze this victim/survivor mentality and the people who promote it wherever it is found; not just in the case of females. It's not that it's unfair to men that Mykel is pointing out, it's that it's unfair to everybody.

However, I mainly want to address your comment about battered women.

I am mentally ill. I have been for most of my life. Up until fairly recently, I abused alcohol and drugs to a ridiculous degree, mutilated myself, and put myself in situations where I would be likely to die. If not for plain old dumb luck, I would be dead right now given the things I've done.

Q: Why did I do this to myself?
A: Because I was an idiot.

I am not going to try to hide my stupidity by saying I did those things because I'm mentally ill or because I'm genetically predisposed to addiction. Those two things are certainly true, but they aren't the reason I nearly killed myself abusing substances and otherwise fucking myself up. I was not insane at the time. And only someone who is either insane or a fucking idiot would stay in a situation or continue an action knowing full well that it is killing and/or will most likely kill them IF there is an alternative.

A woman who is being battered by her husband, is not insane, knows what is happening is wrong, and knows she has an alternative, i.e., can leave without being homeless or starving to death, would be an idiot for staying in that situation. Battered Women Syndrome is the biggest crock of decidedly sexist bullshit anyone ever came up with. It's basically saying that women have the minds of children; that they are all emotionally retarded. Fuck that shit. It's wrong. Why not just admit that you're being an idiot? It might save your life. I admitted it. My name is Michael, and I was a fucking idiot.

That's it. Please notice the IF. I'd make it bigger if I could. I realize some people do not have a choice, or do not know they have a choice, and ignorance is not stupidity.

I am glad you made a comment. Why the fuck have only two women left comments on here?

" Girls, if you don't like being touched, slap that hand. If you want to prevent violence and abuse then act like Jane acted when she bravely stood between me and that kicking boot. More than anything, learn to defend yourselves... to fight back like I never did. That's VICTORY. There's no survivor about it."

If that isn't feminism, what the fuck is?

Unknown said...

Hey Mr. Board:

I was sitting in my cubicle working away and suddenly wondered what had happened to you. I used to read your column back in the 80's. I'm glad you are still around and writing.

I guess I'm not surprised that MRR wouldn't print your column. It's a good column, but the people who run MRR are a bunch of lefty fucks, aren't they? People like that love censorship, no matter how many days it's been since they have taken a bath.

The funny thing is that some of your columns from the 80's were a lot more offensive than this one. For instance, I remember you spending a few columns back then defending pedophilia. That shit is completely verboten now! I would be surprised if even you would write a column like that.

Just to digress, I had to remind my iwfe the other week not to take a picture of our kids taking a bath because what if someone at a computer repair shop saw it and we (I) got prosecuted for kiddy porn? And photos of kids taking a bath is a completely innocent activity.

Before the turn of the millenium, no one would have thought twice about such a thing. But now people go to jail for it. Some college football coach in Mankato, MN for instance, had CP charges arising when a repair person found a video of his kids acting goofy after geting out of the bath.

Anyway, best of luck! I'm glad you're still writing. I'm glad you still drink too. Fuck sobriety.

--Old punk rock guy with job now.