Saturday, July 27, 2013
[Note: Though, this column was written before I was fired, it was never submitted to MRR.]
An Irregular Column
by Mykel Board
We want one class of persons to have a liberal education, and we want another class of persons, a very much larger class of necessity in every society, to forgo the privilege of a liberal education and fit themselves to perform specific difficult manual tasks. --Woodrow Wilson
Work. Study. Get ahead. Kill. --1960's anti-war chant
Panic. The Smithsonian Magazine talks about a report that the US is only in the middle of world-countries in math and science-- especially women. The U.S. Department of Education starts a campaign to encourage more female participation in those areas. They make t-shirts: SCIENCE-- IT'S A GIRL THING. The campaign fails miserably.
Meanwhile, students find themselves hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt-- student loans that will never be paid off. Why? So they can go to college and earn a degree to get “a good job” so they can earn enough money to pay off their student loans. Most will not.
The Economist reports: The cost of university per student has risen by almost five times the rate of inflation since 1983, making it less affordable and increasing the amount of debt a student must take on. Between 2001 and 2010 the cost of a university education soared from 23% of median annual earnings to 38%; in consequence, debt per student has doubled in the past 15 years. Two-thirds of graduates now take out loans. Those who earned bachelor’s degrees in 2011, graduated with an average of $26,000 in debt, according to the Project on Student Debt, a non-profit group.
At those prices, who can afford to waste money studying USELESS subjects like art or language? No math unless it's accounting. No science unless it teaches you how to fiddle chemicals into something some drug company can patent for big bucks. Anything else is useless. It won't get you a job.
What is USELESS anyway?
In 2013, useless is not putting money in someone else's pocket. Useless is not consuming. Art is useless unless you sell it. Music is useless unless you create PRODUCT. Music is even tangential to music. Ask any band on tour... the big money-maker is the t-shirts. Nobody buys records. Nobody buys music.
Liberals push for university for all, so even the poor will have a chance to be educated... and get good jobs... and contribute to society (aka General Motors, Walmart, Citibank, Million Dollar Real Estate).
Conservatives want students to pay their own way. Borrow from the bank. Enrich Citibank, before they can even start working for them. Standing on your own two feet, they call it.
FLASHBACK: It's 1988, September. Classes are just starting. It's my first day of Gilyak. In the world, there are about 500 speakers of that language. I'm gonna learn it. This isn't a speaking class, though. It's a grammar class. We learn about the structure of Gilyak, how the grammar relates to the phonemes. Like in Mongolian and Finnish, they have vowel harmony. But unlike those two, the harmony isn't in the front or backitude of the vowels. It's in the height of the tongue position. We're lucky enough to have the world's leading expert on Gilyak teaching the course.
BANG! The HAND OF THE PRESENT reaches back in time. Slaps me on the back of the head.
“Yo Mykel,” says the VOICE OF THE PRESENT, “what the fuck are you gonna do with Gilyak?”
“Yo PRESENT,” I say, “why do I have to DO anything? Why can't I just learn something interesting? Just LIKE learning it... even if I forget it next year. Why can't I enjoy finding out stuff for itself? Learning is fun.”
“Because,” says the VOICE OF THE PRESENT, “you have to live in society. You're going to college for a purpose. You've got a life ahead of you... you're less than a third of the way through. How will this contribute to your future? How will Gilyak make you a better member of society? Get a job? Be productive? What GOOD is it? You'd better plan for your future rather than waste your time with fuckin' Gilyak.”
FLASH TO NOW: It's my niece's college graduation. She's got a B.A.... in marketing. She aced the class How to Do Business on the Golf Course. I shit you not.
I've taken the train to Delaware to attend graduation ceremonies. I stay at a Holiday Inn, right near the university.
I have a few minutes to explore town before pre-graduation dinner.
I make sure I have the stupid little keycard, close the door and head down the hall toward the elevator. I'm in room 44-- easy to remember: Reggie Jackson's number. The door to room 42 is not quite shut. As I pass it, I stop and listen. The sound of panting comes from inside. I nudge the door open with my foot, trying to be as quiet as possible.
Yep, there on the bed, an attractive young man rests a computer on his naked stomach. He's reaching behind the machine to stroke his short but alluring stubbiness. I watch quietly as my own short but alluring stubbiness hardens.
As in every piece of imperfect timing, at this point, the door squeaks.
“What the fuck?” he says, quickly putting himself together.
I recognize the VOICE. It's the VOICE OF THE PRESENT.
“Hey,” I tell him, “I know you.”
“What the fuck?” he repeats.
“You were jerking off,” I tell him. “Just lying in bed jerking off.”
“So?” he asks. “Like you don't jerk off?”
“But what's the purpose?” I ask him. “How will this contribute to your future life? How will this make you a better member of society? Get a job? Be productive? What GOOD is jerking off?”
Universities used to be places of learning. You'd study things that were absolutely useless... in the job sense. You'd learn art, philosophy, interpreting Egyptian Hieroglyphics. At Columbia College, I took a course in the History of Violence and Pornography. (I aced that one.) Universities were places of agitation, socialization, give and take, pranks, and inter-racial drug-taking.
Now, most classes are given through the internet. Jerking off at home, rather than having REAL SEX. But jerking off with a purpose: to earn a degree, get ahead in life, get a job, contribute to society. AHHHRGH!
If you want to learn math because numbers are the most fascinating artificial construct. Fine! It's not much different from learning Gilyak. If you want to learn math because AT&T needs number crunchers or because the US Army needs to better direct its killer drones.. not fine.
If you study to get a “good job,” you are wasting your time. Not only your time now, but your future time. And you'll spend the rest of you life trying to convince yourself that owning THINGS... having an SUV or an Internet TV with 453 food channels... is a valid substitute for actually living.
What is it with HAVING A JOB? Why do we care what you can DO with that? How long before universities stop all of the Gilyak classes and instead offer Creative Accounting for Hiding Business Profit 101.
Okay. In today's American society, you NEED a job. You also need to regularly take a shit. But do you really have to go to college for either? And should your life be a vague goal of a “good job” (oxymoronic?) Or should you be LIVING NOW, enjoying knowledge for itself... feeling the bliss of each fart as it escapes into the atmosphere.
Yeah, you work because you have to. But that is neither a goal nor the a reason to study.
Besides, is ANY job better than the real freedom of NOT WORKING?
Instead of men asking for the right to stay home and take care of the kids... or just shop. Women demand EQUAL PAY FOR EQUAL WORK. Huh? How bout the right NOT TO WORK. What kind of life is it when all your time is work? For what?
In the old days, women stayed home, did some shopping, cooking, cared for the kids when they weren't in school, watched TV, read books, took day classes. They lead real lives while their stupid husbands crowded into stupid cars or commuter trains to earn a sliver of the money they were making for someone else.
Now women want EQUALITY IN THE WORKFORCE. Why? Equality to what?
How 'bout forcing the idiots who WANT to spend their lives EARNING MONEY... those who live for greed... for riches... to pay for the rest of us?
Instead of creating a society where MORE women are entering the workforce... where MORE women are in executive positions... using their math or science to make money, why not create one where MORE men (and women) LEAVE the workforce... hang out at home... have a personal relationship with their kids? NO BREAD-WINNERS, because the bread shouldn't have to be won. It should be there for the eating.
In Scandinavia, where people are happiest with their lives, it's easy to get welfare. The rich pay up to 90% income taxes and they still live well. In America, life is hell, the rich are the devil, and you get no more protest than people demanding to burn equally. What is it?
The right to work? What about the right to learn? The right to adventure? The right to jerk off at your leisure? In China, people jump out of windows from the strain of building iPhones so you can instantly notify your friends of a cute-boy spotting. Is that your RIGHT? Is it right?
Is it worth giving your life to some corporate monster with MAYBE two days a week where you're not a slave-- to report a CUTE BOY? I don't think so.
We're asking the wrong questions. It's analagous to gay marriage.
In that case, instead of asking “Why do people have to get married at all?” or “Why does the government intrude in the marriage business?” or “Why does marriage give rights that singledom doesn't give?” Homos ask, “Why can't GAYS get married too?” AHHHRGH!
People should ask: “Since most work is dangerous, environmentally destructive, soul-destroying, useless, why do people have to WORK at all?” or “If women traditionally stay home, prepare and LIVE life, why can't men do the same?” Instead, they ask, “Why can't women earn the same money as men for the same work?” AHHHRGH!
Instead of asking, “Is Gilyak an Indo-European language, or is it related to Mongolian... or maybe an isolate, like Basque?”
People ask “Hey, I got this new nose-hair counting app on my cellphone. You want a link to it?”
Add your own AHHHRGH! here.
ENDNOTES: [You can subscribe by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or view the blog (mykelsblog.blogspot.com/) for 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]
-->Christians, ya gotta love 'em Dept: After the Connecticut school shootings. The Reverend Rob Morris, was reprimanded by the head of his church. Why? He attended a multi-religious memorial service with other preachers and rabbis. The head of the church said Morris shouldn't have attended. Why? By attending, he gave "the false impression that our differences with respect to who God is, who Jesus is, how he deals with us and how we get to heaven, really don't matter in the end."
-->The military, you gotta love it Dept: The Yale Herald reports than an associate professor of psychology applied for a federal grant to bring US Special Forces to campus. The professor wanted to teach them "interrogation techniques." He planned on having them practice on "someone they can't necessarily identify with." Who would he use to teach the techniques on?
"We could use New Haven immigrants from Colombia, Ecuador, Morocco and Nepal," suggested the professor. After student/alumni protests, the grant proposal was withdrawn.
And further on the education front:
-->Understanding is one thing we will not tolerate dept: From AMNewYork: an unidentified 10th-grade teacher at Albany High School assigned her students a "persuasive writing" exercise.
She told them to pretend their teacher was a Nazi.
The Albany schools superintendent later met with Jewish leaders and apologized saying "that's not the assignment that any school district is going to tolerate."
The teacher is facing disciplinary action that could include termination.
-->The Kids are All Right dept: The Progressive Magazine reports that the Atwood-Hammon Little League in Illinois is raffling off an AR-15 assault rifle as a fund raiser.
Little League commissioner Steve McClain says, "People from the media keep asking the same question: 'Is this tasteless?' I don't think so. It's all about the kids."
On the MRR front: the editors and their co-conspirators have tried a new trick: Blaming the Victim. It's ironic, because it's a pet shibboleth of feminists that MEN are guilty of this tactic.
“I'm sorry, officer, but I couldn't help myself. She was dressed so... so... slutty. I couldn't keep my hands to myself.”
So, here's the same tactic from the MRR powers. This is from an email to me:
First, you obviously have read not only Mariam's column, but Lydia's column as well, from the previous issue. Both have indicated how incredibly obnoxious and obstreperous you have been throughout this entire process. Lydia in particular has likened your attitude to hari-kiri, a kind of suicidal behavior. I noted the same thing in my own column, when I said you were behaving like "suicide by coordinator" and that your intent was to purposefully get yourself canned.
As usual, I urge you to express your opinion to me at my email address above and to MRR at email@example.com.
Thursday, July 04, 2013
THIS IS THE COLUMN THAT GOT ME FIRED...
First a little background.
I was already in trouble Two columns censored and a lot of bad blood. The handwriting was on the inside of the stall. Two months ago, I'd written a column where I quoted someone else saying that using the word "colored" was like using the word "nigger." When that column was printed, MRR used asterisks to write "ni**er." The following column complained about that (among other things). I was fired for that complaint! Here it is:
An Irregular Column
by Mykel Board
THE COLUMN THAT WAS NEVER PRINTED... AND GOT HIM FIRED!
Q. Are you happy there are more black musicians and fans in American punk?
A. No! I hate it. At shows it used to be ONLY ME. I was THE BLACK GUY. Everyone wanted to be my friend and hang out with me. I was special. Now I'm just another dork.
--Black Punkrock fan interviewed in the movie Afro-Punk 2003
Baby got a hand; got a finger on the trigger. Baby, baby, baby is a rock-and-roll ni**er. Outside of society, that's where I want to be. Outside of society, they're waitin' for me. --Patti Smith
“Shit in my mouth!” I yell, “Shit in my mouth!”
I wonder if Shaniqua can hear me, sitting up there on my face... her ample buttocks one on each of my cheeks. Cheek-to-cheek.
“I can't, Mykel,” comes the voice above me. “I can't do it. I'm too...”
I push up my tongue and press it against her sphincter.
She tightens more, as grabbing my probing tongue and pull it inside her. I'm stuck!
“Puth! Hahth!” I say.
The sphincter opens slightly. I pull my tongue back into my mouth.
Then that tasty brown hole opens a little more. A tiny fart escapes. I suck it into my lungs. Another one... then there's a pop... well more like a FRRRRRRR_CLICK!
I sense rather than feel something more than a fart escape from that elegant round muscle.
I raise my tongue again. Lick around the same hole. There it is, something tiny... hard... flat... like a piece of eggshell, or digested plastic.
First salivating, then using my tongue, I force the object away from its sphictorious home and into my mouth. I try to judge the shape and texture. I... OUCH!! The tiny whatever-it-is slides into my tongue, cutting me. I feel the blood flow down my tongue tip... drip... drip... drip... into the back of my throat.
I push the ass on my face upwards, coughing from the blood. Running for the bathroom I spit red into the toilet. Shaniqua follows.
“Jesus!” I say, “What did you eat that came out and cut my tongue.”
“Hey Mykel,” she says. “It's punk rock.”
FLASH: We break into our oral-anal story with a news flash. Terrorists have attacked the Boston Marathon. Three people are dead, more than a hundred injured. Boston is in lockdown while the police go on a manhunt.
“We'll get them! We'll get them!”
More terrorists. Just what we need. A reason to expand SECURITY!
You are now entering Boston... please have your passports ready.
Oh look, there's gonna be be a TV chase, some bomb throwing... some arrests... brothers from Chechnya??? I mean didn't the US support Chechnya in the fight against those big bad Russians? Don't those terrorists watch TV?
Three people??? Three people??? Yeah I feel sorry for their families. I feel sorry for the 89 people a day killed in US traffic accidents. But THREE PEOPLE????
U.S. Government forces have killed A MILLION Iraqis since the turn of the century. It's the holocaust of the millennium. A MILLION!!! That's like the entire city of Dallas. Will you see it in the holocaust museum in Washington? I don't think so. Any manhunts? TV action shots? Naw, none of those either. No blood pictures. No death pictures. But compare THREE to A MILLION! I want YOU to tell ME who the terrorists are.
In the meantime, vengeful Americans, who have the least regard for human life of any of the 57 countries I've been in (and probably most I haven't) will assault and probably kill several Muslims or people they THINK are Muslims in a PAYBACK FOR BOSTON.
Yo buckaroos! BOSTON was a payback!
END OF NEWSFLASH:
I hear a click behind me. Shaniqua's i-Phone snaps a picture of a naked Mykel Board puking blood into the toilet.
“Just wait til THAT gets on Facebook, Mykel.”
Time's passed since then. When I check Facebook,I look to see if that picture has made its way there. So far, it hasn't. What has made it though, are a bunch of friends who have changed their Facebook photos to some stupid pink on red EQUAL sign. It takes me 2.78 seconds to realize this is a show of support for MARRIAGE EQUALITY. Oy vey!
I've written a fuck of a lot about why I'm opposed to MARRIAGE in general... especially as a government licensed and regulated institution. Of course I don't support gay marriage. I don't support ANY marriage. But this month, I want to take a punkrock view.
If (the MRR version of) punk is anything, it's about INDEPENDENCE. It's about NOT MAINSTREAM. The letters section alone is a litany of offal about how A,B,C, is SELLING OUT... going major label... mainstream. What's more mainstream than marriage? Working for a bank? Owning an SUV? I donno.
Homos used to be the outsiders... the exotic. The Andy Warhol mystique was so alluring because it was so homosexual. UNDERGROUND was homosexuality. Homos were free. They could talk about sex, have a ton of sex partners, did not have to live under the constraints of boring hetero humanity.
Flash to 1973. You're in the back room of The Stud... on West 10 Street in New York. It's pitch black. You enter from the bar... beer finished... you need both hands. You can smell the sex. Men crowded together. Seeing nothing, your hands guide you through the blackness. A brush against the back of your hand. A penis. Then another. And another. You grab one and stroke. Before long, a pair of hands at your crotch releases your own stiffness. There's a wet softness. A head between your legs. You reach and press it toward you as he sucks it in.
In those days there was homosex everywhere. School bathrooms, hiking trails, tall bushes in the park. Sex like heteros WISH they could have. Immediate, releasing, no consequences sex. Queer sex.
QUEER was strange, different, outside the mainstream. Queer was the freedom of anonymous sex. Queer was the place to be. The slow mainstream response to AIDS was because hets thought PAYBACK TIME. Homos were living the life hets WISHED they could live. AIDS gets even!
Now? Gay marriage! The worst of heterosexuality. The most mainstream, boring, piece of shit lifestyle... and they call it a RIGHT! JEZUS fuckin' KY-ed anus! Work for a bank if you wanna get married!
I wonder how long before the first GAY president kills his first hundred thousand people. See? Gays are just like everybody else.
Flash to 1977. CBGBs. Stiv Bators is on stage with bologna safety pinned to his clothes: neck to pants cuffs. He hangs on the microphone and tells those of us sitting at the tables, drinking our cheap Buds:
I don't need anyone. Don't need no mom and dad. Don't need no pretty face. Don't need no human race...
Yeah. That's us. We don't need anyone. We're the blank generation and we only have THIS. This little club. This little group of people with this little kind of music called punk rock. It's ours. THEY wish they had places like this. THEY pay $20 to go to discos and listen to records. WE have music like never made before. We are not like THEM.
1992: a movie comes out called 1991: The Year Punk Broke. It's about Sonic Youth and Nirvana. The punkrock joke at the time is “Yeah, Punk broke. Now someone's gotta fix it.”
What happened was it went mainstream. Punks hated the movie... not because it was bad, but because it put punk in the mainstream.
1994: Warner Borthers releases DOOKIE and sells millions. There's a huge backlash. Not because of the music, but because Green Day became mainstream.
Get it? Tough. There's more.
As long as black people have been in America, they've been outsiders. Slavery was a great dividing line between the inside people and the outside people. But outsider status did not end with slavery.
During the 1930s, 40s and 50s Negro was cool. Drugs, sex, homosex, poetry, jazz, these were the forbidden fruits of the outsider... the black outsider. Negroes lived like whites wished THEY could live.
When whites wanted to claim outside status, they hung out at black clubs... listened to jazz-- ni**er music. This was the stuff your grandparents were afraid of. Yeah!
Flash to 1960. My mother's talking to me about her weekend in THE CITY.
“Mickey,” she says, “we went to this place called Greenwich Village. It was scary. We went to a music club and there were all these colored people playing saxophone and drums. And in the audience mixed couples were making out.”
In 1960, I didn't know what making out was. I didn't really get mixed couples either. But it sounded so strange and exciting that I decided then, I wanted to be one... a mixed couple making out.
In the 1970s, black street talk incorporated the word NI**ER (without the asterisks) like homos incorporated QUEER. It was in everyday street talk. A celebration of the disturbing, the unacceptable, the outside
When Patti Smith, possibly America's first punkrocker, compared her outsider status to black folks did she say she was a ROCK'N'ROLL N***R? When that first NY black-fronted punkband blasted into CBGB in the 70s. Did they call themselves THE NEW YORK N***RS? Those asterisks (now required by the MRR manual of style) are mainstream. Civilized people don't use that word. Patti and the New York band were outside of society. They were not civilized.
(My pal Sid reminds me that 10 years before Patti, John Lennon/Yoko Ono's song Woman Is The N***r of The World, was performed once on TV. Then it was banned. No asterisks in that one either.)
The New York Times can write “N**R” (with asterisks). CNN can flash N**R (with asterisks) on the screen as a caption for something or other. It annoys the shit out of me that even MRR has taken what was liberating... outside... and filled it with asterisks. I gotta use 'em, though. It's a company rule!
But it's more than that. Being black itself has become respectable. Al Sharpton, once my hero, now says hip hoppers shouldn't use the word Ni**er because it's disparaging. Translation: It's showing its outsider status.
Today, we have a black president who, while not slaughtering quite as many as his predecessor, still scores in the hundreds of thousands. He maintains his office of religious affairs and bails out banks, rather than Social Security recipients. He's a president, like any other president (except my hero, Jimmy Carter). Mainstream as white bread, get it?
If punk is anything, it is being OUTSIDE the mainstream. It is the fly in the ointment... the hole in the condom... the anal eggshell that cuts the tongue. It's what everyone else DOESN'T like... or what they're afraid of. Mainstream? Popular? Everyday? That's just not p**k.
ENDNOTES: [email subscribers (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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]
-->What the world needs now dept: YES! YES! And it's about time. Peru, whose LOS SAICOS are arguably the world's first punk band has finally created an ALL-GIRL DEATH METAL BAND! Muerte Ancestral! Contact Clara Herrara Novoa, Jr. Galeano 896, Santiago de Surco, Lima 33, Peru! Tell her Mykel sent ya!
-->Uncredited dept: Paul Abuse (aka Hohman) wrote to me about a old letter he sent me ten years ago. Then, he said that he wanted to change the name of MRR to Maximum Porn and have Ron Jeremy among the columnists. I completely forgot about that, but it's likely a subconscious memory that inspired my April Fools MRR column. I want to give him credit.
-->Irony on irony dept: So the Christian right wants prayer in school, creationism in science class, government support of "faith-based" organizations, state support of religious schools through voucher schemes... and they're at it again. This time the right-wing ALLIANCE DEFENDING FREEDOM (yeah right) is protesting a California public school for instituting a yoga program. Why are they protesting? They say the program violates the separation of Church and State.
-->Little Victories Dept: The private prison mega-corporation GEO will not get naming rights at the Florida Atlantic University stadium, home of the FAU Owls. The private prison group will soon make millions on the coming jailing of Americans without papers. It's called the DREAM ACT, though for many it'll be a nightmare.
FAU students formed an anti-GEO group called STOP OWLCATRAZ. They said that the school was “putting the families of their Hispanic students at risk of being detained in facilities that bear the same name as the stadium of their Alma Mater.” The bad publicity caused the corporation to withdraw its bid to name the stadium. 10 punk points guys!-END-
Your comments are welcome. And your comments to Maximum Rock'n'Roll (mrr@maximumrockn'roll.com) are even more welcome.
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