Tuesday, August 04, 2015

US and THEM or Mykel's Post MRR Column 23


Mykel Divides the World
by Mykel Board

At one extreme, a person might step into a social identity and BE it. Another might step into the same one and surprise you because they struggle against it or play it down in light of their unique biography. --Michael Agar

Ah, finally, he's here... visiting from Morocco... my pal El Habib. We met in Agadir, a city on the North African coast. He's coming to New York. In Agadir, he took me all over the place... cooked for me... great guy. All he gets in return is my couch.

When he told me he was visiting in July, it hit.

Uh...” I profoundly start my email. “That's Ramadan. Isn't it going to be tough for you to hang out and not eat? In New York... in America... everything goes around eating and drinking... all day... every day. Ramadan? Most Americans think Ramadan is a city in India.”

He sends me back one of those laughing “stickers” that facebook uses to disgust readers.

I'm tired of Moroccan culture,” he says. “I'm tired of Islam. I'm sick and tired of the whole thing. Let's eat!”

What about drinking? Are you gonna drink alcohol?” I ask.

Mykel, I'm gonna get drunk with you!” He says.

There is no facebook sticker with a grin wide enough to react. I love drinking with Muslims as much as I like eating ham with Jews... and that's a lot.

The plane was due at 3:30. I figure it'll take an hour to get through immigration. They won't know he isn't celebrating Ramadan. Then, if he comes by subway, that'd be another hour. He should have rung my doorbell around 5:30... It's coming on seven... no sign of him.

BEEP BEEP... the doorbell!

I buzz him in... take the elevator downstairs to meet him.

He's there... in the lobby... with someone else... two someone elses... each with a huge backpack... and instruments... a large conga drum... animal skin, Senegalese style, a guitar, and bags... half a dozen of 'em... two as big as my stove. They're all staying here... in my tiny apartment. We squeeze into the elevator and I reach around to push the button.

My apartment is now so crowded I have walk ON suitcases to get from the couch to the bathroom. The drummer sets up the drum in the only 2 square foot open space. It's the table for their stay.

Hey guys,” I say. “I want the perfect photo. Mykel and 3 Arabs eating pork together. You up for it?”

They look at each other. I wonder if I went too far. [ASIDE: Actually, I NEVER wonder if I go too far.]

Mykel,” he says, “I guess you forgot. We're not Arabs. We're Amazighs. You might call us Berbers. We were in Africa BEFORE the Arabs... before the Muslims. We're the Indians of Morocco.”

Okay, Chief,” I say. “Let's you and me drink the peace pipe and eat some pork belly. And what happened to the word Berbers?

We don't really like it,” says El Habib. “It comes from Latin. From the Romans... You know Barbarians. Anyone not Roman was a Barbarian.”

I see,” I tell him. “It's like Goyim.”

He doesn't get it.

One of the guys... the guitar player... speaks up.

I donno, Mykel,” he says. “I am a Berber, but my name is Mohammed. Don't you think I should change it? How far will I get in America with a name like Mohammed?”

“You should call yourself Osama,” I tell him.

He elbows me in the chest.

He gets it.

We have plans to meet later that night at Bar 13 where El Habib will read poems of The Beats that he's translated into Arabic. He'll also read some poems he's written directly in English.

FLASH TO THE CLUB: We're at the door. Ready to go in and Rock the Casbah to Allen Ginsberg with guitar and drum backing.

The doorman, a huge black doorman-looking guy, sits on a stool outside the bar. We approach... Me in arm boots and black jeans. The Berbers in shorts, with Moroccan equivalents of yarmulkes.

Ok, fellas,” says the doorman. “I need to see your IDs.”

They stop... freeze. The color drains from their faces. They look at each other... then at me.

Habib whispers to me, “Is he speaking Amazigh?”

Somehow I doubt it,” I tell him. “Most doormen come from the Bronx, not the Sahara. Just show him your ID.”

I reach for my wallet. The three of them are somewhat panicked, conversing in Berber.

Is this the American way?” asks the guitar player.

This is America,” I tell him. “Everything is ID, ID, ID.”

It must have a different meaning in English,” he says, shaking his head. “Aidee in Berber... er... Amazigh... means penis.

I share this information with the doorman. He laughs.

He's right,” he tells the guitar player. “Everything in America is Aidee, Aidee, Aidee.”

Inside the bar, Habib greets the hostess.. a short Semitic-looking woman who hugs him on arrival.

This is Sarah, I met her at the Kerouac school,” Habib tells me. “We've stayed in touch ever since. She runs these poetry things here.”

Sarah turns to me, gives me a big hug... like I'm a family member.

I'm guessing you're a poet too,” she says to me.

I'm not exactly a poet,” I say, “but a lot of people consider me some kind of artist.”

Poet. Artist. It doesn't matter,” she says... exuding such a love of life... of enjoying every second... I nearly cum. “Any friend of Habib's is a friend of mine.”

Then she hugs me again. I cum.

FLASH TO TIMES SQUARE: There is a big black guy... Not very black... more bank clerk black than club bouncer black. He wears khaki pants, a gray t-shirt, black moccasins with no socks. In his left hand is a piece of thick white paper... oaktag. He holds it high. On it... written in thick marker... is:


At first I'm pissed off... then confused... wondering if FINANCED means something different in Negro than it means in English.

I know the history. Some Portuguese and a lot of Dutch-- through the Dutch East India Company-- funded most of the slave trade in the West. Some major backers of the D.E.I.C. were Jewish. That's who lent money to the corporation at the time.

BUT, the D.E.I.C. controlled the tea trade, the salt trade, the furniture trade. They were a TRADING company, for G-d's sake! Why not say THE DUTCH funded the slave trade? Or The Dutch East India Company funded the slave trade? My ancestors in Kiev had nothing to do with it.

FLASH TO AUSTIN TEXAS: I gotta take a piss. BEERLAND is living up to its name. Shiner Bock... almost makes up for G.W.B. Shiner's a great beer, but it does what beer does and I need to get rid of mine before the next round.

I stagger over to this very Texas-looking (blond, large and jiggly on top) girl. Brushing against her prominent-though-covered nipples I slur, “Air da mess oom?”

Excuse me?” she says, stepping back a bit.

Men's room?” I say forcing my mouth into proper linguistic position. “This is an emergency.”

She laughs. “This is Austin,” she says. “We don't do men's rooms.”

A trickle begins its decent down my leg.

FLASH TO THE NEWS: Austin has become the first city in America to legislate gender-free bathrooms. When you gotta go... you find a stall and go. That's it. No penis-bound division. Just go... just restrooms... just toilet... stand... sit... or hover... no one checks the danglies.

FLASH TO THE THEORETICAL: You probably get it by now. I'm writing about the way we divide up the world: us and them... Jews and goyim... Romans and Barbarians... gays and straights... men and women... trannies and cis-men. This division does not only come from our view of the world... it CREATES our view of the world.

Some Saudis and a couple of their buddies fly 747s into the World Trade Center. KAPLOW! Suddenly, they become ISLAMIC attackers. Not Saudis. How come?

Israel with several American Jewish volunteers kill thousands of Palestinians in Gaza. The attack was an ISRAELI attack, not a JEWISH attack. How come?

Homosexuals try to show scientific evidence they “are born that way.” What way? Every time a new sex or gender group defines itself, another letter gets added to the LBGTQ alphabet soup, expanding US, but not changing the whole view of US vs THEM.

I'm a Jew, a writer, a punk-rocker, a social libertarian, a contrarian, a pansexual, a short old bald guy with a bad hair transplant. No, that's wrong. I'm NOT a (fill in the blank). I DO (fill in the blank). I write. I shit. I fuck when I can, jerk off otherwise. I fast on Yom Kippur and don't eat bread on Passover.

I want to suggest a wee change to the paradigm... I mean a WE change. It's about how WE divide the world. It's about how WE see US and THEM. It's about how there is only US. THEM is a myth... an artificial arbitrary result of picking a few characteristics and using those to draw a line between US and THEM. It's about identity politics... where the politics should be about erasing identity.

Humanity is a hodgepodge of individual characteristics, tastes, genders, religions, skin colors. There is only US.

White Pride, Black Pride, Islamism, Jewish Nationhood... they're all dangerous divisions that come from dividing up the world in into US and THEM. Take down those MEN and WOMEN signs from the toilet world. Learn that THE JEWS (White People, Africans, Germans, The Arabs) didn't do anything-- good or bad. PEOPLE did things. And that's all the dividing we need.

ENDNOTES: [You can contact me by email at god@mykelboard.com. Through the post office: send those... er... private DVDs..or music or zines... or anything else (legal only!) to: Mykel Board, POB 137, New York, NY 10012-0003. If you like my writing, you can be notified when anything new is available by subscribing to the MYKEL'S READERS Yahoo group readmboard-subscribe@yahoogroups.com]

-->Free means you don't pay dept: 11-year old Margaleet Katzenblickstein in Weston MA applied for a permit to hold a rally against the police murders of unarmed colored people. The police of that town said she needed to pay a hundred dollars (a couple hundred according to other reports) for the police presence at the demonstration.
Amazingly enough, the town declined the police request for cash and allowed her to hold the demonstration without charge... though I wouldn't want to be little Margaleet walking through the city on her own on a dark night. Look at what happened (6th arrest!) to the NY good citizen who filmed the police murder of Eric Garner.

-->Compassion trumps religion dept: This is the way it should be! Harman Singh, a Sikh student in Auckland New Zealand took off his turban (something forbidden by Sikh law) to aid a 5-year old who had been hit by a car. He tucked the turban under the child's head to help him ease the pain. That's the kind of US I've been talking about in this column.

-->Productive dept: Representative Steve La Tourette announced his retirement from congress by saying, “I'll go back and find something productive to do with my life... as opposed to the last eighteen years.”
Three days after that announcement, he joined a lobbying firm based in Washington DC.

-->It was on Fox News so it must be true dept: Thanks to D Keith Dobson Jr. for this Fox News Denver report: A Chinese man successfully sued his wife over “an extremely ugly baby girl.”
Jian Feng filed the lawsuit after his wife gave birth to the girl. Why did he win? Apparently Feng’s wife underwent more than $100,000 in cosmetic surgery before they met and never told him. He said she tricked him into thinking she was beautiful.
Feng sued on the grounds of false pretenses and a judge agreed with him. The judge also ordered Feng’s wife to pay him $120,000.
Since Fox News reported this, Snopes has investigated and found it to be complete fiction.
Fox, reporting fictional News? Who wudda thunk it?
My question: When will the viewers of FOX NEWS sue for being made stupid-- on the grounds of false pretenses?

-->Keeping the Pressure on Dept: I want to thank reader George Metesky for suggesting a continuing Bring Back Mykel effort directed at Maximum Rock'n'Roll for their firing me as their contribution to the world of censorship. Send your comments to mrr@maximumrocknroll.com (or post on their facebook page) with the subject line: BRING BACK MYKEL! Let me know how they answer.

-->And: I'm still on a massive clean-up/divest kick. I'm giving away DVDs, cassettes, VHS videos, CDs, posters, and a few 7-inch singles. Just pay separate shipping and handling. Details at: MykelsGiveaway


1 comment:

Susan M. said...

Mykel, this post is a work of genius! Nuff said.