Sunday, December 02, 2018

You’re STILL Wrong Mykel's December 2018 Blog/Column "Appropriation"

You’re Still Wrong
Mykel’s Post MRR column
December 2018

It’s hard to believe… I can’t believe it myself… but I type this at a tiny table in Mumbai, India… inside a… I can hardly type this… inside a… this is pain! Inside a Starbucks!

I hate the coffee. I hate the company. I hate the atmosphere… the customers. But it’s 97o outside. I’ve been sitting... standing... walking... in the sun since 10:30AM… it’s now 2:11PM. I asked Google for the nearest coffee shop with AC and it gave me three or four within a couple miles… none of which responded to a tap of the DIRECTIONS button. The only name I could remember was STARBUCKS… so I plugged it into Google Maps and voila! Here I am… guilty and unpleasant for being here. But here just the same.

Starbucks prices in India are the same as in New York. 200+ rupees for an Ice Coffee Medium… I refuse to say Grande or Tall or whatever the fuck they call it. 200 rupees is about $3... big money for the local snake charmers. The baristas served it to me In a cup with my name... “Michle...” written on the outside.

There are mostly brown-skinned people here, but enough palefaces to make me feel totally creeped out. Few things can be as horrible as drinking coffee at a Starbucks in an Asian country where other white people also sit and drink. It’s embarassing... like a fart in an elevator.

I’ve been in India almost 2 weeks now. Except for the weather, lack of toilets, and spotty internet, it’s been pretty good to me. (You can read my adventures at: One of the reasons I came to the country is I love Indian food in New York and I want to see how the real thing compares. I won’t find the answer in Starbucks.

Also, I know Indian food, but I don’t know Indian punkrock. I’ve been waiting 40 years for an Indian band The Vindalosers to show up at CBGBs. It’s not gonna happen, I fear… for two reasons.

1. CBGBs is gone…. at least the punk rock club by that name is gone.

2. As far as I know (or any of my punk pals in India know) there never was an Indian band called The Vindalosers.

It’s yours for the taking. Feel free to appropriate it and use it as you like. You don’t even have to give me credit…. And that is what I want to talk about this month…

FLASH TO a long shot of a dusty prairie... roaming cattle… a single dilapidated building… maybe a bar. Johnny Cash sings off camera as a lone horse and cowboy enter from screen left… galloping across... a dustcloud forming alongside… then fading behind them.

Slowly pan in… follow the horse over the plains closing in behind… until we have a view of the tail and… from behind… a man in bluejeans, flannel shirt… and cowboy hat… sitting on the horse… The dust kicked up behind the animal slowly fades… hoofbeats change from galloping thuds to clop... clop... clop.

Pan out again. The horse is on a street… some suburban town… a middle class American town… white fences… rose gardens… suburban houses with a few faded, tattered,
Hillary Clinton for President signs stuck in a few well-mowed front lawns.

As our cowboy rides down the street, two people come running from one of the houses. They wear black hoodies with a black scarves… burqa-like.… covering their faces. They shout at the passing cowboy. We hear the shouts over the hoofbeats.

Fuck you! You fascist pig!”

You think you’re a cowboy! You mock the Native American killers? You’re fetishizing the old west… The genocide of native people. You’re appropriating their culture and turning it against them!”

The pair picks up some rocks… some garbage… some things to throw… and throw they do…. the horse and rider gallop off toward a shopping mall.

You’re culturally appropriating!” They scream…. and that brings me directly to the topic.


First, let’s get the terms right.

There are two types of appropriation in the cultural sense. One is like the flu. If someone gets the flu from you… you still have it. The amount of flu is not fixed, but can be passed from waitress to bank president… with neither losing it as they give it away. This kind of appropriation takes from other cultures-- or takes from other languages-- but doesn’t TAKE IT AWAY.

When Burger King offered its “breakfast bagel” in New York, customers had their choice of ham, bacon or sausage. The chain appropriated a quintessentially Jewish food and made it as goy as you can get. In New York people objected… complained. Well, of course.

The offer didn’t last long in New York. But I hear it continues today in the South. I still have my bagels with lox and a shmear. Burger King did not take that away from me.

FLASH TO SCHOOL (I teach English to Japanese students) Ari shows up with a single thin chain around her neck. Dangling from the chain is a small rhinestone-studded cross.

Oh,” I ask, “are you Catholic or some other kind?”

She frowns.

Your necklace,” I say, pointing to the cross.

Oh that,” she says, laughing, “I’m not Christian. I just like the design.”

My pal Sara told me she saw a Japanese student wearing Mogen David star earrings. She asked what synagogue she went to. 

The answer, of course, was “What’s a synagogue?”

My mogen-david Matzoh cover loses nothing because of her earrings.

Now, take Halloween… please!

Happily, this year I was in India for that horrible holiday. Few people celebrate it here. Next to Christmas and the related Santacon… Halloween is my least favorite holiday. It’s gotten worse… more restrictive… because of charges of Cultural Appropriation.

I’m a Navajo, not your Halloween costume.

Pagans are not witches.

Blackface is racist.

The X-men of cultural purity don’t get that if I wear a loin cloth and feathers, it does not damage Chief Waterwiggle’s ability to sit down with his tribe of REAL Indians and smoke a peacepipe any more than Burger King’s bagels damaged my ability to enjoy lox and cream cheese.

What’s left for Halloween? Vampires?, Superheroes? Bad parodies of Donald Trump? Glad I missed it.

In Oregon, two women who traveled extensively in Mexico… discovered a special way of making tacos… one never seen in the U.S. They learn the recipe and cooking method from the locals, They open a restaurant based on their culinary discovery. What happens?

You guessed it!

CULTURAL APPROPRIATION screamed the Twitter Twits… The owners STOLE the recipe from some poor Mexicans. Hegemony! Imperialism! The restaurant soon closed.

I’ll try to put it another way, Culture is not a car. If I steal your car, you don’t have it anymore… It’s not there for your use. If I copy your burrito, you can still make another using the same recipe.

But there IS a kind of appropriation similar to car stealing.

When homosexuals became Gay sometime in the 1970s, “Gay” still carried the meaning of happy, carefree, light-hearted. I never liked the term as a sexual one. And most of the homos I knew (and most that I know now) are as far from being GAY (in the original meaning) as a crowbar is from being a crow.

Look at that guy, I wonder if he’s gay.” only has one meaning now… no matter how happy and carefree he is. The word is lost… stolen… taken away. And probably will never be returned. In 2018, you cannot have a gay old time without exchanging bodily fluids.

Then there’s anti-semite. A Semite is a person of Middle Eastern origin. Hebrew, Arabic and Aramaic (the language of Jesus… if you believe) are Semitic languages. Moroccans are Semites. Tunisians are Semites. Sephardic Jews are Semites. My Ukrainian grandfather was NOT a Semite.

But what happened? Somehow anti-Semitic came to mean anti-Jewish. All those other Semites were pushed aside. Jews-- whether Semitic or not-- took over the word and pushed aside its original meaning. In 2018 Palestinians can be “anti-Semitic,” and Jewish advocates for the Palestinian holocaust… well they’re just… er… something else.

FLASH TO NOW: I continue this blog in Delhi Airport… terminal 3. My flight for New York is set to leave in 13 hours. I can’t find an electrical socket, so my only choice is to write until the battery conks out. Around me are Indian-looking guys with tags around their necks. I guess they work at the airport. Across from me, a business-suited guy fiddles with his iPhone, stopping once or twice to adjust his black turban.

I clear my throat, trying to avoid the hacking cough that comes from 2 weeks in the most air-polluted section of the most air-polluted city in India… and I was staying with a chain smoker. My weak lung (the left one) wheezes on the inhale… coughs on the exhale. So much can happen between one paragraph and the next. Watch this:

Bang! I’ve returned to New York for a few days, then left by bus for a visit to relatives in South Carolina, I am now seated next to the bus toilet... the stink roughing up my still-frail lung…I chain suck one Fisherman’s Friend after the other. Any break makes a coughing fit loud enough to wake the neighbors.

This bus feels like India. I’m the only white guy… the way I like it. I know I’ll be jinxing it to write this… but although I’m overwhelmed with the smell of piss… there are no screaming babies.

I love the U.S. Southeast… except for the politics. The weather is usually nice. People are friendly. Best barbecue in America. Maybe I’ll stop in to Burger King for ham and cheese… on a bagel.

ENDNOTES: [You can contact me on facebook or by email at 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. Subscribe to the MYKEL'S READERS Yahoo group]

-→INKED Dept: If you need another reason (other than the risk of God’s wrath) NOT to get a tattoo, the Electronic Frontier Foundation reports that agencies of the US government are working on a tattoo database. It both matches tattoos with the wearer and tries to figure out the political and ideological positions of various tattoo holders. Originally they used images from police files only, but have recently branched out to include Flickr… and, I bet, that’s only the beginning. Watch that Instagram of your latest. The FBI is watching it right now. 

Cultural Appropriation by People in That Culture dept: People Magazine, of all places, reports that model superstar Gigi Hadid (mother: Dutch, father: Palestinian) has been criticized for wearing a hajib in her picture on the debut cover of Vogue Arabia. Her critics say she has culturally appropriated the traditional Muslim scarf. Of course, since she is ½ Palestinian-- and a Muslim… it’s HER tradition! -- Maybe she should have worn have a burqa.



I read that the search engines like lots of links... and it's also nice to support my friends and enemies in their blogs. So facebook me or email me if you have a blog, webpage or something else to connect to. I add you. You add me.

Here's a start:

  • David Goldberg's Busy Microbes Blog
  • And another Goldberg:
  • I post a blog for Kyle Nonnemon, in prison for a ton of shit. He's a smart guy, with a passion for industrial metal and a general detestation of humankind. You can read his blog
  • Poetry and humor fans will like Justin Martin in The Latency
  • Sometimes I contribute to an interesting multi-talented blog called OgFomK Arts see me there!
  • And my friend Mike R has a nice site with recipe hits from the past! (He cooked for me once... great stuff.) Check out Yesterday's Recipes.
  • And here's one by a member of ANTI-SEEN... a tour diary of sorts.
  • Andy Shelton has an interesting blog here.
  • Savage Hippie is a guy who has been YouTubing for a long time. Our opinions largely overlap... but he complains that I'm a Communist. I'm not! I'm a communist.
  • Chris Stecher publishes a zine called PRECIS. You can see the back issue links there... and he promises a new issue soon.
  • George Fertakis has a very nice graphics-heavyblog... with music and books featured prominently.
  • And my long-term pal Sid Yiddish contributes with his Mishegas Master Blog.

CONTACT REDUX: You can contact me on facebook or by email 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. Subscribe to the MYKEL'S READERS Yahoo group 

Sunday, November 04, 2018

You’re STILL Wrong Mykel's November 2018 Blog/Column "Tolerance"

You’re Still Wrong
Mykel’s Post MRR column No ???

I write this sitting in a train traveling on a 15 hour ride from Agra India to Amritsan… I probably have the name spelled wrong. I’ve got an deafening headache from lack of coffee. I’m thirsty, having just finished the last of the water. The only available food is Chiwda, a nice mix of nuts, toasted rice and noodles… great any other time… but it’s salty… and there is no water.

Internet is spotty in Google… time to write is even spottier. So this month, I’m combining some facebook posts into a blog. Next month, I hope, I’ll be writing about India.

This month, with some repeat (Who me, repeat? Who me, repeat?) I want to talk about TOLERANCE:

Tolerance used to be a “liberal” principle. I remember all these teaching tolerance programs in school… kids’ books with different colored rabbits-- kidtalk for different racial groups. The moral was always: underneath it all, they’re all just plain rabbits. Get it?

Tolerance was a virtue. You should approach people without pre-conception. You talk with them... learn from them... maybe they learned from you. People who dressed differently, looked different, had different religions, different ideas. You might disagree with the ideas… and say so... but you should tolerate them because a free exchange of ideas is the way both sides learn. And a free exchange of cultures is the way both sides can have nice new eats!

No discrimination by race, creed or color, we used to say. Today the right has no tolerance for race and color and the left for creed. Every politician promises ZERO TOLERANCE for something or other… and that’s supposed to be a good thing.

Maybe the earlier tolerance was a product of the peace and love generation… or the burgeoning Civil Rights movement… where Martin Luther King learned non-violence from Mohandas K. Gandhi His image is everywhere here in India. Like every podunk town in the US has its ML King Drive… every city in India has its MG Road. Non-violence is crucial to tolerance. Violence is the ultimate in intolerance.

I guess this began to change in the 90s… a reaction to the unlimited freedom and tolerance of the 60s and then the 80s. I think the first time I heard the words ZERO TOLERANCE was in the war on drugs. Any use of drugs… possession of drugs.. BANG you’re in jail. ZERO TOLERANCE. The WORDS became a hallmark of the Giuliani administration in New York. The Broken Windows policing policy, based on an idea similar to marijuana leads to heroin. The smallest “crime”-- pan-handing, pissing on the street, fare-jumping,… BANG! You’re in jail. ZERO TOLERANCE.

Of course this hit the poor hardest, if you’re not poor you don’t NEED to piss on the street or jump the turnstyle. The jails filled. The poor were in jail or forced out of the city… The rich, who no longer were forced to watch people piss on the street, moved in. ZERO TOLERANCE worked to reduce crime. But it made life worse for those not tolerated. And drove rents and other prices up… ethnic diversity down.

Like the swine flu, ZERO TOLERANCE, quickly caught on. ZERO TOLERANCE for prostitution. ZERO TOLERANCE for smoking in public places… and the list goes on. Then, like syphilis jumped species from sheep to human (I wonder how that happened), ZERO TOLERANCE jumped politics and moved to liberals… the so-called left.

ZERO TOLERANCE FOR HATE is a sign I saw in a store window on Lafayette Street. It made me laugh. What better definition of HATE than ZERO TOLERANCE? They are the same thing! That was funny… but it wasn’t a joke.

Just like all Muslims were branded TERRORISTS by the right… All nationalists, alt-rightists, libertarians suddenly were branded NAZIS, or FASCISTS by the the left. And, guess what, ZERO TOLERANCE for “Nazis” and “Fascists.”

In the 20th Century, the violently intolerant wore white hoods (and robes) and attacked violently in a wave of racial intolerance. In the 21st Century, the violently intolerant wear BLACK hoods (and scarves) and attack with clubs and fists in a wave of political intolerance.

Flash back about 20 years. An old Caribbean-American friend of mine lives in Raleigh North Carolina. Last time she came to New York she seemed slightly stand-offish. I don’t remember the exact details, so my reconstruction will be slightly off, but close enough. (I’ve changed the protagonist’s name.)

“Olga!” I shout when I see her. “Great to see you! It’s been a long time.”

Oh hi, Mykel,” she says. “My life has changed a bit since you saw me last. I have a new boyfriend now.”

“That’s cool,” I say, “but not so weird. How has your life changed?”

“Well,” says Olga, “He’s told me about Doctor Farrakhan. And I’m learning the proper way to act. Dr. Farrakhan says…..”

Dr. Farrakhan????” I don’t say, “This is the guy who said ‘I’m not anti-Semite… I’m anti-TERMITE! THAT Dr. Farrakhan

But I listen… I listen to ideas about modesty... about Jews position in history… about how Islam is the religion of the underclasses, the poor, the displaced, the oppressed. I listen.

And I have been listening ever since… or making the effort. I’ve traveled to Muslim countries (Turkey, Morocco, Senegal, The Gambia), and listened… and met great people, and have friends among them. I don’t hide my Jewitude… they check for horns when they find out… then they laugh and don’t care. We talk.

Flash to early 21st Century, Laurens South Carolina: I’m with Sid Yiddish, who’s visiting from Chicago. Laurens is home to THE REBEL SHOP which my cousin tells me is run by “a real Grand Dragon of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.” Sounds scary.

“Can we go, Uncle Mickey?” asks Sid.

We go.

It looks like it used to be a theater. The letters in the marquee say REBEL SHOP and there’s a confederate flag in front of it. Sid and I look at each other. I shrug. We walk in.

The owner of the shop, a chubby guy in his late 60s-early seventies wishes us welcome. Sid goes over to look at the t-shirts. I walk around to look at the posters, and Klan memorabilia. No lynching pictures… just guys on horses in robes with white hoods.

“This is the later Klan,” says one of the patrons-- a muscular guy, early 30s, I’d guess. “See the hoods… they don’t cover the faces like the early ones did. I guess they had more pride the second time around.”

Most of the pictures, in fact, are of the reformed Klan, where the hoods didn’t cover their whole faces… I wonder how long before Antifa is proud of what it’s doing. The story is scary, but fascinating.

The shop owner calls to us over the counter, “If you want to look at more pictures, you can check out my own room. I sleep in the back.”

He opens the door and shows us to the back room. There is indeed a bed there… along with what looked like several posters from BIRTH OF A NATION.

I look at the bed… nothing more than a couch with a few sheets and pillows... surprisingly coordinated, blue and an odd shade of beige. Then I walk out to talk with the guy.

“I’m surprised,” I tell him. “I thought you guys only used WHITE sheets.”

He laughs.

“You boys ain’t from around here, are ya?” he asks.

“Imagine your worst nightmare,” I tell him. “Imagine your vision of hell! The worst place you could ever be...”

“Ah,” he says,” You boys are from New York.”

The three of us laugh.

He motions to a younger man… 40s… muscular in an uncomfortable way-- like a grumpy version of the guy who told me about the hoods. The man is sitting by himself… arms folded… unsmiling. 

“I want you to meet (I forgot his name). He’s the head of the county National Socialist Society,” says the Grand Dragon.

Hi” I say, extending my hand, “I’m Mykel Board from New York. This is my friend Sid Yiddish.”

The guy doesn’t look at us and only tightens his arms across his chest. He does not take my out-stretched hand.

Sid and I look at each other. He shrugs. We go back to looking at the t-shirts. Before long, we both find t-shirts we like. Mine is a very homo-looking one with a picture of a topless cowboy smiling and the logo IT’S A SOUTHERN THING! Sid gets one of an astronaut planting a rebel flag, with the logo SOUTH SIDE OF THE MOON.

Sid, who looks even Jewer than me, pays for both shirts by credit card. The credit card has Sid’s real name on it. (Hint: think something-berg or something-stein.) The Klan guy looks at it, laughs, rings up the sale and hands us applications to join the Klan. Neither of us qualify… you have to be a “loyal white Christian American.”

We wave to him, and leave going back to my cousins.

“Wow!” says Sid, “That was quite an adventure. The Klan guy was funny.”

“I’m surprised the town allows a store like that,” I say. “Seems like it’d be bad for its reputation.”

“The great thing is,” he says, “that the landlord for the place is a black church… Southern gospel. He pays his money, and they’re friends.”

“Holy shit!” I say, “A black church and the KKK… now THAT’S tolerance.”

“It’s a Southern thing,” he answers.

Flash to 1998: The phone rings… I don’t answer… I never do… I hate the phone. In an hour or so I listen to my messages… I recognize George Tabb’s voice…

Mykel,” says George’s voice, “I have some bad news. Tim died today. I thought you’d want to know.”

People die all the time. I lived through the 80s… the AIDS era… dropping like butt-fucked flies then. I lost some people very close to me. There was a lot of sadness, but I didn’t cry.

ASIDE: I’m one of the least macho people I know. No muscles to speak of… I hate team sports (except baseball… and that isn’t really a team sport). I even ask directions on the street… can anything be LESS macho?

But if there’s a speck of machotude in my body, it’s the crying thing. I used to be sooo sensitive… as a kid I cried when Lassie didn’t come home. Later in life, I saw the movie, Once Were Warriors. It was about the Maori in New Zealand. I don’t remember the details, but I do remember that I cried… at a fucking MOVIE... I cried. What the fuck?

I felt manipulated… used… by the director.. I decided to stop crying. (Of course, when my parents died, I allowed myself the luxury. Most people cry when their parents die.)

But when Tim died, I cried. I didn’t feel guilty or girlish about it. I loved Tim. He was funny, opinionated, stubborn, and a good friend. We disagreed about music. Tim said the first hardcore band was THE MIDDLE CLASS. I said it was THE BAD BRAINS... politics Tim was a Commie... I was-- and still am, a Libertarian Socialist... baseball teams (but not baseball as an institution). Tim was a Giants fan… I liked the Yankees.

I remember Tim taking me to Candlestick Park for a Giants game. When the Star Spangled Banner came on, I stood up and took off my hat. (This was just to get Tim’s goat. I am not a fan of America, or The Star Spangled Banner? Oy vey! Is there another national anthem with bombs and rockets in it?)

Tim asked me to write for Maximum Rock’n’Roll and kept me on through several purges (I LOVED Tim, but he was not a tolerant guy. Not only Politically Correct, but Musically correct, and business modely correct.) Tim only censored me once in my time at MRR. That was when I mentioned John Crawford… creator of the Baboon Dooley. Tim hated the guy.

But we got along so well. We both respected and made fun of each other. I would never miss hanging out with him on my frequent visits to San Francisco.

Bob Black once asked me why I continued writing for MRR despite the totalitarianism of Tim.

“Don’t you know?” He said, “Tim is using you to try to prove he’s open minded. You’re just a tool.”

But, I LIKE the guy! He took me out for my first El Salvadorian burrito. He’s like a musical encyclopedia (Example: I once was talking about subjects for punk songs. I was a fan of the early Texas homocore of the time like THE BIG BOYS and THE DICKS.)

“It’s a shame there are no homo baseball-loving bands,” I say.

In a flash, Tim is gone only to return with a 7” from a band whose name I can’t remember, but who had a song “I fell in love with a guy on a baseball card.”

So, when Tim died, I cried.

Someone set up a memorial page for Tim… I contributed. A friend of mine sent me an email message:

Did you see Gavin’s obituary for Tim? It’s really good.” And she sent me a link.

I thought she was talking about Gavin of Artless guitar fame. But it turns out to be a guy called Gavin Mcinnis… someone I never heard of. But I really liked the obituary. It was obviously written by someone else who loved Tim.

I find this Gavin on facebook and friend him. Turns out he knows who I am… and he played in a punk band himself. I check out his page and see he’s got his own TV show… on Fox. Who am I to judge? One of my best friends-- and fellow yippie at Beloit-- had an investigative reporter job on Fox. (He’s since worked for Bernie Sanders… and helped expose the Russian connection during the last election.)

I invite Gavin to go drinking with my roving group of drunks in New York… He promises to join but never does . Then I heard about THE PROUD BOYS.

Actually, that’s not quite true. It wasn’t that quick. Gavin and I had some brief exchanges about Drink Club in New York, and a bit more about punkrock. I had already been fired from MRR by the latest in a succession of post-Tim MRR editrixes. I was fired for complaining about MRR policy of censorship that I never had to suffer under Tim... but times were changing.

Then, I didn’t realize Gavin had a TV show until… and didn’t know that he had anything to do with VICE in NY or anything else. Now, I realize he’s kinda famous.


FLASH TO BERKELEY… the home of the Free Speech Movement in the 1960s. The movement sparked the naming of a square FREE SPEECH SQUARE.
Now we’re in the 21st century. Some group called AntiFa had stopped a speech by Milo Yiannopoulos, a right-wing homosexual. It was the first I heard of the Antifa or Yiannopoulos, but I enjoyed the irony of a blocked speech in Free Speech Square.

As time passed, I heard more and more about the hooded AntiFa’s intolerance… and their violence used to suppress the speech of those they don’t agree with. Labeling their antagonists NAZIS, they feel it’s right to stop them BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY, including murder to judge by the cartoon.

I suggest to Jeff Bale, another former MRRer, that we start a counter group to AntiFa where we go to meetings of the totalitarian left and stop THEM from speaking BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY. Jeff puts the kabosh on that idea.

“We need to maintain the high road,” he says. “Let them be the thugs.”

“But how about if we don’t stop them from speaking,” I offer, “but just get together to protect speakers from being attacked and censored by the hooded ones.”

He wasn’t up for that either.

“Mykel,” he says, “You’re nearly 70. I’m a year older. You think we can fight a bunch of macho 20 year olds with chips the size of a hammer and sickle on their shoulders? Besides, I thought you were non-violent.”

He’s right. I’m, letting a bit of 70 year old macho get in there. My mistake.

Shortly after that conversation, I heard about the Proud Boys. I didn’t hear much, but they sounded like my fantasy-- a version of it anyway. They are a group dedicated to fighting the censors… and ready to fight. They are not non-violent. They are macho brawlers willing to stand up for the right to speak. And willing to fight back when attacked. A kind of tolerance police… freedom defenders… At least that was my image when I first heard about them.

That they came from the right is logical. Free speech in America (this century) has been physically attacked by the left more than the right. If I had my druthers, I’d rather they came from the libertarian left. I’d like to see the war between freedom fighters vs the totalitarians… though with a different ending than in the Spanish Civil War. 

But, as I’m learning here in India, you eat what’s on your plate… even if-- in two hours-- it’ll give you the shits.

What happened in New York with The Proud Boys vs Antifa? I don’t know. Gavin says THEY started it, with a physical attack-- a thrown bottle. The press… at least the non-Fox press… says The Proud Boys were just a gang out to commit hate crimes... toughies looking for trouble

My guess: the truth lies in the middle, as it usually does. But in any case, the war will continue. Because talking is over. Tolerance… discussion… learning… compassion… understanding… are values long gone. Those who disagree are NAZIS, if you’re Antifa… or ANTIFA if you’re on the other side. 

Me, I’m on nobody’s side. I fear for the future though… Tolerance was a great value… as was non-violence. Both are gone now. It’s anyone’s guess what’s gonna happen. Being near 70… I’m lucky enough to have less of a future than the rest of you. It ain’t gonna be pretty.

1. I know about Carl Popper… He’s wrong.

2. I will be spotty on answering comments. I’m now in India and Internet access is not as available here as you’d expect… and I have other things to do.

3. If you want to read about my adventures in India and other places, check out my travel blog at:

Thursday, October 04, 2018

You’re STILL Wrong Mykel's October 2018 Blog/Column "The Sermon"

You’re STILL Wrong
Mykel's October 2018 Blog/Column
I’m Sorry, You’re Forgiven

[I write this blog 3½ hours into my Yom Kippur fast. As usual, I am doing no work during the fast. For me… work is anything having to do with money… Today, I allow myself only to write, clean my apartment, and prepare for my month and a half in India.]

Barefoot, dressed in itchy sack cloth, I enter The Holy of Holies to pray for my congregation. Around my waist is a rope… the other end dragging outside. If I faint, or lose my balance, the congregation can pull me to safety without having to enter this place themselves. Only I-- head priest/rabbi- am allowed inside.

Only me… and G-d. I bet they’re all thinking it’s a massive golden room with dancing girls … and jugs of wine stamped from grapes… barefoot by naked angels. Emeralds, rubies, adorning human skulls… cups for the wine.

Sorry to disappoint you. It’s just a bunch of rocks… just a place for me and G-d to talk things over. For me to get straight with G-d… to confess my sins… and the sins of the congregation. That time I ran out on the poor drunk girl… just left her in the club to fend for herself because I couldn’t stand her dragging on me. Then there was taking advantage of my sister… not that way… but in a more perverse way… exercising my penchance for stirring up shit… I pushed her Israel buttons… more interested in being right than in being compassionate. Then there was that guy on the subway… walking car to car… showing off his disfigured legs… legs, he said, scarred in a motorcycle accident… unable to take care of… blah blah blah… I clicked my tongue and felt annoyed that he was keeping me from my reading. Then there was me… sitting at a table with others… having a discussion… but not discussing… only waiting… not listening… not learning from the people around me… but only waiting to bust in… have my say… preach what I already know. Then there was that girl… the shiksa… on her hands and knees… whimpering… “Yes, you can do it Mykel… but please… be gentle… I have hemorrhoids.” I wasn’t gentle. The list goes on.

This confession is easier than it would be if I were to make it in anyone else’s presence. G-d shows no judgement… just a simple nod of the head for each sin… and a patient wait for the next one. After my sins come the sins of my congregation… much longer and more perverse than mine. I feel faint... out of breath... wonder if I’m going to collapse and need to pulled out by the rope. I continue… there’s a sin for every letter of the alphabet. Oy vey! And then I’ve got to come out and give a sermon. Why can’t I just have a little Manischewitz and some matzoh balls and be done with it? Wrong holiday.

Holy of Holies

We have a deal... G-d and me... Since she can only forgive me for sins against her (working on the Sabbath, saying Goddammit, stuff like that) she takes my other forgiveness requests and holds 'em until I'm forgiven by the people I actually sinned against.

The deal works like this: If I forgive everyone who did bad stuff to me... and THEY forgive everyone.. then we can have a whole set of slates... all wiped clean. But I gotta go back more than a year... who knows who I missed in the past.

Those guys who mugged me from a bicycle in Mexico city... You're forgiven. That girl who fucked my friend on my bed when she was supposed to be apartment sitting for me... You're forgiven. My friend who fucked that girl on my bed when she was supposed to be apartment sitting for me... You're forgiven. Those big guys in the East Village who stole my black leather jacket.... You're forgiven. My parents who made me cut the lawn in Hicksville, even though I had hay fever... You're forgiven. The cops who tear gassed me at the Chicago Democratic Convention in 1968... You're forgiven. The guy who punched me in the face for not having a cigarette... sent me to the hospital for stitches in my lip... You're forgiven. That guy... I forget his name... the one that didn't tell me about his anal wart... You're forgiven. That girl who threw a chair at ARTLESS, knocking over our crippled drummer and nearly breaking my leg in the deal... You're forgiven. The editrix who fired me from Maximum Rock'n'Roll for not using an asterisk in a taboo word.... That's a tough one... but you're forgiven. The list does not end there.

But finally I’m done. G-d smiles, wishes me well, says “All is forgiven” (At least that’s what I THINK she says… My Hebrew is lousy.) And I head out to give my drasha (sermon).

I adjust my tallis and clear my throat before starting. My right testicle itches like hell, but in front of a congregation of yarmulkes I fight the urge to scratch. I lose the fight.

Fellow Jews,” I begin. “I forgive you.”

Stephen Miller
If there’s anything lacking in America in 2018 it is forgiveness. It is the ability to say… okay, it’s over. You fucked up and that was then and this is now.”

In this age of cellphone ubiquity every time you scratch your balls it’s recorded and posted on Twitter. Every OK sign becomes a flash of WHITE POWER! Even if the flasher isn’t white.

Trump adviser Stephen Miller flashed the sign in back of Kavanaugh. Yeah right, take a look! He’s fixing his tie! Even Snopes says it’s bullshit.
I say it's likely not true, but even if it is... He's forgiven.

Another sign was “flashed” by Zina Bash, a Jewish-Mexican American. Just resting her arm on her hand. BANG! She’s “flashing racist signs.”

People are so quick to judge… so unable to forgive…

“Well, intentional or not... she's forgiven.

Forgive… When we think of for we usually think of fore... BEFORE. But here it means completely not... like forego. When we forgive, we completely give up the idea of punishment… of retribution… or guilt. We forget about past sins, mistakes, errors, malice. We put a fresh coat of paint over the toilet wall of phone numbers and graffitied vaginas.

Zina Bash flashing signals
Forgiveness is built into the law. That’s why we have statutes of limitation. People change. Sins of youth… of passion of the moment… of immaturity… they’re over… forgiven. We’re allowed to make mistakes and move on.

Yes, fellow penitents, America… and maybe the world… has a huge grudge-on. There is no MORE forgiveness… especially with mistakes made about sex! My fellow circumsizees… is there anyone among us who has not lusted… who has not poured that extra drink in hopes of nookie payback? Is there any one of us who has not pressed too hard or begged BUT PLEASE... hoping to G-d NO didn’t really mean NO?

Yet when an Alabaman runs for the Senate… one with a POLITICAL record (as reported by Wikipedia) as an advocate of far-right politics. He attracted national media attention and controversy over his views on race, homosexuality, transgender people, and Islam, his belief that Christianity, as interpreted by him, should order public policy,and his past ties to neo-Confederates and white nationalist groups. Ray Moore was a leading voice in the birther movement, which promoted the false claim that former President Barack Obama was not born in the United States.

But for what was he unforgiven? For encouraging his three pack to be touched 30 YEARS EARLIER! No forgiveness there. He denies the allegations. I say it doesn’t matter. There is a moral statute of limitations. We have to FORGIVE. We have to allow people to move on in their lives to paint those toilet walls. I… opposed Moore for his CURRENT beliefs… for his political platform… But I supported him in the name of forgiveness…. I emailed a letter to him showing that support. I wrote about this before.

Now there’s Brett Kavanaugh, on tap to be a Supreme Court Justice. In 2009, the guy wrote: "Congress might consider a law exempting a President -- while in office -- from criminal prosecution and investigation, including from questioning by criminal prosecutors or defense counsel." And he’s appointed by a president under investigation! Just awful.

There are a ton of things… opinions… judicial things... to oppose the guy on… but what happens? HIGH SCHOOL! Decades earlier some one claims he put his hand over her mouth. Rape? Naw! Physical injury… fuggeddaboudit. He put his hand over her mouth and rubbed up against her. 30+ years ago! What the fuck? My fellow Jews… are there any of us who have not done something in High School that we regret… that we’re sorry for? We were TEENAGERS! Stupidity and aggression is in the nature of teendom. Forgive it!

Kavanaugh, who had my opposition for a host of legal, moral and judicial issues… now has my support in the name of FORGIVENESS. I hope he gets the job.

When we talk about HATE GROUPS… what better criteria for hate than lack of forgiveness? If we find an offense-- real or imagined-- and we hold a grudge... refuse to let it lie. Refuse to delete those pictures on our iPhones… then we hate.

So, Ray Moore, Brett Kavanaugh, you have my support. Not to do so would make me a part of a very large hate group. It’s Yom Kippur, everyone is forgiven. I don’t hate anyone at all.

My the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing in your sight, oh G-d, my Rock and my Redeemer. Amen.”


ENDNOTES: [You can contact me on facebook or by email at 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. Subscribe to the MYKEL'S READERS Yahoo group]

-→Repeat repetition Dept: I know this column is very similar to one I wrote recently about REVENGE. Like the news… sometimes I repeat myself. Like the news… sometimes I repeat myself.
    My life is not so novel at the moment… but that will soon change. In a few days, I leave for 6 weeks of travel to INDIA. Especially, I’ll be in Mumbai (the locals call it Bombay) and Delhi… old and new. Any advice, contacts, warnings, band or food recommendations would be much appreciated.
     You can email me at the above address, or post to my India facebook page. I hope to hear from you. I’ll also be posting regular updates in my travel blog.

-→Speaking of the White Power sign: Ever since the guys at 4Chan – the Yippies of the right-- noticed that Donny Trump often gestures with the OK sign, they’ve made it their business to convince the world that the sign means “White Power.” I don’t think there’s a group of bigger suckers than the totalitarians from both sides. They see, Commies, Russians, Secret signs, dirty immigrants, conspiracy this, conspiracy that, around every corner and under every bed. So, in order to stoke the ovens of the GREAT CONSPIRACY, here’s my contribution (guaranteed REAL PICTURE… NOT PHOTOSHOPPED) to the conspiracy:

--> More on teens Dept: Two 13-year old boys were charged with Sexual Harassment for slapping the asses of two 13 year old girls. Slapping the asses!!! Jeezus! Who HASN'T slapped or been slapped... It's a high school ritual, and watch any baseball or football game for more. These guys could go to jail for 10 years!!! Just incredible! I don't even think there's enough even to ask forgiveness for... except for the girl's parents who are proceeding with the ridiculous charges.

Huh? Dept. I happened to catch this on some website or other. Seems to be an official tweet from the Lake Tahoe police warning people not to leave “scented items” in their cars in bear country. Ok, makes sense to me. Bears are hungry, they may do some damage trying to get in. (Though I’m surprised they instagram the results of their actions.) But what doesn’t make sense is BEAR CANISTERS. My spellcheck keeps trying to correct it to BEER CANS. Maybe it’s a special term that locals know but the rest of us are ignorant about. Check it out yourself…. It’s BEAR CANISTERS.



I read that search engines like lots of links... and it's also nice to support my friends... and enemies... in their blogs. So facebook me or email me if you have a blog, webpage or something else to connect to. I add you. You add me.

Here's a start:

  • David Goldberg's Busy Microbes Blog
  • And another Goldberg:
  • I post a blog for Kyle Nonnemon, in prison for a ton of shit. He's a smart guy, with a passion for industrial metal and a general detestation of humankind. You can read his blog at:
  • Poetry and humor fans will like Justin Martin in The Latency
  • Sometimes I contribute to an interesting multi-talented blog called OgFomK Arts see me there!
  • And my friend Mike R has a nice site with recipe hits from the past! (He cooked for me once... great stuff.) Check out Yesterday's Recipes.
  • And here's one by a member of ANTI-SEEN... a tour diary of sorts.
  • Andy Shelton has an interesting blog here.
  • Savage Hippie is a guy who has been YouTubing for a long time. Our opinions largely overlap... but he complains that I'm a Communist. I'm not! I'm a communist.
  • Chris Stecher publishes a zine called PRECIS. You can see the back issue links there... and he promises a new issue soon.
  • George Fertakis has a very nice graphics-heavy blog... with music and books featured prominently.
  • And my long-term pal Sid Yiddish contributes with his Mishegas Master Blog.

CONTACT REDUX: You can contact me on facebook or by email at 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. Subscribe to the MYKEL'S READERS Yahoo group

Why You Can't Think or You're STILL Wrong

    Why You Can't Think Right or You're STILL Wrong, Mykel's July 2022 Blog by Mykel Board It’s okay to dislike worms because t...