Thursday, December 28, 2006


As a teacher of history, I have to take some of my far out views of reality and pack them deep in my personal luggage, underneath the official clothes of my “professionalism.” I’m not real professional, but I try to give the appearance of normalcy to my charges on the off chance that one of them is some sort of psychotic punk who might report my leftist leanings to the wrong authorities. Such are the candy-assed fears of the “successful” American citizen.

One benefit of taking on the appearance of one beholding to the great civilizing banality that rules the consumer-citizen’s mentality, is that I can slip dissident thoughts into the minds of my charges within a well-camouflaged persona, one that does not raise “red flags” if you will. I still remember the words of a professor of public health I knew at San Diego State who when queried as to why he appeared so conservatively normal and unthreatening while promulgating rather radical shit to his students replied, “guerilla warfare. If you want to change the system from within, you have to blend in.”

I blend in. But there is always the risk that the wool pulled over the pelt of the wolf will begin to alter the creature inside. You know we’ve all seen dogs eat grass and frankly there’s a fair amount of cereal in commercial dog food. I stopped eating red meat years ago. Things are at a stasis and I know it.

Reading Alexander Cockburn’s book “Whiteout: The CIA, Drugs, and the Press” reminded me that history training itself has its own heuristic dangers. We who get paid for telling plausible stories censor ourselves down to easier and easier levels of proof. But reality follows no such path. And the larger lesson probably should simply be that paranoia and suspicion has its place in all healthy minds. Go ahead, read the paper, watch the news, and enjoy you various states of consciousness. But keep your credulous powder dry. The fucks who run the world are playing by dirty rules. And few if not none of the things they tell you they care about that you should care about are right. War on Drugs? War on Terror? How about a war on billionaires, that one would get my vote. Because they have the biggest responsibilities for the shit that we step in.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Covering the Spread

Winning or losing? Bush has finally started to cant towards the reality that we are losing in Iraq. Losing what should be the damn question but that is so far away from Washington media dogpack mentality that they won't ever get to that part of the story. As a society we are losing, and we have been losing ever since Vietnam and frankly ever since the beginning of the Cold War. We have been stupid bullies for so long we now fail to recognize that we have a goiter the size of a football hanging off the side of our precious necks. So fuck it. We are finally getting some neo-truths from our frat boy president. If you feel satisfaction, well, . . . . . . .

John Stewart played the bit in Bush's newsconference whereby he pointed to the words of that pencilnecked fuckhead General Peter Pace who said, "we're not winning but we're not losing either." Stewart then put in, "are we covering the spread?" No. Even though the Iraqis have spotted us something like half a million deaths, we are still behind. What we need is a Goldwater to come in an start pushing for a tactical nuke strike or two, like those good old days in the 60s. If a old bastard like Robert S. McNamara can point out that "proportionality should be a guideline to war" maybe some day it will actually come to pass that we will start keeping a real score in the war on terror. We are terrorists too, and we have been using the threat of terror to keep our place in the world for a long time. Technology being what it is there is a terrifying chance that the chickens are going to come back to roost some day. I feel pretty fucking bad for my kids.

As Noam Chomsky pointed out, if you happened to read the newspapers in Central and South America on September 12th, 2001, they all pretty much said: "this is a terrible thing that happened in New York, but . . ." The media can suck my ass for not knowing about the "buts" and for not standing up to this pathetic little frat shit until now. We need to start covering the spread of terror if we want to win "the war on terror." Victory begins at home.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Bullshit Detector

Americans are a funny sort. They are best defined by what they forget rather than what they remember. I had an interesting breakthrough in class the other night. I was showing the students a segment from Ken Burn's documentary series, Jazz. The interesting part to me was that even in the 1930s all the aspects of black musical authenticity, white mimicry and its attending patterns of shit and shinola were in play. Benny Goodman was a hell of a player. But he was no Duke Ellington and he was only a echo of Louis Armstrong.

The point is not how white folks copy black culture. I love Elvis for Elvis and I don't really care too much about the thievery. But I do think that if you don't train your brain to tell the difference between copy and original, or at least play around with all the different shapes that define a genre, you will have a hard time building a functioning bullshit detector. And that was the point that fairly jumped out at me when my dull obedient students refused to engage with what they had just seen presented by Mr. Burns. They don't have functioning bullshit detectors, or they have just turned them off because its plainly easier to get through the waves of crap being dealt to us culturally, socially and politically if you just say "whatever."

To some extent the last election was bracing in that it appeared for a moment that a fair number of Americans turned their BD's back on and said enough is enough. We need to start talking with our enemies. As Lee Hamilton pointed out the other day, we talked to the Soviets, why can't we talk to the Iranians? The answer is that we got so arrogant and so self-righteous that we thought we don't need to talk to them, they need to come to us. Well, an few thousand IED's later and we are beginning to realize that we'd be better off talking. No bullshit.

Friday, December 01, 2006

The truth about Iraq

I haven't felt much like writing, and its partially because many of the things I think about provoke pain and anxiety about the future. Toward the top of this list of frets is the situation in Iraq. It has gotten so bad there that to contemplate it is to despair that there is hope for our nation and the one we have so recklessly unhinged.

Listening to the common wisdom, left or right, about the situation can only further unhinge me as both sides talk past it each with the self-righteousness of bullies. I cannot find comfort in knowing that the lies of the Bush administration and their over-weening hubris have come to a political reckoning. The Democrats are saying nothing smart at the moment. They seem only to be fantasizing about their time in front of the great American feed trough. Their lack of a narrative that might carry us toward a fairer better place in this world only confirms my bleakest cynicism about our future prospects as a nation. Glad as I might be that the Republicans had their wings clipped I am not buoyed by the first cloying grabs of Pelosi and her ilk.

What I meant to mention however was a something I did read today that while not buoyant and full of positivity, does contain the seeds of truth about what is actually taking place at this moment in Iraq. Truth from the perspective of one person, a soldier at that, might seem in scope and lacking the required gravitas of our political architecture, but if you have a decent bullshit detector, it can work. It takes me a constant reminder that there are people everywhere who are doing good and decent things. I hope someday to vote for one of them.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Sung to the tune of "Bingo."

I had a dog with a big ol' dick
and Boner was his name-O
and Boner was his name-O

His dick was pink
pink and thick
and Boner was his name-O
and Boner was his name-O

OK, who wants to help me with the next three verses? I can't help it if I wake up with these classic tunes in my head. Then I spend five minutes reading the New York Times in the morning, and all the joy gets sucked out of my life. There was a lovely article about the damn white evangelicals supporting Israel blindly, encouraging the Olmert Reich to kill kill kill. Does anyone give a rat's ass about the latest massacre in Beit Hanoun? No. And the Democrats are tip tip toeing around our impeachable president and talking about "winning" in Iraq. Everyone and their dog is working for the terrorists. They just don't know what a terrorist is. Boneheads.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Win or lose?

I figure there are two ways to look at this election victory for the Democrats. Either they won the requisite number of seats to take over the House and we can hope, the Senate, or the Republicans lost those aforementioned seats. There is a difference. If the Dems continue to futz about and base their party's platform on shapeless and ill-defined policies, we may just get another damn Republican President in 2008. Bush will not get away with attacking Iran now, and he may find that by making nice and listening to some reason, the world isn't half as scary as he'd like us all to believe. It could be an interesting two years. I think that it is going to be better, even if it still sucks. Suck lite I suppose.

There was an interesting article in the Nation the other day pointing out that fundamentalists are just as likely as anyone else to vote Democratic. That's because the black folks tend to gravitate to the four square type of church and they also tend to avoid voting Republican. Its time for the secular yuppies to get of their high horses and stop yapping about dumb religion ruining everything great about America. Religion has its problems. But selfishness is an equal opportunity fuck-up. The day I see someone sacrifice their Hummer in a fiery display of martyrdom (kinda goes against fighting global warming but it would make the news I bet) is the day we reach a tipping point in civility in the culture war. It's time to go met the neighbors, even if they are certain Jesus walked on the water.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The meaning of history

Talking with my 16 soon to be 17 year old daughter has become more and more of a chore for both of us as she moves into the habits and deceits of adulthood and its attendant alienations. But it is always worth it as I get to hallucinate backwards into my own high school memory miasma and get reminded where my demons come from. Clearly they don’t come simply from high school, but its certainly one area where they do come from.

The little voices in my daughter’s head have been put there by her parents, teachers, peers and god knows what other projectors of the American mentalité but as we were talking I could see simply they are actually alien to her spirit. “Aaron Burr” she said, “is longer than I though it was.” This book she is reading was this mornings worrying burden. And so we take our worrying burdens around with us until they become little robotic architectures of concern that rarely let us have a moment of peace. When somebody talks in a history class about our Puritan roots, this is exactly what the fuck we should be thinking about. A little Puritan devil robot has been injected into the minds of way too damn many of us and it makes us all alienated from the ground we walk on.

The meaning of history is that these memes or whatever some scientist might try to call them are the ghosts of our forefathers, spewing their regrets forward into the future for as far as we have the lack of imagination to cull their shit from our brains. And shit we have in our brains, given our desultory present of war and gasoline. The Cadillac Escalade parked in front of us at her school is an emotional reaction to something in the world that is beyond reason and colored with hubris. The person who drives it marks their personality with just one of the most obvious shades of brainshit that the Puritans (Republicans?) have bequeathed us. And there are ten thousand more flavors of these little demons floating about in each and every one of our heads, and its no wonder we try to stun them out with drink or sex or some sort of sensory overload because they are parasites on our free enjoyment of our own liberty to figure this world out for ourselves.

History is bunk: this is supposed to bug a historian but frankly it has gained a new appreciation in my lexicon thanks to my daughter. Not because she would ever say it out loud. What I see in her eyes is the dull polluting sheen of our smoggy past. Don’t ever forget that there were a tremendous amount of assholes that lived in the past. Try not to honor them with your worried mind.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Jerry Brown Uber Alles

The Dead Kennedys were on the XM this morning and I heard them in a new way, thinking to myself what the hell is wrong with this state, both the one I live in and the one I live in. Yeah, you've got to start questioning things when the San Diego Union Tribune, one of the most reactionary, imbecilic, asinine, puerile, misguided, petty and ugly papers to befoul a major US metropolis endorses the former future king of the universe, Jerrrrrryyyyy Brrroowwwnnnnn for Attorney General of the State of California. Holy shit. The UT is a petulant, flatulent declawed and dentured leopard trying to change its raggedy ass spots. Just like Jerry fucking Brown.

And then it hits me, we are Minnesota. We are that lame ass state with Jesse Ventura for a governor, only now our JV governor sounds like he has a blue-bellied lizard in his mouth everytime he opens his Austrian yap-yapper. We are a laughing stock. No wonder I am having a seriously bad time with my internal demons. They are struggling to get the golly god damn out of me because they are embarrassed to be living inside my stinky folds in the Disneyesque hellport. I've have accomplished the well neigh impossible task of shaming my dirty bits. The suede-denim secret police have set up residence in my discontented consciousness and I can hardly enjoy my personal revolt against the revolting banality chasers because I have lived in the sorriest city in California for too damn long. Still, the burritos here are really really good.

Update. I want to correct one of my earlier comments about the Steve Foley incident. He was drunk and he was driving. He will rot in a compound surrounded by guards from MADD until he perishes from this sunny purgatory and moves into a crypt of questionable taste upon his ultimate demise. The UT reports today that the cop never did show a badge. So when somebody with a really bad haircut driving a small Japanese car tries to pull your drunk ass over in the middle of the night, just remember, only cops have those kinds of haircuts. And they like to shoot Negroes (if your feeling black, that's probably close enough) especially if you got a white woman in the car with you.

Monday, October 16, 2006


One thing that makes me sick with anger is poaching. Not the killing animals without a license type. I'm speaking about car behavior. People who are always trying to get one more foolish space ahead in their race to be in front of somebody they don't even know. They don't leave a space to merge into when they clearly see that you need to get over. They pull into the lane that must exit because it is moving faster than the rest of the freeway and then they muscle in at the last second back into the main artery so they can poach 5 or 10 or even 3 spaces. They park in places that are attached to a particular business a take that space away all day so that people who might actually need to get into that business have to hunt for a space farther away. You could probably add to my little list. And you could probably add other public behaviors that qualify. We could probably agree that it is an ethos of the age.

Its not just selfishness that makes me want to get some sort of weapon (non-lethal, of course!) and put it to them right where it grinds a hole in their panties. It's the willful disregard mixed into a slothful inattentiveness that makes me consider going berzerk. We all should be fanned a little room to be stupid. We all do selfish things that if we had a chance to contemplate them minus the swirling miasma of the average inertial shitstorm which defines "normal" city behavior we might not so readily acceed to. But don't cry if somebody decides to crap in your gruel. I know its possible that I deserve something back for my ignorance that is not pleasant. I just wish some of these poaching cows get tipped over today.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Evolutionary Biologists Lack Imagination

Years ago when I thought it might matter to somebody, I used to ask the question “why do men have a refractory period after orgasm?” This question was the completing half of the more interesting question (for me) “why can women have multiple orgasms?” Scientists of the evolutionary stripe have tried to answer the question of why women have orgasms and when they talk about it even the folks who think like Desmond Morris and decide that it is so the cervix will dip into the semen pool and get a better shot at fertilization seem to miss the point that there is little evidence that this matters in the least. Women who don’t orgasm get pregnant pretty damn well. That would have to be the truth given that apparently something like 75 percent of women do not regularly have orgasm during sex. Something like 10 percent never have orgasms, and they get pregnant with no apparent difficulty.

Besides the obvious point that the EB researchers never seem to consider that patriarchy might have something to do with the success rate for female pleasure, the question of women’s ability or inability to have orgasms and its evolutionary advantages have to been seen in the larger context of the evolution of culture. And I can see a really obvious and supportable hypothesis that Sarah Blaffer Hrdy danced around in her book called “The Woman Who Never Evolved.” She pointed out that some primate males will not kill the offspring of any female they have mated with. Females that mate with multiple males end up protecting their offspring. More pleasure might equal more sex might equal either females needing more rogering for orgasm or maybe more orgasms period.

But if you extend this to a cultural analysis rather than simply a mechanical one, you might suggest as I will that females were the centerpiece in the development of better male relationships. Males that are hypercompetitive are freaking dangerous. And males that find ways to share stand a great deal better chance of working together as a team to survive and prosper. The development of the tribe does not go together real well with nuclear families. To wit: if you make sexual behavior a group activity you end up with an extended family of males who, by not over stressing on sexual availability get to focus on other behaviors that enhance the survival of the group. If a female can nail multiple men (which is something that some women can and enjoy doing) she becomes a very culturally valuable creature. Ramón Gutiérrez in his book “When Jesus Came, the Corn Mothers Went Away: Marriage, Sexuality, and Power in New Mexico, 1500-1846” points out that one of the first things that Spanish clergy noticed and had to “fix” when they met up with the Pueblo Indians is that they didn’t seem too possessive about their women and they didn’t really freak out properly when their women laid the Spanish soldiers. Shame had to be taught. There is a reason they call it the missionary position, dumb asses!

Beyond this crazy speculation, there is the work of those scientists who point out that sperm behave in a manner that shows they figure they have to fight off other flavors of sperm to get their uber boy to the egg. Some cohere and create plugs to wall off the passage to the gamete while others sprint to the goal. And then there is the issue of why women bleed every month. Simply they do so because it is good for them. Semen is a disease vector. Blood is a cleansing agent. And women who have sex with only one partner actually adapt to that reality and biochemically make it easier for those boys to come home. Which suggest that less is not more from an evolutionary point-of-view.

Given our obsessive issues with fidelity and virginity and the attendant ownership issues, we might just stop for a moment and decide if all that bullshit has made the world a better place or not. This all ties into heaven and especially hell, and the freaked out masculinity that needs to be assured and coddled and told that the kid really is theirs and that in some psychic way they do get to live forever. Living in the sexual regime of the male has defined our human history. The evolution of sexuality has a role to play in figuring out where we went astray and headed on into making violence a copartner with sex. If you don’t believe me this is the case, ask a Bonobo. Or go to your local women’s shelter.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The White Guy

I was seven years old and in love with all things sport. I remember pretty clearly when Tommie Smith and John Carlos walked up to the podium to accept their medals for winning the gold and bronze medals at the Mexico City Summer Olympics. I remember very clearly the two men swinging their medals casually like whirlygigs as they walked off the pedestal after standing and listening to the national anthem. I vaguely remember them being haranged by the ABC broadcasters for being disrespectful. But I don't remember anything about the white guy. And he died last week.

I had no idea that Austrailan Peter Norman knew what Smith and Carlos were up to. I had no idea that he wore a human rights badge in solidarity with the two black Americans. And even reading the local paper which pointed out that Norman was "a physical education teacher" I would not have learned that he paid a real price for standing up there and supporting their protest. He was blackballed from the Sydney Olympics. He was left to be a P.E. teacher and he didn't complain about it. And Smith and Carlos were pallbearers at his funeral. The three had been friends ever since that day. Carlos's kids called him "Uncle Pete." There's something damn beautiful about that white guy. I'm going to make sure that a few more folks remember him.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

That didn't want to be . . .

Bondage Is Prelude to a Heist at Sex ShopFrom Times Wire ReportsSeptember 28, 2006Three masked men robbed a Stone Mountain sex shop after tying up employees with black fur handcuffs and silver leg irons taken from the store shelves, police said. Authorities said the men stole $230 from the cash register. No one was hurt.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Beautiful Hate

A winsome demon approached me and told me that she had a bargain I’d be interested in. She said that I could have anything I wanted in the world as long as my anger never superseded her own. Now that sounded like a pretty good deal. If you had seen her you would have taken less time than I did to say yes. Did I tell you that she lived in this world?

Years later and I’m still keeping up my end of the bargain. But don’t think that it’s easy, letting a vision have its way with you. Sometimes, a lot of times, more frequently it would seem, I’d like to have the most beautiful hate. I know that sounds selfish. Every time I get pissed off and start stomping around the demon will remind me with a quick wolfish gesture that I’d better not go to that place where I believe I’ve got a handle on the order of things. Be patient. Good things come to those that wait. Now I know who said that and it ain’t helping. I wonder what all of us who are holding our hate back are waiting for. Shoes are dropping everywhere folks and we are just waiting.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

76 Ball

A friend wrote me an email asking for a story. I tell stories sometimes rather that just ranting like a pathetic fuck. So here's the story I sent her, minus most of the incriminating details, like real names. And the comic I stole from Zippy the Pinhead, which made me think about the story in the first place. I hope Bill Griffith doesn't sue me.

When I was in high school, and the drugs started to take ahold of each nights proceedings, interesting things used to happen. We always partied at my friend Neil's house (cause he was an orphan) and after getting properly lit up, we'd try to figure out something destructive to do. Neil was a pretty good golfer, and he lived off an alley that was just off State Street, which was the main artery thru Santa Barbara. Across State Street across from where he lived (like a nine iron we figured) was a Union 76 Station with one of those giant 76 balls, looming like a big target that we could see from his backyard on the alley. Well, you can imagine that as soon as we were properly ffffed up, it was time to take a couple of shots at that sucker. We sent our Canadian diabetic alcoholic friend Random Soucey (we just called him Soucey) over there (he became a lawyer . . . hmmm) to spot where the balls were landing. Neil would then launch a salvo of 3 or 4 balls and then we'd hide as eventually we did attact some police attention. The thought of those balls landing and then bouncing thirty feet in the air as they bounced off the concrete was further heightened when Soucey reported that he watched one guy filling up, hand on the nozzle, watch one and then another ball careen through the parking lot maybe ten yards away each time. The guy didn't move, just kept filling up as golf balls leapt and pinballed around him. Neil did manage to hit the ball but it never broke, as we all secretly hoped for.

Ah, the good old days when wanton destruction could trigger hours of hilarity. We made our own fun, damnit, none of this relying on the fucking internet to provide us with some sort of vicarious destructive thrill. (Although the stuff I've seen with Mentos and Diet Coke looks like it could be fun. Especially if you did it in a Walmart. )

Call the Police

I remember one time driving down the hill from Valley Center to Escondido, I ended up behind one very drunk asshole who managed to bang up against the J-wall as we came down Bear Valley Parkway and then, on the streets of Escondido, he almost ran over a woman pushing her laundry across the street. With my wife and kids in the car, I followed him and when he stopped in the middle of the freaking street near his house, I knocked on the door and talked some homeowner into letting me use their phone to call the police. They showed quickly and I pointed out the drunken dope that was still in his car. They arrested him, thanked me and I figured that I had done the right thing.

A cop ended up shooting Charger linebacker Steve Foley the other night. And among the things he didn’t do was call for backup. That the cop was off-duty, in an unmarked car and not in uniform only add to the smell associated with this event. The local media, a bunch of pathetic whiteboy asskissers, can only say that Foley has a history of alcohol abuse and that the car he was in was weaving. He wasn’t the driver, rather it was a female passenger. The DA just dropped a case filed against him in April alleging public intoxication, resisting arrest and battery of a police officer. The team has suspended Foley without pay for the season, essentially saving 775,000 bucks and they could ask for an 875,000 dollar signing bonus to be returned. His teammates are pissed of course, and we are not going to know for a long time what really happened at 3:30 in the morning. Suffice is to say is that the cop, one Aaron Mansker, should be asked if he too was drinking.

Foley will be out for the season with three gunshot wounds. The Chargers have a bevy of linebackers, one of which they planned on dumping (Donnie Edwards) who they now will have to consider keeping. What pisses me off is the way the local press always likes to make sure the cop’s side of the story is what drives the narrative. What the Union-Tribune hasn’t noticed is that the cops have been running the show in this town and in this red country for far too long. How about hiring a black sportswriter or two?

Friday, September 01, 2006

No debate

I spent ten minutes watching the Jim Lehrer news report on the last day of August, and I almost gave myself an aneurysm doing so. Debating the Presidents shit talk of the same day, was a half-wit blond representative from Tennessee and a chokingly inarticulate democrat from Massachusetts. Lehrer looked almost stunned as he tried to pull something viable from two denizens of the spinning hell which is Washington. There is no real debate going on about what we are doing in Iraq, because what we are doing in Iraq amounts to nothing. Talk of terrorists has become so facile and reactionary that real questions about what behavior identifies one as a terrorist and what are the real legitimate aims of this great nation are buried like the bodies of 9/11 under a steaming mass of broken capitalism.

Given the way terrorists are defined these days I am sure that the Native American fighters of the 17th-19th centuries deserved their “savage” nomenclature. And if you do stop to think about it for a second you know that us Enlightenment following Europeans have systematically gone about making new batches of Indians to demonize in the process of populating the hell of our own creation which exists to justify our hateful religion of choice. Not to knock believers, but Christianity of the lower order runs on certainty and fear. Without hell I’m not sure it could even exist. And this is precisely the point our beloved W is making in idiot code. We must see the other as the evil enemy of the past. No debate is necessary. We are soldiers of Christ, not a bunch of damn hippies. Hoo rah!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Winning Wars

We are a nation of wars. The war on terror. The war on drugs. The war in the Middle East may not be ours, although smart money says that it is and the IDF’s munitions are certainly in the main American made. We are having a culture war here at home over “morality” which is having such a polarizing effect that we can’t talk rationally to anyone we disagree with anymore. We are pretty fucked up right now as the image of Israeli girls on the left here would suggest. Hey, at least the economy is OK.

I read an article by a former Israeli soldier that pointed out that among other things that Israel lost this war with Hezbollah. I’ve read a lot of things about the war, but one thing that keeps coming up is that the most powerful military in the world cannot win a war without winning over the hearts and minds of the people. Which people, I’m not always sure of, but either you have to have a strong stomach for killing or you have to actually help somebody gain freedom. If you only bring pain and chaos, you only get pain and chaos in return. This should not be news to a country that lived through Vietnam.

But it is news, and as somebody once said “what a revolting development.” What revolts me the most is willful stupidity. Plain ignorance is somewhat forgivable if not amusing, but willfully aiming the gun at your head is just mean and vicious. We are busy committing suicide and what drives it is our hate. We are in love with hate. As Ren would say, “I like being angry.” But Ren wouldn't say, "I like killing my enemies."

Joe Strummer said that “anger can be power if you know how to use it.” We don’t know how obviously. Neither does Israel. Here’s what you do guys. Start loving. Start helping people, even your adversaries, have decent lives. Don’t be so god damn judgmental. Know what you don’t know. I know one thing. We don’t know shit about winning wars.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Flying Naked

The day before my wife and daughter were to fly to Vegas along with my friend’s wife (two sons and two husbands got to drive) the British apparently foiled some sort of terror plot that hinged on the use of liquid explosives. General panic ensued, and then after about 24 hours nobody gave a rat’s ass anymore. Packing less shit for a trip is not a hardship, and it reduces the hardship on everyone else if you’d just leave your damn shit home when you travel. I, along with the Vice President, are rooting for nude travel.

The reduction of carry-on materials is a silver lining for those of us who sometimes travel for business. And you can still take your laptop, despite hysteria to the contrary. Not that the reduction or elimination of electronic gear would be a bad thing. Having conversations with strangers is a necessary ingredient for the health of our society. And you learn shit too. Yesterday I spent the day watching the fucking Padres lose pathetically to the Giants with 7 guys who I knew pretty well and the only really good conversation I had all day was with the retired Mexican-American guy sitting next to me in the stands. From him I got the wisdom of someone who knows what is important and who hasn’t fallen to his knees in obeisance to some canted ideology of the moment. “Retire early” he suggested, and since we were there to celebrate my buddy’s retirement, it rang especially true.

It may become obvious to more of us, and soon, that retiring sooner rather than later is the most moral thing any of us can do given our countries complete descent into willful imperialistic violence. Consuming less or “dropping out” as was once suggested, is probably what more and more of us should be doing. The damn planet is heating up. What the hell, might as well take off some clothes.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Your Nation Will Die

There’s a scene in the movie “The Third Man” where a svelte Orson Wells tells his pursuer/ex-friend James Cotton a little bit about the advantages of corruption and chaos. Brilliantly set on a giant Ferris wheel, Wells is being chased by the authorities in post-war Vienna for selling bad drugs to hospitals. His soliloquy goes something like: Rome, Athens, etc, = intrigue, back stabbing, dictatorships, and great art, great architecture, greatness. Switzerland has had 800 years of democracy. And they invented the cuckcoo clock. Something like that.

When artists are faced with repression and cultural malaise, they do better work. Right now mainstream rock is so-so at best, but just outside the fringe there is some good shit happening. Last week I saw a new band, Burning Brides, out of LA that is just that. Good shit. Listen to Your Nation Will Die or Heart Full of Black. Any of their stuff will do. And go and buy the new Wolfmother CD too will ya?

Thursday, August 10, 2006

The Question is Religion. The Answer is Violence

I read one of the most depressing essays in recent memory yesterday. It was depressing especially because it was written by an intelligent, sensitive man, a French philosopher by the name of Bernard Henry-Lévi. He wrote from the Israel perspective of the war on Hezbollah. Entitled Pondering, Discussing, Traveling Amid and Defending the Inevitable War he discusses his reasons for supporting the violence against Lebanon within the context of a considered morality. To simply: the war is just because the missiles Hezbollah fires will only get deadlier. Israel is fighting for its existence, the Iranians want to wipe us out and they are fascists, and we are doing our best not to kill civilians so we are moral. The use of the word Islamic-fascist is telling, as is his truncated history of the Middle East and the lead up to this war. The linking of Hamas with Hezbollah, even as he notes that this war was is hurting the Palestinians is telling. His linking of Daniel Pearl to the soldier captured by Hamas is telling. But what is most telling is that there is no other answer for Israel. Violence is the only answer. Religion seems to be the question. How fucked is that?

Henry-Lévi is right about the missiles. They will only get deadlier. He is clueless as to why they will get deadlier. Israel’s mastery of violence will ensure that the only discussion her antagonists will ever have is how to poof her out of existence. But the reason there is a rise in Islamic-fascists, is this only because they are a manifestation of evil? I wonder what percentage of Lebanese support Israel? 5 percent? 3 percent? Israel doesn’t fucking care. We pay for their bombs literally. We will pay some more, on some day, no doubt. Violence is our only answer. Religion is only answer to the questions of why we are here. Jesus, we are stupid.

On a more hopeful note, I listened to comedian Doug Stanhope this morning as he discussed smoking DMT (a powerful hallucinogen) and the aftermath of this overwhelming experience. Besides being funny, he suggested the only way to understand what the experience was like was to imagine that you were a rat and for ten minutes you were given the consciousness of a human, only to return to a rat consciousness with the added knowledge that you are a rat and that there exists a higher consciousness. We are rats. I feel better knowing that.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


This fellow up in the Bay Area, John Perata called a bunch of folks down here in San Diego (anti-immigrant folks) “a bunch of crackers” and it seems to have caused a minor stir. Thing of it is, how do you characterize folks who are ignorant, hateful, and loud? If not “cracker” then what pejorative would be more sublime? Assholes? Too generic. Fuckwits? Better, but still lacking something. It needs to be more regional, hopefully something that could be tied directly to America’s finest city. I’m not saying I have any answer here. Diegans are a pretty mixed bunch but the military history of this town has left us with a cancerous root in ugly Americanism. Diego=Go-die.

The media has it that there are shitheads in every group, and they measure up every event through the lens of a false objectivity. Therefore Cracker is to whites as Nigger is to blacks, although no self-respecting white person sees it that way. A recent political cartoon on the UT’s editorial page suggested that the Israeli response to Hezbollah was the equivalent (morally?) to the US response to the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor. Proportionally that is, it is proportional to be disproportional. If anyone tells you that it was morally understandable to nuke Hiroshima, they are a moral imbecile. You can make arguments about the reasons why we dropped the bomb, and they are never easy to understand unless you are a cracker but there are no moral reasons for dropping the bomb that stands rational support unless you are basically a racist fuckwit. This is also true for the bombing in Lebanon. As for the rockets of Hezbollah, two wrongs don’t make a right. However, proportionally, the two wrongs aren’t the same. Israel will become moral the second they start losing. We are no different I’m afraid.

Friday, July 28, 2006

A Modest Proposal: Peace

“If we could just join hands , , ,”

More killing or less, which way should we go? I’ve been drifting between making a modest proposal and singing “give peace a chance.” At this moment, it’s pretty clear that the former is the way of the world and nothing in our shitheaded moral universe is going to change that. Unless the fucking Republicans are thrown out of the majority this fall, killing is going to be a growth industry for the foreseeable future. And Fox News is going to make it sound sensible to middle half-witted Americans and their sympathizers in the churches of holy self-righteous gas-guzzling fuckwits that pollute the sight-lines of rationality across our fair land. And if you think this is an endorsement of the Democratic Party, pass me the crack pipe.

The damage report for Lebanon is a fun first place to start thinking about this killing spree. No doubt the officers in the IDF who did such a good job prior to the kidnapping of their charges will probably get demoted or something tough, but any fool in this country who thinks Israel invaded because of those missing soldiers is just a cow looking at a pile of alfalfa waiting for fun in a charnel house. There is one possible upside to this invasion. Hezbollah will do something that we certainly can’t: unite Shiites and Sunnis in hate against Israel and their arms suppliers which you may have a clue to as long as you haven’t been staring at that steaming hay for too long.

Ah, this is an evil screed. Get out Physical Graffiti, cue to “The Rover.” Stop the madness. Get me a Boddington’s . . .

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Save the planet for less than a buck a day

I love horseshit, and on the internet there is a lot of horseshit flying around. Big green chunks in this case. Or maybe not: maybe all it takes of offset my supposed 20 tons of CO2 that I produce driving and chewing up the kilowatts and flying about is a measly 206.87 or whatever this "" calculated as my fair share of recompense for burning energy like the ugly American I most certainly am. I will begin donations shortly.

I was thinking that this is something that I would like to invent, and then I just googled “My CO2” and this is what I got. I feel better about myself, which certainly makes me wonder about the validity of this site. Its probably funded by the oil and car companies . . .

Monday, July 17, 2006

Do the Right Thing

I was weak, I tried to be nice, tried rationality with a disagreeable right-wing arrogant San Diego columnist because he had said something nice about a friend of mine. Fucking stupid of me. Materazzi (the guy who Zidane head-butted) is known to my Italian friends as "a rugby player." I should have stayed dirty and profane with Nick Canepa. Stay the course America. We need to kill more people so that we can gain the world's respect.

Here's the actually spew, his response and my retort. I love Italians, just not this piece of shit.


I spent my lunch with an Italian. He says Materazzi is a dirtbag, and he won 8 grand on Italy. Churchill said that he loved Americans because they always do the right thing. After they have tried everything else. Keep trying! wrote:

My freaking name,

I don't know if you could be more wrong, but you're probably close.

Thanks for writing,


-----Original Message-----

Sent: Mon 7/17/2006 9:57 AMTo: Canepa, Nick

Subject: Right and Wrong

Mr. Canepa,

I waited a good 24 hours to cool down after your Zidane piece. And I also wanted to be fair and to thank you for doing the Ultimate column on my friend Jim Herrick. He, in my mind, is the embodiment of a sportsman, someone who plays for the love of his game and who as long as I have known him as always been both a fierce competitor and a class act. Again, thank you for taking him seriously. Ultimate is a good sport, with a long history in this country. And its a sport Americans can be proud of.

On the negative side, and of course you knew this was coming, I am always disheartened when someone as respectable as yourself misses the mark so widely on an issue that could provide for your audience what we like to call in the corporate world as "a teachable moment." Zidane's act was something that many on this side of the Atlantic percieved as a clear sign of moral failure, something that was just not understandable given the situation. But did you bother to research the Italian player he fouled, the history of the man himself, or even get your local baseball contact Gwynn to use an analogous situation in his career (which he may never have had actually) to contextualize what Zidane did? No. You took the easy way out to my mind (and writing as many columns as you do for as long as you have certainly gives you a pass if you wish to take it) and just went along with the crowd who think that there could be nothing to justify Zidane's actions. Sports are great when they give us a chance to be our best and honor our finest ideals. But sports are not the meaning of life, they only reflect and enhance it. And if, and this could be too big an if, Materazzi did use racial and familial taunts at that moment in a World Cup that many feared could be damaged by white supremacists "fans" could this context change the meaning of what took place?

The German replay of the incident in the stadium would not have taken place in Petco. Tony Gwynn, was he ever called the n-word during game seven of the World Series by a catcher before a two-strike pitch with the winning run on third? You can read the Dave Zirin piece below if you like and tell me that he's just a biased lefty hack but you didn't even ask the right questions. He did. That you didn't is a shame.

If nothing else, know that among your peers, even though I disagree with much of what you write about and the ideological perspective that bleeds through your pieces, I admire your professionalism. In fact, you are the only columnist I regularly read in the UT. Some day I hope to live in a city with a world reknown newspaper. Since I was born in raised in Santa Barbara, I know that should I ever move back, it won't happen there . . .

Respectfully, My freaking name

Confronting Racism, Head On Why I Wear My Zidane Jersey

Imagine Michael Jordan in his last game, with the score tied in overtime, knocking out his defender with a punch to the throat. Imagine Derek Jeter in game seven of the World Series, at bat with the bases loaded, thrashing the opposing team's catcher over the head with his bat. Our collective shock would only be exceeded by disappointment. No one, fan or foe, would want to a see a great player end their career in an act that speaks to the worst impulses of sports: when hard competition spills over into violence. Now imagine if Jordan and Jeter claimed they were provoked with a racial slur. Does their violence become understandable? Even excusable?

Herein lies the case of French National team captain, the great Zinedine Zidane. Zidane, competing in his last professional match, was kicked out of the World Cup final in overtime for flattening Italian player Marco Materazzi with the head-butt heard around the world. Zidane, or Zissou as he is known, became the first captain ever ejected from a World Cup championship match. The announcers denounced Zissou for committing a "classless act and the French team withered, eventually losing to a demonstrably inferior Italian squad in overtime. The following morning the international tabloids with their typical grace, gave Zissou a new nickname: "butt-head. Less examined was the fact that Zissou was literally carrying a lightly regarded French team to the finals. Less examined was the fact that Zissou had been grabbed, kicked, and fouled all game by the vaunted Italian defense. Less examined was the fact that Zissou had almost left minutes earlier due to injury, his arm wilting off his shoulder like a wet leaf of spinach. This unholy amount of pressure is the primary reason the 34-year-old veteran snapped and planted Materazzi into the pitch.

Now the great mystery is what set Zissou off. What could Materazzi have possibly said to send him over the edge? Answers are beginning to filter out. According to a FIFA employee transcribing what was said during the match, Materazzi,s called Zissou a "big Algerian shit. A Brazilian television program that claims to have used a lip-reader said Materazzi called Zissou,s sister "a whore. The highly respected French anti-racist coalition SOS Racisme issued a press release stating, "According to several very well informed sources from the world of football, it would seem [Materazzi] called Zissou a 'dirty terrorist'." Materazzi, in an answer that can only be called Clintonian, said, "It is absolutely not true. I didn't call him a terrorist. Of course he didn,t comment on what he did call him. Zissou himself has only said cryptically that he would reveal what Materazzi said "in the coming days."

Right now, we do not know beyond a shadow of a doubt what was said but all the circumstantial evidence points at least toward a variant of SOS Racisme's claim. Zissou is the son of Algerian immigrants who has sparred verbally with Europe's far-right political machine for more than a decade. He is an outspoken anti-racist on a team that has defined itself by its multiculturalism and stubborn insistence to stand up against bigotry both inside and outside the sport. Materazzi on the other hand, will be playing this year for the Italian team Lazio, where his father was the former coach. Lazio's fan club, The Ultras, are notorious for their Fascist-friendly politics. Lazio's hardcore Ultras, known as the "Irriducibili," have members in Italy's extra-parliamentary far right and try to use the club to recruit. The group has frequently uses racist and anti-Semitic banners, one time hanging a 50-foot banner that said their opponents were a "team of niggers."

It's wrong to taint Materazzi for the actions of Lazio's fans, but there is more. Earlier this season in a match that pitted Messina against Inter in Sicily, Messina's star African player Marc Zoro famously picked up the ball and walked off the pitch in protest of the monkey chants rained upon him by Inter supporters. In a stirring act of solidarity, many of the Inter players immediately showed support for Zoro's actions. But one opponent yelled, "Stop that, Zoro, you're just trying to make a name for yourself." That opponent's name was Marco Materazzi.

At the start of this tournament I wrote a soccer column with my colleague John Cox, called Racism Stalks the Cup. We expressed our concern that the monkey chants, banana peels, and peanuts raining down on African players this year would continue on the sport's grandest stage. This largely did not occur. But then in the final act, at the moment of most exquisite tension, it seems racism may have actually emerged from the shadows. I, for one, am damn glad that when it did, it ran smack into Zissou's beautiful head.

We don't know with iron certainty what Materazzi said, but if it turns out to be more of the anti-Black, anti-Muslim, garbage that has infected soccer like a virus, the Italian team should forfeit the cup. They should voluntarily give the greatest trophy of them all back to FIFA as a statement that some things in this world are more important than sports. Racism will be the death of soccer if things don't change. Italy can set the sport back on course, with one simple, stunning gesture. Give the damn thing back.

Dave Zirin is the author of "'What's My name Fool?': Sports and Resistance in the United States." Contact him at

Thursday, July 13, 2006

City of Mice

I drive a 1970 Ford Ranchero, and driving down I-5 the other day with my sister I found myself stuck in traffic listening to the city of mice squeaking fiercely in the undercarriage. The struts and the shocks and just the old rubber that lies beneath makes this rodential din, and then my brain drifted into Zappa's "City of Tiny Lights" as it started up in the synapses. This forced me to put "One Size Fits All" on the cd player, something my sister's backround in decency and polite thinking has never before had to contemplate. There's a song on there about San Ber-dean-o (phonetically correct spelling!) about Bobby getting slobbering drunk at the Palomino and doing thirty days for drunkedness. Something about "there's 43 men down in cell block C and there's only one shower and it don't apply to Bobby." Yes, the City of Mice were talking. And they are telling me that its a far better thing to drive an old beater with no airconditioning in the glaring haze of Orange County than to convince yourself that the Volvo Wagon that does 130 in climate controlled comfort is what we all deserve. I like going 130. And I like it when my ass cheeks are not dripping wet with heatburn. I like it a bit too much is what the mice told me.

So the planet she is a-cooking, and even the most daft are starting to come around. Just listen to those freaking mice. They will tell you what you need to know. Sure, the Ranchero ain't helping global warming but we all need some chemical translator and the time to not give a damn about those damning things that seem so freaking important. BTW, Zappa's kid and a lot of the folks who used to tour with FZ are doing a tour and playing Zappa's catelogue. The mice told me to write this down. Go listen to something from Sheik Yerbouti will ya? And those toliet seat covers? Complete bullshit. They protect you from nothing. Al Gore, on the other hand, he might be doing something for the City of Mice.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Carrots and Sticks

I have taken it for granted that the world my father introduced to me was, while unique, not something outside the centrality of our civilization. That he was raised on a small farm, his father an immigrant from Sweden, his mother an immigrant from Wales, and attended a one room school house and ended up a scientist with a graduate degree from Caltech seemed special but not abnormal. The rationality that clothed me was part of the essence of our modern world, and it felt comforting in a way that did not require constant presentation and defense. There were fair and approachable ways to confront the mystery of life, and if the people around me weren't too freaked out then I didn't need to freak out. It was a world of carrots. You got fed according to your abilities to master the codes of knowledge. It wasn't always fair but it was fair enough. I was a well-fed kid.

The other day I took a runner at a born-again who was trying to defend Ann Coulter and Intelligent design. I guess Ann takes some shots at evolution, and he thought she made hay. I sent him an article from the Nation and he went apoplectic. This issue isn't light for him. Evolution threatens him to his very core so he chooses to attack it and pretend the half bright attacks against the nuances of a theory he abhors prove something big and worth fight over. He is angry, pissed to his core. I believe that he, like our president, comes from the world of sticks. Hell exists and anyone who can't abide this or the magic wands of biblical rationality is the enemy. Hit them. They will only understand when they feel the real pain of God's sublime wrath. We need more sticks he is saying. Sticks that will break godless one's bones.

I stopped fighting this unwinnable fight a while back, not caring to give these clubby haters words to push up against. It was wise, you can't churn shit into butter. But I wanted to move past my own anger at the irrationality and negativity of the half-assed believers because I really don't have any bones to pick against belief, its the anger that causes damage I am coming to believe. I don't want to have confrontations, I want to find some dialogue. Pie in the sky? I know that it would be easier to discount this hate, say its coming from some childhood hurt, but it seems to be a deeply rooted phenomenon. I know plenty who love Jesus but don't judge those like myself who need to be far away from the human institution of religion. But there is this other animal lurking. They want to live in a world of sticks. They may get their wish.

Monday, June 26, 2006

The Fog of War and bullshit

One of our local pundits, not a bad fellow really but not a real smart fellow either writes in today's column that we should be careful not to judge too harshly our Marines who have been charged with murder and kidnapping. I am not blind to the distinct possibility that these 8 soldiers are going to have to pay a symbolic price to make a larger point about democracy and justice. In this town such a bargin rankles the populace like a Charger's loss, and nobody even entertains the possibility that symbolic or not they may well be guilty. Here in America's Finest Sycophancy, we remain Red and White.

That the aforementioned pundit, a Mr. Logan Jenkins, used the phrase "The Fog of War" opens up the possibility that he has watched the documentary of Mr. McNamara and perhaps learned something from this fine film of Errol Morris. His column shows clearly that he has not, for while he gets the point across that we should show some sort of adult understanding about the stunning violence of modern warfare and the resulting tragedies that result from flinging about a lot of high explosives, he misses most of the larger geopolitical points about having a freaking clue about why you go into a war in the first place. I won't get into the holes that McNamara leaves in his lessons, ones so large and evil as to fairly ruin the effect he sought in making his views known to modern audience. Lesson nine "you may have to do evil to do good" turns the film into an apology for McNamara's tortured soul. It might have been better to say simply that good people do evil when they forget that goodness prevents nothing. Knowing your limitations is what prevents evil. We don't have a fucking clue about limitations right now. But we will.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Wheeling dumbly towards third

Most baseball fans remember how Bill Buckner had a ball go between his legs, essentially losing the World Series for the Boston Red Sox and forever placing him in the sports goats hall of fame. What Dodger fans might remember was a playoff game that came much earlier in his career whereby he hit a key double late in the game and then, instead of stopping at second, he (in the golden words of Vince Sculley) "wheels dumbly towards third." While I may have missed some of the particulars, and created a sentence with verb tense disagreement, Sculley's statement remains forever burned in my memory. I loved Billy Buck, and felt sick about the Red Sox gaft. But thinking backward I should have seen that it was completely within his character. Somewhere in his reptilian ball playing brain, he had the wild stupidity of one that slithers across the boundaries of reality. And he ended up, so to speak, as roadkill on the baseball legacy highway.

Young Bush is now wheeling dumbly toward third. There sits Iran, who we understand about as well as the emotional lives of turtles, and who qualifies as evil enough to do evil to. When and if the U.S. Airforce, Navy, Marines, etc launch some ill-considered but effectively cataclismic attack against nuclear enrichment sites or perhaps commercial infrastructure, say freaking goodbye to anything you have logically hoped for in regards to a life moored to a modicrum of decency, civility, hope and justice. It will open up a 30 year shitstorm of bile and worldwide hatred towards this fair nation, not to mention a realistic damning terror that will become as much a part of our life here in the states as baseball box scores. Idiots will pray, economies will crumble and your kids may get to fight. Those fucks that voted for this absolute disaster of a regime will probably never get the beatings they deserve. Perhaps they will do the right thing and leave their seatbeats off, crank their wheels hard to the right and crush their bodies in a rollover of hubris.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Just Kill Them

The three Guantanamo detainees who hung themselves the other day have started a shitstorm of self-doubt amongst the keepers of the gulag. The Pentagon is busy expelling reporters who are daring to try to cover the story there and the stupid fuck general who said this was an act of war is looking as daffy as a duck for his comments that their suicides were "an act of war." Personally, I don't see what all the fuss is about. We are trying to pretend we are nice which always strikes me as the most base type of hypocritical societal self-delusion. Just kill the fuckers. We have lost the nice war, it's time for us to become the great Satan openly and stop this wolf in sheep's clothing transvestitism.

Some may think that just killing these fellows would be wrong which I guess at some candy-ass level is a correct assessment. But we've been killing a lot of people who are far less likely to want to wear a dynamite supository into the pediatric wing of your local hospital and go "gaa gaa goo!" These are fellows who are justifiably pissed off at this point; four years and counting with no due process, no charges, and no future. Only 10 of these guys, who number around 250 have even been charged and frankly we have no idea why the fuck we are holding half of these Muslims. We are holding them because they seemed bad to us. Queers seem bad to the ruling regime right now so maybe we should hold them without charges next. That does sound a little queer though.

Anyway, we kill people all the time for reasons that are opaque to the candy-ass crowd so let's get right with evil and find a way to do these guys in. Maybe there could be an outbreak of bird flu or something, and if it "killed" a couple of the Marines guarding them all the better for the cover story. (I mean we wouldn't have to "kill" the Marines, just make them disappear, give them a new job killing people that we don't want to suffer somewhere else. That is unless they wanted to die for the good of the country, which I'm sure some would volunteer to do being so into death and all and loving God they way they do.)

We'll I hope this doesn't seem too extreme. Go back to your shopping America. Lots of shit to buy!

Monday, June 12, 2006

I am that fanatic

I've been to batches of shows where I sorta knew the band and upon entering their concert world found myself next to that fanatic who, alone among the hoards of novices like myself, was a true fan. You know who I am talking about, this person knows all the lyrics to all the songs and dances like a dervish for 93% of the show and basically makes you feel like you either don't quite get it or that they have a better dealer than you. In San Diego so many of the shows are marred by stupid crowds who have only showed up because some radio whores told them to and therefore they only know the encore song and maybe two other "deep tracks." The energy of such events tends to be flawed. The societal restraints are still firmly in place, and the eyes overpower the ears, pulchritude winning over orgiastic release. If your lucky there's pulchritude at these things.

Being a fanatic has its rewards. Half way into Eagles of Death Metal's set at the Crystal Ballroom in Portland, Oregon, my wife grabbed the hips of the teenager in front of her (brought to the event by his Zorba the Greek grandfather) and started shaking some life into the rigid little putz. My friends wife swung in front of the little fellow and shook her experience right at him, and the two basically gave him a dose of "the ladies" as frontman Jesse Hughes constantly reminds the crowd is the reason for these rocknroll events. Our little trio had escaped propriety and we were just going nuts, and it struck me that I could care less that most of the capacity crowd was three levels lower than us. They aren't all looking at you. Just remember that.

Final point: When the third song triggered the beefy dickheads to fight forward in an attempt to make a manpit, Hughes himself aimed the bouncers to rip their violent asses out of the show, all while finishing the song. And then before the next number, like a leader, pointed out that some "ladies" had been bounced about and this was certainly uncool. A fucking pro, and a gentlemen. Get that last drunk asshole off the dance floor.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Terrorist = nigger

I don't like using the n-word but damn if it doesn't explain our love of terrorists. We just can't exist as a nation without some sort of dark soul to justify our God chosen status, and thank goodness these human C4 bombs are making us feel justified for our imperialism. White society and its derivatives (all those who in the words of Ian Anderson "lick the boots of death born out of fear") just can't function without bogeymen. After Ronald Reagan slayed the Soviet dragon, we have been on a continuous diet of bad guys in order to keep us sane and the world safe for mass marketing of the American Dream. These fellows, Quaddaffi (who the fuck knows how to spell his name-I've seen it done six different ways) Hussein, and now Bin Laden, are ultimately sorry attempts to fill a psychic void that has been ruined ever since it became problematic to say the word "nigger" in polite company. But the terrorists, who have always been in the lexicon, have provided a neat solution to the ready need to have a group to blame and say out loud on the nightly news. So say it loud and say it proud. Terrorist. They make us clean by way of their steaming bits of burned flesh. They are the anti-people, who apparently can make decent Marines go into houses and shoot kids. Damn Hajis.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

5001 dollar fine and the fires of hell (I hope)

I was looking at the Nation magazine on line and ran into this memory jog. Kinda makes me hope GM goes bankrupt.

"In 1949, three of our largest corporations--General Motors, Standard Oil of California (SoCal, now Chevron) and Firestone Tire and Rubber (now Japan's Bridgestone)--were convicted of having conspired for more than a decade to replace highly efficient urban electric transit systems with bus lines. The bus lines' operators contracted never to buy new equipment "using any fuel or means of propulsion other than" petroleum. GM, SoCal and Firestone were fined $5,000 each, the maximum the antitrust laws then allowed. GM's treasurer, also convicted, was fined $1."

I guess I should stop buying my gas at Chevron. Damn, I really think Techroline makes my injectors shoot better. . .
Read the whole article at:

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Do Your Homework

A recent Purdue University survey noted that over 50 percent of Americans felt that in order to be a citizen of this fine country you had to be "a Christian." And about half of those idiots felt very strongly that was the case. We have all heard the stories about how more Americans can name the characters of the Simpsons than name the freedoms listed in the constitution. Hey, the Simpsons is a damn good show.

Last night I got sucked in to a show on PBS called "Two Days in October." It was the story of two events, one domestic and one in Vietnam that happened at the same time in 1967. One was an ambush of two American companies about 50 miles from Saigon. The other was a student protest at the University of Wisconsin, Madison that galvinized the anti-war movement. The brilliance of the show is that it had interviews with many of the central characters for each of these events, including folks from both sides of the student protest, cops and students. I won't paraphrase the events but its useful to remember that the Army lied to the American people about what was happening in Vietnam, and its useful to remember that a substantial number of the cops who beat protesters with clubs were ignorant shitheads.

I asked my class to write a paper on why it is that American's can't agree on the meaning of the Vietnam war. And after watching that show it occurs to me that we can't agree because the lesson of the war is the lesson of complete bullshit. We perpetuated bullshit on a country because we are so drunk on our own special ideology and so willfully ignorant about it that we can't face the facts. Let me give you one little fact: 3,400,000. That's how many Vietnamese we killed trying to "free" them from communism. OK, just forget it. Go watch American Idol.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Slave Power

W has made an attempt to address the immigration issue and in the process he's done us a favor by reminding us of the Northerners who feared slavery prior to the Civil War. Much could be said about the causes of the greatest conflict in our nation's history, but one thing I rarely hear is just how the racist northern fear of slave power was one of the main causes of the fatal animosity between the states. The Minutemen who volunteer to police the southern border are of a direct lineage to those northerners who cared little about "the Negroes" and a lot about what slave labor would do to their free labor economic system.

The Minutemen are right when they suggest that immigrants place downward pressure on the wage system but that hardly covers their xenophobic souls. Nafta basically destroyed our protected labor market and keeping every immigrant out of America isn't going to amount to a hill of beans even if it could be pulled off. Refusing to trade with countries that allow their workers to be exploited and their enviroments to be polluted needs to be our central trading dogma, but given our oily addiction, we are in no position to be curtailing trade with the Chinas of the world. Without their infusion of capital, essentially financing our buying frenzy with loans taken out by our Treasury, we'd be in a world of hurt. Actually, we are in a world of hurt. We just have really good drugs. Eventually, we are going to have to come down. That's the truth the conservative debt dealers are blocking. It seems that we are slaves to their power.

Monday, May 15, 2006


There is a lot of ugly bigoted behavior going on these days in the name of folks who regard themselves as "Christians." As an unchurched heathen, I tend to ignore this type of American or if forced into conversation I always strive to avoid talk of politics and religion. In fact, talking to people I don't know too well I tend to avoid talking politics and religion as a matter of course, especially if I think that I might have to work with them in the future. There have been times when I wished I didn't know what people think in their heart of hearts about these things because I have come to the opinion that had I not known about their general level of intellectual banality, I very well might have been friends with them at a simple plane of shared humanity. Not everyone I like is as addicted to symbol manipulation as I am.

I just don't know how twisted some folks belief systems are, how internally self-serving their bargain with the lord may be. I think this is probably a commonplace for a lot of folks who abhor the anti-gay, pro-slavery (pro-life my ass) prayer in school, jihad against the Muslims crowd. They think that these folks are Christians because they claim to be Christians. Hey, I can claim that I am going to be re-incarnated as a black Labrador retriever but that don't necessarily make it true. Self-proclaiming is popular. We want to think that however oddball we are, their are others who are oddball too. Kinda a weird self-denying prophesy if you come to think about it.

But frankly much of that hate speech uttered by the devout is just plain self-serving shit, and we who dislike the architecture of their frightened minds shouldn't take the shortcut and call them Christians. Meaning when we say it that if you swallow the dogma, your basically admitting that rationality runs second to magic wands in your personal cosmology and that you shouldn't be allowed anywhere near a court of public opinion. I think in fact that much as the way "Neo-Conservatives" has come to mean "crazy-fucker working for the rich and filled with hubris" we might start differentiating between those who actually holds some Christian love in their heart and those who simply want to be declared the victors in an evil bargain with death. There is a substantial difference between MLK and James Dobson. Dobson doesn't ask much of his audience, other than that they should hate what he hates. In return they get to believe in salvation. Hitler offered as much, and his followers are called neo-Nazis. Call Dobson's Focus on the Family sheep, Neo-Christians.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Invasion generation

Listening to Black Rebel Motorcycle Club the other day pulled my mind over to the war in Iraq and the general level of acquiescence that describes the present public situation. Every generation has its blind spots and every generation has its strengths but the 20 something of the moment seems to me is a stunned little animal, lacking anything to strongly recommend it as a factor of political force. Maybe growing up with papa Reagan so stunted them that the emotion of outrage was detoured into a bleary cul-de-sac of opinionated nullity? Everything is just a matter of opinion, and we are all equal in our rights to express them. So nothing really matters, ‘cause its all bullshit.

The volunteer army stationed near the apocalyptic crescent is full of decent fellows, judging by the ones I have met in my classroom. There is nothing in their demeanor and aspect that worries me, they are doing tough shitty jobs with a lot of esprit de corps and self-awareness as far as I can tell. Either that or they are champion liars. But the ones that have never been to our little war have been tracked to the expectation of success through the Foxed media and Rushed ideology and are really fucked up. They are dangerous precisely because they have just enough anger mixed with their self-righteousness that they feel comfortable ordering air-strikes. Their bullshit detectors are jammed on the liberal frequency and they can’t image an America that hurts others for the wrong reasons. They believe their fathers.

There has been nothing like Kent State in our historical moment, and nothing seems to be coming from the 20 year olds even as they realize they have been lied too. They should be screaming some sort of bloody murder at the moment. Unfortunately they have been insulated by their cheap cynicism (and an all volunteer army) and they think, well, this is just par for the course. Everyone lies. Nothing to get excited about, just keep the economy rolling and if push comes to shove, we can always move back in with the parents. Don’t get negative. In America everything is possible except self-delusion.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Once in a Lifetime

I'm pretty sure that the life I am leading now is probably going to be viewed, in retrospect, as something of a waste. That's a pretty harsh assessment but wtf, I've been wrong before so I might as well just let fly. On the outside I am successful, prickly for sure but successful. I'm living the words of David Bryne. It'd be nice if I could see the humor in that but I'm thinking that I'm really just killing myself so my kids can be wage slaves.

If you don't know the lyrics to this song it goes something like and you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack and from there to large automobile and beautiful wife and then the asking of well, how did I get here? Watching TV last night, the commercials went from emaciated supermodels hawking bras to make their tiny adolescent tits bulge to McDonald's selling salad and yoga to salvage their corporate image after years of selling quick greasy deathburgers to the poor, the tired and the deluded, to a Kaiser-Permanente ad saying we push blueberries not Prozac. They all push fear. Fear is how you answer the question, "how did I get here?" You fell into normalcy because outside normal is slowly, excruciatingly and viciously being eliminated.

We love our lives, the ones we build in this regime of capital, and we love our toys and our food and our kids and our gardens. It is pleasant here in the land of winking, blinking and nodding. But it is just a la la la floating island in a sea of dark monsters, some which are swimming in the opaque waters of our ignorance, some which feed on the scraps of our willful conceits, and others which we may never see as the maw opens up and swallows its' fill. Somebody told me the other day to "get over yourself." Upon reflection they were right, and then they were nothing at all.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Self-Inflicted Wounds

The local fishwrap reports today that Americans are offended by the Republican's generous offer of a 100 bucks to offset rising gas prices. To the Republican's I can only say, "well, duh!" 100 bucks buys you two tanks of gas, wait a sec, one tank and a splash so I guess if I'm used to being bought off for a couple of grand (gimme my tax cut, red state boys!) 100 would seem pretty offensive. Seems to me that they shouldn't have tried to bribe the public for anything less than a grand.

Yet the idea that gas prices are too high is sort of a hoot, unless of course you are barely scraping by and you live in a city that has only recently discovered mass transit. I do feel bad for those folks but it doesn't change the way I feel about anyone driving a V-8 four-wheel drive station wagon, you know, a damn SUV. No tears for you. In fact, fuck you if you can't take a joke. If you think you're a lefty and you are complaining about the price of gas, you aren't really a lefty. Complain about the obscene oil company profits sure, but high gas prices are good thing. We might actually have to face reality, which is for our kids if not ourselves going to include a daily report on worldwide carbon dioxide levels.

The fattening of the American automobile over the last couple of decades is just plain short-sighted, kind of like a 100 dollar congressional bribe. The good news is that engine technology has gotten scads better and for the extra 100-200 horsepower required to pull your chubby thighs and cloven hooved offspring around with the type of alacrity you deserve the mileage per gallon has only dipped slightly. For each horse we use less fuel, and this is a good thing. Unfortunately we have been too fricking selfish to put this calculus to use to cut fuel consumption. This dog is now, just now, learning to hunt. Let's all pray for 4 bucks a gallon and some new blood in the public sector.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Lynching Capitalism

Teaching U.S. history is sometimes a satisfying experience, never more so when you find a hook that works and you see in the eyes of the students a dawning recognition that the past was a freaking nasty place. Patriotism being what it is these days, an insidious virus of banality and acquiescence to the lowest common denominator, there's a fair amount of pushback built into every survey class like the one I teach, and that makes for a few openly confrontational students who have swallowed the Fox News mind pill and inserted the Bill O'Reilly American Imperium celebratory butt plug. Actually I sort of relish their agitprop, and their squinty W-esque smugness.

Regardless, the hardest thing to do, sort of a natural impossibility I believe, is to get modern Americans to empathize with their proto-modern ancestors who lived in a world of raw indignity and injustice. Last night I took a wild run at trying to get them to conceptualize Progressive Era capitalism as an oddity as equivalent to their lived experience in the modern economy as lynching seems to their racial mentality. After a lovely description of an actual lynching, spiced up with a dollop of feminist irony (the first woman Senator in history, Rebecca Latimer Felton, was an advocate of the practice) I suggested that the fear and loathing they were experiencing was an appropriate emotion in its distance to their understanding of early capitalism. Sure, I could suggest they read Upton Sinclair's The Jungle but this turned into a irresistible shortcut. Finishing the demonstration with a tangential shift into globalization and the exporting of our dirtiest economic exploitations offshore (did slave labor make your shirt or put that diamond on your finger?) you could fairly see the clicking go off in brain after brain, that dawning recognition that makes teaching worth the effort. And as the cynic, actually the sharpest knife in the drawer, went for the bait and was hooked too by the realization that yes indeed, the working life of the working stiff in the past was a capital lynching indeed I could afford myself one clean breath for having not wasted their time on a cool night in History 110.

Monday, April 24, 2006

America's Finest Lobotomy

When I first moved to San Diego in 1979 I was not very impressed. I thought, out loud unfortunately for me, that here was a city lacking in parks, anti-bicycle, noisy, dirty, over-crowded, car-centric, and lacking some sort of intellectual consciousness. I remember driving one of my cousins to complete apoplexy, to the point where she suggested I just leave. Leaving wasn't an option I could contemplate, so I stayed, got married, and now have the complete freedom of a mortgage, two jobs, kids in high school . . . the freedom of success!

So yeah, I'm totally screwed. 26 years later and I, for stupid self-indulgent reasons I can only begin to accept, I have been asking folks a similar question: what is wrong with this place? I know that the short answer is simply me. I don't fit in, and I ask too many negative questions. People I've queried on the general malaise that is San Diego "intellectual" life ask me fairly enough if anywhere else is better? Better for what I guess should be my reply. But it always puzzles me how normal it is for folks to always default to local pride whenever they are describing their city and their life. "I bought this ticket and I'm taking the ride. And because life has got to be great, therefore I made the right decision! San Diego rocks!"

Please. San Diego is kinda pathetic, us always looking north to say what we are by what we are not. And the rest of the nation and world sees us as a cul-de-sac branching off from LA, with a second rate newspaper (hey, we got a Pulitzer, for busting a guy that the editorial board loved and always mindlessly supported, woo-hoo!) half-assed sport teams, a polluted river, gridlock, and, of course a world class zoo. The scientific community here is first-rate, but how much does that trickle down into the mentality of the plebeians? Like any huge metropolis there are cities within the city that can be occupied with some amount of grace and decency. But you can't argue with the voting record of this town: we vote for stupid. Stupid works for us. And that is the answer I think I will always get, gussied up and painted pretty colors like a 19th century whore, when I ask why it is this place is such a parochial shitland. Now shut up and enjoy the weather will ya?

Death by Sexy

For those of you out there who need a band to live by, right now there is a "joke band" named Eagles of Death Metal that might just make the difference for you. I first experienced EODM as the opening act for Queens of the Stone Age last year. Sitting behind a couple of fellows from Los Lobos at the House of Blues, these fellows came out and started playing their "boot scooting" brand of garage rock with such precision and hilarity that I do think my brain started to melt just a tad. I'll never forget looking over my shoulder at my buddy, grinning maniacally myself, to see the psychedelic muse in his eyes as he bobbed his head clownishly in affirmation that here, yes hear we are my god these guys are freaking good. How many times have you gone to see one band, especially a hot in the moment band like Queens, only to be completely mind-boggled by something you didn't expect to see in the opener? Like never. For me, that would be exactly never. The new cd is out, part of an apparent 3 cd triptych that Josh Homme and Jesse "the devil" Hughes plan to complete with one more "take over the world" submission. On this one they claim to have ripped of better Rolling Stones songs from, but it would hard to write a better song than the first cd's "Speaking in Tongues." Homme's main band is QOTSA but he plays drums with Eagles in concert at least occasionally. He says one primary goal with his bands is to get "that one big dumb drunk guy" out of the audience. Which is another way to say that EODM is, to put it in Hughes words, "for the ladies." Call me his . . .

Monday, April 17, 2006

Jesus wants to kick your ass

Drinking a 7 and 7 with two friends in front of my buddy's house on Passover, we observed a pony-tailed solicitor approaching from the east. How door to door begging got so popular I can only speculate, but they tell us down in Old Town not to give quarters to the homeless because they'll just waste it on booze or drugs. Perhaps that caution should be rebroadcast to affluent suburbia to lessen the bane of the Christian canvasser.

We proactively engaged our missionary with what we considered lighthearted jibes directed at defusing the script we correctly anticipated might be coming. Patting our pockets theatrically, had either of us actually had a buck for the self-proclaimed graduate of Acme Missionary School (not its real name . . .) we might have actually succumbed to the easier path of "just take it and go." But when pony-tail sardonically opined "god bless you anyway" I stupidly took his implied negativity and amplified it with "especially the Christians." This lead to a macho back and forth of "everybody" vs "the Christians" because I suggested they needed it more given the born-again in the White House and the present geo-political situation of terminal clusterfuck.

When PT took it, logically in retrospect, to the next level by quoting scripture I should have de-escalated. Wisdom being the better part of valor and also being nearly absent in my incautious 40s, I told him, roughly, "shut the fuck up" and "I am so sick of you religious motherfuckers." Ah, the power of the f-bomb. He called me out, stupidly for him after ringing the neighbor's doorbell, telling me something to the effect that "just because I'm a Christian doesn't mean I won't kick your ass." At this my reason returned, perhaps because he looked like he'd seen a gym or maybe a Meth dealer or two in his day, and perhaps because I was now chagrined beyond my usual point by bringing this holy soul closer to his level of ignorance than I should have. Also, as he was threatening me the neighbor opened his front door and I didn't really want to continue our discourse as it may have interfered with PT's chance to collect another buck. To his credit he remembered his real reason for visiting the neighborhood and did a little quick duck back into begging character.

As an epilogue, it seems as though anger management training is in my future. And perhaps it should be in America's too.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

How can you tell if Bush is lying . . .

The short answer would seem to be: his lips are moving. But it really isn't too useful to suggest that our beloved W is willfully lying to cover up the mendacity of his regime. The lines between truth and fiction have blurred so completely in the last six years that some sort of new word should be invented to address the phenomenon. Trution? Fictuth? Ah, whatever. The American people actually deserve this s.o.b. That's the reality of the situation.

I could be accused of being a misanthrope for saying such a blasphemy, but really, is there anywhere in the institutions of American society that is willing to step up and call the demons out of power? So far there have not been enough deaths, enough suffering, enough outrage to fundamentally change the way business is done in DC. And the willingness of Americans to live in their own comfortable orbits and look askance at world opinion and the misery we are dealing worldwide with our policies is stunning in its solipsistic obsession. So I feel pretty confident saying we deserve this bastard. I hear more chickens leaving their roost's. I am not happy at the sight of such feathers falling from the sky but they are what they are. An inconvenient truth.

What to do? Read your Orwell, confront that mindless patriot parroting the latest Fox News shitrant, donate to or greenpeace or, put a bumper sticker on your car that suggests Leviticus was a fucking dumbass, etc. The sorry state of the Democrats is of course another big part of the problem but for my money the issue is that we all are afraid to offend our friends. Better to piss of some sort of soft headed acquaintance than to add more inertia to the coming storm. And there is a storm brewing. A really fucking big one.

Friday, April 07, 2006

I hate fucks in trucks

I had one of those typically Southern Californian traffic events happen yesterday that reminded me that even though we can pretend to be open minded, deep down we really do hate some bastards. I could make some nice noises about how the skinhead driving a red F150 with the Harley Davidson sticker and the Vietnam Vet flag etc probably couldn't wait to get home to his loving, kind wife and his two cute kids; how he'd been working out of town and he missed them so much that my not pulling within a skeeter's asshole to the vehicle in front of me on 52 East at the merge from 3 to 2 lanes allowed at least two more cars to get between him and his joyful reunion. Selfish me in my vain convertible, wasting those imaginary 4 seconds this was going to cost him. You know what they say, a second can feel like a lifetime. Especially right before you die.

I will credit him for not, upon pulling along side me (after threatening to go offroad around me as I tapped my brakes in a passive aggressive salute to his impatience) for not simply calling me a motherfucker and inviting me to feel his masculine fury. The theatre of the highway must have amused the others stuck in the shitmess that 52 is as it comes down the hill into the Santee rubbish zone. He simply said "keep up" and I replied "it doesn't matter." He said "yes it does," whereby he pulled within a skeeter's asshole of the Hyundai that had been in front of me. I apologize to that poor driver for elevating his stupid competitive dickhead feelings to such a fever pitch. I am an asshole, indeed.

But finally, the real point is that in traffic merge situations, driving slower and allowing people to merge in front of you is actually in everyone's best interest. Not just as a courtesy, but because it actually speeds the overall average speed. Every time someone has to hit the brakes it causes a dozen others to do so on the freeway and this adds reaction time which tends to exacerbate traffic jams. Don't believe me, look it up. (no link here you lazy bastard) I just wish he understood I was trying to help him get back to his family sooner. I hope he got a big hug when he got home. . . . Or a bullet in the head.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

A knife edge in DC

Ok I can't exactly figure out how to post pics to this freaking thing but here is a pic that my lovely wife took of me in DC. And if you can't make out all the allegorical and metaphorical elements in the image, keep staring and it will come to you. You also might look at a one dollar bill for clues to decoding the semiotics of Po.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

DeLay works for Satan

There will be thousands and thousands of posts today about Tom DeLay and his decision to step down. There will be thousands and thousands of predictable words about his motivations, his timing, his guilt, his perfidity, his innocence, his legacy. But why should we care? Hasn't the damage already been done?

I went and saw Mort Sahl at a church (he turned and faced the huge crucifix on the wall behind the altar and said "who's that for?") and of the many funny and trenchant things he said, when it came to remarking about the damage W has done to the country he simply said that "its going to take decades to repair the damage." The damage Delay, Frist, Rove, Cheney, Rice, etc ad nauseum have done to this country will take decades to repair if in fact anything does get repaired. These fuckers are the political equivalent to Katrina. We are all New Orleaneans now. The levee broke. The polis is broken and its going to get a lot worse before it gets better.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Immigration and Slavery

The other thing that occurred to me this morning was that as a nation, we learned how to control masses of people for the good of very few people during the 19th century, and frankly we have turned it into a science. Economics. It should be worth noting but it isn't really noted that our country operates on a principle of free trade that is based upon the unimpeachable ideal that your markets (your being anyone else but us) should be open to us so that we can exploit them to the fullest extent of our ability. Not everything is exploitation, but in the main, the momentum of our trade and economic policies is not to provide more liberty and freedom for our trading partners but simply to provide more opportunity for our corporations to make shitloads of money. And if we can make money by using your labor (which is literally slave labor in some cases) then we are all for it. We love making money, and drinking mint juleps whilst resting our feet upon street urchins we brought in from the cold. The idea of making money off of slaves did not go away after the Civil War. It just evolved into something less crass.

Our assholes

Woke up this morning with the clear thought that all those things I have taught my class about the nature of American chattel slavery apply in a real sense to our modern condtions. I wouldn't try to tell you simply that we are slaves as we go to our fine cubicles and earn huge dollars so we can be the consumers we always wanted to be. That would be an affront to the slaves of the 19th century. We have a lot of advantages, which we tend to self-identify under our definition of freedom, such as we can't be whipped (with leather or wood) by our bosses nor do we have to work on Saturdays (all Saturdays anyway) or have our wives screwed by the master, or our children sold away from us or live in leaky shakes with no decent medicine. Then again, all of these things do apply to some degree and it would behoove us to start opening our eyes and hearts up to the idea that we are slaves of a different sort. Last night on the TV show "The Evidence" Orlando Bloom's character pointed out to his cop partner (Shawn Estes) that he was "pre-pissed." I see a lot of that pre-pissed behavior in myself and fellow man, but what I don't see is an analogous understanding that we are "pre-beaten." We don't even try to fight back anymore. The man still exists. Fight back you pussies.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

And away we go . . .

There was an article in the NYT today that occasioned a lot of intelligent whining from that selfish bunch of isolated whites about what to do about the black boys who don't want what white boys want. It seems to me that not wanting what white boys want shows yet another example of how black boys know something that all the kings sociologists and all the kings educators don't know or won't accept: the game is rigged so that liberty is never the reward. I teach history and it seems like when people read the Declaration of Independence they forget that liberty is not necessarily something that goes along with equality. And it just pisses the people who make a living off of analyzing the "dysfunction" of black society crazy to think that there is something superior (however marginal or isolated) about black culture even at its lowest ebb to just giving in and working to bring the GNP to an ever higher level of accomplishment. Going along is "a white thing" and a lot of education and success is sold out crap. And it kills as surely as a drive-by. White folks so uppity these days we want to make sure that the black folks die for things we approve of.