“YOU ARE FREE TO DO AS WE TELL YOU!”
“We live in a world where Good Men are murdered and Mediocre Hacks thrive.”
“The United States hasn’t faced a threat probably since the War of 1812.” Noam Chomsky, 1994 from Demystifying Democracy, here is a link for the interview.
What do y’all think of that statement? Naturally, in light of the tragedy on 911 it makes you question such a thing (as you should normally anyway), but I probably agree with Noam. I don’t know enought about my history to point to the War of 1812, but certainly the fact that we have a massive military budget for defense from possible threating forces is a joke. Now, like everyone else I don’t want to see another 911, of course. But, to me, that doesn’t constitute as a “threat” as in a threat to the preservation of our entire nation and/or government as it is for some other countries. The attack on 911 was murder on a grand scale and the perpetrators should be held accountable, but that doesn’t appear to be an objective of our goverment, sadly. So, I highly doubt we have to worry about another coutnry threating our overall security, but how do we prevent future, heinous, acts of terror? Well, we stop committing terror ourselves. What do other people think about Chomsky’s quote and my little rant?
Speaking of horrifying, disgusting behemoths, such as major labels, I thouhgt I’d post a link to Steve Albini’s harsh classic, “The Problem With Music.” I searched “Fuck Major Labels” on Google and this was the first thing to come up lol. I don’t agree with all of it, but he makes many good points and has the knowledge to back it up, plus it’s quite humorous in the Albini sense.
Full Title: The Shield Around the K
Director: Heather Rose Dominic
The title says it all. The metaphorical shield truly represented K’s mythical way of battling the corporate ogre in a unique and highly confrontational manner. For those sad souls out there that are unfamiliar with K, here’s a brief breakdown. K was and still is a defiantly and charismatically independent label; one of the greatest models for how an indepedent label can successfully operate. Calvin Johnson (K founder and Beat Happening frontman) challenged his audience and contemporaries by creating and documenting music that was unabashedly simple, coy, and as far away as possible from the mainstream. These kids challenged the mold of expecation of what a Punk band should look, sound, or act like. By making poppy, “twee,” love rock (as some call it), artists like Beat Happening distanced themselves from not only the corporate world, but also the oft-macho hardcore scene, which was dominating underground music at the time. All in all, this doc does a great job of articulating this important aspect of K Records as well as offering some great archive footage, interviews, and music videos and ultimately a detailed, informative backgound of said topic. One thing I (sorta) didn’t like was the fact that the film focused too much on Beat Happening; after all it was supposed to be about the K label and not about Beat Happening solely. Then again, they and their history are obviously vital to the K tale and since they are one of my all time favorite bands, I don’t mind seeing them on screen. Lastly, this doc features various key figures including, Ian Mackaye, Gerad Cosloy, Slim Moon, John Foster, amongst others. So, if you dig cutting edge (well, then cutting edge) Punk Rock or want to learn more about seminal, underground music then grab some black candy and check it out.
Once upon a time I was at a party and some gal mentioned Terry Gilliam and I told her my favorite Terry Gilliam film was Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998). She responded that it was “too mainstream,” a point I beg to differ, but regardless, I was taken back. I tend to pride myself on my love of relatively obscure and non mainstream artists (particularly in music). Now, let’s not mince ;) our words here, I do not base my tastes on how commercially successful or not a piece of music is. It’s simply not a factor. I listen to a song/album and if I like it I do, if I don’t, then I don’t. As simple as that. The mainstream just isn’t my bag and I have a hatred for much of it, there’s no reason I need to be associated with it, like Chomsky and Porn. With that being said, if we Klaymers, especially me, grew up in the 60s, we would be surfing safari on the mainstream. You would probably catch me crying my eyes out with all the ladies in the sea of Beatlemania. Now today, my favorites conist of 90-95% independent, underground artists and 5-10% heavy hitters in the mainstream. If we took Doc Brown’s Delorean for a spin and hit up 1967, it would be vice versa, and even my then unknown faves of that era like the Velvet Underground, were on the majors. Strange. The reason I find this peculiar is because I feel like the whole DIY, Punk ethic and aesthetic and what have you is something I highly value and is a big part of music/art for me. If I was a teen a few decades back I would have a totally different experience. In this respect, I am really glad I was born twenty years ago.
Anyone else’s mind wander like mine or do I just have too much time on my hands? lol
In honor of Cinco de Mayo, here’s Los Saicos!
Full Title: Anarchism In America
Director(s): Steven Fischler and Joel Sucher
Comments:AIA is a good starting point for those that want to learn about Anarchsim, because (as displayed in the documentary) most people have little to no idea of what it really is. The doc does a good job of explaining to viewers that anarchism is a strong social, political, economic, and spiritual philosophy and/or movement built on individualist principles and the belief that society would be better off without the state. The filmmakers distinguish this from the narrow minded view that anarchists are just about chaos and throwing bombs, which unfortunately most folks believe. The film features various anarchsits including, Emma Goldman, returning to America after having been deported for years in rare video footage, veteran Murray Bookchin, tax resisting, “market” anarchist, Karl Hess, the Dead Kennedys (interview and performance), amongst other famous and unknown anarchists. The film also shows various implicit anarchists including American workers committed to the rugged individual ideals of America and they associate this with anarchism, or at least the filmmakers do as well as a sowing company in which the workers run the show a la Chomsky! Speaking of Noam, he is nowhere to be seen and other prominent anarchists and related groups/organizations like the trailblazing paper, Fifth Estate>. I suppose they can’t document everything, but still they focused too much on the implicit Americanism rather than the explicit characteristics; albeit a nice feature. In addition, we see footage of the Liberatarian Party and how this connects to the anti-government (or anti-state power) stance of anarchism, historical events such as the Spanish Civil War, Russian Revolution, and the execution of Sacco and Vanzetti. Lastly, my only other complaint is the fact that they didn’t include any anarchists that used violence or force as a political means, justified or not. Granted, this might reenforce the negative connotations of the philosophy that naive viewers have, but at the same time, it would be nice to provide a balanced picture, considering some anarchists are violent. Overall, it was worth a watch and I would recommend it, not for those who want an in depth history of anarchism, but rather for those who are curious or unaware of it and want to learn about the philosophy/movement, at least the American aspects up to the early 1980s.
The following site has a lot of information on this documentary as well the film itself, which can also be viewed on Youtube as seen below.
Here are some cool quotes from the movie, which also appear on the above site.
“Almost anyone, I suppose, can call himself or herself an anarchist, if he or she believed that the society could be managed without the state. And by the state—I don’t mean the absence of any institutions, the absence of any form of social organisation—the state really refers to a professional apparatus of people who are set aside to manage society, to preempt the control of society from the people. So that would include the military, judges, politicians, representatives who are paid for the express purpose of legislating, and then an executive body that is also set aside from society. So anarchists generally believe that, whether as groups or individuals, people should directly run society,” Murray Bookchin
“My understanding of anarchism has as part of its element a connection between ends and means. To me, if one is an anarchist, then, from my point of view, one also must be nonviolent, and if one is nonviolent, one must be an anarchist—I see the linkages very clear[ly]. A person who believes in nonviolence is a person who believes that the sort of society we want to achieve is a society without violence, without wars, and without injustice; and to use wars, violence, and injustice to achieve that society is to be counterproductive,” Ed Hedaman
“Well, it’s hard to tell on the basis of the Party’s rhetoric, after all they’re running for state ofﬁce, but my experience is that most people who are in the Libertarian Party have pretty decent anarchist impulses, even if they do not say they are anarchists—most of them will say they are libertarians, at any rate. And one thing that is useful is that they have a fairly well-reﬁned analysis of why they aren’t conservative. It took the New Left to do a proper analysis on American liberals, it seems to me, and I suspect that the libertarians are doing the best analysis of American conservatives. I think that they are quite good people, and that the Party contains within it probably more people of an anarchist tendency than any other organisation in the country,” Karl Hess
Here’s Part I
The “Fall of the Roman Empire.”: I saw one documentary on the history of Rock and Roll in which Pete Townshend was asked about the music of the 70s and he commented that it was the “Fall of the Roman Empire.” My interpretation is that he was saying that Rock and Roll was the equivalent of the Roman Empire in its own way and that by the 70s it had completely plummeted. It began in the 50s as rebellious, black music with strong black roots that crossed over into white america and broke down the color barrier, to an extent. It was something that belonged to kids and not their parents. This continued in the 60s as the music progressed and expanded, which I won’t get into here. Much of popular music matured, sonically and lyrically, with artists developing a social consciousness and often expressing such sentiments through their songs. I suppose one could point to Woodstock, being the pinacle of this era. The early 70s served simultaneously as the leftover of the 60s as well as the precursor for what would come next. By this time Rock was losing its soul, slowly becoming a big business game. Technically, it had corporate backing most of the time since it’s creation, but the word “corporate” began to come up in association with Rock music more and more. Cameron Crowe’s film, Almost Famous (2000) takes place in 1973 and nicely chronicles these final days of the orignal empire of Rock and Roll, as it was dying. Then it was recessitated via Punk and what have you, but that’s a whole other story…
More Chris ONs a comin….