Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Call to Counter-Counter-Culture

It's true. Counter-counter culture is a term. And it's the only real counter-culture that exists.

I propose that counter-culture itself (i.e., hip hop culture and punk culture for the purposes of this particular rant) is simply another form of conformity that not only is self-serving and narcissistic, but also even damaging to society at large (whether you like society as it is at this moment or not is irrelevent). Take hip hop culture for example: I feel that this, combined with white-dominance-related adversities, has held back the black community. You have the message that it's okay to sling rock or pimp out women because if you could just throw some rhymes together, you could be the next Biggie Smalls (minus the premature death) or 50 Cent. It's essentially the same as a white kid thinking that he doesn't have to apply himself because look at Johnny Depp: he never went to college and he made $100 million in 2010 ALONE, but since there is racial adversity at play with hip hop culture (quite possibly or probably perpetuated by white record label moguls...though that conspiracy holds little water these days with Jay-Z heading up Def Jam), and since it is tied so closely to many parts of the black community, it isn't seen as part of the problem that needs fixing. After all, nobody likes hearing that societal problems are systemic. But back to counter-culture: hip hop, at its inception was theembodiment of counter-culture. It lashed out against "the man" and showed true belief in black nationalism and unity. However, it had the problem that Malcolm X had before he traveled to Mecca: it was reactionary, violent-minded, and arguably retarded racial progress and widened the originally white-imposed divide between races. That being said, old school hip hop is the shit.

And then we have punk music. On a personal note, punk music has remained in my soul (to use a cliched term, sadly) since I was in high school. Anger at the system. Glorification of anarchy. No rules, regulations, boundaries. Just absolute freedom. But punk culture, something I have dabbled in off and on since I was about 17, is even more culturally stunted than hip hop culture (though the ramifications aren't as strong, since race-relations are less-to-not relevent all). However, the attitude of punk culture applied to life in modern society, being anti-corporation, anti-government, anti-democracy, anti-emo, anti-popularity, anti-dog, anti-cat, whatever, is pointless and all done for the sake of, in essence, being able to claim you have not "sold out", whether it be literally to a record label or figuartively to the system (that of course you have conveniently forgotten has nurtured you and granted you the ability to say these things and act in this manner). However, that being said, punk music is amazing, however simplistic its power-chords are.

To reiterate: these two notions of rebellion are the embodiments of what I find so pointless about the mere notion of counter-culture. They have become cultures in and of themselves and now there is a need to conform to these cultures to those who reside within. The repurcussions can range from annoying to dire, and hold back artistic progress or even slow down racial unity to a halt. Rebel against rebellion goddamn it and sell out to a record label if you want to! Imbue yourself in the glory of Dr. Dre, but for Christ's sake, go to college and stop being a pathetic defeatist! In other words, to truly rebel against the system, rejection of these counter-cultures is not only preferable, but its necessary. It promotes individuality and unique thinking and allows us to move forward as a civilized society.

Now with all this being said, I'm off to my next Counter-Counter Culture Meeting at some underground punk club where some local hip-hop artist no one has ever heard of is playing.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Lost Song

He walked with them through the packed, dank, and cold rooms, music blasting at them from all directions and he felt at home again. He had missed things as they were, at least every so often. He was happy with this at least brief moment of capitulation to nostalgic joy. But when he spoke to them they said nothing. They looked on and nodded and seemed to understand but they didn't hear him. It was almost like they didn't know who he was or even why he was speaking. And with a slightly wistful sadness he realized they didn't know each other anymore. He wasn't sure if it was he who was gone or if it was them. So he left.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Snow Forts and Slushballs

Every day she wakes up with a dull, thudding pain behind her eyes. She always did before, but now she feels a slight emptiness accompanying it in tow. This emptiness isn't necessarily a tragic thing for her; it's not even that disheartening. It is an emptiness she can now fill with all the possibilities available to her now; she has the freedom to fill it as she chooses.

"Maybe you should see someone," friends say to her.

"I don't think I need to."

"This isn't healthy," they insist.

"I didn't realize you were a licensed psychologist."

And so this conversations and variations of it go, ad nauseum, day in, day out for the first month or two.

She doesn't want to see a therapist even though she's suffered the worst kind of loss, as most say. She wonders, ultimately, is it really that bad? Have things really lost meaning? Has the world really stopped turning? It does feel like it, and yet it doesn't. A life that ripped her life away was ripped away from her. Torn out and crushed in the form of an out-of-control motor vehicle hitting a patch of black ice.

It was late spring. She cried on that day. She wouldn't stop crying. She clung to his clothes as a halo of blood slowly appeared behind his head lying on the street, shrieking as people tentatively began to gather around her. The only word that she managed to form amongst the screams was a choked "No" on repeat.

She doesn't cry anymore. She looks sad but usually it feels like a show. She wants to smile. She wants to express the slight relief she sometimes finds herself feeling. But it always doubles back onto the question:

What would people say?

She tries to move past it by going out to clubs and parties with friends, just like she used to in high school. She'd never been to a bar before so she decided to go with some friends. At one point when it's about 1 AM, one of her friends makes the mistake of asking her if she left him with anyone before an awkward silence falls over the table. Part of her wants to laugh at the awkwardness but she knows it's probably not a good idea so keeps her mouth pursed and lets herself look sad. The night is pretty much ruined at that point.

Summer ends and fall comes around. She uses the money she was saving and starts taking courses at a local community college, even though she's not sure what she wants to study. This doesn't bother her since she figures she now has time to figure that out.

The holidays come around. She's trapped in somber conversations with her sister and her mother after dinner at one point and when her father says they'll say a prayer for her at Mass the next morning she feigns sickness and goes home where she tries to sleep but can't for hours.

It's the new year. There's fresh-fallen snow on the ground but it's melting since it's above freezing. She stares out the window of her still-cramped apartment as she finishes her breakfast and sees a group of young people, about her age, crowded around an impressively-sized snow fort, built by some neighborhood kids the week before, some of them crawling through the small tunnel, laughing amongst themselves. She watches with muted fascination as one of the boys forms a slushball and throws it at one of the girls in the group and slightly smiles to herself as it quickly becomes an all-out battle, chaos in the form of slushballs flying through the air. The more passive youths of the group begin to back off but are continually battered by the frozen ice thrown by their companions and they try to tell the others to stop with very little result. Those retreating begin running away, pursued by their attackers until she can't see them anymore. She watches as one of the youths emerges from the snow fort, unscathed, and brushes himself off. She half-expects him to look up at her watching him, but he doesn't and leaves, following the others. She sits at her window, staring through the window at the empty street, before a slight pang of sadness hits her and she takes her dishes to the sink to rinse them off.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

John Boehner settles once and for all the pronunciation of his name

Sen. John Boehner (R-Ohio) called a press conference today to settle once and for all the pronunciation of his comically-spelled name that inevitably draws snickers from males of all ages across the country.

"I call upon all of us," Boehner said to a restless crowd in Washington D.C. earlier today, "to come together; the time for reconciliation is at hand. We must get past partisanship and recognize that it's pronounced 'BAY-ner'. Not 'boner'."

To be sure, a number of smirks were heard throughout the crowd gathered to hear the senator speak.

"Look, I've been teased about my name for as long as I can remember," Boehner continued, sternly looking across the crowd, though a hint of touching pensiveness and nostalgia seemed to cross his face. The senator faltered and stammered for a few moments, appearing as if he was attempting to stifle some tears before continuing:

"It's just not funny anymore, it's just not." He shook his head and seemed unable to continue and walked off-stage, visibly shaken.

Reports of riotous, collapse-inducing laughter following his spokesperson's subsequent statement because it contained the word "duty" are still coming in.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Tea Party Calls Upon 3-Month Old Infant as Presidential Hopeful for 2012

In a surprise move today, Tea Party spokespeople, including newly re-elected Minnesota 6th District Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann, presented their nominee hopeful for the upcoming 2012 presidential race. Three-month-old Riley Stevenson of Clarkson, Kentucky was held aloft by Bachmann at a rally earlier today being proclaimed as the fresh new face of the Tea Party. While Stevenson was still unable to give a speech, as his vocal skills have yet to develop, Bachmann assured the crowd that Stevenson was the perfect respresentative of the Tea Party for the upcoming race.

"Riley is undoubtedly what we need in Washington right now," Bachmann proclaimed into the microphone to uproarious cheers, "he is completely unsullied by the typical politics of the liberal Washington bureaucracy and his guiding vision will be the beacon of real hope and change."

"We have nothing to fear since he doesn't even know what socialism is," Bachmann added, much to the adoration of the crowd.

When asked for comment, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs sighed. "We respect and admire the tenacity and energy of this movement. As to whether this new candidate poses a threat to President Obama's chances for re-election...we don't know. We just don't know. We're hunkering down and preparing for an ugly campaign."

"That goddamn baby is the fucking end for us," Vice President Joe Biden was overheard muttering, unaware his mic was still hooked up.

Other Democratic leaders are equally concerned with this development.

"We look at it as a challenge," Senate Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement following the rally. "But this new candidate is indeed a fresh face in Washington; something that many people seem to want. He may be almost two years old by the time the 2012 primaries are wrapping up, but he still will be the newest face in the crowd. He's a real wild card, and that could present problems for us."

Riley Stevenson was unavailable for comment, as he has no conversational abilities as of yet.

Monday, September 6, 2010

A Quick Admission That Will Piss People Off

Not like I've ever been opposed to doing that, especially with my opinions.

But upon being reminded of this story, I felt myself moved by the four-year-old story of Mark Daily, in spite of it since being co-opted by the vomit-inducing vulgar and buffoonish right-wing in America (e.g. Michelle Malkin). Mark Daily, an honors graduate from UCLA, a self-professed agnostic, and registered Democrat, joined the United States Army with the very deliberate notion to combat the repugnant Ba'athist regime and subsequent, partially-imported insurgency in Iraq. He wanted to make a direct difference, something that I respect as I do not have the balls to do myself. He is, for lack of a better term, a hero.

Upon re-reading this story (and Christopher Hitchens' personal account of his experience with it) I felt genuinely moved. I was able to put aside something I have quite a bit of trouble putting aside, especially when it comes to political issues: my contrarian sensibilities. I felt myself crumble. I knew I had to make an admission that in the end I've only ever said in the contrarian context. But now I say this with a straight face, without any hint of irony or a sardonic smirk. This story inspired me to say very directly that despite my intense dislike of our previous administration, and the mishandling of the regime change as well as the unnecessary lies used to justify our much-delayed and necessary intervention, I am a supporter of the United States intervention in Iraq. History may not look kindly on G.W. Bush (HA) but at the end of the day, our intervention, after over 100 years of tumultuous sectarian and religious violence occurring in Mesopotamia, should be.

Now I do feel a tad hypocritical even referencing someone for trying to make a difference when all I do is bitch and moan. That needs to be said. But I consider Mark Daily to be a figure of inspiration for me: a young man who thought for himself. He didn't blindly take the side of the party he associated himself with. He was an example of opposition to the G.W. Bush "if you're not with us you're against us" mentality of American politics today. He found his moral compass and he stood up for what he believed in. I may be co-opting his words for my own selfish reasons, but I feel, especially after for the umpteenth time seeing those simple-minded, baboonish fools on Lake Street with their crudely scrawled "No Blood For Oil" signs, Daily had the right idea with this quote from his erudite "Why I Joined" essay:

"Consider that there are 19 year old soldiers from the Midwest who have never touched a college campus or a protest who have done more to uphold the universal legitimacy of representative government and individual rights by placing themselves between Iraqi voting lines and homicidal religious fanatics."

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I Just Don't Know About that "Hussein" Thang

Said a mongoloid geriatric twat in the rural south after asked why she wasn't voting for Barack Obama. I just wanted to make a quick note about that 31% of Republicans disbelieving in Obama's status as a non-Muslim. Having read an article on that discussed how Republicans (and Democrats, in less, but some cases) quite effectively stick their fingers in their ears and go "la-la-la-la not listening-not listening" whenever given very clear and identifiable evidence that Obama is not a Muslim and also, more to the point, never seem to take the high road and call it like it is: complete and unadulterated shit of a bull. But no. Votes matter. And 2010 is an election year. No such luck.

Now as much as it pains me to say this and as much as I would like to have an openly atheistic president in my lifetime (and on some days just a straight up Mao-esque, anti-theistic benevolent dictator...minus, you know, the 30,000,000 deaths due to preventable starvation, slave-labor work crews, and so forth), it really doesn't matter (AT ALL) what Obama's faith is. I personally think that it would be hysterical and awesome if he just went on a sarcasm-laden tirade at a press conference saying "Ohhh yeah I'm a Muslim! Praise be to Allah and all that! I better stop eating for Ramadamadingdong or whatever it's called!" but sadly, the people of this country with the loudest voices and the lowest IQs (and the most heavy brow-bones and eyes closest together, of course) would speak out about how he CONFIRMED he was a Muslim, backed by the support of the word of the likes of Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and Sean Hannity whilst Republicans like Mitch McConnell and Democrats like Hillary Clinton (yes I know she's not running, but she still gave a very tepid response to the Muslim accusations and please, please, PULEEEZE just remember her campaign strategies) STILL wouldn't make any real attempts to debunk an absurd myth such as this if it benefited their upcoming campaigns in any way. Cynical? Yes. Wrong? No.