I’m Tired, Aren’t You?

I’m tired.

oligarchy

It’s not going to happen. Oligarchy will continue to prevail. Oh, but I can dream! Fair enough. Don’t forget to put a quart of motor oil under your pillow so the oligarch fairy shows up while you sleep. When you wake up, BIG SURPRISE!

Nice roses, socialist.

guillotine

Yes! Let’s get them! Guillotines for billionaires! Let’s drag them out of their mansions and chop their heads off. Security will be lax so it should be easy to get in. No guard dogs or armed response whatsoever. And it’s easy to get a guillotine. I don’t know anybody who doesn’t have one. They’re practically like AR’s.

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Apple, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, etc. We’re never using any of these things ever again. The billionaires will be brought to heel!

You hate to see it. And I am here for it.

rttosupport

It’s amazing how a teenager with Asperger’s can expose the raw nerves of our divisiveness just because she’s a climate change activist. This “RT to show your support” got 80 retweets and hundreds of likes. I’m sure Greta Thunberg felt all of that support.

Greta said “You took my childhood away” at the United Nations.  So this person shoots back with . . . other children have it worse in impoverished nations? Also children should be seen and not heard. Slam dunk!

The two main thoughts I had when I was sixteen were “I’d like a girlfriend and I want people to stop picking on me.” So if a kid is a climate change or gun control activist, fine. If a kid is an anti-abortion activist, I don’t like it but I’m not gonna yell at them. Unless it’s a boy.

Fuck you and your whole family, Clinton.

nickmullen

This could be racist.

corybooker

chuckecheese

You decide.

I feel like the ship is going down but maybe you don’t. Just don’t wish and hope for things to get better and then not do anything to follow up.

This One’s For The Ladies

Went to a show with a friend the other night. ‘Twas a good’un for the most part. Was gonna write a review of it but things came up and I’m writing this instead. This one’s for the ladies.

Actually it’s for the men. But it’s about the ladies. Fellas, take a knee.

After the show, my friend went to the parking garage to get her car. A girl from out of town going into a dimly-lit parking garage by herself, late at night.

She stepped into the garage elevator only to be joined by. . . three older guys who went to the concert. Probably in their sixties. No big deal, right?

One of them said something weird to her. Very weird. He went into some strange rap that made her nervous. When she told me later on what he said, I recognized it immediately. It was a reference to the band we saw that night. She went to the concert with me out of curiosity. She didn’t understand it because she’s not familiar with the band.

(I’m keeping the band out of this. It’s not their fault. I’ve written about territorial fandom in the past and there’s a bit of that here. If you didn’t you know what he was talking about, you would have been weirded out too. Trust me.)

When the elevator doors opened, she bolted for the car hoping they wouldn’t follow her. I apologized the entire trip home, sorry that she had to deal with that.

My friend had no clue that the old man was doing a bit from the band’s first album. I can only guess what reaction he wanted from her. Was he high or drunk? Was he just messing with her? I don’t know and it really doesn’t matter.

I felt bad as a friend and as a fan of the band. But the more we talked about it, the more I began to see how she feared something bad was going to happen to her in that parking garage.

Fellas, the women tell us what it’s like to be them. Sometimes they post about it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. Having to be careful and taking caution when they go out in public, especially at night. Taking the mace and the pepper spray. Taking precaution to walk with a friend if possible.

Women don’t know what men are capable of. That’s not entirely true. They know, they just don’t know which men.

We see what the women write but we don’t usually retain it because we’re not that dude. Some men get defensive and say #notallmen. Don’t be that guy. Here’s why.

#notallmen attack women, it’s true. But other men use #notallmen to discredit women and the rest of us have to remember that. Women don’t know when we’re just messing around, especially when they don’t know us. The lesson parents teach their kids about strangers are lessons women have to heed for a lifetime.

Maybe I’m the wrong guy to give this message. I’ve said all kinds of crazy nonsense to people. Granted, most of it was on a stage. Is that better or worse? I don’t think I’ve ever made anyone fear for their lives. Definitely embarrassed a few people. I wonder if I ever alienated anyone over something I said without thinking. Just because I was “messing around”. Who am I kidding? Of course I have.

I hope I’m not like that old man in the elevator when I grow up. I hope I’m not like him now.

 

 

 

 

I’m Not Cut Out For Community Organizing

A lot of people want mob rule so long as it’s their mob that is in charge. Just wanted to get that out of that way because it has been on my mind recently.

Every so often I get it in my head to try something I have never done before. Saturday was that day because for the first time I manned a voter registration booth.

I reached out to KFTC (Kentuckians For The Commonwealth) and they asked me if I wanted to participate in a “new citizen celebration”. I thought that meant that immigrants would be taking oaths to become new citizens. I figured there would be a reception or something where, among other things, the new U.S. citizens could register to vote.

Me and another guy were given a box of voter forms and materials.  We didn’t register anyone.

Turns out they weren’t swearing in new Americans. This was simply a celebration for new citizens. The county clerk’s office sent someone to help people register, so we weren’t needed for that. There was a lady from the census office giving out information about next year, and some other booths I can’t remember for. They had a boombox playing Burmese music and snacks. It was sparsely attended, but relatively nice.

Me and the other guy ended up giving out some forms to some people who might need them in case they need an interpreter when they go to vote in November. So we weren’t totally useless.

I feel like it is important for us as citizens to do more beyond bitch about politics on social media. I was glad to be there at the event, yet I don’t know what I was supposed to do there. I thought I knew, but then I got there, and . . .

I felt the same way when the local MoveOn said they were having a protest at Rand Paul’s office in Owensboro a few years ago and I was the only one that showed up. Not even the guy who was the contact for the event made it. The security guards at the building looked at me like I had three heads. Then there was the time where I went to phone bank for the Democrats. I wrote about that. Five pages of numbers and I got through to six people. There’s a few more of these I blotted out of my memory because they are so embarrassing.

It’s not even like I tried to help on a policy measure like a fairness ordinance and failed. I never got that far. I couldn’t possibly recommend getting involved in community organizing based on my own personal experience.

To be fair, my comfort zone is about >>>>this<<<< big.  When I leave the house, I’m not comfortable unless I’m surrounded by at least a half-dozen people I know. So don’t listen to me. I take to things like a duck to baseball.

I don’t do this often because I don’t have the time or energy but I do it because I feel like everybody can do a little bit. I’m frustrated with the state of things right now. I don’t want to look back years from now and say I didn’t try at all. Even if I turn out to be bad at it.

 

 

 

 

 

The Worst Queen Songs

In my last post, I wrote about my hatred of the stans, the fanboys, you name it. Toxic fanbases.

If there were anything I came close to fanboy-ing over it would be Queen. I’m hardly alone.

A lot of people love Queen, and some people wonder what the worst Queen songs are. The Queen discography is small enough to hash this over: fifteen studio albums. It’s hard to get a consensus.

A few people will say “all of them”. They can go to hell.

1982’s Hot Space is generally regarded as the band’s worst album, the one where they attempted to expand on their unlikely funk/disco success with 1980’s “Another One Bites The Dust”. That album gave us “Body Language” (a classic of ironic bad taste and actual hit single) but it also gave is the Freddie-penned “Staying Power”.

Let me show it to you yeah

See what I got, I got a hell of a lot
Tell me what you feel
Is it real is it real
You know I got what it takes
And I can take a lot

I’m not ready for any song about Freddie’s dick. Let me show it to you. No thanks. #Metoo

I could choose plenty of songs throughout the band’s career. Roger Taylor’s “Modern Times Rock ‘n Roll” from their debut album is under two minutes long, and sounds like it took less than that to both write and record. Brian May wrote “Sleeping On the Sidewalk” for 1977’s News Of The World. It’s a blues song, and though Queen are legally allowed to perform in the blues idiom doesn’t mean they should.

On purely musical terms, the worst song is “My Baby Does Me” from 1989’s The Miracle. They’re using a drum machine, which is never a good sign. Freddie sings as if he’s saving what remaining strength he has for better songs. The song is credited to the whole group but it sounds like a John Deacon song that everybody else said “fine” and helped out on just to be nice. I’m not linking to these songs because I care about you.

But the absolute worst song that Queen ever did is one that nobody ever talks about. It’s “White Man” from 1976’s A Day At The Races. Just listen:

I’m a simple man
With a simple name
From this soil my people came
In this soil remain
Oh yeah, oh yeah

We made us our shoes
We trod soft on the land
But the immigrant built roads
On our blood and sand
Oh yeah, oh yeah

At the start, there’s a Hollywood-esque Indian riff on guitar while Freddie sings with a trace of Tonto in his voice.

It’s written by Brian May, a white guy from England. The longer you listen, the worse it gets lyrically.

This is a song about the Native Americans and their suffering at the hands of the white Europeans who colonized North America, sung from the perspective of a Native American himself.

Famous white people assuming the voice of the repressed and the voiceless. Queen were hardly the first to do it nor were they the last, unfortunately. Like an actor assuming they truly understand what its like to be poor and impoverished because they played a poor person in a movie. It’s insulting and patronizing.

Musically, it’s a decent rock song. That’s not the issue. It’s Hollywood elitism by way of London, England.

“White Man” is the Washington Redskins of Queen songs and that’s why it is the worst one. “My Baby Does Me” is actually worse but y’know what I mean.

The band member most qualified to write that song was right there the whole time.

feac7e803bc600563539f37a7d3a8e97--queen-photos-freddie-mercury

Y’know. The Parsi guy from Zanzibar who had to flee with his family from their war-torn homeland in his teens? What would he know about having his homeland taken from him?

Just to recap: never let your fandom get in the way of the truth. Sometimes your faves make shit. The sooner you realize that, the better you will be able to appreciate when they create something great.

I Hate The Stans

I got pissed off at a Lana Del Rey tweet because apparently I don’t have enough things to get annoyed about in life.

Lana Del Rey seems upset that Ann Powers of NPR didn’t give her the WordPress equivalent of a knobjob in print. If you want to read it, here it is. I can’t bear to finish it because I can’t bear to read thousands of words about Lana Del Rey.

Powers writes an appreciative, though not uncritical essay. She notes that Del Rey was largely regarded by critics and cynics as a bullshit, self-creation and (in Powers’ charitable view) that it took Del Rey time to find her artistic voice. Even I can tell that the writer is looking at her work in a greater context. But that’s not good enough for Lana Del Rey, apparently

“my gift is the warmth I live my life with and the self-reflection I share generously (sic)” Sure. Of course.

Does any remember her disaster of a performance of SNL, which went so bad even Brian fucking Williams felt like he could talk shit? What does that have to do with anything, you ask? Good for her on having blind, ridiculous faith in herself and blotting out the horrible failure that would have driven other performers out of showbiz. But we can’t rewrite history especially when it happened where everyone could see it.

Sometime after that, a friend sent me a link to “Gods & Monsters” and I swore I could hear the collagen and botox in Lana Del Rey’s lips and face. Like she went to get the injections right before going to the studio to record the vocals without waiting for it to settle.

See? That paragraph is the kind of thing that should hurt feelings. That is below the belt. That is not criticism. It’s sarcastic and mean.

Now it’s 2019. She’s critically acclaimed and sells out arenas on tour. She won, yet it’s not enough. Lay prostrate at the altar. Sadly, there are plenty of fans willing to do so which is pathetic. It hit me like a ton of bricks reading the replies.

Ninety-eight percent of the replies basically read like that. In the interest of fairness, I will post one LDR fan who seems, I dunno, reasonable?

EXACTLY! The writer is a fan. But the writer isn’t a STAN. And that’s what Lana Del Rey wants! And that’s what all these artists want. They want a Beyhive. They want an army of fans to swoop in and defend them, kamikaze-style, against any perceived offender. Guess what? It works. Stans love to play the role. It gives them something to do, an identity. Like rooting for a sports team. Or MAGA but for. . . I don’t know, Chris Brown or somebody like that.

The only reason I’m picking on Lana Del Rey is because she’s the one who pricked my finger today. It could’ve been anybody else. It could’ve been Kobe Bryant stans, or Rick & Morty idiots, or WWE fans (aka Stamford wives) or LITERALLY ANY FANBASE OF ANYTHING EVER. Star Wars, The Office, Steven Universe, all sports, any and all video games, literally any movie produced by a comic book company. I can’t enjoy just Superman or Spiderman. I have to enjoy the entire universe of the company that produces them. I have to defend (video game manufacturer) with all my heart even though I have nothing to gain by fighting what South Park called “Console Wars”.

There’s the superfan. The stan. The fanboy. The attack dog. The person whose fandom becomes part of their personal identity. The person who will engage in a pissing contest even though they’re getting it all over themselves.

Why think critically when you can let yourself be manipulated by the thing you love so much? Do you think you’ll get a pat on the head or something? Lana Del Rey wouldn’t piss on you if you were on fire.

Lana Del Rey wouldn’t even piss on you for her own amusement.

Coincidentally, I’m writing this on what would have been Freddie Mercury’s 73rd birthday. You know, the guy who wrote “We Are The Champions”?

YAAAAASSSS! WE STAN A QUEEEEENNNN!

We are the champions, folks. You, the audience and we, the band. More specifically, we who will be climbing into our limos after the show to drink champagne and party with gorgeous wo/men. We definitely are the champions. All of you who paid to see the show and bought the album and the commemorative t-shirt from the merch stand? You. . . uh, yeah. . . you too are the champions, just not as much. You’re like the minority shareholders of the championship.

Thank God that Twitter didn’t exist in 1978 because the Queen stans would have been insufferable. Probably would have been named “The Royal Family” or some dumb shit. Thank God the band got their asses kicked in the ’80s and were irrelevant for a while after Freddie died before social media. I wouldn’t be able to justify liking this band at all.

It’s a good song, though.

 

 

 

 

Truth Hurts: I’m Not Body Positive

The MTV VMAs were last week. I didn’t watch them but I had to hear about them through the magic of social media. I gave up on the VMAs around twenty years ago, but not all of my friends are as curmudgeonly as I am so they still watch the VMAs.

OH SNAP! I just searched Youtube and this came up.

Naughty By Nature, Queen Latifah, Wyclef Jean and Redman did a medley. They squeezed ’90s hip-hop into eight minutes. Was this show made for my generation? Who else performed? Pearl Jam? Soundgarden? Nirvana? Alice In Chains? The Beastie Boys? 

But I heard more about Lizzo than anyone else.

I knew about Lizzo before the VMA’s. The PR is strong, folks. If you look online there are naked pictures of her. She took them because she’s a body-positive person. I blocked her on Twitter because I’m sick of seeing them.

I have heard about Lizzo for years before ever hearing a note of her music, which is today. But I just watched that VMA performance clip and I have a few takeaways from it.

First off, I’m way more fat than Lizzo. I’ve lost over fifty pounds this year but it’s not enough. Not even close. And I think body positivity can only go so far.

As I watched that video, one of the things that crossed my mind was “how can I get this weight off my body as fast as possible?” because I don’t know if you know this but being fat FUCKING SUCKS. The quality of my life is diminished. My back hurts if I stand up too long, which is not long compared to most people. I walk slower than others because I have more weight to carry. Going up flights of stairs is difficult. Coming down the stairs is worse. My clothing options are limited. Clothes for people my size cost more.

There is nothing positive in any of that. I live in one of the fattest states in the country. I see strangers in the same boat I’m in and I know how miserable they are. I don’t accept it. I don’t love it. I’m ashamed of it and of myself and that’s why I’m trying to change it. How can I accept and love this thing that is so obviously unhealthy?

I don’t know what it’s like to be a black woman in America but I know what it’s like to be a performer. I know that breathing is a requirement for singing. Being really fat can make your breathing labored. Try doing a whole show like that. She has a 22-date tour starting next week. Good luck with that. Besides, people act like this self-love message is new but it isn’t. Ask Mama Cass. Ask Sophie Tucker.

No one is louder than the voice in our head. We are our own worst enemies, woman or man. Sad but true. We all want someone to validate us. Someone that we can look up to. But we’ve gotten burned so many times with so many celebrities. Why are we doing this again?

I don’t know how to end this so I’m just going to quote Mama Cass because a while back I was listening to “Make Your Own Kind Of Music” and it just hit me harder than anything has hit me recently. Because although it seems like a happy song, the second verse reveals a desolate nature.

You’re gonna be knowing the loneliest kind of lonely.

It may be rough going, just to do your thing, the hardest thing to do.

Mama Cass Elliot had the same idea of self-acceptance and defiance. But she fucking died way too young. Her heart stopped.

There’s no beauty in any of this and we have to struggle with it in our loneliest moments. And nobody saying you’re beautiful just the way you are is changing that.