Many religious functions – explaining where we came from or when to plant crops – have been replaced by science. But even these days, science can’t explain the meaning of life or provide comfort to people who have lost a loved one.
But so what? Why even let religions have a monopoly on those two things? Fuck it, it’s time for secular saints.
By this I mean: make a list of people who are dead, who influenced your life greatly, who you wish you could be more like, or who you still think about a lot. . . . Then build a little shrine in your living room, and on the day they died, put their shit in the shrine (their books they wrote or albums they released or a picture of them or whatever), and take a little time throughout the day to contemplate:
a) All the happy times you had while listening to them or reading their book or going to see their movie or what-all
b) how you felt when you realized they were dead
c) what did they stand for? What did they make their fans do? how did they change things?
d) all the lessons you can learn in daily life from being more like them
e) and fuckin’ read their book or listen to their music or whatever it is, if they were a political martyr, I guess you could youtube their speeches or something?
I mean think about it: learning to be more like our idols helps us make our own meaning of life, and contemplating their death – and their legacy – helps us face our own. It’s like religion, but more practical, plus you can listen to some sweet jams and make the rules up as you go along. Plus as you get older, there will only be more people you can add to your list. It makes getting older fun, in a morbid way.
Plus, as I mentioned in a previous post on the word “spiritual”, you don’t have to be a religious believer to be appalled at how shallow, materialistic, and ad-driven our society is. Having a little shrine is a way to enjoy your favorite people *without it being mediated by some big corporation*, just you and them, without anything being bought or sold or tweeted or favorited or memed. If nothing else it’s a way of saying “not everything can be reduced to a transaction or an advertisement or a fucking number or a social media post. there is still more to life, there are still private things, even private connections between me and dead people.”
There are a few problems in the system which I haven’t worked out:
1 ) Should you also include “secular devils”? ( i.e. people who made you really happy when they died?) Do they really deserve their own entire day of hate? Like Ronald Reagan? Answer : sure! One whole day of walking through the living room and flipping him off every time I pass? That question answers itself. After all the misery people like him or Thatcher or OBL caused, why not have a little fun with it? God I can’t wait until Mariah Carey or Oliver Stone or fucking Eric Clapton dies.
2) should you include historical dead people who influenced your life and outlook? Or just dead people whose death you experienced, whose death affected you when you heard about it? It’s a lot more personal if you can actually remember where you were when you heard, “Hey Jam Master Jay got murdered.” “He WHAT?”.
3) Where do you draw the line? I can only think of half-a-dozen deceased people that are serious role-models, but hundreds of dead folks who I love their work but if I’m being honest haven’t really changed my outlook on life or nothing. But maybe if I had them in the shrine and really contemplated what they stood for, maybe they COULD still become role-models? (I’m provisionally handling this by putting all the really high-powered fuckers in glowing yellow type, thereby giving them official Saint status)
But anyway, here is my semi-complete calendar of fake religious holidays:
I know I’m missing hella important people, so please leave your suggestions for secular saints in the comments:
Hank Williams (September 17, 1923 – January 1, 1953),
St. ROBERT ANTON WILSON (January 18, 1932 – January 11, 2007)
Yves Tanguy (January 5, 1900 – January 15, 1955),
Dali (May 11, 1904 – January 23, 1989),
Gustav Dore (January 6, 1832 – January 23, 1883)
Kirby (August 28, 1917 – February 6, 1994),
steve gerber? (September 20, 1947 – February 10, 2008)
Charles Schulz (November 26, 1922 – February 12, 2000)
Hunter Thompson (July 18, 1937 – February 20, 2005)
bill hicks (December 16, 1961 – February 26, 1994)
Biggie (May 21, 1972 – March 9, 1997)
Jean Giraud AKA MOEBIUS (8 May 1938 – 10 March 2012)
Nate dogg (August 19, 1969 – March 15, 2011),
Hp lovecraft (August 20, 1890 – March 15, 1937)
Joy division (15 July 1956 – 18 May 1980)
Eazy (September 7, 1963 – March 26, 1995)
Stravinsky 17 June 1882 – 6 April 1971)
ST. WENDY O WILLIAMS (May 28, 1949 – April 6, 1998),
Vonnegut (November 11, 1922 – April 11, 2007)
ST. JOEY ramone (May 19, 1951 – April 15, 2001)
thor Heyerdahl (October 6, 1914 – April 18, 2002)
Ballard (15 November 1930 – 19 April 2009)
el duce (March 23, 1958 — April 19, 1997)
George Herriman (August 22, 1880 – April 25, 1944)
St. poly STYRENE (3 July 1957 – 25 April 2011)
Jeff Hanneman (January 31, 1964 – May 2, 2013)
ST. DIO (July 10, 1942 – May 16, 2010)
quorthon (February 17, 1966 – c. June 7, 2004)
seth Putnam (May 15, 1968 – June 11, 2011)
Zelazny! (May 13, 1937 – June 14, 1995)
george carlin (May 12, 1937 – June 22, 2008)
dave insurgent (reagan youth) (September 5, 1964 – July 3, 1993)
Bob ross (October 29, 1942 – July 4, 1995)
Dennis Flemion (the Frogs) (June 6, 1955 – July 7, 2012)
Burroughs (February 5, 1914 – August 2, 1997)
lenny bruce (October 13, 1925 – August 3, 1966),
Hieronymus Bosch (. 1450 – 9 August 1516)
Euronymous AKA Øystein Aarseth (22 March 1968 – 10 August 1993),[
Tolkien (3 January 1892 – 2 September 1973)
ST. DAVID FOSTER WALLACE (February 21, 1962 – September 12, 2008)
Duchamp, of course (28 July 1887 – 2 October 1968)
Walt kelly (August 25, 1913 – October 18, 1973)
Rudy ray moore (March 17, 1927 – October 19, 2008)
Jam master jay (January 21, 1965 – October 30, 2002),
Odb (November 15, 1968 – November 13, 2004),
Big joe turner May 18, 1911 – November 24, 1985)
St. ZAPPA (December 21, 1940 – December 4, 1993)
richard pryor (December 1, 1940 – December 10, 2005)
Vassily Kandinsky (16 December 1866 – 13 December 1944)
carl sagan (November 9, 1934 – December 20, 1996)
St. James brown (May 3, 1933 – December 25, 2006)3 comments
download lyrics to everything from Closing Time through Real Gone, as a Word document, right here.
Just like the deal with my collection of Marvel superhero dick pics, I’d always assumed that someone had already taken care of this, but since the internet was falling down on the job, I went ahead and did it.
In this case, I was just copying off of various lyric sites and pasting it and, inevitably, adding my two cents about what songs were good.4 comments
Robert Rich, Terry Riley, Steve Reich, and Steve Roach!
Seriously what the fuck is up with that? What kind of obscure conspiracy could possibly BENEFIT from such blatant last-name manipulation? What’s Their ANGLE?!?
Robert rich – one of the early early drone guys. did “overnight performances” where the audience was supposed to sleep. Not only does his name have TWO “r”s, but also, he has actually done collaborations with Steve Roach, which is just further proof of The “R” Conspiracy.
Main song: Somnium.
Looks like : steve jobs.
Terry riley – Psychedelic synth guy, kind of tripped out , shrill , and irritating
Main song: “rainbow in curved air.”
Looks like: dumbledore
Steve Reich – modern classical minimalist and tapeloop guy. The best of the bunch!
Main songs: “music for 18 musicians”, and “come out.”
Looks like: any CEO on casual Friday, dockers and baseball hat.
Steve roach – new agey faux native American drums and synths, meditation stuff, but super thick walls of epically reverbed synths. Again, he even has the same FIRST NAME as another “R” guy. It’s like They are DARING us to call them on their Conspiracy!!!
Main album: Dreamtime Return
Looks like: Stephen King with a bird’s nest on his head. Giant eyebrows.4 comments
BANDS THAT ARE ABOUT AS ENTERTAINING AS LOU REED:
J GEILS BAND
BANDS THAT , WHILE OBJECTIVELY BAD, ARE STILL ARE MORE ENTERTAINING OR THOUGHT PROVOKING THAN LOU REED:
INSANE CLOWN POSSEE
THE BENNY HILL THEME SONG
KANSAS (the “carry on my wayward son” band)
Is no one going to fucking say it?
I’ll be the bad guy.
Lou reed was not any good. His music wasn’t even bad. It was just, meh.
People kind of admit this when they say “but he was INFLUENTIAL!!!” which is a roundabout way of admitting they don’t personally listen to or enjoy his music. But even “influential!” basically just means that “arty white person bands are a lot less creative than you thought” . . . . it doesn’t mean “lou reed was rad.”
Just by a morbid coincidence I DLed a lot of his solo albums a week before he died, so I know what I am talking about. And don’t talk about velvet underground. In a just world that band would have been officially called MO TUCKER AND HER LITTLE PALS. I mean they had 3 good songs; waiting for my man, white light, and “heard her call my name”. . . all of which had those Mo Tucker beats. Except for some stoned giggling and various comical guitar solo attempts, Reed was incidental.
See also : Reed influenced dickless noise bands like sonic youth. Tucker influenced really nice bands like NEU! and Faust. Again, this is objective truth. (Tucker also was a huge influence on Can, but I can’t co-sign the Can vocalists, any of them. Shut the fuck up Japanese Robert Plant.)
I’m not glad he’s dead, though. I saw some video interview of him in the ‘80s with an insane jew-fro-mullet and he was telling Lower East Side war stories from when NYC was all Escape From New York / Fort Apache The Bronx – style. It was an amazing batch of stories. If dude had just gracefully retired from music and done the Henry Rollins thing he could have been one of the best storytellers. This, incidentally, is not a problem unique to Reed. Lots of musicians are more interesting as people than musicians, (AKA the “the music is the least interesting thing about him/her” phenomenon).
I guess my main beef is with music critics, not with the dead man. First, claiming that he “invented punk.” Everybody knows that THOMAS EDISON invented punk. No, wait, I meant Ronald Reagan.
Second reason why critics are terrible: look at the list I posted at the top of the rant.
J GEILS BAND
All these bands had like 2 good songs, which is probably 1 more than Reed had in his solo career. So logically rock critics should praise all these bands JUST AS MUCH IF NOT MORE than they praise Reed.
And they should say typical sentances like: “J Geils band (famous for their hits “Centerfold” and “Love Stinks”) invented industrial music, as well as punk, classical, and meringue, and the demise of this band will forever live in rock history”
or sentances like: “Styx, whose brand of working-class-rock-meets-broadway-musical has influenced the course of rock history, also invented black metal, wigger slam, horrorcore rap, and the minuet.”
AND YET ROCK CRITICS HATE ALL THOSE BANDS. Despite the totally objective fact that they are just as mediocre and “eh” as lou reed.
So, in conclusion: critics are underpants, lou reed = fallout boy, “influential”= “I don’t personally listen to it but you totally should”, some musicians should just tell stories, and Mo Tucker was the main good thing about VU. Also, if the record industry took my advice and simply ONLY PAID ROCK STARS IN HEROIN, we would have been spared this guy’s output, as well as his pathetic obituaries (see also: kobain, Hendrix, etc).10 comments
“Look how talented I have to be in order to find new ways to say the same exact thing!”No comments
This is how you deal with bullshit small-town rape jocks.
If you agree, send this to someone you know.
Caught you slipping after football practice
Laying in the bushes outside where your frat is
Think you’re a man because you know how a rape feel
Tell me how that duct tape on your face feel.
Tell yourself it ain’t real, but you know your fate’s sealed
Sometimes a busted cherry leads straight to a grape peel
Word to Darryl McDan It’s the simplest plan,
Just some cuffs and a windowless van.
Now you’re bleeding, dude, but we ain’t beating you
Swervin on the curb’n, that’s right, we Nice Peting you
Bouncing you off the van wall, fractures!
“Darren Wilson football practice.”
Grand-daddy can’t save you’re a** now
Face the curtain, take your last bow
This ain’t Sinatra, it ain’t going Yo’ Way.
More like Sedaka, ‘cause we bout to Go Ape.
You can’t scream but I see your eyes widen
When I brandish pliers, siphon and a tire iron
Tear your rectum open with no foreplay
No Vaseline that’s word to O’Shea
How it feel to be violated
How it feel to have your whole hole dialated
Uncap a flask’o Tabasco in you’re a****** and pour it
And tell the damn internet you was asking for it
Used to play tight end every season
now you’re leakin
I’m stomping on your prolapse with your own cleats on
*The shoe’s on the otherfoot *
Yelling hut hut hike while you beg for your life
Sever your head and then i spike
Y que? See what you get for bein’ cliché
Same stories we gotta read each day?
“Tiny town acts shocked that their jock’s a child raper”
Fedex your left nut to Obama and tell him it was Al Quaeda.
Next we headed to your sister’s house
Clockwork orange her eyes and then s*** in her mouth.
You and all your girlfriends made a contest:
who could make the victim kill herself first.
Queen of the school with your twitter lynch mob
Fuck a rim job douche wad – take the whole pinched log
Like to dish it out but taking it is new to ya
As are my corn kernels tickling your uvula
Now tell me how that dook taste?
Leave her with a used face and a empty tube of
finally our friends roll up
Dragging the DA behind his own Benz, doing do
Nuts Goon wouldn’t bring a case, now he’s
Catchin garden gnomes to the face.
Perpetrator’s own tape is insufficient evidence
You’re working for his family, I guess it’s just coincidence
Charges was dropped , its even shockin’ the cops,
That’s why we makin’ anonymous plots
It’s a small town so it wasn’t hard to find him on a Bender
Drinking with the coach and the public defender.
Caught him in the john when he passed out,
now he’s f****** up your dad’s lawn with his ass out.
Gotta drive fast out because the cops coming.
Small town Merikuh: one mile and running.
All this murder was just a precursor
Like Eazy said, s***’s about to get WORSER.
*They’re trying to destroy our bright young future
Over just a little misunderstanding.*
Now it’s time for the boss, we all gonna level up
After we shoot this devil up.
(Gangstalicious sample: eff grand-dad!!!)
the unofficial Mayor, the rapist saver
the shady deal maker, behind closed doors
“You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours”
we about to scratch with some Wolverine claws
Cutting right through ya like a mutant superhero
turn a crooked prosecutor, into human prosciutto
We don’t care about your gold coins and net worth
We’re here to f*** up your Old Boys’ network.
Stash the benz in the woods by the mansion
Carry the DA ‘cause his legs been smashed in
The cops tipped him off, the door is all locked
Coach in the foyer with his shotgun cocked
Turn to go back and then the trap closes
Sirens, behind us, we attracting mo’ fuzz.
Out of time! why’d we do so many donuts??
But Right before they scope us, a side window opens
Boss’ own maid just saved our a**
We know the reason why, we won’t waste time to ask.
Word to Ice-T, and Coach just might be
drunk as hell, yelling the f**-word
he means business – even turned his cap backwards
yelling through the door he gonna let the Moss spray
not even knowing, we’re behind him like Sasuke
when we tap his Shoul-dah the look on Hoss’ face
like someone hit an osprey with a hot plate!
But we got no time for raptor slapstick
these cops gonna capture our a** quick.
Taser to the head, bitch! Shotty, repossess this Tell the
Fuzz we ain’t here, or the Moustache gets it!
Pale as snow, but he does what he’s told,
Through the door crack pop-pop says he’s alone,
The fuzz rockets off, and now it’s game on
Get these Dockers off; gimp masks and duct tape on
F*** no I don’t want a golf membership or a Maybach.
I want some f***** payback
Don’t want the neighbors to hear the screams.
So Turn up Django on your big screen
Have a private party in your elegant rec room
Sports awards, bibles, flags and heirlooms.
Don’t forget these nice framed pictures! Pop-pop
With the coach and police chief with ya
Wearing ball gowns at the Masonic ritual
Bet the victims’ attourney took the picture too.
Treatin’ this town like your private empire
Anyone who doesn’t go along, gets fired
Protect the insider and punish the outsider
We’re exposing your fraud, Mrs. Doubtfire
But I aint gonna violate you
Gun to his head, make your own man rape you
You down with that ain’t you? It’s only common sense
You told the papers rape doesn’t have consequence.
Your bottyhole got to make a decision:
this aged grey d*** in? or this AK clip in?
Any way you slice it you hype for some anal play
“you ever had your s*** pushed in?”
this your training day.
Serbian torture : Slobidan milosovic
Now you’re slobbin on lots o’ d***
This town built on insider dealing and collusion
Now he’s inside you for real, knocking dentures loose, an’
While you’re on the carpet canoodling
We’re steady yelling “KEEP IT IN THE COMMUNITY!”
You let the douche free, dropping the case
And hound the victim family right out of the place
Thought you could plot an escape from this rotten disgrace
Now an old man’s boner just popped in your face!
Destroy a kid’s life just for f******* with your team sports.
How dare she lower the morale and the mean scores?
Small town values, you gotta love it
Something something something buttocks
Shove a football trophy right up it
And charge you with Bowel Obstruction of Justice.
Now you’re begging to stop
Now you say it’s assault
Now a bleeding rectum is a negative fault
Now you want a time out, a flag on the play
Now you stop your joking about f****** and aids.
Now you know what “No” means
Even though we ignore-ing
We’re just kids being kids! Get over it! Sorry!
Look on the bright side: you won’t need an abortion
We don’t endorse that, this gay rape is Christian.
Now smile for the camera: you’re going to be famous
Make you lip-synch nude to Tori Amos
While impaled on a pylon crying,
And mail the whole thing to Chiron Rising
Who got half the mercy of a Cylon Viking?
Psyche! Don’t fret, we’re not some damn animals
We ain’t done yet, we’re not gonna abandon you
To freeze in the cold, or bleed in the snow,
F*** that We’ll make sure you’re six deep in a hole
Or Under sea with the soles, buried sneakily bold
Like at a peepshow right beneath the main pole
Maybe some emus have eaten your bones
So if the Feds can’t find ‘em with frequent patrols
Don’t axe me, I don’t know where the remains went
Maybe under a basement or a tree in a grove
Maybe the location is somewhere more horrible
Did you check the foundation of the Hoffa memorial?2 comments
1) Sunday Cocktober 27, tokyo big sight, 10 am – 3 pm
hard-gay manga event YARO FEST @ tokyo big sight. That’s right: not BL but actual gay comics by gays. The emphasis seems to be on “indie” comics, not “maninstream”. YARO FEST is part of a larger hentai comics event called COMIC CITY SPARK 8, but I don’t know what other “specialities” are represented at COMIC CITY; I’m just going for the dudes.
2) Saturday and Sunday October 12 and 13 : CHOCOLATE CHIWAWA 15TH ANIVERSARY!
Store opens around 1PM, and stays open til 10ish.
Chocolate Chiwawa is a used clothes store for drag queens and burlesque dancers and used-clothes fiends; it’s also sort of a fixture of the Kouenji underground, and it’s having a 15th aniversary sale/party. It’s the sort of place where you don’t just go to shop, you go to meet other oddballs and hang out. So even if you’re not a drag queen or stripper, you should come and support it.
The owner , Suma-Q, is one of my best friends in tokyo, and you can read my interview with her HERE.
3) Sunday October 20 in Meiji Kouen (nearest station is Sendagaya , on the chuo/sobu line): NATIONAL PROTEST AGAINST BULLSHIT EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES FOR YOUNG PEOPLE THESE DAMN DAYS!
Booths and festival starts at 11 AM, speeches and rallies start at 1PM, then there will be a march.
This is supposed to be a giant protest of young people who feel shut out of the steady-paycheck job market that older generations enjoyed, and exploited/preyed upon by giant temping corporations, living paycheck to paycheck, can be laid off at any time, etc. Also, they are protesting the TPP treaty, the lack of daycare/maternity leave for working mothers, rising education costs, Abenomics, and the increasing numbers of youth forced to work in semi-illegal un-regulated and un-safe “black market” jobs.
Apparently they do not have a website. The event, if you want to look it up in Japanese, is called 全国青年大集会2013.
If you want to go to any of these, drop me a line in the comments.
Just once in my life I’d like to see a “music scandal” that actually WAS ABOUT MUSIC. “Miley Cyrus’ new song is all in 13 / 7 polyrhythms. . . and it’s 27 minutes long!” “ASAP Ricky’s new song only uses a jaw harp and musical saw, nothing else!” “Lady Gaga’s new song consists entirely of samples from Youtubes of crimes used in courtroom proceedings. . .AND it’s 19 BPM.” To me, THOSE qualify as “music scandals.” But in our dumb media world, the more “shocking” the performer is, the more conservative and middle of the road their song is. Garun-fucking-teed.
Compare with Stravinsky: when he debuted Rites of Spring, there was a full-on riot in the classical music venue. Like for real, old white Euro dudes in tuxedos all punching each other in the monocles, old white ladies all choking each other out with their own pearl necklaces and shit. That is a funny visual, but if you think about it, AT LEAST THEY CARED ABOUT THE MUSIC.
And isn’t it pathetic how predicatable “scandals” are? For guys: drugs! Groupies! Arrests at Customs! For ladies: sideboob OMG! Makes me nostalgic for the ‘80s when you’d have a scandal like TITLE OF SONG IS A DOUBLE MEANING or PRINCE SAID A CUSS.
Let’s face it: the entire, ritualized world of media scandals is less than 1% of ACTUAL shady showbiz behavior, so why should the audience settle for that year after year?!? The REAL rock/showbiz scandals are the ones THEY NEVER TALK ABOUT.
How about a ROLLING STONE-type magazine that dealt with the REAL rock-stars of the industry:
The Crooked showbiz lawyers, bootleggers, managers, record label people. . . and the massive industry-wide organized-crime presence that makes it all possible.
Articles like: “top 10 record labels which only exist in order to launder drug profits (with full-color pie charts of where the money goes!”
Or: “Can You Match the Label (or promotion company, management company ,etc) With The “Family” of their “Secret Investor? (answers on page 95!!)”
You could have a pull-out section: real-estate ads listing foreclosed former MTV cribs.
Instead of TOP TEN HIGHEST-SELLING SONGS, you’d have TOP TEN HIGHEST-GROSSING SCAMS. Like:
“Guess Which Of Your Favorite Stars Doesn’t Own Any of Their Own Songs? (special bonus round: Guess Which Of Your Favorite Stars Didn’t WRITE Any of Their Own Songs?)”
Cult leaders! Complete with before-and-after photos (before: saffron robes, giant beard, holy pious expression. After: snorting coke off of a tax-shelter lawyer’s ass, wearing Oakleys, yelling “Can you fucking BELIEVE how much cash I got off of Don Henley?!?!? Hey Don! Just keep chanting, buddy! Hahahaha!!! You’re almost there!!! HAHAHAAHAHAHAHA *snort*”)
Accountants: “I not only screwed the band, but I kept it hidden from the much more expensive accountants that the record label hired to double-check on me! (Part 5 of 6)”
Drug dealers : “I Got A Yacht Named Eminem And A Hovercraft Named DMX, And I Can’t Even Rhyme”
Do a weekly Label Executive Irony Challenge: Mr. “I bought controlling interest in a shotgun company with royalties I scammed from Nirvana” vs Ms. “Stealing the rights to Pink Floyd’s WE DON’T NEED NO EDUCATION paid for my daughter’s entire tuition at Harvard”. Who will win? (Answer: Ms. Pink Floyd, because her daughter majored in copyright law).
This Week’s 5 Most Outrageous Nuisance Lawsuits (and how much the stars settled out-of-court for!) (“Calling Kanye A ‘Tardbanger’ Bought Me This Dune Buggy!”)
“the 10 Cheapest-payola DJs . . . AND the 10 most overpriced ratings-fixers”
“the ten most mobbed-up clubs in Louisiana”.
“ten promoters that have not paid any band since 1994”
And my personal favorite category of scumbag: The sketchy relatives-of-relatives-of-relatives that crawl out the woodwork as soon as someone gets that first million. The Sketchy Relative is a huge part of showbiz folklore that never gets the attention they deserve – they always have some ridiculous business idea that “just needs a little start-up capital, garunteed double your money back.” The funny part is, these scams are probably way more creative and original than the newly-rich Star’s music or movies or whatever!! For example: “A store where you punch chickens in the face” “like walmart but everything is made from alligators” “a line of tire-repair shops where bikini girls run a bingo game while you wait.” “FUCKING PRIME real estate on the river, dude! They’re going to run a freeway through there, build a derpity derp. Property values THROUGH THE ROOF my man! You’re lucky I’m even cutting you in on this deal!” Like, who do you think put more thought and effort into their hustle? the scumbag who has a “can’t miss idea for donuts with a fried egg in the middle” or the Star , writing lyrics for her new hit “Grind That Buttock (on the Dance Floor)”????
And it goes without saying that these articles would not be written in a Steve-Albini-Fuck-The-Industry-Expose-Their-Fucking-LIES type way. This magazine would treat the scammers AS IF THEY WERE THE REAL ROCK STARS. Totally kissing their ass and promoting them as huge role models. “Is it true that Stone Temple Pilots were begging you to stay even after you embezzeled all their tour money?” “How are you investing your Rhianna windfall? Any stock tips?” “Where are the offshore tax havens you’d recommend for next year?”
Instead of some handsome rock star surrounded by models, they photo shoot some pasty geek on the beach in his hideout in Bermuda, surrounded by spreadsheets. Total MTV CRIBS style. “This is where the magic happens *points to stack of contracts with Page 29, Paragraph 3, Section 2a highlighted*” “Here’s my garage with 4 cars that Sting paid for after knocking me up. Thanks, Sting!”
(insert random Gene Simmons quote where he talks like he is explaining the world to some dumb interviewer, then for contrast: insert a corresponding quote from the ACTUALLY smart guy who stole $4,000,000 of Simmons’ money while Simmons was face-down in a pile of drugs)4 comments
It’s not a word I like. It kind of implies that we have souls. Bullshit. When you die you go in the dirt and you’re worm food and that’s all there is to it. But that just means you should fight HARDER in life while you’re still alive.
Sure spiritual is a shitty term but the alternative is to give up without a fight, to surrender to all these Thomas friedman assholes who think that anything that can’t be quantified and ranked is worthless, that the logic of the marketplace should dominate all our moral reasoning and permeate every single area of our lives.
I mean, if you have a dumb job, but live in beautiful nature with a community of people who care about you and support your struggle, and then that gets taken away and you’re living in a strip mall full of dirty concrete and wendys and jiffy-lubes for mile after mile amidst a bunch of strangers who don’t give a fuck about you, and everyone blames themselves for being in debt, and fights over the crumbs. . . .that doesn’t show up on any accountant’s balance sheet. That doesn’t show up in GDP or any of the other yardsticks that The Man uses to measure success or failure. So on what basis do we all instinctively agree that one situation is better than the other? Spiritual shit is what. What else would you call it?
Living in a shithole town with no stimulation and only chain stores, living without community, fighting battles yourself just to stay afloat (while the elites are all very well coordinated against you, making deals in places you’ll never even see), that is spiritually fucked. People who have grown up knowing nothing else can’t imagine another future for themselves or if you ask them to try they say it’s gay or pussy. Their whole imagination got killed off. Those brain cells and connections never developed when they were young. That is a sort of spiritual violence that can’t be measured but it’s real.5 comments
BOTH the pro- and the anti- factions share this unspoken assumption that ethnic/gender studies is a kind of penance. (Which is funny because the pro- people generally shudder at the oppression of organized religion and etc. )
Here’s how the unspoken assumption works: the pro- people figure, “Hey I am one of the good people (gender or ethnic minorities) so why should I have to take studies courses in OTHER PEOPLES’ stuff? Why should I do penance when I am the victim?” Meanwhile the anti- people (men or white women) say, “I don’t want to take any ethnic/gender courses because they’ll just yell at me and make me feel bad. Why should I do penance if I’m not required to?”
Both miss the point.
These courses should be advertised to students, and taught, not as penance, but as a set of practical tools and techniques to achieve success in adult life. Just like “corporate” majors such as MBAs or programming.
The fact that BOTH pro- and anti- people are UNITED in face-palming after reading that, just proves how fucked up our attitudes towards ethnic/gender studies are.
Let me explain what I mean:
After you graduate, your room-mates, your boss at work, your future in-laws, your landlords, your clients at work. . . pretty much all of them at one time or another are going to be DIFFERENT FROM YOU. And they will have THE POWER TO MAKE YOUR LIFE MISERABLE. Even if you’re a white male heterosexual. This is true whether you’re working in a hipster coffee shop or a high-powered law firm. It’s true whether you’re a pottery major or a finance major. It’s true whether you’re a straight white man or a Latina lesbian. You have to learn how to get along with different people. You don’t have to learn every little thing about their culture or that their culture is better than your culture or whatever, but you should know enough to make small talk with them without putting your foot in your fucking mouth and jeopardizing your marriage/job/rental apartment.
Even if you’re a white man, you can get way farther in business if you impress your boss and clients that way. And just because you’re a Latina lesbian, you can still inadvertently offend your future Chinese boss or your future Nigerian mother-in-law or your whatever whatever. If you’re ignorant, you can piss them off just as much as a white man can.
These are practical skills. And unlike “corporate” or “technical” skills, (or Medieval English Lit / Postmodern Art theory majors too for that mater), the skills from gender/ethnic studies are transferable to ALL careers. So therefore they should be required of all students. Maybe it’s different but when I was in college in the late ’80s (?!?) ethnic/gender studies was something you majored in. So you had 90% of the students not giving a shit, and 10% that were garunteed to have no jobs after graduation, which is a distinctly weird idea of “empowerment.”
One of the OTHER things that both the pro-and anti- sides tend to overlook: since these courses are a form of technical training, you’re SUPPOSED to make mistakes. Like say you were taking math, if you wanted to get good at it, every semester you’d take harder courses, courses that you could barely barely pass, and you’d probably get like 20% of the answers wrong, even more at the beginning of the semester. That doesn’t mean you’re a shitty mathematician, it means that you’re pushing yourself to the limits of your ability. If you’re in your third semester and still doing long division just because you’re terrified of making any mistakes, you’re not a perfectionist, you’re a fuckup and no one will hire you to do their math.
This seems so obvious it doesn’t even bear writing down. . . except that in gender/ethnic studies the assumptions are the opposite!
If you make even one mistake, you can get a reputation for being a racist/sexist/homophobe and that reputation can follow you until you graduate or drop out. That’s not the fucking way to teach people to push their intellectual limits. Not only that, it gives students a huge incentive to not even talk to those in different groups, which is the EXACT OPPOSITE of what the programs should be doing!
In fact, at my school (University of California Santa Cruz), here is a thing that actually happened. The administration was faced with a problem: “Students of color have higher drop-out rates, which is probably because they are surrounded by whites and they don’t have a lot of role models/support from students of their same race, and subconsciously this makes them feel they don’t belong here.”
The administration’s solution? “For their own good we’ll encourage them to sleep in racially segregated dormitories.” I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried.
Another example: at UCSC there were 12 different dorm areas (‘campuses’) each with their own theme. Our campus’s theme was “multi-culturalism”. You’d think that ours would therefore of been the most popular party-campus at UCSC: Cinco de Mayo, St. Paddy’s day, Chinese New Year, Russian Get Drunk Day (M-Su), . . . but in fact, nobody from other campuses ever came to party here. Even people living here didn’t want to party here. Because multi-culturalism was taught as a form of penance! It wasn’t like, “Here’s a place where you can get burritos, injira, chana masala, AND won tons! At the same cafeteria! Fuck eating at MY campus, I’m gonna go to Schultz’ multi-cultural cafeteria!” it was more like, “We have 20 different flavors of EAT YOUR BROCCOLI IT IS GOOD FOR YOU.”
The measure of success of ethnic/gender studies programs should be “are the students talking and interacting with students from other groups more than when they first arrived at university?” But all too often the training just makes you want to avoid other groups lest you offend. The penance-based, study-only-your-own-group training is not just bad from a racist-white-male perspective, it also hinders oppressed minorities from uniting against The Man.
When teachers are creating ethnic/gender studies classes, Instead of thinking of “prejudice and unfairness are outrageous, so therefore how much outrage can we pack into one hour’s class?”, why not start with the goal: “let’s combat prejudice by making the students feel comfortable and respectful talking to people in other groups EVEN OUTSIDE OF CLASS, FOR FUN.” And then proceed to work backwards from that goal, designing the curriculum by asking “what can we do an hour a day in class to achieve that?”
Maybe you’re thinking, “Well, he’s a straight white man, so naturally he wants to de-emphasize the “teach the worst atrocities of history and then assign blame” aspect of ethnic/gender studies”. “ But according to Political Correctness, in a society where straight white male is the norm, the oppressed minorities pretty much HAVE to learn to talk to people like me just as a part of growing up, but people like me don’t have to learn to talk to others (it is part of our privilege). So when I am proposing a small-talk and discussion-with-strangers-based curicculum (however you spell it), I am actually proposing something that will be more difficult for people like me, something where non-white-males would have a built-in advantage. And as a socially awkward nerd who can’t even get along with the white middle-class kids in my high school, I’m sure I would have been terrified of this curriculum, but I’m also pretty sure I would have emerged a better person.
Teachers should say, “Look, you’re going to spend fully half of class time making small talk with people you’d never talk to ordinarily. you’re going to irritate people without meaning to. You’re going to have some awkward silences. If you’re not putting your foot in your mouth once a week, then you’re still doing long division when everyone else is doing calculus. If you’re not a white male, you don’t have to practice talking to white males more than you already have to, instead you should talk to folks in groups you have never interacted with before, where you can be the insensitive one.”
It should be OK to fuck up provided that you learn from it. Just like, I don’t know, every other area of education?!? There would have to be some mechanism for kids to judge whether an “offense” was based on racial/gender ignorance/bias, or whether the “offense” was purely personal. Actually even adults have no way to do this so maybe never mind.
Of course other steps can be taken to minimize the hurt feelings before they start. Like at the beginning of the semester all the students can write down the top 10 cliché things people outside of their group say that pisses them off or patronizes them, and those can be aggregated, and the aggregated lists can simply be passed out to the students, or used as fodder for simple role-playing skits done in front of the class, etc.
Also probably a good idea: role-playing skits where you pretend to be an adult in the real world, making small talk with your boss or in-law, or going out to a business dinner with a potential client, applying for a bank loan, chattering with your next-door neighbor, who is from a different group but who also has power over you. The problem is where would you find the people to play the adult roles? You couldn’t really have your Chicano teacher play all the minority roles, and you couldn’t have the students convincingly play adult roles. They should hire the fucking townies. Oh my god that would be traumatic! Let’s do it!
While we’re at it, let’s make “working class” one of the official groups. Let’s get upper middle class white girls and Asians to be able to comfortably communicate with droopy-stached mechanics. Let’s get upper-middle class theory-driven communist students to comfortably communicate with droopy-stached mechanics too. See how that goes! I mean if the point is to make you a well-rounded adult who can get along with all the people you have to get along with in the future, to cut down on awkwardness and unintentional patronizing/offense, of course laborers and mechanics would qualify as a group alongside the established groups.
Like I said before, the goal should be a sort of shallow knowledge of a dozen cultures, trying to cover the basics of small talk with future neighbors/housemates/spouses/in-laws/bosses/co-workers/landlords/work clients. What to say, what not to say, top 10 typical awkward moments, etc. It’s also important to learn people’s culture, not just the atrocities. Not just their holidays or favorite food, but just the WAY different groups talk, the different rhythms of conversation.
Most ethnic/gender conversations at my university all had to do with really heavy shit and blame for same. Again with the idea that “these courses are penance for sins.” Of course the conversations degenerated into petty arguments that went nowhere.
I’m not saying we should avoid teaching the truth about horrible things white men have done/are doing. Just, have some fucking common sense. If students aren’t comfortable even making small talk with different types of people, you want to plunge them straight into the Tuskegee experiment and gang-rape?!? Of course they’re going to wind up more divided than ever.
First of all, teach kids how to talk about non-controversial stuff. Let the white kids know that their future boss is going to be non-white, and what that feels like . . . and let the oppressed minority students know how easy it is to offend OTHER minorities, and what it feels like to be on that end of the equation . . . . and once everyone understands each others’ basic humanity, once you can talk about normal stuff without offending, THEN shift to the heavy stuff. Just writing this now it seems so fucking obvious. Why is this not the way it’s done?
There’s typical “gender fouls” like “Men who don’t like sports or cars” or “women who don’t like babies or armpit shaving.” If you’re one of these, people make you feel less than a man/woman. But what I’ve noticed recently is there is a HIDDEN ASYMMETRY in gender fouls. A whole second level of unfairness that is hidden until now simply because there is not a word for it. What we normally think of as “gender fouls”, are actually two different things. There’s the normal type of gender foul like i mentioned up above. Let’s call those TYPE ONE.
For my money, though, the more interesting gender fouls are things that mark you as a loser, a failure as a man/woman , EVEN THOUGH YOU’RE DOING SOMETHING WHICH ONLY YOUR GENDER DOES. When you think about it, that’s pretty weird. I guess you can resolve the contradiction by saying: “99% of men don’t do XYZ, but 99% of people who do XYZ are men.”
Let’s call these activities TYPE TWO GENDER FOULS.
For example, even though collecting star wars figurines is something that only guys do, we don’t think of that as “manly” in the way that football/cars are. (I’m not trying to make the case that Star Wars collecting is manly or awesome. If anything, admitting that you care about sports/cars should be just as embarrassing as admitting you have a closet full of mint toys. But that’s beside the point. )
It’s hard to think clearly about TYPE TWO GENDER FOULS because it’s not symmetrical.
And by “not symmetrical”, I mean, there are plenty of women into science or role-playing games or whatever, but if you’re a woman and you’re into “geek” stuff like engineering, programming, astronomy . . . that’s a type ONE gender foul: you’re acting too “masculine.” But if you’re a guy and into that stuff, it’s a type TWO gender foul: it’s not masculine ENOUGH. Makes your head hurt just thinking about it.
Put another way, most of what we think of as “women gender fouls” are TYPE ONE (some variation on ‘you’re doing guy stuff or not caring enough about girl stuff so you are less of a woman’). That’s why I had to write this rant, to try to give a way to think about TYPE TWO fouls. Until now there really has been no way to think about or talk about it. And even though I’m throwing down a theoretical framework for discussing it, at the end of the day, I’m a guy and I have no idea what a female TYPE TWO might be!
So here goes my question to everyone: What’s the embarrassing stuff that meets the definition of: “99% of women don’t do XYZ but 99% of the people who do XYZ are women?”
For example, there is this stereotype that women collect shoes. Is there any amount of shoe collecting large enough that the woman would get made fun of like a guy with a huge collection of comic books? Or are shoe collections more like football and cars, where no matter how obsessive it gets it’s never a gender foul?
And being obsessed with aromatherapy or scented bath candle collecting! Are those type two gender fouls? I know it’s mostly women who do that, but are they seen as “less of a woman” if they get down like that? What about living alone with 3 cats? Or just one cat? Or reading romance novels? Is “chick lit” OK but old-school Fabio books something you have to hide from your friends?
If you’re a woman or a guy with too many older sisters, can you help me out here? What are some good female type two gender fouls?12 comments