Sunday, May 08, 2005

Our Aging Post Punkers

Went to a show on Thursday, where I had the unusual experience of being on the young side of the average age of the crowd. The Gang of Four recently re-united their original line-up for a tour. Undoubtedly they decided to get the gang back together after hearing all the new bands that have been mining, or ripping off, their sound, like Franz Ferdinand, the Rapture, the Futureheads, though they don't include Marxist polemics that lead singer Jon King would declaim on the early classic records, Entertainment! and Solid Gold.

I was rather taken aback, when they first took the stage. I hadn’t seen any pictures of them taken in the past 25 years, so I was struck first by their age. Were these pleasant old men, mostly paunchy and bald, the same angry young men who declared that “love is gonna get you like a case of anthrax”?

This initial impression wore off after they played a couple of songs. They still had it. Andy Gill, the unheralded guitar genius, spit out spare, dissonant, spastic-funky riffs.
If you met Jon King on the street you’d think he was the senior partner in an architect firm, but on stage he was a commanding presence and had more energy then frontmen half his age.

The bass player, Dave Allen, got a warm reception from the crowd, as he’s been living in Portland (the city where hipsters go to die, as Jeff says.) Until recently he was working as an executive at Intel. I guess they didn’t hold all that anti-capitalist sloganeering against him.

The crowd was into it. This one guy standing in front of us, was pushing 60, and ignoring moshing with abandon. I saluted his energy, but was also concerned that he was going to break a hip. As punk rockers age, I expect to see this become a common injury in emergency rooms.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

3 Months Since My Last Blog

Haven't gotten this daily blogging thing down. I think I'll shoot for quarterly.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Republican Rapture

It’s generally agreed that the presence of several anti-gay marriage initiatives, swung the vote to the Republicans, by attracting the Bible beaters to the polls like retards to shiny objects. But what to do after all the likely states pass all the anti-gay initiatives they can? Well, Karl Rove has some future initiatives planned in upcoming elections to keep Mr. and Mrs. Morality voter coming to the polls for more!

2006: initiative to create “separate but equal” locker rooms for gay men

2008: initiative to make “Touched by an Angel” mandatory viewing.

2010: initiative to outlaw the number sequence 666 in all phone numbers, addresses, and credit card numbers.

2012: initiative to give fetuses the right to vote. (Votes to be controlled by pro-life organizations- after all they’re the only ones who care.)

2014: initiative to make all true believers be taken up in the clouds to be with God , while the unbelievers are left behind on earth to suffer the tribulations and the final battle between Jesus and the anti-Christ.

Come to think of it, a rapture for all these evangelicals could be just the ticket. They could all go up to heaven and us regular folks can go back to our reality based community. Oh yeah, when they get raptured they leave all their stuff behind, so we can look through it to see if there’s anything good.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Morality and the American Voter

A major theme in election post-mortems is that “morality” was the deciding issue for the Republicans this year. Exit polling apparently showed that “morality” was the most important concern for 20% of the voters, more than "terrorism", the "economy, " or "common sense." Let’s leave aside the fact that these exit polls also showed that Kerry was going to win, and concede that there is a good chunk of people who based their vote on the Bible.

It’s a funny kind of morality, though, one that worships the fetus and then doesn’t give a fuck about the kid if he’s born into poverty. It’s a morality that ignores much of the New Testament’s concern for the poor and hungry, and “he who is without sin casting the first stone” and obsesses over the Old Testament’s lists of prescribed bedroom activities.

The big issue for these “moral voters” mostly boiled down to “making sure them gays can’t a-marry.” Now, I knew this was going to be a losing issue for the Democrats, but you know what, standing up for civil rights also cost the Democrats votes in the South. (By the way, in a little noticed election result, Alabama voters actually rejected a measure to delete residual language in the state constitution that supported segregation and the poll tax. So much for morality!) Is winning the votes of the narrow minded worth throwing gays overboard? I don’t think so.

Let’s face it though, Rove and the Republicans played these “morality” voters beautifully. As Thomas Frank posits in his book What’s the Matter with Kansas? the Republicans are wildly successful at getting the poor and middle class of the heartland to vote directly against there own economic interests. They run on banning abortion, but when elected they pass a capital gain tax cut for the rich. So Mr. And Mrs. Morality voter, you won’t have gay marriage, but you are going to get ass raped by the Republicans. Goodbye progressive income tax, hello national sales tax! (Bible purchases to be excluded.)