An Irregular Column
by Mykel Board
Hey you, get off o' my cloud. Don't hang around now, two's a crowd.
--The Rolling Stones 1965 or so.
It makes me madder than butt fucking a prune eater. You wander into a mostly empty club. There's a band on stage. Wow! They're spectacular! Amazing! Like nothing you've ever seen before! You walk up to the singer afterwards.
You were really great." You tell him.
They sheepishly look at the ground and smile at you. The singer shakes your hand and says, "thanks."
You tell your friends. Your friends would rather see Helmet. It doesn't matter. You know this little band is hotter than sex. And somehow, they're yours.
You go to all their shows. It's just you and a half dozen others. The band recognizes you. You're the only one who gives a shit about them.
Then it happens. They get discovered. Mohawks and baldies pack their shows. The band's still friendly to you, but you almost never see them. They only play the big clubs. Everybody likes them. They're not yours anymore. The dork who said The band sucks! a few months earlier, now wears their t-shirt. You start to hate them. You can't look at their picture on the cover of Spin. You had 'em first and they took them away from you.
Ah well, they bite anyway. They were good. But they lost it. Someday soon you'll wander into a mostly empty club and find another band nobody ever heard of.
It's happened to you. I know it. What happens if, instead of a band, it happens with your life? What happens if, after years of being the outsider, everybody starts to think like you? What happens if you've been swimming against the current and the river changes direction? It's time to find a new band, that's what.
For maybe the last time, I want to write about PCism. Those of you with fully grown-in pubic hair might remember when it was only me, fighting the brownshirts in red clothing. Alone, I attacked those who blindly believed the commie crap spoon-fed to them by the punk dictators. Not only in this zine, but in colleges, on the streets, in other zines, in bands, on records. Vegetarian, anti-capitalist, feminist, anti-racists were in control. I was the lone wolf howling in the wilderness. I stood leaning forward, lance in hand. Ready to face the evil leftist masses who wanted to dictate my life for me. Then something happened.
Read this zine now. Any issue of the last six months. Writers spill more ink on what's wrong with other's thinking, than on any thinking of their own. They rag on orthodox anarchist zines like Profane Existence for no other reason than they're "too PC."
I hate the intolerance of P.E. as much as you do. They call free speech "a liberal tool" and vow to prevent it. That totalitarianism angers me. But my pal Criterion, also writes for them, and writes good stuff. You can read about local politics and points of view you just can't get here.
It's not just the non-PC stuff that gets good grades. There is good within PCdom. Unlike the anti-PC faddists, Profane Existencers won't promise that your problems will be solved by voting for Mr. Tipper Gore! You don't hear them tell you to put away your guns and sing happy songs to make a La De Da world. They know what the world is like. Their views may be Politically Correct, but they're still correct.
This unthinking 90's anti-PC stuff is lame as a leg-trapped beaver. But this isn't the first time folks have used an easy handle to discredit ideas without considering their worth.
From the 50s through the 80s, people called unpopular opinions, Communist. You could reject them, and get others to reject them, just by attaching that label. Americans tossed out plenty of good ideas (like a national health plan), because they fell for the "that's Communist" line.
Now Communism is dead. Red-baiting mutates into PC-baiting. We throw the term around, helter skelter branding opinions we don't like. We don't have to think. Just call something PC and pow! Nobody likes it.
The idea of PC and anti-PC has been around for a long time. During the sixties, the anarchist and libertarian left used it to criticize the orthodox Marxists. The Trotskyites used it to criticize the Stalinists. The other side called the anarcho-Trots "adventurist" and "infantile." This was special "lefty-talk." The lumpen didn't know or care about these exchanges. They couldn't tell a Syndicalist from a Marxist Lennonist. They were all Communists.
How did PC get from being left jargon there into these pages? How did it get so deeply into punk rock-- and mainstream America? The answer goes back to punk beginnings. Punk was fun, rebellious, back to basics, and apolitical. The Sex Pistols sang about "Anarchy In The UK," but they knew as much about anarchy as feminists know about sex.
With the election of Reagan, things changed. The "me generation" of became the "no generation." The president's wife tells the waiting world "Just say No." The waiting world, swallows it like Amber Lynn swallows sperm. Punk rockers too, fall for the mistress's line-- and Straight Edge is born.
Then comes George Bush and the 90s. Communism falls. We need some new paint to splash people we don't like. Of course there's the drug problem. But it's kind of hard to brand college professors and Ms. readers as drug users. Instead, George picks up on the old leftist term PC and takes it over. Suddenly, anything that George doesn't like he labels PC. It stops being an intra-leftist term and everyone starts using it.
I write my Senator, Alfonse D'Amato. Al is an anti-abortion right winger who is for more defense spending and an even bigger "war on drugs." Al advocates many kinds of censorship. During his recent campaign, he was supported over his liberal opponent by The Conservative Party, The Right to Life Party and Women Against Pornography. Despite his record, I write to the guy to ask that he protest the FCC decision to fine Howard Stern for using "obscene" language on the radio.
D'Amato writes back. He says he's against censorship "whether by the Christian right or the Politically Correct left." Here's the Conservative Party candidate, using "politically correct" as an epithet. Hooo boy, it's time to find a new band, buckaroos. Yep, jump off that bandwagon.
Last week I told you how the singer from Rub The Buddah said, "The most PC thing you can do in the 90s is to be anti-PC." It's not the most PC thing, but it sure is the most fashionable. And it sure isn't mine anymore.
You have my permission to kick me in the shins if I ever use "too PC" as a reason not to like something. If I don't explain, don't give details, specifics. If I don't say, "Yo, that's violating free speech." or "Hey, We shouldn't judge people negatively or positively on the basis of race." or "If lesbos want to exclude boys, that's ok. But it's hypocritical for them to complain about being excluded themselves." Or any other real, observable reason.
If instead of saying that, I feed you "Oh they're sooooo PC" shit... please, roll it into a tube, grease it well, and shove it right back where it came from.
In the meantime, you guys just enjoy wearing your new anti-PC clothes. It's the latest fashion and you look so chic in it. Sorry I'm not going to be able to dress up with you. I'm sure you'll have a good time. Soon, it'll be time to find yourself another new look. Maybe Spin will have a few suggestions. Let me know when you find it.
You can find me in the corner reading Love and Rage, sipping my (pre-counterrevolutionary) Nicaraguan coffee, smoking a Cuban cigar, and chuckling like a madman as I watch you scurry in your quest for the next fashion.
--> Great minds piss in the same bathtub dept. I know another columnist echoed some of these sentiments, last month. It was a coincidence. I had already start writing before I read her column.
By the way, Tim has reinstated the rule where we're aren't allowed to comment on each other's writings. A good rule, I'd say. Otherwise it gets to be as inbred as a hillbilly town. Who wants to have to shuffle through back issues to find out what we're talking about? Who wants to read answers to questions we didn't even know were being asked? Sometimes it'll be unavoidable for columnists to talk about the same thing. But that's different from us arguing with one another.
--> I got a sad letter from Dave Tate (c/o Warren City Jail, 118 West Main St, Warrenton, MO 63383). David warns "when travelling cross country, make sure you skip Missouri." Considering his address, sounds like good advice. Write to the guy, he's lonely.
-->Worst state in the nation? dept.: Jay Hurtado snet me a clipping from a Florida newspaper. They're at it again. This time they're after a girl who showed a GG Allin video on public access TV. They want her to go to jail for broadcasting pornography. Even by Supreme Court standards, that wasn't obscene. They have to prove "prurient interest in sex." I love GG Allin, but he sure as shit-slinging doesn't get my prurient hard.
--> Yeah, I know I slammed the "alternative scene" last issue, but there's still something emotionally appealing about folks who keep trying. I got a note from this Czech group called BLACK HAND. They've got an ambitious project for a restaurant/ concert hall, AIDS advisory clinic, and you name it. They've already got a building, but need money. They plan to set up a series of international benefits in different cities. I don't think that'll work. BUT, bands making announcements at shows and promising, say 10% of t-shirt sales or something-- that's a possibility. If you want more information write: Petr Bergmann, BLACK HAND, Kafkova 9, Praha 6, 160 00 CZECHOSLOVAKIA. (Or whatever today's name is for that country.)
-->That's entertainment dept: I hate to tread on someone else's territory, but there's a couple of movies you gotta see. The first is Dead Alive a gore comedy from New Zealand. More blood, guts and green vomit than I've seen in a long time. It's a laugh a minute!
Speaking of blood, guts and vomit, yep, back to GG Allin. The other movie is I want to recommend is Hated, the GG Allin documentary by Todd Phillips. It's finally out and had a spectacular debut here in NYC. The movie takes no sides, but just explores the phenomena. (Todd talks to GG's high school teachers, for God's sake!) If you want to rent the movie for showing at your school or church, you'll have to contact Todd (40 East 7 St (206), New York NY 10003). Oh yeah, the first voice you hear in that movie, is mine.
--> I got a letter from Robert Lohr (#01559-087, FCI Schuykill, Unit 22, PO Box 759, Minersville PA 17954-0759, yeah, another jail letter). He writes about a weirdness in Federal law that punishes LSD holders more than heroin users. What happens is there is a mandatory 10 year minimum on LSD based on weight. It's not only the weight of the LSD, but the weight of whatever is carrying it. For example, 100 hits of pure LSD will get you 10 months in prison. If you have that on blotters, you'll get five years. On sugar cubes, it's ten years. It depends on the total weight, you see. I'm sure Robert needs some mail. But so do middle of the road congressmen and senators. Ask them to repeal this dumb law. Sometimes people forget that writing really can help. That's why I wrote to Al D'Amato. Remember the defeat of Judge Bork? We won that one!
--> Yeah, I missed the April non-fools issue this year. I just got back from the European tour and I lost track of what month it was. Next April I'll give you two crossword puzzles or something.
--> Whoops dept. Remember when I wrote about The Mud Wimmin. I said it looked like they were responsible for The Middle East Cafe booting ARTLESS from the bill. Well, it seems (yes, I'm gonna say it) I was wrong. They called me and were very convincing in their explanation of what happened. They explained that they played all over the country with no control over opening bands.
From experience, I know that's often the case. They said the Boston club is notorious for double booking, last minute cancellations and general fuck-ups. I shouldn't be so paranoid/egomaniacal to think it was my reputation that got us booted. Now, as to us playing for the great homomarch on Washington...
--> Brilliance in the Marketplace dept: I forgot who sent me this clipping. It's about a new line of guns made with attractive and decreet holsters. Aimed at the female market, this special line disguises guns as purses or garter belts. The name of the company? Feminine Protection, of course.
--> This column was partly inspired by a discussion that took place over Internet on the BI and PUNK lists. I love technology.
If you have access to Internet, you can e-mail me at: (MQB8130@ACFCLUSTER.NYU.EDU). I'm distributing my column electronically from the 16th through the 25 of (almost) every month. Just ask me and I'll upload it to ya. It'll also be available on Matt's BBS, Cool Beans. (Have your modem dial (510) THE COOL.) Of course, snailmail is the only way to send me those explicit videos and photos. (Yes, Gary L. send me your zine & the tapes!) That address is PO Box 137, Prince Street Sta, NYC 10012. But don't ask for columns that way, you'll never get 'em.
--> Speaking of E-mail, this message came to me via Internet. On June 4th, 1992 the Illinois Dept of Family services took a kid away from her parents. The reason: dad runs a pirate radio station. That's it. Dad's never been charged with any child abuse. Nothing! I don't have all the details, but it sound real nasty. The information seekers amongst you (or the good hearted) can find out the details by contacting the man himself, Napoleon Williams. All I have is a phone number, 217-422-3710. Let me know what you find out.
--> Fun in the snailmail dept: A few weeks ago, I rejected an ad from Mercury Records. It was for my zine Nothing But Record Reviews. We don't take major label ads. The guy who called me must've been sitting in front of a computer screen making notes on all his calls. He should have been in the "comments" field on his database record. Instead, he fucked up. Now, all my junk mail from Mercury is addressed to: Mykel This guy hates major labels! Board. Funny, huh?
--> More fun in the snailmail dept: I got a catalog from JLF (PO Box 184, Elizabethtown IN 47232) It's a catalog of mushrooms and mushroom products. I'll quote from it: "all these mushrooms are poisonous and are not to be eaten... Some effects from accidental ingestion would be nausea, vomiting... blurred vision, disorientation and possible hallucinations and deep sleep." According to the catalog, the mushrooms therein are not illegal to posses and should be used "as educational tools" only. I love America.
--> Bad News dept: I got a new computer program that tells me that alcohol and aspirin can react to cause "enhanced gastro-intestinal bleeding." Alcohol and Tylanol can react to cause liver damage. Looks like I'm gonna have to live with that headache.
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