Monthly Archives: November 2004

Mad Cows, Mad Republicans

Republican shame. The lesson: those who will do whatever it takes to win will, over time, come to dominate — unless they are weeded out by a critical, angry population. So much for the U.S.

And, in an unrelated story: as I’ve told Baby Bobby many times, there is no such thing as Mad Tofu. As for the rest of you, beware.

Dose of Reality

Chomsky on the election:

“Bush won slightly more than 30% of the electorate, Kerry slightly under 30%. I doubt that fraud had much to do with it. That’s about what I personally

predicted, if that matters; am collecting some symbolic bets from friends, and

even wrote about it a bit, on Znet. It is meaningless. It tells us virtually

nothing about the country, just as it would tell us nothing if there had been a

slight shift in votes and Kerry had won with a meaningless slight plurality.”

His last answer is the most important (“Why Can’t The Left Do It?”) for those of us who realize the future of change does not lie with the DNC and The Blue Pigs.

Two Album Reviews

I Voted For KodosClose Enough for Ska

Release Date: 2000



This album sounds more like a demo disc than a true full-length. It is inconsistent and should have been trimmed to an EP. But it still ends up on my MP3 player, weeks after I bought it.

They would do their fans a favor to consistently stick with the successful elements in their sound, especially goofy humor and catchy horns. The first thing I noticed about the songs on Close Enough For Ska is that they made me laugh out loud. I still think the female monologue in “Todd,” an anthem for the nice guy who is never more than a friend, is fantastic. Even the cheesy online metaphors on “www.Dumped.com” somehow work. The self-conscious “She Hates Ska” and “Wish I Was Aaron,” both stylistic homages to Reel Big Fish, are some of the disc’s best material.

Unfortunately, they aren’t RBF, so when they sing that their band sucks, it lacks some of the irony as when RBF craft perfect catchy satires. Also, no one should have let the ridiculously out-of-place “Shallow Grave” pass the final cut. It’s five minutes of slow, meandering crap. Similarly, “Going Down” sounds way too much like the thousands of other pop-emo anthems clogging up the pseudo-alternative airwaves. If they had cut those stinkers and trimmed a few refrains from some of the longer numbers, this would have been a solid release.

But, even so, this album starts off strong enough on the first three tracks to convince me that this band is worth keeping an eye off. Judging from some of the songs on here, I Voted For Kodos could become a great band. We’ll just have to wait and see if they actually do.

My Overall Rating: $8*

Retail: $10.25 on Interpunk.com

Official Site: IV4K.com

Similar Bands: Reel Big Fish, Distorted Penguins, Less Than Jake, No On 15

*I rate on a $20 scale, to approximately reflect prices we pay for CDs. It is an evaluative concept I’ve stolen from CrankyCritic.com, one that I’ve found very useful. There’s nothing fancy about it. It just means how much I’d pay for it, relative to the prices of other CDs.

Fugazi – The Argument

Dischord Records 2001

For those unfamiliar, Fugazi are the gods of the true indie music scene. They play creative, innovative music that I won’t reduce by labeling it with some sort of snobbish genre label. I would call their overall sound cold, methodical, and always surprising. Guy Piciotto and Ian MacKaye trade mic duties, and while I am of course partial to the kid who screamed the best hardcore music that’s ever been played, Guy is a good singer as well.

The untitled first track and its seamless follower, “Cashout,” form an inviting opener to this complex album. Several guest vocalists leave their mark on this album, and give it an eclectic feel. Lyrically, the songs on this disc are as politically charged as usual, although you might not notice unless you read the liner notes. I suggest you do.

I’m not a Fugazi disciple, as many of their fans seem to be, but out of the three albums I own of their’s, this is by far the most accessible. There’s no “Waiting Room” on here, but it is passionate music from a talented band.

My Overall Rating: $15

Retail: $10 postage paid from Dischord.com (You can’t beat that!)

Official Site: www.dischord.com/bands/fugazi.shtml

Bush Will One Day Retire But We Never Will

The narrow victory of George W. Bush to a second term in office is a great disappointment for liberals, progressives, and lucky others who possess functioning brains. Just days after claiming victory, he proposed a reactionary agenda that includes such nightmares as privatization of social security, drilling in ANWR, and extension of his ludicrous tax cut scheme to beyond 2010. And, what might be scaring people the most, Bush will pack the Supreme Court with neoconservatives, who sit for life, tipping a delicate balance that could undo Roe v. Wade and other landmark cases. Bush himself, in interviews after the election, hit on the truth: the direction he is taking the country was endorsed on November 2, and this can do nothing but convince him it is the just, God-sanctioned path to continue on as it takes the entire world down the crapper.

On the morning of 3 November, I awoke to find Instant Messenger away messages prophesizing the end of the world, profanity-laced diatribes against Bush along with the idiots who voted for him, and more than a few plans of expatriating from this backwards country. While I understand your rage, these are childish overreactions. They are neither overreactions to the policies, for they are monstrous; nor to the man, for he is still ignorant; nor to the process, for it is money-driven and unjust. They are overreactions to the reality of the situation.

Here’s a wake-up call: we were born under Reagan. Liberal has been a dirty word since we learned to talk. Secularism and the softer variants of Christianity have been on a steep decline. The U.S. has been a fundamentalist nation since we were old enough to know what that meant. Let the fifty year olds grumble. They have known another America. We have not. You wanted to loosen your collar, sip a latte made with organic soymilk, and sit on your ass for four years, having done your part. Well, sorry, but it’s not an option.

The problems would not have gone away. The government needs to be scrutinized every second of every day. Those who throw up their hands in absolute disgust remind me of the protestors of the Iraq war who really thought their handmade signs would throw a wrench in the plans of the powerful. If the U.S. wasn’t on top, another country would. But since it is the U.S., we are in unique position to alter the course of world events. Our domestic resistance can give the oppressed a margin of survival that they need in their struggles for freedom and dignity.

But this involves hard work, and lots of it. It involves turning immature protest movements into effective and well-funded umbrella organizations like MoveOn.org. It requires transforming disillusionment, boredom with politics, and vague white rage into systemic changes. As with everything, it starts with each and every one of us on a daily basis. We have to, in the words of Gandhi, be the change we wish to see. Right now, we top off the tanks of our cars, the ones with “No War in Iraq” bumper stickers and lace up our slave-made shoes and pull on a t-shirt that reads “Resist American Empire.” We’re all addicts wondering why there’s a drug problem. Even a President Kucinich could not have cured our lust for the spoils of Empire.

If you’re going to run away to Europe, have fun. I’ll be here, doing the same things I’ve been doing for years, and what I’d be doing even if the election had gone differently.

You can stay pissed, but please stay. Don’t take the easy way out. This is not the time to tune out. This is the time to prepare for 2008, and 2012, and a lifetime of struggle against injustice. Don’t act surprised. America was full of idiots on 1 November. It was also full of 56,158,908 Kerry supporters. Nothing has changed except your perception of a preexisting problem. So let’s work on the solution to that problem. Don’t turn your back on what you know is right.

When and if you’re ready, we’ll be here.