September 8, 2011 - September 1, 2011
Wednesday, September 07, 2011
The Guys We Almost Are
HISTORY ISN'T AUTOMATIC. History isn't automatic. History isn't automatic. History isn't automatic. History isn't automatic. History isn't automatic. History isn't automatic. History isn't automatic. History isn't automatic. History isn't automatic. History isn't automatic.
The Boss isn't the only one pulling his hair out. I pull out piles of clumps when I read comments like this:
I'm absolutely convinced an upbeat campaign focused on prosperity CANNOT LOSE. How could it?
We'll have to agree to disagree. I think he sealed his fate as a one-term prez. This is based on the YOUTH with whom I speak on a regular basis. They feel completely let down (& they are quite a large voting block)....some because they dislike the things he's done, some because they didn't get a free ride. Blah blah blah Ron Paul blah blah blah.
Fuck's sake. This is depressingly, terrifyingly, reminiscent of an old web comic called The Guy I Almost Was. I'll sum up the moral with a few key panels. Peter (the buck-toothed one above) is a young kid in the late 70s/early 80s dreaming of the jetpack robot maid domed city on the moon future we all expected to see in the new millennium.
Things don't come to pass with quite the rapidity Peter expects. Anxious by 1992 for The Future to start happening, he scrapes together the funds to attend his first Cyber Expo (this is the early 90s, remember, when the prefix Cyber ruled the world and experts unanimously predicted VR headsets in every home by the year 2000). This panel neatly sums up his disillusionment:
The promised future never comes. Broke, miserable, and seeing nary a domed city on either the literal or figurative horizon, Peter takes a hard look at where he, and his fellow hopefuls, went wrong.
Broke, shmroke! Who needs food? You've got the satisfaction of being right to fill your belly!
I've all but drawn you a diagram. And now I have to insult you by spelling it out for you. Even if the future looks easy to build, it still has to be built.
So howzabout we get to work? Hmm?
Let Me Go
OVER NOW. Listen to the drums. Listen to the drums. I was the drum.
What will you do now?
Monday, September 05, 2011
9/11 Disinformation Week
new hot button. Even Judge Napolitano is suspicious.
GOTTA BE TESLA.
The tenth anniversary is a week away. Which means that this is
the week when the conspiracy theorists will come to the fore with their
latest and greatest theories about why everything we think happened
didn't and they are uniquely endowed with the ability to see the truth.
Two people for whose intellect I have enormous respect have already
made known to me that I am stupidly credulous, perhaps uniquely in
their experience with me, for believing that Islamic terrorists brought
down the WTC Towers and Building 7.
One tells me that Building 7 was brought down by built-in explosives that are now
routinely put into government buildings which might contain national
The other tells me that the Twin Towers were brought down by a Nikola
Tesla particle beam which may not have been a Bush administration
conspiracy but somebody else's (The S.P.E.C.T.R.E of Ernst Stavro
Blofeld?) Think I'm kidding? Go here
and read the reviews. The Truth at
I'd like to get this kind of stuff out of the way before we reach the
actual anniversary date. So here goes. Feel free to chime in, any and
all of you.
Both men who think I'm being particularly dumb or obtuse about 9/11
are, I will repeat, brilliant. But there are at least two categories of
what we call brains. The more common type is the silo brain. It has one
or more areas of undoubted expertise that rise vertically into the
stratosphere of intellect. They make most of the breakthroughs in
specific scientific fields and disciplines. Their contributions are
manifest, legion, and world-changing.
But there's another kind of brain, too. A kind I call relational, which
can make sense of messy events and see patterns and meanings that seem
irrelevant to the silo types. Obviously, I assign myself to this latter
and The Boomer Bibleis a
uniquely quantitative example of the not completely touchy-feely nature
of this kind of intelligence. I see wholes where the silo people see
parts that mesmerize them into cultural and historical insanity.
I frequently defer to the silo types in my communications. I respect
them enormously. And it facilitates my desire to learn
from their greater expertise in this and that. But not this time.
This time, they're the dunces.
Let's rewind the tape. Two commercial airliners flew into the two
buildings in Manhattan, causing enormous loss of life. Then the
buildings fell, collapsing into their own sub-basements, which extended
for multiple floors underground. These unprecedented skyscrapers and
their unprecedented collapse in close quarters with other major
buildings, created unprecedented effects, including the delayed
demolition of other buildings. How do the silo types choose to react?
Not by learning from the unprecedented circumstance of such an urban
catastrophe but by declaring that there's something fishy about it,
something that doesn't compute with their superior understanding of
physics. But wasn't it silo types who signed off on the design of the
first Tacoma Narrows Bridge?
a guess. This wasn't possible either. No suspension bridge
could ever turn into a fatal carnival ride. Until it happened.
They preach logic at us. They insist, demand,
they know better than us poor slobs who saw and felt and lived what
happened. They disdain the relevancy of Occam's Razor
when it doesn't suit their own more exotic interpretations. It wasn't
an enemy attack. It was a deeply mysterious technological anomaly, at least in certain of its
particulars which we are ill
equipped to understand, because look at them and look at you and who's
smarter? (Probably the way Roman scientists explained that Hannibal
could never get elephants through the Alps.) They
completely ignore the historical and cultural context surrounding the
event -- that there was a confessed
perpetrator with motive, means, and opportunity, and then they go on to inform us that whatever their
expertise doesn't explain about what happened afterwards isn't a hole in
their knowledge but a hole in our education, perception, and
What does a lesser intelligence like mine make of the same events? I
draw an elementary inference. All their theories depend upon on the
occurrence of at least two extraordinary events, not one. Two commercial jets
are hijacked and crashed into the Twin Towers AND mysterious nefarious
powers-that-be compounded the already nation-stunning impact (why?) by
vaporizing the towers with a particle-beam weapon that was never more
than a rumor (unless you revert to the outraged Truther counter-theory of a
deliberate, simultaneous building implosion that would have taken weeks
and hundreds of conspirators to pull off) OR the U.S. Government chose
this singularly catastrophic moment in U.S. history to cover its tracks
(about what????) by bringing down at potentially even greater loss of life yet another building it had been
prepared to demolish since the early 1970s if, uh, what???!!!
We've been here before. I'm older than most folks. I lived through long
long years of Kennedy conspiracy theories. How many books by how many
'brilliant' investigators, including genius lawyers and scientists? A
pissed-off jerk-off killed the president of the United States.
Senseless, yes. Impossible to process rationally, yes. But it was
Oswald's rifle, which was fired from the place where he worked, that
killed the president, as all recent forensic recreations have proved
was both possible and irrefutable. The Magic Bullet wasn't magic, the
assassin's movements could be traced almost minute by minute, and he
proved his complicity if not guilt by killing a cop while trying to escape
after the fact. The alternative theories required two Oswalds (two kill
shots of the towers), and all the usual suspects from the
vice-president to the CIA to the mafia and a series of impossible third
and fourth shots from grassy knoll to grate to Secret Service mole in
the presidential limo.
In both instances, the conspiracy theories are fueled by the fact that
the perpetrators died before they could confess or be tried.
But here's what none of the conspiracy theorists can do: provide a
comprehensible timeline that makes coherent sense of what happened that
day. Unless all you're claiming is that Building 7 was a lone instance
of fascist government cover-up for crimes and info not known.
I'm out of patience. The illogic of the NEW Occam's Razor, that the second
(or third or fourth or fifth) least complicated explanation is too
persuasive to ignore unless you're an idiot liberal arts major is
grotesque. It argues for an agenda that isn't related to facts or data
but a desire to know better than the commoners and a political axe that
can never be ground down to an edge of common sense.
I'll close with two videos that won't do anything but piss off my
Which is fine. Because I'm pissed with them too.
Now. If you want to fight, fight here.
I absolutely refuse to let it stand in the way of the tenth anniversary
thoughts and discussions I expect our commenters to stand up to.
Do NOT bring up any of this crap on 9/11.
Just so you know.
Old Zoni's Misadventures in Time (the whole thing, for your convenience)
Not the good word a guy wants to hear from his future self. When the ruggedly handsome Brizoni of 2030 knocked on the door of my ramshackle crystal penthouse, I played it as cool as I could. No self-respecting man wants to fawn over his future self like a teenage girl shrieks and gushes over a Justin Bieber or a Leif Garrett or a C. Everett Koop. Even if-- BECAUSE-- he remembers what he was like when he was me, the moment I saw him I resolved to impress. "Come in," I said, my voice squeaking so subtly there's no way he could have heard it.
"Pour me some of that Bump in the Night," a robust Cascadian Dark Ale from the good people at Full Sail Brewing, Hood River, OR. "They don't make it anymore. Full Sail went tits up."
"The hell you say!"
"Yep. I was there when it happened. The beer I designed was the last they ever made." He stared into his glass like he was holding a stillborn baby. "Damn shame. I did what I could, but too much bubbled up too fast... here." He dropped a manilla folder on my couch. "Here's what happened. I want you to save them." Not help them, or do what you can for them, but save them. It was reassurring to learn I'll still think in terms like that 20 years from now.
"You came back in time to save a brewery?" I asked like it was stupid, but a river of questions strained against my verbal levies. Just a brewery? Is time travel a regular thing for us at your point in our lives? Is time travel hyphenated? Do you erase, or revise, yourself every time you change your history? Do you remember this encounter, meeting your future self when you were me? Do you remember that idea I had about going back to 1978 and taping the Star Wars Holiday Special when it first airs? Did you ever do that?
"Nah. That was just an afterthought," he said, gesturing half-consciously to the folder. "After the crash, I wrote down everything that happened and how I could have stopped it if I'd known what was coming. I printed my notes off before I left."
"We have a printer now?" That's like the one electronics I, present-day Brizoni, don't own. Who needs hard copies anymore?
"I know, right? I used to say 'I guess I'm an adult now,' but once you reach a certain age that stops being cute."
He folded his 6'6" frame into my custom oversize egg chair that still wasn't quite oversize enough but I wanted to circulate photos of famous friends sitting in it before I tried to resell it. A lucky shot becomes iconic, the chair goes from cool curiosity to historical artifact. Cha ching. "Is there some rule that says I can't visit my younger self when I've got a free evening?"
"Like, all the laws of thermodynamics? Are those the kind of rules you mean?"
"I want you to appreciate how charitable is was of me to let you make that stupid joke. I knew it was coming. I paused to let you have the dubious pleasure of telling it. Shame should be loaming up on the shores of your conscious awareness about now." It was.
"Alright," my future self relented. Did I mention his rugged handsomeness? "I have something you need to hear, but it's not the kind of thing I can just drop in your lap. We're gonna have to work up to it." He drank deep from his Bump. "God, CHRIST. That's incredible. I have the recipe, but I can never make it exactly right. Like the difference between generic Cheerios and real Cheerios. You know?"
"I do. I've been using that analogy since I was 11."
"Really? I came up with it that long ago?" His surprise was genuine. "Was there a story behind it?"
"Mom filled a box of real Cheerios with generics. She didn't say anything. We could tell they were kind of weird, but we never spoke up." I was suddenly struck with a vivid awareness that I was making too many hand gestures. Nerves. I was past the point of trying to impress the man who would be Z. All I could do was hope that I didn't suck as a person enough-- or that he hadn't improved as a person too much-- that he had sympathy for me. "When she triumphantly announced what she did, she was convinced that because we never mentioned it, we couldn't tell the difference. Frustrated the hell out of us, because what defense could we make? We couldn't just say that we'd noticed but kept quiet. Oldest lie in the book, right? Even though it was true in our case."
He stared ahead. "That doesn't ring a bell." His eyelids pressed under his brows. He shook his head slightly, trying to shake the memory loose. For half a second, I feared he thought I was lying, but then he said "Crud, I just don't remember that. That sucks, that... I know you're not making this up or anything. I just can't recall. Drat."
I sympathized, and I knew he knew I sympathized. I relaxed.
"OK. Listen. Z-Man." He looked down and flexed his chin. I was reminded that I make the same face when I get all serious. "When's the last time you went out of the country?"
I had to think a moment. "April of last year? No, Canada doesn't count. Must have been... wow, must have been the January before."
"Any particular reason you stopped travelling?"
"Got busy... haven't had a lot of interest lately..."
“Listen as hard as hell to me, sir. Back home, our biographers are struggling with this question. Brizoni used to jet set around the world the way a bullet ricochets. Then, one day, he didn’t. And it was years before set foot on a plane again? What happened? It’s a mystery. No one can figure it out. Even you don't know why you quit. But I do. And when I tell you, it’s going to break your heart like an old clay pot.
"I... You... Damnit, I told myself I wouldn't get hung up on time travel-induced pronoun confusion."
"Ha! I thought for sure I'd be the first to crack. I figured you had practiced."
"I did. And I was looking forward to gloating, to be honest." He finished his glass, and took another bottle from the ice bucket. "OK. Serious time.
"I didn't set foot on a plane until 2017. There wasn't any one thing or event that set me off, but gradually I accumulated this half-paranoia about flying. It didn't keep me up nights or anything, but when the opportunity arose, I'd get struck by this... wariness. I'd make other plans or telecommute or whatever. Which you've already started doing. But no flying. Not even to move within the country. When I had to go somewhere, I'd go by train instead, like we thought about doing when we were younger. One time I even traveled across the Atlantic by boat, like an idiot.
"Like I said, there didn't seem to be any good cause. It feels like merely--" and I'm embarrassed to tell you how pleased I was to find out I'll one day learn to say merely and not sound like a Little Rascal playing grown up in the secret clubhouse-- "a gradual, natural change in interests. You used to love buzzing all over creation, but now it doesn't so much turn your crank. No big. People change, they're tastes change, ee tee see."
He took a stiff drink from the bottle, like it was whiskey. I took the moment to remind myself to breathe. "Well, sir, I'm here to tell you that's BS. There is one hell of a reason why you refuse to go skyward. It's so diabolically subtle, only I could figure it out. And only then because I'm smarter than everyone AND I live inside the head in which it happened.
"You can only crisscross this little-ass globe so many times before you learn to hate everyone. No matter where we go, people are making the same stupid mistakes, cocking up their stupid lives in the same ways, all needing to learn the same simple-ass shit to not make those mistakes, and all refusing to learn it. Giving you, us, this attitude like it's not their place to learn it. Like it's not appropriate that they have that much of their act together. Like they're supposed to be either viscious little brutes or ignorant effete snobs.
"That's why I stopped flying. It's why you've stopped, too. And a six year break didn't salve that feeling one bit."
I fixed my stare on some carpet across the room. I hadn't anticipated this part of time travel. I looked forward to the inside track on history and stock tips and Gray's Sports Almanac and the next few generations of video game consoles, as well as my future wife's phone number and the name of the guy who knovs the guy who knows the guy who has the connectios I need to make some venture I haven't even thought of yet and everything like that. Never occurred to me that my future self would have the inside track on me, as well as the rest of the world.
And speaking of...
"Hey, where are my stock tips from the future?"
"Stock..? Oh, right. Heh. It's funny... what you assume is gonna last forever. Full Sail. Internet porn. The stock market."
My chest froze. "Oh. Well... maybe..." I almost said But not tomorrow, right? and asked for stocks that could billow my coffers in the meantime. Instead, I let him continue.
"In 2017, I get on a plane. Couldn't avoid it. And of all places, where do I head but the Middle effing East."
"Yeah, you see where this is going.
"I won't say. The country situation is weird in my time, and I forget which all used to be which. Not Iran. This is an Arab country. I had business with an independently wealthy dude out there, believe it or not. He was in his 'get back to my roots' phase, so there's an endless itinerary of social hoops to jump through at his native village. Drink the various sized cups of tea in the right order, paint your face with the local Shaman's feces, walk over the hot coals while yodelling the Xena war cry... There may not have been actual Shaman poop, mind you.
"I hated it. It wasn't cute, or charming, or touchingly primitive or impressively ancient. It was just people being stupid, to no purpose. But I had a deal to finish. I grit my teeth, buried my contempt deep in my brain, and convinced my short-term memory I was hapless but amused and game for a new experience. If the locals noticed I was miserable, they were gracious enough not to say anything.
"Except for ONE GUY I wanted to bitch slap until he died. I'm ashamed to admit I don't remember his name. Always giving me wary glances. Remarking out loud that it looked to him like I maybe wasn't having a good time. Generally peeing in my Cheerios. And trying to be subtle and crafty about it. Like I'd done something to him? Sorry I don't like eating and praying to dirt, champ. Dude was constantly shaking my tree.
"The bright spot was this little kid, maybe 8 years old. Don't remember his name either. Something foreign sounding," he smiled to me. "He spoke English like it was his first language, because by 2017 it probably was. Awesome kid, bright kid. Like, could keep up with us in conversation bright. Not bad for 8 years old, you know? Everytime I'd explain a new concept to him, a new big idea like the efficacy of capitalism or the transtheist ethics, his eyes would light up with comprehension. It was so great. Once we had some time to talk, I was glad I'd made the trip. I started dreaming about scouring the world looking for kids like him and switch on their brains. I started thinking about what ideas I'd present to them and in what order."
"So you realized that for every nine hundred ninety nine idiots in the world, there's one soul out there who merits love and justifies all the over-the-top 'brotherhood of man' rhetoric."
"No, see, that's what I thought I was going to walk away with. Dig this twist.
"Last day. Deal done, hands shook, papers signed. Exhaustion of trip washed away by encounter with kid. Jittery with excitement for how I'm going to spend the rest of my life.
"I see Smart Kid run up to Obnoxious Prick and jump into his arms. My translator tells me Obnoxious Prick is Smart Kid's father. I feel like I'm in one of the weaker M. Night Shyamalan movies. Like the universe has thrown me this twist that seems like it means something but doesn't. And-- for serious-- a picosecond before I role my eyes in cynical disgust, I catch this moment between Father and Son. Father gives Son an old-school cootchie cootchie. I decide Father maybe isn't so bad after all. But that's just the beginning of my thunderbolt gestalt. Son is yelling this big run-on sentence to Father, the way kids do when they're excited about something. Assuming it's me and my brilliance that's got Son worked up, I ask Translator to eavesdrop for me. Sure enough, Son's going on about how capitalism means people create value, which is the same as creating money, which is the phrase 'making money' used to mean, and all the stuff that got you and I similarly excited when we first learned it.
"Father says-- and this I'll never forget-- he says 'Oh, is that so? Then the two of us'-- that's how the translator phrased it, 'the two of us'-- 'can try that after we've said goodbye to our guest. You can think of something the family'-- meaning village-- 'needs, and I'll help you make it.'
"I saw the love they had for each other. I saw that, even though I hated him, he was good, geniunely good, for his kid, who I loved. Loved in that I wanted him to do well, and it mattered to me how he turned out and how he did in life. Maybe you already know that's the best kind of love.
"And then my notions of human value turned themselves inside-out. It's so complicated, all the different ways we can be good and matter... I got this sense that I'd be better off erring on the side of benevolence 99 percent of the time. And that gamble has paid dividends you can't imagine. And that I won't tell you about, because a time traveler knows better than anyone that some surprises shouldn't be spoiled."
"Don't get me wrong. My life back in 2030 is pretty kick-ass. But I think I didn't have to learn this the hard way. You can understand the truth of it from simply hearing the story. And now that you know it, you can do better.
"A lot better, point of fact."
Silence rang in my ears. That akward moment when it's your turn to talk but you're not done thinking. "Uh... you'll forgive me if this all doesn't sink in right away."
"No worries. I won't make you rack your brains to come up with the socially appropriate response while you're still thinking. I know you hate that."
"You know what I hate? My future self bogarting all his juicy stock tips."
He slung on his coat; a thick black ankle-length number that made him look like a philosopher-king. Not that I'm biased. "Forget it, sir. I wouldn't deprive you of the pleasure of navigating those waters yourself. We both know 'interesting times' is a blessing, not a curse."
He moved toward my door. I didn't bother asking him to show me the time machine. I knew I wouldn't show me.
How does one say goodbye to one's future self? All I could think to say was "Anything else I should know?" I felt stupid asking, after all I'd just taken in. "Any terrorists attacks or anything?"
"Oh, yeah. A few. They're in the folder, too." I could tell his causalness was faceitous. I could also tell he was joking in a style he hadn't used in some time, and was getting a little jolt of nostalgia from it.
A question nagged in my over-pitted gut. If he'd been anyone else, I wouldn't have asked it out loud.
"So... should... is it... is it OK that I stop them from happening?" My head tried to creep down, but I kept eye contact.
"You mean will it be ultimately better, in the very long run, if they happen? No. You're thinking of 9/11, and how... one could argue it was profitable for the American character. These new ones aren't even worth that. They're pointless." He paused, and my torso became more pit than stomach. "Just death. You shouldn't have any trouble stopping them. A couple are just simple gaps in the intelligence net. One you'll have to some in-person screaming at some very powerful dunces, but you're good at that. None of these attacks are anything that can't be avoided with a day's legwork. Unless the conspiracy theories are true, but I'm pretty sure they're not."
"Pretty sure? Even I'm pretty sure. You've had two decades more to think it through. You should be a hundred percent sure by now."
"Well, I'm not." His confident bluntness made me feel like a dumb kid. "Life isn't tidy. I don't have to tell you that. Even my presidency didn't erase my little contingent doubt."
"Your pres... you... you bullshitter. I almost fell for it, you shit. Shit on you, shitter!"
"No bullshit. I was your 50th President. But don't get excited, it was only for, like, a month. Second shortest term in history! William Henry Harrison has me beat for the shortest by a day, the bastard."
And he told me THAT story. I'd tell you, but it'd incriminate certain persons still living. You understand.
Obama in 2012!
0. Pretty much a done deal. All you lightweight prima donnas don't
want to talk about who the Republican nominee should be.
The more we ask, the more our site traffic declines.
You've all got your agendas, which have nothing to do with the survival
of the United States. Brizoni knows better than to ask.
Obama. Obama. Obama. If you don't think he's going to win by finding
every chink in every piece of Republican armor, guess again. But, glory
be, you don't care. You just want your point made. Even if it costs you
your children's future, and their children's.
Fine. Go right ahead. But you can do it without me.
I'll be back for the tenth anniversary. After that, you're on your own.
If you want me, you'll have to find my new website. Where only a handful of you are invited to follow. You know who you are. The people who want to save their fucking country.
Hardly this crowd as a whole.
Good luck with it, B-Man. Maybe Part II will make their little tufties
Friday, September 02, 2011
And now for
we don't want soon to be doing a lament of our own lost greatness.
We have an admitted love-hate
with Top Gear (the Brit
version, not the sorry-ass American imitation.) Our suspicion is that
Jeremy Clarkson has more in common with rude American libertarianism
than he has antipathy to Texans and McDonald's. He protests too much.
And I share with him his love of driving and his scorn for multiplying
nanny state mediocrity and oppression. Not to mention his obsession
with the power and the glory of the E-Type Jaguar, which is 50 years
old this year.
Wry or not, Clarkson is right. The XKE is the last great accomplishment of
Britain. (Although, I'll point out that there is no single great
American icon. There are too many to count. Feel free to nominate...)
They've done virtually nothing worthwhile since, which may account for
his reflexive Anti-Americanism whenever he infests our shores.
But... He and his colleagues remain admirably juvenile in a global
motorhead sense. I particularly love their devotion to the thrill of
absurd but dramatic races like this one...
You should have seen him slobber over the Olympic skeleton racer who
just lost out to the Mini
rally car at Lillehammer. It would have done credit to any red-state
moron starring in an NFL Bud Light commercial. Hmm.
Basically, the Top Gear guys like screwing around with motor vehicles.
And with every
kind of authority. (I should explain about the following clip that
Bentley had agreed to provide a Mulsanne in Albania but withdrew the
offer when they realized Top Gear was suggesting that most Bentleys are
now sold to criminals. So Clarkson substituted for the Bentley a
insisting it was in fact a Bentley Mulsanne. He proceeded to be highly
critical throughout of its features, performance, and build quality.)
They like screwing with the audience too.
Actually, these are also things we did when we were nineteen or twenty.
Interminably. In New Jersey. Put that in your U.K. and smoke it.
Hands across the sea. Maybe even what could be called a "special relationship." Although we weren't nearly as compelled to cheat
our way to victory in our adolescent motor contests. As demonstrated by the competition between Top Gear U.K. and Top Gear Australia.
Maybe that's one of those low American scruples we should learn to
But my only point today is to give you a laugh. It's a lot better than
listening to the "whingeing" of the White House about their latest snit
regarding a useless address to the joint houses of Congress.
uh, ok, helk...
I know. It's an animated Escher print with the X-Woman
Mystique in gold. Gold tits are kewl, but are they philosophical? Sure we're all zombies, mummies or mutants. But have we been neutered enough sexually? How can you tell? Is it our dancing?
. I know you're not actually
approving this video, but since your desire
was to provoke, I concede I am provoked. I especially liked the way it
was preceded by an ad.
German expressionist krunking. My favorite. Choreographed, no doubt, by
the loon Mia Michaels from "So You Think You Can Dance."
Apart from the production values, it contains all the insight and
artistic illumination of the Kent State geniuses Devo. An empty
artifice I addressed in Shuteye Town
by the Monotones
We are the Monotones
2 We are reading a story out loud.
3 We are reading a story to you.
4 We are reading a story about life in the city.
5 We are sure you will like it.
6 We are sure you will like it because stories about life in the
city are very popular.
7 We are going to read straight through to the end of the story,
and we are sure you will listen because you will like it.
The story is about Roger.
2 Roger lives in the city.
3 Roger is very popular because he lives in the city and has a
4 Roger has many friends.
5 Roger has a charming personality.
6 Roger has a two o’clock appointment with one of his friends.
7 Roger has a smile on his face when he answers the door bell.
8 Roger’s friend is standing on the door sill.
9 Roger’s friend comes in and sits down on the sofa.
10 Roger’s friend goes, “Hi, Roger.”
11 Roger goes, “Hi, Fred.”
12 Fred goes, “I need your help.”
13 Roger goes, “What’s wrong, Fred?”
Fred tells Roger about his problems.
2 Fred tells Roger that his wife is leaving him.
3 Fred’s wife doesn’t love him anymore.
4 Fred’s wife is going to California to find herself.
5 Fred tells Roger that she took all the money out of the savings
6 She also sold all the stocks and bonds.
7 She also took the car.
8 Fred tells Roger that he is broke.
9 Roger goes, “That’s awful.”
10 Fred tells Roger that he needs a place to stay because he is
getting thrown out of his apartment.
11 Roger goes, “Can I hear about this later? I have a date to
play racketball and I’m already late.”
Roger goes to play racketball.
2 Roger is good at racketball.
3 Everybody says so.
4 Roger is going to play racketball with his attorney friend Jim.
5 Jim is good at racketball too.
6 Everybody says so.
7 Fred and Jim are very good friends because they are both so
good at racketball.
8 They like each other very much.
9 Now they are playing racketball.
10 Fred hits the ball with his racket.
11 Jim hits the ball with his racket.
12 Fred hits the ball with his racket.
13 Jim hits the ball with his racket.
14 Now they are both tired and resting.
15 Jim goes, “are you still going out with Jennifer?”
16 Roger goes, “Yes, I’m still going out with
17 Jim goes, “I’d like to sleep with Jennifer.”
18 Roger goes, “I’m going out with Jennifer tonight.”
19 Jim goes, “Did you hear about Fred?”
20 Roger goes, “Yes, I heard about Fred.”
21 Jim goes, “Thrown out of his apartment. Bummer.”
22 Roger goes, “Bummer.”
23 Jim goes, “I wonder what he’s going to do.”
24 Roger goes, “I don’t know what he’s going to do.”
25 Jim goes, “Well, let’s play some more racketball.”
Roger is all done playing racketball.
2 Roger is back in his apartment.
3 Roger is taking a shower in his apartment because he doesn’t
want to stink.
4 Roger doesn’t want to stink because he is going out on a date
5 Roger is going out on a date with Jennifer for the fourth time.
6 Roger is going to do whatever he can to sleep with Jennifer
because Jennifer has great big breasts.
7 Roger is going to his bedroom to put on some nice clothes when
the door bell rings.
8 Roger is going to answer the door in his towel.
9 Roger is going to the door in his towel because he thinks
Jennifer will think he looks sexy in a towel.
10 Roger is going to be surprised when he opens the door.
Roger is surprised when he opens the
2 Roger is surprised because it isn’t Jennifer who is standing on
the door sill.
3 The one who is standing on the door sill is a police officer.
4 Roger goes, “Can I help you, officer?”
5 The police officer goes, “Do you have a friend named Fred?”
6 Roger goes, “Yes, I have a friend named Fred.”
7 The police officer goes, “Could you identify your friend Fred
8 Roger goes, “Yes, I could, but I have a date tonight.”
9 The police officer goes, “Could you identify your friend Fred
even if he was lying on a slab at the morgue with a bullet hole in his
10 Roger goes, “Yes, I could, but I have a date tonight.”
11 The police officer goes, “Well, cancel it. We’re going to the
Roger is going to the morgue.
2 Roger is going to the morgue to identify his friend Fred who is
lying on a slab with a bullet in his head.
3 Roger is going to the morgue with a big frown on his face
because he had to cancel his date with Jennifer.
4 Jennifer didn’t like it when Roger canceled the date.
5 Jennifer told Roger to piss off when he canceled the date.
6 Roger is standing in front of the slab where Fred is lying.
7 Roger is standing there with a great big frown on his face.
8 Fred is lying there with a great big hole in his head.
9 The police officer goes, “Is that your friend Fred?”
10 Roger goes, “That looks a lot like Fred, but I can’t be sure.”
11 The police officer goes, “It’s either Fred or it isn’t. Why
can’t you be sure?”
12 Roger goes, “I’ve never seen Fred naked before. I’ve never
seen Fred with a hole in his head before. I’ve never seen Fred without
any blood inside before. I can’t be sure, and I don’t want to get
involved because I have a date tonight.”
13 The police officer goes, “Have you ever seen Fred with a note
in his hand that says Roger is a worthless stinking selfish bastard
sonofabitch who ought to be charged with murder?”
14 Roger goes, “No. I’ve never seen Fred like that.”
15 The police officer goes, “Yes, you have, because that’s what
the note in his hand said when we found him. And maybe we should charge
you with killing him.”
16 Roger goes, “I didn’t kill him. He shot himself because his
wife left him and took all his money, and he got thrown out of his
17 The police officer goes, “Did you offer to help him out?”
18 Roger goes, “I had a date to play racketball.”
Roger had a date to play racketball.
2 Roger had a date to go out with Jennifer.
3 Now Roger has a date to go sit in the electric chair.
4 Roger thinks this is unfair because he didn’t kill Fred.
5 Roger thinks this all happened because the police officer was
dishonest and twisted in the head.
6 Roger thinks this happened because the district attorney was an
opportunistic and unscrupulous politician.
7 Roger thinks this happened because the defense attorney didn’t
pay enough attention to the case and had too many dates with Jennifer
during the trial.
8 Roger thinks this happened because the jury took an irrational
dislike to him and ignored all the evidence that he didn’t do it.
9 Roger thinks this happened because the newspapers decided to
make him look like some big uncaring villain who deserved to fry.
10 Roger is right.
Roger is right in front of the electric
2 Roger is right on top of the electric chair.
3 Roger is right under the metal helmet that has the electrodes
4 Roger goes, “I don’t want to die.”
5 Roger goes, “ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.”
Roger is dead.
2 We are the Monotones.
3 It has been a pleasure reading to you.
4 Thank you for listening.
uh, this isn't art. It's not writing. And it's not dancing, either.
What's the "carrying capacity"? Nil.
Nobody's happy. Nobody's carrying
any substance. Not salt and not sugar. Nobody's thinking. They're just
fucking around. They're all just water under the bridge flowing in
conformance to rigid choreography.
Because it's so much easier than living. Especially when you don't know
anything. Which I think is what you're trying to point out. But -- and
here's my quarrel with you -- go
ahead and point it out. And specify it. You have just two modes -- abstruse
mystical sermon nobody gets and bomb-throwing non-sequitur nobody gets.
Both are designed to isolate you from contact and criticism. You'd
thrive if you confronted either or both. You don't get to be GhandiandJoe Strummer at the
same time. Make up your mind. Fight or Fold the universe into your
Someone of your attainments doesn't even get to be Roger Waters:
Because the Watered-down version doesn't begin to do justice to
speaking up in the first place.
I've done what I do. Now it's time for you to do what you do. And
you're sandbagging as far as I can tell.