August 30, 2004

And in this land of conditions I'm not above suspicion I won't attack you, but I won't back you

* BBC estimates 250,000 protested Bush in New York City yesterday. New York Times on the protest.

* Shut Up and Color: the politics of bullying. excpert:

"The United States is an experiment, whose outcome can be in doubt on any given day. But when our leaders embrace the ethics of Don Corleone, they undermine the very terms of our democracy. Go back to Richard Nixon's 'Southern strategy,' where he deliberately used racially polarizing language and images to lure White southerners into the Republican Party. Or the Willie Horton ads overseen by Karl Rove's mentor, Lee Atwater. Or the Iran-Contra scandal, when the first President Bush and key members of the current president's administration, then working for Reagan, crafted and enacted secret foreign policies that defied the will of Congress-while collaborating with dictators and terrorists. Or the illegitimate purging, in the 2000 election, of 94,000 largely poor and minority voters from the Florida rolls. Recently, the same five Supreme Court justices who installed Bush prevailed by a single vote in upholding Tom DeLay's midnight redistricting in Texas and Pennsylvania--where Republicans broke all conventional rules about redistricting only after a census, and instead gerrymandered as many Congressional seats as they could, just because they held the reins of power.
"But just as a culture of silence is contagious, so is one of courage. And citizens are beginning to stand up and question, from Republican conservationists questioning Bush's environmental policies, to career foreign service officers decrying the rift our unilateral actions are creating between us and the world, to cities across America challenging the Patriot Act.

"The challenge now is to make the issue of bullying the central theme of the election, linking the intimidation of all questioners with the blind insularity that leads to debacles like Iraq. If we can do this, Bush will lose. As old-fashioned as it may sound, the demand that our political leaders play fair still resonates. And in a democracy, we should expect nothing less."

* Mike Watt on his new record and old band. [via largehearted boy] excerpt:

Q: Let me ask you a little bit about the touring. Grueling is the word I hear the most to describe your tours.

Mike Watt: Well, Greg Ginn and the Black Flag guys turned us on to that. The first tour was actually riding around in a van with them. I can’t say it was part of the punk thing in Hollywood in the 70s when we started seeing shows. I think only the Dills had a van. Greg Ginn, as a younger man, had a ham radio kind of deal, so he thought outside of his town more. He translated that into his way of doing music when he got Black Flag going. There’s only so many gigs in town; you take it on the road. All those bands (on SST) felt like we were part of a movement.

You find out that there’s actually a long tradition of this, going back to vaudeville. We didn’t invent anything, we just picked up on a thing that had been going on for quite a while, working the towns. For us it wasn’t just the gigs. It was exciting to play in someone else’s town, but it was getting there too, from there to to the next one. It became a whole journey in itself. I know all these rock and rollers talk about touring, how it’s killing them with boredom and monotony and stuff, but not for us.

D. Boon really got me into reading, he’s be like “check out this stuff,” and it became a righteous part that I never really thought about, but was a great little side benefit of touring. Grueling? Or a burden? The way we looked at it, if you added it all up, it was a big plus. I’ve never gotten tired of it. And it’s basically the way I make my living.

It was fun back in the Minutemen days. We came from punk rock, we decided we were going to make up our minds about everything, so we decided the world was divided between 2 categories: gigs and flyers. Everything that wasn’t a gig was a flyer. Everything was about getting people to the gig. The records, interviews like this, pictures, whatever, these were all flyers. They told people about the gig. Playing for people, that’s the bottom line. Everything else serves that purpose.

I know touring’s supposed to promote the record, and I’ve got a new record coming out, but when we first talked about the big gap between the two records...I did 11 tours in that gap! So it wasn’t like I was doing nothing. I just try to put out a record so I can tell people about what I’m doing.

It’s also important to me to take chances. On this one here, I made another opera, like that last one, but I put myself in a different situation with a different kind of trio, using an organ instead of guitar. I’m kind of relieved of some of the responsibility, because he can actually go lower than me. Also, I don’t have to compete with sounding like a guitar, beause there isn’t one, so I could try effects. This one’s a bit different because the other one was about D. Boon and my father and stuff, but this one kind of has a happy ending, because I got well (laughs).


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where did you come up with this crap? I bet you stand in front of the mirror practicing this stuff. Quit trying to pawn off your opinions and suppositions as fact.

5:56 PM  

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