Ah, so we're doomed...(members only entry coming tonight)
"Rome was destroyed, Greece was destroyed, Persia was destroyed, Spain was destroyed. All great countries are destroyed. Why not yours? How much longer do you really think your own country will last?
Good afternoon everyone and welcome to another edition of Bad Sandwich Chronicles Beyond Thunderdome. Sorry it’s been a second since I rapped at ya, but with the release of our record (Skeleton Coast by the Lawrence Arms on Epitaph, OUT NOW!) it’s a goddamn funny farm around here. Anyway, thanks as always for your patronage. I love you all more than I could ever easily express.
Obviously, the main thing going on in the United States right now is the whole pesky “the DHS sending unaccountable federal stormtrooper goons into cities to whisk peaceful protestors away to undisclosed locations in unmarked vans” situation. It’s, as they say in Cabo, no bueno, amigos.
The now widely seen video of the gassing of the Vietnam vet (at the hands of federal thugs) was pretty great, in terms of just baldly exposing the fallacy of this country’s blind “we support of our troops” horseshit rhetoric. It would seem that even our own troops (or former troops, you know those goons have to be damaged in some severe way, and there’s no quicker way to irrevocably damage a young man than to send him to potentially kill and die for a nebulous cause that may or may not even exist but is touted as the opposite of what it is….ah fuck. Okay. That’s wordy, even for me I’ll explain).
When you send someone into an innocent country (let’s use Iraq as just a random example, simply because it’s a country that exists) to detain and terrorize unarmed, peaceful civilians in the name of freedom, you’re doing a real mindfuck on those people you send in. It’s nothing compared to the mindfuck that comes from being the innocent people who are being terrorized and detained in the name of freedom, but it’s not to be written off as nothing, either.
Because that’s not freedom. It’s the opposite. So, at some point, you, as a human being who understands things and has to do this thing that seems weird, HAVE to conflate brutality and freedom as one and the same in order to not go totally crazy and kill yourself (which, yes. That happens A LOT too. The whole thing is fucked beyond imagination).
It’s actually very similar to conflating being molested and being in love (which is something that commonly (sadly) happens to many smaller humans, but we’ll save that for someone more qualified than me to discuss...I’m simply drawing a bummer of a parallel.)
SO, when you see people who were ostensibly signing up to be fighters for what America stands for barging into a peaceful American city, gassing and brutalizing peaceful American citizens, including a Vietnam vet, the only conclusion that makes any sense is that the machine built to destroy the souls of those who decide to climb into it and serve has gotten too efficient. There’s literally no other way to rationalize a bunch of militarized Americans brutally assaulting one of their own simply because he dared to say that he was once one of them.
We’ve got thousands of movies about the robots taking over, and yo, this is NOT the way I thought that would look. But, make no mistake, this is that. These are just robots who take shits, get to vote, enjoy the occasional MMA fight, probably have wives with a few black eyes, and probably have a version of god that they pray to that somehow finds their disgusting traitorous pig souls to be on the right side of the holy zeitgeist. That’s a profound thing. Turning humans into robots who are, in theory here to protect our way of life, and are actively destroying it in order to do so...I feel like King David may have had something to say about this, no? Anyway, moving on…
It’s depressing. It’s literally the first time in all this that I’ve been actually onto the notion that “Oh! This is gonna get VERY MEASURABLY even worse somehow.” And here’s the fucked up thing! It’s actually somehow gonna be WORSE than Nazi Germany. Do you know why? We have the xenophobia, the camps, the stormtroopers, we have the blind faith in the speed-addled cult of personality leader, but there is no ideology here. It’s purely free market capitalism run amok in a totalitarian state. The money, not any sort of dogma, determines what lives and what dies here.
Living in this country right now and not being very rich is like being on Little Saint James Island and um….NOT being over 15. I can’t believe I’m SAYING THIS FOR REAL, but (sigh)... say what you will about National Socialism, at least it’s an ethos, man.
This batch of fascism, and it’s fascism, it’s not proto fascism, it’s not kinda like fascism, it’s legit, by the books fascism, is interesting, because it’s actually being run by Mark Zuckerberg and Jeff Bezos and so forth, and they don’t particularly even feel like that’s what they’re doing. It’s not about an ideology. It’s about an addiction to success that can’t be sated with money or anything.
People, pundits, revolutionaries, stinky dudes with acoustic guitars or whoever, they all talk about billionaires as though they’re money hoarders. While that’s true, I don’t think that paints a clear picture at all. You’re looking at people who have figured out how to succeed, 100% of the time by exploiting the shit out of the rest of the populace of this earth (I’m not including legacy billionaires here, who are just the beneficiaries of someone else exploiting the rest of the people of the earth generations ago), and they don’t want to stop. They are chasing the dragon.
Like an addict looking for that same feeling they got when they shot that first million dollars into their arm out behind the grocery store that one night, these are people who have amassed more money than generations of their progeny could ever hope to spend simply because they are addicted to the rush of success and it will never be enough to just have it. They need to chase it again and again and often at the expense of you and me and our loved ones and everyone else besides.
Hell, I actually get this on a stupid and unimportant level. Did the world need another punk album by my band? We’ve already made some albums that I think are pretty great, and there are lots of young bands that could use exposure and by existing as we do, by putting out a new record, we make room for ourselves in this limited fishbowl of a subgenre, likely at the expense of someone else. And my thought is “but I HAVE to keep making things.”
My motivation, to me, has nothing to do with anything but me doing what I’ve always done, but there’s a very real argument that I’ve had plenty of time to do this, and I should just be happy with what I have and move on. I mean, it’s not like I’m under the illusion that the new Lawrence Arms record (Skeleton Coast on Epitaph! Available NOW wherever you get records!) is gonna somehow make it so none of us ever have to work again. In a very real way, it’s the billionaire conundrum from the bottom looking up: This will not change my lifestyle, so why do I insist on continuing to do it??
And before you suggest something like “Well, you’re making art and that is a thing that people need,” keep in mind that I’m talking about Jeff Bezos as my fellow exemplar here. Amazon does more for you than Skeleton Coast does. It just does. The main difference is that everyone that I work with makes the same amount of money and we are a small organization and we couldn’t divest and we couldn’t save the world with a day of our earnings if we wanted to, AND we don’t exploit people and force them to go on TV and say we’re the best, but that’s not REALLY the point.
The point is, I get what it’s like to need to keep doing things, and that is what I think these people are doing. They’re needing to keep doing things. I’m sure that the fact that we’ve devolved into this billionaire-helmed uber-capitalist kleptocratic nightmare has done very little to dissuade any of these success junkies from thinking about doing anything but burning the gears faster isn’t helping matters, so here we are, in a world where the guy that makes sure your friends online know it’s your birthday even after you’re dead has control of the reins of the actual brick and mortar part of our place in the global economic ecosystem and this dumb populist racist gets to create and control wave after wave of PTSD damaged stormtrooper robots to fire at will upon us. Pretty cool. Oh, and we’re dying of a very deadly disease, which has, at last count, done more damage than almost 50 9-11’s. Cool. Very, very cool.
That’s all good, but if you paid for this newsletter, you’d be able to read the next bit, which is about how I just realized that Axl Rose is a performance artist genius (a la Andy Kaufman). If you don’t subscribe, please consider subscribing. I’m not gonna become a billionaire without you. Anyway, to those of you who support this here newsletter, the next one comes tonight, and it’s truly one in a million.