Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Free-Floating Hostility

Just in time for Thanksgiving, a little free-floating hostility.

I’ve been thinking about a few things lately that annoy the shit out of me. But I believe that giving them vent will go a long way towards giving me peace. (I should also mention my debt to the late Mr. George Carlin—the greatest comic who ever lived—for inspiring the title of this offering.)


I was listening to the radio the other day and the DJ just went babbling on like the dopiest of brooks extolling the world-changing position Nirvana holds in rock music history. I hear this silly shit all the time. Nirvana was warmed over Neil Young with a splash of ‘70s punk and a few obnoxious guitar effects. I will give Kurt and his gang credit for one thing: they are almost wholly responsible for the incessant goddamn bitching and whimpering you hear in rock music these days. “You lied to me! You don’t like me! I’m a miserable toe-rag! But I just loves me some heroin!” Oh, wah wah wah. Fucking grow up. Here’s the thing: the best thing that happened to rock music in the 1990s was the day Cobain tongue-kissed the business end of that shotgun. Huzzah.

The British Invented Punk Rock

This myth has been running rampant for nearly two decades. The British didn’t have jack to do with the invention of punk. They offered some material to the catalogue, sure. But, aside from perhaps the Clash, the Isles produced not one seminal punk-rock band (and the Clash’s first, and best, album, was nothing more than a ham-fisted rip-off of the Ramones). Most of what Britain provided to the music was cosmetic—goofy-ass mohawks, safety pins, in-concert spittle, and that goddamn stupid “pogoing” they were so fond of, which, incidentally, we brought to its fullest and most perfect expression, in the form of the mosh pit. In a search for punk’s precursors, the Brits can point to a couple of songs by the Kinks, and that’s about it. We have the Velvet Underground. We have the MC5 and the New York Dolls. We have Iggy and the Stooges. And most importantly, we have the Ramones. When Joey, Johnny, Tommy and Dee Dee first toured the UK in the mid-‘70s, members of the Clash and the Sex Pistols were in attendance. Johnny Rotten wanted to get backstage to meet the boys, but was frightened that they might beat the shit out of him. That’s right. Mr. Anarchist Tough Guy cringed like a little girl. Ding-ding! Ding-ding! The Brits lose. We win. Case closed.

Bicycle Pads

I am so tired of seeing kids out on their bikes wearing enough padding to play middle linebacker for the Denver Broncos. Haven’t we taken kid protection about as far as it needs to go? Exactly how long are parents supposed to keep their offspring swaddled in plate mail—both physical and mental—before allowing them a peek at the real world. When I was a kid we rode around barefoot in nothing but swim trunks. (I was much skinnier then so the sight wasn’t quite as horrific as it sounds.) And, yes, sometimes we fell off our bikes and broke our faces. That’s the whole point to being a kid. It’s how we learn. You tried to jump that canal ditch, but shorted it and broke your face? Well, maybe you won’t be in a hurry to try it again, or you’ll build a better ramp…or talk your little brother into doing it. The world is dangerous. Insulating kids from it too stringently is, in my humble opinion, one of the main reasons our young people are, too often, pampered, mewling little shitbags. Let ‘em ride without armor, for God’s sake. Let ‘em break their faces. They’ll heal. They’re tougher than they are generally given credit for being.

Fortune Cookies

Why don’t they make fortune cookies anymore? My most recent cookie contained this: “You are intelligent and people like you.” That’s not a fortune, that’s an aphorism. And sometimes they aren’t even directed at a person. “A smile is a rose on a rainy day.” Really? Fuck you! I want a fortune. Used to be, you got a fortune every time, a pithy little prediction of what your future might hold. Not these days. And I want to know why. Can it be that there is a world-wide fortune shortage that has so far gone unreported by the major news outlets? Shit, if there is I’m here to help. Try this on: “You will find out the hard way that Sarah Palin has teeth in her honey-hole.” Not pretty, but at least it gives you some idea of what might be careening down the highway at you. And besides, who says a fortune should be all sweetness and light? Can’t they just as well be weird and disquieting? For instance: “In the spirit of unalloyed wantonness, you will run over a chicken.” Gives you something to watch out for while motoring. In closing, I’d like to say this: the last honest-to-Nostradamus fortune I can remember finding in my luncheon cookie fucked me up for three goddamn days. I got it on September 12th, 2001. It read: “You will own one of the tallest buildings in New York City.”

Now that’s a motherfucking fortune, man.

Happy Thanksgiving.


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