Monday, October 7, 1996


Listening to Tool's AEnima. Getting heavy rotation. Catchy tune. Hey, any band that references Bill Hicks can't be all bad. But an amazing, bitter rejection of humanity, at least humanity in SoCal. Essentially, a catalog of show biz types and a prayer for their death by the impact of a rogue comet.

Maynard Keenan's the lyricist. I think.

So what's his problem exactly? He hates show biz? He, he's in a band. That's show biz, last time I checked. What happened? Some key grip cut him off at the call-in window at the In-and-Out Burger?

I keep thinking of that line in Greg Bear's Psychlone about a rune scrawled in blood in the ruins of a town of people that went nuts and ripped each other apart. An ancient Egyptian symbol. An eye. One tear. The tears of a soul in hell. A soul buried in shit.

A symbol of pain. Too much pain for this life. Pain from beyond this life.

AEnima hits the same vibe.

The lead singer's been possessed by a wrathful Egyptian
deity who hates actors. It's the only logical explanation.

I mean, Jesus. It's just fucking show biz.

Lyrics below jump ...


Some say the end is near.
Some say we'll see armageddon soon.
I certainly hope we will.
I sure could use a vacation from this

Bullshit three ring circus sideshow of

Here in this hopeless fucking hole we call LA
The only way to fix it is to flush it all away.
Any fucking time. Any fucking day.
Learn to swim, I'll see you down in Arizona bay.

Fret for your figure and
Fret for your latte and
Fret for your lawsuit and
Fret for your hairpiece and
Fret for your prozac and
Fret for your pilot and
Fret for your contract and
Fret for your car.

It's a
Bullshit three ring circus sideshow of

Here in this hopeless fucking hole we call LA
The only way to fix it is to flush it all away.
Any fucking Time. Any fucking day.
Learn to swim, I'll see you down in Arizona bay.

Some say a comet will fall from the sky.
Followed by meteor showers and tidal waves.
Followed by faultlines that cannot sit still.
Followed by millions of dumbfounded dipshits.

Some say the end is near.
Some say we'll see armageddon soon.
I certainly hope we will cuz
I sure could use a vacation from this

STUPID shit, silly shit, stupid shit...

One great big festering neon distraction,
I've a suggestion to keep you all occupied.

Learn to swim.

Mum's gonna fix it all soon.
Mum's comin' round to put it back the way it ought to

Learn to swim.

Fuck L Ron Hubbard and
Fuck all his clones.
Fuck all these gun-toting
Hip gangster wannabes.

Learn to swim.

Fuck retro anything.
Fuck your tattoos.
Fuck all you junkies and
Fuck your short memory.

Learn to swim.

Fuck smiley glad-hands,
With hidden agendas.
Fuck these dysfunctional,
Insecure actresses.

Learn to swim.

Cuz I'm praying for rain
And I'm praying for tidal waves
I wanna see the ground give way.
I wanna watch it all go down.
Mum please flush it all away.
I wanna see it go right in and down.
I wanna watch it go right in.
Watch you flush it all away.

Time to bring it down again.
Don't just call me pessimist.
Try and read between the lines.

I can't imagine why you wouldn't
Welcome any change, my friend.

I wanna see it come down.
Come down.
Suck it down.
Flush it down.

Tuesday, August 6, 1996

Will the real Messiah please come back to life

Theological inconsistency is endemic to all religions. Christianity, for example. You would think a religion founded by a dude executed for religious heresy would make torturing and killing religious heretics a big no-no. The Church did not hold to that opinion. The problem, evidently, was that the Romans had the wrong guy.

Sunday, March 24, 1996

Naked Capitalism: the Dream Team

Mothers avert your eyes -- for this is an essay on Naked Capitalism!
OK, OK. Laissez faire. Libertarian. Whatever you want to call it. A society with next to no business regulation, worker rights, minimum wage, FDA or EPA standards or government safety inspection, etc, etc. Ayn Rand's wet dream, basically.
So why is this a good idea?
The Right Wing’s rationale for laissez faire Capitalism is usually presented in utilitarian terms. Capitalism is a lousy economic system, but it’s the best one we’ve got. Despite all its inequalities, it makes people work smarter and better, thanks to Darwinian competition. Communism (which is supposed to make people equal) leads to a desperately poor society with a few party elite at the top. Capitalism (which doesn’t believe in equality) generates the most wealth possible for everybody. Thanks to Capitalism, the slices of the pie aren't equal -- but it's an insanely huge pie and there's more slices for everybody! “The Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” is just the price we pay for all that pie. And if Capitalism is good -- Naked Capitalism is even better.
This may be. But it’s a window dressing argument. If you dig deep, the elite has a different logic -- the logic of a lion with his teeth in an antelope’s haunch. I think a lot of the people at the top think they deserve to be there, and see life in terms of winners and losers. They’re the winners, of course. They don’t want a fair society. They want it all. They’re not utilitarians. The greatest good for the greatest number? Fuck that shit. A broad middle class? Fuck that, too. They could live with a nation of beaten-down lackeys with no rights, voice or power.
They don’t believe in Naked Capitalism because it’s the best system for everybody. They believe in Naked Capitalism because it’s their right. The lion’s share is their right. Because they work harder; they’re smarter; they made better decisions in life; they’re more religious and ethical and have higher values and standards than the great unwashed. The poor deserve to be poor. The rich deserve to be rich. They’re the Dream Team.
Speaking of which, in my miserable experience as a Jr. High football coach, the badass players were constantly begging me to let them get together and form a “Dream Team” so they could stomp all the runts. I told them this was a bad idea because, well, they’d stomp all the runts. Number one, that’s bad sportsmanship. Number two, the runts would lose motivation and not want to participate in sports. Come on, coach! No. I wanted the teams to be fair. I always divided them up by ability and the better players hated it – and hated me. Please coach, please. We wanna have a dream team. I sketched out my idea for a Dream Team. Just once. Please coach, please. They hammered me day after day and – in one disgusting moment of weakness in my character, I let them have their Dream Team. They stomped the runts. It was ugly.
Communism is a lousy idea. Socialism is a lousy idea. But so is Naked Capitalism. Basically, the rich form a Dream Team and stomp all the rest of us into the dirt.
Call me a radical, but I think FDR had the right idea.

Saturday, March 23, 1996

A beautiful day in the Magic Kingdom

I remember a trip to Disney World with my two boys back in the summer of '87. I was in my early 30s and poor as bloody hell -- various family members had scraped the bucks together to send us all there. So there we were. I noticed a Brazilian family. I could tell, by the prominent Brazilian logo on their t-shirts. Smiling man and wife, my age, pushing a baby stroller loaded up with balloons. They were rich. Every they had told me that. Shoes, clothes, sunglasses, various Sharper Image-type gear – it was all new and shiny. Their baby stroller probably cost more than my car.

It occurred to me, shit, over in Brazil, these are the people at the top of the pyramid. And here they are in Disney World having the time of their lives. They don’t give a shit about all the peasants combing through garbage dumps in the shack cities around Rio.

Then it occurred to me, shit, I’m no better. America keeps its cheap labor overseas, out of sight, out of mind. Our Triangle Shirtwaist Factories are in China someplace. That doesn’t let America off the hook.

Then it occurred to me, if the American economy ever collapsed – if there was a big fucking shake-up and we wound up like Brazil, the people at the top would go on smiling through their lives – just like this young, pretty wealthy Brazilian family smiling its way through the Magic Kingdom. Let’s say America has another Great Depression and the fatcats yank the New Deal/Great Society rug right from under our feet and we all fall on our collective ass. Let’s say America winds up with big mass of poor people, a desperate sliver of a middle class hanging on for dear life and a few fats at the top of the pyramid. Americas rich could live with favelas and not lose a minute of fucking sleep. They’d keep on smiling. Enjoying the good life and feeling entitled. Shit, they’re walling themselves up in fated communities right now.

If that ever happened, I wondered which one of my rich friends would let me sleep in the garage. Assuming I had any rich friends left.

Saturday, March 9, 1996

Friday, March 8, 1996

What, me racist?

Re: Bilestew

Aw crap. You had to bring it up. Fine. OK.


Jesus Christ …

Since nobody else is going to say anything...

Racism. OK.

Racism qua racism isn’t necessarily the shared perception of racial superiority by this group or that. The Star Bellied Sneetches don’t have to think “We’re superior to non-Star-Bellied-Sneetches” to be racist. They simply have to think, “We’re going to structure laws, government, culture, religion and informal human relations to give the Star Bellied Sneetches the advantage every time. Go team!”

Racism, in other words, is tribalism. It’s group selfishness. I.e.: asserting the interests of your “race” ahead of all others. That advantage is what counts. The pursuit of that advantage is the essence of racism. The crackpot theories of Hitler, Gobineau et al are a means to that end. But you can be a perfect racist and not have a drop of perceived racial superiority in your secret heart of hearts.

“What, me racist?”

If you favor legal and social systems that gives your “race” a leg up on the other bastards, yeah, you’re a racist.

Racism the perception of racial superiority.

Racism = the relentless pursuit of racial advantage.


A government of laws and not of men is the ideal. But men create laws. And they create them to their advantage. More specifically: groups of men create laws to the advantage of their particular groups.

So, black people (men and women), when they look at the majesty of the Law, tend to see a stacked deck in which the odds are usually in favor of white people. White people say, “Nah, the law is color blind.” Black people say, “If the Law’s so !@#$ colorblind, how come it always kissing your white ass and throwing my black ass in jail?” To which the white person responds, “You’re not saying I’m a racist, are you?”

That’s where Derrick Bell, Cornell West, etc. are coming from. White folk say America’s a color-blind society. They say it’s not. For white people, the dice comes up 7, 7, 7. For black people, it’s snake eyes, snake eyes, snake eyes. They’re suggesting it’s not a coincidence.

I wouldn’t call that “reverse racism.”

I’d go with “intelligence.”

Saturday, February 10, 1996

Cyberspace Declaration of Independence

Reposted from John Perry Barlow's site ...

Date: Fri, 9 Feb 1996 17:16:35 +0100
From: John Perry Barlow
Subject: A Cyberspace Independence Declaration

Yesterday, that great invertebrate in the White House signed into the law the Telecom "Reform" Act of 1996, while Tipper Gore took digital photographs of the proceedings to be included in a book called "24 Hours in Cyberspace."

I had also been asked to participate in the creation of this book by writing something
appropriate to the moment. Given the atrocity that this legislation would seek to
inflict on the Net, I decided it was as good a time as any to dump some tea in the
virtual harbor.

After all, the Telecom "Reform" Act, passed in the Senate with only 5 dissenting votes,
makes it unlawful, and punishable by a $250,000 to say "shit" online. Or, for that
matter, to say any of the other 7 dirty words prohibited in broadcast media. Or to
discuss abortion openly. Or to talk about any bodily function in any but the most
clinical terms.

It attempts to place more restrictive constraints on the conversation in Cyberspace
than presently exist in the Senate cafeteria, where I have dined and heard colorful
indecencies spoken by United States senators on every occasion I did.

This bill was enacted upon us by people who haven't the slightest idea who we are or
where our conversation is being conducted. It is, as my good friend and Wired Editor
Louis Rossetto put it, as though "the illiterate could tell you what to read."

Well, fuck them.

Or, more to the point, let us now take our leave of them. They have declared war on
Cyberspace. Let us show them how cunning, baffling, and powerful we can be in our
own defense.

I have written something (with characteristic grandiosity) that I hope will become one
of many means to this end. If you find it useful, I hope you will pass it on as widely
as possible. You can leave my name off it if you like, because I don't care about the
credit. I really don't.

But I do hope this cry will echo across Cyberspace, changing and growing and
self-replicating, until it becomes a great shout equal to the idiocy they have just
inflicted upon us.

I give you...

A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace

Governments of the Industrial World, you weary giants of flesh and steel, I come from
Cyberspace, the new home of Mind. On behalf of the future, I ask you of the past to
leave us alone. You are not welcome among us. You have no sovereignty where we gather.

We have no elected government, nor are we likely to have one, so I address you with no
greater authority than that with which liberty itself always speaks. I declare the global
social space we are building to be naturally independent of the tyrannies you seek to
impose on us. You have no moral right to rule us nor do you possess any methods of
enforcement we have true reason to fear.

Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. You have neither
solicited nor received ours. We did not invite you. You do not know us, nor do  you know
our world. Cyberspace does not lie within your borders. Do not think that you can build 
it, as though it were a public construction project. You cannot. It is an act of nature
and it grows itself through our collective actions.

You have not engaged in our great and gathering conversation, nor did you create the wealth
of our marketplaces. You do not know our culture, our ethics, or the unwritten codes that
already provide our society more order than could be obtained by any of your impositions.

You claim there are problems among us that you need to solve. You use this claim as an excuse
to invade our precincts. Many of these problems don't exist. Where there are real conflicts,
where there are wrongs, we will identify them and address them by our means. We are forming
our own Social Contract . This governance will arise according to the conditions of our world,
not yours. Our world is different.

Cyberspace consists of transactions, relationships, and thought itself, arrayed like a standing
wave in the web of our communications.  Ours is a world that is both everywhere and nowhere,
but it is not where bodies live.

We are creating a world that all may enter without privilege or prejudice accorded by race,
economic power, military force, or station of birth.

We are creating a world where anyone, anywhere may express his or her beliefs, no matter how
singular, without fear of being coerced into silence or conformity.

Your legal concepts of property, expression, identity, movement, and context do not apply to
us. They are based on matter, There is no matter here.

Our identities have no bodies, so, unlike you, we cannot obtain order by physical coercion.
We believe that from ethics, enlightened self-interest, and the commonweal, our governance
will emerge . Our identities may be distributed across many of your jurisdictions.
The only law that all our constituent cultures would generally recognize is the Golden Rule.
We hope we will be able to build our particular solutions on that basis.  But we cannot accept
the solutions you are attempting to impose.

In the United States, you have today created a law, the Telecommunications Reform Act, which
repudiates your own Constitution and insults the dreams of Jefferson, Washington, Mill, Madison,
DeToqueville, and Brandeis. These dreams must now be born anew in us.

You are terrified of your own children, since they are natives in a world where you will always
be immigrants. Because you fear them, you entrust your bureaucracies with the parental
responsibilities you are too cowardly to confront yourselves. In our world, all the sentiments
and expressions of humanity, from the debasing to the angelic, are parts of a seamless whole,
the global conversation of bits. We cannot separate the air that chokes from the air upon which
wings beat.

In China, Germany, France, Russia, Singapore, Italy and the United States, you are trying to
ward off the virus of liberty by erecting guard posts at the frontiers of Cyberspace.
These may keep out the contagion for a small time, but they will not work in a world that will
soon be blanketed in bit-bearing media.

Your increasingly obsolete information industries would perpetuate themselves by proposing laws,
in America and elsewhere, that claim to own speech itself throughout the world. These laws would
declare ideas to be another industrial product, no more noble than pig iron. In our world,
whatever the human mind may create can be reproduced and distributed infinitely at no cost.
The global conveyance of thought no longer requires your factories to accomplish.

These increasingly hostile and colonial measures place us in the same position as those previous
lovers of freedom and self-determination who had to reject the authorities of distant, uninformed
powers. We must declare our virtual selves immune to your sovereignty, even as we continue to
consent to your rule over our bodies. We will spread ourselves across the Planet so that no one
can arrest our thoughts.

We will create a civilization of the Mind in Cyberspace. May it be more humane and fair than the
world your governments have made before.

Davos, Switzerland
February 8, 1996