Now I write this knowing damn well that many of you have no idea who the people featured shortly even are, and therefore you are unable to grasp the greatness of the parties involved. For the initiated, non-Squares out there, I just found this incredibly hilarious, and I won't bore you with witticisms and long-windedness, because this is gorgeous stuff.
In a show of the humane goodwill that tends to accompany the last month of every year, Yeah Yeah Yeah's frontwoman Karen O gifted a disc containing precious solo demos to TV on the Radio co-founder and guitarist Dave Sitek. In a fit of carelessness, the demos were left in a suitcase at Sitek's former apartment and were found by an unnamed character, who later posted them on an mp3 blog for all to enjoy. Like almost anyone in the early moments of such loss, Sitek assumed that the demos were obtained through "dubious means," and accordingly posted a vicious write up regarding the suspect on his personal Young Liars blog. An it go a lil sumthin like dis:
"Monday, December 11
to whomever found/stole/"unearthed" the demos that karen gave me and posted them on the internet/indierock fireman ....
thank you. i am due to learn a new kind of forgiveness. a kind that all of of humanity will need to learn as we betray eachother , hurt eachother, steal from eachother to fill the "content void" that has become the worldwide networks, our worldwide lives . i am not shocked that you are in possession of something you obtained through dubious means..... nor am i shocked that you posted it on the internet and by its very naming acknowledged whom it belonged to ... and did not return it to that person. you would surely not return the 'found wallet" , let the person in front of you know they dropped their passport, nor would you correct the mistake that benefited you at the craftfair/bakesale... because you too are in line to learn this very same lesson... and you surely WILL be betrayed... someone you know will turn you in for this , or someone you dont know will dig through your trash, will obtain your mothers medical records , etc... and you will feel empty... sick to your stomach, as though there is no humanity left ... you will CERTAINLY, WITHOUT QUESTION, get out of life what you put into it... what i AM confused about is this :
WHAT MOTIVATES YOU ?
as far as i can see , you havent turned a profit , and i (the person you did NOT return something dear to ) feel the same as i always have about you. you are a tired and confused animal who has no grasp on consequences ( i coincidentally feel that way about ALL of our species since we have outlived our usefullness (1970) ) You gained NOTHING ... unless you and those around you who "over look " these thoughtless acts get a betray-o-rection for swiping at someones belongings and making them public .... but even still.... that boner will go down... your "hard cock idea" will go soft whe you realise that you never got any credit.... never got any money .... never got to highfive someone pretty in the sun for this ... it will probably be RIGHT around the time you are getting what you deserved for this . all you got was what you just gave me as i read about it. a heartsickening murmur and an INSISTANCE that we are dumb animals with no purpose and too much free time. we will continue to go to wars , we will die of disease , we will kill our children , we will shame our parents , we will steal from our family, we will poison the land that gives us life , we will deny the existence of the godly, and we will become extinct ... this will not help you in the least in your quest to become immortal... if you were brave ( and shortly, i wont hold my breath for this NOWAY ) my door is open to return what ever else you found rummaging through my things without question, and i WILL forgive you..... and if you choose not to , you MUST seek the same forgiveness from yourself... for chipping away at someones security. this is and will always be a matter of the heart to me. you win . now please put the brakes on this before you hurt someone you DO care about.
editors note :
i am quite amazed . why didnt the major labels think of it first? i thought for sure at least itunes would have lept at the opportunity to sift through my belongings after the house fire and "unearth " all my private collection of music and demos. theres bound to be some hot jams in my melted laptop in a jersey landfill.... that is what is SO funny about this .... EVEN A BIG GREEDY CORPORATION WOULDNT EVEN DREAM OF DOING THIS !"
When the smoke settled and Sitek caught his breath, the actuality of things came to light, and the unnamed character who took the CD even emailed him an apology, prompting Dave to write this heartfelt response shortly thereafter on Young Liars:
Tuesday, December 12
"I APOLOGIZE FOR THE TONE OF THE LETTER I WROTE A FEW HOURS AGO . I HAD THIRTY PEOPLE CALL ME WITHIN AN HOUR ASKING ME ABOUT THIS POST. MY FRIEND PETE THREW AWAY SOME SUITCASES OF MINE. SOMEONE WHO KNEW THEY WERE MINE, WENT THOUGH THEM , FOUND THE DISC, POSTED IT ONLINE... I FREAKED OUT (not thinking it was my suitcases discarded by a friend , which I DO KNOW is ultimately my own fault, but rather ASSUMED (wrongfully) it was from one of many boxes discarded by the firemarshall after a housefire) AND WROTE THIS POST. Since then , the story was told to me, by the person i was NOT VERY ARTICULATELY appealing to ... his name is mike. he apologized... He didnt see what that would trigger in me... what affects it would have on me , my friends , and my ever dwindling sanity. i re-read the post , felt like i wrote it out of anger and confusion. i apologized to mike for my tone .... then read about how awful i am on a few websites by people like doing that sort of thing. by flipping out i connected with something i had lost... i am not taking down the post because i want to be reminded how much of an ass i can be, and if i forget , i am comforted by the fact that the blogs... the web... will always be there to remind me. i really do need to get "offline". in a real way. goodbye online. goodbye blog. thanks mike."
As this scenario involves two of my favorite artists, I felt compelled to share, but there were a few more motivating factors involved. Firstly, I was compelled by Sitek's outlook on things, as it's pretty hard to disagree with the sentiment that we're fucking ourselves on a lot of different levels. Seeing some parallels between my dumb little note on here from monday morning and the guitarist's rant, it was validating to see some of the same gut feelings about where we're headed, though the context was certainly all fucked up, but when is it not? On the cheesier side of things, it was rather fitting that something like this happened during this time of year, the most wonderful time of year. At a time when presents and the countdown and waking up at 6am or whatever superfluous shit you used to do as a kid around the holidays don't mean nearly as much, we see in mr. sitek's example the importance of humility and forgiveness. le soleil est pres de moi.
Have you ever awakened on a tuesday morning in hell, sun mocking you through filthy, curtainless glass, the inside of your skull being scraped at by an icy implement, simply because you've decided to "clean up" for the week? Is each week loaded with regretful incidents (usually involving the opposite sex) that secretly bring a smile to your face? Is your creativity flowing into new ways to cop rather than lucrative artistic ventures? Do you often find yourself selling things (TVs, DVDs, IPods, Amps, Guitars, stolen Digital Cameras) in desperation? Is the Kentucky Gentleman always at your side? Ever fallen flat on your face in a crowded American shopping hub, simply because you've neglected to feed the need for a few hours? Do you frequently find yourself succumbing to "rum fits?" Have you ever dreamt of being adopted by Pete Doherty? Do you enjoy the sensation of punching through glass? Is a gallon of cheap bourbon, some eightballs, a blowtorch, a couple of roided-up pitbulls, and a vintage stihl chainsaw your idea of a quiet night in? Are 'forced disappearances' and 'ransom negotiation' parts of your skill set? Do you see the speed limit as more of a suggestion than an enforceable law? Do you prefer intensive farm labor to a few quick sets at your local gymnasium? Ever pulled on dozens of car door handles on the way home with your mates from the pub, hoping that some hapless fuck has left his new 3-Series coupe unlocked? Are you considered reckless, irresponsible, or otherwise a danger to those around you? Do you entertain the notion of sending pipe bombs to MTV Headquarters? Can you take a punch? Can you take a bullet? Do you spend considerable portions of the day considering the best ways to pull off a bank robbery? Do you idolize 1989-1995 era Mike Tyson? Do you have a strong aversion to cameraphones? Are you trill? Are you constantly frustrated by the naivete, ignorance, and stupidity of those around you? Do you prefer 5.99 Zelko to anything on the top shelf? Is Hong Kong piracy in your near future? Ever beaten someone within inches of their life for no reason other than that you take orgasmic joy from the sight of bludgeoned flesh and shattered bone? Wish you could mastermind a heist rivaling Lufthansa, split to Bogata, and join the FARC? Do you consider marijuana an utter annoyance rather than a drug? Is at least one person after your life? Are you completely alienated from your family as a result of beasting out (or at least on the way)? No? Kill yourself. Yes? Pull up a chair. We'd like to have a talk with you.
"Substance abuse is the cornerstone of beasting out." - Paul Pags
"Car bombs? Nice try pussy. Jager Bombs? Why not just watch Failure to Launch. Saki bombs? I'm not gonna say it, but you know what I'm thinking. No, no gentlemen, there is only one concoction sufficent for the manical substance cravings of Street Thunder: The Street Thunder Sawed Off. It consists of one shot of horse steroid, one shot of pure mexican black tar H, three lines of high grade cocaine, a vial of pcp, a bandana soaked in LSD (which you will be wearing), a fifth of Kentucky Gentlemen and a bench press set with three plates on each side of the bar. And the process? Pour the vial of pcp into the bourbon, drop your pants and prepare to intiate full bore beast mode: snort all three lines in succession and immediatly follow by chugging the entire bottle in under 10 seconds while your one friend shoots the steroids in your ass and your other friend fixes the H in your non-chugging arm. Finish the bottle, smash it over your head, rep the bar 10 times and then punch a woman in the face." - Dollar Bill
Recently I posted on Craig's List, in regards to looking for new people to "jam" with, as the people who had previously fulfilled this role had fallen by the wayside. the song went a little something like this.
"looking for a new creative outlet. i've been playing bass for a year now, and i'm just looking for fun-loving, chill people who don't suck to play along with. not exactly looking to form/join a band, but I wouldn't oppose those things either, to be perfectly honest.
influences and activities include: London City, existentialism, blaxploitation, raging out, the Rolling Stones, 1968, writing fiction, funk, fighting, Hunter S. Thompson, volcanoes, bourbon, reading (unlike most Americans), Sun Ra, H.L. Mencken, getting thrown out of places, The Opium Wars, Lennon, Lenin, Sid Vicious, Burning Spear, painting, porn, Radiohead, bars, bashing people's musical tastes (a staggering number of people just listen to shit and don't seem to have a problem with it), the Marlboro Man, filmmaking, shock and awe, Air, experimentation, Godzilla, etc., etc."
Not two sunrises after posting this casual missive, i received a response from a single, lonely man out in cyberspace. let's call him mark ayers. his response read as follows:
"You want fun loving, chill people who don’t suck to play with but your influences and activities (blaxploitation, bashing other’s music, shock and awe, the Marlboro Man, etc; what the hell?) make you sound like a nut. Try this again when your 31 and have had time to mature." - note the improper usage of "your." haha, just sayin.
Before heading to my doctor's appointment in Towson (a small suburb of Baltimore), I decided to check my email, only to find this. it certainly brightened my day. I mean, unbeknownst to mr. ayers, i've been called worse things than "nut." and as far as waiting ten years, when i've "had time to mature," truthfully, though my license says 21, i think, act, and feel much more like 67, like some kind of hellbent, sex-addicted bukowski-esque miser on the skids. thus, it's not worth the energy to ball up a fuck you and hurl it in mark ayers' direction. no siree bobbit. i've got a week of binging ahead of me and a new year's bombing run to plan, and quite frankly, his response affirms what I and a lot of those lonely souls closest to me are already sure of: 98% of the American population are fucking nerds. Vive le cirque!
Hunter S. Thompson's post-American century hasn't given us much to be proud of, has it? Dwindling biodiversity, more ethnic cleansing, crippling paranoia and a war that has us at odds with everything, a loss of the sense of self. A staggering budget deficit that ten years ago was but a dense zero written in permanent marker on stark drawing paper. the death of the sitcom-an american television staple for half a century. the former United States only barely saving itself from the throes of the ills of a Neo-Con (i can't really bring myself to call Bush and the boys Republicans) hegemony, but only by electing marginally better Democrats.
In light of all this, I have but one question: Where's our ethos? Or should i say where is the new and improved version of our old ethos, idealized and ambitious though it may have been? With the shitstorm that is the middle east, we're seeing (whether we'd like to or not) exactly where we stand in a post-rational age. Arabs vs. Jews, Sunnis vs. Shiites. Brothers and sisters, I say. There's a less than one percent of genetic variation among the DNA of all 7 billion of us, so what's the fucking problem? Too big a question, I know.
Those on their way out, the greatest generation, our fastest growing population segment, say things weren't so bad when they were young. In the good old days, people weren't as violent or as sadistic and all was in equilibrium. But I assume that this is just a way for each generation to reconcile its past, to make all they've done, either personally or by proxy, viable. Because without much consideration, strange fruit comes to mind, a world at war maybe (and the Holocaust that defined it), four little girls, internment of the Japanese in the west, Jim Crow, the cold war and our nebbish fear of Communism (a threadbare system that posed so little actual threat to our way of life it's ridiculous) that ruined thousands of our most brilliant lives.
No one wants to have died in vain, and no one wants to have lived as such either. So why acknowledge the horror? There's no fun in that, and we're all about fun. Always have been.
Promises of milk and honey in the land of opportunity are all but dead. Stop risking your lives to get here; the show has left town, indefinitely. The Horatio Alger myth is just that. Poor children are more likely to become wealthy adults in Germany, Finland, France or Sweden than in America, and our middle class is fading fast, with the working poor sliding in to replace a dying American establishment. A particular point read in the past week particularly troubled me. A tale of the death of equality of opportunity in this country.
In the '60s, GM was the largest employer in the nation, and adjusted for inflation, its CEO pulled in about 4 million a year, with workers averaging 45k a year (not to mention cushy benefit/pension packages and strong union presence). Now Wal-Mart is our largest employer and CEO H. Lee Scott pulls in 23 million dollars yearly. And apparently, we're OK with that. And apparently, we're also OK with the fact that Mr. Scott and his VPs don't feel that workers with a mean income of 18,000 a year (poverty line stuff) deserve even the most basic health benefits. Hell, in Maryland, they refused to take part in the Fair Share Health Care Plan, which would have required (had it not been vetoed) the state's four largest employers to pay out health benefits to their employees. Fuck. Even Northrop Grumman agreed, and they're in the business of dealing death. What's going on?
In the business of death, certainly not unique to our time, there must be an allegiance, a valiant force to stand up against the killing factory, the suffering, the loss. A foil to brutish militarism, postmodern western (read: American) inventions like the RED campaign and Live 8 seek to eradicate crippling social and economic problems that are entrenched in the bedrock of entire countries, entire continents. Maybe a few RAZR phones, some GAP ads with Mary J. Blige and Bono, and some Coldplay songs will feed millions, cure even more of the worst disease in human history. Maybe reverse the effects of centuries of Euro-Imperialism and the tribalism that resulted from divide and rule policies implemented by Old World Belgians and Britons and Portuguese and Germans. Perhaps the most troubling thing about this is that we have our best minds on all of it, and no one has an answer--Yet (he writes hopefully).
But maybe none of this will last long enough for it to grate at our dwindling collective awareness/conscience. Among other things (say nuclear tensions, say global deterioration of resources), significant climate change threatens our way of life and indeed, our future. In his controversial (but highly successful) doc "An Inconvenient Truth," Al Gore points out that in the scientific community, there is absolutely no doubt that global warming exists and is indeed accelerating due to human interactions with the environment. Total desertification of the lower 48 in the next century, deadly record temperatures for 2006 worldwide, a global ecosystem in the midst of the next big extinction event. Yet somehow, within the complex channels of the media, there is a 50/50 split as to whether this shit is going down or not. This can be attributed to the persistent dumbness of mainstream media of course, but also to a few lobbyists shilling for Exxon, maybe some fuckheads on Capitol Hill with no proof and loud filibustering diatribes.
Here, in all this, boys and girls, we see our new found gift, our new ethos, borne of our past: The Culture of Fuck. Fuck that. Fuck you. Fuck off. That can't be true. You are out of your goddamn mind. Fuck Off Hippie, it's about me, my time to shine, no worries. But the preexisting, unaltered ethos is kinda biting us in the ass for all to see. In the '80s, all this shit was cute, but now the stakes are far too high for glamour. Adaptation is a must, lest tomorrow swallow us whole.
On the cynical side of things, we'll be greatly riven by domestic and foreign policy issues, and thanks to the devastating wealth transfer to those with dividends and trust funds and the destabilizing economy that results, the government will lose legitimacy and rule of law will become the butt of our jokes. you know, injustice and inequality on par with latin america, that kind of thing.
On the optimistic side of 41st street, we're looking at an America that can't function as a superpower because the whole world is fucked up, knee deep. A severe and undeniable thing is bound to come, a cultural shift and a demand for More among the world's despairing majority. It is of course, the nature of an empire to end, and were we to pull our heads out of our asses sometime soon, maybe we could end up like Britain, always hearkening back, with a twinkle in our eye, to the days when we were the shit, but still holding on to our say at the roundtable. But regardless, it's gone, they're all gone. Michael Jackson, The Bulls and MJ, Coca Cola, McDonald's (before the whole health kick, like non-biodegradable containers), Ninja Turtles, Desert Storm/Shield, Metallica, Fresh Prince of Bel Air, and the all important age of innocence. Whenever that was (I don't see it on the timeline).
I suspect that many feel that they can continue to live out these times (and the cave-dwelling blindness that came with them). I mean sure, there's a shitload in the here and now that requires immediate and direct attention. Things and people to love and laugh with, stuff to learn then forget, then learn again. A consciousness to enrich and enjoy. Capital to build, family to start and grow, grades to get, power to grab.
But, i will say this: without some kind of change, no matter how gradual or seemingly insignificant, the ashes and civil war II and the noxious steam and the misted blood and dense smog and the uv rays and the mass graves and the breakdown of rightness and the suffocating humidity and the hydrocarbons and the undrinkable water won't leave much of a world to look forward to once you're done. Just wish i could warn those future in uteros how fucked up we've made things for them, maybe convince them of considering another option. No one's asking you to believe, the evidence is right outside.