Let Me See Your I.D.–Artists United Against Apartheid, 1985

artists-united-against-apartheid-let-me-see-your-id-street-mix-1986It isn’t often that a rap song changes my perspective. I’m admittedly not a great fan of rap music; if I want to be yelled at, I have people I work with for that. On the other hand it does throw in some off-the-wall references to kung fu, literary figures and historical events we don’t want to think about.

In 1985 Little Steven Van Zandt drew together a unique collective of musicians from across the spectrum, for the purpose of protesting against the racist Apartheid regime in South Africa. The project Sun City drew its name from the glittering resort in the so-called ‘homeland’ of Bophuthatswana, which was meant to showcase the ‘greatness’ of white South Africa, and which had already attracted prominent pop artists to perform at their casino.

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Perhaps today it can be seen as an artifact of the late ’80’s; or, it may have a frightening relevance considering the exposure of the filthy underbelly of white supremacy here in our United States. What I referenced in the beginning of this piece was Sun City‘s rap track, “Let Me See Your I.D.”, meaning the passbooks all black South Africans over the age of 16 were required to carry on them at all times. If it was not produced on demand, black persons would be jailed and fined. As of 1985,13 million people had been jailed for pass law offenses.

It begins with a concept so obvious that it shouldn’t be so mind-blowing. Grandmaster Melle Mel chants, “Everybody uses black & white/ to draw the line between wrong & right/ but If you use your eyes you can really see”, that ‘white’ is really pink while skin that’s ‘black’ is really brown. Think about that; your skin is not white. Peach at best, maybe. And black, well, that covers a range of shades, none of them pure black.

Poet and novelist Gil Scott-Heron provides a running narration as subtle as the raps are not. “The word casualties comes up a lot…people are talking about isms…” But people are dying, he says, and there’s nothing casual about that. “Let Me See Your I.D.” showcases the talents of Grandmaster Melle Mel, Scorpio from Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five, Peter Wolf, Kurtis Blow, the Fat Boys, Gil Scott-Heron, Sonny Okosuns, The Malopoets form South Africa. Jimmy Cliff, Duke Bootee and more.

Sadly this track is unavailable for download and I could only find it online as a vinyl single. If you want to hear it today, ironically enough you’d have to find an unauthorized upload on YouTube and break the law.

sun city list  images s afr boycott

 

Wresting Freedom: The Pioneers

blk hist mo pioneers300 (1)

Freedom has been  hard-fought in these United States, and never more so than for those who differ from a pale complexion. This simple drawing commemorates three honored African-Americans.

Left–Crispus Attucks, a free man, freed by his own hand, is considered the first man killed in the American Revolution, when he died at the hands of British soldiers in the Boston massacre.

http://www.crispusattucksmuseum.org/crispus-attuck/#prettyPhoto

bosotn massacre

The Boston Massacre, chromolithograph by William L. Champney, dated March 5, 1770, depicting Crispus Attucks prominently at the head of its victims. 

Center–Phillis Wheatley, the first published African-American poet, indeed the first African poet in young America. It was a fact she was forced to attest to in court. Poems on Various Subjects, Religious & Moral was published in London in 1773 because Boston refused to do so. Her poem “To His Excellency, George Washington” earned her a meeting with the future President in March 1776, three months before the Declaration of Independence.

Right–Frederick Douglass, the greatest orator of the 19th Century and a fierce abolitionist. The first of five biographies, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, was published in 1850.

fredereick douglass

To all those who stared at their chains and said “No.” For all those who said, “no, I am NOT property, I am NOT your plaything. I am free and I will be respected.”

 

Other Useless Items You Won’t Find in the Bible

https://respectfulinsolence.com/2018/04/05/brittney-kara-if-vaccines-great-why-not-mentioned-bible/

So, you don’t want to take your kids to have their vaccinations ’cause it isn’t in the Bible. That’s all right, there’s a lot of other useless items that are also NOT in the ‘Good Book.’ This should in no way be considered a comprehensive list; nonetheless here a few lacks I’d love to point out:

-Literacy, so you’ll actually know what’s in the f—kin’ book

-A uniform spelling system where we all agree on verb forms, spelling and grammar

-GUNS; that should please the NRA & all you supporters of the Second Amendment

-aspirin for when your kids get on your last nerve

-insulin

-antibioticsbible is a jewish book-comment

-flushable toilet

-toilet paper

-fresh running water

-refrigeration to preserve fresh food for days to come

-the most basic understanding of sanitation

–the most basic understanding of medicine

-Tolerance of your neighbors’ religion–oh wait, we don’t have that now, either. OK then, never mind…

-yoyos [I mean the toys, not our politicians]

-the most basic respect for your women-folk

-fire hoses, fire sprinklers or fire protection of any kind

-Van Halen

-Miles Davis

-Electricity

-The Law of Gravity

-Newton’s Laws of Motion

-Einstein’s General & Special Theories of Relativity

-zippers

-printed circuits

-cell phones that allow you to nag your absent-minded children at school or from any part of the country whatsoever

snapshot 1 (8-25-2013 7-45 pm) jesus

Christopher f—kin’ Columbus

-George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson or any one of the Founding Fathers

-The Bill of Rights

-Magna Carta

-compasses to keep your sorry ass from being lost in the wilderness for 40 years like some people we know

-The Collected Works of William Shakespeare

-hand soap

-dish soap

-chocolate & candy

-baby formula

-latex stretch pants

-Bras, which depending on the person, may or may not be a blessing

-pizza

-subway sandwiches

-Peace

I’m beginning to think this book may not have all the answers to life’s questions after all….

snapshot 1 (9-17-2013 12-34 am) jefferson

lennon trump gif

A Letter to American Evangelicals

I’m going to try to say this as calmly and as rationally as I possibly can. You people are nuts.

By you I mean so-called evangelicals who believe or claim to believe that Donald J. Trump has been called of God, that he is a servant of God or worse, that he is in fact the risen Christ. I need to know where you’re getting your drugs, ‘cos it sounds like you’re on some powerful shit.

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2019/01/01/1822839/-Evangelicals:God-Sent-Trump-to-be-King?detail=emaildkre

Chris Hedges says these people are not real evangelicals, that they are closer to being fascists. The distinction is of little importance since the people in question have the president’s ear.

Let’s be clear on one thing: Donald Trump was NOT ‘chosen of God’. He was chosen of by a Revolutionary War relic called the Electoral College. The sooner we’ve rid our Constitution of that foul institution, the better.

Honestly I don’t know what twisted form of illogic you’re teaching our children in your charter schools but plainly you don’t know Sacrilege when it passes your lips. i was a member of my church for 25 years. I have taught both Sunday School and Priesthood classes. I didn’t read the Bible–I studied the fuckin’ thing, so I can speak with absolute authority on the subject. And I’ll tell you, anyone associating Donald Trump with the Lord Jesus Christ has committed the greatest sacrilege.

Plainly you people have never read the Bible or you might just realize the folly you’ve been spouting. Now I may not worship Jesus, but I certainly admire him and I respect the message he tried to send into the world, a message 99.9837% of ‘American evangelicals’ have ignored in pursuit of one dumbass war in the Middle East after another. I know Jesus, my friends and I promise you, as a member of a sect that has suffered numerous vile pogroms throughout history, Jesus would never condemn an entire race as rapists and drug dealers.

There are limits to how much stupidity I am willing to tolerate, and you false evangelicals have exceeded them. I am disappointed that I live in a country incapable of differentiating between right and wrong and which refuses to accept the willful ignorance infesting religion and our body politic. I will not tolerate your hate or your sacrilege any longer.

News Flash [fiction]

My beautiful picture

NEWS FLASH

DATELINE: ARCTIC CIRCLE (AP) A battalion of Marines has been deployed by Democratic President Nero to the North pole in search of “left-wing communist sympathizers”. This action was undertaken on the basis of an informative tip provided by the American Conglomeration of Popular Merchandising.

Under the direction of self-styled patriot General Dick Eastmoreland, the 96-1/2 Marine Battalion quickly captured a small toyshop operated by a Mr. Kris Kringle. A horde of plastic rifles, pistols and other weapons were confiscated. Sources claim that each item was tagged a legend, like “Merry Xmas Tommy.”

“The kids ask for them, I just deliver them,” explained Mr. Kringle. “All the boys seem to be into Rambo and toy Uzis nowadays.”

Countered General Eastmoreland, “This is obviously an enemy weapons depo. There are even naked dolls up here. Apparently Mr. Kringle is operating a child prostitution ring on the side. Just listen to that spine-tingling ‘ho-ho-ho!’”

“Ohh, the dolls are for the girls,” Kringle says, “Except for a few orders from San Francisco. HO HO HOI Y’know, I have to admit thig job is getting a mite dangerous. Last year a bunch of MiGs tried to shoot me down over Russia. Now it’s the dagnabbed Marines!”

A brief dispute ensued when Eastmoreland informed the elderly toymaker that he was being evicted. Mr. Kringle claimed squatter rights, then reportedly made some remarks involving ‘coal in their stockings.’

The toymaker was put in tough with Admiral Billy Chickenhawk, second-in-command of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Mr. Kringle is reported by reliable eyewitnesses ae saying, “I understand your position, my dear fellow. Now GET OUT!”

The Marines were hastily withdrawn with Mr. Kringle’s promise of leniency and “no coal this time around.”

In an unrelated development, a team of Greenpeace scientists in winter gear were discovered roaming the beach at Pago Pago. Among their belongings were several crates marked ‘Reindeer Feed’.

Details at eleven.

 

 

Tumblr hari-kari

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Tumblr has chosen a peculiar form of self-inflicted hari-kari. By now we’ve all heard of their total ban on ‘adult’ material, beginning on Dec. 17, 2018. Several artists and producers I’m following have already abandoned ship. I understand what prompted this extreme action, and I’m all for banning child pornography. But these new guidelines are broad enough to boot open the door to all manner of censorship across the Internet.

I have to wonder just how stringent the censorship search program they’ll have to use is going to be. There are literally hundreds, possibly thousands of sites and posts that may not be considered family-friendly on Tumblr. That’s been its major draw. Supposing someone posts a clip of an animal nursing its young–with its NIPPLES, of course. Will that set off the klaxons?

What’ll be next? If a person’s bog is not considered pure enough…if it’s too (OHHH!!!) politically correct, whatever that means these days, do we strike down that infidel’s webpage and block his/her access to all servers? Who’s to say where this stops, IF it stops?

We’ve seen this before. From 1930 until 1968, American motion pictures were bound by the Hays Code, which placed any films and television programs under a strict regime of self-censorship. There would be no ridicule of religion, no mention of homosexuality; men were men–white, usually, bad was bad and life went on in a virtual la-la land where good people [again, white people] always win.

https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=93301189

Another example; Fredrick Werthem’s Seduction of the Innocent, published in 1954, put forth the claim that comic books promoted juvenile delinquency, which led to an inquiry by the Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency, which led to publishers voluntarily neutering comics with the imposition of the Comics Code in 1954. Marvel Comics began to break down thee improbable standards in 1971 with a three-part story involving drug-addition in The Amazing Spider-Man # 96-98.

Seduction_of_the_Innocent

https://comicvine.gamespot.com/comics-code-authority/4015-42382/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comics_Code_Authority#1960s%E2%80%931970s

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seduction_of_the_Innocent

In both cases, these codes were imposed by self-righteous ideologues inflating the dangers posed by their respective mediums all out of proportion, and often distorting the facts to achieve their ends. That does not appear to be the case with Tumblr at this time, but the window of exploitation is now open.

I take hope in the fact that while we may be entering a period where we will be forced to water down our artistic impulses, the day will come when new outlets of self-expression WILL arrive. The restrictions of far-right, narrow mined goons will be loosened, most likely with the passing of this generation of vipers that is set on putting these chains on us in the first place.

Tumblr by that time is likely to be either an anamoly, a platform once popular soon to be forgotten; or it will act as a compliant tool of ‘The Establishment’ the Internet was born to resist. In either case, you can’t cork a volcano, nor will the artistic impulse be caged forever.

Rubber Soul as it should be

Rubber_Soul

I’ve just realized why Rubber Soul was never one of my favorite Beatles albums growing up. I had no way of knowing better of course; did any of us know in the fall of 1965? You see the problem was, we were getting the Americanized version.

A sign of a great work of art is its openness to more than one interpretation. In his blog Psychobabble, Mike Segretto gave the impression  that certain alterations were an improvement on the original British LP; that these substitutions were more in line with the folk-rock stylings of the majority of the set. On that count, I respectfully disagree. The rock numbers [“Drive My Car” & “Nowhere Man”] I feel balanced out the introspection of “Norwegian Wood” & “In My Life”. There is very little question that the British album was the better of the two versions.

Granted the classics were all in their proper places—“Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)”, “Michelle”, “In My Life”, even “The Word”. The point is, I grew up listening to what was provided by Capitol Records. Capitol was the American distributor for EMI-Parlophone Records in the U.S. And they butchered Rubber Soul.

rubber soul UK back

The back cover of the UK release, at least the remastered CD from 2009 

rubber soul US Capitol back

Running order of the Capitol Records release

The first sin they committed was to strip four songs from the original LP, ie “Drive My Car”, “Nowhere Man”, “What Goes On” & “If I Needed Someone”. This was standard practice for Capitol: take a few songs off one Beatles album and collect as many as possible into a ‘new’ album. Something New [July 1964] may be the most egregious example of such mash-ups, and I’m saying this as someone who does in fact prefer some of the American LPs over their British counterparts.

Here’s what rubs me; two of those songs were among the strongest tracks the Fabs had done in this period; and they substituted two of the weaker tracks from the British Help! LP. If I may digress, Capitol got s lot of mileage out of that record. Over the following two  years they managed to spread those six Side-2 songs over three different albums. Most of us who grew up in the ‘60’s didn’t realize how badly we’d been gipped until the official British albums saw their first CD release in 1987. That was the year we in America finally received Rubber Soul in its full glory, as God [or the Fab Four anyway] intended.

The UK version opened with a strong lead-in, ‘Drive My Car”; the Capitol album had the temerity to replace that with the significantly weaker number, “I’ve Just Seen a Face”. Worst of all, “Nowhere Man” was also taken off the Capitol release. I never knew it was supposed to be on Rubber Soul until I listened to that damn CD for the first time. George Harrison had originally been allotted two numbers, “Think For Yourself” & “If I Needed Someone”. I don’t know why I’m so taken with the latter number; that riff just seemed to hook me. It’s mostly the guitar. These are both decent songs, but at a time when George was just beginning to flex his songwriting muscles, Capitol cut his contributions by half.

Adding insult to injury, the one song allotted to Ringo Starr, ‘What Goes On”, the first instance in which he actually received any songwriting credit, was swapped with “It’s Only Love’, a song even John Lennon said was abysmal. Which meant Ringo got NO vocal numbers at all on our side of the Atlantic. In fact, in 1965 Ringo would appear on two, count ‘em, two tracks for U.S. release. One was “Act Naturally”, the B-side of the “Yesterday” single. “Boys” [from The Early Beatles, March ‘65] was part & parcel of the re-re-release of the Beatles’ first Parlophone album Please Please Me–from 1963.

That leaves fully half of the album dominated by Lennon compositions—on either side of the Atlantic—“Norwegian Wood”, “Nowhere Man”, “The Word”, “What Goes On”, “Girl”, “In My Life” & “Run For Your Life”. John Lennon songs tended to dominate Beatles albums up to this point. Rubber Soul would actually be the last time this was the case until the White Album sessions three years later—honestly, mostly on account of John’s growing, admitted laziness.

The four tracks that were stripped from the Capitol album would eventually conglomerate in July 1966 on the Yesterday and Today set, along with the final two orphans from Help!, Side 2, plus three more recent cuts stolen from the upcoming Revolver. And that would be the last time such butchery would be committed against a Beatles long-play.

–“It’s Only Love” was mine. I always thought it was a lousy song. The lyrics were abysmal. I always hated that song.

-John Lennon to David Sheff, The Playboy Interviews with John Lennon & Yoko Ono, @ 1981 Playboy Press

https://psychobabble200.blogspot.com/2014/08/turn-left-at-greenland-part-8-rubber.html