The Dictator observations thread.

Politics and other such topical creams.
Dr. Medulla
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Re: The Dictator observations thread.

Post by Dr. Medulla »

Marky Dread wrote:
18 Jul 2020, 11:07am
No not a dig at your good self or your profession. But just a dig at those who say "well yeah that's how it happened so let's leave it at that".
I'm just not certain that the "let's leave it at that" part exists all that much. Most people who write and think for a living aren't inclined to write to shut people up. They do it because of a need to express their views and hope that others will want to engage. Sure, they've got egos and hope that their interpretation will persuade, but the goal is to spark a conversation and/or keep it going. Jon Savage or Greil Marcus, to name two, didn't write about early punk to stifle discourse, but to generate it.
At this time the definition via the tabloid press was literally the dictionary definition of worthless, inferior etc. Now I realise it sometimes comes across as condescending when someone says "you had to be there" but when you have had to face down 5 fuckers who want to kick the shit out of you for the way you dress...well you get the picture.

So punk had to break free from that type of hatred. Not surprising punk sided with the marginalised and minorities. It could be bloody bad for your health at times. So speaking from experience it is sometimes very frustrating when I read certain books by people who were definitely not around but know exactly what being a punk was all about.

So these are the stereotypes and straight jackets they had to fight against. You can't be punk your hairs not right or your music is too slow and so on. It's why The Clash were so important they saw through the bullshit very quickly.

You can of course define punk how you see fit it's how the individual reacts to what they see, hear and feel. But I can only say how I see things and for me it's something that is ever changing in order not to simply stand still and be affected by what is happening personally and politically.
Part of the weakness of a lot of writing about punk ends up, even if it's unconscious, replicating conventional rock (or mass culture) writing with its emphasis on stars and why they're great. Those accounts necessarily miss the perspective that you're talking about—what it's like to be an anonymous punk still living amidst normal bigotry and contempt. Your experience was not Johnny Rotten's. Some writers do try to deal with that—and that's the stuff that I'm interested in with this punk class I'm putting together, not rehashing the story of CBGB or The Clash or whatever—but it's really hard because we have been taught to focus on the stars. If you want to sell your book, it's a lot easier to talk about public figures like Malcolm McLaren rather than Marky Dread. Those books aren't necessarily nonsense, but they are limited (but then all communication is limited). As long as we don't expect something all-encompassing, that tempers our disappointment and sometimes contempt for writers. I never expect anything to be definitive or to cover everything. It's a small piece, it's an interpretation, and hopefully something that encourages you to interrogate your own interpretations.
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Re: The Dictator observations thread.

Post by Flex »

Dr. Medulla wrote:
18 Jul 2020, 11:57am
Did it seem like I was suggesting that bigotry was an essential element of punk? Poorly expressed on my part, if so. More a case of punk rejection of conventional behaviours/attitudes lends itself to that. That is, that "I'm an equal opportunity offender" attitude that generates debasing comments even if there's no purposeful intent beyond being "rebellious."
Yeah, I was going off this:
Dr. Medulla wrote:
17 Jul 2020, 12:21pm
Man, for a bunch of punk fans, we all sure seem churchy. :shifty:
Seemed to imply opposing anti-semitism was somehow unpunk (although obviously I knew it was tongue in cheek, but there still seemed to be a bit.of seriousness behind it).
I think that's a misreading of the achievement. There's nothing about it that says homosexuals *must* get married, in the same way that they were *prohibited* before. Eliminating an unfair restriction of personal choice seems a good thing.
Sure, and that's why I support marriage equality, but I do think the functional effect (as correctly predicted by long-game cultural conservatives like Sullivan) has been to marginalize the radical within the gay rights movement in favor of those most interested in bourgeoisie respectability politics. In hardly qualified to speak further for those voices, but the Against Equality: Queer Critiques of Gay Marriage book (among others) has more. Gene recommended that book around these parts years ago, iirc.
But don't most(?) of them know, at heart, that it's a transgression? They know that the general culture has moved so that using sexist and racist slurs is less unconscious and more an act of bravado or rebellion against the PC police, etc. It's why so many, when caught, immediately back down and offer fake apologies. They know that they've committed a secular sin in a way that decades earlier wouldn't have caused offense.
I guess I just think a lot of the anti-PC bravado is fake because fake persecution is part of the right wing grift. I do agree that liberal norms require mannered expression, but I think theres not much actual teeth behind the consequences of violating the normal. That makes it, as rebellion goes, pretty safe and feckless. But yeah, I don't disagree with you.
At this point, I'm not sure how much we're disagreeing here, and if we are it's because I didn't express myself as well as I could have. My point is that the same virtue of punk that encourages a sense of liberation from conventionality and of action can and has led to stupid behaviour when it's not disciplined with a humanist perspective and critical mind. Punk necessarily means the former, but the latter is something that people have to work harder for. That's the poison pill embedded within punk.
Yeah, we're not really disagreeing. A lot of people (like Marky!) have done a lot to make embracing the humanist perspective within punk the cultural norm in the scene. But yeah, I mean you've always gotta be making sure you're keeping the Nazis out of the scene since it can be attractive to them.
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Re: The Dictator observations thread.

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Flex wrote:
18 Jul 2020, 12:17pm
Yeah, I was going off this:
Dr. Medulla wrote:
17 Jul 2020, 12:21pm
Man, for a bunch of punk fans, we all sure seem churchy. :shifty:
Seemed to imply opposing anti-semitism was somehow unpunk (although obviously I knew it was tongue in cheek, but there still seemed to be a bit.of seriousness behind it).
Ah, I see! My snark wasn't playing off our espoused antisemitism, but rather our clear moral stance asserts, in essence, "You shouldn't say or think that." The punk boilerplate of no rulez! whereas we were asserting a negative liberty rooted in morality. So I was semi-joking about how some punks would regard us being bourgeois moralist phonies.
Sure, and that's why I support marriage equality, but I do think the functional effect (as correctly predicted by long-game cultural conservatives like Sullivan) has been to marginalize the radical within the gay rights movement in favor of those most interested in bourgeoisie respectability politics. In hardly qualified to speak further for those voices, but the Against Equality: Queer Critiques of Gay Marriage book (among others) has more. Gene recommended that book around these parts years ago, iirc.
Yup, that's always the danger of accepting reform over revolution, that getting a partial and immediate achievement can take the steam out of the more radical ambition. The welfare state and consensus politics after World War II improved the material reality of millions of (mostly white and male) workers, but at the cost of deradicalizing labour and encouraging them to become defenders of capitalism. Looked at from that standpoint, the welfare state was a disaster for a radical alternative of society, even if it made life better for many in the working class and their descendents. But I'm mostly averse to that kind of emphasis on abstract principle versus lived reality.
I guess I just think a lot of the anti-PC bravado is fake because fake persecution is part of the right wing grift.
We think it's fake because it's intellectually shallow, but at this point the ideology has achieved a self-generating momentum of its own that makes the sense of grievance genuine. These people really do believe they've been fucked over. So I disagree that it's fake. It's a grift, yes, but grifter and grifted are all in the same prison now.
Yeah, we're not really disagreeing. A lot of people (like Marky!) have done a lot to make embracing the humanist perspective within punk the cultural norm in the scene. But yeah, I mean you've always gotta be making sure you're keeping the Nazis out of the scene since it can be attractive to them.
It's about being disciplined on your own. That's the part of punk liberty that I find so appealing—I will be a good and responsible person and care about others on my own. I don't need threats and coercion, and I will reject threats and coercion that make me perform immoral acts.
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Re: The Dictator observations thread.

Post by Marky Dread »

Dr. Medulla wrote:
18 Jul 2020, 12:13pm
Marky Dread wrote:
18 Jul 2020, 11:07am
No not a dig at your good self or your profession. But just a dig at those who say "well yeah that's how it happened so let's leave it at that".
I'm just not certain that the "let's leave it at that" part exists all that much. Most people who write and think for a living aren't inclined to write to shut people up. They do it because of a need to express their views and hope that others will want to engage. Sure, they've got egos and hope that their interpretation will persuade, but the goal is to spark a conversation and/or keep it going. Jon Savage or Greil Marcus, to name two, didn't write about early punk to stifle discourse, but to generate it.
At this time the definition via the tabloid press was literally the dictionary definition of worthless, inferior etc. Now I realise it sometimes comes across as condescending when someone says "you had to be there" but when you have had to face down 5 fuckers who want to kick the shit out of you for the way you dress...well you get the picture.

So punk had to break free from that type of hatred. Not surprising punk sided with the marginalised and minorities. It could be bloody bad for your health at times. So speaking from experience it is sometimes very frustrating when I read certain books by people who were definitely not around but know exactly what being a punk was all about.

So these are the stereotypes and straight jackets they had to fight against. You can't be punk your hairs not right or your music is too slow and so on. It's why The Clash were so important they saw through the bullshit very quickly.

You can of course define punk how you see fit it's how the individual reacts to what they see, hear and feel. But I can only say how I see things and for me it's something that is ever changing in order not to simply stand still and be affected by what is happening personally and politically.
Part of the weakness of a lot of writing about punk ends up, even if it's unconscious, replicating conventional rock (or mass culture) writing with its emphasis on stars and why they're great. Those accounts necessarily miss the perspective that you're talking about—what it's like to be an anonymous punk still living amidst normal bigotry and contempt. Your experience was not Johnny Rotten's. Some writers do try to deal with that—and that's the stuff that I'm interested in with this punk class I'm putting together, not rehashing the story of CBGB or The Clash or whatever—but it's really hard because we have been taught to focus on the stars. If you want to sell your book, it's a lot easier to talk about public figures like Malcolm McLaren rather than Marky Dread. Those books aren't necessarily nonsense, but they are limited (but then all communication is limited). As long as we don't expect something all-encompassing, that tempers our disappointment and sometimes contempt for writers. I never expect anything to be definitive or to cover everything. It's a small piece, it's an interpretation, and hopefully something that encourages you to interrogate your own interpretations.
Agree with all the second part.

The first part you misread what I'm saying. I'm not saying the writers I'm referring to the readers. People who accept what they read without questioning and that becomes the truth. No writer is going to get it 100% correct.

Like an atheist reading the bible and knowing after reading they are going to find their own truth. Hope that makes sense.
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Re: The Dictator observations thread.

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Marky Dread wrote:
18 Jul 2020, 12:57pm
The first part you misread what I'm saying. I'm not saying the writers I'm referring to the readers. People who accept what they read without questioning and that becomes the truth. No writer is going to get it 100% correct.

Like an atheist reading the bible and knowing after reading they are going to find their own truth. Hope that makes sense.
Oh, I see. It's not about the writers, it's the readers! Of course I fully agree with all that.
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Re: The Dictator observations thread.

Post by Kory »

Dr. Medulla wrote:
18 Jul 2020, 12:13pm
Marky Dread wrote:
18 Jul 2020, 11:07am
No not a dig at your good self or your profession. But just a dig at those who say "well yeah that's how it happened so let's leave it at that".
I'm just not certain that the "let's leave it at that" part exists all that much. Most people who write and think for a living aren't inclined to write to shut people up. They do it because of a need to express their views and hope that others will want to engage. Sure, they've got egos and hope that their interpretation will persuade, but the goal is to spark a conversation and/or keep it going. Jon Savage or Greil Marcus, to name two, didn't write about early punk to stifle discourse, but to generate it.
At this time the definition via the tabloid press was literally the dictionary definition of worthless, inferior etc. Now I realise it sometimes comes across as condescending when someone says "you had to be there" but when you have had to face down 5 fuckers who want to kick the shit out of you for the way you dress...well you get the picture.

So punk had to break free from that type of hatred. Not surprising punk sided with the marginalised and minorities. It could be bloody bad for your health at times. So speaking from experience it is sometimes very frustrating when I read certain books by people who were definitely not around but know exactly what being a punk was all about.

So these are the stereotypes and straight jackets they had to fight against. You can't be punk your hairs not right or your music is too slow and so on. It's why The Clash were so important they saw through the bullshit very quickly.

You can of course define punk how you see fit it's how the individual reacts to what they see, hear and feel. But I can only say how I see things and for me it's something that is ever changing in order not to simply stand still and be affected by what is happening personally and politically.
Part of the weakness of a lot of writing about punk ends up, even if it's unconscious, replicating conventional rock (or mass culture) writing with its emphasis on stars and why they're great. Those accounts necessarily miss the perspective that you're talking about—what it's like to be an anonymous punk still living amidst normal bigotry and contempt. Your experience was not Johnny Rotten's. Some writers do try to deal with that—and that's the stuff that I'm interested in with this punk class I'm putting together, not rehashing the story of CBGB or The Clash or whatever—but it's really hard because we have been taught to focus on the stars. If you want to sell your book, it's a lot easier to talk about public figures like Malcolm McLaren rather than Marky Dread. Those books aren't necessarily nonsense, but they are limited (but then all communication is limited). As long as we don't expect something all-encompassing, that tempers our disappointment and sometimes contempt for writers. I never expect anything to be definitive or to cover everything. It's a small piece, it's an interpretation, and hopefully something that encourages you to interrogate your own interpretations.
This is why I’ve always enjoyed reading books about punk, because so often they contradict even one another. You put together a sort of patchwork view of what was happening, and it definitely shines a light on how different a single experience can be between two people. It would be great if some kid from the audience wrote about it, because as you say we mostly only hear from the luminaries. I want a book about what the scene was like for that dancing kid from the footage that always gets reused. What punk meant to him then and what he thinks it means now.
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Re: The Dictator observations thread.

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Kory wrote:
18 Jul 2020, 4:18pm
This is why I’ve always enjoyed reading books about punk, because so often they contradict even one another. You put together a sort of patchwork view of what was happening, and it definitely shines a light on how different a single experience can be between two people. It would be great if some kid from the audience wrote about it, because as you say we mostly only hear from the luminaries. I want a book about what the scene was like for that dancing kid from the footage that always gets reused. What punk meant to him then and what he thinks it means now.
I mentioned in the book thread Lauraine LeBlanc's Pretty in Punk, an ethnographic study of female punks. It's nothing to do with music, tho, but rather about the challenges of young women who drop out of conventional life and join a male-dominated subculture. I'll be starting a book about straight edge tonight that might also offer perspectives from non-musicians. There's also George Hurchalla's Going Underground, which covers the US underground in the 80s. Not fan-centred exclusively, but it does break away from the familiar stories, what was going on in those scenes and barely-scenes, that don't show up in the usual punk histories, Otherwise, I think you have to piece together stuff from zines. I've mentioned before that there's a really cool history to be written than omits all the big bands. What is UK punk ignoring the Pistols, Clash, Buzzcocks, Spex, etc? I think you'd end up with something that is closer to the punk ideal, where bands and audiences are so much closer in status.
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Re: The Dictator observations thread.

Post by JennyB »

Flex wrote:
18 Jul 2020, 10:17am
JennyB wrote:
17 Jul 2020, 2:42pm
I just want to thank all of you for talking about this wave of antisemitism and standing up against it. It is much appreciated by this Jewess.
I'm trying to think of a way to respond to this that doesn't come off self-satisfied or like I'm patting myself on the back, but think it's important not to ignore either. Thanks Mrs. B, it's good to know even the discussion had some positive impact.
:)
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Re: The Dictator observations thread.

Post by revbob »

https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2020/07/30/poli ... index.html

Something a true dictator would support.

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Re: The Dictator observations thread.

Post by Dr. Medulla »

I'm revising lectures these days and working on the one for the Great Depression. While looking for photos for the accompanying slideshow, I came across this:
Image

I don't know if this is genuine or staged for effect, but my heart immediately sank at the thought.
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Re: The Dictator observations thread.

Post by 101Walterton »

Dr. Medulla wrote:
08 Aug 2020, 8:24pm
I'm revising lectures these days and working on the one for the Great Depression. While looking for photos for the accompanying slideshow, I came across this:
Image

I don't know if this is genuine or staged for effect, but my heart immediately sank at the thought.
Because she didn’t say enquire?

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