sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Default)
 or, Against the Romanticization of Artistic Poverty.

Quick, what do the following bands have in common?

The Clash
Crass
Gang of Four
The Mekons
X-Ray Spex

If you answered, "Sabs is really into them," or "they're all seminal British punk bands," you'd be correct. But the answers I was going for is that:

1) They all had at least one member who had some sort of post-secondary arts education, and
2) They all formed before Margaret Thatcher's 1979 election, not as a response to it.

One of the things I hear every now and then is that, well, at least we'll have good punk music. The association of loud, angry, political punk music with grim Thatcherite England is obvious, and maybe I've been guilty of that sort of aesthetic Stalinism, believing that as the socio-economic climate grows increasingly bleak, the arts will respond with an explosion of outraged creativity.

Except that this is not how art actually works. Sure, a significant chunk of punk grew out of poverty and squats, led by disaffected dropouts, but this is not the whole story. Art rarely emerges from despair alone. Historically, artists had wealthy patrons, and the image of the noble artist starving to death in a garret is very much a modern notion, presumably invented by capitalists to justify slashing public funding to artists.

I mean, it makes sense. To have the freedom to create, you need to have basic material needs met. That's not to say that artists are inherently wealthy, comfortable people, or happy. But just as it is ridiculous to assume that social change emerges from abject misery—it generally comes from relative, not absolute deprivation, see also the American white working class—it is silly to think that just because things are more depressing out there, a wellspring of cultural innovation will magically emerge to combat it. That shit needs funding, and guess what one of the first things to go is when the hard-right takes power.

So no, we are probably not going to get good punk music again. Sorry about that.
sabotabby: (molotov)
So there was a plot to bomb the B.C. legislature on Canada Day, apparently. Two white fuck-ups, who may or may not have converted to Islam, planned to interrupt the festivities in Victoria with pressure cooker bombs. They were stopped, which is obviously a good thing.

The RCMP is claiming that they were "inspired by Al Qaeda," which is a problematic claim to make for a number of reasons. I imagine that actual Al Qaeda would probably not want to have much to do with druggie homeless punks, but maybe they'll take anyone these days. But that's not what's bothering me. I'd rather talk about paintball and punk music, because that was the angle that woke me up this morning.

When a brown person commits an act of terror, there is seldom any attempt to question his motivations. (I feel like I've typed this sentence many, many times.) We can say "religious extremism"—or "American imperialism," if one is a certain type of leftist—and leave it at that. When a white person commits an act of terror, or tries to, there's a lot of discussion of motives, because white people have agency and brown people apparently don't. So while little is known about why John Nuttall and Amanda Korody allegedly tried to blow people up, that's merely an opportunity to speculate about all of the sordid details of their lives.

(I suspect there's actually not much in the way of motivation here. Walkom's article, the second link, is pretty sensible in that regard.)

Absent a clear manifesto (whatever happened to manifestos? I deplore the decline of literacy amongst violent extremists), the media has been left to its own devices, to report random details of the couple's lives, sans context and with a prurient overtone that suggests that anyone who engages in such activities is a potential terrorist. To wit, from the same article:

Nuttall’s tastes were for heavy metal. He posted four poor-quality recordings on a music website along with a picture of himself posing with four guitars. The undated songs include titles such as “The End of the World,” and “In League With Satan,” with the lyrics: “We are possessed by all that is evil, The death of your god we demand, We spit at the virgin you worship, And sit at Lord Satan’s Left Hand.”

and
In online postings, Nuttall identified himself as belonging to a band called No World Order, a Muslim punk band that was created in Victoria but moved to the Surrey, B.C., area in mid-August, 2011.

And then there's the paintball thing:

In an online paintball forum, Nuttall appeared to be quite active last year playing paintball on weekends. Nuttall posted comments in the forum using the name Mujahid, while Korody used the name PirateNinjaCat.


I guess these details might be interesting to some, but they're not really relevant, are they? As someone who lived through Tipper Gore's attacks on the music industry and the panic around D&D, I get my back up at the implication that playing paintball and liking heavy metal (or is it punk? do we know the difference anymore?) somehow leads to joining Al Qaeda or blowing up Canada Day revelers. It's impossible for me to read these sorts of details and wonder what the authorities would dig up on me under the wrong circumstances. Online searches about weapons and explosives (for writing purposes, naturally)? An iTunes library full of music with violent lyrics? Jokey posts about putting various enemies up against the wall come the revolution? A bookshelf full of political tomes, not all of which I actually agree with? A weekend spent LARPing? Those stories, lost to the pre-internet era, written when I was 12 about blowing up the school/Ontario parliament/whatever? It wouldn't take any effort to make me look like a terrorist in a newspaper article. "[Realname], who posted to internet forums using the name Sabotabby, used a default icon that read 'now serving Molotov cocktails' and ran around in the woods wearing cargo pants" and so on.

Me, or anyone. What frightens me about data mining is the sheer amount of available information that can be cherry-picked and taken out of context, and the ability to use said information to create fear where fear is misplaced. A generation ago, psychotic meth addicts might have drawn their boneheaded, and fortunately doomed to failure, terror plot from a BBS version of the "Anarchist Cookbook," but that's not to say that they drew their ideological inspiration from Emma Goldman. And, in a mad stampede to avert our worst fears from being realized, to what degree will various authorities attempt to extrapolate from said imaginary connections and predict who is likely to be a threat? Because you all know I'm not going to blow anything up, but neither was Byron Sonne, and neither the RCMP nor CSIS tend to deal much in nuance.

Everyone's committed thought crimes. Everyone's committed illegal acts. Everyone, in retrospect, will look like a problem waiting to happen.

Do I think that these guys did what they're accused of? Oh, almost certainly. But I'm not comfortable with the analysis of why they might have done so, not one bit.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (iCom by starrypop)
I've been posting a lot of interesting stuff to FB lately because I can just click a button and withhold commentary, and let's face it, I'm lazy. Unfortunately, discussion and archiving doesn't work as well there.

So here's a link round-up:

A six-minute Fox News segment on the evils of Mr. Rogers. Yes, really.

Rob Ford fanfic exists. Yes, really.

An awesome piece about political lucha libre in California.

An article about a new documentary about the first ever punk band. Who were black and from Detroit. (And called Death.)

It's the 21st century and we can automate nearly everything—so why are we working so hard?

How to spot a Communist.

A sex manual from 1680, adorably called "The Misterie of Fucking."

And finally, the real reason for this post is that I asked people for the name of the awesome punk band that they never started. Inspired by [livejournal.com profile] jvmatucha, I made a poster based on it.

under a cut because it's huge )

Good omens

Apr. 8th, 2013 04:45 pm
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (pinko pie)
Yes, Margaret Thatcher is dead.

Uh, you know this already. I am admittedly both pleased at the timing, given that the Official Maggie Exorcism Day is Thursday, and slightly irked, given that I have been planning, for years, to throw a party when the old bat finally bit it, and for obvious reasons I cannot. (Guys? Party in my hospital room? Maybe?)

But I'm going to take it as a good omen. And hey, if I die in three days, at least I'll have outlived her.

Anyway, what can I say that hasn't been said already? I mean, the internet pretty much exploded while I was at work. Good fuckin' riddance, too bad it took so long, etc.

Some links for your perusal:

Ian Bone's surprisingly understated reaction post. (I wish I could attend that party.)

21 Thatcher songs.

Glenn Greenwald on proper death etiquette.

I refuse to believe that this is actually a typo:

margaret thatcher is actually dead photo 319923_10200647027514588_51500553_n_zps28a2369a.jpg

And, of course, the classic anthem:



Someone should probably stake her just to make sure.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (champagne anarchist)
Saw two movies at HotDocs tonight: The Man That Got Away and She Said Boom: The Story of Fifth Column The latter was the one I went to see, being one of those precocious suburban teenage punks who saw Erica Ehm interview Fifth Column on MuchMusic as part of a general drift into zines and mixtapes, but both films were actually pretty wonderful.

The Man That Got Away is not really a documentary as such other than being about a real person, the filmmaker's great-uncle Jimmy. It's a musical (with impressive original music and choreography). It follows Jimmy's life from his roots in rural Alberta to his brief career as a chorus boy in New York City, to his eventual drug-related death on the streets of Vancouver. In between, there's a stint in a sanatorium where he meets Judy Garland. The entire thing is played out in a downward spiral on the ramp of a parking garage in Edmonton. It's completely bizarre and beautifully made.

If you haven't heard of Fifth Column but are into La Tigre and Bikini Kill and all that feminist punk stuff, there is a gap in your musical history. Fifth Column were the band that started basically queercore (and got written out of the history of Riot Grrrl because they were just a little too anarchist and a lot too gay to be marketable back then), launched Bruce LaBruce's career, and burned rather explosively on Toronto's music scene for about fifteen minutes back in the day. GB Jones, the band's drummer, is also an experimental filmmaker, and the film makes excellent use of Super 8 footage as well as contemporary interviews with the band members. There's some particularly affecting imagery of Toronto from the late 80s to mid 90s that makes someone like me go, "I remember that," which is a cool bonus. But the main reason to see the film is its exploration of queer radical politics and history that is not so much unwritten as it is cut and photocopied and shoved into someone's basement in a milk crate.

At the end during the Q&A, an Irish woman got up and said how emotionally affected she was by the film, given how queer history is still so repressed back home. She said that she was turning 40 this year, and it was the first time she's seen a film with lesbians in it.

Oh, and I got to meet GB Jones, albeit briefly and I'm always a dork in these situations.

Anyway, I'd highly recommend both films if you get a chance to see them.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (sweatshop nationalism)
Ayn Rand meets the Dead Kennedys. It had to happen. Watch and enjoy before someone takes it off for copyright violations.

sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (iCom by starrypop)
I actually went out to a show last night. With music! And people! I felt like a human being again instead of a spinster schoolteacher.

After spending all day at the conference, I made my way to the screening of Taqwacore: The Birth of Punk Islam at the Royal. (Toronto folks: It's playing today and Monday, so you can still go see it, and you should.) It was very good. Unlike Afro-Punk, which didn't meet up to my rather high expectations, it didn't downplay the politics or strip down the nuances of the tiny-but-awesome taqwacore scene. My main criticism was that it focused too much on Michael Muhammad Knight (who is very interesting, don't get me wrong) rather than on the musicians. And while it started to address class, particularly at the end when they were in Lahore, it could have gone farther. But anyway, it's a great film. (The "pigs are haram" scene is the best thing ever.)

Then [livejournal.com profile] frandroid and I made our way over to the El Mo for the after party. I went mainly for the Kominas, but I was impressed by the other bands, especially Humble the Poet (I've seen those guys at demos a bunch of times and I didn't know they were hip-hop artists, go figure) and Secret Trial Five (who are local, yay!). The crowd was small, but very high energy, and the music made me a very happy girl. And I finally got to meet the lovely [livejournal.com profile] punkistani IRL. A measure of how great the music was is that people were dancing. This may not seem too surprising to those of you who don't live in Toronto or have never attended a Toronto show where everyone just stands around looking cool, but Toronto audiences don't usually dance. (Or throw shoes at the band. Very punk rawk.)

And I am not even that hungover. Huzzah! Also, now I want to go to Lahore. (The city, not the restaurant down the street, though if anyone wants to go to the restaurant soon, I like that place a lot too.)
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Default)
I actually went out to a show last night. With music! And people! I felt like a human being again instead of a spinster schoolteacher.

After spending all day at the conference, I made my way to the screening of Taqwacore: The Birth of Punk Islam at the Royal. (Toronto folks: It's playing today and Monday, so you can still go see it, and you should.) It was very good. Unlike Afro-Punk, which didn't meet up to my rather high expectations, it didn't downplay the politics or strip down the nuances of the tiny-but-awesome taqwacore scene. My main criticism was that it focused too much on Michael Muhammad Knight (who is very interesting, don't get me wrong) rather than on the musicians. And while it started to address class, particularly at the end when they were in Lahore, it could have gone farther. But anyway, it's a great film. (The "pigs are haram" scene is the best thing ever.)

Then [livejournal.com profile] frandroid and I made our way over to the El Mo for the after party. I went mainly for the Kominas, but I was impressed by the other bands, especially Humble the Poet (I've seen those guys at demos a bunch of times and I didn't know they were hip-hop artists, go figure) and Secret Trial Five (who are local, yay!). The crowd was small, but very high energy, and the music made me a very happy girl. And I finally got to meet the lovely [livejournal.com profile] punkistani IRL. A measure of how great the music was is that people were dancing. This may not seem too surprising to those of you who don't live in Toronto or have never attended a Toronto show where everyone just stands around looking cool, but Toronto audiences don't usually dance. (Or throw shoes at the band. Very punk rawk.)

And I am not even that hungover. Huzzah! Also, now I want to go to Lahore. (The city, not the restaurant down the street, though if anyone wants to go to the restaurant soon, I like that place a lot too.)
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (six-year-old me)
Parents, be mindful of the lullabies you sing to your children. They pick up more than you might think.

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sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Default)
Parents, be mindful of the lullabies you sing to your children. They pick up more than you might think.

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sabotabby: (teacher lady)
More from the Education Act:

Opening or Closing Exercises

4. (1) This section applies with respect to opening and closing exercises in public elementary schools and in public secondary schools. O. Reg. 436/00, s. 1.

(2) The opening or closing exercises may include the singing of God Save the Queen and may also include the following types of readings that impart social, moral or spiritual values and that are representative of Ontario’s multicultural society:

1. Scriptural writings including prayers.

2. Secular writings. O. Reg. 436/00, s. 1. [Emphasis mine]


I'm not the world's biggest Sex Pistols fan or anything, but I guess that's one way to wake kids up in the morning.
sabotabby: (teacher lady)
More from the Education Act:

Opening or Closing Exercises

4. (1) This section applies with respect to opening and closing exercises in public elementary schools and in public secondary schools. O. Reg. 436/00, s. 1.

(2) The opening or closing exercises may include the singing of God Save the Queen and may also include the following types of readings that impart social, moral or spiritual values and that are representative of Ontario’s multicultural society:

1. Scriptural writings including prayers.

2. Secular writings. O. Reg. 436/00, s. 1. [Emphasis mine]


I'm not the world's biggest Sex Pistols fan or anything, but I guess that's one way to wake kids up in the morning.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (raspberry reich)
...was more fun than it's been in a long, long time. I think I'm now the subject of many rumours on the Toronto Left. Go me!

However, my deep, dark secret was revealed...

(Gaybortion!)

Later, I will try to post the pictures that someone took of me dancing with a 70-something-year-old tattooed, naked guy. If the photographer obliges and e-mails them to me. A good night was had by all.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Default)
...was more fun than it's been in a long, long time. I think I'm now the subject of many rumours on the Toronto Left. Go me!

However, my deep, dark secret was revealed...

(Gaybortion!)

Later, I will try to post the pictures that someone took of me dancing with a 70-something-year-old tattooed, naked guy. If the photographer obliges and e-mails them to me. A good night was had by all.

Micks

Aug. 3rd, 2005 07:29 pm
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (kittylove)
Image hosted by Photobucket.com

I should add that Flogging Molly were fantastic. Which, I'm sure, surprises absolutely no one. But wow. Also, it was an all-ages show, so the Phoenix helpfully separated a drinking section away from the stage, and a non-drinking section up front, assuming (correctly) that people who want to be in a mosh pit aren't old enough to drink. We had far more intense mosh pits in my day, though. I don't know where these kids got the whole football-huddle thing or the prancing-in-circles thing. I suppose they didn't want to mess up their carefully prepared mohawks.

Damn, I feel like a crusty ol' geezer.

So I am off to Halifax tomorrow! Yay! I'll be back Sunday night.

Micks

Aug. 3rd, 2005 07:29 pm
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Default)
Image hosted by Photobucket.com

I should add that Flogging Molly were fantastic. Which, I'm sure, surprises absolutely no one. But wow. Also, it was an all-ages show, so the Phoenix helpfully separated a drinking section away from the stage, and a non-drinking section up front, assuming (correctly) that people who want to be in a mosh pit aren't old enough to drink. We had far more intense mosh pits in my day, though. I don't know where these kids got the whole football-huddle thing or the prancing-in-circles thing. I suppose they didn't want to mess up their carefully prepared mohawks.

Damn, I feel like a crusty ol' geezer.

So I am off to Halifax tomorrow! Yay! I'll be back Sunday night.

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sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Default)
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