Welcome to TAPKAE.com

"I don't see how anyone would want to read it all for fun." —Robert Fripp

Entries in orwell (5)


Recent T-Shirts And Bumper Sticker Sightings

an original photo illustration called War President with all sorts of mangled imagery including inverted color national cemetary and a road sign with cattle range image on it and other twisted commentary on the war.War President, photoillustration, TAPKAE, 2004

  • 1/20/09: End of an Error
  • That's OK, I Wasn't Using My Civil Liberties Anyway
  • Let's Fix Democracy in This Country First
  • If You Want a Nation Ruled By Religion, Move to Iran
  • Bush. Like a Rock. Only Dumber.
  • If You Can Read This, You're Not Our President
  • Of Course It Hurts: You're Getting Screwed by an Elephant
  • Hey, Bush Supporters: Embarrassed Yet?
  • George Bush: Creating the Terrorists Our Kids Will Have to Fight
  • Impeachment: It's Not Just for Blow jobs Anymore
  • America: One Nation, Under Surveillance
  • They Call Him "W" So He Can Spell It
  • Whose God Do You Kill For?
  • Cheney/Satan '08
  • Jail to the Chief
  • No, Seriously, Why Did We Invade Iraq ?
  • Bad President! No Banana.
  • We Need a President Who's Fluent In At Least One Language
  • We're Making Enemies Faster Than We Can Kill Them
  • Is It Vietnam Yet?
  • Bush Doesn't Care About White People, Either
  • Where Are We Going? And Why Are We In This Hand basket?
  • You Elected Him. You Deserve Him.
  • Impeach Cheney First
  • When Bush Took Office, Gas Was $1.46
  • Pray For Impeachment
  • The Republican Party: Our Bridge to the 11th Century
  • What Part of "Bush Lied" Don't You Understand?
  • One Nation Under Clod
  • 2004: Embarrassed. 2005: Horrified. 2006: Terrified.
  • Bush Never Exhaled
  • At Least Nixon Resigned
  • Are We Kinder and Gentler Yet?

Memorial Day

I wrote this on the weekend as a response to a posting on Craig's List. I won't hold it up as my finest work because it really is sarcasm and doesn't really answer the woman's question (I wasn't really attempting to, but such is the nature of the rants and raves section of CL—anonymous polemics), but it does get to the heart of the matter as I see it. There was one response that said it was the finest piece of anti-war writing that s/he has seen. Dunno bout that, but it comes from a real place in me. The initial post goes like so:

I'm embarassed to say, but as an adult woman, I have no idea the different parts of the military. I don't know which group has admirals and which has generals. I can't look at a man in uniform and distinguish if he's a Marine, Navy or Army. I don't know what those Lego-looking buttons mean or their symbolic meaning. I know they aren't Legos, but they are small, colorful and square. I am totally ignorant. No, I am not from San Diego, but I am a Californian. There are no bases where I live or they were closed by the time I was born. I know dates in history of various wars and battles, but have no idea seeing men in uniform which branch they represent in the military.

Well, as a rule of thumb, the guys with lots of "fruit salad" (as I've heard the so-called Legos called) are the ones who send guys off to war because they themselves have aged out of war, and wanted to share the joy of being shot at and maimed with the younger generation. How benevolent. You can be sure it does not work in the opposite direction: the guys with no fruit salad do not send the old men to war.

Sometimes there is no war to actually fight. So then the services need to look busy until elite and powerful men from Ivy League schools and secret societies and corporations get together and decide to make a new war to keep society arranged in just the right pyramidal form. Between wars is a good time to dream up solutions to the last war that was fought (we still invest in massive aircraft carriers and fighter jets but can't seem to keep a Hummer safe in Iraq). All the while, those soldiers not blessed with a chest of fruit salad are trained to protect the pyramid of social structure (that primarily is upon their shoulders), and the best way they can do it is to work for too little money while mostly not being able to go home for the night to their wives, kids, and whatever else they would do if they worked a "regular job" at KFC or Best Buy. The difference between their roles at such jobs and their role in the military is that they serve different components of the corporate-military complex in the nation. The guy or gal at Best Buy has a shitty job that they can quit at will, then can mooch off the public dole as a "loser". The soldier does not, despite having one of the most truly shitty jobs out there. However, if he does suffer with the program, or get sufficiently hacked to pieces, he can leave service as a "hero" while being paid once again, on the public dole. Either way, they are rewarded in a grossly unfair way, and the taxpayer still foots the bill somehow. Some will lose arms or legs, and the guy at Best Buy or Wal Mart will have his soul sucked out of him.

the dead heroes in flag draped coffins that get flown in discreetly in the middle of the night so people can't really keep too close an eye on the price of the war.As a rule, our military has some of the finest young people around, in that they have some physical prowess and some wild belief they are doing something noble. But you see, the guys with lots of fruit salad are ready to throw them away first. They are so-called heroes, as Gore Vidal would say. Or, as Vidal would elaborate, they are heroes because they are dead. If they were alive, their combat pay would be cut, and their medical support would be lacking were they to need it. And need it they do now. See, more and more soldiers are surviving the sorts of injuries that used to kill men in the field. Now we can somehow get these men saved enough so that they can carry on life as partial-humans who are somehow supposed to feel good that suburban moms put a yellow ribbon magnet on their SUVs to show support for the troops. Somehow its okay that while we can save lives, we can actually return more partially functioning men and women back to the civilian life. More amputees, more brain damage, more of everything that robs young people of a quality of life that they would have coming to them were they not ever taken off to war.

inverted color image of a ford expedition parked at the gravesites in Fort Rosecrans. captioned, some don't see the connection.So does it really matter what all the fruit salad means? Does a soldier with half a leg really make a hero? Or just a guy who took the Kool-aid from some higherups on the pyramid who need a war fought by the poor eschelons of society? Oh, sure, liberty, democracy, and freedom, blah, blah, blah. It's all bullshit in this country. Maybe my grandfather fought for such a thing, but even on the eve of his war (WW2), Dalton Trumbo had already called the score—it's all a bunch of abstract nonsense that is used to get people to fight wars that will gain them nothing, and lose them most everything. Dead men don't know freedom, liberty, nor can they vote assholes like Bush (and company) out of office. Dead men don't enjoy the love from their wives and kids. They don't do much for us except give us some sorry sentimentality for their loss, but never enough to drive us to demand that war become a thing of the past, and that the systems of war be dismantled forever.

"Every gun that is made, every warship that is launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed." —Dwight Eisenhower


Piss Poor Piss Testing

Today I was asked by a sound company that I interviewed at a couple months ago to take a drug test so I could get a freelance gig with them doing sound for a show at Sea World. This is odd. I worked for another sound "company" doing summer shows at Sea World from 1998-2001. There were no drug tests then. In fact, Sea World didn't do anything to authorize me, and most days, when I would arrive at the usual gate, I may or may not have been recognized at all. I had no badge as a subcontractor, no business card to state my affiliation. Sometimes it was guesswork if I would even get let into the park on time if at all. This new company is far more corporate and rank-and-file in their methods, and maybe Sea World stepped up the policy since I worked on their grounds. Earlier on, Sea World used to tell me to wear this absolutely silly looking shirt and I just ignored them.

Today, in the couple hours before my evening class, I mozied down to the office where I would be peeing in the cup, all so they could discover what I already know: no drug use here. Never have, never will. Never even smoked a cancer stick. In fact, if the Boy Scouts honor code was alive and well in America today, I could call over to Sea World where one of their technical services managers named Todd Larowe would vouch for me. Todd of course was the guitar and bass player with whom I recorded in the 1999-2002 period. (We met in 1998 while I was doing shows at Sea World. He has since ascended reasonably well there, but that's because he can turn his brain off during work hours and not get outwardly pissed at this sort of dumb shit.) But no, Sea World needs to have my piss on file. That alone doesn't bug me. If they want my piss, I would offer it to them. They could sell it in their shitty Anheuser Busch beer garden, where piss would be a more savory beverage than whatever AB is responsible for making and hocking upon the tastebud-dead public.

No, they wanted my social security number too. Okay, let me make sure you see the relationships here: Me > sound company hiring me (supposedly) > Sea World hires the sound company > and the drug test office doing the piss testing for Sea World. The piss tester is working out of some non descript two story joint in Old Town, the office waiting room is a little unkempt, and it took a FUCKING HOUR AND A QUARTER to get even this far, after two requests to get the fucking show on the road. Needless to say, this place seems like one of those fly by night joints where it seems some disgruntled employee would sell client info out of the back door for a few extra bux on the side. Finally, I got called in at a quarter to 6 and was seen by some mid 60s looking lady with an attitude. Maybe she mistook the clean cut 31 year old me for the 17 year old tattooed and droopy jeans wearing chollos and gangstas that clogged the waiting room before me. First order was to take off my hat. Then to wizz in this cup—but don't flush the toilet! Oh, and the piss cup had a thermometer that presumably lets her know that it just was ushered from within—they don't want me pulling no Ricky Fitts gag on them with pre-filled containers of piss from another person.

I was sitting there for some time. She took photo ID and was filling out some form and asked for my SS#. I protested. They told me Sea World would reject any test that didn't have an SS#. I told them, 'hey, I don't even have the job yet with the sound company, and oh, well, I never had to to this drug test shit before, the last time when I worked for a subcontracting sound company hired by Sea World.' Still she would not budge. Then she got her supervisor in and he told me the same shit. So I protested to him too. At this point, it's about five mins to 6 and I just want to get the hell outta there to get to school. I already missed out on my golden parking space which is only available for about two minutes at the strike of 6 pm. So I ask them 'if you have my CA DL# why they would need my SS#?' I tell them, 'when I am hired, the sound company are entitled to my SS#.' Finally, I just declare this is the zenith of absurdity. Drivers license, signature, and even my own piss don't indicate I am who I say I am? So I get up, put my hat on (thus saving me even more premature hair loss), tell them this is way too much hurdle jumping for a guy who never even smoked a cigarette. Then I left. I might have to do some explaining to the sound company even before they get me my first gig, but it was only a summerlong two day a week offer at a reduced rate (Sea World always gets companies to bid low).

Man, what the fuck did 9/11 do to this nation that soundmen, grounds crews, and hot dog salespeople need to take drug tests? As for my piss in a cup, I hope it tasted good. I saved up for a couple hours. I gotta wonder, if I were to shoot my man-wad in their cup, would that be proof enough of who I am? Is my very genetic fabric not stamp enough of who I am? WTF?


Orwells That Ends Well

I just saw a movie called Orwell Rolls In His Grave. It is quite a lot like some of the other movies I have seen this year: Outfoxed, The Corporation, The End of Suburbia, Fahrenheit 9/11. This movie, as you may be able to tell, is about the realization of the Orwellian state in modern America. The website says "1984 is no longer a date in the future." The thing about this movie and the others I mentioned is that they all sort of have one thread that runs through them. Each movie cites the media as the ultimate co-conspirator in just about anything that is reported as news. The megaconglomerates of the media world are literally ruining our democratic institutions. They have not just fallen asleep at the wheel, they have drugged themselves before getting into the car! But what matters to you and I is that the car is about to go careening off a cliff.

The media is supposed to be our protector. Their job is to give us information we need so that we can make informed decisions. Period. These informed decisions are what makes our country run. Notice today our country is barely running anymore. Entropy has set in. Every day, we hear about corporate scandal and bankruptcy, mismanagement, morally corrupt warmongering, negative political ad swipes, depression, partisanship, fundamentalism, corporate/political buddy system (aka fascism), cover ups. You name it, we got it. Not all of it will make it to the news. And that which does make it to the news is bound to be watered down and nearly useless under any current popular outlet, and at worst, it would be slanderous or outright lying.

Someone in this movie said that Josef Goebbels would be proud of the mind control we have established here in America through the collusion of politicians and media outlets. Wait a minute. Since when did the Nazis become our role models? Or since when did we eclipse even their elaborate and overt political propagandizing? Some would say that was a bad thing. There is this saying I see in these liberally-biased circles of which I find myself a part: "if you aren't outraged, you aren't paying attention." Bingo. It's more than just a bumper sticker slogan. Like I said, any of these movies I listed have a common thread. In fact, you could slice and dice parts of them into a single film and make a real convincing film that way. They are all telling a similar story. The media and the politicians are in bed with each other, sucking each others' dicks. And the people pay. They don't just pay money. They lose the nation they cherish. And the irony? They get behind it! All this Orwellian shit plays on patriotism. You can tell a lot of lies to people and they will believe you if your wrap yourself in the flag. As Goebbels said, tell a lie often enough and it will become truth. There are people who believe some really lame but disproven shit. Stuff like Bush "winning" the 2000 election, or thinking there was a connection between Al-qaeda and Iraq. These things simply just are false, but people actually like to believe it because believing otherwise would somehow signify their failure as an American, and what could be more un-American than not believing your president?

Well, ever since my brain turned on a few years ago, I have been outraged. Kelli and I were reflecting on the state of things. All this collusion between media and corporations and politicians has been around since about the time we were born. And we marveled at how we have never really known a world where this wasn't the case. It makes it really hard to reflect back on critical times in our lives, as we would then question everything we were told. Not that that is a bad thing; this sort of stuff needs to be done all the time. I had a fourth grade teacher who was reading "1984" in my classroom. This was in 1982-83. I was nine. I had no idea what the book was about. Of course, had I known and maybe even read it, I may have been more awake for the last 20 years or so. For me now, even reading things about what happened while I was a 25 year old is a risky proposal. History can get rewritten. Well, you know what the official story will be when it comes to telling the 2000 election story. I was 27 then. The facts are already skewed in favor of the liars and cheats. What do you think has been changed since I was a boy? Shit, before all this history of mine goes missing or rewritten by fascists and totalitarianists, I had better get a grip on it. You too. This is one reason why I am glad I work with/for old timers. It is one of the last opportunities to talk to Americans from an age when this stuff was not the standard MO.

I think I actually want to smash my television. I have already gone seven years without really relying on it for entertainment or news. Some cable will suit me, but I refuse to pay for it. The TV really is mind control, pure and simple. It requires no imagination or response (except to go buy stuff). It only wants you to worship it. It's a one way deal. People ask me why I don't just lighten up and chill out and get off my high horse about all this political shit. Well, to do so would be to cave in. And that is exactly what Big Media wants. People who stop thinking are easy to make into drones. And, since TV is so damned alluring with all its series and cliffhangers, people give into it all too willingly while real life slips on by. You want to see reality TV? Go watch all these movies I listed (and a few more). That is the state of things. That is how life is really being lived. The content in these movies is exactly the stuff you and I should be seeing on the nightly news. This is the true journalism of today. It's a bummer that we need to pay to see it, but see it we must. The newspapers, TV, movies, and even some parts of the internet have totally rolled over. They are failing us big time. Don't take the bait. Don't settle for the censorship and revisionism. Democracy is only possible when informed citizens take part. There is a lot of stuff that you or I didn't vote for because we didn't know about it.


Animal Farm

I just read George Orwell's Animal Farm today.

Either Orwell was a fucking soothsayer or George Bush and company are reading the thing like an instruction manual. One chapter after another was like a fairy tale version of the news we hear every day. In fact there was a whole post-9/11 section. Well, you know... saying how great we are despite getting kicked in the crotch. Misinformation, lies, revisionist history. There was even a part about the 2000 election, with Napolean the pig usurping power under false pretenses.

Orwell was a fucking genius, sad to say. Everyone, watch out for your democracy.