Since this ad came out in 1925, in Kansas, there’s just no way the “designer” wasn’t attempting a cheap, rubberneck ploy with the acronym. By 1922, the presence of the Ku Klux Klan had become so pervasive in the state that Governor Henry Allen said they had “introduced into Kansas the curse that comes to civilized people, the curse that rises out of unrestricted passions of men governed by religious intolerance and racial hatred.”
It’s even stranger when you know that Krazy Kate creator and cartoon pioneer George Herriman was a multi-racial Creole man, whose family were abolitionist “free people of color” from New Orleans. Weirder still when you find out he drew a lot of racist comics of his own.
It’s a fascinating artifact, layered with the sort of contradictions that make American history so strange. Like an Inception of racism. Meta-racism!
Below is an animated 1916 Krazy Kat cartoon, created three years after Krazy Kat began its ran as one of the most popular comic strips in history
Everyone who has been to more than, say, two, major sporting events, has, of course, heard “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye,” the ultra catchy 1969-70 smash hit from Steam. But have you ever seen the group who sang it?
Steam were a band formed after the fact to front a throwaway b-side written and recorded by Paul Leka, Gary DeCarlo and Dale Frashuer. Gary DeCarlo described “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” as “an embarrassing record.” When Mercury Records decided to release the number as a single, the songwriter/performers did not wish for their reputations to be sullied by this “insult” as DeCarlo put it, so they made up a fictitious band.
They called this group of Ron Swanson lookalikes, “Steam” and sent them out on the road to promote the record, which hit #1 in the US in December of 1969 for two weeks and went on to sell 6.5 million records.
Click here for the far cuter Bananarama cover version of “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” from 1983.
Another segment from my Disinformation TV series that originally aired on UK television’s Channel Four network in 2000 and 2001 has been posted on YouTube. I wish it was streaming on Netflix so more people could see it, but you can still buy the DVD from 2006 on Amazon.
This was the SOLE piece, the only one out of all the shit I dropped in their lap for two years (“Uncle Goddamn,” Kembra Pfahler sewing her pussy shut, the extreme porn segment, etc, etc, etc) that the Channel Four lawyers docked from the show. They were amazingly lenient with me for nearly everything—I can’t believe what I got away with, looking back on it—but this one could not be salvaged because British libel laws are such that you can’t knowingly publish a false claim or untruth, and the law is pretty cut and dry on this.
But weren’t her claims of making mother/daughter dolphin porn directed by Sylvester Stallone a little too preposterous to be believed? The fact that no one would believe any of it didn’t really matter, as corporate lawyers, they very simply just could not let this story run. None of it. I was so happy with the way that it had turned out that this seemed like a bitter defeat at the time. Oh well, it’s now 12 years since the show was produced and anyone who wants to can see it on YouTube. Ultimately, I have no complaints.
So the backstory behind this is that I contacted “Brice” via email and told her about the British show and invited her to be on it. After an initially wary exchange, I suggested that we speak on the phone.
Her concern, she told me bluntly, was that I was going to make her look like a kook and I gave her my standard rap that I gave to every kook I wanted to get on camera: “Brice, if I have video rolling and you are saying kooky things, look, I’m a television producer, so I’m probably going to use that footage, yes, but if when the cameras are on, you’re true to yourself, you’re poised, you stay on message and you’re satisfied when I leave that you didn’t embarrass yourself, no, I’m not going to go out of my way to make you look like a nut. How would that work anyway unless YOU give me kooky footage? So just don’t act like a kook on camera, okay?”
AS IF, but that line of reasoning did seem to win her over a bit, although she still wasn’t convinced. I upped the ante: “Okay, what if we do the piece from YOUR point of view? In fact, aside from me asking you a question or two off-camera or something minor, the entire piece can be in YOUR voice—we can use the introduction to your book [Scroll to page 40] as the VO, it’s perfect, we’ll just mic you up and have you read it in a closet a couple of times—and you being interviewed on camera. You have my word that I will basically keep myself out of it. You’ll write the piece, how’s that?”
She was very definitely “in” after that and the very next day, the fearless cameraman and editor I worked with on the show, Nimrod Erez, second cameraman Brian Butler and I drove to a place in San Diego where she was staying (it was a gorgeous home in the hills that belonged to her therapist, who she also worked for doing some sort of New Age water/memory retrieval therapy thing that I didn’t really understand).
Upon our arrival, we were greeted by 6’4” retired FBI Special Director Ted Gunderson, a name well-known to fans of the most far-out variants of conspiracy theory. Gunderson, now deceased, but then about 75, was known for being an idiotic bigmouth who hounded the producers of shows like Geraldo! and A Current Affair for appearances. We were told that he was there to provide “security” for “the little lady” as he called her and he’d also invited himself to be on camera (something that she seemed to want, too) to bolster her bona fides. I was only too delighted to accommodate a blithering fucking idiot who would have a lower third identifying him as a former FBI bureau chief! This was a gift.
A few asides about Gunderson: One, he lived in Las Vegas (where he had a ham radio conspiracy theory show) and brought along three framed photographs on his long-ass drive to San Diego. One was him with Gerald and Betty Ford. Another was of him with Ronald Reagan. The third was a portrait of John Wayne, just a regular studio promo shot, not even signed to him or anything. Listen to him speak in the piece. He thought he sounded like John Wayne and he wanted me to somehow connect him to the actor in my mind. Maybe I’d even compare him to John Wayne, he told me.
The second thing was that it was OBVIOUS—and I mean OBVIOUS—that Ted thought he was going to get laid. He followed “Brice” around like a male dog sniffing around a female dog’s ass. When I wanted them both on camera at the same time, she balked and took me aside to admonish me not to “make it look like we’re a couple.” She wasn’t into him, but she wanted him there on camera to make her seem more credible… or something.
With a guy like Ted there to buck up your credibility, you ain’t got much to begin with! The best way to describe Gunderson is that he was like “Jethro Bodine” pretending to be a “double-naught spy” on The Beverly Hillbillies. At one point during his career he oversaw 700 plus officers of the FBI’s Southern California bureau, and yet frankly, he’s one of the stupidest people I’ve ever met. Whenever someone asks me how he got in such a position, I tell them, “He was big and he was pushy.” (I’d run into him a few more times over the years, including when I interviewed him about Satanic cults for another spot on the show. He was a comic foil for me twice in the series).
As the lights were getting set up, an anxious “Brice” asked me where the show would be seen and I told her what Channel Four was and I said “It’s network, not cable” and explained that there were fewer television stations in the UK than in America and this caused her to perk up. “You mean like they’ve only got four or five channels? And that’s what everyone basically watches? Do you think the Queen of England watches Channel Four?”
I was confused about where she was going with this and I demurred “Well, yeah, I’m pretty sure, of course, that she’s seen Channel Four, yes…”
“OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD! TED! TED! He says the Queen of England might see this show. Maybe I can get a message to her about my son!”
She turned to me, obviously cycling maniacally at this point: “So you really think the Queen of England will see this???”
Not wanting to dampen her instantaneous enthusiasm for the task we about to embark on, I replied that if the Queen of England was up watching late night TV and flipping channels while the Duke of Edinburgh snoozed, then, yes, perhaps there was a certain mathematical possibility of that occurring… (!)
I don’t want to give too much away for anyone who hasn’t seen it, but we discussed beforehand that when I would feed her the question about the Queen, she would shift from speaking to me, to addressing the camera/Queen directly for some added dramatic oomph!
With the interview, the B-roll and the voice-over in the can, we decamped to Kinko’s to get color photocopies of her family photographs. Gunderson came with us, at one point comically showing off that he was packing heat to try to impress her, but by then it was obvious that she’d gotten what she wanted out of him (the drive from Las Vegas to San Diego is hardly trivial) and she started making “Well, I’ve got to be getting home now” noises to clue him in that we wasn’t getting any of that Project Monarch pussy anytime soon.
When the piece was first edited, I invited my pot delivery guy, a fat queeny dude (think “Cam” on Modern Family) to watch it. When it was over, he looked at me and said “You know you’re going to Hell, right?”
Perhaps he’s right, but at least I kept my word about letting this utterly demented woman tell her “own story.” Although the piece did not air on Channel Four as I’d hoped, when “Brice” got a VHS of the segment, she seemed thrilled and sent me a copy of her book inscribed with a thank you.
Over the years, when I’ve been invited to screen the Disinformation TV shows at museums and repertory cinemas, the most ridiculous question anyone has ever asked me about this piece—and it gets asked nearly every time!—is “How much of what she says do you think is true?”
Um…. how’s about none of it?
And now, without much further ado, take it away Brice Taylor, mind-controlled sex slave of the CIA…
IAN SVENONIUS’S EXPERIENCE AS AN ICONIC underground rock musician—playing in such highly influential and revolutionary outfits as The Make-Up and The Nation of Ulysses—gives him special insight on techniques for not only starting but also surviving a rock ‘n’ roll group. Therefore, he’s written an instructional guide, which doubles as a warning device, a philosophical text, an exercise in terror, an aerobics manual, and a coloring book.
THIS VOLUME FEATURES ESSAYS ON EVERYTHING the would-be star should know to get started, such as Sex, Drugs, Sound, Group Photo, The Van, and Manufacturing Nostalgia. The book will also have black-and-white illustrations. Supernatural Strategies will serve as an indispensable guide for a new generation just aching to boogie.
You can order Supernatural Strategies for Making a Rock ‘n’ Roll Group: a how-to guide at Akashic Books.
Our brainy friend Charles Hugh Smith posted this chilling essay about the “limits to growth” mankind faces in this century at his essential Of Two Minds blog. As he points out, the innovations of recent decades have more often than not served to destroy jobs, not create them. (I can’t source this because someone told me this conversationally, but apparently there is one factory, owned by Samsung, that manufactures nearly all of the world’s supply of a certain size HD flatscreen (not the entire TV, just the screen). The factory, I was told, employs fewer than twenty workers! Keep that in mind as you read the following).
The common feature of the transformative technologies of the 20th and 21st centuries is that they were one-offs that cannot be duplicated.
What if the engines of global growth that worked for 65 years (since 1945) have not just stalled but broken down? The primary “engines” have been productivity gains from industrialization, real estate development and expansion of consumption based on the continual expansion of debt and leverage—in short-hand, financialization.
The Status Quo around the globe has responded to the obvious endgame of financialization (the 2008 financial crisis) by doing more of what has failed: expanding credit and leverage, flooding the global economy with liquidity (money available for borrowing), credits and subsidies for real estate development and a near-religious belief in “the next industrial revolution” that will spark rapid growth in employment, profits and productivity.
“The usual suspects” for the next engine of growth include nanotechnology, biotechnology, unconventional energy and Digital Fabrication, i.e. 3-D printing and desktop foundries. But are any of these capable of not just replacing jobs and revenues in existing industries, but creating more jobs and expanding revenues and profits?
There is a growing literature on this very topic, as many start questioning the quasi-religious faith that there will “always” be another driver of growth, i.e. the expansion of wealth, profit, employment and assets.
The Status Quo dares not even entertain this question because the only way to service the fast-rising mountain of debt that is sustaining the Status Quo is to “grow our way out of debt,” i.e. expand the real economy faster than debt.
The past 250 years has been one long “proof” that we can indeed “grow our way out of debt” because the low-hanging fruit of industrialization and cheap, abundant energy enabled wealth to be created at a faster pace than debt.
Clueless Keynesians mock those questioning the possibility that the low-hanging fruit has been plucked by noting that doomsdayers were actively decrying the ballooning debt of the British Empire in the mid-1700s. We all know how that story ended: what looked like crushingly massive debt in 1780 was reduced to a trivial sum by the rapid expansion of industrialization.
But suppose the end of cheap, abundant energy (replaced by abundant, costly energy) and the Internet spells the end of centralized models of growth? What if all the innovation currently bubbling away only produces marginal returns?
Take biotechnology for example. Those with little actual knowledge of biotech are quick to latch onto the potential for genetic engineered medications, biofuels, etc. What they don’t ask is if these technologies can scale up while costs decline, i.e. the computer technology model where everything progressively gets cheaper and more powerful.
Biofuels may have promise, but it still takes “old fashioned” energy to collect the feedstock, and it is a non-trivial task to keep micro-organisms alive on the scale that would be needed to produce a useful amount of liquid fuels, i.e. a few million barrels every day. Some processes may not scale up, and others may not see any significant reduction in fuel costs once the full input costs are calculated.
Genetic engineering also may not scale up—it may be limited by key barriers of individual patient complexity and by intrinsic costs that do not drop enough to make a difference.
Consider the diseases that have almost been eradicated—polio, for example—and the lifestyle diseases such as diabesity. The wave of diseases that were eradicated were caused by bacteria or viruses: a vaccine or agent that disabled or killed the bacteria/virus wiped out the disease.
Diabesity, cancer and heart disease are not caused by a single virus or bacteria. The “one med/vaccine works for all” model has failed and will always fail because diabesity and other lifestyle diseases have multiple, non-linear causes that are beyond the reach of a single “solution.” These diseases may well be tied to epigenetic factors, for example, the interaction of “junk DNA” with environmental stresses that extend back into the individual genome.
What we face is the confusion of symptoms and effects with causes. Lowering cholesterol is not the “magic bullet” many hoped for, and neither was hormone therapy.
In the technology sector, it is clear that the Internet is destroying entire sectors of employment. The jobs that have been lost for good have not been replaced by jobs created by the Internet, nor is there any credible evidence to support this hope: automated software continues chewing up one industry after another, and the politically protected fiefdoms of healthcare (sickcare), education and government have yet to taste the whip of real innovation.
Rather than add jobs, we will lose tens of millions of jobs as faster-better-cheaper breaches the walls of these massive politically protected fiefdoms.
Healthcare spending is clearly in terminal marginal return: our collective health continues to decline in key metrics even as spending doubles, triples and quadruples. The same can be said of defense, education and many other industries.
Sectors such as agriculture have already seen employment decline by 98% even as production rose; there are still improvements in agriculture (robotic milking machine, for example) but the low-hanging fruit in agriculture as well as in medicine, education, etc. have all been picked.
The next wave of innovation will destroy protected profit centers and employment; even the Armed Forces are not immune, as the “ships of the future” will have relatively small crews and robotic drones will replace high-cost, high-employment weapons systems.
The semi-magical belief that technological innovation will create wealth in such quantities that all other problems become solvable may well be false. We may have entered an era of marginal returns, where innovations destroy jobs, wealth, assets and debt—the very foundations of “growth.”
I have begun to speculate about a future where energy might be abundant but few can afford to consume much: money and income may be scarcer than energy.
The one innovation that might energize an entirely new field of employment is digital fabrication, the decentralization and distribution of production. But this will also creatively destroy jobs dependent on the present supply chain.
National governments have over-promised entitlements to their citizens on a vast scale, and the current “solution” to the mismatch of promises to national surplus is to borrow monumental sums to fund the promises. If innovations actually shrinks employment, incomes and wealth, then the base for taxes and debt will quickly shrink to the point that the debt is unserviceable. The Status Quo will collapse financially, even if energy and labor are both abundant.
Consider END OF GROWTH - six headwinds: demography, education, inequality, globalization, energy/environment, and the overhang of consumer and government debt. (via Zero Hedge)
The point made in this lengthy essay is a powerful one: the common feature of the transformative technologies of the 20th and 21st centuries is that they could only happen once. They are one-offs that cannot be duplicated. Doing more of what has failed will only set up a grander failure as returns on all our debt-based “investments” become ever more marginal and the return on increasing complexity drops into negative territory. Once complexity yields negative returns, the systems that depend on complexity quickly destabilize and implode.
This is a cross-post from Charles Hugh Smith’s Of Two Minds blog. You should bookmark it and read him daily. Charles Hugh Smith’s newest book is Why Things Are Falling Apart and What We Can Do About It