Mr. President, draft the Nuge. Let them know what the Great American Satan looks like turned up to eleven.
Imagine you’re a shy, cave-dwelling Talibanista, and you’re confronted by a yowling Motor City staple of classic rock radio stations, shouldering a bazooka and clutching the Second Amendment and making that face that you see on the cover of Cat Scratch Fever.
(How do you say “gosh, that’s quite something” in Pashto?)
President Obama, you owe it to the United States of America to draft this hunk o’ has-been rockstar. Let the Nuge serve proudly and loudly on the front lines, before the war ends and he is forever denied this headlining gig.
Moreover, it is time to clear the Nugent name. As the Ted Nugent Draft is shouted from the mountaintops, let there also be proclaimed a bitchin’ presidential pardon, forgiving Mr. Nugent for whatever caused him regretfully to decline active duty during the Vietnam War.
You’re good to go, Ted. No cowardice in your past, and none in your future.
And when the last of the troops comes home, Colonel, we’ll leave you to Wango Tango in Tora Bora, armed to the canines, and you can personally scour the caves for left-over bad guys: solo like Rambo. You’ll have all the big-bored gun tech you could possibly dream of. There ain’t no ban in the ‘Stan—you won’t be prosthetically neutered by chickenshit small-capacity liberals. This will be the unfettered Nuge, a one-man death-dealin’, cat-scratchin’ war machine: the guy immortalized by Guitar World magazine for playing #7 in the “100 Worst Guitar Solos” of all time. Surely it’s time to add to that honor a posthumous purple heart.
To sign the “Draft Ted Nugent” petition, please click on:
Although John Lennon is always thought of as the “arty” Beatle—which is unfair to Paul McCartney, who was actually more of an avant garde culture vulture than Lennon was—it was actually Ringo Starr who brought John Tavener’s “dramatic cantata,” The Whale to Apple Records.
Here’s how the YouTube uploader, DarcoEddie descriped the work:
The Whale is a challenging, two-part, half hour mix of esoteric, avant garde classical adventurism—a kindred spirit of 2001: A Space Odyssey‘s “Lux Aeterna” (for 16 unaccompanied voices) and Frank Zappa’s later, neo-operatic musings for 200 Motels.
The Whale is loosely based on the biblical allegory of Jonah and the Whale, although Tavener admitted that “The ‘fantasy’ grew and perhaps at times nearly ‘swallowed’ the biblical text: so the swallowing of Jonah became almost ‘literal’ in the biblical sense.”
The libretto includes the words of an encyclopaedia entry describing certain facts about the whale, and this is contrasted with themes within the music which attempt to portray the reality of the whale itself, whose existence is greater than the sum of all the facts about it.
The Whale has eight sections: I. Documentary, II. Melodrama and Pantomime, III. Invocation. IV. The Storm, V. The Swallowing, VI. The Prayer. VII. In the Belly, and VIII. The Vomiting.
The Whale premiered at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on January 24, 1968 when the composer was just 24 years old. It was recorded in July of 1970 and released as an album by Apple Records that same year.
From Tavener’s own website:
The Whale represented new territory for me. Previously I had set straight biblical texts as in Credo and Cain and Abel, but in the story of Jonah and the whale it was interspersed with a surrealist section with the opening encyclopaedic entry on whales. These occurred throughout the biblical narrative of The Whale, at the stomach and inside the belly of the whale. The Whale was dedicated to my wild Irish adopted godmother Lady Birley. It made a great impact at the inaugural concert of the London Sinfonieta with Alvar Liddell the great wartime broadcaster reading the encyclopaedic entry on Whales. Although The Whale is a far more musically radical work, I feel closer nowadays to the simple, less radical Donne Sonnets.
During Tavener’s long career he has become one of the best-loved British composers of his generation. Tavener became “Sir John” in 2000 when he was knighted for his services to music. He is the winner of an Ivor Novello Award.
It’s a really amazing film, but one that is sadly little-known outside of Australia (and extreme Nick Cave fanboys—admittedly I saw Ghosts…, alone, at a midnight screening in NYC—I think it was the only one there was—back in 1989.)
Perhaps it is a misconception, but due to the worldwide popularity of films like Chopper and the classic camp TV of the 1980s women-in-prison soap opera Prisoner: Cell Block H, I can be forgiven, I hope, for assuming that Australians, on the whole, are a bit obsessed with criminals, violent crime and incarceration. I guess it’s in their blood, so to speak. (I kid, I kid, Aussie readers! Please don’t kill me!) Loosely based on the life and writing of Jack Henry Abbott, the psychotic murderer turned literary protégé of Normain Mailer turned psychotic murderer once again, Ghosts… Of The Civil Dead features an ensemble cast of real-life ex-convicts, former prison guards and tough-looking motherfuckers they found in local Melbourne gyms. This film is realistic. Scary realistic.
Narrated by a (fictional) former prison guard, Ghosts… takes place deep in within the bowels of a maximum security prison, somewhere in the Australian outback. The place is an incessantly humming, fluorescent-lit nightmare. There has been a three-year lockdown that is still ongoing. The tension is palpable, the place is a claustrophobic, concrete Hell that no sunlight penetrates, a hatred and resentment-fueled timebomb waiting to go off.
As events transpire, the viewer begins to see that the prison authorities are actively trying to provoke the prison population, and that they are pitting the guards against the inmates, preying on both to escalate the violence in order to crack down on the prisoners ever harder and to justify building a fortress even more fearsome, inescapable and “secure.”
Ghosts… has layers of unexpected meaning. Although the script (co-written by Hillcoat, Cave, one-time Bad Seeds guitarist Hugo Race, Gene Conkie and producer Evan English) tells a reasonably straightforward tale of the prisoners—captive in a high security fortress that escape from seems impossible—versus the authorities who manipulate them into chaos, there’s a wider allegorical message of the power dynamic inherent in Western capitalism: Conform. Do exactly what we tell you to do, or there will be consequences. Like this high security Hell on Earth.
Michel Foucault would have most certainly approved of Ghosts…Of The Civil Dead, I should think.
Although contrary to the way Ghosts… was marketed, Nick Cave is onscreen for just a short appearance, but having said that, it is a cinematic moment of pure genius. Cave plays “Maynard,” a violent psychotic who paints with his own blood. Maynard is an absolute fucking lunatic deliberately brought in by the prison authorities to make an already bad situation much, much worse. His psychotic ranting and raving riles up the situation into complete murderous chaos. Although he is seen just briefly in the film, it is Cave’s Maynard who lights the bomb’s ever present fuse.
Ghosts… Of The Civil Dead is extraordinary film, as as bleak and as uncompromising a work of art as I have ever experienced. Unforgettable, really, but perhaps difficult for the squeamish to sit through. Once seen, it can never be forgotten.
Joining the ranks of gallivanting gurus Chogyam Trungpa and Richard Baker, Leonard Cohen’s Zen teacher, Joshu Sasaki, is getting some heat for getting all touchy/feely with dozens of his female students. In an article in the New York Times, it is being reported that Sasaki was…
[...] asking women to show him their breasts, as part of ‘answering’ a koan” — a Zen riddle — “or to demonstrate ‘non-attachment.’ ”
When one woman complained that Sasaki instructed her to massage his penis, she got little comfort from her Zen companions. In fact, the theory among some of the teacher’s inner circle was “that such physicality could check a woman’s overly strong ego.” Ah, the Zen art of humiliation.
I wonder if there’s a dating handbook for gurus (A Zen Monk’s Guide To Getting Laid. maybe?) that includes timeless and highly effective lines like “you need to feel my dick to feel your bliss” and the Old Skool Klassic “No, that’s not a prayer wheel in my kimono, I’m just happy to see you.”
In this photo of a card sent to Sasaki from his student, Leonard Cohen, it appears the student knows what the teacher likes:
Sasaki is 105 years old and is growing too feeble to get his grope on. The folks running things at Rinzai-ji Zen center in Los Angeles, the mothership to 30 affiliated Zen centers that follow the teachings of Sasaki, aren’t sure exactly what to do with their wayward monk. May I suggest they stick the Roshi in a corner, shove sticks of incense into his fists, and hope people mistake him for a sculpture of the Buddha, the one who kept his prick under his robes.
If you haven’t noticed, I find this whole thing amusing. I’ve been through it, the whole left hand school, the entire fucking “Crazy Wisdom” shitstorm. My guru was a drunken poonhound (see link below) who taught me a shitload about life. His weakness for women and booze gave him a certain human frailty that made him more accessible, more real, flesh. Whatever shit happened, it left few scars and taught most of us who were there to question authority, no matter how “holy” it might claim to be.
Most people attracted to the spiritual stuff are adults who’ve been around long enough they shouldn’t have a problem distinguishing between a hand-job and sitting Zazen for an hour and a half. If they do, they have a problem: they’re fucking stupid. Some are so God-intoxicated they can’t tell the difference.
Perhaps pulling a monk’s pud IS a mystical teaching intended to get you the fuck out of the Zendo. You’re in, you’re out. Karma on speed-dial.
I’m not buying the shit about Sasaki abusing his position of power. The only reason he’s got any power is because human beings, many of whom are idiots, give him that power. Hunger for enlightenment shouldn’t supercede common sense. As a Zen teacher once said “life is an illusion but you should still look both ways when crossing the street.” If your guru asks to see your tits, that’s probably not going to lead to anything other than your guru seeing your tits. If he asks to see your tits and you kick him in the teeth, the teacher/student dynamic will have been reversed and the impact of your Birkenstocks wiping the beatitude off his face will bring him “into the moment.” And that’s what Zen is all about - being in the moment. Let’s call it Zen Bootism.
In the end, letting an old trickster like Joshu Sasaki compel you to degrade yourself in the hope of achieving enlightenment is a form of spiritual materialism, an attempt to buy enlightenment. If all it took to get to nirvana was baring your tits, then there’d be a shitload of old strippers teaching the Dharma. If handjobs got you to heaven, I know a few women who got there quicker on my account.
Zen teaches you to lose ego not self-respect.
Here’s an excerpt of a documentary on Joshu Sasaki. Fortunately, the film is unfinished, giving the director an opportunity for a twist ending. The filmmakers are also looking for funding to complete the film. I’ll commit five grand if they change the title to The Dharma in Miss Jones.
Update 2/14: As you see the video has been removed, which suggests the film makers are ashamed of their documentary or simply can’t handle the attention it is generating. Too bad. They’re unlikely to find many articles that deal with their teacher with the balance of this one. The clip, which featured interviews with Leonard Cohen and other students of Joshu Sasaki, was rather fawning and naive but hardly something that, given the recent attention to Sasaki’s sexual exploits, was incriminating or embarrassing. Deleting it just adds more smoke to the fire. Or could be perceived as a retro-active attempt to clean up a guru’s karma. In which case, it wasn’t necessary.
Tonight, Tuesday the 12th, Austin’s Alamo Drafthouse is presenting a “monumentally” rare 35mm screening of Timothy Carey’s delirious mindbender The World’s Greatest Sinner. With a soundtrack by Frank Zappa.
Alamo Drafthouse programmer Zack Carlson is nuts about Carey’s jaw-dropper of a movie:
In 1962, a visionary Hollywood wildman named Timothy Carey unleashed THE WORLD’S GREATEST SINNER upon an unprepared world. The 77 minute movie defied description; a shockingly sacrilegious mishmash of rock & roll, megalomania, comedy, horror and sexual insanity that practically blinded anyone who watched it. Audiences were stunned and critics were vaporized in their seats. Centuries ahead of its time, the film disappeared from theaters quickly and was never released on video.
Carey was a brilliant, towering non-stop meltdown of a man who’d forged a character actor career for years, but his lone effort as writer/director/producer/editor is like no other experience you’ll ever have in a theater. His lead performance is one part thunder and one thousand parts maniac, an unforgettably fearless assault on acting and the cinematic arts in general. Venerable filmmakers like John Cassavetes and Martin Scorsese have praised SINNER for its near-terrifying uniqueness, and Carey for his staggering presence. After watching the film in an otherwise empty theater, Cassavetes later cast Carey in two of his movies.
Despite these high-caliber supporters and multiple articles on SINNER in respectable forums like Film Comment Magazine, the movie has spent the last 50 years languishing as a notorious legend. But on Feb 12th, we’ll be screening it in all of its 35mm glory, thanks to a generous print loan from Carey’s own son.
The playwright David Mercer was born in 1928, in a working class district of Wakefield, in the north of England. He was raised amid the poverty and hardship that bred the instinctual Socialism of his father and uncles, which they had learned from experience, and gathered from books by Wells, Shaw, Lenin and Marx. This was Mercer’s first taste of the politics, handed-down, father-to-son, which was to influence all of his writing.
He quit school at 14, and worked as an apprentice technician, before he signed-on for 4-years with the Royal Navy. He went on to study at King’s College, Newcastle, then married and moved to Paris, where he tried his hand as an artist, before deciding he was best suited at being a writer. He wrote long, rambling novels influenced by Wyndham-Lewis. The practice taught him he could writer, but his novels were too abstract and had no relation to how he truly felt. This taught him that he could write but was not a novelist, he therefore started writing plays.
His first Where the Difference Begins (1961) was originally intended for the stage, but was produced for television by the BBC. The play was a valediction to the old men of Socialism, the Keir Hardie inspired patriarchical socialism being left behind by the active Marxism of a younger generation. The play reflected the difference between his father’s beliefs and Mercer’s own—though Mercer was smart enough to be critical of his own ideals.
The play was successful and he followed it with A Climate of Fear (1962), which dealt with conscience under the threat of a possible nuclear war, and The Birth of a Private Man (1963), concerning the problems of maintaining strong political conscience within an affluent environment.
Mercer brought a naturalism to the theater of ideas—he discussed issues of Empire, politics and patriarchy in plays such as, The Governor’s Lady (1965) and After Haggerty (1970), while his television plays, The Parachute (1968), which starred fellow playwright John Osborne, and On The Eve of Publication (1969) with an incredible central performance by Leo McKern, and Shooting the Chandelier (1977) with Alun Armstrong and Edward Fox, which have shaped TV drama right through to present day (in particular the works of Stephen Poliakoff or David Hare), though David Mercer himself is all too often forgotten.
Though a Socialist, Mercer was never blinkered to the follies and mistakes of Socialism, Communism and the politics of the Left. He was aware that the aim of political revolution was often frustrated by the inherited conventions of society, and by the frailty of human emotion and mind. This was shown to it great effect in the film version of his play, Morgan: A Suitable Case for Treatment (1966), in which David Warner, had an obsessional relationship with Marxism, apes, and his ex-wife (Vanessa Redgrave), that led him to (literally) become a revolutionary “gorilla” determined to derail his ex-wife’s new relationship.
With thanks to NellyM
More from David Mercer and the theater of politics, after the jump…