Gerald Casale famously began conceiving the “Theory of Devolution” after surviving the infamous May 4, 1970 Kent State shootings. Basically a misanthropic philosophy leavened with deadpan absurdist humor, the theory held that despite or because of (it probably doesn’t matter) the march of civilization and advances in technology, humanity was not evolving per the Darwin model, but was in fact collectively getting dumber, more primitive, and ultimately less fit for long-term survival, and that principle (and some very strange books) laid the foundation for Casale’s and his KSU partner-in-crime Mark Mothersbaugh’s band DEVO, who by the late ‘70s became emblematic of the New Wave.
Though DEVO have been only very intermittently active as a touring and releasing entity since 1990, Casale remains a steadfast believer in and promoter of the reality of devolution—and what sentient being possessing a modicum of attentiveness could look at this world and possibly disagree with him? While Mothersbaugh has enjoyed a long career scoring films, Casale has directed dozens of music videos and remained an off-the-map provocateur, spinning social commentary with brilliant conceits like DEVO 2.0 (and, sometimes, bafflingly tone-deaf outfits like Jihad Jerry and the Evildoers).
At last year’s annual “DEVOtional” fan convention, Casale expressed a wish for DEVO to reactivate—though the band has never officially broken up, it hasn’t done anything since a brief ten-date tour two years ago. He seems to have taken the reins on his own, though, as he’ll be releasing the single “It’s All DEVO” on April 16th. The physical release is a Record Store Day Exclusive, but the digital release will be available on the same day, without throngs of eBay flippers crowding you out of the bins. The song seems to be Casale’s way of underscoring his sustained belief in and critique of our infuriating march toward our own ruin via our embrace of idiot demagogues (guess who makes an appearance?) and our all-consuming consumerism.
The song and video are both collaborations with Italian artists—a musical assist was provided by the prolific Neapolitan duo The Phunk Investigation, and the video is credited to the wonderfully bonkers collage artist Max Papeschi (think Winston Smith with a brighter palette) and director Maurizio Temporin. Asked for comment, Casale offered this:
The video for “Its All DEVO” distills the current state of the world as we know it to be down to 3 plus minutes of a cartoon, technicolor nightmare. The transgressive juxtaposition of G-rated Americana, corporate malfeasance and totalitarian horror is as sweet as Kool Aid - thus easy on the Millennial mind and body. Working with the infamous Italian artist Max Papeschi was an exciting collaboration as satisfying as my early DEVO days.
The video is indeed a vivid brainfuck of DEVO references, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it sight gags, and slams on consumer culture’s sacred cows, and it’s Dangerous Minds’ pleasure to debut that video for you today, after the jump…
I’ve called our readers’ attention to the work of comedy genius Vic Berger a couple times before here on DM, and here I am doing it again for his mega-incredible “Batman v Trump: Official Trailer.”
In this his newest masterpiece, Berger takes his political pop culture détourné art form to another level. He’s the culture jammer extraordinaire of YouTube. SNL, The Daily Show, Jimmy Kimmel… Hollywood needs to hire this man now. One of the best, most-effective anti-Trump propaganda memes yet, and obviously there have been tons of them.
In July, the $101 million “Ark Encounter” water park will open in Kentucky and now a group calling themselves the Tri-State Freethinkers—representing exasperated non-believers in Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana—are seeking to raise some money in order to put up billboards trolling the Creationist-themed amusement park. The Ark Encounter destination is specifically a water park based on the myth of Noah’s Ark. The park, created by a consortium of investors headed by creationist Ken Ham—the hapless silly person who debated Bill Nye—and his “Answers in Genesis” group, includes a 510-ft model of Noah’s Ark and an interactive teaching exhibit that er… uh… “teaches” the rather silly notion that it was in fact the Great Flood which separated the world’s continents.
The first $2,000 raised by the campaign—which they have done already—will go toward setting up a single small billboard for a month. If they’re able to raise $6,000, the group will be able to mount six small billboards or one big one along an interstate highway.
If they are able to raise $150 million, the Tri-State Freethinkers say “we will build our very own Genocide & Incest Park.” The group, which has over 1300 members, are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, so your donations are tax-deductible.
Writer, musician, raconteur Dave Hill is the author of the upcoming comic anthology Dave Hill Doesn’t Live Here Anymore. Dave Hill is a very, very funny man. But you don’t have to take my word for it. Dick Cavett, Andy Richter, Malcolm Gladwell and John Hodgman also think he’s pretty hilarious. John Oliver must like Dave, too, because he uses “Go” by Dave’s band, Valley Lodge, as the jaunty theme tune for his Last Week Tonight with John Oliver show on HBO. Apparently Samantha Bee is a Hill fan, as well, since she had Dave on her new Full Frontal program earlier this week, serenading some college-educated Donald Trump supporters with a little ditty he’d composed about Trump especially for the occasion (see below).
And Dave actually knows what he’s singing about from experience. He really knows Donald Trump. Or at least he is—or was—once very, very briefly acquainted with the Donald for about an hour or so back in 2004…
The year was 2004. Both NBC’s The Apprentice and really fun cell-phone ringtones had taken an unsuspecting public by storm. I had managed to elude both—I kept my phone on vibrate and was ready to stare in bemusement at anyone even thinking of telling me I had been “fired.”
But I needed money, so when the call came to write ringtones for Donald Trump, a quiet businessman from Queens who had been reluctantly thrust into the spotlight by the seventh-most popular program on network television at the time, I said yes. I had been doing some freelance writing and one of my clients was among the tangle of corporations assigned to the case. Fortunately, they decided to throw me a bone.
Of course, I knew a thing or two about Trump already. He had flawless hair; he slept on piles of money each night; given the choice between having something not gold-plated or entirely gold-plated, he chose door number two every time. Still, I wanted to do the best job possible, so I had one of Trump’s minions send me copies of two of his books, Trump: The Art of the Deal and Trump: The Art of the Comeback, as well as an anatomically correct Trump doll that would tell me all sorts of things every time I pressed its back, something I couldn’t help but do repeatedly as soon as it came into my possession.
“You really think you’re a good leader?” the doll would ask, seemingly out of the blue. “I don’t.”
A little harsh, maybe, but also something I probably needed to hear.
Despite all the hours I spent playing with that doll, though, I had my work cut out for me. Somehow, in what I can only assume was the result of someone putting a gun to Trump’s head, NBC owned the rights to his electrifying catchphrase “You’re fired!” The challenge was mine to figure out what else he might say—to write some slogans people might want to hear coming out of their phones besides those two magical words that had already galvanized a nation.
“Your services are no longer required at this place of business!”
“Please stop showing up here for work, okay?”
“Die, you anus!”
These are but a few of the alternatives to “You’re fired!” that I proposed. In the end, though, it was decided that Trump’s ringtone avatar would be less cutthroat and more inspirational, encouraging cell-phone users to answer promptly so they could take advantage of a big business opportunity or maybe just hurt someone’s feelings. I whipped up a few dozen Trumpist gems. Track ‘em down if you like; I imagine they’re still out there somewhere, priced to move.
“This is Donald Trump. I have no choice but to tell you . . . you’re getting a phone call.”
“I’m Donald Trump and this is the call of a lifetime!”
“This is Donald Trump. Answer your phone now—it might be me calling.”
Maybe not my finest hour, but, hey—the customer is always right. After that, I assumed my work was done, but I ended up being asked to attend the actual taping, too, at none other than Trump Tower.
“You mean I’ll actually be in the room while Donald is saying the stuff I wrote?” I asked a guy from the ringtone concern.
“Yes,” he said, placing a hand on my shoulder for emphasis. This was officially about to be the biggest thing anyone in my family had ever done, including fighting in wars or any of that other crap my older relatives always went on about. Naturally, I couldn’t wait to tell them.
“I’m working with Donald Trump,” I told my mom over the phone.
“Who?” my mom asked.
“Donald Trump,” I told her. “The guy from The Apprentice.”
“David got a job with Tony Crump,” my mom yelled to my dad in the next room.
“That’s nice,” my dad yelled back.
They were pumped.
When the big day rolled around, I put on a suit and tie and worked as many hair products into my scalp as possible before heading over to Trump’s offices in midtown Manhattan to meet the other dozen or so people required to complete a task of this magnitude.
As expected, Trump HQ was beyond opulent. It was as if a blind decorator had been given an unlimited budget and told he’d never work in this town again.
“This way, please,” a Trump representative, who was difficult to focus on amid all that sparkle, said before leading us to a conference room. Along the way, I spotted Donald Jr. sitting in an adjacent office, his hair perfect, as he no doubt bought or sold something without even thinking about it. It ruled.
“You have one hour,” the rep announced, prompting everyone in the conference room to spring into action, turning it into a makeshift recording studio. A few minutes later, the doors opened and in walked Trump, somehow looking even Trumpier than I’d anticipated. He wore a suit and tie and, of course, his trademark scowl. And though he stood mere feet from me, I found I had no further insight into his hair-care regimen. Looking into his coiffure did nothing to demystify it. In fact, it only confused me more.
“Right this way, Mr. Trump,” a ringtone specialist said, gently urging him toward the microphones while being careful not to actually touch him.
“Let’s make this quick,” Trump grunted, already sounding like the ringtones I’d written. “I’ve got a busy day ahead of me.” At this point, a mild panic set in as everyone in the room became convinced he or she might very well be “fired” or at least told to wait by the elevators at any moment. As for me, though, I couldn’t help but relax a bit; it had suddenly occurred to me that Trump might not be the oblivious blowhard everyone thinks. I mean, sure, he was a blowhard, maybe even the biggest blowhard of all time, but he also seemed totally self-aware, like he knew he was just playing a character, and that as soon as we left, he’d run into Ivanka’s office, shut the door behind him, and squeal, “I got ‘em again, honey!” Something about that made me actually kind of like the guy, if I sat there and thought about it long enough.
Moments later, after a technician had scrambled to hit any and all record buttons, Trump began barreling through the ringtones, printed on large cue cards that would remain easily readable even when he squinted judgmentally, which was always. Occasionally he’d give emphasis to a different word or see if getting angrier might help sell things a bit more. Meanwhile, everyone else in the room remained pinned to the wall, just trying to get through the proceedings intact.
Things seemed to be going well enough until about twenty minutes later, when Trump paused abruptly and began scanning the room in the manner that, by now, haunts people’s dreams the world over.
“Who wrote these things?” he barked, pointing at the cue cards like he wanted them taken out back and shot.
“That guy! Dave Hill!” at least five people volunteered in unison, their tone suggesting they would happily stab me right then and there if Trump would just say the word.
I figured I might start gathering my things at this point, but before I could, Trump looked at me, dropped his scowl, and said, “You’re a very good writer.”
“Thanks,” I said with a nod, sensing a trap. For the remaining forty minutes or so of the recording session, Trump refused to address anyone in the room but me. Others tried to intervene, but as soon as they finished talking, Trump would turn to me, his right-hand man, and ask, “What do you think, Dave?”
It was a weird kind of trust to have earned, sure, but it was also kind of cool—especially considering that otherwise I probably would have been just sitting at home scanning Craigslist for missed connections.
As the session wrapped up, I recalled something else I’d learned about Trump through my tireless research: he hates shaking hands. Naturally, this made my mission clear. This will be the true test of our love, I thought as I stood waiting for any others brazen enough to approach Trump to say whatever they were gonna say with their hands glued to their sides before get- ting the hell out of his sight, dammit.
With the path clear, I approached him for some bro time.
“Nice working with you, Donald,” I told him.
“You, too, Dave,” he said.
“Thanks,” I replied. I gingerly extended my hand. I could feel eyebrows across the room rising in slow-motion panic.
Will he? Won’t he?
Against all odds, Trump slowly reached out and grabbed my hand, shaking it not so firmly, as if to suggest his henchmen might be waiting for me outside and not so softly as if to suggest a quality hang in Montauk was off the table. No, this was just right—perfect, in fact, almost like he was a regular human being who had done this sort of thing before. All these years later, that shake still feels like a victory of some sort, but I’m not sure for whom.
As I sit here writing this in my underpants, Donald Trump continues his disturbing bid for the American presidency. And I find myself hoping more than ever that he really is only playing a character, that maybe he’s just the greatest performance artist of our time, a modern-day Warhol or slightly chattier Marina Abramovíc who will any day now say “Tada!” and take a bow, then go open an all-you-can-eat shrimp joint in the Outer Banks or something.
With each passing day, I fear I may be wrong. Still, whatever happens, it’ll always be nice to look back on that day at Trump Tower and think, “Sure, he’s a hate-spewing boob who somehow manages to sound even angrier and crazier than that doll I still can’t help but drag out from under the bed every once in awhile…and, yes, he’s even got that certain awful something to win the endorsement of the unicellular Sarah Palin. But put the two of us in a room together for an hour and, goddamn, do that son of a bitch and I make one hell of a ringtone.
A goofy bandanna-wearing Donald Trump supporter—allegedly high on acid according to one of his friends—had a majorYUGE bad trip when Trump’s rally was cancelled in Chicago last Friday night.
The, um… “dude”—who looks like he belongs at a Phish show and not a fascist rally—is seen freaking out, shouting “Fuck you” over and over and giving police(?) the finger. Via Raw Story:
According to a tweet from John Sheehan — who uploaded the video — a friend of the Trump supporter confirmed that his buddy “was high on LSD (acid)” and “freaks out when he hears that the March 11 Trump Rally in Chicago is cancelled.”
Outside the arena, the man is confronted by protesters and the conversation becomes garbled, outside of a few more “f*ck yous” and “I am f*cking white!”
Prior to being lead away, his friend can be heard telling the protesters, “He’s really f*cked up.”
There are lots of un-ironic reasons to love the 1970s, but most of them are musical—the punk explosion, No-Wave/mutant disco, Motörhead, Thin White Duke era Bowie, those really kickass King Crimson albums with John Wetton, and on and on and on. But the eye-bleed aesthetics that the normals embraced in that decade sure had moments, too, and outside of menswear, rarely did those aesthetics find purer expression than in the decorating flair of people with way more money than taste.
A choice example exists not just perfectly preserved, but frozen in time—this North Royalton, OH home for sale is so fucking ’70s you can still smell the heady aftermath of key parties just by looking at the pictures. Built in 1949, last sold in 1971 for a modest-seeming 85K, it can be yours now! The lucky buyer gets a 13-acre lot with an in-ground pool (kidney-shaped of course) and a 6,300 square foot museum of glorious tackiness. Pea-green tassled curtains; check. Wood paneled kitchen that’s an affront not just to trees but to the idea of trees; check. Fully equipped, shag-carpeted gym with floor-to-ceiling mirrors; check. Log-cabin den; check. Audibly red basement lounge with a vinyl-upholstered bar; check.
It keeps getting better and better, after the jump…
Fifty years ago—in the perfect pop culture year of 1966—Woody Allen did his first film project for American International Pictures, home to Roger Corman, monsters, bikers, acid heads and futuristic Death Races looking way forward to the year 2000. I say film project as he didn’t make his first film, he sort of stole it! Legally.
Basically Allen took the Japanese action film International Secret Police: Key of Keys and re-dubbed the dialogue, changing the plot to make it revolve around a secret egg salad recipe being fought over by rival James Bond-type spy characters. The film became What’s Up Tiger Lily? and was quite well received. The idea had been done before of course, on a smaller scale by Rocky and Bullwinkle creator Jay Ward for his Fractured Flickers TV series in 1963, and surely others had toyed with the concept, but not in a feature length film. The opportunities for juvenile, MAD Magazine humor were endless and very funny.
What’s Up Tiger Lily? created a model that has been followed by some of the funniest people in history. Here is the trailer in which Allen explains to an unsuspecting public what it is that he has done. (The entire film can also be found on YouTube.)
The next one of these dubbed comedies that comes to mind was in fact done by two of the funniest people to ever grace this planet, Phillip Proctor and the late Peter Bergman of Firesign Theatre fame. In 1979 Proctor and Bergman took clips from 1940s Republic Serials and overdubbed and rewrote an extremely stoned cliffhanger entitled J-Men Forever, starring themselves in newly filmed black and white bits that were inserted into the insane mess of rearranged reality. To top this off they used modern loud rock n roll music for the soundtrack.
To quote the blurb under the YouTube clip:
J-Men Forever became the signature for Night Flight’s stoned comedy audience in the 1980’s. This ultimate late night chronic high comedy was the most demanded rerun for the entire 8 years Night Flight was on the USA Network.
After the jump, experience the inspired insanity of ‘The Rusty James Show’...
“Cowardice! Are you serious? Apologies for freedom? I can’t handle this.”
On Wednesday evening, a capacity crowd of 10,000 people showed up at the Pensacola Bay Center in Florida for a Donald Trump campaign rally, complete with a trio of cheerleading singing moppets called the Freedom Girls who were there to debut Trump’s new “official jam.”
“I think what I’d do, as president, is I would make a phone call to whoever, to the group. I’d talk to the leader. I would talk to him and I would say, ‘You gotta get out — come see me, but you gotta get out.”
I mean, what is this thing anyway? A sequel to Waiting for Guffman, with a Posse Comatose perhaps? Is it Blazing Saddles directed by Alex Jones?
Or perhaps it’s an Americanized take on Chris Morris’ darkly funny incompetent terrorist comedy Four Lions? I like that last notion the best, but as I am currently (like many of you reading this, I’m sure) binge watching Making a Murderer on Netflix, I can’t help but to hope that they are rolling video 24/7 at the protest.
Like imagine how this video, a “selfie” meant ostensibly for his wife and children, shot by self-promoting, self-aggrandizing “patriot” anti-Muslim hate crime-waiting-to-happen Jon Ritzheimer might be used in the context of a ten hour, true life Netflix mockumentary about this event. In the clip, Ritzheimer, then en route to the Oregon Mensa gathering at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, tearfully explains how “Daddy took an oath!”
Wow! He’s the fucking best, right? I can’t get enough of this goofy human time bomb.
But another colorful figure is starting to grab some of the spotlight…
LaVoy Finicum! This has to be the best name for a gun-toting rural rube since something WC Fields came up with, like Elmer Prettywillie or J. Pinkerton Snoopington… LaVoy fucking Finicum! Say it aloud for the maximum comic effect.
If you google his name, you’ll see that LaVoy Finicum is a fellow rancher and supporter of Cliven Bundy, Ammon’s daffy pappy and advisor to “the negro.” Finicum is also the author of the self-published quasi-apocalyptic anti-government novel Only By Blood and Suffering. Here’s his own blurb for the book, taken from Amazon:
Tells of a family’s struggle to come together and survive in the midst of national crisis. A stirring, fast-paced novel about what matters most in the face of devastating end-times chaos. Filled with gripping action and relatable characters, readers are drawn into the heart-rending dilemmas each member of the Bonham family faces. You may even find yourself stopping to ask, “What would I do?” LaVoy Finicum is a real life Northern Arizona Rancher who loves nothing more in life than God, freedom, and family. His spine tingling storytelling conveys in graphic detail just how fragile and precious freedom truly is and leaves his readers with an increased desire to stand for freedom
LaVoy Finicum also has a website to promote himself and his novel, OneCowboysStandForFreedom.com. Since joining up with Ammon Bundy in Oregon, Finicum was tweeted, several times, to get the word out on his book.
I’m quite sure that, well, with a name like his that LaVoy Finicum is sincere about his goofy anti-government beliefs, but I also can’t help but wonder if he’s just trying to siphon off a lil’ of Ammon Bundy’s media spotlight to help himself to sell a few books?
Or maybe he’s just a complete nutjob?
Let’s let the man speak for himself. Here’s what he told an NBC reporter about how far he would go to defend his “freedom”:
Yes, because God had nothing better to do that day than ask you two nitwits about your private planes.
Here’s five nauseating minutes of televangelists Kenneth Copeland and Jesse Duplantis defending their use and ownership of private planes. It was God’s will that Grandma’s Social Security check would be siphoned off towards these gentlemen’s need to travel in style and comfort. I mean, what if they came into contact with demonic DEMONS in a municipal airport? You can’t have that! It’s God’s will.