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‘N for Nonsense’: William S. Burroughs endorses Mr. Peanut for mayor, 1974
02.03.2016
01:04 pm

Topics:
Literature
Politics

Tags:
William S. Burroughs
Mr. Peanut


 
On November 20, 1974, the city of Vancouver held its civic election, which included the heart-palpitating race for alderman as well as positions on the parks board and the school board. The mayoral election was part of the slate that year, and that race included an unusual candidate who never uttered a single word, preferring the universal medium of tap dance for communication.

That candidate was Mr. Peanut, and wherever he went a group of young women called the “Peanettes” would sing “Peanuts from Heaven,” based on “Pennies from Heaven,” the Depression-era song by Arthur Johnston and Johnny Burke. The “Peanettes” would hold up letters like spectators at a sporting event spelling out P-E-A-N-U-T, which apparently was a mnemonic device for the following: “P for performance, E for elegance, A for art, N for nonsense, U for uniqueness, and T for talent.”
 

 
Mr. Peanut’s platform included a couple of sensible proposals, including putting a hiring freeze on government employees until the city’s population became larger, and a couple that were a bit less serious, like a system similar to a lending library for galoshes and umbrellas, which are only needed when it rains. He had a cumbersome slogan reminiscent of some 19th-century art movement, which ran “Life was politics in the last decade; life will be art in the next decade.”
 

 
Mr. Peanut was actually a Berlin-based performance artist named Vincent Trasov, who had adopted the corporate mascot as his persona a few years earlier. He had a spokesman named John Mitchell accompany him to all public events during the campaign to do his talking for him. The author of Naked Lunch, William S. Burroughs, happened to visit Vancouver while the campaign was happening, so he gave Mr. Peanut his endorsement:
 

I would like to take this opportunity to endorse the candidacy of Mr. Peanut for mayor of Vancouver. Mr. Peanut is running on the art platform, and art is the creation of illusion. Since the inexorable logic of reality has created nothing but insolvable problems, it is now time for illusion to take over. And there can only be one illogical candidate—Mr. Peanut.

 
Joining Burroughs in endorsing Mr. Peanut was the mayor of Kansas City, a Democrat named Charles B. Wheeler Jr., who sent him a letter of support. Voters wishing to express their preference Mr. Peanut were obliged to select the candidate’s actual name from a list. “Vincent Trasov” received 2,685 votes out of 78,925 votes cast, netting him a 3.4% share of the vote, higher than Ralph Nader’s percentage in the 2000 election for president in the United States. Trasov/Peanut finished fourth, but it’s easy to imagine that if the words “Mr. Peanut” had been permitted to appear on the ballot, he might have garnered a few more points.
 
Continues after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
The Bernie Sanders / Johnny Cash T-shirt mashup America has been waiting for
02.02.2016
11:14 am

Topics:
Fashion
Heroes
Politics

Tags:
Johnny Cash
Bernie Sanders


 
Wear Dinner, the apparel purveyors who gave the world that wonderful Black Sabbath/Minor Threat mash-up we told you about last summer, have upped the I-want-one stakes with their new Bernie Cash shirt, which plops the face of encouragingly popular left-wing insurgent presidential candidate Bernie Sanders onto Jim Marshall’s indelible image of Johnny Cash flipping the bird at San Quentin prison in 1969, a juxtaposition that aptly captures a lot of the anti-establishment hostility expressed by some of the candidate’s backers.
 

 
The shirts are available only in black because duh. $5 from each shirt sold will benefit the Sanders campaign.

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Cringe as Ted Cruz tries to hug his own creeped-out daughter
02.01.2016
01:13 pm

Topics:
Politics

Tags:
Ted Cruz


 
Who knows this asshole better than his own family?

We are all Ted Cruz’s daughter!
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Comic trolls Donald Trump with a tough guy Cockney gangster accent


 
Sometimes a small change in perspective can reveal the whole truth of a subject. While most people know Donald Trump is a dangerous idiot, there are some (god help them…) who are deluded by his bluster, bullying and ranting xenophobic hatred. These poor souls are caught like a rabbit in the headlights or you know, a mouse hypnotized by a snake or whatever it is snakes do to fool mice into standing still long enough to become lunch… promise them some tasty cheese or something…

Hopefully this may all change as actor, comedian and writer, Peter Serafinowicz has done a truly marvellous thing. He has added a cockney tough guy accent to Donald Trump making sound like a cross between a Bob Hoskins’ villain in a British gangster flick and one of the Monty Python’s Piranha Brothers (Dinsdale).
 
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Mr. Serafinowicz has not altered any of Trump’s words, but his small and powerful tweak in presentation is like having subtitles for the hard of thinking. Do spread this far and wide, please.
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Sarah Palin IS Yosemite Sam!
01.24.2016
09:12 am

Topics:
Amusing
Politics

Tags:
Sarah Palin
Yosemite Sam


 
Former half term-governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, was in the news twice last week—with her assertion that President Barack Obama is the reason why her son, Track, hits women, and with her endorsement of GOP presidential hopeful Donald J. “I could ‘shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters” Trump. 

Her bizarre, rambling, right-wing-talking-point word salad endorsement of Trump has been cleverly used as source material for a short 26-second video featuring Looney Tunes’ popular angry cowboy, Yosemite Sam. The edit syncs quite well and leaves no question that Palin, herself, is essentially a cartoon character.
 

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
‘The Ronnie Horror Picture Show’: Amazing 1980 spoof with a Reagan impersonator as Frank N. Furter!


 
The ‘80s actually started in November of 1980, when doddering, happy-talking lawbreaker Ronald Reagan rather brutally defeated Jimmy Carter’s bid for re-election. Culturally, that event was the final nail in the coffin of what remained of late ‘60s counterculture (they put a lot of those nails there themselves, to be fair), and politically it marked the dawn of the vulgarian/reactionary empowerment that still poses an existential threat to the country.

They were far from the only ones to see Reagan’s rise as doom for the left and the man himself as the fourth horseman of the twilight of the hippies, but ABC’s live late night sketch show Fridays did a spectacularly hilarious job of addressing it.

Fridays, it its day, was seen as a weak attempt at catching the lightning in a bottle that was Saturday Night Live—sort of an early ‘80s Mad TV, except Fridays was actually funny. In the rear-view it holds up pretty admirably, as it often went even edgier than classic SNL. In three seasons starting in the spring of 1980, Fridays kicked off the careers of Rich Hall, Larry David, and—you can’t win ‘em all—Michael Richards. And in the wake of the Reagan election, the show’s writers and cast pulled of an extraordinary stunt: an ambitious 20 minute sketch, performed live, parodying both the incoming Reagan administration AND The Rocky Horror Picture Show!

The sketch stars Richards as Brad, and Janet duties fell to the wonderful Melanie Chartoff, who’s best known now for voice acting in kid’s cartoons. It imports VP-elect George H.W. Bush into the Riff Raff role, played by Mark Blankfield, who was the show’s breakout star at the time. John Roarke handles Reagan/Frank N. Furter duties, and Larry David…well, if you don’t know, I’m not going to ruin that one for you, it’s pretty fucking great. Paralleling Dr. Furter’s creation of ultimate sexual boy-toy Rocky, Reagan here endeavors to create the perfect conservative, but it doesn’t go as planned. The sketch was well-written and pretty superbly executed for a 20-minute live extravaganza with musical numbers, and it nails all of its marks but one—it ends optimistically. But it does offer a prescient warning to posterity in this dialogue exchange between Richards and Chartoff:

Janet: Oh Brad! Don’t you see what these people are doing? These people are…

Brad: Janet, relax! This is a great chance to have an intelligent conversation with these right wingers!

Janet: Brad, please, let’s get out of here!

Janet was truly wise.

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Palinisms: The Sarah Palin random phrase generator


 
Former half term-governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, was in the news again this week. This time the inexplicable media darling made headlines with her bizarre “right-winging’, bitter clingin’” Donald Trumpin endorsement speech, and her assertion that President Barack Obama is the reason why her son, Track, hits women. Thanks Obama!

Palin, who has a history of insane rambling speeches, appeals to the “tell it like it is” crowd—as long as “telling it like it is” means a string of incoherent jingoistic, xenophobic talking points. Last night on The Daily Show, host Trevor Noah described her as a bag of Scrabble tiles come to life. If she sounds like an idiot speaking in tongues, it is because this is precisely what she is.

Now, you can create your own Palin rants with the handy “Palinisms” random phrase generator.
 

 
This phrase generator seems to work in much the same way as Palin’s own mind. You press a button and it mashes together a bunch of right-wing tropes that may or may not have any meaning whatsoever… but IT DOESN’T MATTER. The important thing is the “telling it like it is” part, the “special sauce” as it were…
 

 
Click the link to start Palining NOW.

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
We kinda totally love these Bernie Sanders punk rock t-shirts
01.20.2016
10:13 am

Topics:
Amusing
Fashion
Politics
Punk
U.S.A.!!!

Tags:
Bernie Sanders


 
That the music underground is so engaged with Bernie Sanders’ worker-friendly, anti-1% presidential campaign comes as no surprise—punk and left politics have always been extremely comfortable bedfellows (sorry not sorry Michale Graves), and it’s a big plus that Sanders’ oppositional candidacy is being run within one of the mainstream parties, and thus won’t serve as a potential election spoiler like the Nader insurgency that ultimately spelled disaster for both the Green Party and the USA. Last autumn, we at Dangerous Minds told you about Berned in DC, a Facebook group producing image macros of the candidate paired with invented quotations that mirrored hardcore scene purism, to utterly hilarious effect. Today, our task is to show you the work of L.A. artist Mark Mendez and Portland printer Rob Campbell, who’ve created a wonderful series of Sanders shirts based on well-known punk band logos. In an interview with Visual News, the pair offered:

It’s hard to think of Bernie as “punk rock” by his appearance alone. He’s a 74-year-old, white, veteran politician from Vermont. But his ideals are what make him the most punk rock candidate who ever ran for office. He’s been speaking about economic inequality, civil rights, and antiestablishment politics for over four decades. It is people like us who do what we can to support his campaign and raise awareness about who he is, what he stands for, and how we the people can make a difference.

They’ve named the t-shirt line “Bern the White House” (simply brilliant—how has nobody used that before now?), and the shirts can be bought from the pair’s Etsy shop or from bernthewhitehouse.com. The profits from the sales will of course benefit the Sanders campaign up to the amount legally permitted for individual contributions, after which proceeds will go to “Bernie-friendly charities and grassroots organizations.”
 

Misfits
 

The Adicts
 

Ramones
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
The time Jerry Rubin got totally shut down by a little old lady on TV
01.20.2016
09:13 am

Topics:
Amusing
Politics
Television

Tags:
Jerry Rubin
Dorothy Fuldheim


 
A devotion to politics as theatrical spectacle and vice versa made Jerry Rubin, along with Abbie Hoffman, one of the most visible and notorious activists in the counterculture of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. A founder, again along with Hoffman and others, of the Youth International Party (a/k/a the Yippies), Rubin was known for media-engaging stunts like showing up for his HUAC testimony variously dressed as a Viet Cong guerrilla and as Santa Claus. His utterly gonzo approach to politics flipped in the mid ‘70s, when in a surprising ideological reversal, he became a capitalist businessman who ended the decade (and entered the Reagan years) as a yuppie millionaire, advocating for EST, “networking parties,” and diet fads instead of revolution. Credit where it’s due, though—among his capital ventures was an effort to marshall investment in solar panels.

Hindsight of that transformation/sellout might be a part of what makes the clip below feel kinda righteous. Though the Chicago Seven trial made Rubin a well-known public face of The Revolution™, there were times when he wasn’t one of its most articulate advocates. He appeared on Cleveland, OH television in 1970 (Rubin was Cincinnati born and raised, himself) to flog his screed DO IT! Scenarios of the Revolution, but he just came off like an inchoate stoner jackass. He had science on his side in his assertion that weed is less destructive than booze, but he was such a dumb dick about it, prolonging an unproductive back-and-forth on the matter, sounding more like a tedious sophomore ruining Thanksgiving than a nationally-known activist engaging with the public to bring awareness to his manifesto. He piled on tiresome levels of I’m-so-cool smarm to cover the deficiencies in his talking points until the fed-up interviewer—an improbably flame-haired 76-year-old lady named Dorothy—got sick of his bullshit and shut the interview down.
 

 
About that Dorothy: she wasn’t just any little old lady—she was a career ass-kicker. Dorothy Fuldheim was and remains a widely admired Cleveland legend, a broadcasting lifer and pioneer for women in newsrooms who’s acknowledged as the first female TV news anchor. Her utterly unbelievable highlight reel included one-on-one interviews with Adolf Hitler (Fuldheim was Jewish), Albert Einstein, Helen Keller, Winston Churchill, and Jimmy Hoffa, and she didn’t retire until age 91, when a stroke she suffered shortly after interviewing Ronald Reagan (make of that what you will) made it impossible for her to continue working. She died in 1989, and was recently the subject of a Drunk History segment that you should probably just go ahead and watch right now.

Fuldheim was unapologetically opinionated; she shut down her Rubin interview when his declaration of solidarity with the Black Panthers proved to be her last straw. But though she was very much an establishment figure, bristling at Rubin’s characterization of police as “pigs,” she was no conservative, and it’s tempting to wonder how her feelings about Cleveland’s finest may have changed had something like the Tamir Rice murder and the outcry in its aftermath happened in her lifetime. We actually don’t even have to wonder all that hard; within a month of the Rubin interview, she put her career at risk to TORPEDO then-Governor James Rhodes and the Ohio National Guard on the air in the wake of the Kent State shootings, forcefully decrying a system that killed its own children.

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Charlie Chaplin on the set of ‘The Great Dictator’
01.19.2016
10:18 am

Topics:
Amusing
Heroes
Movies
Politics

Tags:
Charlie Chaplin

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Even in these so-called enlightened times it’s not so unthinkable that some slobbering buffoon could be elected the leader of a great country to the detriment of its people, and indeed the entire world. In politics the unthinkable is always possible—and unfortunately such dangerous men often stand for election. You can recognize them by their speeches that play on fears and grievances and creates division thru trumped up accusations against anyone who disagrees with them—I’m sure you know the Trump type.

Charlie Chaplin was all too aware of the dangers of some twit being elected on a racist, xenophobic and downright nasty manifesto when he poked fun at Adolf Hitler in The Great Dictator. Though Chaplin was criticized by various countries (Germany, Britain) for being irresponsible while making his fascist satire, he was soon vindicated by the actions of Herr Hitler and the Second World War—though the great comedian and director later said he felt some regret about making the movie:

Had I known of the actual horrors of the German concentration camps, I could not have made The Great Dictator; I could not have made fun of the homicidal insanity of the Nazis.

On its release in 1940 The Great Dictator was an enormous success in the Allied countries—though not at all in Nazi Germany… The film was a rallying point for those who wanted to defeat the evils of Nazism. It helped people to laugh at the Nazis while at same time being made aware of the insidious dangers of voting a madman into power—a point still highly relevant today.

In the film, a Jewish barber is mistaken for the dictator Adenoid Hynkel and by chance ends up taking his place. At the end of the film, the barber addresses Hynkel’s army of followers with a speech about hope and humanity:

I’m sorry but I don’t want to be an Emperor – that’s not my business – I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone if possible, Jew, gentile, black man, white. We all want to help one another, human beings are like that.

We all want to live by each other’s happiness, not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone and the earth is rich and can provide for everyone.

The way of life can be free and beautiful. But we have lost the way.

Greed has poisoned men’s souls – has barricaded the world with hate; has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed….

You the people have the power, the power to create machines, the power to create happiness. You the people have the power to make life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure. Then in the name of democracy let’s use that power – let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give you the future and old age and security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power, but they lie. They do not fulfill their promise, they never will. Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people. Now let us fight to fulfil that promise. Let us fight to free the world, to do away with national barriers, do away with greed, with hate and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness.

Now that’s the kind of manifesto I’d vote for.
 
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More photos of Chaplin as ‘The Great Dictator’ plus color footage, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
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