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From Brexit to Mr. Brexit: An Englishman in Texas on Election Week
11.17.2016
01:09 pm

Topics:
Current Events
Politics
U.S.A.!!!

Tags:
Donald Trump


Photo: Christian Benavides

Here’s a picture of what, to an English, London-based US politics junkie, amounted to a peculiar sort of heaven…

It is Election Day, and I am riding shotgun in an SUV through unsmiling Texas…The back of the truck, covered in bumper stickers (‘SECEDE!’ ‘LIBERTARIAN!’ ‘Got shave ice?’), is also piled high with firearms… Rush Limbaugh is on the airwaves.

I’d heard “Rush” do his stuff before, online, back in the UK (that is, as a leftish, foreign voyeur). Now though – due to the place, the setting, and the others in the vehicle – “Rush” is no longer addressing some distant, crazy demographic, he is addressing us – and even, me.

“The bigger government gets, the less freedom there is. That’s just the way of the world, folks… “

I can feel, suddenly, how warm it must be tucked in beneath the dragon’s wing of American conservatism.

For the previous twelve-fifteen months, I had consumed at least two hours of US election news and commentary a day back in London. Chance had turned that 2-D experience into a 3-D one: I was staying in Austin to make an (unrelated) short film, and only after arranging everything realized I would be there for the vote.

Well, we had finished filming that afternoon. The driver of the SUV, Jim, was the local cameraman I’d hired. He was a conservative, a Christian, a libertarian and a sure-fire ‘Second Amendment’ sort. He’d supported Ted Cruz in the primaries, and had a modest, Glenn Beck-type aversion to Trump. He had already voted for Gary Johnson, but would very likely have gone Republican in a swing state.

In the back was Jim’s assistant and best bud, Lloyd, a thirty-six-year-old handyman. Jim and Lloyd lived a few minutes away from one another, in the pious and paranoiac suburbs of Pflugerville, where (as I witnessed) residents actually wave hi to one another, bagged-up AK-47s swaying from shoulders. Lloyd was a former Cruz supporter too, but had long since came around to – and voted for – Trump. 

Limbaugh was now reciting, with that gropingly intimate gruffness, the right-wing LIBERTY catechism. He was putting his whole self into it, too, in honor of the Historic Occasion. This catechism more than touched upon the Second Amendment. Meanwhile, my new friends and I, on our way to firing some guns, were also (politely) arguing about them.
“But what would ya do,” said Lloyd, keen to cut right to the heart of the matter, and leaning right up between the front seats. “If someone broke into your place in London, to rape your wife and kill your kids? What would you do, Thomas? Ask ’em to leave?”

Despite the facetious note at the end, this was no rhetorical question. Lloyd wanted to know.  So, by the looks of it, did Jim, who kept glancing over from his big Texan steering wheel, equally curious how one could even go about conceiving of such an event in a country that prohibits lethal weapons. (Had I, perhaps, cultivated some dangerous hand-to-hand ninja skills?)

“But that’s a ridiculously unlikely event.” 

“You can’t be too careful, Thomas,” said Jim.

“You can though!”  (Indeed, I was increasingly convinced that America was the definition of Being Too Careful.) “A piece of masonry might drop on your head and kill you, that doesn’t mean you go around carrying a metal umbrella.”

This journey is taking place because, the previous day, I had been (naively) scandalized to discover that my small crew were walking Austin’s squeaky-clean streets armed. I had never, I confessed, even held a gun. Jim and Lloyd had decided, there and then, to initiate me, intimating that the first whiff of cordite would see my English soul born again hard.

Jim flipped the dial to The Glenn Beck Show. To his amusement (take it as a testament to how closely I’d followed the damn election), I could hum along to the show’s sickly theme ditty.
 

Photo: Jordan Bunch

Finally, our SUV pulled into the Eagle Peak Firing Range.

I had half expected to encounter a devil-may-care joie de vivre therein. But no. All in all, the spirit in which “Second Amendment People” go about their pastime is achingly careful, like a weird mixture of model railroading and snake handling. I even had my wrists slapped by one of the Eagle Peak Firing Range attendants (bald and bent-double, with bright white mustache) for firing one of Jim’s semi-automatics too quickly.

“Yer Limey’s gettin’ carried away!” he told them.

Far more interesting than all the latches, barrels and banging was the thought of those millions of Americans simultaneously inching towards the voting booths, and of the mind-boggling political significance of what we were doing. Jim and Lloyd, for instance, both admitted to being “scared” by the prospect of a President Trump. He scared them – not enough, but somewhat– because of that overt streak of megalomania. Clinton, on the other hand, scared them more solely because of her perceived threat to those “second amendment rights.”
Were Americans proportionally more scared of death – or at least violent death – than other nationalities? Is it precisely this that makes them – paradoxically – so fucking dangerous?

America’s Other Half
For election night itself I was off to attend the Travis County Democratic Party’s shindig at Austin’s Driskill Hotel. Jim, very kindly braving a couple of hours of Austin traffic, dropped me off. (Conservatives, I have to say, are pretty kind people.)

It was long clear to me that, to many, Trump was a hero figure– a swaggering maverick macho sent by God to heave back the clock. What hadn’t occurred to me from the UK, however, was that cautious, data-driven, super-scripted, center-cleaving Hillary might be viewed as a hero, too. A Straight White Male want of imagination on my part, this, to be sure: taking the Driskill attendees as a local sample, it was immediately clear that Hillary was a hero to (at least) millions of American women.

This was of course in part because of the clear symbolism of the fight – ignoramus pussy-grabber versus shattered glass ceiling, and all that. However, I saw it had something to do with Hillary as an individual, too. Many of the supporters, covered in doubly pointed buttons (“I’m with HER!” “The Future is Female!” “Let’s Make Her-story!”), were ambitious, professional, young women, and were gazing up at the early election coverage with proportional but tangible admiration for the professionalism and (thus far) effectiveness of Clinton’s ascent.
After all, their candidate had done what had to be done, had worked hard, and had (again, up to that night) largely succeeded. It was a philosophy many a careerist lived by, yet for a woman, maximal establishment success in 2016, conventionally achieved vis-à-vis the unremarkable method of the Long Game, still required a fortitude that was arguably heroic.

Due to the time difference, I’d never watched US results come in live before (let alone, ‘in the flesh’), and to my virgin, outsider eyes, the main event resembled nothing other than (American) Football: an interminable, attritional contest of hard-won yards and mind-numbing strategic rumblings.

We all know, of course, how the game ultimately went.

Afterthought
Once the whole sorry contest had run its course, I got a cab back to where I staying (North Loop). The driver had voted for Hillary, and was depressed as hell.  Then he told me (upsetting my simple outline) that he was relieved he already own five guns himself: under a President Trump, he suspected he might just end up needing them.

“I think there’s going to be a war,” he put in, as an afterthought.

He was right about that, I reckoned. For all Trump’s isolationist rhetoric (the only OK thing about his campaign) it is almost impossible to imagine the Trump Era coming to term without a significant conflict. And conflict evidently remains America’s grand passion, not to mention its net surplus: the globe sits braced for export.

Posted by Thomas McGrath | Leave a comment
‘Pot Brownies’: Texas lawyers’ country song about insane drug laws is actually really awesome!


 
The Waco, TX law firm of Hutson & Harris is a diverse practice, covering personal injury & wrongful death, criminal law, probate, family law, and even immigration (immigration law in Texas must be a lively gig even without the wall we’re TOTALLY GONNA BUILD, HE PROMISED), but their true distinguishing mark is that Will Hutson and Chris Harris are country singers who give legal advice in song on their YouTube channel.

It sounds like this could be highly goofy, but they’re no joke—Hutson & Harris sing and harmonize together very well, and their songs are highly informative, too! For example, here’s a thing I never would have guessed: in Texas, marijuana edibles are considered marijuana for purposes of weight. Since felony possession is 4 ounces (according to NORML), a half dozen pot brownies equals a jail sentence and a ten thousand dollar fine irrespective of how much pot is in the brownies. That Texas penal codes can be draconian is sufficiently well-known that it’s a national punch-line, but putting people away for narcotics felonies based on the weight of flour, cocoa, and eggs is goddamn crazy.

Hutson & Harris have a song about it. Wanna hear it? Here it goes:
 

 
They have songs about other subjects as well, including how not to talk to an insurance company, and an actually totally awesome parody of Waylon Jennings’ “Amanda” called “Miranda.” But they have enough material covering marijuana laws to prompt wonder if they themselves don’t, um, partake from time to time themselves?

After the jump, enjoy the virally popular “Don’t Eat Your Weed”

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
‘Reagan’s Raiders’: INSANE ‘80s ultra-patriot superhero comics


 
People who claim that Barack Obama is the most divisive president ever may lack either any sense of historical perspective or any idea that beliefs other than their own have existed before the 21st Century [see also: racism]. Ronald Reagan divided 80s USA into two bitterly opposing camps—a significant minority saw him as a reckless destroyer of the Social Contract between government and populace, who trafficked in simplistic homilies and racist dog-whistles, and who exploited the decoupling of left politics from the labor movement, securing near-fatal hits on both entities in the name of a lite-fascist union of the state with the corporate sector. But a majority of Americans at the time believed him a messianic redeemer of the Goldwater ethos in American conservatism, arisen to rescue us all from the brink of New-Left disaster and to renew American optimism after years of economic turbulence, post-Vietnam malaise, and the troubled Carter era. He remains something like a Christ figure to American Movement Conservatives who’ve moved so far to the right that Reagan himself wouldn’t recognize them as conservative—or even sane.

And in re-reading my old Reagan’s Raiders comic books, I’m finding it pretty funny how extremely difficult it is to tell whether the writer thought Reagan was America’s salvation or whether he thought the man was fucking preposterous. Poe’s Law has some mighty long arms.

Reagan’s Raiders was a 1986 ultra-patriotic superhero parody comic book that cast Ronnie and his cabinet as a red, white, and blue spandex clad machine-gun totin’ team of superheroic globo-cops—imagine Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos, but all dressed like Captain America. In fact, the origin story is 100% derived from Captain America, with a silly twist. A super-strength process has been developed, and it works perfectly, but only on old dudes. Reagan and several cabinet officials, for the good of the country, of course, submit to the procedure, becoming buffed-out supersoldiers with the strength of 20 men. Each. Also they seem to be bulletproof. Take THAT, John Hinckley, Jr.!
 

 

 
More Reagan’s Raiders after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
‘Trump Has A Huge Night at the Second Presidential Debate’: Genius funny new Vic Berger supercut


 
Once again Vic Berger comes through with the goods. Here’s his latest supercut of the most recent Trump/HRC face-off. I was shrieking with laughter throughout it.

The master’s “artist statement” follows:

After the release of those scandalous tapes, the pressure was on for Donald Trump at the second debate. But the presidential nominee proved he doesn’t need the support of his party, or women, or pretty much anyone else – so long as he believes in himself.

Press play. Do it now.
 

 
After the jump, watch Vic Berger’s take on the first one, ‘Trump Has A Total Meltdown At The First Presidential Debate’

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Playground Bully: This BRILLIANT anti-Trump video needs to be quietly POSTED ALL OVER FACEBOOK NOW!


 
At this point, it’s a question that’s been pondered—quite a lot—by the professional political pondering class:

Is it even possible to change the mind of the hardcore Donald Trump supporter?

Is there any argument whatsoever that would sway the steadfast fan of the anus-mouthed orangey-faced bellowing billionaire fascist blowhard who sits atop the Republican ticket? Stupid is gonna stupid, and if there is one thing that this year’s election has accomplished it’s demonstrating that the American electorate is—scientifically speaking—much dumber than many of us would have liked to believe. There’s no other way to explain it. Why bend to political correctness—the great bugaboo of reichwingers everywhere, of course—when the simplest and most obvious statement of fact will suffice:

Trump voters are fucking idiots, if they weren’t idiots, they wouldn’t be Trump voters.

Sorry, but Aristotle himself couldn’t have put it any more succinctly than I just did. Not Wittgenstein either.

Oh yes, the Great IQ Stratification©—as I like to call it—has already occurred. It’s been pretty obvious to anyone with a functioning brain since at least Sarah Palin was unleashed foaming at the mouth with her unique form of racist dog whistle glossolalia that only stupid people can hear, that we’re well past that point.

Think about it: In THIS spacetime continuum, the real-life inspiration for Back to the Future‘s caricature bully Biff Tannen is the Republican nominee.

If Trump wins, Amy Goodman will have to change the name of her NPR show to “Idiocracy Now.”

Ha ha ha ha ha. If you get these jokes, and of course you do, you’re not a Trump voter—amIrite?—and that’s the problem, the self-reinforcing echo chamber of the Internet. Hell, I’ve written some nasty shit about Trump for years on Twitter and on this blog, and all I ever get are “atta-boys” from people who also hate Trump and his incoherent minions. Even when I am trying my level best to be condescending and deliberately rude, no one within the sound of my tweets ever disagrees with me. They feel about the terroristic man-toddler©  (thank you Charles M. Blow) the same way I do. “We” all loathe Trump. I’m just tweeting to the choir.

[Amusingly one of the rare times that anyone whatsoever has sent me any pushback on any of my anti-Trump tweets and retweets was none other than Trump advisor, frequent guest on The Alex Jones Show and complete shithead Roger Stone, who must search for his own name constantly. Then I sent him this. It was fun. Bigly fun. I love Twitter!]
 

 
But going back to the original question, is there anything—any fact, TV commercial, slogan, viral video, bumper sticker—whatever—that would change the minds of soft-brained morons who would happily line up to vote for Biff Tannen? Something that you could make them watch, with eyes pinned open like Alex DeLarge in A Clockwork Orange that would get through to them or make a difference?

Maybe there is. The video below, made by the Patriotic Artists & Creatives PAC—which features an actual terroristic man-toddler standing in for the one who used to host The Apprentice—might be able to pry even the tightest shut minds open for a second.

Wisdom from the mouths of babes? It’s perhaps the only thing that would work on the simpleton Trump voters. Best that I’ve seen, anyway. So post it everywhere. The video, I mean, probably don’t repost this blog on Facebook, that’s just being mean (and they won’t get the jokes anyway)

What country do you want your children to grow up in?
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Those notorious naked Trump statues are starting to be released to the wild
09.22.2016
10:30 am

Topics:
Amusing
Art
Politics
U.S.A.!!!

Tags:
Trump


 
As Dangerous Minds—and pretty much every online source of news or cultural info—reported about a month ago, an edition of five utterly monstrous and hilarious statues of a nude Donald Trump, titled “The Emperor Has no Balls,” appeared all at once in five American cities, namely Los Angeles, Seattle, New York, San Francisco, and Cleveland. Most of those statues were seized by police almost immediately upon their discovery, and all of them are meeting very different fates.

Most notably, the City of Cleveland Heights has released its confiscated statue to the sculptor, Joshua “Ginger” Monroe, for a nominal impound fee of $110. Monroe got his start in haunted house design, has done work for Cirque de Soleil, and served as the director of Eli Roth’s now-defunct Goretorium in Las Vegas, his current city of residence. Cleveland boasts the distinction of being the only non-coastal city to host one of the original five, and it wasn’t chosen just because that city served as the venue for the RNC. There’s a more personal connection, as Monroe originally hails from the Cleveland suburb Garfield Heights, and he requested that one be placed in his hometown.

More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
George Carlin recorded vicious anti-cop bit just before 9/11, now hear the uncensored material


Carlin being arrested in 1972
 
One distinct post-9/11 memory I have was purchasing Is This It, the debut album by The Strokes, and noticing that it was missing a track. It turns out the song “New York City Cops” had been removed—the NYPD had essentially been canonized and absolutely no one wanted to be seen as critical of first responders. It turns out the same thing happened to the great George Carlin, who recorded some some anti-police material just a few weeks prior to 9/11, only to have it shelved in the wake of terrorist attacks and subsequent ennobling of the NYPD. Now via SiriusXM’s “Carlin’s Corner” you can hear the offending bit below.

George Carlin, let’s not forget, had very good—and personal—reasons to resent the police, having been famously arrested himself for obscenity in Milwaukee in 1972 for performing his “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television” routine—an off-duty police officer who was in the audience dropped a dime on him for using profanity onstage. As the well-known story goes, Carlin’s wife Brenda got onstage during her husband’s set to let him know that the police were congregating and waiting to arrest him. Carlin’s performance ran 30 minutes longer and he brought the house down, all the while making to ditch the cocaine in his pocket right before the cops nabbed him. Carlin only spent a few hours in jail and was freed on $150 bail, but it was a narrowly missed disaster over some dirty jokes.

The bit about cops, titled “Rats & Squealers” will be on the upcoming album of previously unreleased material I Kinda Like It When A Lotta People Die available from MPI Media/Eardrum Records on CD, limited edition vinyl and digital platforms on September 16, 2016.
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
NUDE Donald Trump statue glued to the ground in several cities


 
Members of the anarchist artists collective INDECLINE have unveiled life-size statues of Donald Trump naked—and with no testicles and a teeny weenie—in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Cleveland and Seattle. “The Emperor Has No Balls” is the name of their multi-city guerilla installation.

What I like best about this is that clearly these wonderful pieces of ostensibly “public” art were made, really, for just one person’s dubious pleasure: Donald Trump’s! That the rest of us might find them amusing seems like a bonus.

Via the Washington Post:

The eyes scowl, the mouth pouts and the veiny, almost reptilian skin looks like it was torn off a human-size frog and dipped in bronzer.

The job of conceptualizing and creating the statues fell to a man who goes by the name “Ginger,” a Las Vegas-based artist. Ginger told The Post that he has a long history of designing monsters for haunted houses and horror movies.

In addition to doing makeup for a Busta Rhymes video, Ginger’s résumé includes another source of great pride for the artist: He’s a regular keynote speaker at haunted house conventions across the country. (We checked and, yeah, they’re a thing.)

“When the guys approached me, it was all because of my monster-making abilities,” he said, referring to INDECLINE members. “Trump is just yet another monster, so it was absolutely in my wheelhouse to be able to create these monstrosities.”

The statues were commissioned in April. The INDECLINE pranksters said they wanted Trump’s effigy to appear to have a “constipated look.” Each statue was glued to the ground using industrial strength epoxy.

Genius!
 

The “saggy old man butt” view from NYC’s Union Square.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
BASS IN YOUR FACE: Excellent footage of the Sex Pistols’ notorious San Antonio gig
08.17.2016
11:23 am

Topics:
History
Music
Punk
U.S.A.!!!

Tags:
Sex Pistols
Texas


 
When I read about the very recent incident wherein the estimable Mr. John Lydon shrugged off a bleeding head gash inflicted by a bottle-throwing audience member to continue performing as though nothing had happened (this at age 60, folks—a lot of MUCH younger performers have stopped shows for less) I couldn’t help but be reminded of the great moments in early punk lore—the time that the Sex Pistols, on the brief US tour that catalyzed their demise, played Randy’s Rodeo, a former bowling alley converted into a cowboy bar in San Antonio, TX.

Such an inappropriate booking was clearly a deliberate provocation—this was at a time in when civilians still found tales of routine onstage sex and vomiting at punk shows plausible. So a crowd made up of cowboys and heshers (plus some pilgrims from Austin) had come expecting to see the most preposterous rumors about punk made real, and they had no shortage of missiles to hurl at the band—the usual bottles, cans and cups, hot dogs and popcorn, someone even pelted Lydon with whipped cream, which not only doesn’t hurt, it’s surely more welcome than the more customary gobs of spit.
 

 
The Pistols did do a fair job of delivering on punk’s rumored promise—singer Lydon, wearing a gay cowboy t-shirt by Tom of Finland and baiting the presumably hostile audience as “cowboy faggots”, farmer-blew snot onto the stage and the fans in front. Bassist Sid Vicious, actually experiencing heroin withdrawal, removed his coat to reveal “GIMMIE A FIX” scrawled on his chest, and endeavored to silence a heckler by bludgeoning him with his bass.

This clip from the 1980 documentary D.O.A.: A Rite of Passage, of the song “New York” from that storied performance, shows pretty much all that’s described above, and it wasn’t even a third of the way through their set. There’s great audience footage as well—rural metalheads air-guitaring, a seemingly normal woman who’d pierced her nose with a safety pin, and at the end, the guy who Vicious hit with his bass admitting he’d deliberately provoked the musician in performance, still cryassing about his retaliation.

What would you give to be able to time-travel to attend this show?
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
‘Trump Focus Group’: Triumph the Insult Comic Dog meets Trump voters and it’s f*cking hilarious


 
There’s really no point whatsoever in me describing this for you, you already know what it is from the title alone. Is mocking low IQ Trump supporters like shooting fish in a barrel? Sure it is, but that makes it no less funny.

Although fewer than 25k people have seen this so far, that’s not going to be the case for long. Despite the fact that it requires a 15 minute investment on your part, Mr. or Ms. Modern American ADD person, it’s worth every second.

Triumph the Insult Comic Dog stages a focus group with Trump’s biggest supporters, presenting a series of increasingly outrageous and extremely fake campaign ads, to find out how far they’re willing to go in support of their candidate.

Stay with it. OMG... stay with it till the very end. It builds into a crescendo of idiocy that will have you… in tears one way or the other!

If you don’t “get it,” well, the joke’s on you, bub.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
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