Michael Galinsky has documented many moments of political tension, from Klan rallies to Occupy Wall Street. Tagging along with a friend who worked for Reuters, Galinsky showed up at the Donald Trump rally in Greensboro, NC on Tuesday. He applied for press credentials as they were driving to the venue, although his plans from the beginning were to shoot something more akin to Jeff Krulik and John Heyn’s “Heavy Metal Parking Lot,” the legendary underground film made in the parking lot of a 1986 Judas Priest concert.
But whereas “Heavy Metal Parking Lot” is bust-a-gut hilarious stuff, Galinsky’s quietly observational footage of the Trump rally will probably just make you sad. He writes:
I had applied too late which was fine, but I still tried to talk my way in because there wasn’t much happening outside. When that didn’t work I sat down in the shade to figure out a plan of action. After about a minute of watching people trickle towards the venue, I heard a man yelling, “White Power!” I grabbed my camera and approached. He was wearing a big cowboy hat and a Willie Nelson shirt with Willie giving us “the finger.” Still, I wasn’t sure if he was being ironic until a minute later when the cops approached. They explained that we as citizens do have “free speech,” but that his incendiary language was dangerous and therefore prohibited. It was kind of a surreal conversation (see the video), and as I listened, it dawned on me that I wasn’t going to be allowed there much longer either. I was right. After they gave him and his friend the heave-ho, I was told I had five minutes to leave. I tried once again to get in with credentials, then I headed for the parking lot.
I often enter these situations with a vague idea of what I plan to shoot but try to remain open to what comes. I ran into a guy selling shirts and talked to him for a bit. They were vulgar, anti-Hilary shirts and people heading into the event loved them. I started to think about the people who sold things at the event and followed this up with another guy selling shirts. A few moments later, I saw a group of people who were representing the Militia Movement. I talked to them for a bit, and then a roving protest showed up. It was a loud mass surrounded by police. Having spent time with the militia guys, I observed the protest from their perspective for a while.
This event was taking place just days after the horrific events in Orlando, and this was largely an LGBTQ-led protest. After having filmed at dozens of protests, I get a little spooked around cops. These guys were generally working with kid gloves, but I still felt a bit unsure about going to shoot with the protesters as they were surrounded by masses of cops. I’m a “non-credentialed” journalist, and as such, I’m more at risk in these situations, so I try to be very cautious. The protesters set up shop across the street, and I made my way across the street to shoot a couple of people being interviewed by a local news channel. I like to shoot media doing interviews because it gives a context to the situation and how that situation is being portrayed.
And now without future explanation, because of course, none is really necessary, witness the pathetic gene pool who support Biff Tannen sorry, er President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho whoops, I mean Donald Trump as they cavort and gather and hoot and holler in “Trump Parking Lot.”
I’ve been waiting for this primo item of Desert Storm-abilia to turn up on YouTube for years, and Lord knows I have waited patiently; for as the Good Book reminds us, “the race is not to the swift” (Ecclesiastes 9:11), and some of these fuckers are anything but swift.
Back in ‘91, Jerry Martin (a/k/a Jerry Buckner) rode the tide of blood unleashed by the first Gulf War all the way to #71 on Billboard’s country chart. I’m still struggling to understand how this epistolary spoken word release qualified as a country song, but I’m going to bet it had something to do with the kinds of radio stations that played it and the obscure regions of our nation to which their signals penetrated. A cassingle issued in a plain gray sleeve, Martin’s “Letter to Saddam Hussein” had little in common with Jello Biafra’s contemporary Gulf War cassingle, “Die for Oil, Sucker,” which pointed out that we might not be fighting for the noblest of causes.
Martin left that kind of thinking to eggheads, Poindexters and Philadelphia lawyers. On his cassingle, he allowed as how he didn’t know much of anything, because being so ordinary, regular and real didn’t leave a lot of time for studies. But there was one thing he did know: our pride would be Saddam’s shame.
I mentioned that Jerry Martin was the pseudonym of Jerry Buckner. Now, I can’t be sure this is theJerry Buckner of “Pac Man Fever” fame, but I do wonder how many vocal talents named Jerry Buckner might plausibly reside in the Atlanta area. To whom was Saddam supposed to address his reply? Whatever, I bet the dictator thought twice about showing his face down south after this tape came out. Cut way down on his trips to Georgia.
Now a quarter-century old—its sleeve no longer the shiny gray I remember from my Sam Goody youth, but the dull gray I see in my Sam Elliott beard—this curiosity fetches outrageous prices on Amazon. I can’t imagine why. I hope it’s because there are a lot of Big Lebowski and Nevermind fans researching the beginnings of American history’s most bogus journey.
Without spoiling the dramatic ending of “Letter to Saddam Hussein,” I can tell you that we kept its promise. Our boys showed Saddam who was boss, thereby transforming the entire Fertile Crescent into a fiery whirlwind of widows’ blood and children’s limbs. Now our boys will be there showing Saddam who’s boss forever!
An unidentified Bible-thumping halfwit and her—get this—twelve children shot cell phone footage of their cringey two-minute dumdum hate parade through a Target store and it’s starting to go viral. The family probably posted it to Facebook themselves (clearly one of her minions held the phone that shot it) but it made its way to YouTube. I could find next to no information about this. There’s not even any information about the location of the Target store or anything else. What you see is what you get.
And what you get is a breathtaking display of idiocy, bigotry and I’m guessing more than a ladleful of severe mental illness. Obviously she is a “Christian” and how much do you wanna bet that she is also a Republican voter? (The GOP wants to curtail voting access for blacks, but this pathological freak is okay with a ballot? And no doubt a gun to protect her family against homos and that Obama, too? Right...)
So what’s going on here is that this… perturbed and disturbed woman is apparently angry that Target allows transgender customers to use bathrooms and changing rooms that correspond to their gender identity, so she brought along her… brood (How much do you wanna bet that they are homeschooled, huh?) and traipsed through a Target whilst hoisting a Bible and annoying everyone in the store who is not one of her blood relatives who she also happened to give birth to.
Maybe the Westboro Baptist Church has some competition? Meet the hateful new Christian kids on the block!
“Attention Target customers… Do not be deceived, Target would have you believe with their Mother’s Day displays that they love mothers and children. This is a deception. This is not love, and they’ve proven it by opening their bathrooms to perverted men. I’m a mother of 12 and I’m very disgusted by this wicked practice.”
Hey look, I’m disgusted by this fucking walking, shouting imbecile factory who feels entitled to bring twelve more genetically deficient morons into the world, yet I’m not inclined to wear such a statement on a sandwich board and walk around like a weirdo outside of this lady’s church. When you’re a Christian in America, though, you don’t need an excuse to wear your hatred (and IQ) so proudly. It’s your birthright!
“Mothers get your children out of this store. Mothers have enough decency to get out of this store, it’s a dangerous place… What Target has done is very hateful. It’s hateful towards families. It’s hateful towards mothers. It’s hateful towards children… Are you gonna let the devil rape your children?”
I thought that was the job of the clergy?
All in all though, as this video makes the rounds today, you have to give this head-shakingly ridiculous woman credit for all of the minds she changed with her goofy self-righteous God-bothering tirade. Not the way she intended to change them, but still. Bless.
In an image that’s making its way across the webiverse this week, an unfortunate (possibly Parrothead) bro was photographed passed out in a nasty-ass piss-trough. As many commenters have noted, this is one of the most disgusting photos to turn up on the Internet in a while. I believe it touches a nerve for many because if we don’t perhaps see a bit of ourselves in this poor sap, we probably at least know that guy.
As the image spread, the Internet wasted no time at all in identifying the restroom in question. Redditors named the location as Pavlov’s in Columbia, SC.
As a South Carolinian and graduate of the University of South Carolina (Go Cocks!), I’m quite familiar with Pavlov’s. I work practically next door to the place. That joint has been around forever and has cemented a reputation as THE local establishment for frat dudes to get absolutely shit-hammered as quickly as humanly possible. I’ve been to this place, often by drunken accident, and I can attest to it being a living fucking nightmare. Unless, of course, you’re a Southern frat guy looking to get blasted on Fireball shots and maybe get in on a little watersports action.
Now, you might know frat dudes, but if you’re not from the South you may not be familiar with a very special brand of frat dude that we grow down here. Imagine all the worst cliches of obnoxious muscle-headed frat guy behavior and then filter that through all the worst cliches of Confederate flag-wavin’, NASCAR-lovin’, pickup truck-drivin, drawl-speakin’, nouveau-riche redneckery. South Carolina frat culture is the cesspool whose greatest contribution to the world thusfar has been Hootie and the Blowfish. Well, at least up until now. Now we have them to thank for both Hootie AND piss-trough guy.
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…
A new Change.org petition is currently circulating demanding that the Quicken Loans arena, site of the 2016 RNC, allow the open carry of firearms. The convention will be held in Ohio, which is an “open-carry” state, but the venue itself strictly forbids the carry of firearms on premises.
According to the petition, the gun ban is a “direct affront to the Second Amendment and puts all attendees at risk”:
As the National Rifle Association has made clear, “gun-free zones” such as the Quicken Loans Arena are “the worst and most dangerous of all lies.” The NRA, our leading defender of gun rights, has also correctly pointed out that “gun free zones… tell every insane killer in America… (the) safest place to inflict maximum mayhem with minimum risk.”
Cleveland, Ohio is consistently ranked as one of the top ten most dangerous cities in America. By forcing attendees to leave their firearms at home, the RNC and Quicken Loans Arena are putting tens of thousands of people at risk both inside and outside of the convention site.
This doesn’t even begin to factor in the possibility of an ISIS terrorist attack on the arena during the convention. Without the right to protect themselves, those at the Quicken Loans Arena will be sitting ducks, utterly helpless against evil-doers, criminals or others who wish to threaten the American way of life.
We are all too familiar with the mass carnage that can occur when citizens are denied their basic God-given rights to carry handguns or assault weapons in public. EVERY AMERICAN HAS THE RIGHT TO PROTECT AND DEFEND THEIR FAMILY. With this irresponsible and hypocritical act of selecting a “gun-free zone” for the convention, the RNC has placed its members, delegates, candidates and all US citizens in grave danger.
We must take a stand. We cannot allow the national nominating convention of the party of Lincoln and Reagan to be hijacked by weakness and political correctness. The policies of the Quicken Loans Arena do not supersede the rights given to us by our Creator in the U.S. Constitution.
It’s no secret that many top GOP officials are not at all happy about the possibility of Trump getting the party’s nomination, and there has been much speculation about the possibility of a brokered convention where the popular will of their base could be superseded. If Trump is denied the nomination, there’s a very good chance of an angry backlash from his supporters. You can count on it. Trump himself has even suggested that his supporters may “riot” if he is not the party’s nominee.
Imagine the 1968 DNC riots all over again, except move the venue over to the RNC and replace anti-war hippies with bitter old white people… WITH GUNS.
So, hey, go ahead and sign the petition—just to see how interesting it makes the 2016 RNC. The problem of Trump’s supporters may just solve itself.
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.
Who’s your favorite candidate for the presidency? The one who plans to carpet bomb ISIS? The one who wants to murder the families of terrorists? Or the architect of our disastrous intervention in Libya, who once threatened to nuke Iran? Whose saber-rattling do you think demonstrates the blithest disregard for civilian lives?
While bellicose enough to reflect our leaders’ thirst for human blood, our current national anthem has a few deficiencies. No one can sing it, its melody is ripped straight from “To Anacreon in Heaven,” and it has a truly awful third verse that disses slaves.
One Shannon Madden of Birmingham, Alabama, has proposed an elegant solution: replace “The Star-Spangled Banner” with Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs.” This is an idea whose time has come. For starters, you can sing it. “Satan, laughing, spreads his wings” is a more realistic image of the aftermath of our merry adventures than “our flag was still there.” And though I seldom take in a game of sports, on those rare occasions when I do, I would rather lend my voice to an Iommi, Osbourne, Butler and Ward composition than a song by a slave-holding anti-abolitionist. Wouldn’t you?
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.
I’ve never been a fan of Buffy Sainte-Marie’s protest song “Universal Soldier,” the one Donovan popularized in the 60s and Ron Paul dusted off for his 2008 presidential campaign. I’m sure it felt good to belt “Universal Soldier” down at the hootenanny, but was this ostentatious display of superiority to the poor suckers on the front line actually supposed to pass for a critique?
Probably the friendliest thing you could say about Sainte-Marie’s analysis is that it leaves out a few important factors that might compel people to cross the ocean and eat hot lead instead of staying at home with a nice plate of squash blossoms—you know, factors like power and class, which are helpful in understanding the merry adventures of the press gang, or the practice of substitution during the Civil War. All I’m saying is, as suggestions go, “we wouldn’t have wars if soldiers would just stop fighting” is about as helpful as “we’d have a socialist paradise tomorrow if everyone would just quit their jobs and eat dirt.” (My word, why do the working classes toil so? And why would a person travel so far to choke on mustard gas?)
Then again, “Universal Soldier” is civilization itself compared to Jan and Dean’s poisonous answer song. On “The Universal Coward,” a right-wing screed sandwiched between anodyne versions of “Yesterday” and “It Ain’t Me Babe” on 1965’s Folk ‘n Roll, Jan sang what Nixon believed (Dean, to his credit, “refused to join him”), viz. that everyone who participated in the antiwar movement was the dupe of a Communist plot to destroy American morale.
If you weren’t excited about wading in the blood of Vietnamese peasants, Jan Berry thought you were too stupid to understand international relations, traitorous, and a total puss to boot. His lyrics lump in protesters and COs with defectors to the Soviet Union, for farting out loud:
He’s young, he’s old, he’s in between and he’s so very much confused
He’ll scrounge around and protest all day long
He joins the pickets at Berkeley, and he burns up his draft card,
And he’s twisted into thinkin’ fightin’ is all wrong
He’s a pacifist, an extremist, a Communist or just a Yank (?)
A demonstrator, an agitator, just a knave
A conscientious objector, a fanatic or a defector,
And he doesn’t know he’s diggin’ his own grave
Aww, he just can’t get it through his thick skull why the mighty U.S.A.
Has got to be the watchdog of the world
Else that greedy U.S.S.R. will bury us from afar
And he’ll never see the missiles bein’ hurled
He’s the universal coward, and he runs from anything
From a giant, from a human, from an elf
He runs from Uncle Sam, he runs from Vietnam,
But most of all he’s runnin’ from himself
Worse than anything in the lyrics is the almost intolerable tone of self-satisfaction in Berry’s voice, redundant as a shit enema and so frankly repulsive as to make one long for Sainte-Marie’s comparatively restrained self-righteousness. It feels like a warm bath after all that.