“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.”
“Eve of Destruction,” written by teenage Bob Dylan fan P. F. Sloan and sung by former New Christy Minstrel Barry McGuire, spent eleven weeks on the Billboard chart in 1965, reaching number one that September. Apocalyptic, adolescent and aporetic, it was loathed as only a hit can be. “Even at the time, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Paul Simon, Pete Seeger, Noel Stookey of Peter, Paul & Mary, and Manfred Mann lead singer Paul Jones all slagged the song in the press,” Richie Unterberger writes. I suspect most of these musicians just thought the song was not a very good Dylan ripoff, but some public-spirited citizens were seriously concerned that the protest number gave ground to the Reds. “How do you think the enemy will feel with a tune like that No. 1 in America?” future respected foreign policy analyst Rose Parade host Bob Eubanks asked in the pages of TIME.
Staying at the Hollywood Sunset Hotel in the late summer of 1965, Dylan provided his own response to “Eve of Destruction,” as biographer Howard Sounes reports:
‘Get P. F. Sloan,’ Bob demanded. ‘Let’s have P. F. Sloan up here.’
Sloan was duly summoned to the Hollywood Sunset Hotel where Bob played him acetates of Highway 61 Revisited. Sloan rolled about on the floor laughing when he heard ‘Ballad of a Thin Man.’ Bob laughed too. He slapped his knees as if it was the biggest joke in the world. Then he said, seriously, ‘I gotta big problem here. Columbia Records doesn’t have any idea what this song is about. They think it’s communistic.’ Before Sloan had time to digest this shocking piece of information, David Crosby of The Byrds entered the suite and he and Bob went into the bedroom, leaving Sloan on his own. What happened next seems to have been an elaborate stunt arranged by Bob to cause the already excitable Sloan to freak out. ‘Two women come in from the bedroom half-naked – topless – sit down like book ends on the couch, and they don’t say a word, just sit there,’ says Sloan. ‘In from the window, from the outside, comes a man, flying in from a rope wearing a Zorro outfit, with a black hat and black mask, wearing black silk pajamas.’ The man dressed as Zorro sat between the topless girls and stared at Sloan. ‘I can only imagine that Bob had set this up, but I don’t know. And he’s in the other room with David Crosby. About fifteen, twenty minutes go by. The girls get up. Nobody says a word.’ Zorro and the girls exited via the front door, leaving Sloan again on his own. ‘David Crosby comes out of the bedroom and shakes hands with me and Bob continues to play me the rest of the album.’
Musician Ian Whitcomb records how, in November ‘65, one Singing Swallow, then the program director at a radio station in Santa Rosa, California, interpreted the success of “Eve of Destruction.” Whitcomb, who had recently shared the stage with McGuire (“a perfectly charming man, very warm and gentle, not at all like his hate-filled song”) on a Pittsburgh TV show, was visiting radio stations to peddle his single “N-N-Nervous!” Accompanying him was George Sherlock, the subject of the Stones’ “The Under Assistant West Coast Promotion Man,” who, in the excerpt below, has just spun the singer’s new disc. From Whitcomb’s Rock Odyssey:
Spinning his chair vaguely in my direction, [the program director] asked: “When you gonna make another record, son?” “But you just listened to a smash, Swallow,” said George with a boogaloo swing of his hips. “Naw—I mean one I can play.” Before I could answer, Swallow continued with: “Have you guys heard this ‘Eve of Destruction’ mother? It’s a stone fox smash!” And to emphasize his point, he burst open another can of beer, soaking my record. “A lot of the lyrics I can’t make out, but what I can is goddamn treason! Can you believe a guy who knocks our Draft, our senators, our church, our H-bombs—and all on a pop record?” “So I take it,” said George with a dismissive click of his fingers, “that the disc is negative as far as your big boss playlist is concerned?” “Not on your Hollywood scalp doily! It may knock the U.S.A., but I don’t knock success. I grab it by the balls and hang on tight. That ‘Eve’ disc is Dylan made commercial. It’s gonna open up a whole new area. It’s a new kind of loot music under the title of protest, remember that! Now, Whitmore, you got something I can play, something that fits the times and our format—and I’ll spin it like crazy. But until that time, it’s so long and have a happy day. Out!
As you can see, “Eve of Destruction” shocked and convulsed the nation with its radical message that everything might not work out so great. Here are five songs that strove to replace Sloan’s teenage “no” with a paternalistic “yes.”
The Spokesmen, “Dawn of Correction”
The most famous retort to “Eve of Destruction,” beloved of rock writers Greil Marcus and Lester Bangs, came from Philadelphia’s Spokesmen, a trio formed by the partners who wrote “At The Hop” and a local DJ. The three rock professionals bent Sloan’s ungainly rhymes to the service of their relentlessly cheerful view:
You missed all the good in your evaluation
What about the things that deserve commendation?
Where there once was no cure, there’s vaccination
Where there once was a desert, there’s vegetation
Self-government’s replacing colonization
What about the Peace Corps organization?
Don’t forget the work of the United Nations
I’m not sure where the TV clip of “Dawn of Correction” below comes from, but according to lead Spokesman John Madara’s website, they performed the song on American Bandstand and The Lloyd Thaxton Show.
The Spokesmen, “Dawn of Correction”:
But you tell me over and over and over again my friend that you want to hear more ‘Eve of Destruction’ answer songs? There’s more, plenty more, after the jump…
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.
When I watched this the first time, I wasn’t aware of the fact that it was actually produced by a group of conservatives, the Public Integrity Alliance of Arizona, a nonprofit largely made up of East Valley Republicans. Frankly one doesn’t expect to see something legitimately amusing coming from Republican quarters—as everyone knows Republicans aren’t funny. But this is excellent, a pitch-perfect country-rock video starring Phoenix-based comedian Brian Nissen’s redneck “Dwain” character, a mullet-wearing simpleton who wants to “make America great again” by voting for a blustering, buffoonish billionaire who believes American wages are too high, that we need a border wall to keep out all of the Muslims and Mexicans and all kinds of other silly stuff tailored to the basest of the GOP base… Perhaps you know who he’s talking about?
As Raw Story’s Travis Gettys points out, although the song brutally mocks Trump’s most outrageous ideas “in the bizarro world of the 2016 presidential race, it’s not hard to imagine Trump playing the song at his own rallies.” Sadly this is all too true…
“I’ve noticed that some of the Trump fans loved it,” said Tyler Montague, founder and president of PIA. “They’re like, ‘Yeah, this is everything Trump is about, this is dead on.’ We’re like, ‘You’re kidding us, right?’”
Montague, who appears in the video as a redneck buddy, said the 501(c)(4) group — which is not required to report its donors but cannot be used primarily to influence elections — became motivated to act after Trump suggested a ban on Muslims in the U.S.
“When he said the stuff about Muslims, we were like, we’ve got to call that out and make fun of the absurdity of that,” Montague said.
He blasted Trump’s ideas as anti-conservative and un-American.
“I don’t want to overstate it, but [Trump’s] kind of a fascist,” Montague said. “It’s the closest thing to fascism that America’s had, at least in our lifetime.”
Here’s the video. Tell me if you think the average Trump supporter will get the joke or simply sing along?
If you’ve got a beard, you’d best tread carefully around riled-up Fox News viewers.
In one of the single dumbest news stories I’ve read in a year that’s been chock full of ‘em, Benedetto DeFrancisco, a transgender Chicago teaching assistant, was harassed and threatened at gunpoint after he was mistaken for a member of ISIS, apparently solely on account of—drumroll please—his beard.
“I literally just walk around the school, so on my second lap, he was definitely shouting [again], and it felt like it was aimed at me. It was getting louder and more aggressive. A lot of swearing. I honestly thought he was drunk. I took out my headphones and looked at him, and heard what he was saying: ‘I know what you’re doing, motherfucker. You’re scaring my wife — get out of here.’”
At this point DeFrancisco saw Jackson’s .45 caliber Ruger semi-automatic pistol and calmly walked away, calling authorities after he was safely around the corner. Police arrived on the scene soon afterwards.
“They were getting scared, because the ISIS attack happened in France, and getting more scared that ISIS was in Chicago. It’s clear that they had been watching me since the previous Monday — this happened on a Wednesday. I’ve been taking these walks since I’ve been working there. On my walk, I notice the same people come around. My thing to do is say hello. Unfortunately, with this man and his wife, their fear got the best of them. They could have just asked, ‘Hey, what are you doing here?’”
Mr. Jackson is due in court on Wednesday on charges of aggravated assault. He’s lucky that flagrant stupidity isn’t a crime because the judge would be obliged to throw the book at him.
Coming as no surprise to anyone, according to detectives, Jackson and his wife are avid Fox News fans! DeFrancisco’s “look”—which includes a beard—was making Mrs. Jackson nervous and so her husband decided to grab his gun and verbally assault him while waving a gun around. Cute couple.
This is kind of abject idiocy you can’t reason with. Fox News + Islamophobia + Republicans + GUNS = Modern America going completely insane. With his own experience being a vivid example of how this sort of irrational “thinking” can hurt totally innocent people, DeFrancisco believes that the Fox News fear-mongering has negative repercussions:
“[Jackson] is not the only person watching Fox News — it’s a toxin and it’s spreading fear, and this fear leads to hatred. Instead of wanting to know something about a culture or religion, they just shut it down in the most horrible or scary way.”
I’ll say it again: His beard is what set them off!
It’s too sadly moronic to contemplate, isn’t it?
Admirably Benedetto DeFrancisco is taking this unfortunate incident in his stride and although he would like a letter of apology from Mr. Jackson he doesn’t hope for him to spend any time in jail, thinking that his assailant, who was allegedly quite contrite upon his arrest, has learned a valuable lesson.
Fuck that. Make an example of this idiot. At the very least fine him an awful lot of money, so much that it hurts, AND TAKE AWAY HIS FUCKING GUN FOR GOOD.
If Fox News tries to make a martyr out of poor dumb-dumb sap William Jackson—he’s the new Kim Davis, a brave American going after an Islamic terrorist with a gun OR AT LEAST THIS IS WHAT THE FUCK HE THOUGHT HE WAS DOING, this story will crawl up its own ass in ways I can’t even anticipate. Perhaps Mike Huckabee will show up at his arraignment with a guy in a Santa Claus suit and a camera crew and the theme from Rocky playing over the PA system.
OK, so this post is probably breaking the first two rules of something or other, but check this out:
A new app is currently in development that will allow users to find and set up fist-fight “dates” much in the same way users of Tinder or Grindr find other interested parties to set up potential fuck sessions.
“I’d hit it.”
The app, called Rumblr, includes a chat tool and a map function to locate nearby fights and fighters. Users can upload their stats to see how they measure up against competitors. Unlike a certain other “club,” users aren’t required to fight—they can use the app’s “explore” function to find nearby fights to attend as spectators.
The app has yet to have an official release (is it even legal? How much liability can be attributed to the app or its platform when someone ends up murdered?), but the developers have a waiting list going for potential users to be notified when and if it becomes available.
Let’s file this one under “Apex of Western Civilization” or “What could possibly go wrong?”
Julien’s calls itself “The Auction House to the Stars,” and not without reason—an auction they’re holding this week, “Icons and Idols 2015: Rock n’ Roll,” features a metric shitload of guitars, amps, and even a couple of autoharps owned by Heart’s Nancy Wilson, Jim Morrisson’s Tallahassee mug shot, Michael Jackson memorabilia that includes his fang mold from the “Thriller” video, a Jimi Hendrix rehearsal cassette, and even handwritten song lyrics by Johnny Cash (about those last two THE HOLIDAYS ARE COMING UP YOU GUYS I’M JUST SAYIN’).
But nothing in the auction, however badass, has anything like the lurid appeal of some of the Elvis Presley lots. There’s one of Elvis’ Cadillacs. There’s a gold-leaf piano. Bafflingly, there’s even a Chai necklace. Pretty sure The King wasn’t Jewish, but hey, I’m sure he’d be welcome in the tribe. There’s a lot of great Elvis stuff on the block at Julien’s for the discerning 1%er who has it all. but the real winners here are his drug paraphernalia.
Sadly, his notorious final prescription (reproduced on the back cover of Death of Samantha’s Laughing In The Face Of A Dead Man EP, I’m compelled to mention) is not among the lots offered for bidding here, but there IS a prescription written by Elvis’ infamous personal physician George “Dr. Nick” Nichopoulos, for the muscle relaxer Maolate.
The AK-47, or Kalashnikov, is one of the most popular assault rifles in the world due to its low cost, ease of availability, reliability under harsh conditions, and accuracy when being used to carve crude faces into seasonal gourds.
Meet YouTube user Hickok45, a gun enthusiast with over 1.6 million subscribers, who will demonstrate turning a pumpkin into a proper jack-o-lantern using only an AK-47:
He has uploaded several videos displaying his incredible skills as the world’s foremost jack-o-lantern marksman.
His latest video, uploaded a few days ago, has him using a Henry Rifle to create a crude visage on a hapless pumpkin.
Hickok45 describes his videos as an “attempt to educate the masses about how to properly and safely carve a pumpkin,” adding, “word has it that people are still using dangerous, sharp knives to do this.”
In an effort to weaponize the psychological effect of terrifying sounds to break the morale of our enemies, the Air Force began work, in 1964, on “Pyrotechnic Harassment Devices,” or PHDs.
It has been scientifically proven that human screams contain unique acoustic properties that are highly effective in triggering the brain’s fear center, and the Pentagon wanted some of that ju-ju.
Essentially the PHDs were bombs that would create the sound of horrific human screams in an effort to scare the hell out of our foes. The idea being that if you can break the mind of your enemy, you can break him in battle. One imagines the unnerving effect of hundreds of screams on the front-lines would be similar to that of the infamous Aztec Death Whistle.
Joseph Trevithick, writing at the fantastic military blog, War is Boring, details the the idea behind the weapon:
“This device is an air deliverable unit that generates noise over a six hour period to harass, by generally upsetting enemy troops and thus lowering their efficiency for fighting,” technicians at the Air Force Armament Laboratory explained in their final report. “By dropping a number of units around an enemy group under attack, the PHD may cause general confusion.”
The Air Force hired a company called Special Devices, Inc. to build the prototypes. At first, the flying branch hoped that the pods would boom, bellow and shriek out gunshots, human and animal screeching sounds and the clanging of industrial machinery. Engineers recorded a host of specific samples to analyze, such as people firing .30- and .45-caliber guns and male and female screams.
The recordings also included a “neutral scream” consisting of a mix of the male and female versions and the cries of elephants and panthers, according to the official report. But after experimenting with a variety of mechanisms, Special Devices could only build pods that spewed out shots, whistles, whines and other white noise.
Ultimately the devices were not deemed practical: “There appears to be no way to make a pyrotechnic scream simulator with satisfactory characteristics for the PHD unit,” lamented the engineers. The idea of a “scream bomb” was looking less and less plausible.
Unable to come up with a practical scream generator, speaker boxes were built that could broadcast any recorded sound. Cargo planes were to drop these “screeming meemies” into enemy territory as a sonic disruption.
The box-shaped Screaming Meemie consisted of five major components. The primary element was the siren, which generated what was described as a “warbling tone,” plus four loudspeakers—one for each side of the box.
The siren could be set to function continuously or intermittently. The battery could keep it running for 12 hours.
There was a self-destruct and booby-trap function. The 25-pound high-explosive charge would detonate if someone pushed the device over or tried to open it, or if the battery dropped below a certain level.
The guts of the Screeming Meemie. Visible is (1) the audio system, (2) the dummy high explosive charge, (3) the battery pack, and (4) aluminum cushion. Air Force photo
It seems the military had switched gears from scaring the enemy to death with blood-curdling screams, to annoying them to death with a “warbling tone.” Ultimately, these tests were also ineffective, and the Screaming Meemie project was abandoned in 1967 when the Air Force cancelled its requirement for a “noise-making weapon for psychological warfare.”
A Screaming Meemie in position to be dropped from a C-47. The black arrow points to where the static line connects to the aircraft. Air Force photo
Still, the idea of using noise to disrupt the enemy had not been totally abandoned. Military troops have famously used blasts of loud noise and music against Manuel Noriega and David Koresh. Recently the band Skinny Puppymade headlines with a lawsuit against the US Government for using its music as psychological warfare “torture music” against the detainees at Guantanamo Bay.
Perhaps there’s still room for research and development on a bomb that screams at the enemy…
Few horror movies have ever really scared me. Many have repeatedly startled me with cheap jump-scares, and plenty have mortified me with visceral gore, but not many movies have really, truly, haunt-my-dreams-for-years SCARED me. Reality scares the absolute living shit out of me every day,and I can’t go to the lobby for a drink or hit a pause button when the intensity gets ramped up. And few things in reality currently scare me into near-paralysis like the idea of President Donald Trump.
And that right there is the key to the humor in DesignCrowd’s recent contest, “Photoshop Donald Trump into famous horror movie scenes.” I’m always a sucker for a ‘shop contest, whether it’s for pros and advanced amateurs like on Worth 1000, or just for top shelf anonymous wise-asses like the users of Fark and Something Awful, but this one reaches some dizzying heights of prime Internet smartassery. We’ve selected some favorites to show you here, but DesignCrowd has several pages of contenders.