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Dirty Work: Steely Dan was trolling conservative TV host Laura Ingraham way back in 1999
04.18.2018
10:10 am
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You’d think that having achieved the ignominious and largely accidental goal of landing Donald Trump in the White House would have sent conservative “commentators” into a full-on, four-year reverie of glee, but the opposite has been the case. Conservative nattering heads have been consumed with penny-ante rage and pinched with loathing ever since Trump began his term, beating the drums against Robert Mueller, Hillary Clinton, and Obama’s attorney general Loretta Lynch with the fervor of people who cannot countenance the transparently incompetent and corrupt regime that they have saddled our country with. Tucker Carlson has been doing his best to give white nationalism a limp sheen of preppy respectability, while Sean Hannity has been totally unhinged all year long and this week he learned that he may face serious legal problems due to his questionable relationship with the weirdly mobby Michael Cohen.

And then there’s Laura Ingraham. The crowning achievement of the host of, er, The Ingraham Angle (gag) in 2018 has been to get into an overdetermined brouhaha with arguably the most sympathetic players on the political scene today, those being the young survivors of the horrific shooting spree at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, two months ago. Ingraham mocked the brief spell of misfortune experienced by David Hogg after learning that some California universities had declined his application despite his 4.2 GPA. (He’s since been accepted by UC Irvine.)

The tweet by the Dartmouth graduate started, “David Hogg Rejected By Four Colleges To Which He Applied and whines about it.” It’s difficult to see under what circumstances a teenager would not be permitted to be upset about a college rejection letter but in any case, Ingraham let her core inhumanity show a bit there. The public outcry after Ingraham’s inane expression of schadenfreude were apparently enough to make her advertisers take notice, because she apologized a day later. (Hogg sensibly refused to credit her apology, correctly perceiving it to have been a business decision, pure and simple.)
 

 
Back when she was a more normal sort of conservative, before the existence even of Fox News, when she had a program with this silly name of Watch It! on (of all places) MSNBC, Ingraham got on the bad side of rock music’s wittiest jazz-rock duo Steely Dan when she used some of their music in her program. It should have been predictable that ur-Boomers Walter Becker and Donald Fagen would have been spending their lengthy mid-career hiatus (20 years between studio albums) keeping abreast of Monicagate on whatever rudimentary (by our standards) newschannel was available.

Becker and Fagen during this period were fond of writing angry or mock-worshipful missives to people like Owen Wilson and Wes Anderson. In this instance, in early 1999, the two of them tapped out a cease-and-desist letter addressed to Ingraham in which they proposed that Richard Wagner (a favorite of Nazis everywhere, don’t you know) be played instead of the band’s early hit “Dirty Work.”

Here is the letter in its entirety:
 

From: Donald Fagen and Walter Becker
To: Laura Ingraham, Host, MSNBC Television
Date: February 12, 1999

Dear Ms. Ingraham:

It has come to our attention that you have used the Steely Dan recording of our song “Dirty Work” as cutaway music at the end of your show last Monday. We understand that “Watch It!” is a political talk show. We have been sternly advised by a valued visitor to our official website that we should steer clear of politics, so as not to embarrass ourselves and our fans. While we recognize that you are clearly not bound by any such injunction, we nevertheless owe it to our admirers to stay out of trouble when we can. So we must regrettably insist that our recordings not be used on future broadcasts of your show.
It seems likely that, as the impeachment saga draws to a close, your show will be cancelled or else will morph into one sort of non-political daytime talk show or another (although certainly not a fashion show). If, for some unfathomable reason, “Watch It!” continues in its present form, may we suggest some other more suitable music for use during breaks:

          “Horst Wessel” - Traditional Teutonic anthem
          “Ride of the Valkyrie” - Richard Wagner
          “Theo, Wir Fahr’n Nach Lodz” - 70’s German chartmaker
          “The Lady is a Cryptofascist” - by The Welders of Zion
          Anything by Lou Reed, Helmet, or The Velvet Underground

After learning that you were using our music without permission, we looked in briefly on your show this morning. Being the political naifs that we are, we could hardly be expected to follow the learned colloquy between you and your guests. Are they all Ivy Leaguers? Anyway, we did notice that you looked so sad and maybe a little blotchy too. You’re not allergic to plaid, are you? We are very sorry to be cracking down like this at what is clearly a difficult and trying time for you and your pals. Please don’t take it personally. It’s just business. Okay?

Yours,

Donald Fagen and Walter Becker
Founders, Steely Dan

 
Here’s the song Ingraham played on her show, with lead vocals by David Palmer:

 
via Glenn Kenny
 

Posted by Martin Schneider
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04.18.2018
10:10 am
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When Luis Buñuel wrecked Charlie Chaplin’s Christmas
04.12.2018
09:30 am
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Eduardo Ugarte, Luis Buñuel, Jose Lopez Rubio, Leonor and Tono at Charlie Chaplin’s house, 1930

Whenever someone voices alarm about the “war on Christmas,” I think of my hero, Luis Buñuel, and smile. In 1930, Buñuel disrupted a Christmas party in Los Angeles by leading an attack on the tree and, when it proved hard to destroy, jumping up and down on the presents. Among the guests was Charlie Chaplin, whose house Buñuel often visited “to play tennis, swim, or use the sauna”; sometimes, he sat by the pool drinking with Sergei Eisenstein.

I seem to remember Buñuel or his son, Juan Luis, saying somewhere or other that Buñuel and his comrades attacked the Christmas tree because they found both it and the custom of gift-giving intolerably bourgeois. In My Last Sigh, however, the director writes that he was offended by a patriotic gesture.

He and his roommate, the screenwriter Eduardo Ugarte, were at the house of the Spanish comedian Tono and his wife Leonor, who had been Buñuel’s companions on the recent voyage from Le Havre to Hollywood:

At Christmastime, Tono and his wife gave a dinner party for a dozen Spanish actors and screenwriters, as well as Chaplin and Georgia Hale. We all brought a present that was supposed to have cost somewhere between twenty and thirty dollars, hung them on the tree, and began drinking. (Despite Prohibition, there was, of course, no shortage of alcohol.) Rivelles, a well-known actor at that time, recited a grandiloquent Spanish poem by Marquina, to the glory of the soldiers in Flanders. Like all patriotic displays, it made me nauseous.

“Listen,” I whispered to Ugarte and an actor named Peña at the dinner table, “when I blow my nose, that’s the signal to get up. Just follow me and we’ll take that ridiculous tree to pieces!”

Which is exactly what we did, although it’s not easy to dismember a Christmas tree. In fact, we got a great many scratches for some rather pathetic results, so we resigned ourselves to throwing the presents on the floor and stomping on them. The room was absolutely silent; everyone stared at us, openmouthed.

“Luis,” Tono’s wife finally said. “That was unforgivable.”

“On the contrary,” I replied. “It wasn’t unforgivable at all. It was subversive.”

The following morning dawned with a delicious coincidence, an article in the paper about a man in Berlin who tried to take apart a Christmas tree in the middle of the midnight Mass.

On New Year’s Eve, Chaplin—a forgiving man—once again invited us to his house, where we found another tree decorated with brand-new presents. Before we sat down to eat, he took me aside.

“Since you’re so fond of tearing up trees, Buñuel,” he said to me, “why don’t you get it over with now, so we won’t be disturbed during dinner?”

I replied that I really had nothing against trees, but that I couldn’t stand the kind of ostentatious patriotism I’d heard that evening.

Below, the French TV series Cinéastes de notre temps catches up with Luis Buñuel in ‘63 or ‘64.
 

Posted by Oliver Hall
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04.12.2018
09:30 am
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When Iron Maiden’s mascot knifed Margaret Thatcher
03.29.2018
08:45 am
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Derek Riggs’ original artwork for the ‘Sanctuary’ single sleeve
 
Who doesn’t love the metamorphoses of Iron Maiden’s cover star, Eddie? (Don’t answer that.) To flip through a stack of Maiden LPs is to revisit his many guises: ancient Egyptian pharaoh, lobotomized mental patient, time-traveling cyborg, zombie shock jock, outer space alien, outer space alien outlaw in an outer space saloon, and so on.

But before he set out on any of these merry adventures, Eddie spent an unforgettable evening with Mags. There he is on the cover of the “Sanctuary” single—the one with Maiden’s best singer, the future inmate Paul Di’Anno, pleading for “sanc-choo-ree from the lahhhhhhhhhhhh-hawwwwwwwww”—there’s Eddie the Head, fresh from knifing the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom on a desolate streetcorner. He does not appear extra jazzed that you, the viewer, have caught him in the act.
 

The censored version of Riggs’ artwork on the Japanese ‘Prowler’ single
 
Neil Daniels’ Iron Maiden says the depiction of Thatcher was the band’s idea, some kind of goof on her nickname, “the Iron Lady.” In Run to the Hills: The Official Biography of Iron Maiden, Mick Wall places the image in the context of UK politics and tabloid reporting c. 1980:

A knife-wielding Eddie is depicted crouching over the slain, mini-skirted figure of a woman that, on close inspection, appears to be Margaret Thatcher, the Conservative prime minister who had been swept into power in Britain at the 1979 general election. Judging by the scene, Eddie had apparently caught the malingering PM in the unforgivable act of tearing down an Iron Maiden poster from a street wall, a crime – in Eddie’s mad, unblinking eyes – worthy of only one punishment. The blood is still dripping from his twelve-inch blade as we catch up with them. However, the single’s release had coincided with a series of highly publicised real-life acts of violence perpetrated by the various disaffected members of the British public against several top-level Tory government officials. (Lord Home had reportedly been set upon by a gang of skinheads at Piccadilly Circus tube station and Lord Chalfont was given a black eye by another closely cropped youth while walking down the King’s Road.) [...]

On 20 May, The Daily Mirror reproduced the uncensored version of the ‘Sanctuary’ sleeve under the banner headline “It’s Murder! Maggie Gets Rock Mugging!” Soon questions were being asked in Parliament. “Premier Margaret Thatcher has been murdered – on a rock band’s record sleeve,” reported The Mirror in shocked tones. Hilariously, it quoted a ministerial spokesman as saying, “This is not the way we’d like her portrayed. I’m sure she would not like it.”

 

There’s no such thing as society’: the ‘Women in Uniform’ single
 
On the advice of their publishing company, Zomba Music, Maiden’s next single was a cover of Skyhooks’ “Women in Uniform” recorded with AC/DC producer Tony Platt. (Can you guess what Zomba Music was trying to achieve, and in what part of the Australasian subcontinent?) The sleeve art picked up the continuing story of Eddie and Maggie: as the ghoul struts down the street with a girl on each arm, just around the corner, the PM lies in wait in beret and olive drabs, ready to cut them all in half with a few blasts from her submachine gun.

Continues after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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03.29.2018
08:45 am
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Red Shadow, ‘the economics rock and roll band,’ will bring you closer to ‘Understanding Marx’
03.26.2018
01:30 pm
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“We’re certainly the most highly educated band in the world.” Those are the words of a man named Stephan Michelson, quoted in the Washington Post in 1979. At first blush, the statement seems preposterous, but it might not have been far wrong.

Red Shadow was an odd outfit performing polemical rock and roll from the mid-1970s. The core of the group was three ideologically minded economists who met at the University of Michigan in the early 1970s. They decided to form a band to preach the urgent message of left-wing economics. When three of the dudes in your band have a Ph.D., a label like “most highly educated” at least begins to seem plausible.

Red Shadow put out two albums, Live at the Panacea Hilton (1975) and Better Red (1978). The music on the tracks I was able to find is competent but by no means memorable; the songs are either out-and-out song parodies à la “Weird Al” Yankovic (only with a left-wing tilt) or else highly derivative. “Stagflation,” for instance, strikes me as more than a little Stones-influenced.

The three economists that made up the band were Michelson, Dan Luria, and Ev Ehrlich. All three, as far as I can tell, are still alive and active in the field of economics to this day. Michelson runs a firm called Longbranch Research Associates that supplies statistical analysis for litigation purposes. Luria is an economist at the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center, and as recently as 2014 took part in a round table hosted by the Boston Review on the topic of “How Finance Gutted Manufacturing.” Luria also runs a company with the suggestive name Occupy Dan LLC. And Ev Ehrlich (born Everett M. Ehrlich) has a website on which he describes himself as “one of the nation’s leading business economists.”

Red Shadow’s song “Gone Gone Gone” is a parody of the Beach Boys’ “Fun Fun Fun” in which the malign corporate overlords will be “gone gone gone when the workers take their power away.” Similarly, “Anything Good” reworks Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode” to accommodate the following lyric:
 

They may know how to serve the ruling corporate brass
But they’ll never have the knowledge of the working class
No no, no they don’t know know know
Anything good

 
One of the songs is called “Commodity Fetishism”—it’s only 42 seconds long, according to Discogs. The same page notes that two of the tracks from off of Live at the Panacea Hilton are spoken-word pieces. I suppose two is about par.

Here’s a bit more info from that useful Washington Post profile mentioned above:
 

“All of us would rather be musicians,” says Stephan Michelson, a research economist at the Urban Institute whose stage name is Delta X. His fellow band members include Ev Ehrlich (Beta Hat), an energy economist with the congressional budget office, and Dan Luria (Al Phabar), an economist with the United Auto Workers in Detroit. Alpha, Beta and Delta are common coefficients used by economists.

Luria and Ehrlich began writing guerrilla theater as graduate students in economics at the University of Michigan in 1971. A couple of years later they met Michelson, who owns a recording studio in Cambridge and distributes records under the Physical label. All three, in their late 20s or early 30s, consider themselves radical economists, and some of their songs reflect their opinion of establishment colleagues.

 
Honestly, the music sounds like the fellas (quite rightly) spent most of their time hitting the books, but the tunes are still pretty fun. “Understanding Marx” was the best song I was able to get ahold of, it has a female vocalist and it’s also the most about textbook Marxism (obviously), which makes it a bit funnier.
 
“Understanding Marx”:

 
More musical Marxism after the jump…......
 

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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03.26.2018
01:30 pm
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‘Bare-ass naked’: The KLF and the live stage production of Robert Anton Wilson’s ‘Illuminatus!’


Prunella Gee as Eris in ‘Illuminatus!’ (via Liverpool Confidential)

In 1976, the Science Fiction Theatre of Liverpool mounted a 12-hour stage production of Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson’s Illuminatus! Trilogy. It was a fateful event in the life of the show’s set designer, Bill Drummond, for reasons he’s detailed in the Guardian: for one thing, it was in connection with Illuminatus! and its director, Ken Campbell, that Drummond first heard about the eternal conflict between the Illuminati, who may secretly control the world, and the Justified Ancients of Mummu, or the JAMs, who may be agents of chaos disrupting the Illuminati’s plans. (Recall that in Illuminatus!, the MC5 record “Kick Out The Jams” at the behest of the Illuminati, as a way of taunting the Justified Ancients—or so John Dillinger says.)

Before they were known as the KLF, Drummond and Jimmy Cauty called themselves the Justified Ancients of Mu Mu, appropriating the name for the eschaton-immanentizing hip-hop outfit they started in 1987. Over the next few years, they seized the pop charts and filled the airwaves with disorienting, Discordian hits, until a day came when you could flip on the TV and find Tammy Wynette singing “Stand By The JAMs,” or Martin Sheen narrating the KLF’s reenactment of the end of The Wicker Man.
 

Bill Drummond in Big in Japan, live at Eric’s (via @FromEricsToEvol)
 
After the Liverpool run of Illuminatus!, Drummond rebuilt his sets for the London production, but he suddenly bailed on the show, walking out hours before it was to open. I guess he missed the nude cameo appearance Robert Anton Wilson describes in Cosmic Trigger, Volume I:

On November 23, 1976—a sacred Discordian holy day, both because of the 23 and because it is Harpo Marx’s birthday—a most ingenious young Englishman named Ken Campbell premiered a ten-hour adaptation of Illuminatus at the Science-Fiction Theatre of Liverpool. It was something of a success (the Guardian reviewed it three times, each reviewer being wildly enthusiastic) and Campbell and his partner, actor Chris Langham, were invited to present it as the first production of the new Cottesloe extension of the National Theatre, under the patronage of Her Majesty the Queen.

This seemed to me the greatest Discordian joke ever, since Illuminatus, as I may not have mentioned before, is the most overtly anarchistic novel of this century. Shea and I quite seriously defined our purpose, when writing it, as trying to do to the State what Voltaire did to the Church—to reduce it to an object of contempt among all educated people. Ken Campbell’s adaptation was totally faithful to this nihilistic spirit and contained long unexpurgated speeches from the novel explaining at sometimes tedious length just why everything government does is always done wrong. The audiences didn’t mind this pedantic lecturing because it was well integrated into a kaleidoscope of humor, suspense, and plenty of sex (more simulated blow jobs than any drama in history, I believe). The thought of having this totally subversive ritual staged under the patronage of H.M. the Queen, Elizabeth II, was nectar and ambrosia to me.

The National Theatre flew Shea and me over to London for the premiere and I fell in love with the whole cast, especially Prunella Gee, who emphatically has my vote for Sexiest Actress since Marilyn Monroe. Some of us did a lot of drinking and hash-smoking together, and the cast told me a lot of synchronicities connected with the production. Five actors were injured during the Liverpool run, to fulfill the Law of Fives. Hitler had lived in Liverpool for five months when he was 23 years old. The section of Liverpool in which the play opened, indeed the very street, is described in a dream of Carl Jung’s recorded on page 23 of Jung’s Memories, Dreams, Reflections. The theatre in Liverpool opened the day Jung died. There is a yellow submarine in Illuminatus, and the Beatles first sang “Yellow Submarine” in that same Liverpool Theatre. The actor playing Padre Pederastia in the Black Mass scene had met Aleister Crowley on a train once.

The cast dared me to do a walk-on role during the National Theatre run. I agreed and became an extra in the Black Mass, where I was upstaged by the goat, who kept sneezing. Nonetheless, there I was, bare-ass naked, chanting “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law” under the patronage of Elizabeth II, Queen of England, and I will never stop wondering how much of that was programmed by Crowley before I was even born.

 

Robert Anton Wilson (via John Higgs)
 
In 2017, 23 years after they split up, Drummond and Cauty reunited as the JAMs. Instead of a new chart-burning house record, they released their first novel…

More after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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02.27.2018
10:08 am
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Gore Vidal and Roy Cohn debate McCarthyism, 1977
02.22.2018
09:59 am
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In 1977, Gore Vidal went head-to-head with Roy Cohn, onetime mentor of the president*, on the NYC talk show Midday Live. Cohn was promoting his new book, which sported a cover blurb by, uh, Roy Cohn: an “answer to” the recent TV movie Tail Gunner Joe, in which Peter Boyle portrayed Joe McCarthy as a crapulous commie-baiter who lied about his military service. Roy was hopping mad. He published his book-length screed a month after NBC aired the movie, and he sued the network for libel, and fought all the way to the Supreme Court. (He lost.)

Cohn’s performance is a master class in demagoguery. He accuses everyone else of lying. McCarthy is the victim of a vicious smear campaign. If elites in New York and Washington, D.C. don’t like what McCarthy stands for, it’s because they’ve lost touch with the decent, vital, God-fearing people of the heartland, who understand the stakes in the fight against Communism. Most instructive is his fluid interpretation of the word “McCarthyism.” Vidal defines the term early in the broadcast and uses it consistently throughout; for Cohn, it means anything that confers a momentary rhetorical advantage. In the same breath, he casts doubt on the validity of the concept (the word first appeared in The Daily Worker!) and tries to use it like a curse (the real exponent of McCarthyism is… Gore Vidal!).

The real fun starts when Vidal brings up the topic of personal sexual habits, which is right in the wheelhouse of Jack Kerouac’s seducer, and a subject Cohn would rather avoid:

Vidal: To me, the nicest thing—let’s be affirmative. The nicest thing that I have ever heard about Joe McCarthy was told me by Senator Flanders of Vermont: that he was a full-time homosexual. Is this true?

Cohn: No, I’m sure you’d think that merited a badge of honor, but it is not true.

Vidal: Well, I’m getting to you in a minute, but what about Senator McCarthy?

Cohn: Oh, sure, that’s your favorite topic of conversation. I know that.

Vidal: I know; it’s aroused by the obvious.

Vidal later remembered telling Cohn on this broadcast, “We regarded [you and G. David Schine] as the Damon and Pythias of the homosexual movement,” and said Cohn responded by “shaking all over in a ghastly way.” This moment, alas, does not appear on the tape; I like to believe it occurred during a commercial break. But Cohn does appear shaken by all this talk of manly love, and eager to change the subject. Immediately, he produces a sheet of paper and reads some of Vidal’s cutting remarks about LBJ, Jimmy Carter, and General MacArthur, to prove that Vidal is the real McCarthyite. (As if “McCarthyism” just meant “saying unfavorable things about public figures.”)

Don’t worry; host Bill Boggs circles back to Joe McCarthy’s sex kicks—a hot topic since the early Fifties, when, as McCarthy ginned up the Lavender Scare, the Las Vegas Sun reported that the senator himself was “the queer that made Milwaukee famous”—and Vidal makes Cohn squirm some more.

Cohn: I hate to eliminate or eradicate the one plus you ever did give to Senator McCarthy, but the statement and the charge is totally untrue.

Vidal: You would know.

Cohn: Well, I don’t know, you’ve been around a man for a certain period of time, you know his wife, uh, you know his family, uh, you see him, I suppose you can know as well as anybody can know, and if I knew or didn’t know, I’d wanna have a little more proof before I start throwing it around the way you’ve done.

Vidal: But Senator Flanders did.

Cohn: Well, that’s McCarthy—Senator Flanders apologized for having made a statement which was not based on fact, but based on something somebody told him, which when he checked it out, felt was so unfounded that Senator McCarthy deserved and received an apology from Senator Flanders—

Vidal: I would be happy to see that.

Me too. When 67 senators voted to condemn McCarthy on December 2, 1954, the New York Times reported that Flanders apologized for one thing only: comparing McCarthy to Hitler.

More after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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02.22.2018
09:59 am
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Send in the clowns: The Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army wants you!
01.22.2018
11:31 am
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Trigger Warning: if you are coulrophobic (suffer from a paralyzing fear of clowns), this article is probably not for you. Select another wonderful piece written by the great contributors here at Dangerous Minds, as you will not enjoy the information I am about to relay to you. If you have no fear of Ronald McDonald or Bozo and their ilk, you will be quite interested to find that beginning in the mid-2000s, a clown army was established in order to fight for our right to party.

Okay, so maybe they weren’t exactly fighting for our right to party as such, but CIRCA—the Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army—was most certainly established in order to keep The Man from trying to keep us down in a variety of ways. To quote from their now-defunct-but-Internet-Archived-website, CIRCA’s aims were highly political but filtered through the theatrical. They state:

CIRCA is reclaiming the art of Rebel Clowning, it’s combatants don’t pretend to be clowns, they are clowns, real trained clowns. Clowns that have run away from the anaemic safety of the circus and escaped the banality of kids parties, Fools that have thrown away their sceptres and broken the chains that shackled them to the throne.
CIRCA aims to make clowning dangerous again, to bring it back to the street, restore its disobedience and give it back the social function it once had: its ability to disrupt, critique and heal society. Since the beginning of time tricksters (the mythological origin or all clowns) have embraced life’s paradoxes, creating coherence through confusion - adding disorder to the world in order to expose its lies and speak the truth.

Formed in the UK in 2003 by activists John Jordan, L.M. Bogad, Jen Verson and Matt Trevelyan, CIRCA’s creation was catalyzed by George Bush’s visit to London. The group’s practice of rebel clowning was intended to call into play ideas of the foolish, silly and ridiculous, all of which caught authority figures like policemen and the military completely off-guard (pun intended). Nothing like a massive crowd of clowns demonstrating to make a public official feel trivialized or have their dominance questioned. The CIRCA protests were designed to fulfill the group’s stated principles which, as John Jordan wrote, consisted of the following:

Use absurdity to undermine the aura of authority
Ridicule and absurdity are powerful tools against authority. To be effective, authority has to be perceived as such, otherwise people would never obey its commands. On the other hand, who ever takes a clown seriously? Rebel clowning used this slippery dichotomy to great effect, turning the tables on authority in the street by posing in mock-serious fashion next to lines of cops, as well as at the highest levels of power, by pointing out the clownish behavior of George W. Bush and other authority figures.

Get arrested in an intelligent way
Watching police handcuff and bundle clowns into police vans is always entertaining for passersby, begging the question: What did the clowns do wrong? What is this all about? An arrested clown also makes for very mediagenic images. By staying in character during the whole process of an arrest, including giving their clown army names (e.g., Private Joke) and addressees (e.g., the big top in the sky) as their real identity, rebel clowns caused much mirth and havoc in the police stations.

Reframe
Rebel clowning helped reframe the media images of protests during the big summit mobilizations of the mid 1990s. A colorful band of disobedient clowns could easily capture the limelight and shift the narrative away from “violent clashes” and smashed windows.

The kind of Bakhtinian splendor that CIRCA produced on the streets of the UK for Dubya didn’t stay there. The numerous “Operations” they conducted are listed here, along with some passionate communiques from clown leaders such as General Anesthetic, General Confusion and Colonel Oftruth. Operations like the Engagement with CRAP (Capitalism Represents Acceptable Policy) which took place in Leicester Square in 2004 or the various Scottish skirmishes, and the time they informed CIRCA members that they would be “giving hugs to the needy, playing games with all our friends, and other similarly militant activities. We request full cooperation from the public for this operation.”

This kind of thing doesn’t just remain in one place of course. What began in the UK spread. There was the Dutch Clown Armythe Belgian Clown Army, the US Clown Brigades and so forth. It went global, and CIRCA members appeared en force at political events like G8 and elsewhere. For some reason, it’s gotten a bit quiet recently. We’ve really been lacking in the clown army department, so hey—members of CIRCA—any division—if you’re reading this—we could really use a clown manifestation right about now. This time it really IS time to send in the clowns.
 

 

 

 
Much more after the jump…

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Posted by Ariel Schudson
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01.22.2018
11:31 am
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‘I replaced Donald Trump with his Disney animatronic figure and honestly, it’s an improvement’
01.02.2018
09:25 am
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There’s not really much to say here except that Born Miserable replaced the real Donald Trump in photos with the Disney animatronic Donald Trump, posted it all on Twitter and the results are pretty funny.

There’s been some speculation that the robot Trump was hastily refashioned from a Hillary Clinton one they’d been working on, assuming she’d win. Take a close look at the face. Fake news? Who honestly cares?

Born Miserable touts that his Trump images seem to be an “improvement” over the reality of the actiual Trump. I have to agree. The Disney technicians and artists really did nice work with his neck wattle, didn’t they?


 

 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Tara McGinley
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01.02.2018
09:25 am
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Chilling images of Hitler celebrating Christmas & decorations inspired by the Nazis
12.15.2017
08:50 am
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Christmas ornaments produced in Germany during the rise and rule of Adolf Hitler.
 
In the 1930s as Hitler and his Nazis were coming to power in Germany, they began a war on Christmas, a quest to dismantle age-old Christmas traditions and replace them with Nordic/pagan practices and folklore. The Nazis wanted everyone to follow their lead when it came to their image of the holiday—which at some point included displaying swastikas on Christmas trees. In Germany, Christmas is called “Weihnachten” which the Nazis also took it upon themselves to rename Rauhnacht, which translates in English to “the rough night.”

The Nazis’ changes to Christmas included anti-Semitic activities such as actively avoiding doing business at Jewish-owned establishments during the holiday so that their celebrations would be “free of Jews.” Christmas carols were modified to reflect socialist Nazi beliefs and ideology including replacing references to the “Savior” with a nod to Hitler himself, “Savior Führer.” While many of the Reich’s changes to Christmas took hold, there was one aspect of the holiday that they could not do away with—the image the jolly old fat man, Santa Claus—even in Hitler’s Germany, Santa remained a fixture of the newly Nazified celebration.

Other changes inflicted by the Nazis during the period before their eventual fall in the mid-1940s was the use of Christmas decorations. If you were not already aware, the tradition of decorating a tree at Christmas time got its start in Germany in the 16th century. The most problematic issue for the Nazis was the gleaming star on the top of the tree—a six-pointed star signified Judaism and the Jewish community. A five-pointed star was associated with communism which was less than appealing to the Nazis as well. Instead, Germans were encouraged to replace tree-topping stars with, you guessed it, a swastika or the symbol for the SS (the “Schutzstaffel” or “Protection Squadron” formed under Hitler). Ornaments were transformed to contain Nazi images, slogans like “Sieg Heil!,” and glass-blown baubles in the image of their beloved leader Adolf Hitler. The metamorphosis took approximately six years to complete, though it would all come to an end in 1944 which marked the very last Nazified Christmas. Hitler would meet his maker four months later on April 30th, 1945.

The images that follow are haunting historical documents of how the Nazis tried to change Christmas (and the world) and failed. 
 

 

 

 
More chilling Nazi Christmas images after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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12.15.2017
08:50 am
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The Internet wants Reese’s to do something about net neutrality murderer Ajit Pai
12.15.2017
08:21 am
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Ajit Pai, who is on the fast track to becoming this season’s Martin Shkreli, has gotten major press the past few days as the FCC Chairman blamed for “murdering net neutrality.” In most of the press photos, Pai is pictured drinking from a ridiculous novelty mug, as large as his head, emblazoned with the Reese’s candy logo.

This mug is so absurdly stupid that John Oliver made fun of it last May in a “Last Week Tonight” segment in which he asked viewers to flood the FCC with calls and comments to urge the agency to retain net neutrality. Oliver drank from a bucket-sized replica of the Reese’s mug. Pai’s response was to film a segment drinking from an even larger mug than Oliver, garbage-can sized.
 

 
Pai recently drew Internet ire all over again by releasing what AV Club called “a dumb new video” which openly mocks net neutrality supporters, culminating in a collective public head-explosion when the Federal Communications Commission voted on Thursday to ultimately dismantle rules regulating Internet service providers, effectively “murdering net neutrality” in the public’s view.

An interesting aside to net neutrality supporters hatred of Pai has been numerous demands on the Reese’s Facebook page to “do something” about him. Though certainly most of these posts are misguided anger, one must wonder what a company might have to do to protect their brand from the negative association with one of the most-hated men in the country. Pai’s mugging with the mug is product placement of the worst possible order. Perhaps these protester’s pleas to the candy company are simply a misguided hope that someone, ANYONE will listen to their frustration. Clearly, the FCC wasn’t listening to the estimated 83% of Americans who support net neutrality. The angry masses await word from Reese’s.
 

 

 
Many more pieces of Pai after the jump…

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Posted by Christopher Bickel
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12.15.2017
08:21 am
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