—2021: What a year…
… the year I learned my biological (in contrast to my legal, presumed, American) grandfather was Bengali; yes, in the summer of this year I learned that my apparently pious and extremely literary grandmother (who had review copies of Tropic of Cancer and Women in Love strewn about the bookcase when I was a kid) was a sexy young adulterer for roughly fifteen years, starting in the 1930s with the conception of my mother a year before Sam Cooke’s birth. The illicit lust without which I would not exist. She had short stories published in the 1930s, my sexy grandmother, and I read one of these stories of hers a couple of months ago, a coded story, which nodded to the adultery and I was set a-tingle by this and only the triple-edged sword of the Internet could have done that for me…
2021 was the year I went from already being the luckiest human I know (well, second only to Daughter, in sheer instant luck, for Daughter started vinyl-collecting a year ago and this year scored one of the holy grails of vinyl collecting) to staying that way. It’s almost parodic; it’s an anti-cautionary tale: I always stubbornly refused to obey or conform, I quit college, I picked up the guitar, I wrote jittery jagged avant assaults on decorum, I refused to learn a dull, securely marketable trade, I refused to drive, I refused to ever own more than three pairs of shoes at a time, I refused to get a credit card, I refused to booze, I refused to say acceptable things or kiss ass and I bumped like an asymmetrical pinball between cultures and countries for decades with LIVING my only plan and here I am: healthy and happy and very nearly 63, still grabbing my Wife’s wonderful ass by the hour and bathing her in the mauve warm gamma rays of my inordinately male gaze all day : I guess my way worked…
There are people reading this who already “hate” (or hate) me and I welcome these people and offer them this lesson: you will never do or say anything worth doing or saying if you need, most of all, for people to “like” you. “Likes” are the phony currency that Generation SchiZ is selling out for. I much prefer kneeling blowjobs to “likes” but even tribal clamshells and feathers are preferable as tokens of exchange; even Monopoly Money is more real than a fucking “like”. In 2021 I still kiss Beloved Wife’s hands while she’s blowing me (picture it) and that, by Gawd, will never change.
On the other hand, 2021 was the year it became more obvious than ever that the Metaphorical Cattle Farmers running the show are trying to kill most of us off and fence the others into much smaller, much more tightly controlled, pens.
What a year 2021 has been.
—XMAS of ’82, Pt 1
Xmas of ’82 I was in love with a girl named Jo, a former Deadhead who was rapidly coming up to speed with the shoulder pads and skinny ties of the dawning New Wave movement sweeping the nation. I was 23 and had purchased Culture Club’s Do You Really Want To Hurt Me and was wearing that 45, which probably cost me about three dollars, out on the record player in the communal house Jo was living in. At that age the details are everything and that bassline fucked its way through me like a greased and feverish compulsion, it was sticky, it was perfect, the octaves on the off-beats. I didn’t have a Walkman yet (the technology was three years old) and physically toting the 45rpm single across the neighborhoods to the corner-cabinet record player in the parlour of the shared house of the 19-year-old girl I had a crush on was how I shared the music.
I imagine Do You Really Want to Hurt Me, released in November of 1982, was engineered to be a Christmas single. Christmasses in the Upper Midwest in those days were not effete affairs and involved drifts of snow we will all now sound like liars, in our moist reminiscences, quantifying, but they would often cover cars and barricade the back porch doors, these drifts, and my ironic social karma, during those winters, carless as I was, having only ever driven anything featuring an internal combustion engine four times (including two driving tests and once in a Go-Kart) involved helping perhaps a dozen strangers, every such season, rock their autos free of monster snowdrifts with two beeps as an ersatz manly thank you.
... we invariably find Truth exactly wherever we bury it.
—I DON’T MEAN “FUNNY” FUNNY
What a funny year 2021 has been. A man (Klaus Schwab) with direct connections to the Third Reich’s most powerful banker (Hermann Josef Abs, who, far from being hanged at Nuremberg for financing the world’s first Industrial Genocide Juggernaut, was doing big business until his peaceful death in 1994), partnered with the son of one of the world’s wealthiest (and most discreet) Eugenics enthusiasts (William Henry Gates ll) to pressure all the nations of the Earth to submit to a mystery injection, including children!
Also, Mike Nesmith died.
maybe it’s the router,
check the connection
—XMAS of ’82 Pt 2
I was tall and narrow-waisted and broad-shouldered (I know I buried the body of that kid here somewhere) and open-faced and brown and Alison L., interminably-hammered rich kid from my dormitory, had compared me to the figures on an Etruscan frieze and the men whose cars I helped to dislodge from snowdrifts every winter, in the Upper Midwest, probably accepted the help with the thought that it was the least I could do in exchange for all the White Pussy (though I assure you that isn’t how I thought of it then and only put it that way now for the comedically bathetic effect) I was getting.
Friends, let’s not be coy. We are all adults here and most of us (wait: all of us?) are male and (but for me and perhaps two other outliers) White. I considered it a fair enough unspoken deal and put my shoulders and slender thighs of iron in the service of the rocking white haunches of your Volvos. 1982 was a kind of frontier, especially in the blizzard that year, a blizzard such as Rudolph braved to save Clarice: the overlap between mindsets, cultural drifts, the antebellum and the postmodern, the analogue and proto-digital, was broad and dynamic. My body itself featured the ripples and twinges of an internal dialogue of blending frontiers and I thought of that body, trudging in big boots and parka through vortices of Nordic erasure in the Upper Midwest, as a ship for smuggling DNA from half-way around the planet. Adenine Guanine Thymine and Cytosine: I memorized that when I was nine.
Some bits had been smuggled by slave ships and others by invading European wagon trains and some of the DNA was local, I got it from so-called Red Indians, plus, as cited above, my illegitimate grandfather was India Indian, from brown India (Bengali) too. Hippies love India and Indians. Jo, as I say, was somewhat of a Hippie, still too deeply into the Grateful Dead, still perilously into Joni Mitchell’s irritating precious high pitched phase, dabbling in bumper sticker peace signs and Dulcimers and incense and tie-dyed thrift shop sun dresses in the summer, her skin the color of its nice warm smell by July every year, her cheekbones growing in sharper, deeper relief as she embarked on her holiday diet of licorice and tuna salad.
Jo was quippy-smart and 5’11” with puckish, Chiclet-nippled blinkers and I hothoused a romantic crush on her, I was always developing (inventing, really) romantic crushes, I was always what Milan Kundera called a Lyric (versus Epic) Womanizer and the sex was always third or fourth in importance on my list after kisses, poetry, long walks and exhaustingly exhaustive forays into the caverns, whirlpools, hornets’ nests and blast-furnaces of erotically unwise amateur psychotherapy. “And why do you think you feel that way about your mother?” I’d ask, for example, in utter and idiotic earnest at 4 in the morning, tears streaming from the approximate middle of my chest and puddling in my navel where they swirled with other emissions. I began to believe that only the most deranged pretty girls were interested in (or susceptible to) me but I am relieved to know, in retrospect, I’m fairly confident in saying, that all pretty girls are deranged on some level and if you choose to rebut me I’ll need proof. The Xmas of ’82 I didn’t know this yet because I knew mostly fuck all.
—EUGENICIST, OFF THYSELF
If everybody who ever asserted, vehemently, “There are too many people on this planet!”… followed through and killed themselves, there’d be far fewer people on this planet. And most of those hypothetical suicides would be Westerners, without a doubt, too, meaning that far more resources would be spared, by their absence, than if the same number of (or ten times more) Third Worlders vacated. I’m not saying these people really should kill themselves, I’m just calling them Big Fat Motherfucking Shit-Gargling Hypocrites with repressed (more or less) genocidal inclinations, I guess.
When Mike Nesmith died did you feel it? That much less environmental pressure being exerted by a human’s filthy carbon-based processes? That much more Lebensraum for you…?
Imagine Mike Nesmith playing Santa this year. Mike as he is now. Coming down that chimney instead of going up it as smoke…
—I STILL KINDA CAN’T BELIEVE…
… that some of us still think that POWER behaves in any way other than selfishly.
—XMAS of ’82 Pt 3
Where was I? Ah, yes: Bitches are crazy.
All jokes aside, we can look at the erotic cultural exchange analytically and compare my sex life in the 1980s to the Black Jazzmen who fucked Jewish Heiresses in the early middle of the 20th century and shared with them white-hot crystals of Life Force just as the Heiresses taught the Jazzmen about Fine Arts and Literature, a fair exchange, though, in most cases, both sides frittered away the advantages conferred by the education, trapped in the violent contexts of the era. I made no such mistake and my era was lighter: I am a sponge of learning and nobody tried to kill me. My greatest teachers (1975-1989) were named Holly, Rachel, Mary, Sofia, Katie, Kelli, Wendy, Jan, Monica, Nancy, Janell and the pseudonymous Jo.
I was living in a place called The Cupola House, a 30-minute walk away from Jo’s under ideal conditions, on the other side of a footbridge bridge that crossed the highway and connected the campus of the Minneapolis College of Art and Design to the Cupola House which was subdivided into seven one-room apartments each bearing, like the yolk of a nearly-ready egg, an Art student. Or me. I decided impulsively on adventure (if a young man can’t joust for a Lady’s hand he can at least, in these days, go on an Epic Quest) on a howly night at the hour of midnight in the direction of Jo’s place, which was near to the intersection of Lake Street and Pillsbury Avenue, I think, maybe 45 trudging-minutes away in a blizzard, to bring her snacks, because I’d spoken with her via the quaint technology of the telephone’s early-middle iteration (attached by a cord to the wall, you see) and she’d told me she was ill.
She was feverish and being guarded by her then-boyfriend, a dead-ringer for Bowie with Hunky Dory-long blond hair and a note-perfect ersatz Bowie warble and amazing chops on his golden Gibson hollow body jazz guitar, though all he really wanted to be (the lunatic even carried a flute around), inexplicably, was Jethro Tull, in fucking 1982, a decade too late, becoming one of the most iconic serious-local-talent-never-goes-anywhere-further-than-the-state-fair stories I have ever known; this guy was from North Dakota and thought he was some kind of musical messiah and slept on a futon in a rehearsal space and once nearly had a nervous breakdown because I sat on his futon changing guitar strings.
Faux-Bowie was the dragon I’d need to slay with the Pop Tarts to claim Jo’s love (a goal I achieved to the extent that Jo and I ended up doing things I haven’t done since but this isn’t a spoiler because this story isn’t about Sex, right? Right! It is not about Sex.)
Faux-Bowie was the dragon I’d need to slay with the Pop Tarts in order to achieve the dubious goal of what, exactly? Perhaps the lure of intercourse is the greatest bait-and-switch connived by impersonal natural forces ever…
— SEZ THE SPIRITUAL FATHER OF THE COMMENT THREAD FLAME WAR:
“For human nature is such that if A. and B. are engaged in thinking in common, and are communicating their opinions to one another on any subject, so long as it is not a mere fact of history, and A. perceives that B.’s thoughts on one end of the same subject are not the same as his own, he does not begin by revising his own process of thinking, so as to discover any mistake which he may have made, but he assumes that the mistake has occurred in B.’s. In other words, man is naturally obstinate; and this quality in him is attended with certain results, treated of in the branch of knowledge which I should like to call Dialectic, but which, in order to avoid misunderstanding, I shall call Controversial or Eristical Dialectic. Accordingly, it is the branch of knowledge which treats of the obstinacy natural to man. Eristic is only a harsher name for the same thing.”
-Schopenhauer, from The Art of Being Right
You better watch out
You better not cry
You better not pout
I’m telling you why:
the Intrusive Crypto-Christian Airborne Arctic Hobo Bagman’s in town
—THIS WILL RIP YOUR HEART OUT
A trend I picked up on (and upon which I remarked), early in its development, was the sub-sub-genre, on YouTube, of Black content creators posting Reaction Videos to “White Music”. These Reaction Videos feature thumbnails of Black People presenting varying degrees of ecstatic distress: humble shock, delighted intimidation, awe. The “whiter” the music, the better. Early adopters of this sub-sub-genre routinely pulled massive stats playing this game (and some very probably bought houses with the windfall) but some early adopters, like the dreadlocked fellow to whom I link, below, can’t seem to break through a ceiling of views (per video) in the low-thousands, any more, no matter how effusively he praises (hold on to your hats) Shaun Cassidy’s cover of “Da Doo Ron Ron,” Barbara Streisand’s Ur-’70s syrup-fest “Evergreen” or… uh… gulp… “You Light Up My Light” by Debbie Boone, a song that nearly drove me out of the late ’70s with bleeding ears and a death wish (thanks for saving my life, Talking Heads). Are “White People” catching on to this hilarious con? It appears so, though middle aged Heavy Metal fans still seem to get a toe-curl or two out of watching a Black Guy tremble humbly before the grandeur of Ozzy Osbourne. When the italicized subtitle for his Green Day post is “This will rip your heart out!,” you can’t help feeling that “HarriBest Music Reaction” borders on being a harmless version of a Nigerian Phishing scam and, sure enough, having a close look at the channel’s URL we see: “https://www.youtube.com/c/adetokunbomoradeyonigeria/videos”.
Capitalism will always find a way (whatever they’re calling it this week).
—THE SEPARATION OF POP AND STATE
Emphasizing Youth as a virtue in itself is a perfect way to deny any movement the necessary benefits of Experience (Tactical Circumspection, Long-Range Thinking, Insight into the “Enemy”, et al)… which is, possibly, why Late Stage Capitalism has been flattering Youth with its oily tongue, and popularizing Age-ism (“Never trust anybody over 30!”) since the middle of the previous century. There’s always the Profit Motive, too, but think about that: why would the Market concentrate its efforts on bamboozling Youth if Youth (which doesn’t, or didn’t, have more spending power, on average, than late-middle-age) weren’t so easy to bamboozle? Every movement needs a few battle-hardened, cynical old nanny and billy goats near the steering wheel. Any movement relying chiefly on Youthful Exuberance, Wide-Eyed Optimism and Unreflected/ Undirected Anger… is fucked. Unless the Movement (and mark this well) be Evil.
—MY NIGGERS, Y’ALL MOS’ DEF BEEN NIGGERED
When did TFIC start doing to EVERYONE what they had mainly been doing to Blacks ( i.e. very deliberately keeping them ignorant, superstitious and dependent on the State… in order to despise them for it and convince themselves that their victims were not worthy of better treatment)? They’re even subjecting Middle Class Whites to careless medical experiments now, gaslighting the injured and refusing to offer meaningful compensation! Believe me, all of this is extremely familiar to some of us… (signed: a concerned Black Guy)
Because, listen, I’ve said this before but it bears repeating: for nearly two years I’ve seen people utilizing the salad bars, in my favorite middle class grocery stores, in the midst of what is claimed to be a “pandemic”. Kudos to the magical anti-viral properties of these salad bars (aka, open tanks of very moist meats, fruit and veg chunks, puddings, and the kinds of gooey, room-temp mayonnaise-based salads that any viral plaques, or bacterial colonies , would THRIVE in). I have seen my favorite cashiers sitting behind Plexiglas screens suspended by comical wires: kudos to the magical properties of a flat rectangular prophylactic barrier (a viral Maginot Line?), suspended in a four-dimensional space in which micron-range particles of all sorts are suspended ambiently, distributed by complex currents and Brownian Motion, and shared fairly equitably by all (in fully permeable masks) present. Why aren’t Germ Warfare masks designed so simply, I ask, rhetorically? Proving that there’s no superstition as powerful as a WESTERN superstition. Given the purely gestural precautions taken, those who are chosen by lot should be torching tall corpse-pyramids on all the street corners weekly…. had there been anything resembling a pandemic, that is. Weirdly: no. Even the sitting-duck cashiers in the grocery stores, interacting with hundreds of infected zombie-customers every day, most of them unmasked for most of the year, none of them ever gloved yet touching kootie-covered money… are still there and fine …. to the naked eye. They are all, of course, as it turns out, asymptomatically dead.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Had a very shiny nose
And if you ever saw it
You would even say it glows
All of the other reindeer
Used to laugh and call him names
They never let poor Rudolph
Join in any reindeer games
Then one foggy Christmas Eve
a female reindeer claimed
“Rudolph, with his nose so bright
made sexually inappropriate comments”
—ROYALTY-FREE BAND NAME XMAS GIVEAWAY:
STYROFOAM SEX TOY
—XMAS of ’82 Pt 4
A perfect night for heroics!
Jo was feeling poorly, it was the witching hour, I was miles away, the weather conditions bordered on life-threatening. I suited up and pushed into the night and trudged through early-rutted snow that had been filled in by afternoon snowfall and re-rutted and re-filled and re-rutted and re-filled, all day, as the sun weakened into a spectral white sightless glare and fell cold as a stolen memento from the sky whereupon a howling crystalline wraith-swarm stuffed and ripped the firmament. The wind snatched clouds from the modesty of the skelly-bone Moon and covered it again in shame, only to again expose it, the wind’s fickle assault, the wind an intermittently humane lover, my body a workhorse, a blood-brown Viking ship, a banana-black UFO sailing over white drifts, like tits and ass, for miles.
I have many times been physically threatened by cruel snow in the wee hours but I have never been depressed or disgusted by it the way I have been disgusted or depressed by sticky hot summer twilight within earshot of the Top 40 radio. Bounding through Donner-Party-drifts in an eldritch deathscape under armadas of stratocumulus immemoriality I come alive for some reason and I had to wait until the mid-1980s to be able to pair recorded music with the experience of Ur-weather (the greatest aesthetic orgasm I’ve had in 20 years involved a foggy midnight walking under the overhead stretch of rusting subway tracks across the Turkish ghetto of Berlin listening to Diamond Dogs, recorded before Bowie died as an Artist soon after Lennon died as a man).
So that night my head’s own stream of consciousness FM Station was playing Do You Really Want To Hurt Me to soundtrack my quest to fetch snacks for my obsession that year, feverish Jo, an obsession preordained by youth and proximity. The only store open that late was the Food-Stop or Kwik-Rite or whatever it was called, manned, whenever I straggled in, by a guy who was a dead ringer for a young Steve Buscemi: gaunt, adams-apple-y and pop-eyed with standy-up hair yet oddly professional in his orange smock and skinny tie and Kwik-Rite nametag. I wish I could remember the name on Bob’s nametag now. Was it Bob? Bob whose younger brother worked alternate shifts and looked like a fetal Brian Eno of the prairie. Bob who changed, if ever so slightly, that night, my life…
—HERE’S ANOTHER STORY
As a kid, I attended a screening of DW Griffith’s consummately racist “masterpiece” Birth of a Nation. It was shown to us in a library, in Vegas in c. 1974, during some kind of Black Awareness Program that my father had something to do with. The film was shown, I suppose, as an example of 2+2=5 Propaganda so blatant (The Klan as heroes) that the showing wouldn’t need to be framed by editorial commentary or disclaimers before the projector ran. One notable scene in the film depicted a supposed moment from Reconstruction during which Black politicians, with their new-found access to the sacred halls of power, were holding court with their indolent boots, crossed at the ankles, up on the desks before them as they snacked on fried chicken (tossing the bones willy nilly) and generally comported themselves poorly (you know: like n-word cartoons from Disney’s early canon). At the film’s end there was an awkward silence and a muted suggestion regarding a post-film discussion. I remember quite vividly that a Black man (nearly all of us there were Black) stood up and gave an impassioned speech that began, “Why can’t we acknowledge the mistakes we have made in the past, Brothers and Sisters, no matter how shameful these mistakes were, and move forward.. because our race can do better than that and…”
As vividly as I recall that man (with his neatly-shaped Afro and Sagittarius cufflinks) and his interrupted speech, I recall the sound he triggered, the sound of my father’s explosive laughter, even more vividly. I turned to look at him (so shocked I wasn’t even embarrassed by his outburst) and his eyes were grief-stricken, terrified, desperate… maybe even a little nuts. He looked like an Irish Setter suddenly surrounded by bobcats. He’d cracked, briefly, I think. I think it hit my father, then, with an unbearable finality, that all his years of tireless poster-making and collectives-forming and information-spreading… didn’t amount to an ankle-high pile of ancient white crispy catshit compared to The Man’s all-powerful Brainwashing Device. The Brainwashing Device saturates the air and snacks and the water; it has leaked into Comedy Sets and Dictionaries and Pop and the Hollywood films and the Sunday Sermons, too, and sneaks right in through mother’s milk and father’s cum and the teasing kisses of imaginary Pin-Ups. Cold War Heads called the CIA’s magic brain-infecting bullshit media-machine “The Mighty Wurlitzer”. Is resistance futile? Still not sure but I know that, for those very long seconds of his laughter-scream, my father certainly seemed to believe that resistance is futile: he looked as lost and weak and doomed as I had ever seen him look.
We three kings of Orient are
Refugees from illegal wars
Waged for corporate psychos by cretins
genocide from afar
… okay, sorry, that one’s just glib and facile; very Tom Lehrer lite. The actual fourth verse of the original song (written in 1857, around the time my paternal great grandfather was a Landsman at sea; Wiki tells us there were “488,070 “free colored” persons in the United States in 1860″), designated for Balthazar, the “Black, heavily-bearded” member of the Magi Trio, to sing, was:
Myrrh is mine; its bitter perfume
Breathes a life of gathering gloom;—
Sealed in the stone-cold tomb.
O Star, &c.
—It’s “connect the dots,” not “dot,” people.
“Imagine, if you will, an industry that is hated even more than government. Within that industry, there is a corporation that has a reputation so low that even among their peers, they were ranked as the worst in 2016, 2017, and 2018. Now imagine you are told if you do not let that company inject an experimental drug into you, using a never before tried delivery system, you will lose your livelihood, freedom, and possibly your life. You are not in the twilight zone. It is 2021 and that corporation is Pfizer.”
—EVIL SICKO BRILLIANCE
Consider the Evil Sicko Brilliance of training The Masses to see The Masses in the way the .000001% do and always have: as inherently diseased/ dirty/ disgusting/ dangerous. We have been forced, at gunpoint, into a bizarre global pantomime of OCD germaphobia in tribute to the psychopathic, neurosis-riddled basket cases who think they own us.
—XMAS of ’82 Pt 5
I numb-stumbled through the sedimented-summer-sebum-and-frost smeared glass Kwik-Rite door in my parka hood’s Yeti ice fringe to select a box of Pop Tarts (nostalgia’s snark) and some Earl Grey tea (touchingly provincial notions of the fancy) and honey (cute little crypto-sexual squeeze-bottle bear) and Bob hailed me, generically, with a half-raised hand and his bopping head and the radio stopped me in my tracks.
Bob always listened to some weak-signalled college radio station beaming to us from Wisconsin, or somewhere; he listened to it through the night as though to ward off the kind of robberies that only a Bob Seeger or Aerosmith medley would tend to attract. Most of the tracks that Bob’s favorite poignantly pretentious little radio station seemed to play whenever I stopped by were British, so it wasn’t the song’s Britishness that stopped me, and the Culture Club song I’d smuggled (like DNA) into the Kwik-Rite with me was, of course, British, too, so Britishness, in and of itself, was not a musical quality that would have stopped me in my tracks as I came in from a blizzard that night.
But this song that Bob was playing: it was the first piece of music I’d ever heard that sounded like pure Information.
And it’s not as though I’d never enjoyed radio-carried epiphanies before: even at the age I was when the song came out, Three Dog Night’s version of “Easy to Be Hard” took the top of my head off with the lines Especially people who care about strangers/ Who care about Evil and Social Injustice because I immediately thought that’s my Father they’re talking about, which is a heavy sort of helping hand from an objective source when one is ten years old. And years after that epiphany, when I was a father myself, a young father, bamboozled into the situation, listening to an Oldies station in my desperation and really listening, for the first time, with genuine seriousness, a willingness to comprehend, to Sam Cooke sing the wrenchingly autobiographical A Change is Gonna Come, a song Cooke wrote himself… the astonishing part where he says It’s been too hard living/ But I’m afraid to die/ ‘Cause I don’t know what’s up there/ Beyond the sky and it hit me like a chubby Frisco deacon on a brakeless 10-speed bicycle at the bottom of the hill, it blew me away, fucking tears in my eyes: Sam saw right through the con, he was the son of a goddamn Baptist minister and he grew up singing Gospel but he saw right through the con anyway, he was un-gulled, Sam Cooke was the Galileo of Agnosticism in the year 1964 (the year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 declared me officially human) and, to make the re-contemplation of the moment more potent, the song was released posthumously: Sam was singing about his rational fear of the ambiguous proposition of Death from beyond the grave (and the line is still so heretical that, to this day, Wikipedia spins it with the condescendingly absurd lie “The lines “I don’t know what’s up there / Beyond the sky” could refer to Cooke’s doubt for absolute true justice on earth” as if we don’t speak or read English).
So it’s not as though I’d never had musical epiphanies before… but this thing I was hearing by the grace of Kwik-Rite Bob was just so weird, so fresh, so businesslike in its Newness yet wholly Trivial and with such ease it spoke to my questingly callow 23-ness; it cut right through the greasy kid’s stuff of all the goopy Do You Really Want to Hurt Me? clogging my sensibilities …
––The Devil is in which details?
Do you understand the legal (and ethical) concept of a conflict of interest? When entities heavily-invested in pharmaceutical products use their political power to both mandate said products and ask for, and receive, immunity from injury claims, for these products, on a global scale, that is just about the largest case of a conflict of interest in the history of Law. The ability of these entities to control media, to suppress information or debate, regarding this conflict, feeds into the same enormous crime. We are, essentially, suddenly living under a Pharmaceutical Government in which unelected officials (and corrupt officials of the elected kind) operate solely in the name of protecting the “bottom line,” the health or human rights of the population be damned.
We are born into a system and acculturated to the system by converts of the system: which means we know nothing about this system except what the system thinks of itself (or wants us to think that it thinks)… until we can step outside of it. Discussing the system on its own terms (in terminology the system provides) is not, for me, ‘stepping outside of ithe system’”
If “stepping outside of the system” involves “negativity”, then so be it.
—XMAS of ’82 Pt 6
… “What is this?” I gestured at the Kwik-Rite’s suspended dusty woodgrain-cabinet speaker, and mouthed that, when Bob made eye-contact with me as I looked up from the Pop Tarts and removed my parka hood with the slo-mo dramatics of Revelation (which incidentally probably eased any lingering fears Bob may have nurtured that I was some iron range Bob Seeger fan, about to point a Zip Gun at him and demand all the spinach in the register). In response to my dazzled query Bob looked triumphant in a charismatic cloud of profound Unknowing that the Internet was still some years from being capable of destroying and Lo, Bob shrugged with Kwik-Rite grace.
Hell if Bob knew.
Thank you and goodnight to all out there in radio-listener-land and I wish you a
Drive safely, ciao, good night, peace on earth, Aluta Continua, let the Xmas vacation commence as we gird ourselves for whatever the fuck is lurking around the corner…
ADDENDUM/ CODA/ READING LIST
The Professional Guinea Pig: Big Pharma and the Risky World of Human Subjects-Roberto Abadie (2010)
The Professional Guinea Pig documents the emergence of the professional research subject in Phase I clinical trials testing the safety of drugs in development. Until the mid-1970s Phase I trials were conducted on prisoners. After that practice was outlawed, the pharmaceutical industry needed a replacement population and began to aggressively recruit healthy, paid subjects, some of whom came to depend on the income, earning their living by continuously taking part in these trials. While the professional guinea pigs tended to believe that most clinical trials pose only a moderate health risk, Abadie contends that the hazards presented by continuous participation, such as exposure to potentially dangerous drug interactions, are discounted or ignored by research subjects in need of money.
Pharma: Greed, Lies, and the Poisoning of America-Gerald Posner (2020)
Award-winning journalist and New York Times bestselling author Gerald Posner traces the heroes and villains of the trillion-dollar-a-year pharmaceutical industry and uncovers how those once entrusted with improving life have often betrayed that ideal to corruption and reckless profiteering—with deadly consequences.
Bad Pharma: How Drug Companies Mislead Doctors and Harm Patients-Ben Goldacre (2013)
We like to imagine that medicine is based on evidence and the results of fair testing and clinical trials. In reality, those tests and trials are often profoundly flawed. We like to imagine that doctors who write prescriptions for everything from antidepressants to cancer drugs to heart medication are familiar with the research literature about a drug, when in reality much of the research is hidden from them by drug companies. We like to imagine that doctors are impartially educated, when in reality much of their education is funded by the pharmaceutical industry. We like to imagine that regulators have some code of ethics and let only effective drugs onto the market, when in reality they approve useless drugs, with data on side effects casually withheld from doctors and patients.
Deadly Medicines and Organised Crime: How Big Pharma Has Corrupted Healthcare- Peter C. Gotzsche, Richard Smith, Drummond Rennie (2013)
PRESCRIPTION DRUGS ARE THE THIRD LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH AFTER HEART DISEASE AND CANCER. In his latest ground-breaking book, Peter C Gotzsche exposes the pharmaceutical industries and their charade of fraudulent behaviour, both in research and marketing where the morally repugnant disregard for human lives is the norm.
Saving normal : an insider’s revolt against out-of-control psychiatric diagnosis, DSM-5, Big Pharma, and the medicalization of ordinary life-Allen Frances (2013)
In this book the author, a psychiatrist, makes a critique of the widespread medicalization of normality. He argues that the new edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders threatens to destroy what is considered normal and that grief, sorrow, stress, disappointment, and other feelings are part of life, not a psychiatric disease.
Side Effects: Death. Confessions of a Pharma-Insider-John Virapen (2010)
I bribed a Swedish professor to enhance the registration of Prozac in Sweden. -John Virapen.
Pharmaceutical companies want to keep people sick. They want to make others think that they are sick. And they do this for one reason: money. Did you know: * Pharmaceutical companies invest more than 35,000 Euro (over $50,000) per physician each year to get them to prescribe their products? * More than 75 percent of leading scientists in the field of medicine are “paid for” by the pharmaceutical industry? * Corruption prevailed in the approval and marketing of drugs in some cases? * Illnesses are made up by the pharmaceutical industry and specifically marketed to enhance sales and market shares for the companies in question? * Pharmaceutical companies increasingly target children?
Bad Science: Quacks, Hacks, and Big Pharma Flacks-Ben Goldacre (2010)
Have you ever wondered how one day the media can assert that alcohol is bad for us and the next unashamedly run a story touting the benefits of daily alcohol consumption? Or how a drug that is pulled off the market for causing heart attacks ever got approved in the first place?
White Market Drugs: Big Pharma and the Hidden History of Addiction in America-David Herzberg (2020)
The contemporary opioid crisis is widely seen as new and unprecedented. Not so. It is merely the latest in a long series of drug crises stretching back over a century. In White Market Drugs, David Herzberg explores these crises and the drugs that fueled them, from Bayer’s Heroin to Purdue’s OxyContin and all the drugs in between: barbiturate “goof balls,” amphetamine “thrill pills,” the “love drug” Quaalude, and more.
Big Pharma: Exposing the Global Healthcare Agenda-Ben Goldacre (2006)
Last year, the pharmaceutical industry had sales in excess of 300 billion. Clearly, we all pay in one way or another — whether by buying drugs directly or through taxation. But it is less clear if we are getting value for our money. Author Jacky Law shows how a small number of corporations have come to dominate the global healthcare agenda. She reveals a system in which the relentless pursuit of profit is crowding out the public good. Effective regulators are under intense pressure from corporate lobbies, and companies spend more money on marketing than they spend on research and development.
Ghost-Managed Medicine: Big Pharma’s Invisible Hands-Sergio Sismondo (2018)
Ghost-Managed Medicine by Sergio Sismondo explores a spectral side of medical knowledge, based in pharmaceutical industry tactics and practices.
Hidden from the public view, the many invisible hands of the pharmaceutical industry and its agents channel streams of drug information and knowledge from contract research organizations (that extract data from experimental bodies) to publication planners (who produce ghostwritten medical journal articles) to key opinion leaders (who are sent out to educate physicians about drugs) to patient advocacy organizations (who ventriloquize views on diseases, treatments and regulations), and onward. The goal of this ‘assemblage marketing’ is to establish conditions that make specific diagnoses, prescriptions and purchases as obvious and frequent as possible. While staying in the shadows, companies create powerful markets in which increasing numbers of people become sick and the drugs largely sell themselves.