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reagan-burger-mcdonaldsRonald Reagan was many, many awful things that we’ve allowed our political culture to forget. The Reagan record is a direct attack on fact. There is a new dimension to the Reagan Myth, one that IS mentioned but without the appropriate weight of the strangeness. Reagan was first and forever a B Movie star. A handsome actor of medium acting talent.

As a movie star, Reagan was a successful failure. Yes, he starred in movies. But monkey movies. He was never going reach the “next level” as an actor and his movies, if remembered at all, would be remembered for Bonzo, not Reagan.

But as a B Movie star, Reagan embodied certain stereotypes that soothed the fears of voters facing a changing American society. Reagan looked like he smelled clean. He carried himself with the poise of a matinee idol playing the part of the unflappable American President. But at least Ronnie did some research for the role as an elected governor.

I say all that because the United States just elected our first reality TV star President. Arguably, reality tv shows are the b movies of current culture. Reality TV is full of absurd characters interacting in stupid, highly melodramatic situations. And most importantly, reality tv is incredibly cheap and quick to make.

It is incredibly well-documented that Trump is a shit business man. Without the protections of bankruptcy, tax law loopholes, and the non-stop self-affirming promotion, Trump wouldn’t register a blip on the business pages. He is only a success because he keeps telling us about his successes.

And it is that narrative, the unending litany of unsupported bullshit, that creates the appearance of a brilliant business person. All his credentials are noisy and garish. He surrounds himself with gaudy feedback loop, shiny baubles meant to awe us into envy at the lush life he lives.

But everything “Trump” is a set piece. Even taking Trump as a snickering joke, a clueless punchline to a “sad and mean” jab at his expense, further inflates his coffers.

Trump is not a phony. He is something beyond phony. Trump is curated. Trump is sculpted. Trump smashes through the Situationist idea of the Spectacle. He is a phantom limb. Trump is the embodiment of the Reality TV competition, the karaoke culture.

As such, Trump’s lies are edited, dramatic, and compelling. And no truth we counter with will ever be sharp enough to puncture the gauzy film he floats upon. We need to either enter the competition on his level – becoming another vapid contestant on his idiotic progroms. Or we can try to cancel the show.

Every college’s Communications Mass Media class teaches something about how commercials and advertising use a propaganda model to entice and persuade.

The oldest trope is the NEW AND IMPROVED ploy – which always implies forward innovation, while never pointing to the shitty useless history of the product.

Meaning, if laundry detergent has room to be constantly improved, just how ineffectual was it to begin with?

With the rise of Trump, we witnessed the conclusion of various propaganda systems converging. A topic for another longer post, but one of the curious results of the success of Trump’s narrative is how it opens up opportunities for Corporate exploitation.

In a world where political boycotts of Corporations are common. Where the attempt to lower an economic consequence to change a profit engines’ method of operation, grassroots organization determines the effectuality of such a protest.

Recently, these protests have taken on an antithetical aspect – Corporations have been targeted for reward for their socio-political stances (Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day).

So now, how should we take the news that DOVE produced advertisements that “clap back” at TRUMPLAND’s assertion of “alternative facts?” Putting aside the obvious dire real world implications of such Newspeak, just what do we do now that this discourse has entered into the advertising?

The co-mingling of all these aspects seems dangerously problematic.

1. DOVE’s whole advertising purpose is to create an image of the world made better by its products. Ultimately, creating a lasting brand loyalty and constant need of its products.

2. DOVE rightly recognizes that it’s consumers responded positively to its feminist-lite DOVE SELF-ESTEEM PROJECT campaign and the Corporation was rewarded for its liberalish seeming stance. Especially, in the free “viral” sharing on social media by consumers who support the “message” of the ads.

3. Seeing the success of its soft social commentary, the assessed risk of conservative political backlash in the form of product boycott is weighed against the free goodwill “viral” spread among more liberal consumers. Obviously, DOVE chooses to risk the backlash in both directions.

4. DOVE understands that exploiting the blatant propaganda of “alternative facts” does not endanger their own persuasive rhetoric. Exposing the political absurdity of the lies does not have enough connective tissue to their own advertising lies – the consumer will delight in taking the piss out of TRUMPLAND, but will not question DOVE’s larger profit-driven motivations.

Hashtag Exposed!

Hashtag Exposed!

So what does this all mean?

I am not sure other than it is yet another piece in a puzzle. Another site of resistance we must be weary of embracing, since such focal points are less supportive than they appear.

When this sort of Corporate action is embraced, we must understand how its message is geared less against TRUMPLAND than it seems.  Since the propaganda modes are intertwined and reliant upon each other.

The status quo must and will be maintained at all costs and as such Corporations like DOVE have a real and vested interest in assuring that the curtain of lies is not torn completely off the wall.

drawing by Kate Atherton

Trumpland, America’s Worst Theme Park

In America’s new theme park, Trumpland, all the attractions are grotesque, tragic, mirror-reflections of common sense. While billed as “…an America  First fun time…,” once you get into the park its too late. You’ve already been had. The lines are super long, everything is covered in a nutty grease, and nothing really works.

Trumpland promises so much. But Trumpland is NOT a family theme park. Unless your family is awful. And I mean like super-awful. Drowning boxes of kittens, awful. Punching old ladies for their pain meds, awful. But even then, you are NOT guaranteed a good time, either. Otherwise, Trumpland is an utter disappointment to all paying customers!

The park has only been open a little over a week. But aw shucks, has the golly gee wiz shine wore completely off.

Instead of promoting the exciting new attractions like the Immigrant Green Card Roller Coaster that loops and stalls through a life sized international airport, senior management of the park spent their first week moaning and whining.

Seriously, founder, chief flower arranger, and President Donald Trump spent his days between crying like a giant babyman who can’t find a decent wet nurse to role play his diaper fantasy and signing oversized souvenir proclamations.

Both the Trump Babyman Role Play costume AND these poster sized “executive orders” are already on sale in the many, many Trumpland gift shops.

Inexplicably, now, certain people are not even allowed to enter Trumpland. A fact that customers are not told about until after they have purchased their park tickets and booked their vacation accommodations.

This new move baffled other theme parks who have reassured all paying customers they will not be turned away from their resorts.

The Trumpland shareholders seemed divided about the sense of these new requirements. And some are wondering if the park is even worth defending any longer. We will all wait to see how the park fares in the coming week. If it lasts beyond that, is anyone’s guess.
White Plight
ALRIGHT, MY FELLOW CRACKERASS CRACKERS! My pasty brothers and sisters, maybe you will listen to me since it does not seem to be sinking in when anyone of a different color, gender/sexuality, or faith tells us this…
 
WE WHITE MOTHERFUCKERS DID THIS – SO LET’S SHUT THE FUCK UP AND LET THOSE MINORITIES WHO TRIED TO SAVE US FROM THIS SHIT HAVE THE FLOOR!
 
The best and only real white ally, right now, is one who will listen and support, UNCONDITIONALLY, those who legitimately and justifiably fear for their lives, civil rights, and the future of their families and loved ones.
 
THEY ARE NOT EXCLUDING US – WE THE ENTITLED, PRIVILEGED – WHEN THEY VOICE THEIR ANGER AND FEAR. NOT EVERYTHING IS ABOUT US!
 
Are our egos sooooo fragile and our empathy soooo contingent that we cannot even allow those we agree with and support to yell the loudest, condemn all our enemies, and embody the pride we claim we want them to inhabit?
 
STOP IT MY FELLOW WHITE PEOPLE! We have interrupted, spoken-over, and explained their situation and feelings way too long. Frankly, our behavior is getting embarrassing! Let those we claim to love and support – SPEAK FOR US, for a change!
 
WE HAVE DONE ENOUGH AND GODDAMN IT DID WE FUCK IT UP.

I spent a lot of time alone at the Canterbury playground. Especially, early in my 8th grade year. I was waiting for anyone to come walking home from Heights High. Most nights no one appeared. I just loitered, alone, on the wooden monoliths or pumped my legs on the swings. The waiting ended as night began to creep in along the edges.

IMG_0128.JPG

painted by Aaron Melnick, 1985/86

One afternoon, I was there. I believe it rained during the day. There were intermittent puddles around the flat painted concrete. I remember my pants were wet from sitting on one of the black rubber swings.

I had on that silly jean jacket marked up with a few band logos and the DEAD BOYS blood vomiting skull painted on the back.

A huge beat up silver Cadillac screeched to a jerking halt, the front tire jumped the curb, before the car was slammed into park. The passenger door creaked open and a small child bounced out. He immediately tore toward the playground with a huge smile.

I watched as the driver threw open the trunk and lifted out a big wheel which he tossed to the sidewalk. Then he called out, “Dominic, come get your bike!”

The kid ignored this to disappear into a blur as he slid down the wet slide. The driver picked up the Big Wheel by the handle. He sort of lifted and dragged it toward the playground’s wood chip play area. He shoved the Big Wheel toward the concrete, then noticed me.

The driver was dressed in black shorts that hit his pale legs mid-calf, a teeshirt with some unfamiliar logo on it, topped by a D.R.I. black painters cap, the plastic brim already curled inward.

He was one of the largest people I ever saw. I mean there were a few fat kids in my class at school, but this guy was squat and round. And solid – like if you went to punch him it would be like punching a bag of backyard play sand.

As he passed the wooden climbing structure he shouted to the little kid who dodged behind one of the pylons, “Dom! Go ride your bike or we are going home!”

Then this guy came up to me. I still sat on the swing, well, sort of stood and leaned back, the chain taut as it held me up.

“Hey,” he said. He leaned against one of the metal swing set poles. He looked me up and down, as I did him. Sized each other up and made sure we never met before.

After he studied the band images on my jean jacket, he spied the little moshing man D.R.I. logo. He took off his hat, revealing a mat of jet back hair, a wavy mass that might have been an attempt at a devil’s lock.

“You like D.R.I.? Did you go to the show last night? It was fucking rad, man. Got this there. I heard they are faggots tho, you hear that? DOMINIC RIDE YOUR BIKE!” he said in one quick breath. He did not wait nor cared if I answered.

I think I whisper stuttered something in response, but he didn’t really pay attention. Instead, he turned and screamed at the child, “If you ain’t gonna ride the bike, I am taking your ass home!”

Dominic raced to the Big Wheel, kicked it, then ran laughing up the wet grassy hill.

“FUCK! DOMINIC GET IN THE CAR! WE’RE GOING HOME!” the driver screamed at the little kid doing a wiggle dance on top of the slightly graded hill.

“Anyway, cool. I’m Tony,” he said as he turned to go, “Probably see you around, huh? You go to Heights? Coventry? You know Steve Murad?”

I watched as Tony Pines stomped off and kicked the Big Wheel toward the car. He continued to swear as the little kid got into the car.

It wouldn’t be until the following summer that I would really get to know Tony Pines and his family. But this was as good an introduction as any…

gazzan logo black

So. GAZZAN.

The new metal hardcore band featuring the Melnick brother, Blaze Tishko of INTEGRITY and IN COLD BLOOD. Asked me to write a band bio/press release. So here it is! Of course, it is always a work in progress and I would like feedback. But I would really like it if you check out their page and buy their EP. Its really, really good.

Anyway…

“Featuring members from the 3 best “generations” of INTEGRITY – founding members Aaron and Lenny Melnick plus Blaze Tishko, and Rob Orr+ – GAZZAN forge a new path into metal and hardcore!

The collaboration of these four produce some of the best music of their careers – powerful, brutal and melodic. GAZZAN mark the fierce return to music of the Melnick Brothers. Aaron “A Double” and Leon Micha have been creating music together all their lives, but never before have they had this level of mature talent. Their musicianship soars to new heights. While the powerhouse driving solos of Blaze Tishko always promise a face melting experience. Blaze’s technicality and complexity add a depth to the GAZZAN songs. Rounding out the unit, multi-instrumentalist, Rob Orr, meets Leon’s thundering bass with monstrous drum beating to unleash a bestial rhythm section.

The recent addition of AMERICAN WEREWOLVES singer Trevor Moment howling seals the circle to invoke a demon of metal!!

gazzan frank garcia

                         GAZZAN live at Empty Bottle June 17, 2016 Photo: Frank Garcia
This is the first studio work of the band – a four song EP titled EXTINCTION. Recorded at the infamous Mars Compound by engineer Bill Korecky, the longtime collaborator and documentarian of Cleveland hardcore and metal. Mars Studio’s sound is iconic.

EXTINCTION’s four songs expand upon themes long present in all of the songwriting of Melnick/ Tishko. By corrupting traditional hardcore structure, undermining classic metal tropes, and sidestepping the crossover revival, GAZZAN create a sound both familiar with and dissociating from the history of these guy’s former bands. At points, straightforward metal then abruptly careening toward a hardcore riff assault, GAZZAN is exciting for old fans and new.

GAZZAN has shows scheduled for the rest of the summer, most notably playing September 2  2016 at the Grog Shop with MONOLORD, BEASTMAKER, and SWEAT LODGE.

gazzan monolord 9:9:16

CIDER- THE HISTORY OF A VERY UNIMPORTANT BAND

CIDER STARTED BARELY PLAYING ON NEW YEARS DAY 1991 WITH PAUL E. WOG ON GUITAR AND VOCALS AND BOBBY NUTHUMMER ON THE DRUMS.

I WAS BROKE, RECENTLY UNEMPLOYED AND HAD TO MOVE BACK IN WITH MY MOM OR BE HOMELESS. SHE DIDN’T LIKE THAT TOO MUCH. WHILE SHE WAS SLAVING AWAY WORKING 2 JOBS, WE WERE WORKING ON MAKING NOISE IN THE MUSTY, SMELLY BASEMENT. OK, WELL THE REASON IT SMELLED WAS THAT I LIVED DOWN THERE. SHE WAS NEVER HOME AND WE HAD A LOT OF TIME TO MAKE NOISE AND DESTROY EVERYTHING.WE WERE LIKE A BUNCH OF 5 YEAR OLDS. ONLY PROBLEM IS WE WERE IN OUR EARLY TWENTIES.

WE PLAYED SIMPLE, FAST, CATCHY, PISSED OFF SONGS WITH A LOT OF STUPIDITY AND NONSENSE THROWN IN. OUR LYRICS WERE ANGRY, PERSONAL AND SOMETIMES POLITICAL, BUT MOST IMPORTANT WE NEVER LOST OUR SENSE OF HUMOR.WE WENT THROUGH SEVERAL NAME CHANGES INCLUDING GUARANTEED RIOT AND BLOODY WOGS AND SETTLED WITH THE GENERIC NAME OF CIDER.

I KNOW, A LOT OF BANDS NOW HAVE NAMES WITH CIDER IN IT, BUT WE WERE THE FIRST THAT I KNOW OF. IT CAME FROM BOBBY’S LOVE OF THE HARD CIDER AND MAKING IT IN HIS GHETTO ASS BATHTUB. I KNOW IT’S A PRETTY STUPID NAME, BUT AFTER SEVERAL NAME CHANGES, WE STUCK WITH IT.

FOR A WHILE IT WAS JUST THE TWO OF US WITH NO VOCALS. NO ONE REALLY WANTED TO PLAY THAT STYLE OF MUSIC WITH US BACK THEN. THEN I STARTED TO SING BECAUSE IT WAS EASIER TO JUST HAVE TWO OF US IN THE BAND. WE ACTUALLY PLAYED OUT AS A 2-PIECE A FEW TIMES. BACK THEN HARDLY ANYONE WAS PLAYING OLD SCHOOL 80’S HARDCORE AND THEY REALLY DIDN’T WANT TO HEAR IT.

ME AND BOBBY WERE TWO CASUALTIES OF THE OLD CLEVO SCENE THAT HAD SHRIVELED UP AND DIED OUT. WE WERE SICK OF ALL THE DUMB GENERIC STRAIGHT EDGE, EMO, AND SHITTY METAL BANDS THAT INFILTRATED A ONCE GREAT SCENE. WE STARTED PLAYING MUSIC THAT WE WANTED TO STILL HEAR. WE LONGED FOR THE DAYS OF BANDS LIKE ANTIDOTE, CRUDE SS, CCM, THE GUNS AND SOCIAL UNREST. WE TRIED A COUPLE NERDY BASS PLAYERS AND DECIDED TO JUST STICK WITH THE TWO OF US.

THEN WE CONVINCED A2, WHO WAS IN 3 OTHER BANDS, TO PLAY BASS. NOW THE NOISY TRIO WAS COMPLETE. HE PLAYED LIKE WE LIKED, HEAVY AND DISTORTED.

WE THEN STARTED PLAYING SHOWS AND BASEMENT PARTIES WHICH RESULTED IN US NOT BEING ALLOWED TO PLAY ANYWHERE. AT FIRST, THERE WOULD BE LIKE A 15 PERSON TURNOUT. BUT THEN THINGS STARTED TO GROW AND TURN UGLY.

THERE WAS THE FAMOUS KENT RIOT OF ’93 WHICH FEATURED FIRE TRUCKS, POLICE CARS, AND AMBULANCES. NOT TO MENTION COPS GETTING ROCKS THROWN AT THEM. UNDERAGE SEX, A FEW FIST FIGHTS, A FEW ARRESTS, LOTS OF BROKEN GLASS, AND A REAL NICE FIRE TO END IT ALL. IT WOULD TAKE ME HOURS TO TELL YOU THE WHOLE STORY. NEEDLESS TO SAY THE COPS WERE LOOKING FOR ME FOR A FEW WEEKS FOR PROMOTING THE WHOLE DEAL.

WE WEREN’T SOME CRUSTY KISS-ASS BAND AND HAD NO DESIRE TO MAKE FRIENDS BECAUSE EVERYONE WAS SO STUPID BACK THEN. I WANTED TO SHOW MY HATE TO THE WORLD. THERE SEEMED TO BE A SUDDEN REBIRTH OF A SCENE AT THE TIME AND IT WAS FUN, VIOLENT, DRUNK, AND SELF DESTRUCTIVE. AT THE SAME TIME AS WE STARTED CAUSING HAVOC,  GOOD BANDS WERE SPRINGING UP LIKE WINDPIPE AND GAG REFLEX.

FROM MEMBERS OF CIDER, SPRANG UP ALL THESE OTHER BANDS LIKE THE INMATES, BRAINWASHED YOUTH, DARVOCETS, AND RUINERS. LATER ON CAME THE GREAT H-100’S.

WE RECORDED A SEVEN INCH AT THE OLD MARS ON DETROIT IN ’93. KORECKY SAID IT WAS THE NOISIEST THING HE EVER RECORDED AND HE HATED IT. THAT WAS A COMPLIMENT OF COURSE. WE RECORDED IT ALL LIVE INCLUDING VOCALS WITH NO EXTRA TRACKS.

ciderpsspot kent 1994

Paul Wog and Bobby 1994, Kent Ohio

WEDGE AND CHRIS RUIN DID SOME GREAT WHINY BACKUP VOCALS ON IT THAT MADE IT SOUND SO WONDERFUL. WE WANTED TO SOUND LIVE AND SPONTANEOUS. NO CLEANED UP BULLSHIT LIKE SO MANY OTHERS DO. JUST KEEP THE TAPE ROLLING NO MATTER WHAT.

WE WERE REAL HAPPY WITH THIS RECORDING SURPRISINGLY. WE PUT IT OUT OURSELVES ON NON-COMMERCIAL RECORDS.

I GUESS NO ONE ELSE WOULD HAVE PUT IT OUT. ONLY THROUGH MAILORDER OR FRIENDS AND ONLY 300 WERE MADE. GOOD LUCK FINDING THIS PIECE OF SHIT.

THEN I MOVED AWAY TO THE DESERT FOR 3 YEARS  BECAUSE I THOUGHT I WAS GOING TO DIE OF AN OVERDOSE OR END UP IN JAIL IF I STAYED IN CLEVELAND. NOTHING GOT DONE FOR AWHILE. OF COURSE WHEN I DID MOVE AWAY I DID GET ARRESTED A FEW TIMES AND ABUSE SUBSTANCES, EVEN MORE OUT OF BOREDOM.

IN 1996 WE ATTEMPTED TO RECORD WITH THESE NERDS IN WEDGE’S BASEMENT. IT SUCKED AND WE SUCKED. SOME OF THE SONGS WERE SALVAGEABLE, BUT THE POWER WAS LACKING. MAYBE WE’LL RELEASE SOME OF THE GOOD SONGS ON IT ONE DAY.

ANYWAYS WE CONTINUED TO PLAY SOME SHOWS ALWAYS ENDING IN A VERY VIOLENT, DESTRUCTIVE WAY LIKE BERNIE’S BAGELS IN COLUMBUS WITH SLAK AND THE MCSHITZ. TABLES, BAR STOOLS WERE BEING THROWN  AT US WHILE WE WERE PLAYING. OF COURSE MOST OF THE PEOPLE WHO DID THIS WERE OUR FRIENDS. THE SHOW ENDED WITH BOBBY THROWING HIS DRUM SET OFF STAGE AT THE CROWD.

I GUESS THAT WAS HIS WAY OF SAYING OUR SET IS OVER. THEN SOMEONE, NO NAMES MENTIONED,PULLED THE FIRE ALARM AND ENDED THE WHOLE SHOW. THIS IS JUST ONE OF MANY SHOWS THAT RESULTED IN US HAVING A BAD NAME WITH THE CLUBS, ESPECIALLY MY NAME. WE NEVER PLAYED OUT TOO OFTEN BECAUSE WE DIDN’T WANT TO BE ONE OF THOSE BANDS THAT PLAYED TOO MUCH AND GOT BORING. ALSO IT WAS VERY HARD TO CONVINCE SOMEONE TO LET US PLAY.

EVERY TIME WE PLAYED, WE WANTED IT TO BE FRESH OR ROTTEN DEPENDING ON HOW YOU LOOK AT IT. AROUND THIS TIME OTHER GREAT HARDCORE BANDS LIKE 9 SHOCKS TERROR, PUNCTURE WOUND AND GSMF WERE THERE TO CAUSE MORE HAVOC AND MAKE THE SCENE GOT EVEN MORE OUT OF CONTROL.

OUR SECOND ATTEMPT AT RECORDING A SECOND RECORD WAS DONE IN OUR TINY ONE ROOM PRACTICE SPACE IN OCTOBER 1998 BY THIS DUMMY WHO DIDN’T KNOW HOW TO RECORD TOO WELL. IT WAS AN 8 TRACK RECORDING AND IT WAS NEVER MIXED BECAUSE WE COULDN’T FIND THE GUY AGAIN AND WE WERE LAZY AND DRUNK BACK THEN. WHAT ELSE IS NEW. WE SCRAPPED THAT RECORDING TOO.

THERE WAS A FEW SONGS THAT CAME OUT DECENT, BUT IN MY OPINION IT DIDN’T TRULY REPRESENT OUR SOUND. HOPEFULLY SOMEDAY WE WILL RE-RECORD SOME OF THESE SONGS. MOST OF THEM ARE ACTUALLY WRITTEN BEFORE THE SEVEN INCH SONGS, BUT WERE RECORDED LATER ON. IF THAT MAKES SENSE.

WELL, AFTER A FEW ATTEMPTS AT FAILED RECORDINGS AND ABOUT 10 YEARS OF NOT RELEASING A RECORD, WE FINALLY LEARNED HOW TO RECORD PROPERLY. WE NEVER WANTED TO RELEASE SOMETHING JUST TO RELEASE IT. IN 2004, WE WENT TO SMOKE N’ MIRRORS STUDIOS IN BROOKLYN, NY AND RECORDED SOMETHING WE WERE VERY SATISFIED WITH.

COMBINING AARON’S IDEAS IN PRODUCING SOMETHING POWERFUL – LIVE AND RAW – AND BOBBY’S CREATIVE IDEAS TO MAKE THE DRUMS SOUND HEAVY AND MY RETARDED IDEAS, WE FINALLY HAD SOMETHING WE WERE PROUD OF.  IT WAS RECORDED ALMOST ENTIRELY LIVE INCLUDING VOCALS IN UNDER 4 HOURS AND IT FEELS THAT WAY.

FUCK THAT 75 TRACK OVERPRODUCED, CLEANED UP BULLSHIT. SO FINALLY THE RECORD IS COMING  OUT THIS YEAR ON PAINKILLER RECORDS OUT OF BOSTON. WE STILL HAVE ABOUT 10 TO 12 UNRECORDED SONGS. OH WELL.

WELL, IT’S BEEN 13 YEARS NOW.  WE STILL PLAY ONCE IN A WHILE AND WE HAVE ACCOMPLISHED NOTHING, BUT WE’VE HAD A LOT OF FUN WITH NOTHING. ANYWAYS, ENOUGH OF MY BABBLING, ENJOY THE HATE.

PAUL E. WOG, OCTOBER 2004