April 2nd, 2002


Best Anarchist Bookfair Moment (That I missed)

Some of the Green Anarchy people were being jerks as usual. They got their registration in late, and couldn’t get a table in this year’s smaller space. They seemed to consider their lateness a conspiracy of some sort, so they just came in and started setting up. One person in particular got all aggro to a radical faerie, bookfair organizer and hit him when the organizer tried to get them to move. Immediately a bunch of peaceful, straight boys intervened to stop the fight.

Then another radical faerie came up and kicked over the table.
Ha ha.

Out of Body Lyrical Experience

This is going to sound Californian, I know it. I try very hard to leave my body mentally when I go to the dentist. For anyone who doesn’t know, I’ve spend many hours at the dentist over the last couple years and it never gets less intrusive or intense. I just turn my CDs up so loud I can barely hear the drill and try and concentrate on the lyrics since concentrating on the music makes me want to bob my head. (Which is also why I bring punk, not hip-hop CDs.)

Partially because it’s such a strange experience, I start hearing the lyrics in a different way or appreciating ones I never paid attention to before. For example, I was listening to the first Clash album yesterday while in the dentist chair. In the song "Career Opportunities" there’s a couplet that’s sung, "I hate the civil service rules / I won’t open a letter bomb for you." I always just heard that line as a(nother) "fuck you" on an album full of them (which is, after all, one of the reasons I love it). And I heard that song as being a boilerplate, '77 punk, there's-no-jobs-no-future-it's-the-end-of-the-empire one.

But, deep into my dental trance I started thinking about what that song is really saying. Not only are most jobs stupid, meaningless, and boring, and set up with all sorts of rules to make you fail at the whim of your employer, but they can be dangerous as well. And not just factory-work kind of dangerous, but otherwise dull jobs made dangerous by the decisions of people in power. A system based on exploitation and imperialism tries to place the lowest employees in front of the ones in charge. Being a worker means becoming a de facto bodyguard for the rich and powerful.

Not exactly the first time it’s been said, or truly profound, but deeper than I thought on the first couple thousand times I listened to that album. In contrast, listening to L7 "Smell the Magic" immediately afterward provided no new insights.