Y Marks the Spot: Choke Back

Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser, and his bitch-chokin' hand.

 

I don’t really care who David Prosser is as a person, any more than I have any concern over who any public figure is in real life.  Being that Prosser is a politician affiliated with one of the big two political parties in America, his identity is even less relevant.  I know that America pushes its ideals of individualism to ridiculous heights (see: giving corporations the rights of people), but its citizens are fantastically deluded in thinking that candidates matter.  If there’s a D and an R on the ballot, you’re voting for a party and not a person.

Justice Prosser, recently reelected (in theory) to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, is an R, and he’s jumped right into line with the rest of the Rs who have lost their minds and are dead set on imposing Dark Ages corporate Sharia law upon all us unworthy plebeians.  The Republican Party hates the Taliban for its freedom.

I’m no fan of violence in the workplace, but if Justice Prosser wasn’t one of those hard Rs the recent allegations of him choking his fellow justice would have flown past all of our radars and remained a quiet matter for the authorities to deal with.  As it stands, Prosser is a key part of the Republican Party’s attempt to create a one-party system in Wisconsin, which is a key part of the Republican Party’s attempt to create a one-party system in the United States, and so on.

So I’m going to say something that goes against the spirit of American justice: whether Prosser choked his colleague or not, I hope the allegations ruin his career.  I hope David Prosser becomes the O.J. Simpson of the Wisconsin Supreme Court.  Because as a judge, he’s not a person, but an R, and right now the Rs are the arrogant, entitled, aristocratic, authoritarian enemies of freedom, and their rampage must be stopped.

In one thing, all the right wing hate speech is absolutely correct: at the moment, we’re living in a culture war, and there are only two, individual-less, sides to the conflict.  There are the Republicans, fueled by aristocrats, zealots, and lackeys – and there is everyone else.

Everyone else, this is a fight, so fight to win.

You know who’s doing it right?  Minnesota.  Instead of doing the time-honored Democrat Kowtow, Governor Mark Dayton stuck to his guns, refused to budge on taxing the rich, and let the Republicans shoot their hostage.  And good for him.  Let the Republicans expose themselves as bastards so fixated on giving the rich a free ride that they’re willing to destroy the entire Minnesota government to get their way.  Shit, the national government almost went into the same hole because the Republican Party hates women (see: Planned Parenthood).  Why not defuse the Republican bomb by calling its bluff and blowing it up?  What leverage does shrapnel have?

(Update: Never mind.)

Still, I hate placing my faith in any person in any position of power.  So you know who else is doing it right?  Every person who is still sufficiently pissed off in Wisconsin to keep fighting Scott Walker’s hostile takeover of the state.  It’s goddamn disheartening to see that the Governor is so callous and programmed that the shouting of hundreds of thousands of angry protesters has rolled off his back like oil off a BP duck.  It’s infuriating to see the Wisconsin R continue its unlubed gangbang of the state’s civil liberties and its citizens’ way of life (see: proposed redistricting, concealed carry).  But getting infuriated has led to the people of Wisconsin standing up, getting awesome, and becoming the pinnacle of today’s American Dream.

By the way: hey, James Smith, you fucking scumbag, how’d sabotaging La Crosse’s recall election work out for you?

But here’s the problem: all of us in the way of right wing treads are facing some seriously crooked opposition who will destroy anyone in their way (see: Andrew Breitbart vs. Anthony Weiner).  Against such ruthless assholes, we kind of have to take our victories where we can get them.

So when the swing vote in the Wisconsin Supreme Court goes to a dubiously-elected R who immediately smacks down a good chunk of the protesters’ progress, a well-timed story about said Justice Prosser, as the slang goes, choking a bitch provides great ammo that we’d be fools not to use.

Am I wrong for hoping that he actually did it?

My fellow Anti-Republicans, whatever you do, don’t quit.  Don’t stop fighting.  Fight clean if you can, but don’t be afraid to fight dirty if you must.

Bizarro Masterpiece Theatre: RoboCop 2

RoboCop, getting his ass handed to him.

Film: RoboCop 2 (1990)

Director: Irvin Kershner

Starring: Peter Weller, Nancy Allen, Tom Noonan

Written by: Frank Miller, Walon Green

 

I’m not going to argue that the sequel to RoboCop is better than the original (especially since Red Forman died in the first film), but I will say that RoboCop 2 is a great sequel that pushes the story of this ghost in the machine into bold, inevitable territory.  The first film was funnier, sure, and it did have Red Forman killing fools and maligning bitches, but the second act is frighteningly prophetic.

RoboCop’s creators in the industrial conglomerate OCP were portrayed in the first movie as sort of a Shakespearian collection of backbiters and scumbags, yet they weren’t really the story’s villains.  Sure there was a villainous VP who closed the film on the receiving end of some iron justice, but for the most part RoboCop spent his days taking out the ground level trash and left the white collars to scheme.  In the second film, there’s no ambiguity to it; OCP is the evil empire.  Its goal: to force the city of Detroit to default on its debts and then convert the city into its own corporate fiefdom.

Sounds rather modern, no?

Sure, RoboCop spends a good chunk of the film fighting the street trash, in this case represented by a drug cult comprised of an ecstatic Tom Noonan, a member of the Memphis Mafia, and a monstrous little shit that shoots RoboCop in the face.  Yet it quickly becomes clear that OCP is pulling the strings, and all the later disasters that RoboCop must undo are entirely the responsibility of the corporation.

There’s a great segment in the middle of the film where OCP’s meddling has a funnier result.  After getting dismembered by the drug cult and having his ass handed to him, RoboCop is “fixed” by the conniving head of R&D, who focus groups him into irrelevancy.  Thanks to the input of nervous soccer moms, RoboCop’s four Prime Directives grow into hundreds, and the bureaucracy forces him to behave so benignly that he’s completely useless.  Breaking up a robbery perpetrated by an evil Little League team, RoboCop gives the kids (and their dead coach) a stern talking-to, which they promptly ignore.  Then he opens fire on a guy enjoying a cigarette.  So great is the idiocy that our hero finds no other option but to open up a power station and electrocute the stupidity out of himself.  If only it were so easy for the rest of us.

I really like RoboCop 2, even if the end involves a battle to the death between RoboCop and a junkie deathbot.  Films like the RoboCop series are a good reminder that all the political and corporate shit we’re dealing with now is nothing new.  People decades ago knew where we were headed, and here we are.  Perhaps we should have heeded the warnings.

 

The Designer’s Drugs: Duran Duran/Dredg

Medium: Album

Stimulus: Duran Duran – All You Need Is Now

Anno: 2011

 

Following up on the band’s drastic flirtation with Timbaland electro-pop on Red Carpet Massacre, Duran Duran seems to have realized that, well, it’s Duran Duran.  The band’s newest album isn’t a note for note rehash of the songs of its heyday, but All You Need Is Now is nothing if not familiar.

The album is a bit top-heavy, with most of the exciting songs (“Blame the Machines,” “Being Followed,” “Safe,” and “Girl Panic!”) being found in the opening half.  Each of these songs is pure steroid dance pop.  In comparison, the second half tends to feel languid.  It’s not that the album runs out of steam, but most of the songs just don’t match the openers’ swagger.  The two exceptions are the classic Duran of “Other People’s Lives” – which wonderfully references a “glory hole confessional” – and the stately quiet of the album’s closer, “Before the Rain.”

Some bands just don’t need to experiment to constantly deliver good songs.  Duran Duran is one of these bands.

 

Medium: Album

Stimulus: Dredg – Chuckles and Mr. Squeezy

Anno: 2011

 

Any Dredg listener who equates the power of a song with decibel level is going to be sorely disappointed with Chuckles and Mr. Squeezy, an album that is far less rock than it is a brooding shade of R&B and world music tinged pop.  The upside of this is that any Dredg listener who equates the power of a song with sincerity and a willingness to take big risks is going to come away from this album greatly rewarded.

The only real point of dissonance offered here is in the occasionally bursts of distorted guitars in “Upon Returning,” and even here the fuzz isn’t equal to the cleanness of the rest of the instrumentation.  The same rule applies to the static beats in “Down without a Fight,” which sounds lo-fi yet is washed clean by very soft-spoken vocals.  A few other tracks are up-tempo, but nothing else could be described as hard or angry.

The album’s best work comes in its beginning and end.  “Another Tribe” is a track mixing R&B beats with wistful rock vocals resulting in a pop song with something to say.  At the other pole waits the gloomy French jazz of “Before It Began,” a fable of a song driven by pure and pointed basslines and filled out with spaced out guitars.

Resulting from all this rejection of formula and expectation is a bold album without a shred of complacency.  Chuckles and Mr. Squeezy may not be an album one can listen to in the same stretch as the rest of the Dredg catalogue, but it is excellent listening on its own.