Wednesday, July 13, 2005

The MANIFESTO Manifesto:I.E.Me desparately trying to justify my life

When people talk about "my classic run at Blank Gen"(nobody talks about that, well, I think Troy mentioned something about it once, heh heh), this whole batch of stuff is what they're talking about. All the stuff I posted tonight, from "part 2" on up to here, THIS is the stuff that made the impression. This column especially, it was my bullshit attempt at establishing my own philosophy, my own pseudo-religion. How ambitious for some kid who was only just barely 22 at the time. This was the first column that really drew a LOT of fucking attention, I got tons of feedback from it.

Anyway, I'll be back after the column for some more commentary

From October 3rd, 2001
column:


"And it's a shame, 'cause not everybody wants to be the same"
-The fucking SAINTS

Well, actually, maybe I should be quoting another line of that song, the "new ideas" part probably… But whatever, you get the point, or, you WILL. As this column goes on I think you'll DEFINITELY get the point. It'll all be made extremely clear to you and you'll KNOW, oh, will you EVER know........Or not.....

These last several columns, well, pretty much ALL of my columns up to this point, they ALL've been about the shortcomings of modern day punk rock. They've been about the problems of "the scene", about our failings… It's all been very negative, hateful. It's all been very destructive and spiteful; it's all been very fun (of COURSE). That will end though with this column. It's time to turn things around and well, strap yourselves in, it's time to evolve, be-atch...

I start off with a simple statement (since when has the third paragraph been the START of a column?) Lyrics suck. Yeah, they REALLY, really do. Especially so in punk rock… Think about it, you wanna EXPRESS yourself, you wanna voice your opinion, wanna CHANGE THE WORLD? Well then, you can't actually DO that with rock lyrics. Songs are only so long, punk songs are even shorter, and there’s only SO MUCH space for only SO MANY words. What, you get like MAYBE a paragraph's worth of words out of one song? HOW are you gonna "change the world" with ONE FUCKING PARAGRAPH??? How do you presume to educate the people's of the world about the plight of the Mexican migrant caged animal masturbator with TWENTY GOD DAMNED WORDS? Entire BOOKS have been written on these topics, SEVERAL books and even then, they STILL miss stuff. Thousands upon thousands of pages, but no, all you need is a "Cops suck" and you've made YOUR valid, intelligent political statement.

It's a fucking joke, "Anarquia, Oi! Oi!" may be pretty damn catchy, but it's not actually SAYING ANYTHING. It’s not CHANGING anything, it's no intelligent statement that cleverly and succinctly wraps the topic up into one small, easy to consume package. It's just a load of shit; it's about as valid and "smart" as fucking Warrant lyrics. Think back to all them damn Dead Kennedy's lyrics, I didn't learn SHIT from ANY of that, it didn't present a SINGLE new idea to me. The only reason I DUG their lyrics at the time ("the time" being of course the 10th grade, the time when MOST people listen to the Dead Kennedys) was because they were in line with my own thoughts and opinions at the time. "Oh my god, it's your senior year, all you care about is your career", "gotta pass those entrance exams", of COURSE all that shit was EXTREMELY appealing to me in my high school years. Guess what though? I AIN'T in high school any more, and a LOT of things that seemed "clever" or "intelligent" or "valid political commentary", a lot of that shit just seems DUMB now, totally fucking STUPID.

Take another high schooler favorite, Bad Re-fucking-ligion, it's the same story with them. When you're a kid you think "Oh, wow, these guys are so smart and they're saying SO MUCH about the world." No they aren't, they aren't saying SHIT, and they’re just hiding their wholesale LACK of ideas of behind big words that are often times used incorrectly. They don't actually HAVE anything to say, they just throw an "antithetic" and a uhhhh, "cogent" and a "paradigm" in there and that's usually more then enough to fool the kids into thinking you're not a retard. And a big deal is made out of how Bad Religion frontman Greg Graffin is a PhD candidate for SOME geology type thing. But I mean, he's BEEN a fucking "candidate" for the last ten years now, ya EVER gonna get that degree old Greggy, or are ya just making too much money off a' all those ass-tard 15 year olds (actually, apparently NOT, since BR just recently got dropped by the majors) ta go back and hit the books? Still, even if he HAD that PhD, it wouldn't mean SHIT, my brother has a PhD and I STILL beat him when we play "Risk". I mean, MAYBE, PERHAPS if Graffin's degree's actually WERE in political science, then MAYBE, just MAYbe I'd lend some credit to his opinion (probably not, most poli-sci types are flakey, ineffectual, impotent retards), but that AIN'T his field of study. He studies rocks and uhhhh, I think dinosaur bones maybe… THIS is a person that is supposedly "educating the youth of today about all the vital issues currently facing our world"? No, he AIN'T, a kid could learn more from a fucking pamphlet then they could listening to Bad Religion lyric's.

The medium of the rock song is just too damn limited to really express ANY complex idea, any new idea, any VALID idea. Ya don't expect a fucking bumper sticker to change the world, so why do some people expect that of rock lyrics? The routines and social theories presented by most STAND UP COMEDIANS are even more complex and thought out then rock lyrics, and they're just KIDDING. When Bill Hicks suggests that old, dying people should be used as victims in "shoot 'em up" type movies, he's just fucking around. But he's still saying MORE about WHY that should be done, WHY it's a good idea, he's presenting a FAR more complex argument for "why things should be this way" then rock lyrics EVER could present. Ya want intelligent socio-political commentary? Then read a book, fucker. Don't turn to rock'n'roll to educate you on world affairs.

Obviously though, that's not the only problem with "ideological punk lyrics", another BIG issue is the fact that punks have just been repeating the SAME DAMN BULLSHIT for the last twenty years. I don't need to hear about police brutality AGAIN. I'm tired of hearing about how we have "keep a straight edge". I don’ wanna hear you bitching and pissing about how so and so "stabbed you in the back". All of these are VERY old, worn out ideas, and people still prop them up as a revolution despite the fact that they've been punk rock party lines for DECADES now. It's just all the same old tired bullshit, repeating itself over and over again in maybe a five-year cycle.

How do we break OUT this stagnation? Where are these new ideas? WHAT are these new ideas? How do we find them? Well, guess WHAT? New ideas, actually ARE out there, and they ain't that hard to find/THINK of. Ya just have to dig yourself OUT of the philosophical QUAGMIRE that is "punk." Because OBVIOUSLY, there's an ASSLOAD of things punks don't know.

Example ..1 of things punks don't know: 99 percent of strippers and prostitutes come from a background of childhood abuse and molestation. They get into the "sex industry" to try and gain control over the abusive and painful situations of their childhood. Ya see, they place themselves into NEW harmful situations that they are IN CONTROL OF in an attempt to relive and MASTER the pain of the initial abuse. Of course, this doesn't WORK and they are left just feeling more devalued and dehumanized. Ya know how a lot of those types have that "baby voice" thing? Well, that's a symptom of how they're STUCK in childhood, STUCK at that point of initial abuse, and they ain't EVER gonna be happy, and they ain't ever gonna get past it until they get some fucking professional help. Seriously, like EVERY time you hear a woman with that baby voice thing (and I ain't talking like Joey Lauren Adams here, and her hi pitched voice thingy, I also ain't talking about playful little baby talk every once and a while to a boyfriend, I'm talking about full-time, ALWAYS sounding like a timid, timid little eight-year-old), there's ALWAYS something "up" with her.

Example ..2: People that get really hardcore into the whole tattooing and body modification thing usually have some pretty serious emotional scars. It's almost as if the tattoos became literal scars representing the emotional ones. It's all part of that "trying to gain control" type of thing. Ya know, they are "tormented" and they have no control over their emotional state. Therefore, they focus on the surface, on the superficial, on something they CAN control. Also, it serves as an EXCELLENT distraction. Ya can't deal with those feelings of pain and loneliness? Well then, just get a tattoo and you won't be dwelling on ANY of that, you'll just be thinking, "Ow, getting this tattoo hurts, but not as much as it would hurt if I'd actually have to FACE my problems and attempt to overcome them." Yes, it's basically a new kind of drug. But then again, so is music, so is TV.

Anyway, my point here is that while perhaps punks know a lot about politics (that's debatable) or religion or whatever, there's a lot of shit they just don't have the SLIGHTEST clue about. I mean, wasn't "punk" supposed to be about some kind of "quest for the truth?" And while "political truth" might be an important part of the bigger picture, it's only a PART, it ain't the whole thing. If AAAAAAALL of this crap is supposed to be an ACTUAL search for the REAL truth, then we need to EXPAND the damn thing already. We know about politics, okay, time move onto OTHER topics.

We need to be constantly taking that "one step back" in an effort to see the bigger picture. We shouldn't just be seeking political truth. We should be seeking EMOTIONAL truth, psychological truth, and SOCIOLOGICAL truth. We should be seeking it ALL in MANY, MANY different directions.

It’s damn well time we EVOLVED. No more simple high school bullshit, are we gonna let mo-tards like Greg fucking GRAFFIN be the intellectual VANGUARD of punk rock? NO, fuck that and fuck him. We're past the "first level" of punk and we're still here. We've tackled all the old issues, realized all the same bullshit. We've known it for YEARS and it's time for something NEW... And we know about all the fucking FLAWS in punk rock, all the inconsistencies and hypocrisies, but guess fucking WHAT? WE ARE STILL HERE. We've taken the basic ideals of punk rock and we've applied them and reapplied to our lives time and time again.

We've defined that picture, we've taken that step back, we ain’t "living the lie" that most people are, or at least, not to the EXTENT that most people are. We are here now ON this "second level" of punk rock and we NEED some NEW, MORE COMPLEX ideas to power us. We've mastered the old bullshit, and we realize that it's just the FIRST FUCKING STEP, we still got a long way to go. Most kids, they never get past that whole "opening the door" stage, the whole beginning, just discovering, blah, blah that is the experience of the first few years of punk rock. The thing a lot of them don't realize is that it really IS just the first step, it's OPENING the fucking door, but they still haven't "gone through."

THAT is what our job is, us "second levelers", we gotta GO THROUGH that fucking door and actually MAYBE, just MAYBE start changing things. All that fucking talk of revolution in the old days, WHAT fucking effect did ANY of the shit they were talking about really have? Pretty much the only thing punk rock has given to the mainstream in the last twenty years is the fucking MOSH PIT. That's the only god damned difference we made. We didn't overthrow the government, we didn't change policy, we just fucking INVENTED and PASSED ON the god damned MOSH PIT. SOME FUCKING REVOLUTIONAIRES WE ARE!

Where do we start? Well, with the obvious. What is the obvious weakness of most punks? PERSONAL FUCKING INTERACTION. We don't have a clue about other people, how to talk to them, how to truly relate to them, how to be their friends. We all, as a uhhhh "race" are HORRIBLE at relationships, horrible at establishing them, horrible at MAINTAINING them, horrible at having HEALTHY relationships. ALL OF US! I mean, humanity, IN GENERAL, is really bad at relationships, but punks are EVEN FUCKING WORSE. If we want the revolution to KEEP ON REVOLVING, THIS is where we have to start.

We don't start with some kind of outside action, some kind of political protest; we start ON THE INSIDE, with OURselves. We have to change the way we act and treat other people. We have to become MORE HONEST, MORE OPEN, EXTREMELY so. We have to take that which is obvious, yet unspoken, and fucking SPEAK to that obviousness and have it not be a big deal.

Example: You're friend is in a bad, bad unhealthy relationship, everyone seems to notice this except for him...fucking TELL him and have that not be a big deal.

Example: If a guy asks you out and you DON'T wanna go out with him, just SAY that, don't say "Okay, I'll go out with you." and then not return his calls until he "Gets the point."

Example: If you ARE that guy, you actually MAKE that person tell you the truth, make them stop lying, you ASK them, "You said you wanted to go out, but then you don't return my calls, what's the deal?" You CONFRONT THOSE ISSUES, EACH AND EVERY time.

Yeah though, that's another big point, as a group, punks are passive aggressive as FUCK. We NEED to rebel against that, we NEED to FIGHT against it and CORRECT it. HOW? By actually BRINGING problems out into the open and CONFRONTING them, TALKING about them until they are RESOLVED. We need to be able to confront and TALK about ALL of this crap and have ALL of it NOT be a big deal. The guy that asks the girl why she wasn't returning his calls isn't CRYING about it, it's not the biggest deal IN THE WORLD to him. That's not WHY he's confronting her about it, he's ASKING because that's the way it SHOULD BE done, COMPLETELY direct, COMPLETELY honest, NO FUCKING ROOM FOR MISUNDERSTANDING, NO LYING, NO HIDING IN THE VAST AND VAGUE AREAS OF GREY.

Example: A guy spies a hot chick at a club. He goes up to her and says LITERALLY, "Flirty, flirt, flirt, Uhhhhh, I think you're attractive, and I thought I'd come over here and make small talk with you until you gave me your phone number or agreed to go on a date with me."

THAT is the "second leveler" IDEAL. You know that you're flirting with her, trying to get her number, she knows you're flirting with her, trying to get her number. It’s COMPLETELY obvious to the BOTH of you, so why not just SPEAK to that obviousness, be fucking direct and stop wasting time?

It's about rejecting denial; it's about not LYING to yourself anymore. It's about KNOWING yourself and SHARING that knowledge with other people. It's about knowing EXACTLY how you are fucked up and being able to TELL that to people easily.

Bill: "Hi, I'm Bill, I’m 34, I'm from North Dakota and I'm kinda obsessive and a little quick to anger."
Everyone: "Hi Bill."

Fuck, it's about reinventing the social dynamic in the mold of support groups, BUT not having ANY of it become a big deal. It's about being able to pour your heart out at the drop of a hat, it's about being able to tell ANYone ANYWHERE your "deepest, darkest secrets" and have NONE of be a huge deal. If someone uses what you've told them AGAINST you, then BIG FUCKING DEAL.

Bill: "So then my dad died and it was the worst day of my life."
Jim: "Fuck you, I SHOT your dad because he couldn't give me a decent blow job."
Bill: (shoulders shrugging) "Buuuuuu........"

It's about being completely vulnerable at ALL times, but being IMPOSSIBLE to hurt. It's about not marking out to all the easy bullshit. If someone calls you an asshole, what's the big fucking deal? They aren't really saying anything NEW or complex, it's no ultra-well informed critic of your personality, it's just some dumb, one word put down. WHY then should we react to it so harshly? We shouldn't, it's nothing, it doesn't matter. Those one word insults such as yer "fuckers" or "assholes" or whatEVER's are just too damn simplistic and VAGUE to have any REAL kind of effect.

Why do people react to that kind of shit then? Well, because it gives them an easy outlet to VENT their fucking anger. They're unhappy with their life, they're unsuccessful, and someone calling them an asshole, well FUCK, it gives them a chance to blow off some steam, ignore their REAL problems for a second and, uhhh, take part in the grand old life themes that's MADE their life a mess to begin with.

I mean, it's all fucking entertainment, all of it is just a way for you distract yourself from dealing with your real problems, your real emotional issues. ALL of it, TV, movies, books, taking interest in politics, religion, your fucking JOB even… In the 40's people thought that by NOW we'd only be working like 20-hour weeks, but we AREN'T, we're working MORE. WHY? Because ultimately, people NEED to work because it's the ULTIMATE fucking distraction. Ten some hours a day devoted to work, when you get off work you complain about work, you're so TIRED from that work you just fall right to sleep. No WONDER workaholism is so popular in the US because when you're working 90 hour weeks, you never have to think about anything other then those darn TW40 accounts that need to be on Simmons' desk by Friday at 4:30. Can you fucking IMAGINE how INSANE most people would get if they NEVER had anything to do and they were then FORCED to CONFRONT and DEAL with their emotional issues? People couldn't handle it...

Anyway, another objective of this whole "second leveler" thing, is developing, HEALTHY, FULFILLING relationships with people from the very ONset OF that relationship. Not like "normal friendships" that start off as pointless bullshit and rarely EVER develop into something real. I live in a college town, and time and time again as people leave, I am CONTINIOUSLY SHOCKED by just how weak the bonds are between some of these scenester folk. People who were "best friends" seemingly, and who hung out everyday. One of them graduates and moves and within a few months they aren't even TALKING to each other anymore, months upon months go by and STILL they BARELY, BARELY ever phone one another. How could that be a fucking FRIENDSHIP if they forgot each other so easily?

It's also about people working to the fullest extent of their personality at almost ALL times. It's not some fake thing, it's not some performance, you're not some standup UP there putting on a show for people, it's about being YOU, pure unadulterated YOU, working to your fullest capacity AT ALL TIMES. The way you are with your best friend, the way you are with your wife, that's the way you are with EVERYone (of course, you're not SLEEPING with everyone like you do with your wife, but you get my point). It's about breaking DOWN those fucking barriers that separate us from each other. WHY ARE THEY there? We have nothing to hide, we're all the FUCKING SAME, we have the same wants, needs, fears, desires, we're all totally fucking FUCKED UP. WHY then do hide from each other, why do we put up these HUGE FUCKING EMOTIONAL WALLS THAT KEEP OUT EVERY SINGLE FUCKING PERSON EXCEPT FOR MAYBE ONE OR TWO? Because we're fucking AFRAID OF BEING HURT? But guess what? Being so guarded and shut off and defensive like that only serves TO MAKE US WEAKER, to make it EASY for us to get HURT. Like I said, if all this shit was out in the open, if all of us just fucking TALKED about it, then it wouldn't FUCKING MATTER, and it'd REALLY FUCKING HARD for people TOOOO hurt us because we'd be SOOOO fucking emotionally STRONG.......

Yeah, we punks, the weakest of weak, the most fucked up of the bunch (that's arguable), WE have to reinvent ourselves, we have to turn ourselves into EMOTIOMAL FUCKING SUPERMEN (exclamation point). WHY? Because THAT is the new frontier, THAT is the only place LEFT to go that HASN'T been GONE TO. If we are the rebels, the TRUE rebels, if we are the GENIUNE truth seekers, if we are the fucking ASStards that HAVE to move society forward, then this whole "second level theory" is like the ONLY fucking choice.

We have to reJECT all the fucking cliches and be CONSTANTLY moving forward, rock'n'roll achieved perfection somewhere between 1977 and 1982(arguably), rock'n'roll ISN'T gonna move on any further. That doesn't mean though that our IDEAS can't move fucking on, that we can't continue to GROW emotionally. It doesn't mean we have live in the past mentally. Rock'n'roll isn’t gonna get any better, but WE fucking can. We can BE those fucking emotional supermen and we can still listen to the fucking Mad (they hate music, but I fucking hate asstards who waste my time by lying to me and pretending that we both don't know what the truth actually is). There's no NEED for the music to move on, but US, we REALLY need to move on emotionally and mentally.

Why does it have to be PUNKS who do the moving? Why are WE the ones who have to change the world? Well, 'cause we're the ones that NEED things to change the most. We're the ones being the MOST fucked over by the "current state of things" (note: there are plenty of other groups being just as fucked over, if not more, then punk rockers, and it's up to THEM as well to change things). The difference NOW though is that we're gonna change the world by changing OURSELVES, not the other way around. We ain't gonna change the world so it'll bow to our own personal bullshit. We're gonna GET RID OF our own personal BULLshit and THAT is gonna be what changes things..............

It's about massive self-analyzation and reflection; it's about THOUGHT. And it's not about image, it's about people actually starting to practice what they are fucking PREACHING. It's about narrowing that gap between words and actions, until there IS no fucking gap anymore. It's about a "quest" for reality and a realization that we are no where NEAR reality right now. It's about the admittance to and consciousness of ALL of our own contradictions. It's the realization that, for people today, reality doesn't exist. Our minds are too narrow, our experience too limited. There is just too much we don't know. There is no way that humanity, as it is today, can have anything even APPROACHING a full grip on reality. It just doesn't exist for us.

It's also about a consciousness of all the differing viewpoints people can have on certain issues. It's not about seeing BOTH sides of the story; it's about seeing EVERY POSSIBLE side of the story. It's about realizing that no one is ever totally right or totally wrong on ANY topic/issue/whatever. It's about the fucking COMPLEXITY of life and human interaction and realizing that a fucking two minute punk rock song with maybe thirty words IN it is NOT actual THOUGHT, it's not SAYING ANYTHING WORTH HEARING. And it's about fucking INTERNALIZATION. It’s about looking at yourself and being able to tell other people what's wrong with you instead of them telling you. It's about having an intimate knowledge of your own damage and being able to see how that motivates your every action. It's about actually being able to admit that you're ALWAYS at least partially wrong and being able to ACCEPT that. It's about being able to confront and BE confronted about any and all issues and not have that be some big deal.

It's about challenging yourself and pushing yourself to your utmost potential. It's about not being scared away by something that does not fall within your narrow parameters of "normal". It's about realizing that everyone is totally fucked up. It's about stepping OUT OF THE FUCKING DARKNESS FOR THE FIRST TIME, EVER (double emphasis on "EVER").

Now at this point I know you're saying, "But wait, Clint, are you actually TELLING us that this is how you live YOUR life? DO you actually FOLLOW these "rules?" Do you actually subscribe to this "second leveler dogma?" Weeeeeeeeell, yes and no, with a lot of people I hold back because, well FUCK, they just couldn't handle it. I mean, I've pissed off ENDless numbers of people with this kind of shit, and most of THOSE folk were even people who I THOUGHT would be open to it. The thing is though, I just DID IT, and I didn't TELL them what I was doing exactly and they didn't have the slightest fucking clue. A lot of these people just like totally flipped out on me, they couldn't deal with it, couldn't handle it. Too much honesty, too straightforward…

They just fucking REACT BLINDLY, they're a wild mess of emotions. No shit, I'm not fooling around. I've had people SERIOUSLY call me an "insane, psycho dipshit" only to turn around a few days/weeks later and take it all back. I mean, I am the Andy Kaufman, the Tom Green, the bad guy wrestler of the heart, of social interaction, of psychology, of whatever. People react in a strongly emotional way no matter WHAT I do, and so sometimes, I tweak things a little bit, just to prove my own point.

But anyway, I'm tired of being misunderstood, so HERE, here is my own personal philosophy in its ultra-idealized form. I don't "live up" to it always (especially not lately, but that's for another column), but hardly anyone ever DOES actually live up to that crap.

Moral of the Story: Obviously, I am a total fucking genius, obviously........

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So weird, most of that column just reads as like some kind of motivational speaker/cult leader type jargon. I mean, I still agree with all of it, but there's just this weird, wide eyed, fanatical tone to it. Of course, some people might just call that "passion" or something. It's hard to say.

I can more than see why people were critical of it, because well, I was delving into territory that's just really fucking uncomfortable for many. You could say it was "out there", but really, most of it seems fairly level headed. What I WAS doing though was taking a chance, I was really putting myself out there. It was a definite step out of line, a ploy to gain attention. Heh heh, I can still easily imagine that a decent amount of people that read this now(no one's gonna read this) are gonna have a negative reaction to it. Always 50/50, half love, half hate.... I don't know why they take it all so fucking seriously, a good degree of what I write it meant to be taken as a joke(even if I don't actually come out and say that directly). Some people would always say I was a genius, the others would claim I was crazy.... Meanwhile, the truth, both now and then, is neither; I'm just kinda smart and kinda crazy, both all well within moderation.

Actually, that brings up another point; people always slam me when I call myself "a good writer". You have to understand that statement in context though. I consider myself a good writer in the zine style(most people think the "zine style" of writing is total bullshit), but my main talent is to provoke these emotional reactions out of people. Come rain or come shine, I can almost always move people from "Point A" to "Point B" with the stuff I write.

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Heh heh, looking back, reading all these columns tonight, it makes perfect sense now why my shit wouldn't work at Terminal Boredom. Of course though, I don't really write like that anymore(well, maybe sometimes I still do). I dunno, people were really beating the drums loudly back then that I was like the biggest loser in the world and well, I wanted to prove them wrong. That was a definetly influencing factor on the stuff I wrote back then; I was trying to show the world or Blacksburg or whoever that I was a worthwhile person. Hell, I'm still trying to do that. I am very pissed off that the world has decided that I am such a loser....

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Also, with all of these columns, it's so hard to concieve the fact that all of these ideas were very new(to the community) when I first talked about them. Most of it seems cliche and old hat now, but so much of it was directly challenging priviously held "punk rock believes".

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Lastly, I used the term "punk rock" way too much in this column....