Archive for the ‘The Rest of It’ Category

The Baltimore Riots are over. Freddie Gray is still dead, obviously. A half dozen officers have been charged in relation to the killing, but their subsequent convictions remain to be seen. The folks from Baltimore didn’t even give the justice system a chance to fail, like those in Ferguson did, they just assumed it was broken and started throwing rocks.

Hell, why not? After all, rock chucking and fire setting has been the traditional response of minority communities to an equally longstanding police tradition of targeting said communities with violence…and usually getting away with it. This tradition spans a half century at least. Not that cops weren’t killing poor black folk prior to the sixties, but it wasn’t really until the sixties that people began to respond by rioting and looting. Up until this time, somehow, being shot by the police wasn’t the black community’s biggest problem.

imageIn the 1960s, Americans did more rioting than any other decade, four to five times more in fact, than the thirties, when people were as broke and hungry and abused as ever. In 1964, a New York police lieutenant shot and killed a fifteen year old Harlem kid in front of his friends. A shit storm ensued, on the spot, and the rioting crowd swelled to more than 4000. For four days, angry citizens threw rocks, set fires, attacked the police station and, of course, looted stores…all to no avail. The police lieutenant remained in the clear. Irregardless, similar riots occurred that year in Pennsylvania, Chicago and New Jersey, initiating a 51 year old cultural trend which has yet to have any real impact on the problem, but has retained its position as the black community’s go-to response in such matters.

Not that someone, somewhere, consciously plans these actions as a response…like I said…it’s a cultural trend. Riots tend to happen in clusters, at least with regards to cause, and the clusters typically span across a few decades. In the first couple decades of the 1900s, the thing was for a big gang of whites to get together and murder blacks. Racial attacks, like those in Tulsa and Rosewood, left hundreds dead. The other thing was for primarily white union members to violently suppress others’ opportunities for the same contracts. After the 1927 Herrin massacre, when rioting strikers looted gun stores and shot down a bunch of black strike breakers in cold blood, the focus of labor riots shifted to workers rights for a decade or so. Racial riots shifted in nature as well, decreasing in levels of violence and intensity, and for the first time, minority groups became the willing participants of melees like the Zoot Suit Riots, instead of the victims they had been in the past. Things then quieted in the fifties…the calm before the storm.

The sixties were indeed a perfect storm, a convergence of unrest so varied that the parties involved fed off one another and mustered a collective momentum not seen since the American Revolution. “There was madness in every direction,” wrote Hunter Thompson, “you could strike sparks anywhere.” For some reason, in the 1960s, a lot of Americans decided that they deserved to be treated equally and they took it to the fucking streets. If the blacks were rioting about being victimized by white cops, why shouldn’t drag queens riot too? After all, by the sixties, a black guy at least had a perceived right to walk down a sidewalk without being arrested simply for being black.

imageNot so for drag queens. While homosexuality in general was frowned upon and in fact legally punishable, it was sometimes hard to prove. Crossdressing, on the other hand, was also illegal and very easy to prove. During a customary raid on a gay bar, “suspicious ladies” would be led into the restroom by a female officer who would check for penises. Offenders would then be arrested. I’m not kidding…that’s the power of the American tax dollar as hard at work as ever…Stop-and-Frisk meets TSA. So on one particularly balmy 1969 New York night, the patrons of a Greenwich Village gay bar, the Stonewall Inn, decided to fight back.

After refusing to consent to a penis search, several people were arrested. As they were being led to police cars, a crowd gathered outside. Witnesses reported an arrestee pleading for bystanders to intervene. And then, after suggesting that the cops be paid off on the spot, someone threw a penny. And then another. And another. And then a rock. And then it was on. A hailstorm of foreign objects rained down on the police officers, who were forced back inside the bar for their own safety…or driven into the bar like cattle…take your pick. Outside, a surge of entitled gay rage spread throughout the crowd. Participants have expressed a collective feeling of having had enough. Things had to change, and it all had to start somewhere.

I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if the mob had gotten to the officers cornered in the bar…your guess is as good as mine. Not that they didn’t try, mind you. Multiple accounts indicate one or more alleged drag queens ripping a parking meter out of the sidewalk and then using it, siege style, as a battering ram against the buildings entrance. Unsuccessful, they attempted another classic siege strategy, setting the building on fire. Remember, these weren’t Roman centurions. Or common street thugs. These were dudes in dresses with size twelve star-spangled pumps who’d probably never hurt anyone before in their entire lives.

And they beat the shit out of those cops. Another witness recollected a drag queen straddling a prone policeman, cowgirl style, while (s)he thrashed him mercilessly with with one of those big assed shoes. And it wasn’t just the cross dressers bashing white devil cops with their purses…though the imagery is almost too awesome not to dwell on…but the vast majority of New York’s gay community. Just as the police eventually managed to summon assistance, home phones all over Greenwich Village rung off the hook.

imageShit got wild. The city had to send in their tactical riot squad to extract the officers trapped inside the Stonewall. The gays rallied enough reinforcements to sustain a full length Broadway style kick line while still managing to overturn cars, light fires and chuck rocks. I have yet to figure out what could possibly be contained within a transvestite’s purse to make it heavy enough to smash a police cruiser’s windshield.

By sunup on Saturday, the violence had stopped and the crowds had dispersed. But it didn’t last. Saturday night’s rioting was described by some as being even more intense and violent than Friday’s, although accounts vary. Nighttime clashes with police continued through the middle of the next week, and then the fighting was over. The gays went back to their lives and the police went back to oppressing them. It wasn’t long before Inspector Seymore Pine was raiding gay bars again, despite the fact he’d barely escaped the Stonewall Inn alive.

But while laws hadn’t changed, attitudes had. The gay community found that in order to riot about their right to be gay, they had to come out of the closet into the light of police cruisers and paddy wagons set ablaze. I’m a clinical sociopath – I know what masks and closets feel like – and I also know how liberating it feels to let your nature shine in the bright light of a fire you intentionally set. It feels fucking good. And for the gays, it took, so as the fires went out and the day broke, they discovered the sun feels even better.

New York City saw it’s first gay publications and the community began to associate on another level, that of activism. The conflagrations, it seemed, hadn’t gone out entirely, but had activated secondary fires in the hearts and minds of the homosexual collective. By the next June, they organized a march in commemoration of the Stonewall Riots. News had spread, it seemed, as had the metaphorical flames, and marches were held in a number of U.S. cities. It’s 2015, and this month, they’ll be marching again. Betcha didn’t know that’s where Pride parades came from, did you?

The black community just had their latest parade as well. It was in Baltimore this time, but instead of commemorating the beginning of a rather successful movement, or even the previous riots in Baltimore, it was just the same old noise. From Harlem to Watts, L.A. In 1992, Ferguson, Baltimore…nothing changes but the names. The significance of the community’s rage against the institution, however justified, is ultimately lost in the lawlessness that inevitably takes control, so much so that when Bill O’Reilly pointed out how dem colored folk need to do some policing of themselves, he kind of had a point.

imageThe gays understood this. For them, Stonewall was nothing more than a rallying point, a catalyst that drew the community together and brought the issues out into the light. When the fires went out and the sun rose, they began to organize, and then to move forward. I dare say that the effectiveness of the gay rights movement has far surpassed that of the civil rights movement. A big part of this, I think, is a level of cohesiveness that the black community has never attained. Close they’ve come, but never enough so for a cigar.

I’ve always framed the civil rights movement through the Martin vs. Malcolm paradigm…that is…non-violent resistance vs. resistance by any means necessary. Both have their place, both are useful, even necessary…but they can’t work independently of one another. Non-violence means nothing if one has never experienced violence just as violence itself loses significance when there is no foreseeable hope of peace. Resistance is a school of thought unto itself and in order to be successful it must be inclusive of all approaches. The very notion of a Martin vs. Malcolm paradigm demonstrates an internal conflict which dooms the movement from its inception and therein lies the lack of cohesiveness.

Before Stonewall, the gay rights movement was, well, still in the closet. Associations like Mattachine and the Daughters of Bilitis were established in the fifties and advocated for the rights of gays, but encouraged members to assimilate into straight society. Their strategy was to gain ground by convincing the mass culture that they were no different. A Mattachine march on the White House went unnoticed, in fact, because it was just a dozen or so dudes in suits walking up and down the sidewalk. A couple of years after Stonewall, there were over a thousand, and everyone noticed them.

Frank Kameny, the MLK of the gay rights movement, was critical of the Stonewall riots, as well as the sudden outing and publicization afterward. He later regretted his initial opinion, however, when he realized that even with his twenty years of work, it wasn’t until after Stonewall that he was able to garner the necessary public support to be the first openly gay candidate on a Congressional ballot. Kameny and the old schoolers had indeed assimilated, but it was not within the culture which they had expected. It suddenly became apparent that they didn’t have nearly as much in common with mainstream white America as they did with a handful of rock chunking transvestites.

For the last century and a half, black people have faced the same dilemma, at least with regards to their identity and position within America’s social food chain. The Martins preach assimilation and love while the Malcolms demand resistance against oppression. Both sides pretend to want to understand one another and work together…but ultimately, the push and pull they exert prevents any sort of unified black identity from ever really emerging. And identity is what it’s really all about, in the end.

“Ya wanna know how we screwed up in the beginning,” asked hip hop activist KRS-ONE in his song Higher Level. “We accepted our oppressor’s religion.”

It’s an excellent point. Why in the world, I wonder, would a people with a history of being enslaved subscribe to the very religion used to morally justify the wrongs inflicted upon them? When an imprisoned Paul met a runaway slave names Onesimus, he instructed the man to return to his master. When he decided this didn’t make him a big enough asshole, he wrote his Letter to the Ephesians, wherein chapter 6 admonishes slaves to be obedient to their masters as to their Lord Jesus Christ. Really now, Paul, really now.

So for me, with an outsider’s perspective, it’s hard to take a guy like Martin Luther King seriously. It’s even harder to stomach Baltimore mega church pastor Jamal Bryant, who, throughout the Ferguson and Baltimore protests, urged the community to calm down, drop the stones, stop setting fires and looting items that corporate white insurance companies would ultimately be paying for…to settle down and be, well, good ol’ friendly American negroes.

How would Stonewall have turned out if that one drag queen suddenly dropped the parking meter and proclaimed: “Settle down boys and girls, and remember that these policemen have rights too…now get on home now…and let these nice boys go back to institutionally molesting our entire culture!”

See what I mean?

imageSo by the time the Baltimore riots were winding down, the black community was getting two barrels of advice to settle down and straighten up. Besides Bryant’s calls for nonviolent protest and peace, local gang leaders joined in as well, yep, the same guys who make the cops trigger happy and scared to begin with. The big question is, should the black community be listening to either party? Are religious leaders who propagate the same religion used to justify slavery thinking in terms of what is best for the people? Something tells me that Jamal Bryant, in his casual business attire, his downhome southern preacher affect and his 7500 strong flock of income producing sheep, has very little in common with those marginalized and murdered by the police culture. And as for the gang leaders, they are at least as bad, if not worse, than the nightstick toting police who beat their asses. Neither non-violent passive resistance, nor the white Jesus, nor black tar heroin will correct what is wrong.

But you can’t tell that shit to America, black or white. Americans are too busy singing praises of Baltimore’s own dragon lady and house nigga extraordinaire, Toya Graham. Graham claimed international fame after attacking her brick lobbing 16 year old son in front of news cameras. I’m sure you’ve seen it…it’s all over youtube. What really struck me was the public’s reaction, as well as that of local government, which was overwhelmingly positive. In any other context, a mother shown on live TV to be striking her teenaged son on or around his head while screaming profanity at him would be labeled a child abuser and likely prosecuted. It suddenly becomes acceptable however, and even praiseworthy in this situation. But the kid wasn’t looting or stealing or selling drugs or even back talking his mom…he was chunking rocks with his friends, all in support of one particular friend whom he claimed had been beaten by policemen.

imageOf course, Graham was praised by everyone from those old wrinkled bags on the View to Baltimore’s own police commissioner. “Good job Toya,” they all seem to say. “Way to use violence to instill the values of assimilation, submission and tolerance of abuse into the next generation.” Her pastor, none other than the aforementioned Jamal Bryant, also spoke warmly of her actions, as did the ghost of MLK.

The ghost of another “Milk,” on the other hand, probably sees it a little differently. Harvey Milk (first openly gay politician in office…and the first of such to be assassinated…and the second cause of the second series of flamboyantly gay riots) came out of the Stonewall era. He wasn’t militant or violent and he wasn’t nationalistically homosexual. What he was, was part of a very small demographic of American people who decided they weren’t going to fucking take it in the ass anymore, metaphorically speaking at least.

This demographic, though small, included a wide range of differences…from men who like men, to women who like women, to drag queens and whatever the hell you call women with mustaches and workboots, pretty much everything 1969 America regarded as sexually deviant, except perhaps the pedophiles and dudes who like to screw wet tree stumps. The diversity of the movement didn’t stop there either; differences based on race and ethnicity, socioeconomics, the same shit we all argue about-these differences were deemed secondary and sidelined in favor of the larger picture. And to show for it, they have a strong movement that has only gained in momentum. And they also have the Pride parades, their equivalent of the American Independence Day.

It’s hard to say if that is a reality the black community will ever be able to attain, but my magic eight ball says they won’t. The situation has been as it is for too long and the people involved, sadly, are trapped-unable to stop snapping at the bait. A free meal from a burning CVS is no different from the false hope offered by Jamal Bryant and his hoes and his precious white Jesus…one way tickets on a train with no real destination in sight, that is, save the mirage of equality and the fallacious notion that our country is built upon it.

And ain’t that just the awful, bloody truth of it all?

Dear God, I prayed, if you’ll keep me from getting my pants paddled off in the principals’s office, I’ll never, ever, ever choke my chicken again. If God had a nickel for every time a little boy struck up that deal, there’d no longer be any point in being God. Retirement would ensue and someone, anyone, any number of anyones could be paid to fill in. Cause that’s a lot of nickels. I’m just one guy with one chicken, after all, and I bet I’m worth at least a buck in that context…

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“Early masturbation prevention.”

Any thirteen year old boy recognizes the sacrifice that giving up moose milking amounts to and those bargains are never struck lightly. A kid promising an end to fireman time implies either some serious business with Santa or the prospect of a man sized dose of judiciously applied corporal punishment. It’s a hell of a thing to give up, and if you’re still keeping up your end of the deal seven out of ten little boys made in childhood, then my hat’s off to you and I submit you are the better man. While it’s easy to understand the value which both adults and children assess in such activities, it sure is funny how we seem to think Jesus and Santa Claus place a comparable value on our abstinence.

The idea, as silly as it may seem, is not based in the naive foolishness of childhood although it’s logic is indeed most foolishly childish in nature. This system of logic, somehow, managed to provide us with such cultural gems as circumcision, cold breakfast cereal and that little thing we refer to as the Jewish holocaust.

As long as the proverbial dolphins have been swimming and squalking, man has been doing his damnedest to flog them into oblivion. In ancient pagan societies, both man and god were frequently depicted with fistfuls of frankfurters and handfuls of hair pie. All this changed, however, when the Jewish rabbis started to get jiggy with their interpretations of the Tanakh.

Genesis 38 tells the story of Onan, son of Judah and brother of Er. When Er was killed before procreating an heir, tribal law dictated Onan must impregnate the widow Tamar. Onan, Er’s current heir, didn’t like the idea of competition for his brothers estate and saw his insemination of Tamar as little more than pissing in his own nest. So at the last minute, he yanked his rabbit out of the hair hat and “spilled his seed on the ground.” And God killed him for it.

Onan’s responsibility to Er’s widow is known as a leverite marriage and was common during the times when tribes did not marry outsiders and the gene pool was constrained. His neglect of this responsibility would have had greater implications for their community and was most certainly an outrageous act, hence God’s wrath against him. Somehow, someone along the line interpreted this paradigm as being inclusive of the leaving of cream cookies anywhere save the fertile cookie jar of one’s wife. My personal theory is that early Catholics recognized the potential for profit in their Pennies for Penance campaign and began taking confession from the St. Peter Beaters and the Rosary Rubbers, along with cash settlements.

It’d be interesting to know how much they’ve made through the centuries, but that’s just me and I’m a goon for figures and statistics.

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“Modern Masturbation Prevention”

Fast forwarding to Victorian England, things hadn’t changed much. Pickle tickling and nub rubbing were still considered mortal sins, but it certainly didn’t stop people. Laws emerged equating the act with sodomy, some as silly as those preventing women from the traditional method of horse riding. Ever wonder where the side saddle originated? Well now you know. When the Puritans first sought solace from societal evils like Christmas by coming to the New World, they brought this retarded-assed way of thinking with them. And smallpox. But that’s another story.

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“Ellen White, the face of sexual abstinence.”

America was indeed founded upon a tradition of preachers railing against slippery clown punching while people went right on ahead and did it anyway, albeit with a serious sense of post punch guilt. No American religious sect has been so influential in its history of pud pounder persecution as the Seventh Day Adventists. The Adventists, who derived a good bit of their dogma from the hallucinations of a woman named Ellen White espoused clean living free of meat, alcohol, caffeine and, of course, any sort of battling of the bald bishop.

At the time, however, most bishops weren’t really bald and no one knew what the hell a fireman was. Dudes were still sporting anteaters, except for the Jews, who’ve been mutilating their children’s dingalings for centuries. In America, it all sort of began with Ellen White and her husband. And John Kellogg. As in Corn Flakes.

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“Battle Creek Sanitarium, early 1900’s.”

In the late 1800’s, the Whites operated a convalescent home for Adventists in Battle Creek, Michigan. Over the years, they had cultivated a relationship with a young Kellogg and upon his graduation from medical school, invited him to supervise the revitalization of their ailing facility. Kellogg took the bull by the horns, renamed it the Battle Creek Sanitarium (coining the term sanitarium) and began to diversify its activities. Previously focusing on popular water cure therapy, Kellogg began to include all sorts of cutting edge alternative therapies and even invented a few of his own.

Considered a highly competent surgeon and an ardent anti masturbation advocate, Kellogg encouraged and helped largely to normalize the practice of circumcision, a procedure which he claimed was “almost always successful [as a preventative method] in small boys.” Circumcision obviously doesn’t prevent masturbation, but his motivation was corrective and he suggested its application as a punitive measure against older children and to be administered without anesthetic. While the cultural practice eventually found its way into hospitals and is now performed humanely, we still mutilate our children’s penises because some dumbass and his hallucinating benefactor said it was a good idea.

It’s barbaric, that’s what it is, and those people are assholes.

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“John Kellogg’s old stuffy ass in a scholar costume. His medical degree took two years.”

When John Kellogg wasn’t fighting the good fight against one-eyed wonder weasel wrangling by sewing foreskins closed and sprinkling carbolic acid on clitorises, he was devising new and ingenious ways to make people’s intake of bland, whole grain based diets simple and efficient. Simply put, he was trying to make a kibble for people to eat. Corn Flakes happened by accident, when some dough Kellogg and his brother made was erroneously allowed to mold. Lacking in funding, they rolled and processed the dough anyway and after toasting it, finally produced the desired result.

John Kellogg began shoveling it into his patients just as fast as he could bake it, the younger brother, Will, had different ideas. He formed the Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flakes Company, later changed to Kellogg’s, and began to mass market the product. He realized, intuitively, that the product tasted like the moldy corn dough that it was and therefore required a little more incentive to make it palatable to mainstream consumers. So in the same manner John Kellogg was selling it to his patients with a line of bullshit, Will included a booklet called Funny Jungleland Moving Pictures, which sounds suspiciously racist.image

It wouldn’t surprise me, given the older brother’s views on race and segregation. While Kellogg raised a considerable number of orphan children during his sexless marriage and a number of them happened to be black, his opinions on segregation and breeding between the races intensified as the 1900’s began.

Kellogg was a big proponent of the theories that clean living resulted in good health, both physical and mental, and that feeble mindedness and the like resulted from character flaws related to immoral practices like shucking your own corn. He started to rethink this as a result of experiences with his adopted son George. Even after stapling the boys foreskin closed with a bit of silver wire, the boy remained weird and sort of retarded. Eventually, it dawned on Kellogg that the boy’s having been found eating garbage next to his dead prostitute mother likely had some effect on his behavior.

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“This is a real thing. Run, quick, tell David Carradine before it’s too late!”

This revelation ultimately led to Kellogg’s establishment of the Race Betterment Foundation. Always one to push a bad idea to it’s fullest extent, Kellogg began to suggest, and in fact insist, that the white genetic code mustn’t be polluted by the likes of idiots, blacks and other such immigrants. He joined ideological forces with biologist Charles Davenport, another founder of the eugenics movement, and began to form the “scientific” framework of the movement itself. This ideology unfortunately mainstreamed into common practice and American society began to take upon itself the responsibility of deeming who was fit to reproduce and who wasn’t. Those deemed unfit were summarily sterilized, often without their consent.

Not one to be bested by the American competition, Adolph Hitler found that the eugenic principles fit nicely within his own ideas regarding ethnic purity and frequently praised the efforts of the westerners. American eugenicists accepted the pre-holocaust Nazi leader warmly and contributed significantly to the poorer nation’s research programs. Hitler, in the spirit of Dr. Kellogg, took an awful plan to the extreme.

While the sterilization of “useless eaters” prevented the perceived drain on resources for future generations, it did nothing for Germany’s current state of cash strapped-ness. In the years leading up to World War II, Hitler’s Nazis surreptitiously rounded up those they deemed unfit and began to quietly euthanize them. Feeble minded children were whisked away to “special schools” where they were never heard from again. Most of these children were strapped to beds and perished from starvation and exposure through windows opened to the harsh winter elements.

Before a Nazi ever touched a Jew, several hundred thousand people had been murdered, primarily the developmentally disabled, but also including homosexuals and members of ethnic gypsy minorities. In pre-war Germany, if you were eating and not paying taxes or breeding in an approved manner, you had to go. And eventually, the tax on being Jewish was raised to…everything. Make no mistake, the holocaust was about economics just as much as it was about racism.

By 1924, thirty American states had passed legislation rendering compulsory the spaying and neutering of those deemed feeble minded and unfit for genetic citizenship. Carrie Bell was the first to be singled out in ’24. She was regarded, essentially, as white trash with too damn many kids as it was, and ordered sterilized. Her 1927 appeal to the Supreme Court was a failure and a history of 60,000+ sterilizations began. The 1927 Buck vs. Bell decision has never been formally struck down, although as recently as last year, North Carolina was still paying out settlements to citizens sterilized without consent as late as the 1970’s.

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“The new Hallmark thank-you card for our parents.”

So in the present, while we’re no longer force neutering any of our citizens, mothers still make a culturally acceptable choice to sexually mutilate their sons based upon ideology perpetuated by a hallucinating religious zealot suffering from a traumatic brain injury and a “doctor” who taught supreme health was obtained through abstinence from turtle tugging, frequent enemas and a diet rich in heavily processed moldy corn.

In the long run, America and the rest of the world would likely have experienced a different track of history had they rejected the path Darwin’s ideas lead them down and settled for accepting his ideas on a more basic level. Whether man came from monkeys or not, lots of people would have been better off if they’d just appreciated the similarities between the species and followed the example of the pathologically bologna bopping Bonobo monkeys. At least they don’t butcher each other and if they do, they do it one handed.

Think I’m bullshitting you? Look it up.

And enjoy your fuckin’ Corn Flakes.

“Hey,” said my best friend through the phone, “I just wanted to let you know I had to kill the rooster today.”

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A Golden Polish Rooster

“How bad did he mess you up,” I chuckled, surprised it had taken so long. I’d given him the rooster, a Golden Polish, and some hens around a year ago, when he decided to take up the hobby. “He didn’t get your eyes did he?”

“That son of a bitch…” he went on, telling a story that anyone who has ever raised chickens can certainly relate to. It was one of those hell spawn roosters, a shining speckled brute with a spiked hair do and the attitude to match. He’d come to live in terror of his rooster, never naming the bastard for fear of offending it and provoking more of its vicious attacks. It was the kind of rooster that would intentionally roll eggs to the edge of the coop, then lie in wait around the corner, or scooch down on the roof just above. Anyone stupid enough to fall for this ploy deserved the raping that would no doubt ensue. You’d be surprised, by the way, just how big a chicken dick really is.

imageMark said that when the feathered demon jumped out from behind the wall, that it had that look in it’s eye and he didn’t want to know how big a rooster cock is anymore than you do. It had charged him several times, flailing, jumping, spurring, all at head height, all in his face. If you’ve ever been subject to a full size, full scale rooster attack, it’s damned scary…and some roosters don’t play. This was one of those roosters and it didn’t respond to anything but violence, and then, only a little. The basic tactic, with a rooster like that, is to stun it with a broom for long enough to get your eggs and get the hell out of the pen.

And it’s all about preemptive strikes. Don’t be afraid to plot out the best way to sneak up on him and hit him with a tennis racket because you better believe he’s thinking the same thoughts about you. Make no mistake, some roosters are flat out terrorists, controlling their flock and access to it by the most vicious means available. The only thing that stops them from crucifying and burning their enemies, which include anything not a hen, is their lack of opposable thumbs, or fingers…plus the fact that chickens are stupid. Well that’s three things. So sue me. The point is, fair’s fair and I’ve never been afraid to sneak up behind one and punt it like a football, at least, not after it tried to kill me. And rape me. And rob me.

They rob you, by the way, for the same reason they rape you. It’s all about power and control. And fear.

imageMy best friend hit his rooster in the head with a metal pipe. He said it wobbled a bit, something like Foghorn Leghorn after the dog hit him with a cast iron skillet, and then fell over, dead as a door nail. Or dead as a damned raping flogging rooster that got hit with a steel pipe. Take your pick.

Speaking of skillets, that’s where his rooster was headed when I talked to him. He’d already plucked it and singed off most of the little hairs. There’d been a good sized chicken under all those feathers and I informed him that it would be one of the best dinners he’d ever had. It comes pretty close to being a free meal (which tastes awesome on its own) when you kill a chicken like that but moreso, there is nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing that tastes better than eating a thing that you deeply and truly hate.

Trust me.

When I was a kid, chickens were not enough for my parents. Nope, my folks took up registered Brahma cattle raising as a “hobby.” They said it built character for me and kept me out of trouble. They were half right…it’s hard to go cause trouble when you’re mired to your waist in mud and cow flops…as in physically impossible.

There was one cow out of the lot, the used cow that came from a commercial farm impregnated with a possessed halfwit calf, the evil cow, the one with that same look in her eye…her name was Snowflake. And that monster bitch hated me. After being chased, butted, pushed through barbed wire and electric fences, I came to hate her too. So when it came her time, when Mom and Pops finally hated her as much as I did, they loaded her in the trailer. Destination: butcher shop.

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A Brahma heifer with “that look.”

In retrospect, my parents probably thought it was cute as they watched me, from afar, saying my goodbyes to the condemned prisoner. I was saying my goodbyes, all right… I told that cow they were going to take her to a warehouse, perhaps the same warehouse where Lethal Weapon was filmed, and Gary Busey was going to hang her from a chain. They were going to drip water on her and shock her teats with a car battery. Then, Mel Gibson was going to choke her to death with his sweaty Mad Max crotch maneuver.

Take that evil cow…how do you like them apples?

About a week later, Snowflake returned to us. It was Saturday afternoon when two big beefy guys showed up in a refrigerated delivery truck. With two sets of hand trucks, they proceeded to re home the demon cow, forty paper wrapped one pound packages at a time, in our downstairs freezer. They’d moved about half a cow when they had to take a break so Pops and I could hit up Sears for an additional stand up freezer. You’d be surprised how much beef comes out of a cow.

You’d also be surprised how good she tasted. Granted, she was a grass fed animal and, besides tormenting me, she’d never worked a day in her life, so she’d be tasty either way. But as tender and marbled as her ghost was, it was my intense hatred for that animal as an individual that really made the little flavor explosions on my tongue go pop. The wide white scar on my right palm, still prominent three decades later, that came from being shoved and bullied through a barbed wire fence made her dead, seared and pecan encrusted flesh taste like…victory. Victory, with a side of Appalachia blood-feud vengeance.

Like I said, nothing tastes so spectacular as the thing that you hated when it was alive.

After Mark’s call, I found myself wishing his chicken dinner wasn’t a three hour drive away. It’s been a long time since I’ve eaten a despised and persecuted piece of fowl, longer still since I’ve eaten any sort of fowl at all. And I miss it. But, once you’ve snatched an attacking rooster out of mid air and promptly twisted it’s head off before plucking, cooking and eating it, good old American factory farmed chickens just don’t cut it anymore.

Not that they ever really did, for that matter. If you’ve even driven past a commercial chicken operation, and the wind is right, you smell death and decay. Yep. That’s what those long, narrow, low topped buildings are and that smell is exactly what it smells like it is. Nothing that comes from that can taste good. Or be good.

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Battery hens…or…where your eggs come from

Most commercially raised chickens spend their entire lives in boxes large enough only to contain a motionless chicken. They’re usually genetically modified, growing rapidly and spending significant portions of their short lives in tightly confined pain. Overcrowding leads to rampant disease, which leads to massive doses of antibiotics which, well, leads to even worse disease. Chicken labeled “free range” isn’t much better. The chickens have about the same amount of space, just without the cages, so in addition to all the other existing problems, free range chickens can add fighting into the mix. Think I’m jiving you? Look it up.

In America, the birds we raise and eat enjoy few, if any, legal protections, aside from those that prohibit bloodsports like cockfighting. Legislation such as the Humane Slaughter Act does not cover fowl. So when I make a joke about executing a rooster, South American style, with a machete, I’m only half joking. The fact is, if I want, I can throw a dozen or so chickens in a barrel of boiling water and mass scald them to death because it’s cleaner than chopping off a live head and easier to pluck them while the blood drains. Besides, it’s totally legal.

If I desire to perform live vivisections and bizarre biological experiments on my chickens, that’s also, basically, legal. Not that I’ve ever done any of that, nor do I intend to, for that matter. I’ve just never been able to bring myself to hate an animal enough to torture one just for the sake of it…or even to make a quick buck…and that’s really what it boils down to. A baby chick, ordered through the mail, costs about a buck. By the time it’s big enough to eat, I’ve had four to six dollars in it. That doesn’t count the time it would take to pluck, butcher, clean and package it in fancy plastic wrapping. Or transport it to a grocery, either. I’ve had, said and done, about twice the amount of investment in one chicken as Tyson or Purdue, and I guaran-fucking-tee you they’re still clearing a substantial profit, even when you walk out of the market with a four dollar frozen pullet from the clearance shelf.

At the local farmers market, a medium-large bird, dressed and ready for the roasting pan, comes out to about twenty five bucks. A high price indeed, it’s one I’m not really willing to pay, nor is most of the rest of the country, especially not when several manufactured chickens can be procured for the same cost. A lot of the people who buy these chickens could care less if their dinner was tortured or abused or poisoned. A farm animal, to a large segment of America, is an abstract concept, something that can’t be related to because most Americans will never meet a cow or a chicken up close.

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Free Range chickens are worth the extra $$$.

For every car-jacking face-raping son of a bitch rooster, there are a dozen hens who like to have their feathers itched after eating grapes and worms from your fingers. Live creatures with unique personalities. People sort of realize this, I think, and marketers draw on classic and recognizable barnyard imagery when choosing advertising buzzwords like Farm Fresh, Cage Free, Free Range, take your pick. They don’t really mean anything, except that you’re going to pay a little more for basically the same bird.

Vegetarian-fed is my favorite marketing term. In order for egg shells to be sufficiently strong, chickens require additional calcium, usually in the form of bone meal or crushed oyster shells…not vegetarian. Chickens that are truly free ranged eat a diet pretty high in bugs and worms…also not vegetarian. The vegetarian-fed claims are basically a reaction (or an offhanded admission) to the revelation that commercial chickens are often fed other chickens, dead chickens, diseased chickens, leftover bits that can’t be sold. Efficiency at its best…

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One of my Cochin hens talking to the Vizsla

My chickens like cole slaw and macaroni and cheese. And lots of grapes. They like to sit in tiny nests for days at a time, trying to hatch eggs I’ve already snagged. They also like to run loose in the yard, digging holes, eating bugs and shitting on everything. And I mean everything. They’ll coo at you when they want something and they’ll come when you call them. Chicken keeping, at its essence, is a symbiotic relationship between two species where both sides bear a responsibility to the other as well as an opportunity to benefit from the experience.

When a big rooster violates this relationship by trying to blind you with his spurs, it’s entirely appropriate to baptize his ass into glory with the head ringing end of a garden spade. And then you eat the old hateful thing for dinner. What happens, though, when man starts to systematically violate the animal, to treat it as though it’s hated, even when all the animal has ever done is hold up its end of the deal? One man gets paid and the other gets fed…and the chicken gets fucked…that’s what happens. And I think that’s sad.

So, as a personal rule, I choose to only eat chickens who have been righteously hated and killed in self defense. That, unfortunately, means I don’t get to eat chicken often, not ever, really, and that’s ok. It’s a small price to not have to pay to not be complicit in what amounts to legalized systematic abuse, hateful treatment for the sake of profit instead of hate itself.

It’s ok to hate a rooster when it hates you first just like it’s ok to knock it’s head off when it tries to kill you. Like I said, the hatred, a natural phenomenon of the man-bird relationship paradigm, simply makes a Southern-style home fried chicken dinner that much more spectacular. Or anything else, for that matter.

Three years ago, when my fiancé and I were vacationing at the Outer Banks, we were suddenly attacked by a massive swarm of black biting flies. We were outnumbered, overwhelmed, panicking from one painful attack after another, and running like hell for the car. Once inside, safe from the nasty little bastards, our breathing slowed and our heart rates approached normal. Suddenly, I felt a sharp pain on my bicep as one bit into me. Too busy feasting upon my blood to notice he was being snatched by his little wing, he found himself staring into my eyes, legs wiggling and wings buzzing, it was his turn to panic. Fair is fair, and I don’t care what you say, that parasitic little beast knew it.

Wanna know how that hateful little blood sucking black fly tasted? Just like it sounds…delicious.

 

http://www.murdercroweatcrow.wordpress.com

 

A big part of the morning ritual where I live involves a group of salty old codgers who set up shop around the coffee pot at the filling station and conduct informal surveys of who is and is not blessed by the availability of work on the given day.

“You fellers stayin’ busy,” asked a crusty old guy named Harold, a man known for stating the obvious in the crudest way imaginable.

“It comes and it goes,” I responded, for at least the fourth time that week. “How bout you?”

“Sheeeeeiiiiiit,” he began, pausing to almost spit tobacco juice in his coffee cup, then actually spitting said juice in another identical styrofoam cup before answering, “I’m so damned poor I got to get me one of them sex changes and take to sellin’ pussy.”

I had an instant flash of Harold, as a woman, announcing loudly to a group of other prostitutes to “clear on out, the pussy posse’s a comin’ round the bend.” It’s a scene I clearly wish I could unsee.

What Harold said was definitely funny, especially when considering the twisted-old-bastard/I-don’t-give-a-fuck way that he said it, but stuff like that really happens and from what I’ve read of Belle Knox, it pretty much went like that…just without the sex change part. What began as an off-handed remark about doing porn to pay for college quickly exploded into a career, of sorts, after she emailed a few selfies to some producers.

Belle Knox

Belle Knox

Knox, a 95-pound former Catholic school girl and freshman at North Carolina’s Duke University drew almost instant attention. Within a matter of weeks, she was on a plane to her first shoot. Unfortunately for Belle, the Internet is a much smaller place than it seems to an eighteen year old girl and she was quickly recognized by fellow students, resulting in a media frenzy which spread across much of 2014.

The frenzy produced a whole shitload of news articles, a lot more porn shoots and a substantial amount of criticism directed towards Knox, a Women’s Studies major and self-described feminist. She gave a number of interviews over the course of 2014, including those to CNN’s Piers Morgan and those catty old broads on The View, as well as the likes of Howard Stern and the much maligned FoxNews.

In each interview, Belle refers to her experiences as being generally positive, attempting to negate the assertions of a number of former porn stars that the business is overflowing with misogynism, drugs, disease and abuse, something akin to wood chipping the Saudi royals and cramming them all into one small port-a-john bowl before leaving it in the hot sun to ripen. According to Knox, this isn’t necessarily the case.

Barbara Walters' face when Knox explained "the money shot."

Barbara Walters’ face when Knox explained “the money shot.”

While the word we most often hear used in popular media regarding a young naked white girl surrounded by so many big scary uncircumcised crotch dragons that she literally starts crying is…”exploited”…she chose another word entirely: “empowered.” Of course, the horny penis-loving liberal feminist camp thought this was just dandy. The other side…not so much.

As it turns out, there seems to be something decidedly non-feminist about a teenage girl being slapped and spit on as her face is being pummeled by some engorged pink warthog of a thing that looks like it just might just have its own zip code. Even my dumb ass can understand that. I’m not exaggerating, by the way. The pink warthog to which I’m referring is featured on the website Facial Abuse, along with Belle Knox, in her first scene and if anything, I’ve been understating things.

The video, in fact, shows Knox being degraded in the same kinds of ways that morph ordinary mild-mannered jihadis into super villains deserving of their own brand, flag and logo (still waiting for ISIS Crunchy Jihadi Flakes, btw). I highly doubt, however, that Abu Bakr al Baghdadi ever got handle barred by his pigtails or had a crude rendition of Van Gogh’s Starry Night dribbled in semen across his face as he was told what a filthy little feminist he was.

Click here to view a heavily censored clip from the Facial Abuse shoot.

Or maybe so. Maybe that’s why ISIS is so pissed. That’s not the point, though.

The point is, that was all basically true. Except for the Starry Night thing. But then again, everything’s open to artistic interpretation…either or…yuck city. So the conservative feminists seem like they might have a point after all. What’s feminist, they claim, about depicting the subjugation and a use of women for a profit, even if it is in the name of education? Ironically, the syphillitic shitbag doing the degrading in the film agreed with the mainstream feminists, bluntly informing Knox that she was indeed, “a bad feminist,” right before he squeezed his sock puppet so tight it popped and glued her eyes shut.

Knox argues that as a member of the BDSM community, she represents a segment of feminism that remains largely marginalized. This assertion effectively muddies the waters, semantically, and raises the idea that what defines feminism for any one female might just be subjective to that female. In other words, it takes all kinds. As Knox so succinctly articulated to Rolling Stone’s Alex Morris in 2014, while most women prefer not to have their faces drizzled with the human equivalent of warm spoiled yogurt, she happens to “think it’s hot.”

How utterly tasteless...

How utterly tasteless…

And so went the debate. The relationship of feminism to abusive face raping, while certainly a tempting topic, was not the only issue tackled in the Knox interviews. Knox, clearly an intelligent young lady, conducted herself well during the interviews and gave a fairly comprehensive insight as to her life, the ups and downs of the porn industry and how she hopes to make the two things work together. In each interview, each half assed cross between a porn star’s self marketing ploy and what we now call journalism, her challenge of the definition of feminism was the only real issue discussed.

They all scratched the surface of the larger problem, much as I did in the beginning of this article, but failed to return and finish the job. All except FoxNews411, and aside from presenting a colorful graphic and reading from it, they didn’t have much to say either.

And that’s fine by me. I’m stuck at home, it’s snowing like a bastard and when my wife gets home the jumping on the bed and chasing the cat with my Nerf Assault Cannon will inevitably cease anyway. So, I might as well continue the story that everyone else decided to leave wadded in a tissue under their journalistic nightstands. I might as well, after all, since it’s flu season and we’re fresh out of Kleenex.

As FoxNews411 anchor Chris Kensler pointed out, quite literally, Duke University costs approximately $31,000 per semester. Knox, the first from her high school to be accepted to Duke in over a decade, found herself looking at a tuition bill in the neighborhood of a quarter of a million dollars. Duke, of course, is proud to offer a monthly payment plan which is tailored to each student’s individual situation, just so long as that situation involves coughing up a $4300 payment every month. On time. Knox, who had around two dozen films under her belt by mid spring of 2014, stated that at the rate she was going, she’d be able to cover her first years tuition in cash.

Her parents, she said, made just enough to disqualify her from federally subsidized student loans and, despite her father being a physician, were unable to afford her tuition. Belle’s choices were, basically, giving up her dream or being metaphorically fucked by debt. Lawyers, she pointed out, need more than a bachelor’s degree, and loans made no fiscal sense. To the future porn actress, the notion of having her future monkey-fucked inside out by the massive hulking anteater that we know as student loan debt was way more terrifying than, well, the real thing. I sort of see her point.

According to Belle, and what is apparently common knowledge, a porn actress makes, on average, $1200 per sex scene. Roughly, she will have to star in around 100 scenes to meet her tuition and fees, and that’s if FoxNews estimates of cost were not conservative. To put this into an appropriately sticky perspective, if 70% of her scenes included male participants, over the course of four years of college, Belle will get sloshed with something like a quart and a half of that tuna yogurt I mentioned earlier.

Welcome to Yucksville, son.

On examination of Duke University’s financial statistics webpage, I discovered the university nets about $316 million per year in tuition and fees representing about 16% of its annual revenue, which approaches two billion dollars. At a rate of $62k per year, this figure only accounts for about 5000 students. The tuition of the other 10,000, Duke says, is covered by various forms of financial aid and therefore not included in the data.

What are they doing with all that money? Well, if you keep scrolling down their financial webpage, the next colorful pie chart indicates they use about half of it to pay employee salaries and another ten percent on employee benefits. So students like Belle, the ones who pay as they go, account for about 30% of Duke’s overall salary expenditures.

A 2010 independent investigation revealed the salaries of a number of top earning faculty members at the university, none of whom actually teach any classes. The data, if accurate, presents the names of 25 individuals whose income accounts for roughly one quarter of Duke’s annual salary disbursement. At 23.5 million dollars, it’s still less than the amount kids like Belle have to cough up each year.

Coach Michael Krzyzewski

Coach Michael Krzyzewski

To put it in porn industry terms, if basketball coach Michael Krzyzewski was an eighteen year old girl who made an equivalent living by touching penises on camera for a living, he’d be dealing with about thirteen and a half gallons of high quality Southern California semen each year. In other words, he’d be shooting ten scenes per day, every day, even on his birthday, and that’s only if he was a young, supple teenage girl; gender economics, in the porn industry, work a little differently than they do at Duke, where men earn consistently higher salaries. When old hairy men get hired to be pivot men at penis parties, they don’t get paid shit, so in reality, that thirteen and a half gallons I mentioned earlier would be more like filling a Gatorade cooler the size of a Volkswagen. Twice. And then dumping it on him at half time.

What I’m slipping and sliding into stating, is that if a basketball coach like Krzyzewski were paid $200k per year instead of $4.2 million, something like 68 incoming freshmen wouldn’t be faced with the decision Belle was faced with. If all 25 salaries were equitably reduced to the same figure, the number of cash paying students could decrease by nearly 300. Granted, that only accounts for about 6% of the total cash paying student population, but remember that the investigation only revealed 25 salaries. And in my opinion, $200,000 per year is still way, way, way too much to pay a college basketball coach.

Now the really crazy part, the bit that no one is really addressing, at least comprehensively, is that Belle Knox is far from alone. A lot of young girls, when faced with exorbitant tuition rates, turn to the sex trade. Like Belle plainly stated, a girl can’t pay her way through school on tips, especially not at Duke, unless those tips are, well, you get the picture by now.

When Brett Snider’s Findlaw.com article was published in early 2014, the bidding war on med student Elizabeth Raine’s virginity had reached $300,000. The bidding topped out at around $800,000, at which point Raine, not her real name, backed out, claiming she wanted to focus on her studies.

"Raine"

“Raine”

The actual truth is, she very likely was aware of the 2009 FoxNews report of a woman going by the name “Natalie” who negotiated the sale of her virginity for a whopping $3.7 million, and Raine was valuing her own at substantially more than $800k.

I bet when she was researching, Belle Knox read some of this same information and kicked herself a few times for being such a horn dog in high school. But, that’s just silly Catholic school girls for you, never realizing that not only does preserving your virginity greatly please Jesus, it also represents a sound financial investment in one’s educational future.

Belle probably isn’t the only girl who has kicked herself in the ass for this exact same reason. If she is, it’s because she’s the only student sex worker who read the article and considering that there seem to be a damned lot of them, that’s highly unlikely.

A number of other prominent pornstars have given interviews to various media conduits that they entered porn for the same reasons as Belle and simply stayed. These women, I suspect, represent only a small minority of the total number of women who enter the sex trade each year in order to afford tuition. It happens enough, however, that within the porn industry itself has emerged an entire sub genre of realty porn focusing entirely on “exploited broke college chicks.” Apparently, some savage little renegade strand of environmentally adapted DNA codes some men to see the added elements of desperation and destitution as making their fireman-time viewing material so much hotter.

I guess it’s like the Bloodhound Gang song proclaimed, “the lap dance is so much better when the stripper is crying.” Maybe they have a fucking point.

Unfortunately, Belle’s demographic of Former Schoolgirl Turned College Porn Slut represents an even smaller segment of the student sex worker population than that of Cum Crazed Coed Neo Feminists within the overall feminist movement. And that’s pretty damn small. Knox might even be by herself on that one. Either way, a tiny bit of information exists that suggests that tuition strapped college girls are resorting to the sex trade more often than we think.

About a year ago, the Huffington Post published an article about an association of strip clubs that took out a series of recruiting ads in San Francisco area student periodicals. Indeed, stripping is not an uncommon way for a young girl to make a few extra bucks while she’s in school. Even as far back as the greedy and decadent 80’s, people were aware of this cultural phenomenon, as it was essentially glamorized in the 1983 film Flashdance.

While College Girl Strippers are a demographic most of us accept, or are at least somewhat aware of, another segment of this population exists of which most people are ignorant. This ignorance, while probably sometimes willful, is essentially rooted in naivety and based on the fact that, since prostitution is illegal in most places, college students, girls who have a lot to lose, don’t tend to speak up about it. But it’s out there.

The internet, obviously, has contributed to the spread of the cash for sex business, allowing potential prostitutes the long needed option of going into business for themselves. Some girls take jobs with escort services, some advertise online directly and some go another route, as the HuffPost article went on to describe.

This is for real.About the same time the strip clubs were advertising on campus, a billboard sprung up in Los Angeles like a spring Daffodil, advertising a website called ArrangementFinders.com. The function of the website aims to hook financially strapped young ladies up with sugar daddies, which lands it somewhere in the murky area between paid escort sites and Match.com. Feel free to check this one out on your own.

Although some anecdotal evidence does exist, at least from an American perspective, the true prevalence of this behavior among the college female demographic is hard to estimate and if you search on Google, you’re not going to find much. I did find one small university survey, which I have sadly been unable to relocate, that indicated one in ten students at a particular college knew another student who was a sex worker. I can personally relate to that. When I was of college age, I knew one girl who was supported by a de facto sugar daddy she’d met on the Internet. That shit is out there.

While none of this information really proves anything, the fact remains that the phenomenon is prevalent enough that Portland State University’s Women’s Resource Center identified a need and created the Student Sex Worker Outreach Project, aimed at providing a support network for a population substantial enough to justify such a program. Like I just said, that shit is out there.

So where am I going with this one…I know…it’s getting long…just a few more ingredients and someone’s eating a big dripping pile of hot boiled crow. I promise.

In an American Association of University Professors report from 2013, it is revealed by the U.S. Department of Education that the number of adjunct professors teaching in American universities has climbed to nearly 42%, nearly doubling its prevalence since 1975. Here’s the thing about being adjunct: it sucks. Adjunct professors are considered part-time, receiving approximately $2700 per class and are generally limited to teaching five classes per calendar year. Bear in mind, that potential total of $13,500 is net and usually doesn’t even include benefits. This prestigious position only requires that one first earn a Master’s Degree. Monetarily, colleges value Bachelor’s degrees even less.

Now, the 42% figure is obviously an average, taken from a lot of different departments at a lot of different schools. In certain departments at certain schools, numbers of adjunct faculty are very low, sometimes even nonexistent, but in other institutions, such as the English department of Appalachian State University, about five hours from Duke, it has been as high as 90%.

What do these numbers say about how American universities actually value the very educations they peddle to hundreds of thousands of eager young minds each year? A $10,000 per year take home salary for a job that requires eight years of expensive education which, coincidentally, comes from the same or a related institution, is a reality that doesn’t need any sort of snappy commentary to sell it as the stack of steaming shit that it is. Statements like that damn well sell themselves.

In sharp contrast to schools like ASU, Duke primarily refuses to use the adjunct staff principles and simply benefits those who have made the full doctoral investment into the systems with pay scales ranging from $89k to $160k, depending on tenure status as well as sex. Yeah it’s like that.

Speaking of sex, why not bring Belle Knox back into things and wrap all this blathering numerical gibberish into something which is sickening in more ways than just being generally vomit inducing. So grab a bucket, if you must, and let’s sum up.

For Belle, as has been previously indicated, the best way to afford the overwhelming burden of a $250,000+ college debt is to make porn. Point taken, Belle, we all get it and we all sympathize. To earn that quantity working in porn, as Belle Knox, she has to do about a hundred scenes, which, as I calculated, amounted to about a quart and a half of moldy cabbage gravy, evenly distributed over eight semesters worth of spring, summer and fall breaks. Admittedly, it seems crass and rather unbecoming of a civilized American to equate the value of a degree from Duke University with that of one and one half large Mason jars of semen, sitting innocently on someone’s coffee table, but if the proverbial shoe fits…

Applying that logic to the practice of relying on adjunct professors to teach classes, while paying them a pauper’s wage, is even more disturbing. According to the principles of Semenomics, which apparently I’ve just invented, a Master’s Degree at North Carolina’s ASU is worth a mere 1/3 of a cup of the old hot buttered garbage sauce, at least in their English Department. So, good news males, at Appalachian, you can actually make more cash per adjunct class taught than you can in porn, but that fact is,sadly, not so for women.

The slippery, slimy most fucked up aspect of the whole situation, as well as what no one wants to admit, is this:

Whether you measure the values of these professions in terms of counting benjamins or the amount of semen you have to scrub out of your hair after work, the result is the same. The overwhelming message behind all of this is that if you are an American woman in your late teens or early to mid twenties, society places a higher value on your sexuality than it does your intelligence and potential to contribute to society in a meaningful way. More simply stated, sorry kid, but the fact is you can make more money stripping buck naked and letting some guy make a doughnut out of your face than you can teaching English at a North Carolina University. We’re sorry but, as Americans, we have more time, money and inclination to watch young girls like Belle being molested on the internet, while we rub our penises, than we do to make any moves toward changing an educational system that, while not doing the brutalizing itself, facilitates the idea that an educational diploma is worth more than a person’s intrinsic right to never have to make such a choice in the first place.

Am I suggesting that universities lower the cost of their educations to the point that it’s actually cheaper to go to school than to do porn? Or that maybe Americans watch way too much porn and value it just enough to perpetuate such a degrading cycle? Or might I go so far as to imply that certain controlling human elements in both the pornography and educational systems should be sunk slowly into a large drum filled with Southern California’s annual estimated quota of semen production (around 60 gallons, room temp and partially congealed) and drowned like the rats they are?

Maybe. We’re not there yet, obviously.

What I am saying, is that people need to start talking about this. And that brings me back to Harold, the ignorant old chicken sucker at the filling station.

Another one of the creepy old fucker’s sayings that gives me small waking nightmares, is his occasional announcement that,

“We’re so damn poor up there, Glenda’s gotta jerk the dog off to feed the cat.”

“Fuck it all Harold,” I want to respond, “the college raised tuition again. What you need is a Craigslist ad for College Cum Craving Cutie Cleanup and a damned sheetrock trowel.”

But Harold wouldn’t get the joke.

And that’s a big damned shame.

American Sniper is a film I had high hopes for. I’ve been a fan of Clint Eastwood’s since before I was even old enough to understand that the sniper and the gang of bank robbers from Dirty Harry were not connected in any way…other than Clint’s .44. It’s safe to say I grew up with his work, from the Harry Calahan films to the Man With No Name, so when I initially saw the teaser with his name attached to it, it made me as giddy as a school girl.

This feeling was, however, short lived.

I found the pic to be, as many have claimed, a well veiled piece of war propaganda with a release which seems to coincide with the rise and engagement of ISIS forces in Iraq and Syria. A quick tour of WordPress will reveal plenty of reviews saying just that, so let’s not waste anymore time repeating the obvious. Besides, I’m not a damned movie reviewer.

And technically, this isn’t really a movie review, anyway.

Kyle was presented in the film as a hero, a highly trained Navy sniper with a very respectable body count somewhere around 160. The advertising even billed Kyle as “the most lethal sniper in American history.” I’m going to go ahead and call bullshit on that one.

Carlos Hathcock’s official body count clocked in at only 93.

Carlos Hathcock, USMC

Carlos Hathcock, USMC

During Vietnam, an official kill had to be witnessed by both the shooter and spotter, as well as a third observer. Most of the Marine’s shots were taken deep in the bush, and the third party simply wasn’t available. Hathcock’s actual magic number is estimated to be in the low 300’s. And remember, Vietnam happened nearly 50 years ago, when 2000 yard shots were taken with little more than militarized hunting rifles. Those were the days before laser rangefinders, air conditioned body armor or the top notch optics available today. Hathcock had to belly crawl his ass through the mush that was Vietnam to get his shots. And then belly crawl home.

On the topic of high scorers, Finnish sniper Simo Hayha wrangled somewhere between 505 and 550 kills during the Winter War against the Soviets, sometimes ringing in as many as five in a day, at least until someone shot the bottom of his face off.

Simo Hayha

Simo Hayha

Hayha declined even the rudimentary optics that were available in the early 20th century, opting to shoot using iron sights alone. This was a man wearing a white bed sheet for camouflage and shooting a poorly made Mosin Nagant rifle equipped only with open sights. Did I mention he was shooting in temperatures ranging from -40F to a balmy -5F?

Lethal sniper my ass. I only make mention of Hayha, by the way, to put the numerical data into perspective.

While on the subject of the Soviets and other heavy hitting marksman, the name Vasily Zaytsev comes to mind, a simple mountain boy later credited with 225 kills during the Battle of Stalingrad. If you’ve seen the movie Enemy at the Gates, that’s the guy I’m referring to. If you haven’t, then you probably aren’t familiar with sniper duel shown between the Nazi sharpshooter played by Ed Harris and Zaytsev, played by Jude Law. American Sniper viewers must also be familiar with this incident since, as it appears to me, Eastwood ripped that part off.

Vasily Zaytsev

Vasily Zaytsev

At least the portrayal of the Zaytsev duel was based upon Zaytsev’s own unsubstantiated account of what happened. The version of what happened in American Sniper seemed to be based solely, though loosely…on what happened to Zaytsev.

The reason for sharing all this gibberish is to point out that 160 killings just seems like a lot, especially if you rake them all into a pile together. When placed in comparison with his predecessors in the field, Kyle comes in as the low man on the totem pole. Even if killing that many men were something a man should boast of, when you place it all into perspective, he just wasn’t that special.

I’d much rather see a film about Hayha anyway. He survived, by the way, although with a crooked face.

The thing about Hayha, Zaytsev and even Hathcock, for that matter, was that in addition to being not as well armed as Kyle, they also lacked the highly specialized training the movie showed. Sniper schools simply did not exist. Hayha and Zaytsev, it was guys like that who wrote the real books. Literally.

The thing about that specialized training, like the BUDs sequences shown in the movie, is that it’s less about training and more about selection than most folks think. Television shows men frozen in the surf, exhausted and mud caked, and we think it’s about teaching soldiers to perform under pressure and extreme duress. That’s not quite so. What amounts to little more than consensual torture functions instead as a weeding out process, selecting soldiers who come psychologically equipped to handle that sort of awful shit, among other things.

These programs tend to select personalities which can be clinically labeled as psychopathic. If you’re unfamiliar with psychopathy, you may be unaware that, in fact, not all psychopaths are malignant cancers. Many are drawn to and function well in jobs in the medical field, as well as in politics, law enforcement and the military. Kyle fits squarely into this category and even Clint Eastwood has a hard time not making it obvious.

Prior to joining the SEALs, Kyle was a bronco rider, a for real rodeo cowboy.

Kyle and friend

Kyle and friend

When an injury adjusted his career path, he sought out a role in special operations. This is a telling personality trait. High risk careers suit some psychopaths well, especially those that provide the intense sort of stimulation needed to mitigate the lack of feeling (this is hard core simplification, by the way) experienced. Kyle consistently placed this need ahead of the needs of his wife and even his own children, returning for a total of four very active tours in Iraq.

When he returns home, it’s easy to interpret the film’s depiction of his odd behavior as the effects of PTSD, but the symptoms Cooper portrayed seemed a little bit more like withdrawal to me. The film also chose to focus on Kyle’s troubles adjusting to civilian life, hinting that he suffered from PTSD, and completely ignored the fact that Kyle and a couple of his buddies started a private Blackwater-esque company called Craft International. PTSD? Really Clint?

I know, I know, none of that makes him a psychopath. You’re right. You’re absolutely right, although graduating BUDs is a better than good sign. My mind wasn’t made up for sure until I read about the Jesse Ventura Lawsuit Scandal.

An anti Ventura meme

An inaccurate anti Ventura funny

According to Kyle’s book, he was involved in a bar altercation with a former SEAL he called Scruff Face. Scruff Face made some really bizarre anti-SEAL remark and Kyle punched him out. In an interview while promoting the book, Kyle identified Scruff Face as former SEAL/governor/wrestler Jesse Ventura. Ventura claimed it never happened, sued for defamation and won based on the grounds that Kyle had been unable to provide a consistent narrative of the event between his book and the interviews.

Telling a big fat lie like that doesn’t make a person a psychopath either. But, the behavior provides evidence which increases the likelihood of it actually being the case. The truth is, obviously, that I didn’t know the guy and it takes a hell of a lot more than that to correctly diagnose psychopathy. All I’m saying, is that there is smoke. And smoke usually means fire.

Or at least hippies.

Now, believe it or not, this piece has a point, and that point is certainly not to bash Chris Kyle, nor to slander him as a blood lusting and yet underperforming psychopath, even if that be the case. Indeed…it’s about bashing Clint Eastwood for making a pro-war film disguised as an anti-war film and using Chris Kyle’s story for that purpose.

In doing such, Eastwood created a two dimensional character and reduced Kyle to little more than a trigger finger, poorly romanticized, much in the way Sean Penn presented the fictionalized Chris McCandles in his film Into the Wild. Penn seems to have captured the boyish, Emerson essence of McCandles, but entirely neglected to engage the fact that the stupid bastard traipsed off into the Alaskan outback with some rice and a .22 rifle and very quickly starved to death.

And that’s the trouble with hero worship: it’s one sided…at best. I know I downplayed Kyle’s accomplishments as a sniper, but what he achieved is still significant, historically and culturally, just as the Great McCandles Freedom Trek was. Unfortunately, when we focus only upon those qualities and stories we choose to identify as admirable, we forget the other 75% of a person’s identity in the process.

If you know who Audie Murphy was, then you probably remember him as the teenager who became the most decorated soldier in WWII before returning home to play himself in a blockbuster film.

Audie Murphy

Audie Murphy

You probably don’t know about the broken home and violent temper, the loaded gun under his pillow, how many times he pulled it on his wife or about the addiction to sleeping pills. Popular media tends to ignore these sorts of details, particularly when they are placing an individual on a pedestal and selling tickets.

It’s important to remember that these were real people, people with wants and needs and cares, people who put their pants on, one leg at a time, just like the rest of us. These guys fucked up a lot, too, just like the rest of us. These guys, also, were fucked up to begin with in a lot of ways, and it can be argued that what one might consider to be negative character traits have contributed significantly to the chains of events for which they are socially elevated in the first place.

Failing to tell the whole story robs the audience of the opportunity to assess the information objectively. It also robs its subject of part of their identity. So shame on you Clint Eastwood. You were right to make a really sweet war movie about snipers. It was truly badass. It really was. But America really doesn’t need any more one sided role models. A double order of fictitious bullshit is way better than a half truth sold for more than it’s worth.

A wise man once said: “People who to try to crucify and behead you…those people are not your friends.” In fact, when people act this way, it’s best to strap your shit to the top of the old Family Truckster, tie Aunt Ester’s dog to the bumper and high tail it for Wally World. And whatever you do, don’t stop the convoy…for anything.

Thousands of people have been doing this in Iraq and Syria. Except they’re not heading for Wally World and they’re a long fucking way away from the sarcastic humor of Chevy Chase. Orthodox Christians, Kurds, Alawites and Shi’ite Muslims are vacating their homes the same way the middle class abandoned Detroit.

That way is the fastest possible and like I said, just pass the kid a Gatorade bottle and whatever you do, don’t stop the convoy.

All those folks are wise to leave. I’d leave too if I were in their situation, especially given the alternative. The things ISIS does to people are…medieval. I’ve got to admit, I’ve actually found myself a little disgusted at what’s been going on. That’s saying something, considering that I’m of the opinion that atrocities and brutality are entirely acceptable tactics when a force is overwhelmingly outmanned and out gunned. I’ve also got to admit that, until last week, I knew virtually nothing about what was going on with ISIS.

That being said, I predicted U.S. entry into Syria a couple of years ago. I expected it within the Obama years, and so far, it looks like I might meet my spread. Will I be a prophet…I think not…but if I were, I wouldn’t be the only one. Mark Danner predicted what we now understand as the Islamic State back in 2004. In a published essay, he basically outlined how the televised atrocities that emerged as Abu Gharib and Gitmo would serve to crystallize a mindset in radical Islam that would nurture a nationalist movement like the Islamic State.

Danner wasn’t the only one to have this epiphany. Nor was he the first.

In 2003, the thinkers at the Pentagon screened a film called The Battle of Algiers, an Italian film about the Algerian struggle for independence from the French. Often used as a recruitment tool by insurgent leaders, the film depicts how the French utilized tactics of brutality, false imprisonment and torture to extract information about resistance fighters who hid amongst the civilian population. The film was billed thus:

“How to win a battle against terrorism and lose the war of ideas. Children shoot soldiers at point-blank range. Women plant bombs in cafes. Soon the entire Arab population builds to a mad fervor. Sound familiar? The French have a plan. It succeeds tactically, but fails strategically. To understand why, come to a rare showing of this film.”

Apparently, what’s happening is only a surprise to the people who haven’t been paying very close attention. There is a South Park episode where Professor Chaos discovers that no matter how ingenious and dastardly his plan, it has in fact already happened on the Simpsons. History is sort of like that. It’s all gone down before.

To understand what is happening now, you have to go back a bit, at least as far as World War I. In those days, the Ottoman Empire encompassed what we now know as Turkey and Greater Syria (Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Israel). It was ruled by the Ottoman Sultan and he was called the Caliph of Islam. At the end of the war, France and England abolished the position of Caliph and divided the empire into territories and drew boundaries that simply looked good on paper. The kingdoms of Jordan and Iraq were promised as prizes to loyal local leaders. Lebanon was created as a haven for minorities that really didn’t work out too well. Turkey became Turkey and Israel came later.

The point is, the borders of the modern day Middle East were drawn by the French and English and based upon their own interests, as opposed to the natural state of social evolution that had been previously attained. By the end of World War II, when France and England were tired and hungry, they basically withdrew support from these countries and proclaimed, “Happy Independence Day, motherfuckers!” And there has been strife ever since.

ISIS is challenging these borders and, if history is of any indication, has designs on the aforementioned Greater Syria. What we are seeing are the early stages of the decolonization of the region. History teaches us that this process is often, in fact, very ugly. It’s worse, in this situation, simply due to the ugliness that kicked it to life. Assad’s destabilization during the Arab Spring was certainly a prerequisite to ISIS’s grab for territory, but the movement would not in fact exist were it not for the brutal tactics used by Westerners in the last decade. ISIS is an example of violent nationalism fueled by anger, hatred and revenge. And while certainly made up of men hardened from fighting the West and steeped in radical Islam, it attracts outsiders too. They are globally recruiting and enlisting the equivalent of ideological crusaders.

Even in Jersey.

A 74 year old German author named Jurgen Todenhofer spent ten days in Mosul and Raqqa with ISIS forces. Part of this time he spent in a recruitment facility. There, he met people from both New Jersey and the Caribbean. He also traveled extensively through the territory controlled by ISIS. Of course, his interactions were tightly controlled, but according to the Iraqi civilians, ISIS is no worse than Saddam, maybe better even. So far, no one from ISIS had used any mustard gas on anyone. The Syrian civilians he met seemed to prefer ISIS over the Assad regime, at least I got that feeling. But then again, the name Assad is associated with transforming towns to parking lots overnights, the people still inside, blood oozing through newly laid asphalt. Neither Assad nor Hussein ever set the bar particularly high.

Apparently if you’re a good God fearing Sunni Muslim, you are indeed, to use a beloved expression from the American Deep South, shitting in high cotton.

The civilians left in ISIS controlled territory are almost exclusively Sunni Muslims. If I’m mistaken, it’s only because some minority groups have thus far failed to leave and have not yet been exterminated. What’s happening is natural. It’s normal. Think back to the dissolution of Yugoslavia back in the 90s. I saw and smelled that shit firsthand. The Serbs needed Serbia something terrible but they had to pay for it. Same for the Croats and the rest. Think even further back to the fall of the USSR. Or look at Africa. Any of it. Places like Somalia have never even begun to recover.

The Sunni Muslims need a place to be. So do the Shia. And the Alawites. And the Orthodox Christian Arabs. And the Kurds. The thing is, these guys have to work all this shit out for themselves as it was devilishly mishandled outside intervention that formed the genesis of the problems we, and especially they, face today. The atrocities and ethnic cleansing we are exposed to in the media is simply the result of availability of media. This behavior is not out of character for what is occurring and only seems worse because we are able to see more of it on our computers and big assed 52″ flat screen televisions. Displacement is a consistently occurring effect of decolonization. You don’t separate previously integrated groups by sending invitations to refugee camps. You motivate unwelcome parties to flee by fucking them up. Like I said, everyone needs a place. As an unofficially Christian nation, however, it’s hard for people not to somehow take it personally when the news reports that ISIS has “beheaded 21 Orthodox Christians.”

That, in itself, makes me ask if someone wants us to take it personally. And why. But that’s another thing altogether.

Americans also seem to be as terrified of the concept of Sharia law as they are misinformed about it. The fear is righteous. Sharia is decidedly unfriendly to non Muslims. It is, however, a necessary element in social hierarchy of Islamic culture. Islam, fundamentally, is legalistic and lends itself in many ways to theocratic forms of government, which is how the Islamic State is trying to present itself. Arabic culture not only fails to place the value on democracy that westerners do, but they also fail to draw the sharp line between government and religion.

On a side note, I find it side splittingly funny that no one seems particularly bothered by the fact that the Saudis implement Sharia or by the way they go about it. The Saudis are, in fact, known for having a poor reputation regarding human rights. When a women’s school in Saudi Arabia catches fire in the night and the fleeing women are not appropriately covered, exit is barred by authorities. It’d be awful to burn to death because you couldn’t find your ninja mask when the smoke woke you in the night and the Jesus police barred the doors. We still trade with these savages. Does that make my sense of humor twisted?

If it weren’t for my twisted yet well read sense of humor, you’d never have known that really happened. And not so long ago. So there.

I’m curious to see how the events unfold this year. Much is at stake, on all sides. Western interests seem to be gambling on ISIS doing some or all of the heavy lifting when it comes to ousting the Assad regime and establishing a friendly government, essentially a sort of recolonization itself. The gamble is based on how hard it will be to control or oust ISIS after and if ISIS is able to rout Assad completely.

ISIS is, essentially, placing all of their eggs into one big ass sandbox and hoping like hell that sheer numbers do the trick when the bigger richer boys show up to play and bring tanks and trucks.

Again, this not the first time this has happened. Back in the first century BC, about sixty miles south of Rome proper, a gladiatorial training center was overrun by about 70 enslaved gladiators and all the Roman citizens involved in the operation were slaughtered.

For a year or two, this group looted and pillaged Roman towns, killing Romans and freeing slaves. Slaves jumped at the opportunity to join this small movement, which swelled to a force of over 70,000 by 71 BC. Up until this point, Rome had utterly refused to take seriously an uprising of slaves, deeming it only worthy of being handled by poorly trained and equipped local militias. A steady stream of victories against the poorly lead local forces bronzed the egos and courage of the resistance. And they actually thought they had a chance against Rome.

At that point, enough was enough. A rich asshole named Crassus was appointed to deal with the uprising. He engaged the army of slaves with a force of 40,000 highly trained, highly experienced Roman centurions and the army of Spartacus was wiped away forever like a turd on a wet wipe.

The moral is…you don’t fuck with Rome. Because Rome will fuck you up.

The fighting force that, essentially, is ISIS, seems to have evolved much in the same way as the army of Spartacus. ISIS is primarily lead by men freed from coalition fingernail factories. Guys who were dangerous and pissed off before being tortured and humiliated. Gladiators and slaves. Both groups utilize(d) similar personal demographics, those of people with a basic ideological need to resist what they perceive to be injustice.

Furthermore, they grew battle hardened and emboldened through successful military engagements against inferior forces, like the Roman citizen militias and the Iraqi army. In addition to increasing territory and available resources, shortsighted victories such as these boost morale and when human resources are available, recruitment numbers.

For Spartacus and his army of slaves, victory was in fact short lived and defeat was spelled out across the Roman countryside by men stapled to wooden crosses driven into the ground by their inevitable conquerors. So far, the only occupied crosses have been driven by ISIS themselves, but the new war is still young and Rome has not yet mobilized it’s more effective methods of extermination.

The only protection ISIS has, fundamentally, are the millions of non combatant civilians that they hide amongst to eat and sleep, and the fact that Rome has not yet been able to convince its citizens to foot the bill on a flat out Caesarian cleansing of the proverbial slate.

Not since Hiroshima at least.

This foul new year will indeed be a fine one for those who like to observe history as it happens, especially when it’s through a magic porthole in a living room, several thousand miles away. I can’t say that for those who see it first hand, but I’m sure they’ll be just as engrossed as I am.