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A deserted Freaknik Friday kicked off at the point with Kickstand. The lovely Katy of Catfight claimed she was forgetting the bass lines the one night all her friends came but we couldn't tell, it sounded pretty good. They could use some variation and they reminded me of other local rockers #1 Family Mover.
The crowd thickened a bit for 6X, led by Lara from 17 Years, with Kevin from the Mouthbreathers on bass and a guy I don't know, but wish I had, on lead guitar - one of the best sets I've seen all year. Heck, one of the best sets I've seen in a while! Somewhere between punk and pop with amazing lead guitar work and Lara's strong voice taking the lead. Kevin hopped around and generally looked like he was there as a joke, as always, and joked about "kickin' it with the honeys for Freaknik." Fun show to watch, excellent show to hear!
More people piled in, apparently peeking out of their doors to see the Freaknik traffic not living up to the hype and venturing out in time to see the Rock*A*Teens. I hadn't seen them since Kelly Hogan left town quite some time ago. They've replaced her with the lead singer from the Titanics playing bass, something they didn't have before. It neither adds nor takes away from the angst-filled sound of the gothic new south they've managed to reverb out of their battered amps and duct-taped guitars. I don't think I could adequately describe their marvelous set so just go out and see 'em, buy their CD's and email me with "you told me so." Who said "Writing about music is like dancing about architecture?" All too true.
Saturday you'd think I was part of some storm-chasing squad or something because I decided to "get away from it all", join in the white flight, and head up to north west GA with another degenerate, only to find the "good" lord wasn't finished chasing me with tornados and we ended up glued to the weather channel all night ready to run for the closet. Again. Geez, makes a man want to move to the merry old land of Oz.

By Degenerate RVI
"This whole country's afraid of failure."
Iggy Pop
"In a nation ruled by swine, all pigs are upward-mobile -- and the rest
of us are fucked until we can put our acts together: Not necessarily to
Win, but mainly to keep from Losing Completely."
Hunter S. Thompson
I sometimes wonder whether it is merely my own paranoia that requires me
to notice the rise of injustice and stupidity and swinish greed which my
peers seem Hell-bent to declare Progress and Utopia. I wonder this, but
not for long in the face of a barrage of blatant evidence that the
Corporations of this planet are evolving into a "phantom government"
from which we will, ultimately, have little recourse. The day is coming
when what we say and think and buy, and how or whether we associate, and
whether we live in grinding poverty or middle-class Nirvana is regulated
or monitored or decided at some level - not by some Orwellian Big Brother
Government - but by corporate interests, a government behind or above
what we normally think of as 'government.' For those who simply write
that sort of fearful prophesy off as babble, here is a little evidence to
challenge your unbelief.

In the 27 March 1998 edition of USA TODAY, there appeared an editorial on
corporate funding of schools, and in that article we are given the story
of one Mike Cameron. Cameron, a student of Greenbrier High in Evans,
Ga., was suspended on 20 March 1998. His crime? The school, in an
attempt to beg $10, 000 from the Coca-Cola Corporation, conducted an
official 'Coke Day' which had students dress in clothing advertising
their allegiance to said product line -- to become, in essence, walking
bill-boards; Cameron stepped out of line and into suspension by
appearing in a Pepsi delivery man's shirt.

As our nation has become apathetic toward the ideal of democracy through
universal education, our politicians, in the name of free market reform
and 'choice,' have removed public money from public schools and diverted
it to tax breaks for the upper 20% of the populace and for corporate
welfare (a.k.a. 'investments' in business, low interest loans, etc.). In
this climate it is unsurprising to find school administrators faced with
such dilemmas as whether to respect a student's First Amendment right to
free speech OR to pander to Coke for a much needed infusion of cash. It
is also unsurprising that, every time, human rights will go down the
toilet in favor of the money. Because, as many school systems are
hanging on by their teeth, they will kiss whatever business ass they must
to keep them operating. Yet this entails the other horn of the dilemma:
while trying to keep their schools alive, the administrators lose sight
of the reason why we founded public schools in the first place -- which
was certainly not to serve as Dens of Thieves and of private interests.
Such administrators -- as is also the case with many free marketeers --
do not see that if corporations are allowed to be involved in schools
through funding contracts, we are not far from seeing the day they will
try to control curriculum and course content; they will attempt to
suppress anything which might be bad publicity, or which might raise a
generation of workers who are too nosy or independent or
anti-consumerist, by threats to cut off funding.

More doubt? How about the University of Wisconsin, which signed a
contract with Reebok for a hefty sum of money. The catch? No professors
or students were to be allowed, from that point forward, to say anything
derogatory about the manufacturer. No discussions, say, about whether
Third World labor is being exploited in the manufacture of tennis shoes,
or whether the company's lobbying efforts in Congress are consonant with
the public good, and so on. Since Wisconsin isn't the most conservative
state in the union, their lawmakers complained and got that clause in the
contract struck. But we know damn well if the same contract got signed
at UGA or FSU, Reebok Inc. could hire a private army to rape, pillage,
and enslave all of Asia and hardly a bloody peep about it would be heard
on either campus -- contrary to the function of an educational
institution, which, in part, is always to cause trouble for the ruling
elite by liberating minds and training them in the art of asking good &
embarrassing questions.

Not that our students would know they've been cheated and beaten into
line, prepared to 'fit into' a system no one ought to 'fit.' Their
schools are already wall-papered in corporate logos, as are their
clothes; their t.v. programs and their music are sponsored or owned
outright by the same companies as well. They consume the goods
advertised; they dream of becoming part of the system that brings them
the goods. They've been steeped in such a pro-capitalist stew for so
long that it would be difficult for any of them to conceive that the real
Rulers and Makers of Law are NOT in the business world.
"But besides the sadness felt by the onlooker, there is the dull,
intolerable unease of the actor himself who is reduced to living as
though he were in fact submerged by his functions. This uneasiness is
enough to show that there is in all this some appalling mistake, some
ghastly misinterpretation, implanted in defenseless minds by an
increasingly inhuman social order and an equally inhuman philosophy...."
Gabriel Marcel
A few mornings ago, as I prepared to go out the door for work, I heard an
advertisement on the radio that left me a little ill; it also threatened
to throw me into spasms of laughter. The ad was for something called
"Kid's Way Young Entrepreneur's Camp," and their motto is "Take Control"
(of what we're taking control, we are not informed). At this camp for
ages 8 - 18, kids are drilled in the necessities for becoming Captains of
Industry, worshippers of CASH (as if teaching them how to process,
smuggle, and distribute cocaine and heroin wouldn't accomplish the same
thing). What the Hell has this country come to? Are there actually
parents turning their 8 year olds over to people who think that Business
is a fit thing to cram into the mind of a child? Of course there are!
This is the Age of the Lowest Common Denominator, the Age that has
forgotten what the Ancients knew very well; in their wisdom, the Greeks
determined the "money-making virtue" -- business, that is -- to be the
lowest form of existence possible next to slavery. Because to serve the
money-making virtue one has to become obsessed with material objects, and
to lying and subterfuge in the name of such (what else are Advertisement
and PR, O Unbeliever, than lying and subterfuge of that very sort?) .
Thus, the capitalist becomes unconcerned for the welfare of his city and
community and the bonds which tie families together in favor of material
profit. In short, one becomes a liability, someone who has to be
monitored and held in check by the city and community and other
institutions, forced to do good by Law and threat of punishment.
In our Age, though, this Criminal Element is running the very machinery
of the State which was designed to keep them in check. It's as if we all
died and woke up in a Dickens' novel. It is Law and Social Concern and
Community Values which have been declared dangerous (e.g. "communistic")
-- that, or such values have been killed, buried and replaced by Greed.
This is an Age which has lost its bearings and, in place of
soul-searching, we have opted to live in the name of "getting rich,"
"getting ahead," "coming out on top." And in the end, our new rulers
will not be elected, but I am afraid we will certainly have chosen them.

"This may be the year when we finally come face to face with ourselves;
finally just lay back and say it -- that we are really just a nation of
220 million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns, and
no qualms at all about killing anybody else in the world who tries to
make us uncomfortable."
Hunter S. Thompson

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