I have a distinct memory of when I first learned to give someone the finger. I was eleven years old, and over the summer had become friends with this monstrous little sonuvabitch named James. He was a skinny kid, and both he and his brother had some congenital defect that made their ribcages stick out like a pigeon's does and gave each a pronounced limp. James had trouble at home like me: his parents had just gotten a divorce, and my mother's alcoholism had reached crisis proportions. Incidentally, this is when I first picked up smoking, a habit that lasted for 10 years, and which persists in my constant use of marijuana. This is also when I first started getting into music that drove my parents crazy, starting with the relatively benign shenanigans of AC/DC
and then taking a really sharp right into the Dead Kennedys
, the Sex Pistols
, and an infinite array of mid-1980s hardcore bands.
I was particularly into the Dead Kennedys. I bought what was to be my first hardcore album, "In God We trust, Inc" because it was cheaper than "Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables." FFFRV was actually the one I wanted, because it had the song I had heard about "I Kill Children," but hey, I didn't know if I'd like these guys anyway.
it was an eye-opener. These guys had a big message to the powers-that-be, which can probably be summed up simply as "Fuck you." Later there were other bands that equally appealed to me, usually with variations on the theme. The Dead Kennedys' "fuck you" was directed at politicians and police, as was MDC
's (billed variously as Multi-Death Corporations, Millions of Dead Cops, and I think Millions of Damned Christians). The Circle Jerks
were all about "fuck you," but more toward society in general. Black Flag's
"fuck you" was frequently accompanied with a "you can't tell me what to do and neither can I because I'm going insane" subtext. 7-Seconds
was a bit more subtle: the "kids" should unite to do.. well, whatever it was the kids were going to do. Whatever that was, it was preferable to what was going on; this was after all 1985, the height of the Reagan
What i am saying, I guess, is that for most of my life, I have been guided by an attitude that can be best summed up with "Fuck you."
I am especially so toward politicians. There are very few politicians on the national level that I have much respect for. It is altogether galling to me that the men and women in Congress make as much as they do, and even more galling that they have what amounts to nationalized health care, and the rest of us don't. I am appalled by the number of filthy rich people that make up Congress; I look at them and see people who often as not do not act in the interests of their constituents, but are so insulated from their constituents that if you bumped into one of them in a bar, most of them wouldn't understand your concerns at all. I write to Democrats asking them why they supported a resolution abdicating Congress's power to declare war to the Executive Branch, and when I got a response it was a form letter saying they stand "shoulder to shoulder with the president." It is the same when I write to my Senators, both Republicans. Fuck you, and fuck your form letter too. I paid for this fucking letter, you can write something better than that.
Your representatives make a lot of money
. If I'm paying this much money for some jerk
to represent my interests, then dammit I demand a responsive government. When the calls are coming in 3 to 1 against going to war, ARLEN
, I expect those voices to be listened to. That's responsive government. THEY
are supposed to listen to US
, not the other way around.
It's at this time I start to think about what it must be like to be a Californian. You watch your legislature repeatedly pass laws in favor of medical marijuana, and then the Federal government,led by people who claim to favor the rights of states to make their own laws, starts attacking sick people.
Until I get my money's worth, I'm gonna keep saying "Fuck you." Over and over and over again.
So when I call Arlen and Rick today to tell them to say "No" to the ridiculous "budget"
Mr. Bush hopes to pass, it's not just "fuck you." It's "Fuck you, I'm not going away." And when I have to call Arlen to yell at him (or his aides as the case is) about standing in support of Trent Lott
, it's another "fuck you." Lord knows he and the party he belongs to are saying it to me almost every day. And the same is true of the "loyal opposition" who have pulled so many cowardly stunts over the past 2 years, that I will probably have to dedicate an entire page as a tribute to their spinelessness.
Make a phone call. If they're gonna fuck you anyway, you might as well throw that middle finger right back at them. And don't let them forget that they're in office by your good graces.
At some point someone is going to send me an email and say "Brendan, you're being unreasonable. This kind of antagonism can lead to no good end."
And I answer, in the words of everyone's favorite conservative anti-semite, "Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under