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Jello Biafra spoke in Flagstaff last night

What a show! He was supposed to start at 8pm but was late. The set was simple. Biafra wore a remote mike, and paced the stage in front of a table covered with notes and magazines. No backdrop, no distractions. There were just a few lights on him. The purpose was "spoken word". Biafra looks to be in his 40's, slightly paunchy but certainly energetic. He's a white guy with a square jaw and a very expressive face.

The Orpheum was about 1/2 full, and the crowd was predominantly punk with piercings, black studded clothing and assorted (sometimes green) hair that was long in places and short in others. I know nothing about punk culture or music, other than what I can see. I had a Goth housemate once and she sucked (was sullen, nasty, and nocturnal). I have never liked the sound of their music, and didn't make it past there.

The punksters are cigarette smokers. Outside the Orpheum before the show they were puffing their heads off, and when after 3 HOURS we got a break they all went out to ingest more nicotene. They were distant but not hostile.

Biafra was humorous, which was his saving grace for those who did not come to the same conclusions as him. He started with several raps based on his old Dead Kennedy's songs, and going back and forth among topics. He worked the crowd, saying outrageous things just to see what reaction he would get. He spoke of the "United Snakes of America", about the Corporatocracy, the Republicrats....about Clown Prince W and Count Kerry--the vampire with no teeth.

His immitation of Shrub looked like a marching windup toy spouting phrases like "defend freedom". He made the rounds of the big issues of our day, war, the military industrial complex, the pharmaceutical complex, the prison industry and mandatory sentencing, election fraud and voting machines, the "rebuilding" of New Orleans, the redevelopment of FIMA into an agency that declares and enforces martial law, abortion and how it takes a village to RAZE a child, methane and global warming, SUVs and the assholes who drive them, junk mail, the undermining of constitutional freedoms in the US, the Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act, the US hiring Haliburton to build concentration camps, 911 conspiracies, spying on citizens, the condition of roads, the lack of healthcare, the gay agenda, the apocalypse and rapture, fundamentalist christianity in our executive branch, the media as a tool of distraction from the real issues, GE's ownership of NBC, mutual masturbation as a way of avoiding both pregnancy and STD's, etc. The list goes on: there is no way I could remember it all.

Biafra illuminated the voting records of McCain, "the Hillary monster" and others. McCain, the reputed "maverick", voted in line with Shrub 94% of the time... Many politicians over the last 6 years have said one thing and done another--claimed certain values then voted more money for Shrub. Biafra asked us as Arizonans to get the word out about McCain not being what independents dream of him.

He specifically addressed eminent domain law, on which Arizona made a big mistake in the last election. In California the citizens spotted it and voted it down, but not here. He says we should start getting our petitions ready, so we can strike down that law in the next election.

He had one suggestion I really liked: for any given election, require an option on the ballot for NONE OF THE ABOVE. If none of the above wins, then the election must be re-run with new candidates. Perhaps this would stop us from always having to vote against someone. As Jerry Garcia pointed out years ago, if you vote for the lesser of two evils you are still voting for EVIL!

Another idea I liked was to legally limit junk mail. He said that all unsolicited mail, including telephone book offers, should be limited to the size of a 3 x 5 card. If an individual WANTS to receive mail from the offering business or agency, they check YES on the card and send it back. No unsolicited mail over 3" x 5" to be permitted. This would limit useless deforestation, AND save businesses and government tons of mula.

Biafra repeatedly mocked tabloid news of utter unimportance, and the people who devote themselves to knowing that stuff. He kept disparaging pop stars about whom I proudly know NOTHING. I appreciated that he found the same things important that I do.

He assimilates information about our situation the same way that I do. He sees the big picture and the interconnectedness. He takes in the news and then reads between the lines, looks behind the curtain, and thinks about what could be going on. Then he says it out loud. He is dramatically unpopular with because his views are so "radical". One of my friends called him "negative". Nobody seems to admit to liking him or agreeing with him, but I do. Biafra's views are nearly identical with mine. I refrain speaking them because people tend to discount me as a nutcase. So for me, it was spectacularly refreshing to hear someone speak intelligently of how he has come to many of the same conclusions that I have. This is the first time I think it has ever happened to this degree.

When we were freed for a "break" after midnight, I went to the bank to get cash, bought a CD and went home. This guy has just been added to my long list of heroes. Go Jello!


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 14th, 2006 11:28 pm (UTC)
Yay, I am so glad you liked him! He has long been one of my heroes. I have a ton of his spoken word on CD, and even though the topics are a bit old (Reagan and Bush the first) you would probably get a kick out of them. I have some DK too, but not the best CD which is Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables. I can just imagine his sarcastic, lisp-y voice and his ballot idea is something he's said before. He talks about how in other countries an election is not even valid if more than 50% of the population doesn't vote. Of course, I think we had record turnout for this last election!
Nov. 15th, 2006 05:02 am (UTC)
I got the newest CD: "In the Grip of Official Treason"....if you want to hear the latest. I WOULD like to borrow some of those oldies. I'm really curious about the DK.
Nov. 15th, 2006 12:44 am (UTC)
Thanks for the report. Sounds like he was interesting, but didn't draw much of a crowd. See, that's the problem with these types of "spouters"... they don't draw the crowds that will DO anything about the problems. There has to be a happy medium somewhere, so a speaker draws a crowd of "doers" rather than "talkers".

I like his idea on junk mail. Hmm... where have I heard that one before? I also like the "None of the above" idea. So now that another couple hundred people have heard his ideas, will anybody move forward to make them happen? Or will they just talk about how much they like the guy? THAT is the question, in my opinion. Good ideas are like opinions are like asses. Everybody has one. So do something about it.

One thing I'd like to further comment on: the rebuilding of New Orleans. I was invited to take part in what is called the "Unified New Orleans Plan." Basically, several hundred people get together in groups of ten or so to discuss plans for rebuilding different parts of the city. A mediator and/or facilitator sits with each group. Information is entered into computers as the discussions unfold, and the information is compiled. It is giving the residents an active say in what happens in their city. It's not like the government can just waltz in and rebuild... it is a huge project that will take a long time to complete. I'm not saying FEMA didn't majorly screw up when the disaster hit, but I can guarantee you people aren't just sitting on their asses doing nothing. This will be the second "UNOP". The first took place earlier this year. I'll see what information I can dig up on it, if you're interested.
Nov. 15th, 2006 04:42 am (UTC)
So did you go there or where did the first UNOP happen? And where did they get to? And what happens based on these mediated discussions? Sounds like a good way to sort it out.

Biafra's main point about New Orleans is that the situation is extremely complex, with good points on all sides. He acted out several different points of view. With your interests I think you'd find him fascinating just because of his ability to see many many sides to any issue. He didn't accuse anyone of sitting on their asses. He did talk about a few grassroots orgs that have done good work.

It sounds like you have Biafra typed in your head. A "spouter" who attracts scant crowds of talkers not doers. My sense of him and of the crowd was entirely other than yours. Your cynicism washes cold over my inspiration. Wish you had been there. I think he has more impact than you give him credit for. I'm positive that he gets more voters registered than you and me put together. And he is educating the young people about politics. He IS doing something about it.

I'm not doing enough about it. I gotta stop gossipping on line and get something done.
Nov. 15th, 2006 02:04 pm (UTC)
I'll try to get more information on the UNOP. The first one happened in New Orleans, as the second one will. I did not go and will not go to the one held in December. I do not have enough experience as a mediator to do this sort of job. In a couple of years I will have, and will volunteer my time to similar worthwhile causes.

Maybe I'll go see him if he comes through Flagstaff again. I reacted to "He worked the crowd, saying outrageous things just to see what reaction he would get. He spoke of the 'United Snakes of America', about the Corporatocracy, the Republicrats....about Clown Prince W and Count Kerry--the vampire with no teeth." I always have that type of reaction to name calling.

Thanks for the clarification!
Nov. 15th, 2006 11:06 pm (UTC)
What you saw as calling I took as wordplay. His spoken word is full of spoonerisms, puns, and other assorted literate jukes. I had to really pay attention to catch them. I remember that you didn't like my calling W "Shrub". Are you getting used to it, or does it still bother you every time I do it? It gives me a chuckle, just like the stickers on the back of my truck.

If you keep going the way you are, one day you may have a chance to mediate peace between Israel & Palestine. Who knows?
Nov. 15th, 2006 11:07 pm (UTC)
I mean NAME calling. You know what I mean.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )



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