One of the conditions of one of my jobs is that I will be exposed to the “fusion of entertainment and enlightenment” that is Glenn Beck. The job pays well, so I tolerate it.
Mr. Beck recently delivered a sermon/rant protesting the oppression of heterosexual white men in America, during which he mentioned several individuals –heterosexual white males - who have made significant positive contributions to society, but obviously, he could not mention them all. I would like to mention a few heterosexual white males, unnamed by Mr. Beck, who have made the world a better place.
Moondog, aka the Viking of Sixth Avenue. Completely insane experimental composer, blinded by a farm accident which somehow involved a dynamite cap when he was a teenager. Moondog had some brilliant ideas about rhythm: he felt it shouldn’t be so rigid, a concept that this Espresso Shaman independently stumbled onto some years ago. Moondog’s most famous composition is a song titled “ENOUGH ABOUT HUMAN RIGHTS”. You can expect a BDSR version of that to hit the Bandcamp in the near future.
Raymond Scott was among the greatest lunatics in the early years of jazz, composing frenetic songs with titles like “Dinner Music For A Pack Of Hungry Cannibals”. He also composed soothing, electronic music for babies and built room-sized “instruments”. Warner Brothers bought the rights to all of his music and used it in Bugs Bunny cartoons. You’ve heard “Powerhouse”.
Father Yod. The Pacific Theatre in World War II was horrific. Islands were battled over repeatedly. It wasn’t unusual for there to be corpses laying around in various states of decay. Everyone who was there was affected by it – including my grandfather – and some couldn’t return to “normal” life afterwards. Father Yod came back from the war, tried to resume his life in New Jersey, but somehow found himself out in California with long hair, a beard, several “spirit wives” and a psychedelic rock band. Huh. Yod gave everybody new names – the “family name” was Aquarius – put out a couple LPs and died in a hang-gliding accident.
Benny Goodman. I’m totally serious. Goodman wasn’t a ground-breaking musician, but he put out a shitload of very good jazz. And he was the first bandleader to appear on stage with a racially mixed combo. Or at least the first one anybody knows about. I’m sure that blacks and whites had played music in front of audiences before, but Goodman did it big and he knew he was taking a chance. It could’ve meant the end of his career, but he went ahead and did it. That deserves some props.
Roky Erickson. Jesus motherfucking Christ, man. Roky has been to the mountains of madness and has returned to tell the tale. I’ve seen some of the alligators and I’ve been up in the attic with that baby ghost, but I can’t begin to convey the reality of insanity like Roky Erickson. Saddhu, saddhu, saddhu.
Angus MacLise. I’ve waxed poetic all over MacLise, but I don’t think I mentioned the fact that he was a heterosexual white male. Also, he was the original percussionist for the Velvet Underground. I’m kinda glad his big ego clashed with Lou Reed’s – if Maclise had stayed with VU, we wouldn’t’ve gotten to hear Mo Tucker’s monobeat. I like monobeat. I use it a lot. Lou Reed was a white male, but he wasn’t entirely heterosexual so he doesn’t make this list. Also, I pretty much can’t stand anything he did after Metal Machine Music. MacLise died of malnutrition in Nepal.
Harry Smith. Of all these, Smith is the one I most identify with. He was an artist, film-maker, musician and all-around nutjob. He was a mystic, a visionary, a hoarder, who spent much of his life in poverty. Of all his accomplishments, the one he is most known for is compiling the Anthology Of American Folk Music, a goddammed eight-album set of the best of traditional American songs fron the 1920’s. The Anthology woke America up to her own heritage, which was in danger of being lost forever, and sparked the Folk Revival of the ‘60’s which yielded a raft of watered-down, bullshit pseudofolk by assholes like the New Riders Of The Purple Sage and the Grateful Dead, but that can’t be blamed on Smith.
At the end of his life, Smith was able to say “I saw my dream come true. I saw the world changed by music.”
Full disclosure: I am also a heterosexual white male. However, I am not at all bothered by the backlash against heterosexual white males that so troubles Mr. Beck. I completely understand how and why women, people of color and non-hets are a bit peeved about the demographic that has only very recently begun to lose the power to keep them segregated, alienated, incarcerated, frustrated, voiceless, choiceless and generally holding the shit end of the stick. I understand because I’ve been involved in the fight against oppression for decades. I may be a man but I’ve never been the Man.
Glenn Beck is the Man. He is the embodiment of the white heterosexual power structure that has clung to wealth and power and forced anyone not like him into ghettos or reservations all through America’s history. Now that those people have started to gain ground in the struggle for freedom and equality, Beck is cashing in on the fear felt by “his” people. Fuck that asshole. Fuck that heterosexual white male piece of shit. Fuck him for being so desperate to stay on top of the social heap and fuck him again for profiting by selling racist, sexist, homophobic justifications to people who are just as heinous as he is.
I’m not gonna quit that job. I like painting houses. I’d rather do it for the fun of doing it, but unfortunately, I live in capitalist America, so I need filthy lucre to live and it does pay well.
Brown Hat the Espresso Shaman
The pun is always intended.