Thursday, October 31, 2019

A Brand Alone

The Pepsi Generation is dead. The revolution was televised, and no one cared. We are at the end of the old age.

And now we walk into the new one.

It's been a long time coming, but we have begun to move on from our dead end culture. As we've begun to depart a warped, fuzzed out rerun of a decade where the wheels have fallen off the adjustment has been hard.

But that doesn't necessarily mean the change is a bad thing. Several events have transpired recently to make me reconsider where we are.

Ten years ago if someone told you to turn off your TV you might have called them reactionary and paranoid idiots. That had been the case for decades--until it wasn't anymore. Today you'd be lucky if you can find anyone younger than a Boomer who uses their television for anything other than a streaming, DVD, or video game hub.

And can you blame them? It isn't better in other corners. Cinemas are empty as blockbusters are all but dead, comedies are nothing but the mainstream equivalent of mumbling indie rock from 2004, and dramas rehashes of the same 70s nihilism with glossier photography. The music industry bottomed out long ago, and the last big chain bookstore, and last purveyor of Oldpub lumber, is on its death bed. Even video games glommed onto an unsustainable AAA model a decade ago that is now bearing its fruits. It's not sunny out there.
Not too long ago I declared this the end of pop culture, but now I think it is merely the start of something new.

Before we go any further, I want to stress the importance of Brand Zero. This is an idea thought up by author Rawle Nyanzi as a way to finally cut the cord on the dead past that shackles us to the current malaise we are in. The beast needs to be starved before we can move on. It is time for a rude wake up call.

The brands you grew up with are dead. Not only are they dead, but they are being exploited cynically for the dollars of Gen X parents who might remember a pleasant summer afternoon watching Brand X with some college buddies or single Gen Y hermits who cling to their childhood brands as the one remaining bedrock in the crumbling world around them.

At the same time those in charge are hoping to airbrush and color correct the past for Millennials to get outrage dollars. It's no longer about making or creating culture, or sharing in a bigger piece among a greater whole. It's about lining executive pockets using the lowest level of effort or creativity. They're banking on you being hooked into it due to your religious reverence for products that everyone post-Boomer was taught to have.

They're hurting you.

You aren't six years old

But why do you have this obsession with products? Your parents don't and neither did your grandparents. This phenomenon is exclusive to Gen Y and select members of X and Millennials. Is it a longing for a pre-9/11 world, a nostalgia for forgotten childhood/adolescence, or just a way to avoid the emptiness in the modern world? It might be a combination of all three, but it is mainly a problem of spiritual decay. 

No other generation worships product the way we do, and that is because we have a slightly disordered way of looking at things. Perhaps this is the result of having our formative years just before 9/11 when everything became flipped on its head in one fell swoop.

This is why they're trying to sell you lifestyle brands and calling what were once subcultures "communities" instead. This is a recent phenomenon, and quite disturbing when one thinks about it long enough. It didn't exist before the '10s. These people know you're weak and atomized and they're selling you comfort at the expense of real life.

They know this because they are just as lost as everyone else.

The world went sideways and you were left adrift. Without a faith to cling to, without a community or united family to fall back to, without friends that have long since moved to the big cities, and without any real roots to speak of, what else would one lost at sea have to fall back on? Thanks to the propaganda of the individual above all else, similarities are looked at as weaknesses. We were taught to be atomized. Hence the clinging to all that remains of the way things once were for better times.

And those who destroyed those better times are going to take that from you. Slowly they are taking your past and warping it to fit their ideology while trashing where you came from. This is their last ditch effort to sell you comfort.

But this time we can beat them to the punch.

Brand Zero is not just a way to give the finger to corporations who hate you. It is also a way for you to get your spiritual and religious longing back in order and allow you to gain perspective and move on with yourself. The past is past, and should stay there. If we don't build a future the upcoming generations will have nothing to be nostalgic for. They'll have nothing aside from pale imitations of what we grew up with. That's not a pleasant thought, but it is where we're headed.

This leaves the question of what comes next. Should we finally put the pillow over the specter of this long dead ghoul? If we do then what follows? Is this post just an anarchist screed about burning everything to ash and leaving nothing behind? Hardly.

Author David V. Stewart recently had a very good podcast on his youtube channel discussing different eras of art. His claim is that where we are it is at the end of something he calls the corporate era. What we are currently seeing around us is the dying gasp of the old guard.

It's a long video, but well worth watching. At the very least the first sixty minutes are essential. If you want to know what the twentieth century will probably be looked back on as then I suggest watching. It is a revelation to realize where we are in the larger scope of things. The truth is that we were living in an aberration. This isn't normal.

Watch it here:

Director Joe Dante once said that film was a 20th century art, and this might fall in line with the above. Times are changing. In fact, they've changed and we haven't noticed.

To sum up the video's point: Art is constantly changing, not just how it is made, but how it is performed and how the audience reacts to it. The twentieth century is nothing like what came before so it might seem odd to us why things are the way they are now. The last twenty or so years of art hasn't been anything out of the ordinary, it is merely the death rattle of the current age. What comes next is a mystery.

I would highly recommend watching the piece as it is a good sum up on past styles of art and how we ended up where we are now. There's more there than can be brought up in the context of this post. Nonetheless, art is always changing, and it is merely morphing yet again. A new era is just about to spring from ashes of this old one.

And here we are.

This is why Brand Zero is an important attitude to have going forward. These corporations are done, running on fumes and momentum like so many past institutions, and need to be starved so they can get out of the way. It is time to move on.

That is difficult for those of us who have been taught to mindlessly consume product as a replacement for anything meaningful. For those who woke up to a world unlike anything they were told about it is even tougher, but it's going to happen whether we want to our not. It is better for us to make the change ourselves, because otherwise it's going to be even difficult later. Going cold turkey is easier when it is by choice.

At the same time, the old corporations are lashing out at anything they can. They've lost focus, and they won't regain it. Times are changing.

We need to be ready for it. But are we? I'd say some are more prepared than others, so we need to understand the situation we're in.

I can't tell you what's going to happen next, but I can say that we're not ready for it yet, especially those of my generation who have clung to their products as the last remnant of an old world. Quality aside, these brands are loved because of warm memories of a better world and a longing for those that shared in their love. It is the last remnant of community most of us still have, and without it we're going to have a hard time moving on. This means going against what we were taught and where we retreated to after our view of the world collapsed. Using products as our religion replacement needs to end before we can really grow.

Of course I'm not going to tell you to go out and join a religion. However, religious reverence for anything outside of religion is a disordered way of thinking and will lead to unhealthy thinking, habits, and ways of life. See the above image for what that is like. Putting your thoughts, feelings, and ideas, in order will allow for clearer thinking, and the ability to grow up and rejoin the world that was abandoned for better memories of a better time.

That better era is not coming back, but what about those coming up under you? Don't they deserve better than this? Do you really think things can go on the way they are? If you don't care then maybe question why you are the first generation to not care.

I might be repeating myself, but it must be said. We are responsible for passing on our knowledge to future generations. We can't do that if we reject the world for our corporate-mandated corners and hole up there until we die. You can't change the way things are if you hide from it, and your ancestors didn't die in ditches and in hospital beds so you could live like this.

At this point I'm going to address my Generation, Gen Y, directly. If this doesn't apply to you skip the following paragraph and ignore. This is the group that needs addressing more than any other, and it is the one I am a part of. We need the most help.

Guys, you're not kids anymore. As of this year every one of you are all in your thirties. We are the adults now. Stop letting corporations pat you on the head and feed you table scraps that you even admit are inferior to those from your youth. Demand better. If they refuse to offer then move on. There are many independent of the corporate world producing product of the caliber you crave without having to pander or lecture to you. They are out there, and they will only continue to grow.

Not even just the Pulp Revolution, but in many other areas from indie video games to Retrowave music are all offering superior alternatives. You can get what you want without having to hide from the world and without selling your dignity. All you have to do is say no to that decaying specter pulling you into its grave.

Eventually 1998 is going to end, and we're not going to be able to hide anymore. And then what happens? Something else will be in its place whether you're ready or not.

We're at the conclusion of one era and about to start a brand new journey. Nobody knows what tomorrow holds, but it's coming. We don't have to face it alone.

We just need to be ready for it.

No relation to the above; I just thought I'd lighten the mood.

In other news, Cannon Cruisers just put up our Halloween Special! This year we decided to take a look at the sequels to the original Psycho. Check out the episode here. It was a lot of fun to record, even if we do get loopy by the end! That's what happens when you record for an hour straight after watching three movies.

And if you want some fun fiction to read, I've got you covered. Gemini Warrior is the type of weird adventure you won't find from Oldpub. This is pure pulp goodness with plenty of strange! And there is more to come.

Find it Here!

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Big Plans for Good Work ~ A Review of "Big Red's Daughter" by John McPartland

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It's been a long time since I've reviewed a classic pulp, never mind one few ever talk about, but after wrapping up this work I knew I would have to talk about it. This is a book of its time in all the best possible ways and one that needs to be talked about more.

Readers might not recognize the name John McPartland when discussing pulps today, and there are several reasons for that beyond the usual when it comes to classic pulp authors.

The first is that he only wrote twelve books centered in his time of activity in the 1950s, and that he died of a heart attack at the young age of 47 while his career was still on the ascent.

The only pieces of news you will find of Mr. McPartland unfortunately are about his infidelity, or the anti-Communist piece he wrote for Life magazine which surely contributed to keeping him out of print. Otherwise he wrote two short stories for Argosy and Adventure, four screenplays, and a non-fiction book.

For a short career it was relatively prolific, and today I'm going to talk about the author's second novel, released in 1953, entitled Big Red's Daughter. I am unsure if it his most popular, but it is the one I heard of thank to Men of Violence magazine and the one currently being re-released as a double with the author's Tokyo Doll by Stark House in their Crime Classic series. This makes it the easiest work to get a hold of for those interested. It is also dynamite.

Now despite it being in a series entitled "Crime Classics" I would hesitate to call this a crime novel. There isn't really a mystery here, a crime happens a third of the way in but it isn't really the motivator for our protagonist. What I would call this is a Men's Adventure, even more defined as a Men's Romance. The story of Big Red's Daughter is about our hero attempting to catch the titular girl in the midst of the chaos surrounding him.

Jim Work has just returned from Korea and is looking to make a new start of it. During a drive one night he comes upon a tough guy named Buddy Brown and his girl, the aptly named Wild Kearny, daughter of infamous high roller Big Red. He falls in love with her at first sight, but to get her attention he has to go through a veritable gauntlet.

Jim ends up sucked into this upper class world of bored kids and debauchery because of her. When one of the young punks ends up dead, Jim must do all he can to save Wild and prove to this seedy world just the kind of man he is. It won't be easy, but it isn't as if he's the type to just walk away. Who could with a girl like Wild waiting for them?

To put it in perspective, this sub-200 page paperback begins with two fist fights and a car crash in the first two chapters. There is murder, a jailbreak, high stake confrontations, and a knife fight, as Jim attempts to get his girl and get to the rot at the center of this disturbing world. Does he have what it takes to win over Big Red's Daughter?

It's a brief length, but hot-blooded and hard-boiled as it gets as Jim Work is dragged deeper and deeper into a world he wants nothing to do with to get a girl he wants more than anything. If that isn't romance it is magical. And very, very dangerous.

The characters are all alive, expressive, and weird enough to show just what an odd world Work has fallen into. The action is sharp, brief, and vicious enough to make you squirm. The plot is brief and twisted enough to give you glued to the pages. Once you flip open to the beginning car crash you will be in it for the long haul.

In this age of milquetoast male protagonists and selfish female leads it is quite shocking to read a story where a man is allowed to be a man and a woman is allowed to be a woman without having to add in modern "reluctant" motivations or softhearted (or soft-headed) protagonists that spend the majority of the story wallowing or cursing their helplessness due to whatever trauma or disability used as an excuse to prevent action. You want adventure? Well, you'll get it here and without apology or excuse. This is why pulp storytelling has made a comeback in recent years.

And why it's here to stay.

This book is intense, romantic, honest, and a fun read. That is all you really need for a good story. Big Red's Daughter is an excellent pulp novel and one of the best I've read.

Highly recommended.

I'm also working on my own style of Men's Adventure, a fantastical weird adventure where things get stranger the deeper you get into it. Gemini Warrior is the first step into this journey, and I will be making more in the not too distant future.

Find it Here!

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Signal Boost ~ St. Tommy NYPD by Declan Finn

Apologies for the impromptu post, but it's time for another signal boost! But this time it's for something a little different.

I wanted to make mention of a new project in the works. No, not about Declan Finn's St. Tommy series about a cop with supernatural abilities (you're probably already reading that), but about something he is trying to do with in tandem with my publisher, Silver Empire. They are attempting to move into the audio book world, but they need some help.

First, let me describe what St. Tommy NYPD is about in case you are unaware:

My name is Officer Thomas Nolan, and I am a saint.
Tommy Nolan lives a quiet life. He walks his beat – showing mercy to the desperate. Locking away the dangerous. Going to church, sharing dinner with his wife and son. Everyone likes Tommy, even the men he puts behind bars.

Then one day a demon shows up and he can smell it. Tommy can smell evil – real evil. Now he’s New York City’s only hope against a horrifying serial killer that preys on the young and defenseless.

But smell alone isn’t enough to get a warrant. Can Tommy track down the killer and prove his guilt?

Dragon Award Nominated Author Declan Finn returns with his typical action-packed, Catholic influenced style, in this groundbreaking horror series about an honest, religious man given the powers of a saint to fight demons in the Big Apple.

How do you do forensics on a killer possessed by a demon?

Can Tommy catch the killer before he becomes a martyr? Or will the demon bring darkness beyond imagination to the whole of New York? Read Hell Spawn today and find out!

Audio books are a burgeoning market in the literary world, but they are costly. So they are running a crowdfunding campaign to get it out there. You can find it here.

There are many different tiers including ebooks and paperbacks, and even hardcovers! The narrator of the audio book is also the very talented Jon Mollison, so you know it will be quality. Suffice to say, you're getting your money's worth here.

It's still early enough in the campaign that you can still dive in. It runs until the end of the month.

Be sure to check it out. I've reviewed Mr. Finn's books before, and they are more than worth your time.

Once more, the campaign can be found here.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

The Star Knight Ascends ~ A Review of "Reavers of the Void" by Bradford C. Walker

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This review has been a long time coming, and would have come sooner had my personal life not been filled with so many potholes along the way. I apologize to the author as it is not their fault. But, excuses aside, here is the review I'd been meaning to make for awhile now.

Today I am reviewing a mecha space opera adventure.

In 2018, a group of authors starting with Dragon Award Winner Brian Niemeier decided to create a new movement based on the mecha genre. Bored with the stale western military sf take on them and less than thrilled with the current state of eastern anime they wanted to carve their own path in the landscape combining the best aspects of both. The movement is still toiling to create new worlds and, like the Pulp Revolution it is related to, is slowly building a name for itself distinct from the rest of the modern fiction scene.

Using the hashtag #AGundam4Us, they set out to breathe life into this style subgenre by writing what they've wanted to see for years. Yours truly has also been inspired by this group for some short stories as his own, and I'm not alone. The enthusiasm was infectious and spread quickly.

Did they succeed? Well, three ongoing series have lit from this spark in the form of Niemeier's Combat Frame XSeed, Rawle Nyanzi's Shining Tomorrow, and the one I will be discussing today: book one of Bradford C. Walker's Star Knight Saga. All three have vastly different approaches to what a mecha series is, which s already a breath of fresh air these days, and none have fallen into the stale rut of what the East and West have become.

Case in Point: the first book of Star Knight Saga, entitled Reavers of the Void, is a completely unique concoction of which could not exist without an author that didn't immerse himself in both the best parts of Western space opera and Eastern mecha anime over the years. Imagine Doc Smith writing a combination of Panzer World Galient filtered through Leiji Matsumoto, and you might come close to what this is. Outside of western cartoon from the 1980s I'm not certain you could find much all that close to what this is like. There is a lot of influence here from many varied sources.

Star Knight Saga is a space opera set in a galaxy in the distant future ruled by Galactic Christendom of the Middle Age variety, only not quite. Humanity has conquered the stars, created kingdoms in the image of our Lord and Savior, and despite being near a thousand years in the future, utopia has never come! In fact, there are dark forces afoot.

As the description states:

In the Year of Our Lord 3001, the space pirate Red Eyes brings his pirate fleet to bear against Galactic Christendom. He aims to steal one of its greatest treasures, Countess Gabriela Robin, to fulfill his warlord ambitions. Dispatched against him is one of the Star Knights of the Solar Guard, Lord Roland, with the mission to protect the Countess at all costs. With his man Sibley and his page Creton at his side, Lord Roland faces off against the would-be warlord in the Dire March of the galaxy and begin a conflict that all the galaxy cannot ignore.

Reavers of the Void is a good old fashioned rescue story. The pirate Red Eyes, guided by a set of charismatic underlings, kidnaps Countess Gabriela, and through space fleet battles, mecha skirmishes, and laser sword battles, Lord Roland must get her back.

What the book is packed with is heroes, villains, battles, and stuff blowing up at every turn. There is constant motion to the tale in a way most modern space operas simply do not. It refuses to linger on minutiae details of the universe that more authors are interested in than audiences are. You want adventure? Here it is.

Reavers also does this in a crisp, brief length, ending long before it gets tiring or overwhelming, instead leaving the audience waiting for more. This is a modern pulp tale, something that would have been welcome in the magazines back in the day, and that is exactly what the genre needs. Mr. Walker keeps it moving, making the book engaging from page one up until the end without any needless flab.

There isn't much to discuss with the plot. It is a straightforward men's adventure with a space opera cast and aesthetic and an 80s mecha anime's direction when it comes to the action. Suffice to say if you're a red-blooded male who wants something made for you that the current cold crop at Oldpub aren't offering then this is for you. Back in the day this would have been a 200 page mass market paperback on the spinner rack at your local drug store that you would have passed around to your friends and discussed a possible movie adaption thereof. It's exciting, and fun.

It's the kind of book Oldpub can't put out today because they have no more interest in that market anymore. If they wanted more boys to read this would be the sort of thing put out for them to get them excited, if they wanted more men then this would be advertised everywhere for them. Instead you're going to have to go Newpub to get what they won't give you.

The book has a few spelling mistakes and a handful of tense changes, but for a first effort it is rock solid in plotting and in characterizations. There isn't much to go out of the way to criticize unless you just don't enjoy this sort of story. I will definitely be interested to see where the story goes from here, and I suspect everyone who reads it will be as well.

One thing about the Pulp Revolution and its offshoots such as this has proven to me is that something has been missing in mainstream fiction for awhile. Whether it be the romantic adventures, the red-blooded action, the weird horrors contrasted with normality, and the wondrous sights beyond our Earth, stories from the old world of publishing aren't interested in that so much these days. Not when there are more boring inward subjects such as "identity", modern day political preaching, and demonizaton of certain crowds to cover for their dwindling base instead. Audiences don't want what they offer, but that doesn't mean it isn't going to be crammed down their throats regardless.

A story such as Reavers of the Void isn't like that. You get thrilling escapes, crushing spaceship onslaughts, swashbuckling heroes crossing swords with despicable foes, an intriguing and exciting universe to be explored, good guys that are good and noble, and bad guys that are despicable and cunning. This is the sort of exciting tale that the adventure genre was created for, and you can currently only get in Newpub.

Not only that but stories such as this also represent what works best about weird tales. The intrusion of the unknown into the normal can only work if the writer understands the difference between them. Why should the main character fight for normality? They can only do that if normality is worth fighting for.

You can't write good weird tales unless you're normal. By that I mean unless the writer is someone who knows the difference between good and evil and understands that subverting them dilutes the impact of moral decisions and how they effect the characters they cannot write a weird tale that sings.

This is a factor I see returning to the field through Newpub, and Reavers of the Void is an example as to how important it is to see again.

Do you like you adventure fiction red hot? Then this is for you.

If you enjoy adventure stories then I also have one for you. Mine is a tale of two who find themselves thrown together in a journey of powers, swashbuckling, distant worlds, and magic, as they try to find their way back home.

Find it Here!

Thursday, October 10, 2019

The Great Poseur Deception

As has been written here more than a few times, the 21st century has been stuck reinventing the wheel on the most common of areas repeatedly as if the previous half century never existed. We seem to be stuck on a hamster wheel.

Take for instance, the current destruction of just about every hobby and subculture. Most anyone would tell you that it is because of an influx of "normies" who broke into the "community" and wish to remake it in their image. It's tragic. If we just chase out the normal people then everything will be good again and the "community" will be made pure once more. Problem solved!


A long time ago, ever since culture began, there have been subcultures. These are smaller branches that connect to the larger trunk of our culture and identity. It means we are all in this together. Everything connects, and that is the way it should be.

This term was used all the way up until the 21st century when it was slyly replaced by those in charge to being called a "community". This change matters because it has changed the scene in question from being about bonding over a certain, smaller aspect of culture that would unite to a greater whole into being a "community" of isolated obsessives. It became about being friendly and nice and going along to get along in order to escape the wider world which we cannot empathize with therefore are our enemies.

This is a radical shift, and no one ever questions why this change was made. But it is undoubtedly not the way it was meant to be.

However, what can be said is that these changes weren't made by "normies" with limited investment of the subculture in question. This is because normal people have lives and interests away from said scene. By definition they can't do what they are accused of doing. If I enjoy a game of Tetris every now and then I'm not going to go to a Tetris fan community and try to take over their moderation staff to enforce rules in my image. Why would I ever do that? That's nonsense. It's fiction. It doesn't happen.

The reason this shift from open subcultures to closed communities was made wasn't because "normies" got in charge, but it sure would be nice for the real culprits if you and them fought over it! The reason these changes were made was because fanatics who didn't understand the subculture in question pushed themselves in charge and began rebuilding it in their image. This is the habit of the elusive poseur, evading detection for decades.

You might not have heard that word in a long time, I know I haven't, but these people are why gate-keeping used to be an important aspect of keeping a scene on the right track without usurpers building monuments in their name: sort of like codes of conduct or nepotistic domination of indie scenes via shady hiring practices. Investigating any infected scene deep enough would always reveal an influx of poseurs who detest others in the subculture and loathe past creations of the hobby and its adherents to the point of wanting to erase them from existence to construct new statues in their image. Search your feelings, you know this to be true.

For those unaware of what a poseur is, I will explain the concept for the Gen Z members in the audience with some choice definitions. Better catch them quick before they are memory-holed.

noun [ C ] disapproving (also poser)
/ˈpəʊ.zər/ US
-someone who pretends to be something they are not, or to have qualities that they do not have:
You look like a real poseur in your fancy sports car!

No one uses this term anymore, even though it had wide usage as early as a decade prior. It's not one you hear very often except to call those who use the term nasty names. One has to wonder why if you cared about the purity of your scene that you would need to make fun of such people.

The excuse is that tossing the term makes the community inclusive. After all, what kind of monster would want gate-keep good people? Everyone should be allowed in, including those who hate the subculture. Now you are beginning to understand why the term was changed from "subculture" to "community" in the first place. They don't want to be tied to tradition, they want to build their own space within yours.

They say this not because they want "normies" to be included, as normies are never attracted by their changes, but because they want to say no one else has any power over their new found "community" but them. They want other poseurs like them, not normal folk who might be drawn to the subculture for whatever reason. This is the opposite of what they say they want. Poseurs are keeping normal people out by enforcing their changes and destroying what made it appeal to others in the first place. It's loopy, but it is the truth.

How the definition of poseur relates to subcultures (from the above site):

"Thrash adherents feel that poseurs have not developed an appreciation for the true aesthetic of metal, and must therefore be accorded less prestige with the subculture."
"The concept of a jazz poseur dates back to the 1940s."
"He was said to be a vain young man who could not cast aside his affections, he appeared a "poseur"."
"Other critics were even less flattering, with terms such as poseurs and pomp-rockers put forth in various music guides."
"He could play to the audience, but he was never a phony poseur."
"He's not a poseur pretending to be a gangsta; he's the real thing."
"He praises the gigs where there were no punk-identikit poseurs in the audience."
"The pejorative term poseur is applied to those who associate with punk and adopt its stylistic attributes but are deemed not to share or understand the underlying values and philosophy."

Were you around in the late 90s you might remember the term "poseur" denigrated as "non-inclusive" or "confrontational" by the same people who ended up weaseling their way in charge then detonating the scene from the inside. It was quite the show. They needed that control, not for the subculture, but for themselves. Now that they have it, everything you enjoy has been warped and broken all for the version of "community" they have in their head.

This is what happens when obsessives are given control.

These aren't "normies", but broken narcissistic fanatics who need their brands and hobbies as a replacement for whatever empty hole they have deep inside. They're obsessives, fanatics.

This is why they fight so hard when called on what they are. They need this scene to have value, which is why they morph these areas into communities they need to run and keep pure under the guise of being inclusive. It's because they have nothing in their real lives to cling to. For whatever reason, they have nothing else outside of this. This "community" is all they have in their pathetic lives.

And this is why subcultures are currently being destroyed by groups of empty people who need their brands and hobbies more than you do. It is misplaced obsession. It's fanaticism, and it is cult behavior.

This sort of thing isn't new, either. There have been articles talking about this descent into madness for years. Here's one in particular from five years ago when this began being a real issue in the mainstream. This is what happens when fanaticism, brokenness, and religion replacement, form into a cohesive whole. The best thing for these subcultures, the poseurs, and you, would be to remove them from positions of power. It would be better for all involved for everything to be put in its proper place.

And that is why they fight so hard to destroy those they oppose and everything around them just to retain their stranglehold. This isn't the sign of someone who loves the scene they purport to love, but the behavior of one who is disordered.

This is why gate-keeping exists: to keep everything in order, guide normal people who are interested in, and to make sure the narcissists stay out of power. This is how a subculture retains its identity and grows at the same time. By letting obsessives in charge, everything has shrunk. We got fat and lazy, and cared so little for our fellow man that we let them destroy themselves by taking charge of things they had no right taking charge of, simply because we didn't want to be called mean names. It is our fault this happened.

Hopefully we have all learned that lesson going forward. Letting weak men take charge is always a mistake.

There was an interesting 12 Step Rule in the article linked above. I want to share it with you here to emphasize just what a poseur really is deep down and what they are missing. They use their misplaced fanaticism as a crutch.
1. We admitted we were powerless over fanaticism—that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe that Reason, a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of Reason.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitted to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. We're entirely ready to have Reason remove all these defects of character.
7. Humbly invoked reason to remove our shortcomings.
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10. Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
11. Sought through inquiry, debate, conversation, curiosity and doubt to improve our conscious contact with Reason seeking for better understanding of the human tension between what we want to believe and what’s most likely to be true.
12. Having had an awakening to Reason as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to fanatics of all kinds, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

You might think it strange to replace AA's "God" with "Reason", but the fanatic already has a god they see everyday in the mirror. This is more for those around them to decipher just why these broken people have disordered themselves to begin with. Their lack of Reason comes from making themselves and their warped vision of their subculture as God. This is a spiritual sickness as much as it is a social one, and it comes from a people who lost sight of their humanity.

Caring about your fellow man also means putting them in their place when they've gone astray. And we have fallen so far off the wagon that we can barely see its slow lurch over the rolling hills into the blinding sunset. Poseurs are not the root cause of all current ills but for anything to change efforts must be started with removing them from positions of power.

Even as everything implodes around these subcultures, don't think that a fanatic will let go so willingly. Remember that a poseur's entire identity is settled around the delusion they've made called a "community" where they stand as a Jim Jones figure looking down at the small ants under their feet. They will fight until forcibly removed and not allowed back in. This means a return to gate-keeping of the sort not scene since the early twentieth century. But it must be done.

It's not going to be easy from here, but remember that "normies" are not your enemies, nor are they your allies. They are true neutral. Right now it is a battle between rock solid tradition and narcissistic destruction at either end. That is the only war worth waging here, and it will be going for a long time to come.

Fight for what you love because no one is going to do it for you.

I'm fighting for what I love by creating stories of the type you're not allowed to have anymore. Check out Gemini Warrior for a pulp inspired action adventure of strange planets, superpowers, and plain old fashioned fun! You won't find anything like this from broken down modern publishers!

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Thursday, October 3, 2019

The Ashes of Joe's Garage

Frank's gonna get cancelled
In the '70s rock music was beginning to get angry. Forget the peace-loving '60s (that didn't really exist), and if you believe the Laurel Canyon rumors, some of which are very suspicious and true, it's been a game of political musical chairs for a very long time. Not political? You won't get anywhere fast.

For instance, one of the reasons a band such as the Ramones was unable to break out, while those who aped them with tacked on hamfisted political slogans cashed in, was almost assuredly based around the fact that they refused to engage in proselytizing with their music. In fact, the one song they did so in still gets radioplay despite another song that sounds just like it (with better lyrics and message) is ignored. It has been a rule since the 1960s that your music had to have some kind of message to be considered worthy. Being fun wasn't enough anymore. Just look at all the undeserved hate Huey Lewis got.

Doubt it? Then peruse any "music critic" list of best albums from the 1960s. When are the likes of Buddy Holly or Eddie Cochran ever mentioned aside from being considered footnotes to what came later? There is no coincidence here.

The charade of the peace-nik 1960s persists to this day. The boomer myth has lasted far too long. However, what is rarely brought up is that by the '70s any pretense of peace and love had been cast off for doomsday visions of unbridled libertarian anarchy and a free speech wasteland of rampant sex and drug use straight out of a Keith Richards fever dream. It followed naturally from the era that birthed it.

One of the members of the Laurel Canyon scene was professional provocateur Frank Zappa, who was as abrasive as he was secretive. In 1979, the same year punk finally broke out (despite the Ramones putting out classics for three years at this point and just putting out a fourth) Zappa released an album called Joe's Garage. This was a rock opera filled with profane lyrics and various musical styles, ironically all of which have since been banished from the mainstream.

But I digress.

Roto-plookers, who were all for free speech at the time, loved this album of debauchery and railing against the man as the future of music. One of the themes is government censorship, which ended up being a crusade for Zappa mere years later and concluding with the end of places like Joe's Garage ever being built again.

You see, in 1985, about the time classic rock, blues, and rockabilly, were finally getting airplay again after years of being blocked by the mainstream, the PMRC was created in a church in Washington DC by a set of puritan boomers. They wanted a warning system for albums like they had for movies and a way to hide offensive album covers from the public eye. No, they didn't want an adult space for them--they wanted them tarred and marked. This was a way to protect the children, of course. At least, that's what we were told.

Eventually this led to tasteless looking stickers on album art saying "Parental Advisory Warning" which made those albums high sellers and sucking the air out of the room for anything that wasn't profane. Those who didn't care about explicit content such as the above musical styles were more or less out of luck. Just as MTV destroyed music-makers who (correctly) didn't care about visuals, so to did non-profane artists begin to fee the squeeze.

This is because the badge became a beacon for "rebels" that meant the album was worth listening to (even though it frequently was most definitely not) and led to a lot of otherwise subpar music getting radioplay such as pushing gangsta rap, a zombie genre that wore out its welcome 25 years ago, to take over rap and relegate the golden age to clearance sales. Funny how supposed rebels are so very easy to manipulate.

This trend has continued with modern pop in the years since. All it now is is explicit content, making that tacky badge irrelevant, and turning any wholesome or less try-hard content the minority. It is almost as if that were the point.

Needless to say, the PMRC helped to destroy music, despite those fighting it "winning" against them. The PMRC cared so much about the kids nothing exists like it now, despite music being far worse now than it was in 1979. This happened with the ACT, too. It almost makes you think.

You should. Radio won't.
But I'm going to stop derailing the point.

The PMRC was spearheaded by Tipper Gore, whose husband was voted into power twice (and almost a third time) by the majority of the music industry who supposedly suffered at her hands. The rest of the lineup was run by similar busybody soccer mom puritans, of the like that ruined the animation industry as well. They sent out a letter on their Christmas card list that summed up their entire quest perfectly:
"Rock music has become pornographic and sexually explicit, but most parents are unaware of the words their children are listening to, dancing to, doing homework to, falling asleep to. Some rock groups advocate satanic rituals, the others sing of open rebellion against parental and other authority, others sing of killing babies."
Note that music still does this now. In fact, rock music does it less than mainstream pop and rap does. The only difference is that no one listens to it, and the same political party that started this crusade against the material now openly embraces it without ever being called out on it and being voted in by those who "suffered" from them. I'm not dogging on the Democrats in particular here, but the sycophants in the industry that mindlessly vote for them. Either they're dumb, or complicit in their own industry's destruction. Neither speaks well of them.

"Porn rock" is now all that the mainstream accepts. It leaves one to wonder why this controversy was ever constructed to begin with, and if there ever really was one at all. Just like "Satanic Panic" I remain unconvinced it wasn't just a smokescreen by politicians hoping to seize an industry for their own nefarious purposes and profit. Heck, we have more censorship now than we did back then and the same people who fought against censorship openly embrace having their necks stepped on and their industries contracted. What activism has Rage Against the Machine accomplished recently n regards to their industry? Nothing. It might be paranoia, but there is a seed of truth to this.

Frank Zappa, John Denver, and Dee Snider, were the three biggest opponents of the PMRC at the time. They argued labeling of explicit material could lead to easy regulation of content and censorship of anything deemed inappropriate and appeared in hearings over it. Tipper Gore promised nothing would happen. Time had proved her a liar. They were correct about what happened, but not in the way they thought, as stated above. What ended up getting censored was rock itself.

Nonetheless, the record companies suspiciously complied to the puritans in record time, introducing the idea of labels by November of 1985. By 1990 it would be the infamous one Gen Xers and Ys would most remember. It changed overnight. The fact that this revolution happened in the span of a year without any push-back from the industry in question is highly suspicious and should be considered very disturbing.

But it's not. Is it? No one in the industry even talks about it accept in regards to victory laps over victories they never even had.

This is what was popular at the time. Not so much now, is it?
As stated, 1985 was a good year for music. There was trash like Madonna, as always, and there was explicit content, especially in the metal world, but no one aside from adults should have been buying them to begin with. Boomer parents hould have known this at the time. The Rolling Stones and others had put explicit and overt satanic messages in their music since back in the '60s. So why were boomers suddenly concerned with this now? It doesn't add up. This wasn't new.

30 years after Tipper Gore set this hoodwink off before disbanding the PMRC to become the Vice President's wife she said this, as quoted by Rolling Stone:
“In this era of social media and online access, it seems quaint to think that parents can have control over what their children see and hear,” she says. “But I think this conversation between parents and kids is as relevant today as it was back in the Eighties. Music is a universal language that crosses generations, race, religion, sex and more. Never has there been more need for communication and understanding on these issues as there is today.”
She added, “All of the artists and record companies who still use the advisory label should be applauded for helping parents and kids have these conversations about lyrics around their own values.”
That doesn't sound like someone who lost, or even changed their mind on the issue. Does it? There's only one reason she would say this. It's because she got what she wanted. She won.

Of course wannabe rebels still consider the PMRC vanquished and themselves having won victory over the "man" just like weekend warriors always do, despite the "man" not suffering anything and their peers far worse off than before. Rock music is no longer in the mainstream. Bands can never achieve the success of those who came before. But kids can still turn on the radio and hear tired sounds out of 1998 with kindergarten-level lyrics about having sex and taking drugs.

What a win.

The PMRC didn't lose. If they did then why aren't they still around fighting for victory? Just like the ACT, they got what they wanted. The music scene was censored--whole genres were excised from the mainstream and from TV and radio play. Payola is perfectly fine now that the bad music has been quarantined. The only ones left are the footstools of music execs and political hacks that mindlessly vote for the same party that destroyed their industry in a double-think about censorship that would make Orwell blush. There are no more scenes or underground successes. They're all dead and forgotten.

Joe's Garage doesn't exist anymore. It was burned down long ago. Whatever remains have blown away in the winds of the storms since. Zappa and Denver are gone. The superstars remaining won't live forever, and the mainstream will wipe them away when they do.

Rock isn't angry anymore, it's not even much in the way of debauched. Instead it is an underground phenomenon where it belongs. "Have guitar, will travel" was the motto of rock before the stadiums took it in, and it will once again be its mantra after being thrown out. You can find anything you want with the internet on your side--you don't need the false promises of Joe's Garage or the permission of hacks like the PMRC and their record company lackeys to sell you neutered and corporate approved goods. Rock still lives, and it will for a long, long time.

As it loses the influence of the mainstream rock only has the chance to get better. In fact, I would say the quality of rock music has gone up since the late 90s, and away from store shelves, and I find without much surprise that rock is back where it started, in the music halls and the garage, cleansed and purified, perhaps even ennobled, by its time among the slave-gangs of the record executives [Thank you for that, Mr. Lundwell]. You can find anything you want now.

So forget Laurel Canyon, Joe's Garage, or MTV. Rock is still alive, and it's no longer angry. It's merely alive and fun again.

And that's what's always been about being.

Modern music still has it

I may not be making music, but I am doing what I can to bring back fun fiction! Check out Gemini Warrior for an action adventure story of heroes, magic, and strange planets, the likes of which you've never seen. And there's more to come!

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