Tuesday, March 21, 2006

This Blog Kills Fascists

What can I say? I finally got a copy of Billy Bragg's THE INTERNATIONALE EP on CD (as part of his new series of re-issued early albums, complete with tons of unreleased cuts and the like).

And guess what? Listening to those songs again, so passionate and powerful, so earnest and defiant, I'm left with only one conclusion, one that's probably no shock to anyone who's ever heard me rant. But it was the sort of cut-the-bullshit moment of self-realization that would land more pathetic types on Oprah.

This shocking conclusion?

I am a lefty. A friggin' liberal. Hopefully a common sense one, as far removed from the tree-hugging, tofu-sucking politically correct dorks that stereotype-loving conservatives like to poke fun at, but a liberal nonetheless -- pro-labour, pro-choice, pro-tolerance, pro-justice, pro-socialism. And as a fellow Montrealer once wrote, "I have no use for generals or their stinkin' torture states."

No beating around the bush, no apologies.

My CD pile contains not just Bragg, but Springsteen, Dylan, Earle, Emmylou, R.E.M., Cockburn, Bright Eyes and U2. And of course Woody Guthrie. And I play 'em all fucking loud.

My favourite writers include Steinbeck and Pelecanos and Phillips and Shannon and Lippman and Mosley and the late great Dennis Lynds. These folks write loud.

And the last DVD I rented from NetFlix? WOODY GUTHRIE: THIS GUITAR KILLS FASCISTS, a documentary narrated by Bragg himself (more on that tomorrow).

I thought maybe moving to the States, to one of the most conservative areas in SoCal, dominated at it is by Edwards Air Force Base, my political yearnings might have softened. But if anything, after living with these people up close, day in, day out, with their "churches" and guns and SUVs all spewing out their respective poisons, I think I'm even more of a lefty than ever. And I actually like many of these folks. Many of them are very nice people, and have absolutely no idea how vile and hateful and (dare I say it?) un-Christian some of the things they say -- or want their government to do for them -- are.

The fact some of these people also seem so afraid of people like me suggests just how precarious some of their beliefs actually are. The fact so many of them are turning their backs on things (wars, presidents, etc.) they so fervently believed only a few years ago is gratifying.

Although the idea that I almost got into a bar fight just months after I moved down here for the crime of being openly Canadian (evidently Fox"hole" O'Reilly was urging a boycott of Canada at the time) is rather worriesome. Sure, this jerk in the bar was just some drunk yahoo who'd had too many Bud Lights, but what if he sobered up and became president?

So, yeah, that's where I stand. You don't like it, well, urge your congressman to shut down the internet.

What has all this got to do with crime fiction? Not friggin' much, except that fellow Bragg fan and sometime fellow musical traveler (he's wrong about the Boss, though) and Thrilling Detective Web Site fave Ray Banks has a new book out, SATURDAY'S CHILD, featuring tearaway private eye Cal Innes.

It just slipped over the transom Saturday afternoon. Of course, I absolutely don't have time to read it, no, not at all, since my to be read-and-reviewed pile is now so friggin' high it could interfere with air traffic in the area and I'm far too busy to read something just for fun, nope, no way, but I figured a little peek wouldn't hurt, right?

Right?

The book kicks off with an assault by toilet and just gets better. And better.

Damn you, Ray -- there went my whole friggin' frickin' Saturday night!!!

5 Comments:

Anonymous Keith Logan said...

I saw Billy in Quebec City a couple of years ago. He was still in fine form, never pulling punches. He got major applause from the crowd when bashing GW Bush, but then got MAJOR booing when asking "the nice folks why they would want to separate from a great country like Canada". He said he knew the crowd would be pissed by his mentioning this, but simply could not get over the idea of wanting to leave such a fine place. Billy's awesome.

3:37 AM, March 24, 2006  
Anonymous Ray said...

You think the book takes up yer time, invest in the re-issue Bragg box set that's coming out (though if you've already got Internationale, then you've already got one of the CDs). I saw him at the Tyne Theatre a couple of years ago and it was by far one of the best gigs I've ever been to. Not only for the political stuff ("I Dreamed I Saw Phil Ochs Last Night" is a belter, and got me into Phil Ochs), but also for the humanist stuff, too. Grab yerself his first two albums and settle in for some classic Braaaaagg.

3:53 AM, March 25, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmm...but if most liberals had their way, private dicks wouldn't be able to carry guns....

9:51 AM, April 05, 2006  
Anonymous Ray said...

...and there wouldn't be the lazy-arse shoot-out finales!

8:33 AM, April 06, 2006  
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