1) Queer-Pride comp essay 2) Humanitarian Intervention
(week of 12/27/98)
1) HATEBREED CAN SUCK IT*
*(assuming they really are as homophobic as the rumors suggest and their silence on the matter seems to support.)
When I was 15 or 16, I was straightedge and wore X's on my hands and hung out mostly with other straightedge hardcore kids and mostly went to straightedge hardcore shows. There I saw other straightedge boys playing in hardcore bands while they're girlfriends took pictures of them from the side of the stage. At 15 I think I still assumed that if it was on Dischord, it had to be good and that if it was from NYC and had photos of pile-ons and fingerpointing, well then, it was even better.
And when I was 16 and my old band opened up for a band called Nilla and the girls in the band played without shirts and they boys in the band talked about having sex with other boys, I don't think I had any idea of what to say. It didn't freak me out or bother me at all, but I was a little confused and I think I must have felt a little alienated. Until I tried talking to some of these people. By the end of the night, I didn't feel uncomfortable when a girl with "DYKE" written across her chest would walk up to me, topless, and ask to borrow my guitar amp. By the end of the night, I think I'd learned something about who was really dealing with alienation. It wasn't me, hanging out with a "crew" and singing along to X Mouthpiece X songs who was really alienated, but rather, people who had to sit and watch band after band of heterosexual boys like me all saying the same thing (which wasn't saying much at all) without ever being recognized or appreciated simply because they were differant.
Alienation was what was offered to the women at shows who tried to make their own zines who were branded as feminazis and for queer boys who never made it into the "crew" because they were differant or because they weren't quite as thrilled as we were over what color the Turning Point 7" was.
Growing up I was very lucky to have been surrounded by cool people of differant genders and differant sexualities. I felt inspired by their creativity and even by their diversity. Instead of just booking my friends' bands, I began booking shows and helping out for bands like Vitapup, Kaia (from team dresch), Cheesecake, Tribe 8, Third Sex and Huggybear.
My best friends put out a zine called Gurlz with Gunz and I was proud to know them. Eventually, Jeremy (KTMWQ) and I began playing in F-80, a queer-core type band that headlined one night of the Philly Riot Grrrl convention, put out a split 7" and shared a record with Team Dresch, Shove and Dahlia Seed.
Anyway, I'm proud to contribute my experiences to this queer-pride/queer-rights comp' and hope it catches some people's eyes. There are a lot of people who, because of their gender, sexuality, race and beliefs are often left in the sidelines of the scene. As long as hardcore remains homogenous and dominated by straight, white boys, everyone involved is missing out to some degree.
I'd like to dedicate our song to the brave and creative people I've known in the scene who take pride in who they are and refuse to let their identities and ideas get pushed to the side. "Diversity, Identity the foundation of our cause."
Tony Pointless, Andrew Martini, Mon, Michele Geary, Myles Donovan, Bread Riot, Pavlov's Dogs, Harum Scarum and Inept are all heroes of mine. Thank you for broadening my mind.
2) HUMANITARIAN INTERVENTION
...written at the start of the NATO occupation of Kosovo...
It’s the summer of 1999 and by now school shootings and black trench-coats are no longer real issues but rather the burlap sack drawn over the head of America’s young people. Cover the face and begin the steady, seemless process of dehumanization: Twelve-year olds crowding county jails from suburban Philadelphia to California as suspects in the next, upcoming school shoot-out. Here’s a questionaire circulating in a good amount of elementary and high schools these days: "Do you know anyone who may be feeling like an outcast? Have you heard, or do you think you have heard this person make threatening remarks towards other students or a faculty member?" Round up every misfit and send a strong message that we’re not going to let them pull anything like that in OUR schools. Because the Glee Club thinks we have a good shot at beating the shit out of Upper Darby this year, all our jocks are scholarly and drug-free and none of our Cheerleaders are pregnant. So don’t you monsters pull any of your punk rock, gothic, hip-hop, skateboarding, same-sex loving, book-reading, tree-hugging, no-meat-eating, black-clothes-wearing bullshit here. In Chicago, the round-ups continue while police still have the authority to arrest any suspected gang member, based on the officer’s own private intuition. Fuck probable cause: we’ve got nervous voters and a surplus of threatening looking kids. This is the time to act swiftly and firmly, saving the child and no longer sparing the rod. McCarthy would be proud. We have comitted to put this to an end and wipe out violence, resolving once and for all to teach our youth the value and sanctity of life and tranquility. We Will Have Peace, Law and Order On Our Streets! Meanwhile, the streets of former Yugoslavia have been reduced to gutters flowing with blood flanking bombed out store fronts. In the name of humanitarian intervention our country and NATO have inflamed a foreign conflict displacing whole populations and turning a nation into a cemetary. To preserve and ensure the political and economic strength of the new European community? Bull shit. The EU doesn’t need --and has shown that it doesn’t care--about an unstable Eastern European nation-state about the size of Idaho with a dragging economy. And as a market for EU and Western industries? Any quadruple amputee bombing victim will tell you, he was a happier K-Mart shopper before he had his shopping arms blown out of their sockets by a humanitarian smart bomb. As a general rule, bombing campaigns do little to assist economies already crippled by brutal sanctions. So, if it’s not about ensuring the “stable” Europe Mr. Clinton has such a hard-on for, then it’s about Containment. Of what!? Eastern European Communism is dead. The Soviet Union’s superpower status is a corpse--although, after months of bombing from NATO, it’s ghost probably looks a lot like Caspar to the people of the Balkans. And even if this was to ensure the saftey of democracy in Eastern Europe..then why initiate an air-campaign? (An air-campaign is a form of warfare involving dropping large, powerfully explosive devices from the sky thus destroying both civilian and military life and property at once with little accuracy and even less efficiency.) Elections in opposition cities like Nis in recent years have routinely ended in pro-democratic votes. Zoran Zivkovic, the mayor of the city of Nis has said, "The people who live here are the same people who voted for democracy in 1996, the same people who protested for a hundred days after the authorities tried to deny them their victory in the elections. They voted for the same democracy that exists in Europe and the US. Today my city was bombed by the democratic states of the USA, Britain, France, Germany and Canada! Is there any sense in this?" Despite Clinton’s flowery assurances that "we have no qualms with the people of Serbia," the majority of Serbian Yugoslav’s found it difficult to accept that NATO’s actions were strictly aimed at their country’s leaders, and were mobilized in support of Milosovic’s regime. Also, officials from B92, a left-of-relative-center, anti-war Belgrade radio station have noted the tragic set-backs in freedom the Yugoslav media have suffered since the onset of the NATO campaign. As a mission of communist containment and as a defense of democracy, this action has failed. So then, lastly, we are pushed to buy this as a humanitarian intervention, a war to prevent genocidal catastrophe and human rights violations. Noble intentions from America: the only non-signer of the world’s most promising anti-Land mine treaty to date. What compassion! Ecspecially when peppered with Brittish General Jackson's cavalier comments such as June 10th's "I have no doubt that we will be in Pristina by tea-time tommorow.." spoken with all the pomp and assholetry of a 19th Century colonial general sipping rum while his limey runners are chopping Zulus into London broil. NATO’s bombings are not furthering a humanitarian cause. In fact, the bombing’s have done nothing but exacerbate the troublesome conditions in the Balkans. Bombing campaigns have never been succesful in this type of situation (ala vietnam, iraq, etc.) because they are not what gets the job done. That ingredient is time-tested and has no substitute. It takes sons and brothers and fathers and friends and sisters and mothers and daughters with bullets or shrapnel ripped through their organs to win wars. War is not an air-campaign with unforeseen civilian casualties. It is the process by which living people with no real hatred for each other kill each other so that they can win an unobtainable goal redeemable only in intangible elements like memorials, half-mast flags and bagpipe-renditions of "Amazing Grace." The lives lost, foreign relations butchered and money wasted in this humanitarian intervention did nothing to help anyone in Kosovo, or anywhere else. It’s only product has been death and destruction and misery. And they want to label YOU a monster? Because you are young and full of life? Because you are angry at what they propose is the way it has to be ? Because you are fed up with the fucked up legacy you have inherited from their countless Kosovos of the past. Fuck that. Fuck them. Live.
---Mike McKee, 1999..