explicit lyrics

IN THESE GREAT TIMES

or

WHAT WE WANT

I
Our Style
As I say elsewhere:
        All "rational argument" is useless.
        "Rational argument" narrows the spectrum to that of expertise. In an argument limited to expertise, the status quo ante is maintained, desperate situations continue to deteriorate.
        Agriculture became rational and scientific in part through the graces of recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH), which, when given to cattle, increases yields of milk and beef. It also results in a need on the part of cattle for more protein in their diets. This need is satisfied by feeding them, among other things, the leavings of slaughtered cattle. This diet is also a source of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE, that is, "mad cow disease."
        When a slaughtered cow, the meat from which made its way into American markets and American stomachs, turned out to have BSE, Dee Likes, executive vice president of the Kansas Livestock Association, was quoted by the Associated Press as saying: "We want the government to make science-based decisions, not decisions based on emotion and distortion."
        One example of a science-based decision is that to dose cattle with rBGH for increased profit.
        By calling for more of this same sort of decision-making, Dee determines the outcome. Dee limits the discussion to the propositions of "experts." "Their" scientists say "this," "our" scientists say "that." The status quo remains unchanged, and the argument proceeds to proceed, a piece of rhetoric as immortal as a line of cancer cells. The argument of "reason" against "reason" renders most people impotent -- herbivores and carnivores alike. Most people, in fact, are ruled out of the argument altogether, because they are not "experts." Most people are "emotional." Their thinking is "distorted" by "subjectivity."
        This impotence is not an unfortunate coincidence: achieving it is the central purpose of rational American debate.
        Men who argue "rationally" exclude feeling and common sense from consideration. So did all the sociopaths I have known.
        We have "rationally" argued the subject of global warming to the point that I can go for a walk in Atlanta in shirtsleeves and sandals on January 4th, something that wouldn't have been possible when I moved here twenty-seven years ago.
        As Tom Brokaw might say, "That's progress!"

II
The Prospect Before Us
What we have here is a nation of people, most of them overweight and living on credit in a high style, who boast of their military prowess but who send to die in combat the sons and daughters of men with names, by and large, like Sanchez and Shenseki and Odierno and Ramirez, i.e., not "real" Americans (who have names like Bush or Clinton or Helms or Barnett) but only the sons and daughters of the Second Class, who joined the Army to learn a trade; and who then refrain from honoring these dead with attendance at their funerals or flags draped over their returning coffins because these actions might appear "negative" in "the media."
        What we have here is a nation of people paying more than ten times what their fathers paid for cars, books, and housing in 1950, who believe that inflation is under control.
        What we have here is a nation of people who diet without losing weight, who exercise and stay weak, who revere science and fakirs, who do not discriminate between their opinions and their beliefs, who think that sickness is evil and wealth is good, who think that the evil is trivial and the good is easy.
        What we have here is a nation of people whose president said in 1961 that they would put a man on the moon by the end of the decade; and did; who cannot manage adequate health care for themselves, cannot keep poisons out of their food or waste out of their drinking water or filth out of their air, and cannot educate their children to the level of the standards that were in place in 1968. But who can get a tax write-off for buying a Hummer.
        What we have here is a nation of people who are, as Richard Nixon said, children. In fact, they are such children they believe in Santa Claus.

III
A Writing Sample
The destruction of the World Trade Center has many meanings. One of them is: our government put us in danger and did not protect us.
        Did our government put us in danger by providing all of us with affordable health care?
        I dont think so!
        Did our government put us in danger by improving public education?
        I dont think so!
        Did our government put us in danger by repairing our roads and sewer systems?
        I dont think so!
        Did our government put us in danger by cleaning the air and water?
        I dont think so!
        Did our government put us in danger by ensuring our electoral process?
        I dont think so!
        Did our government put us in danger by making us independent of foreign sources of energy?
        I dont think so!
        Did our government put us in danger by safeguarding human rights?
        I dont think so!
        Did our government put us in danger by sheltering the homeless?
        I dont think so!
        Did our government put us in danger by feeding the hungry?
        I dont think so!
        Did our government put us in danger by clothing the naked?
        I dont think so!
        Did our government put us in danger by freeing the imprisoned?
        I dont think so!
        Did our government put us in danger by giving power to the powerless?
        I dont think so!
        Did our government put us in danger by registering firearms?
        I dont think so!
        Did our government put us in danger by purifying our food?
        I dont think so!
        Did our government put us in danger for freedom?
        Whose? Mine?
        I dont think so!
        Then why did our government put us in danger?

IV
Professionalism
Professionalism is why Creative Loafing sold 10 percent of itself to Cox Communications; and why Cox Communications used its 10-percent-worth to sit in on editorial meetings at CL and clone it as Access Atlanta. Professionalism is calling this incompetent venality and chicanery "competition." Professionalism is the "mob" made up of Marietta's political and social leaders lynching Leo Frank. Professionalism is generations of real estate men selling Atlanta's antebellum heritage in order to build architectural atrocities, banks, and shopping centers, and then blaming the loss on General Sherman, who in fact preserved those buildings so his officers would have places to work and sleep. Professionalism is Stephen Ambrose telling us that the fourteen years of mass slaughter that Americans refer to as World War II is was some kind of technicolor glorious adventure. Professionalism is the excuse the New York Times offers for not investigating the Watergate burglary and for investigating the non-event called Whitewater. Professionalism is Margeret Mitchell saying that Southerners have never done any real harm. Professionalism is why the centaurs in the Pastorale segment of Walt Disney's Fantasia have no navels. Professionalism is Howard Fineman of Newsweek magazine asking Howard Dean if he believes Jesus is the son of god and his key to eternal life. Professionalism is Time telling us for twenty-odd years that the war in Southeast Asia, aka "Vietnam," was not only "winable" but, in fact, "the duty of the West." Professionalism is the banner of all the weak, gelded or spayed, moral cowards who kiss a lot of ass for a little money.
        I have written for twenty years as a professional, and I have given it up. I now have no interest in professionalism. I am interested in amateurism, from the Latin noun amator, meaning lover, from the Latin verb amare, meaning to love, as employed by George Sand when she wrote, "I must not dissimulate nor try to forget this anger, which is one of the most passionate forms of love"; and exemplified by the work of such amateurs as Thomas Paine, Benjamin Franklin, Henry Thoreau, William Blake, and Walt Whitman.

V
Our Proposition
If any of this makes sense to you, let me hear you make some noise. Fiction, essays, and poetry should be submitted electronically in Rich Text Format by emailing as attachments to admin@explicitlyrics.us.