“If I march will you march? If I fight will you fight?”

“If I shout for what’s right, will you stand by my side?”

I was recently involved in a small altercation regarding whether or not a series of swastikas was an appropriate username in a gaming community. I’m not really surprised that there was pushback about it (not from the site’s owner though; the matter was dealt with). I’ve seen way too much, “this is the internet and I should be able to do whatever the fuck I want” attitude to be surprised by much of anything. But I guess I was taken aback at the outset, that this is how a person chose to identify themself. But, they can hide behind anonymity, then and now. Nobody is posting their real name with photos to out them as a Nazi. With their username changed, they’ve faded into the amorphous mass of all the other users I don’t really know anything about.

My formative years were the 90s. Everyone in my youth scene supported Anti-Racist Action (forerunner to Antifa). “No booze, no drugs, no Nazis” was the standard rule at the all-ages shows I attended. Sometimes there was a fight or a protest, but… we outnumbered them. There were so many more of us, they couldn’t possibly win, so they usually just never bothered to show up.

I’m not an American. I don’t delude myself that my country doesn’t have enormous issues with ingrained racism either, but lately I keep coming back to this song from a band I first heard back in the 90s. Sorry the video is a terrible scan of the album cover. It’s the only version available.

Schleprock’s entire (America’s) Dirty Little Secret album cries out against the bigotry and complacency that’s only grown in the years since it was released. So help me, I do love earnest political messaging in the art I consume. I’m going to keep playing this one. Loudly.

Bonus anti-racist punk rock:

There are clearer versions, but I just love Jello’s intro commentary here, as relevant now as it was in 1985. Though I admit I don’t know whose hair he was talking about.

Further reading:

This is just another blog post about Schleprock that I enjoyed. It doesn’t especially have anything to do with their politics, but the author does seem to agree that the band was an overlooked gem. “Suburbia” was also my first exposure. “No, it ain’t right.”

“I want to smash the whole thing into a pile of junk to be hauled away to the scrap yard.”

I was looking for a different poem by Langston Hughes, but that’s going to have to wait. I pawed through the filing cabinet (this is not a metaphor) until I found what I wanted, but I also found another poem by Carl Sandburg and it’s too apropos to not post right now.

This was published in 1916. And that’s really all there is to say.

READY TO KILL

TEN minutes now I have been looking at this.
I have gone by here before and wondered about it.
This is a bronze memorial of a famous general
Riding horseback with a flag and a sword and a revolver
on him.
I want to smash the whole thing into a pile of junk to be
hauled away to the scrap yard.
I put it straight to you,
After the farmer, the miner, the shop man, the factory
hand, the fireman and the teamster,
Have all been remembered with bronze memorials,
Shaping them on the job of getting all of us
Something to eat and something to wear,
When they stack a few silhouettes
Against the sky
Here in the park,
And show the real huskies that are doing the work of
the world, and feeding people instead of butchering them,
Then maybe I will stand here
And look easy at this general of the army holding a flag
in the air,
And riding like hell on horseback
Ready to kill anybody that gets in his way,
Ready to run the red blood and slush the bowels of men
all over the sweet new grass of the prairie.

“A little light scratches the darkness”

Kentaro Miura’s Berserk is everything. If I keep up the writing, how serious I am about this will become obvious. It’s one of my major frames of reference.

Some time ago, I was looking at Berserk posts on Tumblr and ran across one originally posted by dellalovespeppermints with this caption:

Unless one loses a precious thing, he will never know its true value. A little light finally scratches the darkness; it lets the exhausted one face his shattered dream and realize his path cannot be walked. Can man live happily without embracing his wounded heart?

This sounds like the Narrator in tone and circles Griffith’s pivotal dream speech and everything following Guts’ reaction to it, but it’s not drawn from the source material, nor apparently any commonly quoted fan translation of it. Everything leads back to the Tumblr post, or so it seems.

But by picking out some of the distinct phrases rather than searching for the entire text, it’s revealed that this is a cleaned-up version of a post on a Yahoo! group from 2006:

unless one loses a precious thing…he will never know its true value….a little light scratches the darkness it lets the exhausted one face his shattered dream, and realized..that his path cannot be walked…. can a man live happliy without embracing his wounded heart?

Charles ??? made at least one other post to this group heavily referencing a fan translation of Berserk‘s Narrator, but was evasive when questioned if it was his original work and mentioned that his MySpace blog depicted more of his personal feelings. Since MySpace blogs disappeared during a redesign, I’ll likely never know if he used that platform to rave about Berserk or simply to post more material with or without attribution.

Regardless of Charles ???’s sourcing, the post about “the exhausted one” is compelling, and restates some of the core themes in Berserk effectively. Trauma and how humans react to it are fundamental to a work that is extremely violent, but that also examines betrayal, loss, and grief with sensitivity. Berserk has been one of those little lights scratching at the darkness for me, a way towards accepting a wounded heart.

“America I am putting my queer shoulder to the wheel.”

I have a lot of thoughts about a lot of things, but I’ve allowed my outlets for expressing most of them to dwindle to nothing. This isn’t good for me, so here I am learning blogging software on the fly in order to get things out of my head and into the world in some form. It’s midnight and it takes me many minutes to compose a single sentence, so I really ought to let it alone soon.

I read a rule for blogging once to the effect that a writer won’t find an audience if they don’t focus their subject matter. That’s not gonna happen here, unless you consider “whatever is floating around in Becky’s brain” focused subject matter. I am making a place for me to write about everything I’ve neglected, and if it’s interesting or beneficial for anyone else at all, that’s a bonus. If I’m just shouting into a void, well, that’s ok… it beats being consumed by my own silence. I have a lot of work to do.

On my mind: Allen Ginsberg’s “America” (1956)

“When will you re-invent the heart?”