ambivalent imbroglio home

« Fair and Balanced Friday: | Main | Amused and Rested »

August 17, 2003

Get Your War On, DC Punk

In the ongoing saga of the country bumpkin (me) trying to take advantage of all that DC has to offer, I forgot to mention the joy that was ours the other night when David Rees, the satiric mastermind behind Get Your War On, spoke at Politics and Prose. He shared the bill with Mark Andersen and Mark Jenkens, authors of Dance of Days: Two Decades of Punk in the Nation's Capital (reviewed here). At first the pairing seemed a bit odd, but it turned out to be a nice combination since punk is all about alternatives to mainstream culture and GYWO is certainly that. But mainly L. and I were there for Rees, who impressed us as an amazingly deadpan comic; if you think his comics are funny when you read them on the screen, imagine having them read aloud to you in a crowded room. It was almost like a form of therapy.

Since I knew that proceeds of his book go to landmine relief efforts in Afghanistan, I've wondered how Rees makes a living. Someone asked that very question and the answer is he's now creating GYWO for Rolling Stone magazine, so he's finally making some bank for his brilliance. You can also give cash to him directly through the paypal link at the bottom of his comics page. Read the comics, throw the man a few bones for those laughs. Buy the book and help make Afghanistan safer. Everybody wins!

In a related vein, we also went to see "The Weather Underground" at Visions Cinema:

Thirty years ago, a group of young American radicals announced their intention to overthrow the U.S. government. In THE WEATHER UNDERGROUND, former Underground members, including Bernardine Dohrn, Bill Ayers, Mark Rudd, David Gilbert and Brian Flanagan, speak publicly about the idealistic passion that drove them to bring the war home and the trajectory that placed them on the FBI's most wanted list.

It's an incredible film about an incredible time and phenomenon in U.S. history, and provides invaluable lessons about the best (and worst) ways to bring about political change in a "modern" (really postmodern or postpostmodern or whatever) society. Short lesson: Violence against the state only gives the state license to use increased violence in response. See also Sept. 11, 2001.

Toward the end of the film, Naomi Jaffe, a former member of the Weather Underground, says something like, "even though we didn't achieve our goals, I think what we did was worthwhile because it shows future activists what's possible; it provides a history of resistance and activism that future revolutionaries can build on." And the thing is, she'd be right except for 98% of the planet, the Weather Underground never existed. History belongs to those who write the history books, and if history books ever mention the Weather Underground, you can bet they do so as minimally as possible and in the context of words like treason, radical, insane, tiny fringe, etc. Have you ever heard of the Weather Underground?

Finally, to come full circle, in addition to being one of the authors of Dance of Days (mentioned above), Mark Andersen is also the founder of Positive Force, a DC activist group. Andersen will join Sam Green, director of "The Weather Underground" (the movie) for a Q&A about the movie and about activism on Aug. 23 at visions. You know, if you want to boost your countercultural cred. a teensy bit, it could be cool.

Now, for something completely different, L. and I are headed off to Six Flags (MD) for a day of mass consumer debauchery of the junkfood and thrillride variety. It's my last day of "freedom" before law school starts, so I figured I'd go out with a bang, of sorts. Batwing, here we come!

Posted August 17, 2003 08:15 AM | general politics life generally

about   ∞     ∞   archives   ∞   links   ∞   rss
This template highly modified from The Style Monkey.