with the 4th of July looming, let’s all wave the flag.
BY OTEP SHAMAYA
Our resident “cultural arsonist” Otep – who also fronts the fiery punk-metal
band of the same name – is a published author who regularly blogs for Blurt about social, sexual and political issues. The essay that follows originally
appeared in issue number 10 of the magazine and was penned not long after U.S.
Representative Gabrielle Giffords was shot in Tucson by Jared Loughner (who has since been
determined to be mentally unfit to stand trial).
The Tragedy in Tucson rumbled through the atoms of our
nation with a feral shriek that left us trembling with trepidation and outrage.
We are wounded. But we have always been and forever will be wounded. Since the
days our ancestors broke the bonds of colonialism with fever, fervor, blood and
musket fire, since they turned that same vigor on the indigenous people of this
land and crushed their independence with boot heel and repeater rifle, when the
burning smoke of gun and cannon fire peppered the air during the Civil War,
when the blossoming lives of JFK, MLK, & RFK were cut down by assassins
bullets, when we lost John Lennon to a coward’s attack, shot five times in the
back, when the poor and working class listen to the modulating bursts of
gunfire like morning birdsong and the last thing some see is the grime and
rubble of cracked concrete soaked in their blood, when our young are hunted in
their schools, when a lunatic purchases ammo at a family shopping center and
methodically guns down unarmed men, women, and children, there can be no doubt
this affliction will thrive unabated.
It’s the American way.
Nineteen people were shot on January 8, 2011. Six
were murdered. Among the dead is a 9-year-old girl born on September 11, 2001.
(If that isn’t a metaphor for what’s happening to us as a society, I don’t know
They were gunned down, coldly, callously, and
somewhere, out there, Sarah Palin is smiling. The “lamestream media” couldn’t
help but focus scrutiny on this strange and confused woman. Her idiots-grin
pulled back across her puckered face because this sort of maniacal attention
fuels her ego. She is a fiend for it. Hell, I’m giving her a new dimple or
perhaps a deeper crease around those crow’s feet right now just by writing this
article. But you see, I am compelled to do so for one reason only. Sarah
“Failin” Palin and I actually agree on something. I know, I know, they are
breaking out the sweaters in Hades right now and I’ve had to down a double shot
of single malt scotch just to finish typing that last line. But, alas, it’s
true. We do.
She has staunchly defended her decision to put
crosshairs over the names and districts of Democratic politicians that she
disagreed with and using her oft chanted mantra “Don’t Retreat, Reload” during
the last Congressional campaign. In fact, the entire wingnut Conservatard media
exploded to her defense. The pig-bodied Sean Mannity, er Hannity, gave her
another ego-launching in an interview to deny that her words and imagery have
any effect on the opinions and emotions of others. They spewed the false
equivalency that “well, liberals do it too” and tongue-holed each other until
their dumpster heads were emptied on the airwaves with the usual vitriolic
(Writers Note: For you anatomical oddity buffs out
there, I have been informed by a former RENTBOY(dot)com employee that Hannity
has an inverted penis. Interesting, yes but, you know, Gack!)
I concur. Let’s forget, for a moment, that if a Muslim
or a “Gay” or an “undocumented worker” had said these things or made a bullseye
map, they would be on a ship with a one-way ticket to Guantanamo. “The ballot or the bullet?” You
betcha. “2nd Amendment remedies”? Whatever. It’s obvious to anyone with half a
brain that words (inflammatory or not) simply do not matter. Nope. Symbols and
images do not influence anyone. They do not incite, they do not inspire. They
are dead as stones. Okay, fine.
Then I welcome Palin and Mannity and the
turd-herder Limbaugh and the weeping Mormon Glenn Beck and Michelle “which
camera is it” Bachmann, and the crazy cat lady Sharon Angle to join my crusade
to remove PG-13, TV 14, and R ratings from films and TV, and to outlaw those
silly EXPLICIT LYRICS tags from CD covers. We demand porn on public TV, we
demand SCIENCE to be taught in CHURCH, to make Sex Education classes mandatory,
let tobacco and alcohol companies advertise in grade schools, and do away with
Parental Settings on internet browsers. Why do we need them? Let’s stand united
to end these archaic restraints and the censorship of the intellectual liberty
of free children and free people!
The fact that (prior to the shooting and mass
murder by the coward Loughner) Rep. Gabrielle Giffords had received multiple
death threats, and the fact that her campaign offices had been blasted with
gunfire are, you know, like, whatever, come on, DUDE, like, it is, I mean,
pffft, so unrelated, but, I guess, like, even if MOST people would be decent
enough to respect the welfare of another human being (despite political
affiliation) to call off the dogs and ease the heated rhetoric by making it
clear that “Don’t Retreat, Reload” is HYPERBOLE and not a commandment, it still
doesn’t prove that slogans, lyrics, symbols, and whatnot influence or incite
people. Ozzy, Slipknot, Metallica, The Beatles, ME, none of us, have any
influence over our listeners to abandon Puritanism and embrace the way of the
noble savage. (Well, maybe a little, but so what?) I can put it out there that
Sarah Palin should be covered in garbage and set on fire or that someone should
fist-fuck her smug, pug ugly face without clarifying that this is satire, nor
do I need to explain hyperbole because it just doesn’t matter. WOW, it’s so
We aren’t talking about the acne’d availability of
help for those in need of mental healthcare in this country, or the fact that
any shit-sifting lunatic can purchase a 32 round clip for a handgun at a
Walmart next to a teenage mother buying Huggies. Now, for some the silence on
these issues is staggering and terrifying. But they are pussies. This is the
way WE like it. Avoid and ignore.
We aren’t talking about the moral fraud being
perpetrated on this nation by the Tea Party or the lying leather skinned
cackling Governor of Arizona, Jan Brewer, who cut (just days after the mass
shooting) state funding for mental health facilities. (Insert obligatory face
No, we are talking about Sarah Palin and how her
words, opinions, attacks, incitements, and lies have absolutely no influence on
anyone and how people who think she’s an irresponsible dipshit are being mean
to her which somehow has an impact on her (but it shouldn’t because words
don’t, ah forget it).
It’s nice to see Palin and the rest of the Conservatard
Bullshit Machine finally surrender their position on personal responsibility
and agree that women should be allowed to go topless in public (whoo hooo), to
stop blaming rape victims because they were “asking for it” because, as Mascara
Sarah points out, we are islands of experience and not influenced by anyone or
anything except our own minds.
We are solipsists and nothing anyone can say will
ever change that. Obviously.
Lastly, allow me to be clear because I know some of
you have difficulty discerning this sometimes, but should you have perceived
anything in this article other than venom, outrage, and sarcasm then you have
missed the point entirely. Palin and her bloody group of agitators are a
national disgrace and should be shamed into exile. But they won’t be. There’s
too much media dollars to be made from reality TV and opinion politics to
indict their cash cow. And I do mean cow. But I would like to remind the public
and the pundits that there were 19 victims on that terrible day in January. Not
20. Sarah Palin was not one of them so she and the rest of the rightwing
propaganda squad can justly and patriotically SHUT-THE-FUCK-UP! We’ve had quite
enough of your pathetic pity parties to fill a lifetime.