Are you ready for WWIII?  It’s been 30 years since singer Pete Steele asked that question but the underground that birthed bands like Carnivore is a relic now.  Sure, there are still hardcore punk shows, such as the maskless, COVID regulation-flouting event held last April in Tompkins Square Park.

Cro-Mags singer John Joseph’s comparison of the Tompkins Square show to Black Lives Matter protests happening around the same time was horrible, but the “plannedemic” hokum passing for truth and wisdom from other scene veterans is worse.  What passes for punk idles in a chasm of both-sideism and form-over-function in the post-Trump age.

“Punk’s not dead, it just sucks now.”—Graffiti in the men’s room, 930 Club, Washington, DC. Image of John Joseph of the Cro-Mags, courtesy of Wikipedia

A better question than “Are you ready…” would be “Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?”  It was of course posed by punk’s godfather Johnny Rotten, but he too is good as gone ain’t he—smoking a cigarette by the window in a red, Make America Great Again shirt.

Rotten’s question is a poignant one, but if you’re like me the answer won’t matter now, as you’re inured.  Punch drunk and oversaturated.  Another victim of Spectator Culture with your own stance and philosophy that in the end won’t make a difference or a damn.

SB1 passed in Texas last fall and I’m out in the cold without access to the cloud, paying for internet access, and driving to work with bad tags and a faulty catalytic converter.  My bursitis is flaring but I’ll stay insured as long as I stay below the Federal Poverty Level.

WWIII just seems like some shit happening in the world that I can watch as long as I pay my internet provider, and keep feeds of the dirty deeds of the 21st century rolling beneath a Rolling Stone article on Marisa Tomei doing nude scenes at 43.  The real punk rocker is Marina Ovsiannikova and she’s real gone ain’t she?  Deaded and never to be seen again, or only as much as we see Julian Assange, Andrew Snowden or god forbid WNBA star Brittney Griner.

I tried to vote in the Texas primaries in March but the polls were closed. 7AM – 7PM seems arbitrary (the only polls in the country open til 9 are Iowa, New York, and South Dakota) but my options to vote by mail are limited in Texas.  I can only hope my documentation is in order for the midterms as SB1 has made a further mess of voting here.  The maintenance on my car will have to wait as I keep my fingers crossed I don’t suffer another flare of ulcerative colitis.

Don’t let the colors fool you. Redistricting in Texas is gerrymandering for white power. (Texas Tribune)

I’m stuck as a freelancer, in the Land of the Free, living month to month and watching the world crumble.  I’m struggling to keep the internet on, as choppers fly overhead where I write this in Texas—where anything Left of being straight, white, and male could be illegal.

Even with an internet connection, I’m waiting for hours on a download without the cloud.  My Apple account is suspended and I can’t listen to music I own.  It was suspended for neglecting payment for an app called Marco Polo and a trial I signed up for while dating a Libertarian gun nut from east Texas.

The difference her or my philosophy makes is about the same, though I suppose she’s as happy as a punk rocker for doing it her way.  I don’t have the same philosophy as the right or what passes for the left either but that’s not the point.  Working-class punk rockers aren’t just sharing a shrug with Libertarians and cop sympathizers—when history washes it all out there’ll be no difference between “us” and “them.”

“The fuck, Apple? I own this album.” (Jim Trainer)

Me either, or anyone sitting idly by with a window view of the internet from the belly of the beast.  Punk rock won’t save us and neither will the right to bear arms.  But also lefty me—I can’t help feeling like I’m neglecting my duty as a human being, strapped in Babylon and getting this missive off for a check that’ll help me make it to the end of the month.

This is the end beautiful friend and by the end I mean the 31st and the next time I find myself in a failing democracy without health insurance, no guarantee I’m safe or protected, and having to pen another missive to keep the internet on.