Armchair Sociology

Cultural appropriation, Igloo Australia, Latinos, some other stuff

ahhh, going back to a topic I’ve been over dozens of times already.  I got started thinking about it after listening to this interview:

A short background- Azealia Banks is currently beefing with Iggy Azalea.  I haven’t followed all the reasons why, but I gather it has something to do with Azealia taking issue with Iggy having a similar name, having success in rap despite having dubious ability and Iggy’s history of racist statements.  And Iggy appears to be just goading Azealia and accusing her of being a whiner about not having Iggy’s level of success:

“Special msg for banks: There are many black artists succeeding in all genres. The reason you haven’t is because of your piss poor attitude. Your inability to be responsible for your own mistakes, bullying others, the inability to be humble or self control. It’s YOU! You created your own unfortunate situation by being a bigot and don’t have the mental capacity to realize yet. Probably never will. Now! rant, Make it racial! make it political! Make it whatever but I guarantee it won’t make you likable & THATS why ur crying on the radio.”

Make rap racial?  Make it political?  Uh, Hip-hop has always been both.  You couldn’t take those two out of hip-hop anymore than you could take rural identity out of Country or class politics out of punk rock.  That’s pretty stupid on Iggy’s part.

But anyway, the interview with Azealia is fascinating, and it’s kind of put some of the things I believe in perspective.  I’m a bit older and maybe I’m too detached to be thinking about this constructively- no one is trying to take anything from me culturally. I’ve been back and forth on the concept of cultural appropriation before, but in the end, I kind of think that if you’re upsetting a lot of people, then maybe you shouldn’t do it.  Or just be careful, because not every white rapper gets the same treatment that Iggy Azalea and Macklemore get.  But I’m about to embark on a tangent.

Latinos and Cultural Appropriation

So far I’ve mostly been thinking about cultural appropriation in regards to black culture, and I think that’s useful, because black people in America get a different experience than any other group.  Yes, people can be racist and mean to other minorities, but there’s a special level of hatred that is directed at black people.  But I don’t want to start an oppression ranking system here, so let’s move on.

I had a question that I may be able to answer, or maybe not, let’s see what you think.

Why is Latino music so appropriation proof?

I mean, sure, people do it every now and then:

But listening to Mr Cash, I hear someone who’s probably heard some Mexican music and wants to pay tribute.  What I can’t imagine is some white dude even taking over Latino music as its heard on pop radio and especially not becoming the guy you always hear on Spanish radio.  Maybe it’s happened already and I’m too lazy to find out, but I doubt it.

One reason I suspect is that Latino music has its origins in other countries.  Hip-Hop is American music.  I suspect that makes some people angry- both because they don’t like Americans making music that calls into question a lot of what Americans believe, and because the makers of said music are explicitly reserving it for a certain type of people, based on color*.  People like to insist that all opportunities be available to everyone, even if they’re willing to ignore that some opportunities are not actually available to everyone.

But Sambas or Corridos or whatever do not belong to Americans, and so we can borrow them, but no one is going to claim a right to play them.

There’s also the obstacle of learning another language, which is going to deter an awful lot of American musicians.

I wrote this post like a week ago.  I’m not sure it’s all that great, but I was starting to get that feeling like I have to post something or I’ll just quit entirely.  I have some other stuff coming.


*Again, I don’t really have a problem with this.  Black people have had to deal with so much bullshit in this country that we can allow them to have a few things to themselves.  It’s literally the least we can do.




Trial in the court of public opinion

A rare two post day!  Look at me!

One thing I find hilarious is how people will try to apply legal principles to everyday life, usually in the defense of something stupid.  Like when people say “I’m just exercising my First Amendment Right!” when they really mean “stop laughing at what I said!”.

I bring this up because I made a joke about Bill Cosby today on Facebook, basically about how I think it’s terrible that he raped women but that I enjoy the fact that it’s evidence for my theory that self-righteous people probably have something awful they’re trying to hide.

And without fail someone came along and said “He’s innocent until proven guilty!”

Yes.  In the legal sense, he can’t be sentenced to jail time until someone proves he raped them, and probably nobody ever will because the things he did took place long enough ago that the statute of limitations has run out.

And sure, I suppose I could be sued for libel for not appending my joke with allegedly.  If Mr Cosby or someone from his team wants to sue me for that, well fine.  This is all a joke!  You can’t sue me for joking!

At any rate, the point is, that I’m not going to send him to jail, so I don’t have to prove him guilty in my own mind in order for me to think he’s guilty.  That’s for me to decide because the legal system doesn’t reach the inner recesses of my skull.  Yet.

The other thing people bring up is- well his reputation might be ruined.  Yeah, apparently it is.  And a good part of his earning potential, but the man is 70 something and I’m sure he’s not relying on Social Security to pay the bills.

But the broader point is that people in the public eye are faced with an unfair burden- the public can turn on them at any moment if someone makes spurious charges.   I’m going to engage in a fairly glib line of questioning here, but here’s goes…

So what? 

Seriously, so what if the public turns against a famous person for reasons (possibly) beyond their control?

Let’s take this one step at a time.  First of all, the so what?

Actually, I don’t have that much to say about it because I don’t care.  If Bill Cosby loses his place as America’s Loveable Grouchy Old Man I couldn’t give two shits.  Don’t care any more about that than I care about the weather on Mercury.  I don’t care and you can’t make me care.  So there.

Second, really, so what?  Shit, people turn on famous people all the time for no good reason.  Do you think it’s fair?  Life’s not fucking fair.  It’s not like there’s always some great reason why the public started admiring someone in the first place.  Half of the celebrities in the world you can look at and think- what on earth are they famous for anyway?  If they disappeared tomorrow would you cry?  Would you hold a candlelight vigil?  No, you wouldn’t.  You’d move on with your life, only pausing to think – I wonder what happened to that guy like every ten years.

Finally, and most importantly- I am being serious here- we do not want to set the bar too high for people losing their reputation.  Because it’s fucking high enough.  Just think about all the terrible things that famous people have gotten away with.  Just the other day I was listening to this song:

and thinking- it’s insane that the Beatles could just casually mention wife-beating in a song, with no fear of any repercussions.  Now think about people like Jimmy Savile, a man who was able to molest hundreds of children, for decades and died before the truth was widely known because no one wanted to believe his accusers because people liked him.  Maybe most importantly, because he knew people wouldn’t believe his accusers, he was worse than he’d have otherwise been.  Or someone like Roman Polanski (whose movies I do enjoy, so yeah, I’m a hypocrite) who is a convicted child (as in, convicted in a court of law, i.e. proven guilty) rapist but still works.

The thing is, famous people have lots power to convince people they’re something that they’re not.  And that makes them dangerous.  I mean, not all famous people are dangerous, obviously, but celebrities can get away with terrible things if they set their mind to it.  And when they have wealthy, powerful people protecting them, often the only leverage the public has is to say “we won’t be your fans anymore.”  I’m kind of an amoral person myself and I believe in having whatever power I can accrue, and I’m not giving this one up.

So yeah, tough luck Bill Cosby.  Court of public opinion made you what you are and now they’re taking it away.  Oh well.

The weirdest trolls on the internet

are the scientific racists.  These people are fucking weird creepers.

I’m not going to link to anything they’ve written because frankly I’d rather not be on their radar.

My first encounter with one of them was on a random news site, on a subject that was only tangentially related to race.  I can’t remember what the comment was, but for whatever reason this guy responded to me with links to Nicholas Wade’s recent book.  Look Nicholas up if you want to, but it’s waste of time if you ask me.  This commenter linked to an article published by TIME magazine.  Yes, the TIME magazine you see in airport bookstores.  Mr Wade’s article was a lot of stuff about science that frankly I don’t understand.  But what stuck out to me was a passage about how English (i.e. from England) are smarter because during a time of peace between 1200 and 1800, noble people had lots of children.  Nobles had, according to Wade, better smarts and that’s how they held onto their money.

Again, I’m not a scientist, nor a trained historian (or am I?  I majored in Classical Studies… does that count?).  At any rate, I pointed out to scientific racist troll that err, I don’t think 1200 to 1800 was a very peaceful time in English history (if there was one, before, say, 1945) and that at any rate that’s a pretty arbitrary time period to choose from (why not 100 BC to 900 AD?  Why not 2003 to 2005? *snickers*) and finally that hereditary nobles tend to hold onto their wealth because they make the rules, not because they’re particularly bright.  This troll didn’t like this an accused me of ignoring all the emerging science and being like people who refused to believe the Earth revolved around the sun.  The conversation ended about there.

Being as I’m a naturally curious person and enjoy peeking into the minds of loony people I started reading up on Nicholas Wade and his book.  It’s a book you can find prominently sitting on the shelf at your local Barnes & Noble (I checked- there are multiple copies and it was cover forward on the shelf), there are reviews all over the place.  And the same loony commenters were commenting on the articles in droves.  So much that at least one reviewer commented on the recent surge in traffic and comments.  The same people were mobbing review pages to accuse the author of various mistakes, heresies, and basically to defend Mr Wade.

I bring this up because I ran into one today*.  I don’t know if I’ve run into this person before because they all seem to have the same hectoring style.  I was just making a point about how it’s not a bad thing for people who want to discuss hot-button issues related to race, in this case Affirmative Action to establish that they aren’t racist.  And in my opinion, all that entails is a willingness to listen to people with opposing views and to lay some groundwork on how they came to their opinion to establish that they’re not racist.  In practice it can be messy, but I don’t think there’s anything controversial about what I said.  Regardless, this guy kept steering me towards a discussion about Affirmative Action, which frankly I didn’t want to have.  For the record, I support Affirmative Action in the broad sense, but it’s not a program I’m totally wedded to either.

At any rate, I didn’t think I was saying anything controversial- if you want someone to listen to, you should assure them you’re not someone they would rather not listen to.  But this person kept trying to present “evidence” to me about how Affirmative Action was a waste of time because non-white people are naturally not that bright.  I cut him off at that point.

There’s no particular reason why I bring this up except that I’ve run into a few of these people and all of them have been really weird.  I grew up in a place where casual racism was just part of the landscape so I’m pretty much resigned myself to the fact that some people are just like that.  But it seems like some people maybe grew up in the city, and have to go to extraordinary lengths to justify their racism, maybe to distinguish themselves from rural people I don’t know.  Several of these people have written four and five paragraph comments on various points of how we can determine intelligence based on a variety of factors, usually something to do with the geographic area they came from.  Besides the obvious fact that racism is fucking dumb, I have a few questions that never seem to get answered:

  • Just for kicks, let’s accept that natural selection favors people with certain physical characteristics in certain geographical areas.  Say, hairy people in cold areas.  Where in the world would dumb people have an advantage?  Where would intelligent people be at a disadvantage?
  • I’ve heard the argument that “well, people evolve so far, but their natural surroundings make it so they don’t have to evolve any further”.  OK, let’s accept that too.  Humans are not natural.  Duh.  They don’t act on instinct, they think about stuff.  If tribe A is made of stupid people and the tribe B is made of really smart people, and those tribes go to war… which tribe would you put your money on?  If there is intra-tribal conflict, who do you put your money on?
  • “But, but, continent A has special challenges that others don’t have.”  Really?  Then the smartest people on earth should be from Australia, a continent that is famously hostile to human life.  I have yet to hear a scientific racist make this suggestion.

But let’s be real.  If, as scientific racists’ claim that Asian people, followed by white people are the smartest, really we should recognize that Mexicans are the smartest people on earth**.  WAIT!  HEAR ME OUT!  Mexicans are a mix of Native American (people originally from Asia) and Spanish (white people with funny mustaches).  Their combined intelligences make Mexicans the smartest!  So there!


*I actually started this post a few days ago.  So not actually today

**Full disclosure- I am half Mexican.  Ahem.

Damn it feels good to be a gangster

Just a warning- this is a post about some questions I have.  I don’t think there will be any answers, mostly just thinking aloud.

I was thinking about this scene from Office Space today

Because I was listing to Waka Flocka Flame at my desk.  With my headphones on.

I like this song.  It’s got a palpable sense of anger and dread hanging over it.  It’s not something I listen to every day, but for whatever reason I was in the mood for it.

But I was listening to it with headphones on.  Frankly, I might feel a bit like Michael Bolton from Office Space if someone heard me listening to it.  Why though?  I mean, it’s just music, right?

I think there are two jokes in that scene- one is the ridiculousness of a nerdy white dude rapping and the other is when he sees a black man selling flowers he not only rolls up his windows, but he locks his door.  The implication is obvious – if he had just rolled up his window we could assume he just didn’t want to be hassled.  But locking the door means he’s actually afraid of that man.  He’s rapping to scary black music, but he’s afraid of black people!

I found this scene funny when I saw it, but there’s something deeper to it that I’m trying to pick apart.  I mean, why can’t this dude sing along to some rap music?  I have a cousin who refers to herself as a “country chick” but she’s spent her whole life in Orange County, living within a five minute drive of the Pacific Ocean.  It wasn’t until about a minute ago when I was trying to think of an example of someone I know whose musical taste is way outside of their life that it even occurred to me that there’s anything unusual about that.  Actually, I don’t think it’s that weird.  Country music is as much suburban people music as it is music for rural people.  If she were claiming she could drive a tractor that would be weird.

The other thing is that the guy who made the movie is a white man- Mike Judge in a movie directed at a white audience.  We’re all supposed to look at this and laugh.  Because we’d all know that a white man listening to rap is weird.

I’m going to skip discussion of whether singing along to rap music by white people is OK, if a certain word is used.  My opinion on that subject isn’t really all that interesting.

I was young in the 90s so I was around for the big freakout about “gangster rap”.  But in the end, part of the appeal of gangster rap for white people is that they’re living vicariously by listening to it.  It’s exciting to identify, if only in the most abstract sense, with someone bravely looking at a world of constant danger and fighting against it.  Even conquering it.  I’m not saying there’s nothing ethically questionable there- for some of these rappers this is their real life, and sometimes that music has real life consequences for people.

But I always thought it was odd that right around the time people were freaking out about gangster rap, one of the most critically acclaimed and popular movies was this:



But seriously, what’s the difference?  I’m no more Italian than I am black.  Just like I’d probably have no luck moving to the ghetto and joining a gang, I’d never make it as a mobster.  But for some reason, listening to music is taken as an endorsement of something, but watching a movie is not.  If someone walked into the room and I was rocking out to Waka Flocka Flame, I might turn it down and be a little bit embarrassed.  But I wouldn’t hastily try to change the channel if I were watching The Godfather.

Book Review- Blueprint for Disaster

So I finally got my hands on the computer again!

A couple things:

This article on Washington Post was amazing.  Amazing because of how awful the situation it describes is.  This is local government preying on poor people, Sheriff of Nottingham style.  If you have time for a long read and a need to ruin your day, I highly suggest it.

How municipalities in St. Louis County, Mo., profit from poverty

There was just so much about it that is insane, from prosecutors that act as judges in adjacent cities, to police issuing tickets for the lamest of infractions, to cities agreeing to share halves of roads so that the bounty of ticket-writing can be split up equitably.  It’s just insane.

But back to what I was going to talk about.  I’ve been researching urban issues for a while now, and a big part of what I’m interested in is housing.  I’m not an ideologue, I came to the issue with an open mind, and having learned quite a bit on it in recent years, I’m not sure that I have any more definite opinions.  But I’m keeping at it.

The book is:

Blueprint for Disaster: The Unraveling of Chicago Public Housing

By D. Bradford Hunt

Shorter- the book blew my mind

The longer:

Having read a bit about public housing lately, I’m largely on the fence about whether or not it’s a good idea.  There are many, many horror stories about “the projects”, but most of them seem to come from a handful of cases, the most notorious, and most horrific, come from the ugly cement monoliths erected by the Chicago Housing Authority.  In fact, another book I read recently, Edward Geotz New Deal Ruins put it this way- “The fact is that public housing came to ruin in Chicago.”  Chicago’s fuck-ups were so catastrophic and so high profile, that they basically soured the nation on the idea at all.

What went wrong?  I’ll spoil it for you.  According to Hunt, everything.  There’s no one culprit here, but the obvious ones make appearances- bureaucratic incompetence, political corruption, union corruption,  racism, ivory-tower social reformers, out-of-their depth administrators, real estate developers, Democrats, Republicans, flagrant spenders, excessive budget cutters, kids running amok, teenagers in gangs… it’s all here.  Even some things I wouldn’t have thought of.

I’m not going to rehash the whole book because you’ll read it if this interests you or not.  But there were a handful of things that really stuck out in my mind.

1) Too many kids.

The author brings up a point I haven’t seen anywhere else, but strikes as pretty important, even if I can’t prove that it’s right or wrong.  The big apartment buildings had way too many kids in them.  The designers wanted to make safe buildings for families, so the majority of the apartments were three to five bedrooms.  If you’ve ever spent time living in apartments this is highly unusual.  Few complexes have more than a handful of three bedrooms and I’ve never seen a private complex where that’s the majority.  Basically, children, and later, teenagers overran these buildings.  Adults were outnumbered and there were simply too many to keep an eye on.  Kids vandalized the buildings, played around in the elevators (sometimes with tragic results) and basically tore the places apart.  And then the gangs started recruiting them as they got older.

2) High rise buildings were a cost-cutting measure.

Apparently it’s cheaper to build vertically then it is to build horizontally (I suspect I knew that, but I can’t remember… huh).  And it didn’t end there.  Some of the cost-cutting involved things like not putting doors on closets and having elevators that didn’t stop at every floor.

3)  Cost-cutting measures came about because HUD set out to prove that government could build housing for less than private builders.

This to me was the most insane thing I read in the whole book, because it makes no sense at all.  Public housing was proposed partly as a means to make housing available for people who were locked out of the private market.   The private market is driven by profit motive- developers build trying to minimize costs, because they can only push so much of their cost onto consumers before consumers refuse to rent/buy.  So it makes sense to try to replicate that.  But that’s only half the issue.  Renting an apartment from a private developer mean not only are you paying for the cost of the building, you’re paying for them to make a profit.  But it’s easy to save renters money by not making a profit, which the government was trying to do.  Saving them money by building for cheaper than the private market (which is already trying to build at the lowest possible price) is hard.

How did HUD expect this to happen?  Realistically, short of doing something totally insane like saying “we got wood for this building for free because we’re the government and we can log National Parks when we feel like it” there’s not really any way of doing this.  Government mostly buys materials and labor on the open market like everyone else.  Labor it usually has to pay more for.

That part of the book drove me nuts.

At any rate, those were some of the big insights I got out of this book.   The author doesn’t appear to believe that public housing can work.  I’m not sure I agree, but I’m not sure I disagree either.  But it’s good reading for anyone who wants to know what not to do.  Or who just wants to gawk at dozens, maybe hundreds, or even thousands, of people behaving badly, stupidly and carelessly with terrible consequences for the poor and vulnerable.

White Flight

So this isn’t really a political blog but I’m not going to pretend I haven’t been watching what’s going on in Ferguson.  And as usual, I get into arguments in comment sections about various facts of the case.  It’s pretty stupid actually, but sometimes I get bored.  Oh well, we all have hobbies we’re not proud of.  I’m not going to drag those arguments over to my own blog, but I did want to talk about one subject I keep seeing mentioned, in a mostly incorrect way, because it’s interesting to me- white flight.

My mom tells a story of moving into a part of Los Angeles that was predominately white.  My grandfather was an engineer and could afford an upper-middle class life.  He bought a house and they moved in.  I forget what part of LA it was.  I also don’t know if they were the first Mexicans in their neighborhood.  But whites saw Mexicans and Cubans moving in and quickly moved out of that neighborhood.

Well, apparently some black Angelenos got word that it was a safe neighborhood to move into (because moving into all white neighborhoods back then was a dangerous proposition).  So they started moving in.  AND THEN THE LATINOS STARTED MOVING OUT.  They were like “oh no, black people moving in.”

It’s a story about how silly people are, and how even people who are victims of bigotry can turn around and victimize others.  According to my mom, my grandmother didn’t care, and they stayed, at least for a while.

My mom also went to a school that the LA district bused black kids into.  According to my mom, the district wanted to make a good impression, so they bused in only the best students- star scholars and athletes.

I bring this up because it illustrates something that people trying to defend white flight as not racist but instead as a pragmatic decision tend to ignore.  The people moving into a white neighborhood are literally the most capable people moving out of ghetto neighborhoods.  If a white neighborhood can’t accept those people, it cannot accept anyone of color, because at the beginning of white flight, black and brown people were almost universally confined to areas of the city that were ghettos.  There was no where else they would have been coming from, except maybe from out of state.

I recently read Isabel Wilkerson’s The Warmth of Other Suns.  If you haven’t read it, I suggest you do.  It’s a beautiful but tremendously sad book.  But one of the points it makes is that the people emigrating from the south were the most capable, the most educated and some of the hardest working.  How would it be otherwise?  Getting up and moving cross country to get a job isn’t easy, especially if you’re poor.  And there were few opportunities for them to make something of themselves in the South at that time.  The north was getting the best of the best.

And the same applies to people moving into white neighborhoods.  They saved up the money to buy that house, clearly they’re responsible people.

The other thing I see is people claiming that white people were moving out of the ghetto.  This is nonsense.  White people had their own ghettos in the 50s and 60s, and black people weren’t trying to move into them.  Why would they be?  That makes no sense.

The shocking thing to me about white flight was how fast it would happen sometimes.  Real estate agents had a method they’d call blockbusting.  First the agent would convince a seller on a block to sell to a black family, usually in secret so other neighbors wouldn’t have a chance to weigh in.  Then when the neighbors find out and sell off their houses en masse, the agent would buy up the devalued properties at a huge discount, then sell them back to black families, who had few other options for housing, at a huge markup.  It was quite a racket they had going.

White people mostly weren’t escaping bad neighborhoods.  They were escaping good neighborhoods that they didn’t want to share with blacks.  Only those few who didn’t have the means to move out in the initial rush could properly be said to be fleeing ghettos. The majority moved out long before cities hit bottom in the 70s and 80s.

Of course, collapse in property values helps no one, especially the city and schools that rely on them for tax revenues.  I’m not super knowledgeable about this, so I’m going to leave it right here.

Iiiiiii waannnaa beeeeeeee anarcheeeeee

I don’t really, I just happened to be watching this video and I saw the Circle A on Machine Gun Kelly’s stomach

And it made me think of the Sex Pistols


I don’t know if it was the first, but Anarchy in the UK was probably the best known mention of anarchy in a song and the subject was quickly picked up by other bands.  The Sex Pistols’ vision was of anarchy being a license to behave whoever the fuck they wanted.  Basically, it was a call for chaos.  It was obviously meant to be provocative, as almost everything they did was.  But the Circle A caught on and started showing up all over punk rock and heavy metal records and t-shirts, even on Dave Mustaine’s guitar.  Anywhere that angry young dudes congregated, the symbol was there.  Even now it’s in the name of a prominent television show.

What’s funny is that there were some bands that took the idea of anarchism – left wing Libertarianism- seriously.  I don’t, but I guess any idea will find some takers.  Crass may or may not have been the first anarchist band, but according to Wikipedia (…) they were the first to include the symbol in their imagery.

(this song actually dovetails nicely with my previous post- their anti-revolution song.  As a song though it’s really long and kind of boring, I’ll give you the shorter- don’t fight revolutions, peace is better)

I have no idea if it’s true if they were the first band to use the anarchy symbol.  But they were hugely influential for the peace punx or the crusty punx, or whatever those guys go by now.  They were deeply committed to their vision, living in a commune, playing deliberately abrasive music and dressing closer to Chinese Communist party members than punks.  I still find their bleak visual imagery really interesting, but I don’t listen them much anymore.  Except maybe this song- the most fuck you of fuck you songs I know of:

They ask me why I’m hateful, why I’m bad.
They tell me I got things they never had.
They tell me go to church and see the light.
Cos the good lord’s always right.

So what, so what?
So what if Jesus died on the cross.
So what about the fucker? I don’t give a toss.

It goes on from there.  Sex Pistols never managed to be that inflammatory.

The other notable anarchist band was also responsible for one of the most annoying songs of the 90s.  Can you guess who they were?

That’s right!  Chumbawamba!  I remember this song being in ads for Home Alone 2, along with just about everywhere else for a full year.  It was Who Let the Dogs Out level ubiquitous.  And people think they were a one-hit wonder, and maybe that’s true because they never had another true hit, but it was also maybe the longest of long cons ever pulled off in music.

Chumbawamba came out of the same peace punx scene that grew up around Crass in the early 80s.  They allegedly were a punk band when they started, but quickly abandoned the style.  Their first album, a concept record deriding celebrity charity records called Pictures of Starving Children Sell Records, only occasionally hints at their punk roots:

They went on to cultivate more and more of a pop sound.  My favorite song by them is this one-

It’s actually pretty much a template for Tumbthumping.  I just like the chorus-

have a good time all the time, cause you won’t get nothing when you die

Punx, of course, quickly distanced themselves from Chumbawamba for going off the reservation but at the time when they hit their biggest I remember reading an interview with them that I thought was pretty interesting.  They were taking a lot of crap for “selling out” but they responded with- every time we get paid for one of these ads, we donate the money to anarchist groups.  So every time Nike or the NFL played that song, some European anarchist collective was getting a check.  That’s maybe the cleverest thing any anarchists did, ever.

And according to them, at the same time their leftist fans were calling them sellouts, their working class friends were happy for them that they were finally making money.  That struck me as something important and made me rethink my opinion of a lot of acts.

At any rate, to recap, I’m not an anarchist, at all, in fact I find their ideas mostly naive and implausible.  But it’s interesting how a simple idea went in two wildly different directions.