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Friday, May 27, 2016

Inside the May podcast.

Jesus, that was slow. You know what we need? One of those vacuum tube systems with a branch that runs straight up to the freaking internet. You just stuff the podcast into a plastic capsule, cram that sucker in the tube, and up it goes to the "cloud". Then when it rains, everybody gets your podcast. Modern technology - what a freaking miracle.

Now that the long-awaited May episode of our podcast THIS IS BIG GREEN has finally been posted, this seems like a good time to offer a quick rundown of its questionable contents:

Ned Trek 28 - Disheveled in the Dark. This longish, musical episode of our Star Trek parody is based on the classic Star Trek episode entitled "Devil in the Dark", a standard morality play (of course - it was the 1960s) about a mining planet being terrorized by a mysterious cave dwelling creature. Look it up ... got it? Okay. The creature, called the "Horta", is represented in our version as the "Hairta", literally the animated hair of Donald Trump, rampaging its way through Republican candidates on a hyper-polluted, free market, toxic waste dump and fracking planet run by Mitch McConnell and Reince Priebus. There's a lot of running, coughing, and (of course) a performance of the palamino mind meld.

There are also eight new Big Green songs, which include:

Say Can You Fear (timecode: 16:14). A Nixon song. Basically another plea from the Nixon android for consulting work and a path back to respectability. Dude's got issues.

Romney and You Know It (timecode: 22:04). Captain Willard Romney muses on the now dim possibility of a brokered GOP convention. Arrangement offers a minor nod to the late great George Martin. (You can also hear the song on Soundcloud.)

Down in the Polls (timecode: 39:12). Mr. Welsh wields his folk guitar into action and renders an Irish-tinged ballad of the killer Hairta. References to some of your favorite GOP contenders in 2016.

post-itHerr Mr. Hair (timecode: 49:14). Perle's song. Predictably, he's trying to curry favor with the Hairta. Always another ego to be stroked (or combed in this case).

You Made That Bed (timecode: 1:05:25). Sulu, the moral center of the Ned Trek universe (aside from Ned himself), characterizes the episode as one of chickens seriously coming home to roost. Cowbell played by Marvin (my personal robot assistant).

Demigod (timecode: 1:15:16). Ned's song. A moody Melvin slow rocker about the phenomenon of Trump and Trumpism. Listen closely for ironic callback to the Youngbloods' "Everybody Get Together".

Hey GOP (timecode: 1:21:49). Shuffle swing number about the predicament of the Republican party, faced with the rampaging Hairta.

Cry for the Children (timecode: 1:26:36). Another over-the-top Doc Coburn number, filled with religious imagery and agonized wailing.

Put the Phone Down. Matt and I talk about how freaking exhausted we are having just completed eight songs for a freaking podcast. We also discuss the Utica Peregrine Falcon project, as well as some archival audio and video from Big Green's live performance period back in the early 1990s.

Memory's minefield.

It's always interesting when American Presidents in particular visit nations we have destroyed in past wars. This past week President Obama traveled to Hiroshima to deliver the resounding message that we are not sorry ... repeat, not sorry ... for using the most destructive weapons in the history of mankind on this unfortunate community. He also delivered some claptrap about reducing the number of nuclear weapons, even as his administration moves forward with an ambitious plan to engineer a highly destabilizing new generation of nuclear weapons.

U.S. to mankind: still not sorry.Empire means more than never having to say you're sorry. It mostly means never even contemplating the concept of "sorry" - an imperial value not lost on the likes of NPR, whose Morning Edition host Renee Montagne reliably informed us that "in America - the view of the bombing - though everyone recognizes this as horrific - the view of the bombing is it was done because it had to be done." So that's what "the view" is, eh? Thanks, Renee. Up to your usual journalistic standards.

Obama's previous stop was in Vietnam. No apologies there, either. Though the central thrust of his mission was to announce the lifting of an arms embargo on Vietnam that has been in place since the American war began, tightened under Reagan. Obama referred to this as a vestige of the Cold War, though the Cold War was not so cold in Vietnam, it bears reminding. Interestingly, the President's aims in Vietnam are not dissimilar from the aims of the American war itself. One of the core objectives of U.S. policy in its Indochina wars was that of keeping the region from accommodating to China so that they would instead provide materials, markets, and cheap labor to Japan - an American version of the "co-prosperity sphere" imperial Japan aggressively sought to establish in the 1930s and '40s.

Today, the goal is ... well ... to have Vietnam integrated into the American-led global economic order, via the TPP and other instruments, thereby containing what our government perceives as China's expansionism. It is, in some respects, an effort to reclaim the maximal objective of the Vietnam war, which proved beyond our reach. (I tend to agree with Chomsky, however, that the U.S. did, in fact, essentially prevail in the Vietnam war by destroying three countries and ensuring that Indochina's crippled post-war independence would serve as a model for no one.)

The coverage of this trip has been pretty abysmal. No surprise there. Once the mainstream media has worked out what "the view" is on a given topic, there's no point in wasting any energy on actual reporting.

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jp