Archive for June 2009
It’s the hot new topic of the day, I guess, and it’s a hell of a thing to see. I was born about eight years too late for the Iranian Revolution, but its cast a long shadow over the past thirty years. It was the first sign of how bad things would get in the Middle East. Back when Bin Laden was a rich little shit pissing about in Afghanistan, the Ayatollah was busy igniting the first great sparks of anti-American, anti-western sentiment.
What most people forget, and what very few people in my generation would ever guess, is that Iran and American used to have an excellent relationship. Back in the bad old days, when men were men and the Shah used his own people for squealing dartboards, the US and Iran were fast friends, the Shah’s new universities were based on American institutions, and the Shah was kind enough to endow chairs in petroleum at the University of Southern California.
It was the hostage crisis that sent everything south…but we could go on like this all day. The important fact is that there was a Shah, he fucked over his people, a revolution that kicked him out, and then a religious regime that set about fucking over the people again in new and interesting ways.
This latest little dust up over the election isn’t a disease, merely a symptom. The disease is the same thing it’s been in Iran since the 1950’s, indeed, the same disease that struck much of the Middle East in the early years of the twentieth century. A society suddenly catapulted from a traditional society to a modern power, flush with oil and freedom, must expect a few growing pains. Western Scum had a long slow process, the slow awakenings of freedom as the feudal system collapsed, Luther and Calvin showing the world that Mother Church was not the only power, and the slow building pressure of millions with a yearn they could not name, until the flames of revolution started in a dozen places; the Colonies, France, South America. But in the west, revolutions, no matter how bloody, were the end of a long slow building process.
In Iran, quite the opposite happened. The rule of Shah, the sudden bloody collapse into theocracy, and this new explosion of democratic fervor is a process that took place over fifty or sixty years. There is also, in the Islamic tradition, no great democratic precedent. While the West looks to Athens and Rome as our great predecessors, the glorious ancient societies that lit the torches we still carry, ancient Islamic society was based in conquest and theocracy.
The (relatively) swift nature of the change, the lack of any historical precedent to examine and copy, and the deeply religious nature of Iranian society all conspired to keep the Iranian Scum down. Like a magician with a tablecloth, the regimes were switched so quickly and neatly that no one had time to inquire into alternatives.
The question of Iranian religion is a separate post, one that I want to address later. Indeed, the entire fucked up, abusive relationship between Scum and religion is a fascinating topic, but is out of place here.
For the moment, the one thing about religion in this new Iranian dust up that I DO want to point out, is that while there has been a great deal of rage directed at Amawhatshisfuckingname, there has been no signs of protest against the Ayatollah himself. It almost seems that the people simply decided not to antagonize both the president and the Ayatollah, and if these protests were more centralized, that hypothesis would make sense. But these protests are more spontaneous. Instead, they are simply thousands upon thousands of angry people expressing their rage at their government’s rampant fuckery. Certainly if the Basij or Revolutionary Guard had found any protesters attacking the Shah, it would be posted everywhere, holding them up as examples of the horrible traitors trying to overthrow the holy will of God or something.
More to the point, I currently have twitterfall open, a lovely little website that scrolls twitter posts on any subject you search. In this case #iranelection. I’ve read hundreds over the past few days, and there are hundreds more queued up, the queue growing far, far faster than I can read (at the moment, it is set on one post a second, with a queue of 400, with no signs of slowing.) And yes, there are posts attacking the religious leaders. But for the most part, the posts out of Tehran are simple information, people exposing government plants (not a tricky job, oppressive regimes aren’t known for subtlety) exchanging software to evade government blocks, talking about what they’ve seen, attacking Amihatethejews…and with a few exceptions, not a word on mullahs, Ayatollahs, or religion at all. Change the wording and this could be the twitter feed for a GTO protest.
Still, it’s easy to discuss the obvious, the words of the Ayatollahs and presidents, and decide on the grand scale what this means. But that isn’t the point of this blog. It’s the Scum I’m interested in, and it’s the Scum who are protesting.
And as usual, if things continue the way they have been it’s the Scum who will be beaten, killed, attacked, and finally ignored. But for the moment, the question is, what is the Scum perspective on all this?
The Iranian Scum, as I pointed out already, are taking an interestingly irreligious approach. If they are not condemning the Ayatollah, neither are they imploring him for aid. Thus far, appeals to religious authority are based entirely upon that bodies secular authority…the ability the religious councils have to weigh in on the elections. The people are treating politics….like politics. A strange sort of thing to find in the Middle East certainly.
But like many things, it makes perfect sense taken in context. Iran has an extremely young population (26 years old is the median age) with all of the discontent and revolutionary fervor that comes with youth.
It seems that every other day there is an article reminding us that the Iranian youth seem to have rejected many of the values of their forefathers, choosing a more secular life that has been forced underground. And now we see that same effect here, in the pragmatic approach to political life that these demonstrations have forced upon the world.
Iranian Scum, more than most Scum, are very self-aware. They are downtrodden, but educated. Repressed under a religious government, they have become secularized in private, a slow boiling rebellion against the religious leaders who don’t seem to understand that their world has changed…or perhaps understand it too well.
And who are these Scumfuckers? Sadly, there is nothing new, nothing unique about the Iranian dictators. Indeed, they are almost tiresome; like watching a 80’s hits cover band, same shit, just not as well done and certainly not as clever. Indeed, if it wasn’t for the strange paranoia that many people in power seem to feel about Iran, it isn’t quite clear why they would get the amount of coverage that they do. Personally, I believe that terrible fear is rooted heavily in the Iranian revolution. They deposed the Shah, and since Scumfuckers the world over stick together, this must have been an unpleasant reminder that they too could be unceremoniously booted out of power.
What’s more, they took American’s hostage. It was a severe blow to our self-esteem as a nation. We had always been the biggest fish in the pond, fat and complacent. People might oppose us, certainly, even fight us. But no one had ever humiliated us before. It was a strange new sensation, and one we haven’t yet forgotten.
Iran right now is a clash, a clearly cut battle between Scumfuckers and Scum. The old regime is fighting for more than a president. Iranian presidents are kept on a tight leash. They are fighting something far more dangerous. They are fighting choice. And the Iranian’s are aware of this, on some level. In Iran, everyone who isn’t in power is Scum. Businessmen or housewife, everyone has to bow to the religious leaders. Until now, the Iranian government has somewhat successfully pulled the same trick Scumfuckers the world over use- convincing the Scum that there are layers of Scum, and playing on the same deeply rooted pack instinct to climb the social ladder that everyone else does.
This election is something new, and something infinitely dangerous. These people on the streets have discovered that they all care about one thing. They all have the same burning desire for justice, for the smallest modicum of human decency, of basic choice from their government. The desire, just once, to see the Scumfuckers listen. Everywhere else, the Scumfuckers are wise enough, or well trained enough, to keep that desire on a leash, to allow elections, and slow change where it doesn’t matter.
The Scumfuckers running Iran have overplayed their hand. They have taken away the last choice their people had, and flouted it in their faces. Now the housewife and the businessman standing side by side, shouting the same slogans, weeping from the same teargas, marching in the same place have discovered something dangerous, something that could sweep the old order before it like a matchstick in a flood.
They have discovered that they are the same. That whatever labels they use, they’re both Scum. And they don’t like it anymore. They don’t like being insulted, stifled or fucked with. And the Iranian government has pushed the Scum too far at last. They have two choices in front of them, and both could be disastrous. One, they let the people have their way. Give in to them, put Rezaee or Mousavi in charge. Give in to their people, the most dangerous thing a dictatorship can do. Let them realize that their protests can change things, and it’s over.
Or two, they stomp down. Crack down with every thug they have. And they’ll probably win, on the surface. For now, for a year, maybe five. Until all the resentment, all the bitterness, not just from their current opponents, but from every person who realizes that their government doesn’t care. From people who used to support the regime, who realize that they were lied too. From the religious who can’t remember what passage in the Koran advocated killing and stomping your own people. From everyone, in their country and across the world, who feels the yearning that has a name now. Freedom. Democracy.
The people of Iran have tasted western money, and gone to western universities, adopted western websites for their revolt. How long can it be before they desire western democracy? The Scum of Iran are on the march. For the first time in a long time, they are tasting power, tasting authority and open rebellion, and if they move, if they take this chance, then the world will see again the proof of my essential point. When the Scum of the world unite and demand to be heard, all the guns and authority in the world are useless.
Next time: Religion and the Scum Part One.
Also, at some point, if she agrees…a guest blog! (Four posts in and I’m already guest-blogging. This bodes poorly for the future.) A good friend of mine who has qualifications in this area that I certainly don’t. Namely, she’s actually been to Iran. Should be a good time.
So then. We know who the New Scum are, at least in outline. (More on that later.) We know their, our, position in the world. And we know that this position isn’t natural. Hobbes called the natural state of man a life that was empty; “No Arts; no Letters; no Society; and which is worst of all, continuall feare, and danger of violent death; And the life of man, solitary, poore, nasty, brutish, and short.”
And this is true. We could turn this into a discussion of the Noble Savage, but facts are facts. Without our civilizations, life sucks. So civilization, the social contract, all that, is a necessity of life. Escaping back into the natural world worked for Thoreau, but it won’t work for the rest of us. All of us, rich and poor and Scum, are stuck in civilization until further notice.
Nor can we hope to create some idealized anarchic world without rulers, from each according to his means, to each according to his needs, kum-bay-yah around the campfire and a nice free love orgy to cap off the night. It doesn’t work.
And to digress for a moment, it is a sad testament to human nature that it doesn’t. I often wish that I could return to the heady days when I was a Socialist. Back when I first started college, in those delightful black and white years when you know just enough to think you know it all, I was a Socialist (big S.) And it is a nice philosophy, a kind and gentle belief worthy of the people who espouse it. And that is it’s failing. It is too nice, assumes too much of the world. Assumes the world is like the people who believe in it. But a piece of advice. If you ever get the chance, make a Socialist your friend. For the most part, you will never find a nicer, more open and generous group of people than at a Socialist party meeting.
But we aren’t talking in terms of Socialism vs. Capitalism. This isn’t about the cool reasoning of Marx and Hobbes. The one thing that these philosophies all have in common is that they are imposed. They come from above. They are the tools the elite and the powerful. Even Socialism, kind and gentle as it is, presumes itself. Listen next time you talk about weighty political topics, or next time you hear a reformer, left or right, talk. There is subtle condescension in the way words are turned. A Socialist will speak of helping the poor, of feeding the poor, of curing poverty in a country. A Right-winger will talk of people pulling themselves up by their bootstraps, of hard-work, and of self-respect.
The rhetoric could not be more different, but the audience is the same. Their philosophies, their skilled argumentative barbs, are for the same narrow group of people. Well educated usually. In a position of more or less power.
And when it comes time to speak to us, to the Scum? Then it’s time to whip out the soundbytes, to talk about the buzzwords of Hope, Change, Country or Patriotism. They have the gall to talk down to us; the same people who’ve kept us here.
Or for another example. Look at the experience of someone who is the first person in their family to go to college. View the awe that they are held in from both ends, the upper class surprised that they escaped their surroundings, their families shocked that they made it out. In either case, that unspoken assumption that this person is a rare butterfly indeed…that they’ve escaped a cage through a particularly complicated maze. And clearly (the unspoken, for the most part unthought subtext runs) the other Scum couldn’t do that.
So here, after that lovely little bit of legalistic reasoning, is something simpler. What most philosophies miss is that they are jockeying among those with power. But when you get past the classes, down here to us Proles, power simplifies. There is being Fucked, and there are those doing the Fucking.
This is the essential nature of human power relationships, at least on a large scale. And don’t sit there and tell me that you are a kind and worthy person who’s never Fucked anyone in your life. You aren’t Mother Teresa, and if the stories are true, she Fucked over a fair few people in her time. On a large scale, upper class fucks middle class, fucks lower class, and they all fuck over the Scum.
The BIG Scumfuckers are easy to observe. The most egregious example is all around us. By now, any reasonably well informed person knows what happened with the US banking systems. To avoid the hassle of running through information that should be well known, the gist is this. The banks tried to cut a few more pennies out of the hides of the poor, and fucked it all up. Unsurprisingly when you lend a couple hundred grand to someone who makes thirty thousand a year, but I digress.
The big Scumfuckers are easy to find, easy to hate. Easy to string up by their thumbs, but unfortunately, things haven’t gotten that far. Yet. I’ve got a well oiled bullwhip for when it does, though. But since they are the worst offenders, they catch the flak. They rage against these most obvious of violators, however, is nothing more than a convenient catharsis, a pressure valve on the righteous anger of a nation. But the problem runs far deeper than that, and for the most part, it is ignored.
For another, much more subtle example. Think about this. Mr. and Mrs. Jones have moved into their new exclusive, very tony development. They live there quite happily, keeping their lawn trimmed and their shutters painted. And then the Smiths move in next door. Maybe the Smiths have come into some money, maybe the housing bubble popped here particularly badly.
Anyway, the Smiths aren’t the usual crowd. Scum Made Good, perhaps would be the best way to describe them. But they aren’t too big on cutting their lawn, maybe leave their kid’s toys scattered around. Their house isn’t freshly painted, there are always a passel of kids running around. Maybe even a truck parked on the lawn, being repaired.
And tell me, what will the response of the Joneses be? At most, putting the law (in the form of a HOA) on them. At the very least, a certain revelry in snobbery will ensure. The Jones will cheerfully gossip about the Smiths, criticize them openly, complain about them, write the sort of delightfully passive aggressive letters that can only be found in the suburbs. And the Smiths will certainly never be invited over for dinner.
In essence then, the Joneses are establishing their social position over the Smiths. Every complaint, cloaked in chapter and verse of the HOA rules, has the unspoken subtext that they are better people than the Smiths.
Of course, you argue that you are most certainly not like that. Perhaps not. After all, the example above is a more extreme example, but I think serves its power. The Joneses are, in terms of social power, the Fuckers. And the Smiths, in terms of social power, are the Scum.
Or for a more subtle example, let us use the same example. The description above of the Smiths is perfectly in line with the common media portrayal (and probably evoked images of) lower class white Americans. Rednecks. White trash in the more snobbish portrayals. All images filled with the implicit implication that the speaker is better than those people.
American society tends to have some of the worst offenders in this case. There are a dozen reasons, but a few stick out nicely.
First, and most subtly, is the dictates of history. American history promotes these conditions in a number of ways. First of all, for the most part, only three types of people came over to the colonies. The wealthy seeking plantations, the indentured or refugees seeking a plot of land and a chance, and prisoners and slaves. Our founding fathers were almost universally wealthy landowners, and the soldiers the poor farmers. This class distinction has been fixed into American society from the beginning, with one important distinction from the old European ways. In America, it was fundamentally simpler to rise in society, and with correspondingly less criticism of your low start once you got there.
This promoted the view (not helped by America’s strong Calvinist roots) that anyone could make it here. That anyone who worked hard and really tried could be rich. In later years, Horatio Alger and Andrew Carnegie would promote this view, but it has existed from the start. Of course, the flip side applies as well. If you are poor, downtrodden Scum, then you didn’t try and it is your own fault that you’re Scum.
You Get What You Deserve and the people who believe it (particularly the rich and successful who’s belief in it is strongly tied to their own sense of moral superiority) are certainly the most dangerous Scumfuckers. What is worse is that unlike many other lies in the American political system, not only the powerful, but the powerLESS believe this.
The most difficult thing about actually trying to be more than Scum is that there is no Scum unity (a topic for another day.) There is no Scum party, or Scum union trying to help each other. Worse, there is the human pack instinct. Humans tend to desire stable social structures of one kind or another, and we tend to desire order. This desire leads us to trust people in positions of authority. Particularly if you are Scum, without the lovely benefits of privilege, education, and time to devote to consider esoteric questions of right and wrong. So while a Democrat steel mill worker might not buy what George Bush has to say, and a Republican farmer from Texas might think Obama is full of crap, when both sides preach the same myths of American exceptionalism, and the bullshit bootstrap myths, what do people think? The Scum will believe it, ingrain it throughly into their belief system, because it is what they’ve always been told.
The Scumfuckers, then, are the people who not only perpetuate these myths, but believe them unquestionably even as they parrot them to the Scum. The people who honestly believe that they have achieved their position in the world through dint of hard work, bootstrap pulling, and morality.
They are the worst Scumfuckers, because they fuck down the social scale without realizing it. The Bernie Madoffs of the world realize what they are doing it. The worst criminals of all are those who truly have no idea that they are wrong.
Hopefully this post made sense. Now that I’ve laid out three basic posts exploring these power relationships. Now it is time, I think, to begin examining what they mean in real world terms. Tomorrow: Iran and a view of international Scumfuckers.
At some point in the near future, expect a post on the nature of Ethnocentrism, Xenophobia, Nationalism, and how the Scum get fucked on an international scale.
The question that should be rising to your lips, dear reader, no matter when you found this. The bile should be rising in your gorge, the veins in your eyeballs popping out in cold rage.
After all, you are not scum. You are a hard working responsible citizen. You work in a garage/office/home/factory/field. You bring home the bacon, clean the house, raise the kids, watch your five hours of TV, and toddle off to bed. You are not scum. You’re upright hard working Americans.
Bullshit. You aren’t the backbone of this country. You aren’t the salt of the earth. You’re the steaming feces that drop out the bottom of this shiny country.
Or so the enemy* believe. So the rich and powerful and beautiful and controlling believe. They will never admit it, never even whisper it in their darkest dream, because to say it, to intimate it, to breathe it in word or gesture is to bring ruin. The Scum will tolerate whips, they will tolerate poverty, but the Scum are proud. Of what, we couldn’t tell you. It’s nothing really, not when the television and the news and the billboards show us a world shut off to us. But it’s ours. Our little family, our little jobs, our little towns, or apartment buildings or streets or whatever. It is ours, goddamnit. And we will tolerate your whips and we will tolerate your endless petty abuses, and we will even tolerate your indifference.
But there is no power on earth that can make us tolerate your laughter.
I choose the term Scum as our badge of pride for the same reason that black people say “nigger” and gay people say “fag.” It is reclaiming a term, in a way. More properly, it is reclaiming a mindset, a way of thinking that holds us back. The idea that the powerful have that we are the “great unwashed,” that we are swayed easily by lies and Madison Avenue. That we are Scum. So I put a name to that vast and patronizing attitude. The Scum, that’s who we are. That’s who we are to them. And I want to reclaim that name, that name they give us in the deep places of their hearts and ram it down their throats, and let them know who we are. We are Scum, and we are proud.
We are, in a strange way, the great repressed majority. The people in power, the people who are above the scum…well, it depends on how you want to count them. Worldwide, one or two million people or so have real, true power…presidents, vice presidents, representatives of one type or another, CEO’s, CFO’s, Rupert Murdoch etc. etc. ad nauseum. They have power. Maybe a billion, hell, let’s be generous and say two billion, are not Scum. They’re people in one of those nice neat economic brackets.
That means more than two thirds of the people are just plain Scum. We suffer, we bleed we starve, we beg, we labor, we sweat for those above us. So why aren’t we running things? Why isn’t healthcare free for the worker, and ridiculously expensive for the rich? Why aren’t the projects in the ghettos beautiful enriching uplifting places to work and live?
Why aren’t things better? It’s the silent scream of people the world over, a question so basic, so fundamental, we laugh at those who ask it. After all, don’t you know? It’s the way of the world. An old proverb, cruelly true, reads “The rich get their ice in the summer, and the poor get theirs in the winter.” Or in other words; it’s the way it is. Now shut your mouth and get to work.
That’s what it means to be scum. And because sheer numbers are dangerous, they chop us up. African and European. East and West. Red-state, Blue-state. Yankee’s Vs. Red-Sox. Christian vs. Muslim. They take us and we fit into our groups and we don’t trust each other and we vote because if we don’t Obama will kill babies and McCain will bomb Iran and the terrorists will get us in our beds and the Great Satan will destroy our culture and every other stupid bullshit reason you’ve ever heard that We are different from Them.
And we get divvied up and we vote for the right people and shout the right slogans and forget that the poor fucker on the other side of the street is just as tired and fucked up and downright scared as we are.
I make it sound like a conspiracy. Like there is some secret cabal that meets under Mount Rushmore and says, “Ok, you get the blacks, we get the White Christians, you get the treehuggers, we get the farmers.” I wish it were. I wish it really was like the days before the revolution in France, where there really was one group actively working to keep everyone else down. I wish there were five or ten or twenty or ten thousand people I could tell you about, tell you, there they are. That we could sweep them out and put in our own and it’s all the big rock candy mountain from here on out.
But that just isn’t so. It would be nice to think that it was so, that this was being done to us. But it’s our own damn fault. The powerful and rich just follow along with what we want, and then tell us what we want, and then follow along with what we want…over and over again, until we can’t tell whose pulling and whose being pulled.
We’ve forgotten the most basic lesson. Every religion or belief has it at the base. We are one blood, you and I. Whether it’s Adam and Eve created by the loving hand of God Almighty, or prehistoric slime crawling onto the land…we’re all the same. Same goddamned people, same goddamned planet.
We’re the New Scum. The self-aware Scum. We don’t have much, we don’t quite know what’s going on, but we’re proud. And all we have is each other, because that’s who we’re stuck with. It’s up to you to decide what that means.
*I need a name for these people, the rich and powerful and oppressive. The opposite of Scum, really. I could steal a line form an old Peter Tosh song, and call them Downpressor Men. But I think what they are is tied to what we are. If the Scum are the people getting Fucked, they are the people Fucking us. The Scumfuckers, I think, works nicely to remind us of what they are and what they do.
Stay tuned for the next installment: Know Your Scumfuckers! Plus, at some point, real news, I swear.
That isn’t my phrase, I stole it from Warren Ellis’s comic, Transmetropolitian. In the story, the futuristically fucked up lowlifes that are the teeming masses, are referred to as “The New Scum” by a would-be president. And the term sticks, a badge of pride for the people whos lot in life isn’t describable in normal economic terms. The people that don’t fit that happy ladder of “lower class,” and “upper class” and “upper middle lower middle class” or whatever new rapist abomination the desperate world of 24 hour journalism has unleashed on the English language.
The New Scum don’t fit. They aren’t counted, aren’t called for their opinion on the bailouts, or Iraq or any other of the dozen desperate issues that catch the spotlight and pass on. CNN will never claim that Obama is polling well among hookers, that pimps vote McCain, or that the druggies are voting in a solid block for flying purple people eaters.
And hookers, pimps, and druggies are just one tiny facet of the world of the New Scum. The barriers, the buffers, in a way. The obvious social ills. The people that you can rail against, attact with impunity. The easy targets when the real problems get to big. But the New Scum are every so much more than our most visible members.
Sure, the pimps and whore and junkies are the New Scum. But so are you. The college student, who just realized that the best use for their diploma is as the most expensive ass-wipe you’ll ever enjoy. The blue collar worker who just realized that his boss just realized that some other Scum, Mexican or Indian or Chinese Scum, can do his job for less money, and churn out more product without those inconvenient “labor laws.”
And we hunch over for the new arrivals, the NEW New Scum, perhaps? For our new brothers, the bankers and investors who have just seen their years of work and investment, their carefully preserved, carefully delineated rung on the ladder rot from under them, splashing them down into the muck with the rest of us.
We’ve always been here. Hunter Thompson reported on some of us, the “Freak Power” movement that nearly unseated Nixon, years before his mad hubris hurled him from his pedestal down here into the muck.
But there’re more of us now, more of us and we’re more powerful than ever before, more diverse than ever before. We jabber in a dozen languages, from Pakistani and Spanish to Mississippi mush-mouth, and I’ll leave it to the reader to decide which is harder to follow. And we are powerful. The latest election was a touch of that.
Remember that feeling, dear reader? Remember the rush of being there, of seeing the election results? Remember the waiting in lines for hours to see Obama? Remember going to DC on inauguration day, just to see a 20 minute speech? Or did you watch from your living rooms? Did you cheer hope and change? Did you lose yourself for a moment, just a moment in the hope that things really would get better, forgetting for a moment the bills on the table, the layoffs at work, the weird rattle in the car that you can’t even afford to get checked out?
And do you remember coming down and realizing that we’re still fucked? And did it make it worse? Did for me. Nothing like being Scum and seeing the stars and realizing that they’re all the way up there and we’re all the way down here.
And that’s who we are, friends. The New Scum. The people who get fucked, no matter who’s in power or what letter they have after their name. The people who get fooled, who get told that we’re different, because I believe in Gay Marriage, and you believe in The Family. Who tell us we’re different because I’m white and you’re brown or black, or I’m Black and you’re Mexican, or I’m Puerto Rican and You’re Cuban. Who build us our own ladder out of Scum and tell us that We are here and They are down there.
Did you ever wonder why they did that, dear reader? Did you ever wonder why they split us up? Why we get polled as “Black Males” or “NASCAR Dads?” It’s because they are scared of us. Power has a long memory, and they remember. They remember the Scum in France getting together, and dragging a king off of his throne. They remember German scum three hundred years before that decided “fuck the Pope” and broke the back of the Catholic Church.
And they remember a little batch of colonies scattered along a scraggly shore-line of some second rate land in a third rate part of the world that was good for a few fast bucks and for dumping the Scum. And they remember those 13 little shit kicker colonies, FILLED with the Scum of Britain, deciding that they wanted freedom. They wanted their own representation by god, and they took it.
The whip-scars never fade on the backs of the losers. They remember the power in our unity. So they divvied us up. White man against Black Man against Hispanic Man against Uppity Woman Against Blue Collar against College Educated. And the people at the top picked their teams, as surely and as deliberately as the NFL draft picks.
And we bought it. We’ve been buying it. Buying that because I’m a White, Evangelical Christian Male from Austin, Texas, means that I have nothing in common with a Black Steel-Mill Worker from Detroit. Means that because he votes for one pigfucker and I vote for another, that he’s trying to destroy America and I’m trying to save it. Us vs. Them. Believing that anyone cares what we believe, what we think, what we hope and pray for. Believing that if we vote for the swine with the D’s after their names, we’ll get health care, and if we vote for the ones with the R, we’ll end abortion.
And they throw us a bone and we roll over and get our bellies scratched, and every now and then, a hometown boy makes good and claws his way up the halls of power, and we believe the system works.
And we forget who we are because we don’t want to remember. We are the New Scum, and they don’t give a fuck about us. Forget eighth grade social studies. Forget all the stupid fucking commercials you see around election day. Your vote means shit. You mean shit. As far as the powerful go, you are shit.
So here is your truth for the day. The president doesn’t care. You’re congressman doesn’t care. The CEO of the company you work for doesn’t care. The universe doesn’t care, and the world is a mean unforgiving place that will break your back and move on without even wasting the energy to eat you.
But all of us, together. We are powerful. We have made kings and emperors, and we have torn them down. The New Scum. That’s what you are, that’s what I am. And we should be proud of that. All the good ideas have come from Scum. DNA and cellular life was invented in some pond scum a few billion years back. Fire was some Neanderthal Scum trying to keep warm. Writing was designed by Mesopotamian Scum who needed a way to count sheep. Penicillin is nothing but applied extract of Scum. Rice, the most popular and useful food on the planet, is grown in Scum. And that’s what we are. The New Scum. The Bipedal Scum. The worthless, ignored, trampled and regularly fucked masses. And without us, the world is nothing. Without us, the busses don’t run, the trains stop, the crops rot, the assembly line slows, the streets fill with trash and horror of horrors…the rich have to scrub their own fucking toilets.
So wear it like a badge of honor. I’m here because I know what I am. I’m here because your newspaper has a business section filled with stocks you can’t buy, companies you don’t work for, and bailouts you aren’t getting. This is news for you, as seen and filtered by one of your own. I’m going to read their stories, and their crimes, and the endless shit spew of information our fathers couldn’t dream of. I’m going to do this, chew it up and vomit it back at you. The news isn’t a pretty thing. It’s the world, and the world isn’t pretty but it’s there. And you need to know.
I’m one of you. I’m the New Scum. And it’s about time we figured out what that means.