This is a really funny story that I found on some website. In it Ben Weasel talks about idiots. Read it, it's good.
By Ben Weasel
I just got off the phone with a girl who is quite possible the stupidest person on the face of the earth. It all started when I read a review of a fanzine from Naperville in MRR. According to the review, the fanzine included an "anti-Ben Weasel rant." I always enjoy seeing my name in print, so naturally my curiosity was piqued. Seeing as how the fanzine was from Naperville, I got the idea to call a couple of friends from that town to see if they knew anything about it. Some of the comments I got were, "She's an idiot," "She's a phony," and the classic, "She's totally fucked."
I am somewhat naive. I always think that people are exaggerating when they describe an idiot to me. The quotes above were vast understatements.
I call information for this girl's phone number and ring her. I ask for a copy of her fanzine. She asks me to call back as she's on the other line. I do, and again ask for a copy. She tells me I should send her a buck for it.
"Didn't you send the bands you interviewed a copy?" I ask.
"Yeah," she says. "But I can't afford to lose money on this."
"You're selling copies using my name, aren't you?"
She laughs. "I don't think anybody cared that you were in it."
Ok, fair enough. "Why don't you just tell me what you wrote then?"
"Well, you can buy my zine at a show or something."
Fuck that. "Look," I say calmly, "You've had a million chances to confront me at shows, which you haven't, you write about me in your fanzine but won't send me a copy and now you won't even tell me what you wrote???"
"Well, uhhh, I don't ever see you in public."
"I've seen you looking directly at me at at least fifteen shows."
"Well, yeah, at SHOWS."
Vapidity reigns. The idiot fumes are leaking from her receiver into my earhole. I'm getting dizzy.
"Well, you won't play for under $300."
"Bullshit. Where did you hear that?"
"Well, you know wrong. We've never had a guarantee at a local show. Ever. On tour, we work percentages with people we've dealt with before, and negotiate guarantees vs. a percentage with those we haven't."
At this, she flies into a petulant frenzy. "You say you're D.I.Y. but you're just out for profit."
"D.I.Y. means Do It Yourself. We do everything we can ourselves and we always have. Unfortunately, we don't have 12,000 dollars lying around to press up copies of our albums, but we book our own tours and deal with our own business, and anyone we deal with gives us 100% control creatively."
"Yeah, but you're out for profit. You make money."
This is ridiculous. "Who do you live with?" I ask.
"Because I have a feeling you live with your parents, and I'd guess that it's easy to make judgements on how others make a living when you have someone supporting you. Besides, what does making money have to do with D.I.Y.?"
"You call yourselves a punk band and you're not even punk!"
For years, I have goofed off with people, jokingly accusing them of not being "punk" and vice versa. I swear to you, this little girl was serious! This was like talking to a cartoon character! It was Spike Anarkie's alter ego!
She goes on. "Would you play a Drunk Rock show?"
"It depends on the club and..."
"You wouldn't make any money," she interjects.
"Well...if we had an out of town band, we'd have to pay them gas money."
"Look," I say patiently, "Sometimes we make money on shows and sometimes we don't. Right now, we need a van to tour in, a guitar amp, a bass guitar and a bass amp. Our parents don't give us money to buy those things."
"My band has a ten year old P.A. and shitty equipment and we don't care," she whines. "You're just cheesing off the scene, making money..."
Now I'm getting pissed. "I was putting on punk shows with Matt Nelson for NO MONEY before you even knew what punk rock was. There was no punk in the suburbs. The people who organized, played and attended those shows are the reason you can hop in your car and go see Citizen Fish at the drop of a hat at McGregors without paying a ridiculous door price and getting beat up by muscly bouncers."
"Oh, you're being punker-than-thou now?" sneers the creep.
"I guess I am. An there's nothing wrong with Matt making money."
"He makes a LOT of money."
"So what??? Who are you to decide what's too much?"
At this point, her other line rings and when she comes back, she informs me that she has to get off the phone.
"But I wanted to ask you one thing," she says.
"What?" "Is it true...I heard you're planning on kicking my ass."
I don't answer. I'm laughing too hard. I've not heard such talk since my freshman year of highschool.
Finally I regain control. "Don't believe everything you hear," I say. "Whether it's `we won't play for under three hundred dollars' or that I'm going to `kick your ass'." And that was that.
Vapid and I doubled over in laughter for a while. Then we talked about the amazing discovery I'd made. Such insanely warped people still exist in the punk scene. It was like finding the elusive Abominable Snowman. It was truly bizarre. The idiocy of this jerk's statements left me flabbergasted. Think of the sheer audacity it took for her to tell me I'm not PUNK because I make money from music while she's still on the tit in suburbia, spending her spare time banging out some shit to three brain dead friends in an Aurora basement.
Later, I talked to some people who know her and found out that she does indeed live in her extremely wealthy parents' house. When she's not in highschool, she works at a Pizza Hut. When "her" band went on tour (without her), she Western Unioned them money at various intervals (so that's how bands manage to get by playing for "gas money"). She made up the interviews with the bands in her fanzine. Whatta jerk. I almost feel bad writing about her because she's obviously too dim to defend herself; it's like picking on a retarded toddler.
Still, this whole conversation got me to thinking. Maybe it's time for a rule change. Yes, we could do nothing but play in people's basements from now on, and not even take gas money. We would pay them for the privilege of playing. Wee would not allow a PA or monitors. Instead of singing through a mike, I'd scream at the top of my lungs to sound more punk. We'll dump Lookout and start putting out our own EP's that we record in our basement on a tape recorder, and sell them for a quarter each, so we don't have even the slightest chance of making the dreaded PROFIT! We'll smoke a lot of pot, refuse to bathe, go to leftist demonstrations and then talk about how lame the hippies were. Oh yea, we could all act like the cartoons in Absolutely Zippo and put out grubby, impossible to read fanzines about the fuckedupedness of the government. If anyone disagrees with us, we'll call them fascists and write another song about the bogosity of religion. Sounds like a riot. But what happens when our parents kick us out?
This just in: In the same vein as young Ms. Mutz, some goof at Windchill Factor fanzine has slighted yours truly. Reprint below, courtesy of the anarchists who put it out.
Some things I've learned about these folds: They distribute AYF literature (if I can find the TEENAGERS WAKE UP! pamphlet, I'll reprint it here...) the ten or fifteen people that make up their little gang is comprised of white people, of whom two or three are female (and THAT's how they know so much about oppression; they're real experts on how to right wrongs they've never experienced)
Need it spelled out for you? Of course you don't, but I'll blow off a little steam anyway and inform you that it's the straight edge craze all over again. The costumes are different, as are the causes, but the intolerance, thickheadedness and refusal to consider any possibilities but those preached by their Minneapolis brethren (with the straight edgers, home base was Conneticut) are all the same.
Just as the straight edgers area all now either useless drunks or else have relaxed quite a bit (Tony the Strong is reportedly a leather jacket-wearing, acid-eating Bud man and his ex-girlfriend strips at the Admiral Theater--so much for their strong moral base), 85% of the pukes at WCF will be working from some ridiculous corporation within two years, and the rest of them will either lighten up or fade away.
Yell and scream and rant your slogans and show off the anarchist version of straight edge muscles (big, scary guns for the imminent revolution) til the cows come home. I've seen this shit before and I'll watch you white, middle-class twits fade away yet again.
(c) Ben Weasel