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|Recommended Reading: A DAY SPENT IN HELL
Fun look back at George Bush's first post-presidential appearance, from 2009, where he spoke at a Motivational Conference in Fort Worth, TX. I wrote this for Evergreen; really fun to re-read today.
|Recommended Listening: RADIO HOUR EPISODES
Seven episodes in the can, our weekly program, with new episodes soon. Click to hear about wood, reverbophonics, mental problems, other amusing public service announcments and rare electronics.
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While you're here, you might also enjoy this piece of writing on the History of Paris Records, this full listing of music on the site, and these comics projects: The Recovery of Charlie Pickle, A Dog and His Elephant, and Radio Wire.
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Monday, May 4, 2015:
COLOR 'EM RED!
Scroll below for a set of documents showing how the FBI and local police affected public interpretations of black activism in the 1960s.
Also some dark and truly offensive examples of police humor:
From the 1960s Pro-Police campaign:
PIGS ARE BEAUTIFUL
Ever seen or heard of this one?
Police sense of humor is complicated. On one hand, it's a VERY difficult job, where you have to interract with the worst elements of society daily, and are exposed to a carnival of terrible things, so humor serves a purpose to generally make things easier and more tolerable. But geeze, some of these jokes are really angry.
Of course, one rule about private jokes might be never manufacture them into objects like buttons and shirts; which brings about this gallery of rare and uncommon items.
"PIGS ARE BEAUTIFUL"
In the late 1960s, the Black Panthers started to become a national organization with chapters in many cities, and the phrase "Pigs" for police became common. How best to combat this ruinous word? Make an ACRONYM OUT OF IT! Enter the PIGS are BEAUTIFUL public relations campaign. I know nothing about this, except for these two existing pins:
The first one is actually kind of cute and charming. The word PIGS has been acronymed out to stand tor Pride, Integrity, Guts and Service. Not sure what H.E.L.P. then stands for, but it's a generally pro-police sentiment, not unlike other police marketing, like the 1960s Your Friend the Policeman comics:
Click to read both comics
(click to read an introduction from Comics with Problems #45)
It's the SECOND button, however, where things get very complicated. Instead of a PIG that HELPS, we have a violent image of a pig gleefully sodomizing a trapped Black Panther:
(Sadly, these two pins were just found amongst a large lot collection of other political-themed materials. If anyone knows more about these pins, I'd love to hear about it)
Immediately, this reminded me of a shirt I picked up in 1996 in Chicago. I'm surprised I've never posted an image of it. But during the Democratic National Convention, I visited a police memorabilia store and was very surprised to find this shirt for purchase:
The shirt is one my favorite items, to be honest. It's very real, too. The Chicago Tribune reported on it in 1996
And for our MAIN ITEM:
BLACK PANTHERS COLORING BOOK as discussed in a Fraternal Order of Police newspaper, THE GUARDIAN CALL
Ouch! A knife to the head! and even the kid's
in on the action.
From the Black Panther Coloring Book
Hot dog, what a fun one we have for you here. One of the more widely known pieces of COINTELPRO is the Black Panthers Coloring Book. Here's a few blurbs about it from elsewhere on the Internet:
"This is a horrific example of the tactics used by the Federal Bureau of Investigation to stifle legitimate dissent and violate the civil rights of political groups that the administration dislikes. Along with the anti-war movement, the Nixon White House targeted the civil rights movement for disruption, using on-campus informants to infiltrate and in many cases to disrupt legal protests and activism.
This coloring book, which was purported to be from the Black Panthers, had actually been rejected by them when it was brought to them by a man later revealed to have intelligence connections. Not to be troubled by the fact that the Panthers found the coloring book revolting, the FBI added even more offensive illustrations, and mass mailed it across America. It so infuriated the white population that they stopped listening to the legitimate grievances of the black people. "
"Disturbing and highly racist photos from a 1969 coloring book distributed to kids via the FBI’s ‘COINTEL’ program were a part of the secretive operation that sought to infiltrate groups like the Black Panthers by spreading such insane propaganda in their name."
An interesting transcript from History Matters
Now, as for things YOU HAVE NEVER SEEN BEFORE, here's a six page newspaper piece on the comic book, from the perspecctive of a very disgusted Delaware Fraternal Order of Police. Some of the text is pricelessly humorless and square, too.
Here's all the pages, click on any one for an enlarged view:
The very likely fact the Delaware police received the coloring book from the FBI itself is almost an absolute certainty. I'm pretty sure the Delaware police were not in on the FBI's joke, however, and this is a fascinating read displaying the coloring book's effective use in tightening tension and fear between Black activists and police as a perceived threat. It was clearly a receptive audience for that perspective.
Lastly, a little more t-shirt humor:
Yeah it was just a "rough ride", man!
(permanent link to this entry)
AUDIO FEATURE OF THE MONTH:
Monday, May 11, 2015:
Exclusive: Five Minutes with the Metasonix D-2000 Drum Machine
Had a rare opportunity this weekend. A friend who collects strange and unusual electronics visited for an evening, gleefully carrying in a Metasonix D-2000. This thing is unreal. As there are only ten copies presently on the planet (this is serial number THREE) I thought it would be a good public service to upload five minutes of it being played.
Eric Barbour, Metasonix's inventor, describes this as a drum machine, and it is, OH MAN IT IS. And it's also something like a polyphonic five voice mechanical noise box, where two drums can sound like the gears of a clock or noisy propellers, and three other drums can sound like elastic bouncy rubber. A sixth voice, the preamp, adds a heavy amount of color and heavy unpredictability/distortion, and it HOWLS, man!
It was also very easy to nuance extremely delicate rubbery raindrop-type sounds, as well. (you'll find those at the end of the recording) It might sound like a vocal in a few parts, too, but that's one of the pitched drums suddenly deciding to sing and talk! It's a drum machine right out of Naked Lunch, and I absolutely loved the opportunity to play it.
The sound shaping options are unbelievably deep. To describe this instrument is to describe something very uncommon. It feels organic and human.
No effects applied to any of this, just two and a half minutes recorded into a looper, which is then looped one more time with some extra instrumentation recorded over that, for a total of five minutes. We took the Metasonix rule of "plug every hole" with CV and trigger signals. Enjoy.
(permanent link to this entry)
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Thursday, February 12, 2015:
JOHN WILCOCK COMIC
updated on Boing Boing
Chapter Seven concludes with a three part tribute to John's friends Jan Tice and Stan Russell
Pleased to continue working on the John Wilcock Comic. Scott and I just concluded Chapter Seven, the last three pages appearing on Boing Boing:
My First Orgy
An Incident on Liberty Street
The Day Kennedy was Killed
We'll be back with more in a few months.
Comics with Problems #67
Meet Gabby, the anti-pedophile puppet
Lastly, it's been a while since Comics with Problems made you specifically uncomfortable. So why not remedy that by meeting Gabby, the puppet behind "Stranger Danger" -- a very creepy coloring book from Marathon Oil.
CLICK TO READ COMICS WITH PROBLEMS #67
(permanent link to this entry)
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