Ed Driscoll

Distaff Punkers for Freedom!

“Exene Cervenka of L.A. Punk Band X Moving to Texas Because California Has Become ‘A Liberal Oppressive Police State and Regulations and Taxes and Fees.'” Brian Doherty writes at Reason, quoting this passage from Rolling Stone:

…when I moved to California in 1976, Jerry Brown was governor. It was barefoot hippie girls, Hell’s Angels on the Sunset Strip, East L.A. lowriders, the ocean and nature. It was this fabulous incredible place about freedom. Now when I think about California, I think of a liberal oppressive police state and regulations and taxes and fees. I’d rather go someplace and have my own little place out on the edge of town. I’m a country girl at heart. It makes me happy when I see people in Texas open-carrying. It makes me feel safe. I’m not even a gun owner, but I’d like to see a gun rack in every pickup truck, like my boyfriend had when I was fifteen years old in Florida. An armed society is a polite society.”

She cracks a smile. “Now Jerry Brown’s governor again. He’s done some great things, like balancing the budget and libraries are open on Sundays. But things are getting to the point in this country where people are going to have to fight to survive and fight for their rights.”

And that’s on top of Maureen Tucker, Tea Partier, as Michael Moynihan wrote at Reason in the fall of 2010:

[F]ormer Velvet Underground drummer Moe Tucker was spotted at a Georgia Tea Party protest, telling a local reporter that she is “furious about the way we are being led towards socialism.” Prefix magazine calls this “depressing” news that will “bring you down” before the weekend, because it’s incumbent upon all musicians—especially those in seminal proto-punk bands like VU—to have roughly the same, boring lefty politics. Deviate from the acceptable ideology (Guevara t-shirts are fine, as is anything related to 9/11 “truth”) and a bunch of kids born in the 1980s will have their weekends ruined.

And they sure did — as some unfortunate soul admitted in October of 2010 at the Independent Film Channel’s Website after Tucker  epatered his bourgeois brain:

I’m still in shock from reading this news on Stereogum about primitivist drummer and doll-voiced Velvet, Moe Tucker being a Tea Party fanatic. Say it ain’t so Moe.

It’s like finding out that Henry Rollins has just been wearing a fake muscle suit all these years and he’s really a skinny, mild-mannered pushover. Moe’s strayed a long way off from being in a band at the center of 1960′s and 70′s American counter culture. She’s best known for her unrelenting, tribal drumming style of the time — opting to take her bass drum, turn it upright and pound away on it with mallets like a maniac.

Now she’s out at rally’s with poorly dressed people who can’t get their facts straight, yelling about socialism. This is one of the farthest falls from cool in music history.

Totalitarianism=cool? That’s not what I remember the Velvets being about, particularly since, to paraphrase Brian Eno, only 30,000 people bought the Velvet Underground’s first album — but everyone who did started his own band. (A little late to the party, but I was one of them, believe it or not.)

And those “poorly-dressed people” at those Tea Party rallies are looking remarkably prescient as the horrors of Obamacare continue to unfold. Not to mention remarkably brave. Back then, Tammy Bruce explained — in the UK Guardian(!) “Why Tea Party women lead the charge:”

CBS’s Lesley Stahl baffled her panel constructed of a New York Times reporter, someone from Newsweek and other Anointed Ones, when she asked, “I wanted to ask all the gurus here, why so many of the Tea Partiers are women. I find that just intriguing and don’t quite understand why that has happened,” Stahl said. Their first answer: “Sarah Palin?”

Actually, the answer is: taxed enough already. Women control the household accounts and we know when spending is unsustainable, threatening the very fabric of our families, or our country as the case may be. As one Tea Party rally sign aimed at big government succinctly put it, “My kid isn’t your ATM.”

The Tea Party represents stakeholders in the American system; people who were never involved in politics or thought they had to be, yet realised that political corruption and incompetence threatened not only their families, but the future of the nation itself. Economic collapse, the shocking spending by an Obama administration that most analysts agree is in over its head, combined with remarkable contempt shown citizens during the debacle of the healthcare debate and legislation, have mobilised those stakeholders – including women and their families – to take action.

While the Tea Party has no leaders, per se, it is clear to most that (former) Governor Sarah Palin embodies the nature and intent of the movement. An American woman hailing from Alaska (the epitome of the Wild West), Palin accomplished the feminist ideal – leading a life that best suited her, combining work and family while not hesitating to reach for political power and influence as well. Her biggest crime, as seen by both political machines and the American left? She does it as a Reagan Republican and as a woman of faith.

As with the Velvets, the punk rock scene of the late 1970s and early 1980s from which Cervenka emerged used to be all about DIY — do it yourself. Or as (the unfortunately socialist, alas) Peter Gabriel sang in a song with that title in 1978, shortly before the home music recording boom exploded, “When things get so big, I don’t trust them at all. You want some control, you’ve got to keep it small.”

That work just as well for government as it does for music.

Update (2/14/14): At the PJ Tatler, Stephen Kruiser has more on Cervenka:

Hyper-regulated and hyper-taxed people aren’t really free. It is a rather succinct message that is easy to back up.

We should get on that soon.

Indeed, to coin the frequent aphorism of another DIY guy.