Issue #228: A Playlist, an Autopsy, and a Lesson on Quantum Mechanics
Table of Contents:
In quantum mechanics, there’s some dispute about a well established fact — that any given quantum entity can be described as a particle or a wave. What it means that the same thing might be a particle or a wave depending on various factors has resulted in some fascinating, almost sci-fi sounding, theories about the natural world.
One way of trying to square this circle (or wave this particle… or whatever) is the idea of quantum superposition, which takes the combination of all possible configurations of a thing and represents it as a complex number. Erwin Schrödinger, though, had some issues with this solution. In his view, something’s quantum superposition is based on only one observable version of a thing. As John Gribbin writes giving an account of Schrödinger:
because we only detect one outcome — one solution to the wave function — that need not mean that the alternative solutions do not exist. In a paper he published in 1952, Schrödinger pointed out the ridiculousness of expecting a quantum superposition to collapse just because we look at it. It was, he wrote, “patently absurd” that the wave function should “be controlled in two entirely different ways, at times by the wave equation, but occasionally by direct interference of the observer, not controlled by the wave equation.”
The wave equation itself, Schrödinger says, is what should dictate our understanding rather than a superposition collapsed to one complex number derived from something’s observable qualities. To paraphrase, any given quantum object has unobservable qualities that aren’t taken into account by the superposition.
Titular cat aside, this wide realm of possibility of qualities and states of quantum entities has widespread consequences for how the world is thought of. For instance, one possible conclusion here, one Schrödinger himself seemed at least amenable to, is the possibility of multiple universes where events unfold differently in each. Gribbin quotes Schrödinger:
Nearly every result [the quantum theorist] pronounces is about the probability of this or that or that … happening — with usually a great many alternatives. The idea that they may not be alternatives but all really happen simultaneously seems lunatic to him, just impossible.
Schrödinger is being critical of the proverbial quantum theorist who would dismiss the idea that the many alternative outcomes of a probability really happen simultaneously. Take, for instance, the outcome of a sports game. Following the logic of this interpretation, there are all manners of probability that are resolved in the course of the game but are simultaneously being resolved in every other possible manner. If a batter misses a swing, he’s also hit that swing. If a football player scores a touchdown, he’s also been tackled as well as tripped and fell on his way to the end zone. If one team loses, they’ve also won, because these probabilities are all simultaneously resolving themselves in the space of the unobservable qualities of different quantum entities. The things which serve as the building blocks for our world are teeming with mystery that we can only derive because of the bizarre oscillation of their quantum state. Is it a particle or is it a wave? The failure and the success of human endeavors are both within that ambiguity. The cat is alive and dead following Schrödinger’s logic.
So what am I saying? Congratulations to the 2022 NBA Champions, the Boston Celtics.
“Just a bunch of walking nuclear erections”: A Word on The Boys, “The Last Time To Look On This World of Lies”
I’ve written on the first and second episodes of The Boys’s third season (2022) over the past two weeks, but it has taken until the fifth episode for my interested to be piqued again. I want to return to a theme I addressed from the first episode, the question of power — super power — and what it might do to the human psyche. Perhaps I am ending up in the unenviable position of reenacting the Leonardo DeCaprio meme that signifies meaningless easter egg finding, but The Boys interpolates its superheroic references in such a way that their meaning is changed or deconstructed.
I have elaborated the clear cynicism about power, and human nature, present in The Boys repeatedly. But commentaries about power’s tendency to corrupt are usually about the nature of power, not the nature of humanity. Power corrupts because that is its function, rather than power serving as the vessel to express the baser human instincts that may or may not be the universal engines for all behavior. Like Acton, Shakespeare also thinks so. He writes in Measure for Measure (1604):
But man, proud man,
Dress'd in a little brief authority,
Most ignorant of what he's most assur'd—
His glassy essence—like an angry ape
Plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven
As makes the angels weep; who, with our spleens,
Would all themselves laugh mortal.
In the logic of conventional superhero stories, though, power neither corrupts nor are humans corrupt by nature. This is clear by the superpowered heroes that unilaterally defend the earth as if ordained by some higher power (precisely that which is absent in the world of The Boys). In The Boys, none of the “supes” are naturally born. All of them have been injected with a serum that has given them their power. The resulting mayhem of The Boys’s “supes” is quite different from the heroic disposition of Captain America, another genetically enhanced hero from the Marvel universe. In The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (2021), a show that deals with Captain America’s sidekicks and replacements trying to figure out what to do in his absence, the show spends some time considering what it means for a human being to have the kind of power Steve Rogers received.
While Falcon, Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) gives up Captain America’s shield to a museum rather than use it himself, the U.S. government decides to promote a Captain America replacement in the form of John Walker (Wyatt Russell) who wields the shield. What Walker doesn’t have, though, is the super soldier serum that powered Rogers. That is, until a series of embarrassing debacles and humiliating beatings, Walker finds some laying around. He is, however, reluctant to inject it. But his designated sidekick, Lemar Hoskins (Clé Bennett), suggests that one should seize any opportunity to take the serum.
Hoskins tells Walker, “power just makes a person more themselves,” holding up the incorruptible nature of Rogers as an example of how a good person becomes better with superhuman abilities.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier commits to this thesis in what happens to Walker after he becomes superpowered. The repeated seed that has been planted narratively is that Walker isn’t such a good guy after all. He’s just okay. He kills innocent civilians in Afghanistan because he was ordered to and is commensurately capricious in doling out supposed justice to a member of the group that kills Hoskins — impaling him on Captain America’s shield in front of an audience.
But Rogers and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) are still heroes despite the power they are given, and Wilson, who becomes the true successor to the Captain American mantle, passes up the serum himself.
If the good get better and the bad get worse (and the okay, like Walker, get okay-er) in the logic of the Marvel universe, what is the relationship between one’s predispositions when introduced to power in The Boys? In this last bunch of episodes, Billy Butcher (Karl Urban) and Hughie Campbell (Jack Quaid) have been taking a temporary version of the chemical that permanently empowered the “supes.” Once the pair runs out, Butcher re-ups from his source, Queen Maeve (Dominique McElligott).
In discussing the effect of “temp V” with Maeve, Butcher compares it to the wide variety of recreational drugs he’s tried and echoes the notion put forth by Hoskins in Falcon, “The V just made me more… me”
And yet, this isn’t the apology for power that it is in the Marvel universe. To be “more me” is to be more of your essentially terrible self. This is clear in Butcher’s combination of Acton’s idea and a certain famous Spider-Man line. Butcher’s says, “with great power comes the absolute certainty that you’ll turn into a right cunt.”
The disagreement between Butcher and Hoskins, and by extension The Boys and Marvel, is not about what power is, but about what people are. From Butcher’s perspective, the inherent human flaws and base motivations are what power will inevitably exacerbate. There are no Steve Rogers or even John Walkers in the universe of The Boys, just nuclear walking erections and those who would become them if given the chance.
Delusions of Coherence in Crimes of the Future
Crimes of the Future (2022) has been a polarizing film in a way that Cronenberg’s films usually aren’t. True, the grossed out indignant film festival attendees are par for the course. The unprepared Kristen Stewart stans are a new demographic, but their reaction to the film is to be expected. What’s unexpected is the fact that there are at least some established Cronenberg fans who have found the film to be underwhelming. As someone who loved the film, I struggle to understand on an affective level why this is the case. What is clear is that this film is a repeat performance for Cronenberg, somewhere between Crash (1996) and The Death of David Cronenberg (2021). Crimes of the Future is also without the ascending yuk factor on display in films like Videodrome (1983) and eXistenZ (1999). Crimes is frontloaded, and the horrifying reality of the world it presents is consistent. The lotus bed and breakfaster chair and artistic surgery are showcased again and again, but you’re introduced to all three in the first twenty-five minutes of the film. So, we have a film that is similar in terms of its content (Viggo is a snitch yet again) but distinct in its structure, but both the similarity and difference draw criticism from some devoted fans. Neither factor, however, could bother me less.
Cronenberg’s “Ruined World”
Crimes of the Future showcases the two fixations that have preoccupied Cronenberg’s career, body horror and film noir. Although he is hailed as working primarily within the genre of science fiction, his films are sometimes neo-noir with a sci-fi coat of paint or other times neo-noir with a neo-noir coat of paint, as is the case with A History of Violence (2005) and Eastern Promises (2007). But the cloaked meandering of Saul Tenser (Viggo Mortensen in the role should be a clue here) is the closest Cronenberg has come to outright Blade Runner (1982) pastiche. Instead of the brightly light, clean futurism of the “cyberpunk” aesthetic, Crimes looks like it was filmed in the nondescript concrete rooms in Vancouver that house the climactic fights of various genre TV shows (Crimes was actually filmed in Athens, Greece).
This barren, nondescript space of the film evokes what Cronenberg calls, in a conversation with Vanity Fair, a “ruined world.” While it is filled with fantastical technology, little of our current technology exists. Some things, like medical technology, are not needed as humanity has evolved such that they are immune to viral infection and pain. Others, like cell phones and internet, are absent for reasons that are opaque. There is no opacity about the world being a word of the post- prefix. Post-apocalyptic, post-viral (in every sense of the term), and most importantly, post-human.
Body without organs or body with too many?
Tenser, the film’s protagonist, unexpectedly grows new organs of indeterminate function which are then removed by his performance art partner, Caprice (Léa Seydoux). Before removing them, Caprice tattoos each organ within Tenser’s body with “uniquely self-referential” images both for the sake of their art and the requirements of the National Organ Registry which would prohibit the tattooing of anything that “really looks like a tattoo,” like “a heart, an anchor, ‘mother’.”
Tenser isn’t the only one with “accelerated evolution syndrome,” producing vestigial organs seemingly at random, but he may be the first and is certainly the most notable. He cooperates with the government mandates to register his organs, while those who refuse are hunted by the police’s “New Vice” squad. If something sounds familiar about this whole organ thing, you might be a person who has read one of the hundreds of Deleuzian (is it an accident autocorrect wants to turn this into “delusion”?) readings of Cronenberg’s various films. But the relationship between organs and the body is almost too cute here in terms of the relevance to Deleuze’s work. I am, of course, talking about the theoretical formulation of the “body without organs.”
In Anti-Oedipus (1972), Deleuze and Guattari write, first quoting Antonin Artaud:
“The body is the body/it is all by itself/and has no need of organs/the body is never an organism/organisms are the enemies of the body.” Merely so many nails piercing the flesh, so many forms of torture. In order to resist organ-machines, the body without organs presents its smooth, slippery, opaque, taut surface as a barrier. (9)
In their elaboration of the body without organs, Deleuze and Guattari posit it as a non-functional impenetrable substance opposed to the working functionality of the organs that a body is supposedly meant to house. The body’s function as a social symbol, or a signifier, is part of what the body without organs entails. But the relationship between the two (the signifier and the body without organs) is complex, since a signifier that functions is something to which the body without organs would be opposed. Anti-Oedipus goes on, “In order to resist using words composed of articulated phonetic units, [the body without organs] utters only gasps and cries that are sheer unarticulated blocks of sound.” This is the signifier that does no work of signification, and actually works against this end.
Notions of unproductiveness and hostility to communication are part of Tenser and Caprice’s artistic practice. Caprice can’t ink a tattoo that looks like a tattoo, nor does she want to. The image (if it can even be called that) on the organ should evoke nothing and render the organ itself an object of non-functional non-signification. It doesn’t mean anything as an object that is removed, it is rendered inert and catalogued. The meaning is supposedly in the organ’s removal, but the uncomfortable reality Cronenberg posits is that one might have a devout artistic commitment to a practice that means nothing at all. Even though Tenser provokes Caprice by suggesting she inscribe a generic tattoo, he is ultimately dissatisfied when the work of her tattooing threatens to overwhelm the functionless presence of the organ itself.
Tenser isn’t just an artist, he is also revealed to be collaborating with New Vice, hardly a surprise given the way his art facilitates the registration and archiving of vestigial organs. But he is more than an informant. Despite Tenser and Caprice’s unimpeachable position as trailblazers of this body modifying and surgically altering underground subculture, Lang Dotrice (Scott Speedman) hopes that the duo will do some work that is more threatening to the powers that be by autopsying the body of his dead son, Brecken (Sozos Sotiris), who is shown at the beginning of the film to be capable of eating and digesting plastic. The revelation of a human being (or not) who is born with these new digestive capacities and revealing his functional organs would, in the logic of the plot, loosen the government’s hold on the populous. If the government wants to incentivize people to remove any organs that bring themselves further from the conventional human, the narrative that the organs do nothing but harm — Tenser’s belief — must be perpetuated. In this way, Lang opposes the ideological and reactionary nature of Tenser’s art. Even though Tenser and Caprice are not read in this way by their contemporaries, Lang sees both the way in which their illegal art still tows the governmental line. But he also sees the potential to for their artistic practice to subvert, by revealing the insides of a dead boy rather than repeatedly removing organs from a living man.
While Tenser’s belief is dynamic, neither Caprice nor Lang are right about what the bodies and the organs mean. They both interpret the body as a signifier. For Caprice, Bracken’s dead body is a tragedy that marks a paternal and maternal failure, as his intolerant mother killed him for his genetic and organic difference. For Lang, his son’s digestive and evolutionary potential means the overturning of the status quo. Caprice’s view is the ideological notion the government wants to promote and Lang’s is the view they implicitly agree with by suppressing this knowledge. Detective Cope (Welket Bungué), Tenser’s handler, believes Lang is right to say the revelation of the truth of Bracken’s body would loosen the government’s control over the course of human evolution. But both of these readings of Bracken’s body are just that, readings. Interpretive jumps that require the treatment of his body as a signifier. When the body is related to truth, the account is much less grandiose. Bracken’s body is just meat, meat in a freezer or on an autopsy table. This image is too gruesome even for the cameras, as Bracken’s body in a freezer is the one image of his body the camera shies away from.
The functionless form of the dead body is always read as a signifier, afforded dignity and even reverence, or permitted the (ideological) privilege of continuing to function in another’s body through the means of the organ transplant. Deleuze and Guattari’s formulation of the body without organs and Caprice’s self-referential tattooing demonstrate the tremendous effort one must exercise in order for a body or bodily object to not be read as a signifier and not be forced to function, whether biologically (organ transplant) or symbolically (social significance). This is Cronenberg’s gambit — in the world of Crimes of the Future there’s nothing below the surface to explain the meaninglessness of matter.
Loving the skin you’re in
Take, for instance, the “inner beauty pageant” in which Tenser is invited to compete by other anti-government pro-random organ subversive. This competition will entail the judging of newly grown organs, some even unregistered and thus “illegal.” The pageant is a fantasmatic object that could be the climax of the film but is actually not even present. Despite it driving some tension, Tenser trying to find those behind the pageant to turn them in to New Vice, the deferring of the event itself to outside of the film is because there is no inner beauty to judge. Beauty is only skin deep, which happens to also be organ deep in Cronenberg’s world. The street-side, al fresco surgery exposes what would previously be relegated to the inside. And the persistent desire to be surgically acted upon is the subjective corollary of the revelation of secrets.
This is where Cronenberg’s neo-noir sensibility is at its most rich, because the plot has hidden crevices even as so much of the body is exposed. The interior becomes exterior, but there is still enough power consolidated in the hands of the government to maintain a few secrets. Two supposed technicians for the LifeFormWare corporations mop up malcontents with prejudice, their identities never revealed to Tenser or Caprice. And New Vice does still manage to keep Bracken’s organs a secret, replacing them with conventional organs that have been conventionally tattooed — with hearts, anchors, and tributes to mothers. Temlin (Kristen Stewart), an obsessive fan of Tenser and Caprice and employee of the National Organ Registry, is solicited by New Vice to replace Bracken’s organs and do the tattooing in Caprice’s style. She’s unable to reach the artistic heights of Caprice, though, falling short of producing “self-referential” tattoos. It’s in the act of obscuring that meaning is made, rather than the meaning residing in what’s obscured. Even if all our characters, no matter their alignment, share in the fantasy that a revelation about Bracken’s ability to digest plastic would result in a revolution, it’s hard to imagine a society pushed to such dire straits is capable of widespread overturning.
“Surgery is the new sex”
Part of the difficulty of widespread revolution, it seems, is the way lines of delineation have been blurred. The criteria for the category of human is up for grabs, there are persistent disputes about the line between meaning and meaninglessness (“is the non-agential production of new organs art?” Cope asks), bodies are paired necessarily with pieces of technology to facilitate necessary functions like eating. Admittedly, this doesn’t sound too different from the contemporary moment, especially if you consider the cellphone a prosthetic and youtube as the facilitator of eating.
For his part, Cronenberg discusses his approach to this blurring in the film through the score in the scene of Tenser and Caprice’s performance:
Howard Shore’s music is so complex, and adds a whole other layer of discourse to any scene … Howard and I talked about the music being a sound effect. I want the audience to not know whether they’re hearing a sound effect or music. Are they hearing ambient sounds from the city that we can’t see or sounds coming from the machine as it operators? Or is it music? You can’t tell.
The displacement of sex with surgery facilitates other kinds of “inversions,” as Cronenberg characterizes the relationship between Caprice and Tenser with Caprice cutting into Tenser’s body. Seydoux, for her part, is more concrete about what this inversion constitutes when she says, “I penetrate him.”
This displacement isn’t new for Cronenberg, inviting the comparisons to Crash. When Roger Ebert wrote in his original review of the film:
"Crash" is about characters entranced by a sexual fetish that, in fact, no one has. Cronenberg has made a movie that is pornographic in form, but not in result ... [Crash is] like a porno movie made by a computer: It downloads gigabytes of information about sex, it discovers our love affair with cars, and it combines them in a mistaken algorithm. The result is challenging, courageous and original—a dissection of the mechanics of pornography. I admired it, although I cannot say I "liked" it.
The relationship with surgery is more than a sexual fetish — as I’ve repeatedly used the term displacement. One replaces the other. But the symbolic function is the same, even as this displacement is pure fantasy, it does evoke the quite real sexual fetishes related to cutting and blood. The control that both Caprice and Tenser assert is the opposite of the way Cronenberg positions the film, a political film “without an agenda,” that invites audience participation.
Of further interest is Cronenberg’s choice to use artists as his central characters, artists who display intimate acts but also have some anxiety about that display.
In private, Tenser cuts Caprice in yet another inversion. When he suggests doing it in their act, she refuses, suggesting it should “just be for us.” One gets the sense that personal privacy may be slightly easier as a rule in Crimes of the Future, with the ostensible absence of the internet and social media. Nonetheless, while the literal act of cutting may be withheld, the body itself is exposed in a totally unprecedented way through the freedom to perform surgery on another individual. And what remains hidden is still within the realm of imagination, as Temlin provocatively whispers to Tenser after his performance that she imagined herself being cut into by him.
A political problem and medical problem
The relevance to modern discourses about power and the body are an intended consequence of Cronenberg’s own practice. But the intention, according to Cronenberg, is only to be an object into which some of these political problems can be read — not to be a polemic. Still, there is something here in the way the organization of a film contrasts the organization of the body. What Crimes of the Future might suggest is the body’s relationship to itself is utterly irrational and that the body’s disunity is more natural than admiring the body as a glorious functioning machine. The body’s supposed majesty is the imposition of a regime of signification resisted by a formulation like the body without organs. But what is important for the villainous powers-that-be of Crimes is not just that things work, but that they work as intended. The body should be able to digest carbohydrates, proteins, and vitamins rather than plastic, for instance.
To purposefully alter’s one body to digest that which would kill an unaltered human is to transgress the body-as-signifier’s sanctity. But, if left to it’s own devices, the body will inevitably alter itself.
Weekly Reading List
Bill McKibben, the GOAT, wrote about his favorite Substacks… for… Substack. And I’m recommending his list of recommendations in my weekly list of recommendations. You’ve all seen that picture of the Marc Jacobs tag, right?
I believe this will be the greatest television production of all time.
I decided to make a playlist for this week’s newsletter with no purpose or overarching logic — but a lot of thought went into its assembly from one song to the next. I enjoyed listening to it through with a pretty sizable 12 second crossfade.
“Anata,” the second song from Hikaru’s 2018 album Hatsukoi, is a real earworm. Even so many years removed from their most famous and career-defining songs, “Anata” captures all the things that are great about their music. There’s a nice, driving piano line, horns, snapping, strings, absurdly catchy melody. What more could you want? This song was apparently for a soundtrack to a movie I’ve never seen, Destiny: The Tale of Kamakura (2017). Takashi Yamazaki directed it, best known for CGI film adaptations of classic anime and video games like Stand by Me Doraemon (2014), Dragon Quest: Your Story (2019), and Lupin III: The First (2019). Man, I really have to watch some of these.
This is among the songs I have been happiest to discover in my city pop listening. Hiroshi Sato is fantastic and earlier on Awakening (1982) he delivers a subdued vocal performance for “Blue and Moody Music.” But tapping Canadian singer Wendy Matthews to do another version of the song makes for something a little more funky, uptempo, and dynamic (Matthews also handles vocal duties for about half of the songs on Awakening). Sato’s vocal performance highlights the blue moodiness that comes before the musical catharsis, whereas Wendy’s version gives you a taste of what comes after you get those feelings out with a musical aid. I like the movement from one to the other on the album, but Wendy’s version is the one I keep coming back to. And if you want to know what equipment Sato used for this song, something I am often curious about with these city pop classics, you can check his website.
Everyone should know that I love Nav and his introspective songs are always unbelievably good. When the idea of never changing is aspirational for most hip-hop records — you don’t want the money to change you, you don’t want to switch up on the people who you built your success with — Nav is anxious here about the possibility that he is unable to change:
I’m gettin' old, I'm scared, I don't want the rockstar life to end
And I’m livin' the shit that I write 'cause it’s hard to pretend
My life will never be the same (Yeah, I won't be the same)
But I'm scared I'm never gonna change (Yeah, I never change)
I'm addicted to the money and fame (Yeah)
I'm tryna control these thoughts in my brain (Yeah)
I'm scared I’m never gonna change, yeah (Yeah)
I'm scared I’m never gonna change (Yeah)
It’s an interesting contrast to earlier in the song when he addresses the “snakes” who “lie to his face,” where change is a sign of dishonesty. Even the song’s title would lead to the inference that this is a song about pride in not changing, something not lost on Nav:
Yeah, I'ma keep it real, I'ma stay with my day-ones from the block (Block)
To all of my enemies, it’s R.I.P
Now I don't need to show I.D. 'cause I'm VIP
The vulnerability and moroseness of the song are really appealing to me.
The way this Shigeo Sekito song has circulated is unexpected. The electone has a really distinctive sound, so it makes sense that there would be some interest in sampling it. But to think it ended up here…
Seriously, how? What corner of the internet were producers Yipsy, Carlos Desrosiers, and Pas Beatz exploring to find this? I guess Mac Demarco sampled Sekito back in 2014, an equally improbable proposition, but the song is nearly unchanged for its use by Quavo and Travis Scott.
From the Special Sound Series LPs (“The World II” was on the second of four), Sekito seems to take great pride in making music to showcase his instrument.
If Kanye really did make five beats a day for three summers, that’s less than half of the beats Viper made in one third of the time — 1,000 beats in three months. Among them was this certified classic, the title track for You’ll Cowards Don’t Even Smoke Crack (2008).
Drake decided to put Smiley on the map when he featured him in his instagram story. This kind of top-down highlighting of an artist rarely works out for them (see: ILoveMakonnen, Desiigner, among others) but hopping on a Smiley track is really the least Drake can do.
It would be a lie to say I understand what Rodeo means when he says “I bathe in blood, so I had to cop that bathing ape,” but it sure sounds good. I get it man, I have to cop Bathing Ape for opaque reasons all the time too. He’s got a great voice and carries this tune.
I tend to like when Uzi raps about clothing more than anything else, but when he raps about anime it’s pretty good too:
Used to watch that Sailor Moon
But I still feel like a goon
He’s also got good advice for your closet:
Geto Boys’ We Can’t Be Stopped (1991) is an unbelievable record full of songs that are both outrageous and thought provoking. “Fuck a War” is unique among the other songs and a different approach to the anti-war theme than early 80s punk and Japanese hardcore bands. Why do I even compare them? Well, there was that one time Framtid and Bushwick Bill played the same festival…
And Bill’s opening verse matches one’s expectations for an anti-war song:
But I ain't fightin' behind no goddamn oil
Against motherfuckas I don't know
Yo, Bush! I ain't your damn ho
The enemy is right here G, them foreigners never did shit me
All of those wasted lives
And only one or two get recognized
But what good is a medal when you're dead?
Tell Uncle Sam I said
But by the time we get to the end of the track, things get really interesting:
You're lucky that I ain't the president
'Cause I'll push the fuckin' button and get it over with
Fuck all that waitin' and procrastinatin'
And all that goddamn negotiatin'
Flyin' back and forth overseas
And havin' lunch and brunch with the motherfuckin' enemy
I'll aim one missile at Iraq
And blow that little piece of shit off the map
Yeah, I wouldn't give a fuck who dies
'Cause I'm tired of payin' these high ass gas prices
Not exactly an anti-colonial anthem, but worth considering the way different genres of music relate to issues of global war and domestic strife.
The Tony Shhnow album opener for Reflexions (2022) is a good sample of what you get with this fantastic record.
It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that I believe this to be one of music’s high-points, along with Kanye West’s “Last Call.” But you can only end a playlist with one ten minute song.
Paradox Newsletter is a reader-supported publication. To read the archive, join the commenting community, and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
Until next time.