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Dance Band on the Titanic

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  • Pendragon
    PENDRAGON DAILY COMMENTARY No. 10 Dance Band on the Titanic When singer-songwriter Harry Chapin was killed in a car crash on New York s Long Island Expressway,
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 1, 2004


       Dance Band on the Titanic

      When singer-songwriter Harry Chapin was killed in a car crash on New York’s Long Island Expressway, I was just sad. He died on me, meaning that I was on air that day with my music broadcast, not my boss. I always wondered about his name—I thought it was of French origin, and pronounced it as a combination of chapeau and Molière’s Pathlin. I very much liked his music, took his song that had the refrain “I am the morning deejay/At W.O.L.D./Playing all the hits for you/Wherever you may be,” for a sound spot in my show. But he died under dubious circumstances. It was July 1981, the memory of John Lennon’s death still fresh, but I was not in America yet but in West Germany. And I was happy in my naivety and admiration for America, and played quite often another song from Harry Chapin, “Dance Band On The Titanic”. It had to do with society, that we are just like that dance band on the Titanic, trying to make merry and fool around while our ship is sinking and death overtaking us all. And the music, the music was extraordinary, with violins and big band, a harmonious, doleful sound. As if he knew he had not much time to live to tell us what he had to say. “We're the dance band on the Titanic/Nearer, My God, To Thee/Icebergs on the starboard bow…”

      If he were alive today, I am sure he would tell us more about that dance band on the Titanic. Just before his passing, he had expressed his concern over political trends in the U.S. to the Los Angeles Times, saying: “The real question is whether America is going to use Reagan as an excuse to forget about things it already knows it should stand up for. When David Stockman [Reagan's budget director] says to America that there's no such thing as an entitlement, it's giving us all an excuse to not feel guilty about [the poor] and just be selfish. And we know that's nonsense. Because we know that Nelson Rockefeller, when he was born, was entitled to $400 million and somebody else was entitled to brain damage because of malnutrition…. The scary thing about the current political situation is that it is allowing people to have a political excuse to go to sleep.”
      Almost idyllic words from "almost idyllic times." Our times, when former followers of Ronald Reagan defect to become a “Kerry Republican,” hoping against hope to save the situation with some desperate last stand, are so vastly different from normal exploitation-based inhumanity, and so much more resembling of what you had in the Third Reich in the mid-thirties, that there is simply no comparison. Bedtime-for-Bonzo’s disgusting dirty trick with Grenada, to divert attention from domestic social injustice, and even his deadly skullduggery with Iran-Contra, appear almost as acts of compassion. Of course, that is not entirely true—or rather, not true at all. What we do now is just a continuation of what we have done since we exist as a state. Continuous conquest. Permanent war. Somebody is always dangerous to us. Somebody is always there to attack us. But we prevent this, for two and a half centuries now, by attacking them before they could execute their devious plans. We took one bite after another from the planet. First we were content with destroying Mexico. Then we had to have Hawaii, the Philippines, Cuba. Then we declared that by native right, all of America, North and South, belongs to us. Now we simply went a step further and declared that the whole planet is ours. All who refuse to comply must be attacked. Either you are with us, or you are with the victims. 

      Domestically, we apply this principle to its logical consequence. No opposition to the fascist structure can be tolerated, not even some halfway neutral standpoint. Elections? Unashamed, we declare that there are no elections. In all those states fully under our control, the election results are in advance determined long since. We have achieved this by simple measures, still keeping up the appearance of democracy for the idiots. They still want to believe they are in a democracy. So we give them their panem et circenses of democratic voting. If it seems imperfect, then, we are very sorry, it is just human error. Some people bungled up. This is inevitable, there are just too many annoying cumberers who want to vote. Those newly registered are guilty, there are so many of them. They should not put such burden upon normal, decent fascists. So we just fob them off with a fully organized Potemkin election. You know those fake villages made of papier-mâché showed off by an officer named Potemkin to the Tsarina Catherine the Great, to make her think she saw real villages where there were none.  

      A Potemkin election is of course more elaborate than a Potemkin village. You need Potemkin computers. They just look like computers but are not. You can put in anything—results are pre-determined. They are connected to the Potemkin voter registration centers through Potemkin cables that break down as often as is necessary to prevent obnoxious ones from voting. Then we have Potemkin voter registration, meaning that we make people believe they are registered but they are not. We send out Potemkin registration teams, offering to people registration at supermarkets, gas stations, and so forth; if they registered with the wrong party, their registration forms are shredded. We also build Potemkin polling stations, which only look like polling stations but they aren’t. You cannot vote there. First, there is only one polling station for every one million people. But to make sure there are no glitches, we do road construction on election day, closing down every access road to the polling stations to keep people out. For the eventuality that some fanatics who stop at nothing and start walking to polling stations one month previous manage to arrive on time, we have masses of hired thugs—code-named “vote checkers”—ready to scare the hell out of them and chase them out of the polling sites before they could even think of casting a ballot. Finally, we make use of the Potemkin legal system by hiring an army of lawyers—a couple of hundred thousand of them to make sure—to challenge any decision in our disfavor. We also agreed to a Potemkin double-checking of votes in Florida. Because those lunatic dreamers of democracy managed to prevent us from preventing a recounting of computer votes, we now made sure a compromise was reached. A Potemkin compromise, of course, meaning that recounting is permitted, but no alteration of the original Potemkin computer results. If recounting of ballots shows results different from that of the computer, they must be dismissed. 

      Meanwhile we continue our war on the planet which is ours. We nuke everyone resisting us. We do depleted uranium irradiating, on the Balkans, in Afghanistan, in Iraq. We will do more. Iran, North Korea, tomorrow China, Russia. We finance the war by a real budget deficit of X trillion dollars. As much it takes, doesn’t matter. We have a great number of dead and crippled soldiers—much more than officially admitted—but that doesn’t matter either. 

      We make them all sit back and laugh with us on that Titanic. If it turns into a Battleship Potemkin before it sinks, with sailors doing a mutiny because of maggots in their food, that doesn’t matter either. We just shoot and gas and bomb them to hell while we go to heaven in a rapture. 


      Asaph Pendragon



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