Anarchy for Me, Not for Thee (Jello Biafra)
- The following, from National Review, is what you'd
expect from such a source.
Most of the stuff on Biafra can be found at:
5/19/00 12:45 p.m.
Anarchy For Me, Not For Thee
In politics, there's always room for Jello.
By Brandon Bosworth, an editor with The American
Third-party politics are often, by nature, goofy. A
clear case in point would be what is perhaps the most
successful third party in America today: the Reform
Party. What could be goofier then a party in which
the two most visible veterans are a bald, giant
ex-wrestler and a folksy, paranoid leprechaun with a
personal pot of gold?
Well, how about a party that is considering nominating
a former punk rocker and accused porn peddler [!] who
shares his name with a hospital dessert staple and an
African nation famous for barbarity and famine?
The party in question is the Green Party, whose candidate
for President in 2000 may be Mr. Jello Biafra. Chances
are he won't get that far. The front-runner is returning
nominee Ralph Nader, who will probably secure the
(non-)coveted nomination. Even Biafra plans on voting for
him. The very thought of another Nader presidential bid,
no matter how futile and quixotic such a bid may be,
cannot help but give a conservative the creeps. Heaven
forbid, someday the Greens may get 5 percent of the vote
and receive matching funds! But no matter how radical Mr.
Public Interest may seem, he is downright sensible in
comparison to the aforementioned Jello Biafra.
Biafra, whose real name is Eric Boucher, first gained
notoriety in the late '70s as lead singer and lyricist
in the critically lauded hard-core punk band, the Dead
Kennedys. His fame quickly expanded beyond musical
circles when he ran for mayor of San Francisco in 1979.
Though his campaign started as something of a joke, he
eventually garnered enough votes to come in fourth in a
ten-candidate race. Biafra's platform included the
banning of automobiles and legalized squatting in vacant
Apparently for Jello there's always room for politics.
Ronald Reagan became a favored target in the '80s. In
1983, the Dead Kennedys headlined a "Rock Against Reagan"
concert on the mall in the nation's capital. The
following year, Biafra staged protests in front of the
Republican convention in Dallas, shouting "f**k off and
die!" to bewildered conventioneers.
However, Biafra's antics at the Democratic convention
were equally high-minded. He and his bandmates took the
stage wearing KKK hoods, which they removed to reveal
Reagan masks worn underneath. The point seems to be that
Biafra didn't really care for Reagan, perhaps because
the president preferred jellybeans to Jello. He
apparently has greater respect for Reagan's old nemesis,
the Ayatollah Khomeini, whom he occasionally quotes,
specifically the line "All Western countries are bad.
Nothing but evil comes from them."
Meanwhile, Biafra continued to work in the music biz.
His record label, Alternative Tentacles, released albums
by bands such as the B**thole Surfers and the Crucif**ks.
[That's the Butthole Surfers and the Crucifucks, kids. --
DC] In 1986 his own band produced an album called
"Frankenchrist," which featured a cover painting [nope,
the cover was a photo of some shriners in their funny
little cars. The Giger paining was on a poster enclosed
with the record. -- DC] by H. R. Giger depicting erect
penises entering vaginal-like orifices. Soon thereafter
Biafra found himself charged with the crime of
"Distribution of Harmful Matter to Minors." The charges
were later dropped [No, they weren't: the judge declared
a mistrial. -- DC], and Jello became a First Amendment
icon along with such esteemed individuals as Larry
Flynt and Luther Campbell (of rap group 2 Live Crew)
among First Amendment idolaters. In his new role he
found himself in demand on the talk-show circuit,
appearing on Crossfire and Donahue, and sparring with
Tipper Gore on Oprah.
In the '90s, Biafra has continued his musical career,
recording charming ditties such as "Will the Fetus be
Aborted?" and contributing a couple of songs to the
soundtrack of Oliver Stone's film Natural-Born Killers.
He has also ventured into the realm of the terminally
egotistical: the spoken-word tour and album.
The ultimate hope of the self-important is that
eventually, others will think they are important too.
Apparently it works. Some members of the New York Green
party drafted Biafra into running as a candidate for
President. Green vice chairman Craig Seeman believes
Biafra "will speak to a different audience then Nader
Jello has sprung into the race with all the bounce of
his dessert namesake. He has selected cop-killer Mumia
Abu-Jamal [that Mumia is guilty is obviously unquestionable,
despite all the irregularities of the trial. -- DC] as his
running mate. And he has concocted a platform that is
simple and old-fashioned in a New Left/Maoist sort of way.
For starters, he would abolish the military, DEA, CIA, and
all nuclear weapons. But how about national security? the
curious voter might ask. Of course, the average voter
probably doesn't realize, as Jello does, that "our biggest
national security threat is the environmental destruction
of our planet."
Not one to believe people have the right to freely exchange
goods and services, Biafra would have the U. S. withdraw
from the WTO and NAFTA [and what does the establishment of
these institutions for corporate rule have to do with free
exchange of goods and services? -- DC], as well as establish
a "maximum wage" for all Americans, capping income at
$100,000 annually [this is I think is a bad idea. --DC]. He
states, "We don't need a flat tax, but a flattening tax, to
truly level the playing field." Income exceeding Jello's
mandatory limit would be used for "payback--free health
care, free education, free transportation, (including air
travel), and more." Besides, "what does more damage to the
planet, drug addiction or wealth addiction?"
For those who fret over the political and economic literacy
of the average citizen, they can take great solace from the
fact that even the studio audience of Politically Incorrect
booed Biafra when he proposed this plan.
The very much alive Dead Kennedy's other ideas include citizen
election of police officers (surely to be a concept gang lords
everywhere would love) [Why would gang lords love this? -- DC],
scrapping the Constitution [I can find this nowhere in any of
Biafra's statements. --DC] and establishing Parliamentary rule,
lowering the voting age to five, and eradicating SUVs. Some
took this as a sign Biafra was mellowing, because he had
campaigned on banning automobiles entirely when he ran for
mayor of San Francisco. Biafra also feels schools should have
"mandatory classes on parenting and offer drug and sex
education, using actual drugs and sex in class." Oh yes, then
there is re-education, namely his idea to have children of
the "rich" (a worrisome bracket considering his 100k maximum
wage) "taken away and locked in orphanages" so they can "have
some empathy for real people by the time they were adults."
Basically Biafra's platform would create, not a dictatorship
of the proletariat, but a dictatorship of the hippies. [! --DC]
This is very strange to punks and ex-punks like myself who
have slightly different ideas of what the whole movement was
about. Early punks hated hippies, which is why they cut their
hair short and spiky. Long-hair was for the granola crowd, as
was facial hair. The Ramones, a band that supposedly greatly
influenced the Dead Kennedys, were professed Reaganites,
though they were unsure if the Gipper was "conservative
enough." [I recall that the Ramones endorsed Reagan, but the
song "Bonzo Goes to Bittburg" does not show them well pleased
with him. --DC] Legendary punk singer John Lydon (aka Johnny
Rotten), of the Sex Pistols and PiL, sang songs attacking
abortion, promiscuity, and the welfare state, yet defended
(gasp!) making money. While Biafra chums up with thugs like
Abu-Jamal, Lydon refused his old manager's request to sing
with convicted train robber Ronnie Biggs, as it offended his
sense of morality [Factual? -- DC]. Not to say Jello has no
sense of morality; it's just that he elevates murderers to
saintly status and demands that SUV drivers be put in camps.
[Where? -- DC]
How about the punk idea of anarchy? Biafra states, "I am an
anarchist in my personal life," but "we have not evolved
enough as a species to make anarchy work in society itself."
[Omitted: "I try to live my life in a way that I don't need
cops or baby-sitters to keep me from infringing on others."]
To help those not as evolved as he, Biafra feels government
is still needed to "transfer the wealth from those who have
too much to those who have too little" and keep "territorial
humans from screwing over and killing each other." So until
we all rise to the level of Uber-Jello, we will have to wait
for anarchy and make do with totalitarianism.
Luckily, we will likely never see a President (or Chairman)
Biafra. Even in New York, the very state that nominated him,
Biafra only got about 13 percent of the Green vote. Nader
will get the Green Party nomination, since the Greens are
crazy, not stupid. (That assertion is open to debate.) Nader
will lose the general election, winning mostly the votes of
assorted hairy-faced men and hairy-legged women, and perhaps
a few Fresh Fields shoppers.
As for Jello, as long as there are rebellious, suburban
college kids with "Mao More Then Ever!" T-shirts in the
world, there will always be someone willing to shell out
the bucks to hear his "enlightened" political commentary.
- Thanks for sending in the article on Green Jello.
I really appreciated your parenthetical comments,
BTW, both because they corrected errors in the
article and also because they were worthwhile in
their own right. Plus witty.
John Fast <caliban@...> <http://www.freedomspace.net/~caliban>
ENTJ/1w2 Finger me for GURPS, Geek, and Magic Codes.
"Raise consciousness, not taxes."