"You make a lot of money working here man," the surly youth in front of me sarcastically asked the Jack In The Box attendant taking his order. The clerk grimaced and did not reply, his sour expression contrasting enormously with the happy faced "Jack" character who seemed to live in the upper left hand corner of his folded paper hat. Of course he didn't make much money here, he was working at fuckin' Jack In The Box! Why was this guy giving him grief? Empathic as I am, I felt his pain, and jumped in to aid him against this ruffian. "Hey," I growled out, jarring the youth with and shove in the shoulder. "Give him a break!" Then I pulled out my hand held, Israeli made, Uzi submachine gun and began firing at the youth. His body shook and trembled and hopped around in a sort of ritualistic dance as nine millimeter bullets scorched his body reducing him to a pile of bloody rags and organs in the corner of the restaurant. When I'd emptied my clip, the Jack In The Box manager came out, looked at the mess I'd made and said "Alright, who dropped the Sourdough Cheeseburgers?!?"
Okay, as I suppose you're guessing, most of that didn't happen. But the above paragraph, up to the part where I show any kind of backbone at all, is true. Basically I wandered into Jack in The Box at about two in the morning, just in time to see the rather harried night clerk being harassed by a couple of unruly scum of the "We listen to BioHazard and like it a lot" category. (I've devised a special hell for these sorts of "punks" ever since three of them tried to relieve me of my wallet some months back. It involves loads of Styrofoam box stuffers and bees. Lots of bees.)
But what gets me about clowns like this, is that these are the same filth that listen to Rage Against The Machine and claim to subscribe to the "working man/let's have a socialist revolution theory." Yet here they are belaboring the lowest order of blue collar scum (and I apply that term with the highest form of respect), the Jack in the Box attendant. The hypocrisy of the matter is overwhelming.
The whole thing reminded me of a similar situation that occurred some months ago. I'd been engaged in a philosophical discussion/debate with a few people at the local coffeehouse, when one them (a sort of computer/hippie/musician/progressive-leftist type) announced he was considering taking a job at Microsoft. Instantly, a friend of mine who knew this fellow better than I, pounced on the admission, querying, "doesn't that good against your whole political philosophy, Herb? (or whatever his fucking name was.) "Maybe," he replied coolly, "But I've been thinking lately, that's it's a lot easier to fuck shit up from the inside, you know?" Ohhhhhh… so THAT'S what it is. You're "fucking shit up from the inside." Gosh, I hope that fifty thousand dollar a year salary doesn't inconvenience all this "shit fucking up." Now how does this work exactly? Do you tool away, working on Word (version 37) for ten years and suddenly get the secret signal to begin smashing random hard drives? Or do you more subtly introduce a variety of inconsistencies and mechanical errors into all Microsoft products? (If that's the case, every Microsoft employee is already a closet anarchist.)
It's not like I haven't seen this sort of thing coming for a long time. When I was twenty, it seemed like 80 percent of the people around me had some grandiose plan to create some magical socialist utopia where everyone sat around reading Maximum Rock And Roll while listening to Public Enemy and John Coltrane. But now, as I near thirty, I'm watching the same people (or at least close facsimiles, those sort of scum are pretty interchangeable) starting to pursue "real" careers and looking on their revolutionary period as part of their crazy youth. It shouldn't be a surprise, after all how many 50 year old hippies do you see walking around anymore (If you live in Berkley, this question is not directed towards you.) Most of them cleaned up, got deloused, and went to work for Ben and Jerry's. The majority of people just seem incapable on consistently holding on to real set a values. In a roundabout way, I'll respect a 50 year old Aryan separist holding out for the return of Hitler, than some wishy-washy alterno-punk that spends his time trying to justify how his new suit and tie job is really furthering "the movement."
Hell, I'm the first to admit that life isn't all black and white. I'm sure there are quite a few beliefs I had a few years ago that I don't subscribe to now. But I can honestly say I disregarded them because I thought them through and decided that they were wrong, not because they suddenly became an inconvenience. For years I had retarded punkers telling me how superior "underground" culture was to the mainstream. Where'd it end up? With Henry Rollins doing Gap ads and Courtney Love next to Madonna on Vanity Fair. (On the other hand, Courtney recently did a spread (and I use the term in the "loosest" way possible) for The New Yorker that was pretty arousing.) Are they "fucking shit up?" Yeah, all the way to the bank. Course, I'll certainly admit that the only way that any subculture can really make a difference in society is by firmly entrenching itself into the mainstream, which is exactly what Henry and Courtney or even Madonna are doing. (Truthfully, Madonna's probably done more for modern feminism than the entire Riot Grrl movement, strictly on the basis that she knows how to play the media.) But for all the people who accused the various cultural icons I liked of selling out when they appeared in mainstream magazines and are now making "adjustments" to your personal philosophy because of people like Henry or Courtney… well, go eat bat-shit.
If I was to talk to the kids of today (and I'm sure they'd have a great interest in what I have to say) I would state this: Whatever philosophy you come up with, assume that when you are fifty you are going to have a cushy job and a house in the suburbs cuz' most of you will. So you better have a set of principles that accounts for this, otherwise you're going to look like one hell of a hypocrite when you announce, like dear old "Herb", that you're throwing aside all you're progressive politics to go work for Microsoft or some other big corporation. (Ironically, he didn't get the job.)