Joan Jett

Our biggest problem as a culture is simple; we allow attitude to win every time.

Can’t defend your point of view properly? Cop an attitude. Can’t get what you want? Cop an attitude. If you have more pride than shame, it’s easy. Tell everyone to shut up. No authority will hinder you. You’ll win by default.

See that first panel? That’s a playground pal exposing me to the rebellious joys of Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock ‘N Roll”, sometime in the early 1980s. I knew several kids who did this; walked around with a tinny Panasonic tape deck, playing music for the benefit of sharing with others. No one complained because the volume wasn’t ear-splittingly loud. This was how I discovered Joan Jett, Def Leppard, and Van Halen.

Now let’s talk about public transportation in 2019.

If I’m in a train car with 30 people, 29 of them are wearing earbuds with their phone cranked up so loud I get to hear the nerve-shredding tic-tic-tic-tictictic- tic-tic-tic, like the ticking of a bomb, but endless. When the voice recording drones over the train speakers, informing all passengers that listening to music without headphones is illegal, 29 people crank their music up LOUDER. They bob their sunglassed heads like palsy victims. Not one of them is playing their music to share it; it’s not worth sharing. It’s for blocking the world out. 

I tell you this as a grown man who has studied music in countless forms since I was a toddler. Their music is NEVER GOOD.

Except in this instance. Spock was still in the right, though.

I have amassed a working knowledge of Earth music over the past 40+ years, partly for personal enrichment, partly for the courting of females. I talk about music every day with friends. I listen to music every day; almost never the same thing consecutively. If I have something stuck in my head when I wake up in the morning, I try to counter it with music that sounds drastically different. I am well-attuned to the mood-altering properties of music, and cautious not to play songs that will lead me to an emotional dead end. Music is like oxygen. When it’s bad, I choke.

If you plug your ears with headphones, and crank up some tone-deaf autotuned ghetto garbage so loud that everyone else on the bus can still hear it, you’re an obnoxious ignoramus, and you have no taste. You have no indoor voice because you’ve destroyed your hearing; you have to scream to hear yourself. You’re committed to what the Hare Krishna call the “mode of ignorance”. That’s why everyone puts up with your shit; because it’s not worth the trouble to call you on it.

That’s not acceptance. That’s merely tolerance.

Anyway, obviously, public transportation sucks. That doesn’t change the fact that every time I use it in certain locations, some asswipe is sucking down butts directly beneath the big NO SMOKING sign. The transit authority encourages you to load an app on your phone so you can tattle on these reeking fiends, and never confront anyone directly. Which I would never do in the first place. I would only receive attitude in return, and probably also assault. I’d love to tell you how I really feel about smokers, but heh, you know. The attitude thing. No thanks.

If you have a car or a home, hopefully it’s built thickly enough to block out the loud music blasting out of the cars and homes of obnoxious assholes, at all hours. When did this become normalized, and why? Because the people doing it are too obnoxious to deal with. It’s not worth the time. Recently I kicked a hole in my bedroom wall after my shitbird neighbors woke me up for the fifth time at 2 am, with their incessant hammering. You think I’m gonna take my life in my hands by knocking on their door and asking them to be quiet, however politely, even though I’m justified in slumbering at two in the morning? Fuck that. I just pray to God they’re not stupid enough to burn the apartment complex down, whatever they’re doing.

You wanna talk “microaggressions”? I’d love to enjoy 24 hours without anyone scowling at me, being obnoxious around me, talking shit to me, or giving me attitude. I’d love to take a walk in the city I love so much and not be assaulted by cigarette smoke, loud shitty music, or rotten attitudes. I’d love to randomly hear new sounds that excite and intrigue me, instead of being reminded that the average teenager knows as much about music appreciation as they do politics or history. (Literally nothing.)

We live in the world that we do because we’re not really allowed to ridicule people. Even when they deserve ridicule. The problem is, ridicule is the only thing besides violence that solves obnoxious behaviors. So when you remove all the weapons needed to combat something, that something wins. Thus, the assholes won. We’re not even allowed to make fun of people who earn ridicule.

This is how annoying life is in 2019. Just imagine what it’s gonna be like in 2029, or even 2024, with all the aberrant behaviors we tolerate now. Almost everyone will be obnoxious and loud. Almost everyone will be constantly bitching and whining about things that don’t matter. It’s gonna smell worse, sound worse and be overall shittier and stupider. And some of us have to wake up every morning and act like that’s worth living for.

Some of us have to wake up every morning and try to forget how egregious your attitude has become, and try to work around your thousands of stated problems. Some of us have to focus great mental energies just to function around you. Some of us would rather blow our brains out than hear a word out of your mouth. That’s how bad it is. Your incessant carrying-on about every single fucking thing in the whore media, your never-ending haranguing about racism and sexism and thisism and thatism.

You just couldn’t stop yourself.

I have experienced a creative blockage for months because I have lost sight of the reason to create work in the first place. I feel as though if I publish personal ideas, they will be used against me. I have lost all desire to create new work, and I can only manage it when there’s money involved. I spend long periods catatonic in bed. When every single one of my idols is openly shat upon on-line, what the fuck am I doing? What is the point?

The point is, I can’t stop myself either.

When I am dead, then the obnoxious assholes will have won. Until then; fuck ’em. I possess the following advantages:

  1. Marketable artistic skill and ability
  2. Legitimate and demonstrable talent
  3. A severe allergy to hypocrites and phonies
  4. A priceless and encyclopedic knowledge of popular culture spanning from the late 1800s to the present
  5. A malleable yet rebellious sense of humor
  6. I am a literal native American.

That means I’m right. They’re wrong. If I give you my opinion on something I know about, my opinion is considered, informed, and tailored to what I believe you specifically can handle. I’m up every morning absorbing as much information as I can stand, before I even deal with other people. Every day I do my best to accomplish something solid towards the advancement of a goal. Even if I’m sick, hurting, or fantasizing about mass murder. Even if I’m broke (results may actually vary).

And almost every day I have to give myself the above pep talk, to keep from giving in to the obnoxious assholes. There will always be more of them than me. That means nothing. All it means is more material. As they say, eat shit: 30,000,000,000 flies can’t be wrong.

Do you want to be loved unconditionally? Then get a dog, or have kids and raise them properly. I don’t want to do either of those, but I still desire unconditional love, so I try to maintain a humorous and realistic attitude about the world around me. Everything worthwhile requires hard work and faith. This includes unconditional love, or love of any kind.

If you’re looking for real love and respect on the Internet, you will forever be unfulfilled. Not only that, but you’re setting unfinished versions of yourself in digital amber, time-stamped. Theoretically an embarrassing point in your existence will live on forever. Without fail, if you present yourself as-is to the World Wide Web, you will be judged and found wanting. That’s the way it is. Everyone will zero in on your flaws, merely because the opportunity exists to do so.

All I’m saying is be realistic about the influence of the web and social media upon your life. If it hurts, stop doing it. Don’t worry about why everyone else is doing it and you aren’t. It might be because they’re all obnoxious, shit-eating assholes.

Ever wonder why Joan Jett got plastic surgery, when she was gorgeous and didn’t remotely need it? Now you know.

The Runaways (1976), left to right: Lita Ford, Jett, Cherie Currie, Jackie Fox, Sandy West.

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Filed under Bad Influences, Comix Classic & Current, Don't Know Don't Care, Girls of BIUL, Nostalgic Obsessions, Thousand Listen Club