The Culture Bunker

I see unspeakable vulgarity

institutionalized mediocrity

infinite tragedy

Rise up little souls—join the doomed army

Fight the good fight—wage the

unwinnable war

—Neil Hannon

"Middle Class Heroes"

And so, as America stares into the face of a terrible evil, there is only one thing we can do . . . keep on a-mocking! Everyone from Graydon Carter to The Onion to is predicting the Death of Irony. The truth is, we've always been anti-ironists—believe it or don't, but every word you've ever read in this here column has been 100 percent sincere. Besides, even in a world with no World Trade Center, some things actually are ironic—for example, those "USA" caps the White House recently ordered being manufactured by New Era, a company that has been accused of removing "Made In Bangladesh" tags from certain products. While some say this just isn't "the right time" for certain kinds of humor (by which they mean our kind of humor), it seems to us the troubles in Macedonia didn't stop things like Tom and Nicole's divorce from being hilarious. Millions of Americans living without health care didn't stop radio stations from playing "99 Luftballons" or "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath." So go ahead, laugh it up. The line between "inappropriate" expression and illegal expression is one we'd rather not see the country walk, at least not under a Republican President. While it might be funny to think that some radio station isn't gonna play "Bennie and the Jets" or "Imagine," silencing Rage Against the Machine is about politics, not the boundaries of good taste (had they done it a month ago, maybe . . . but now?).

And yeah, we sure as hell hate being placed in a position where we have to defend the likes of Rage, to say nothing of Bill Maher. Woe be unto the society whose most prominent dissidents are members of the New York Rangers and the Backstreet Boys.

So this whole standing-behind-the-"president" business? Not us! He's still the same asspipe he was on Sept, 10, and we here at the CB had long predicted his desire to finish the job his Daddy f'd up. When Karl Rove announced that Air Force One and the White House were targets, the scent of spin wafted over America. This only serves to remind us that this is an administration whose first priority above all others is to get re-elected. It sucks that GWB has been legitimized by this—whither Al?—but the good news is, our candidate is looking like he's got a much better shot than he did a couple of weeks back. Sen. John Kerry in '04!

As is our wont, we must again take issue with guys named Tom. In this case, we direct our ire toward Messrs. Brokaw and Hanks, both of whom have spent the past couple of years beating a war drum (to the tune of much jingle in their pockets). This whole "Greatest Generation" concept is destined to get us into trouble, from the New York Post's nostalgic WAR! headline (wasn't 1941 wonderful?) to Baby Boom horses' asses like Mike Barnicle spouting nonsense about how we've been bombed back into a Eisenhoweresque Golden Age of patriotism and neighborliness. Not to mention, repression and racism.

We had been planning to write about that other tragedy that struck New York a few weeks back . . . that is, the MTV Awards. Then we figured we'd save the material for our anti-Tribute to Heroes rant. But much to our surprise, we really dug the telethon.

Still we're kinda wondering, when is the appropriate moment to stop raising money off this tragedy? Aren't stem-cell researchers and homeless people and AIDS babies still gonna need a little dough? With the incredible amount of lucre being generated to help the fire fighters' families —and believe you us, we sure as shit support those brave bastards—every living member of the NYFD could wear a monocle and drive around in a solid gold Rolls-Royce. And what about the cops? They're getting a piece of the charity action, but none of the heroic kudos. Boy, you shoot a few unarmed people and when you finally do some good, no one appreciates it.

Our parting thoughts:

Fuck Paul Simon in his cakehole for not calling Art to come down and sing "Bridge Over Troubled Water." You might've written the tune, Paul, but it's Art's song and you f'n know it.

The idea of Aaron Sorkin putting a terrorist plotline into his West Wing parallel universe just stinks—stinks!-- of exploitation.

And finally, we just wanna know, what does Thom Yorke think of all this? Oh wait, he's too busy slapping together an eight-song live disc that (according to Billboard) "will be sold as a full-length CD."

In the immortal words of the Frugal Gourmet, we bid you peace.

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