Yesterday I finished reading Gary Indiana’s The Schwarzenegger Syndrome: Politics and Celebrity in the Age of Contempt. And began Karla Jay’s Tales of the Lavender Menace: A Memoir of Liberation

The Indiana book is bilious and excellent – I’ll be quoting a couple of things from it in future posts. While it is an examination of AS’s gubenatorial campaign, it is also about the current calamatous state of Americal political culture, news reporting and corporate strong arming. all of which played a part in both the Gray Davis recall and Arnold’s ascension.

Fans of dispassionate argument will not be happy with this book: hyperbole abounds, which is in part the point, since much of what passes for “balanced discussion” these days is really an elaborate shell game to keep people from noticing the real issue at stake: how soul-sucking our society has become. I’m very happy that Indiana was willing to go all Sex Pistols on the crap-meisters in power. He’s never going to be offered any sort of typical pundit job, so he has nothing to lose by really attacking those custodians of access and exposure.

I turned to the Jay as a way of filling in some history that I’m a little shakey on, and also to remind myself that there have been times when people were able to take action against a social system that attacked the validity of their lives. I’m only a couple of chapters into it, but the image of the members of WITCH (Women’s International Terrorist Conspiracy from Hell) dressing as sorceresses and hexing the New York Stock Exchange on Halloween in 1968 is already doing my heart good.


  1. “go all Sex Pistols on the crap-meisters in power”

    please explain this statement. you make it sound like he threw up on someone.

  2. The information contained in the Jay is enlightening, though I’m not a fan of her narrative style.

    Has called you today? If not, please call me before 5.

  3. He exibits the same attitude towards his subject as the SPs did when they wrote

    God Save The Queen
    She ain’t no human being

    While there is a lot of intersting factual matter in the book, he makes no pretense keep ing the argument civilized.

  4. I voted for Mary Carey….and damn proud of it. She would never have fucked the state like Arnold is doing. And she would have never brought in a Kennedy by her side- or more like Skeletor.

  5. Steal this memory

    The WITCH action reminds me of Abbie Hoffman’s 1967 New York Stock Exchange demo/performance piece when he and fellow Yippies tossed cash from the balcony to the scrambling traders below.

    Which reminds me of a minor revolutionary mentioned disapprovingly in Trotsky’s History of the Russian Revolution*, whose bizarre antics and tactics made him sound like an early prototype of Abbie Hoffman, and certainly made him sound more interesting than Trotsky.

    (* I read it many, many years ago, when I still had an attention span. The name of the minor revolutionary escapes me, lost to the ice axe of my senility.)

    [And speaking of forgetful, I forgot to ask when I saw you last week if you got the Peter Cusak CD’s I sent you last month.]

  6. thanks for the info on the karla jay book. it sounds like fun and i’ve added it to my wishlist.

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