My daughter walked into the room while I was looking up the Young Marquis in response to a Facebook friend's survey of favorite music albums of our teenaged years. Somebody reminded me of Rhino Records. So while she sat, remembering our younger family classics from "Constitutional Peasant" and "The Saga Begins" we fell upon Monty Python's Spam and Freddie Blassie's 'Pencil Neck Geek'. But the song to beat all songs and the weirdest of the weird, beyond Doctor Demento and Firesign Theater was Barnes & Barnes 'Fish Heads'. It turns out that not only did they cut the record, but they made a video.
Something about this video reminded me of the absurdity of the 70s Me Generation and that particular flavor of autonomy that contributed to the California lifestyle. You can't watch this without recalling that era of films like Repo Man and Eating Raoul. Not six months ago, the growing panic in American society of having a President Trump found some comfort in the idea of a planned resurrection of musical collaboration between Rage Against the Machine and Public Enemy. But I wonder if the artistic response of Americans eager to weigh in a more creative dissent will be as well constructed. I tend to think it will test new limits of absurdity. I foresee artistic absurdity as a political weapon. After all, not everyone can be Banksy.
There's a phrase in the Fish Heads song that goes.. "Roly-poly fish heads are never seen drinking cappuccino in Italian restaurants with Oriental women". In the 70s when I first heard that as a teenager it had a very high weird quotient to me. Of course they put that very lyric into the music to make you think of the absurdity of it all. But now in the Trump Era one would have to amp up the transgressiveness of a situation to make it adequately absurd enough to explode Trumpian heads. So that is what I expect in some kind of conventional way we are all familiar with. Something like "Muslim Syrian refugees are never seen walking casually through American malls, shaking hands with transgender security guards in wheelchairs".
So I'm curious to see what kind of boundaries transgressive 'arts' and expressionism will generate. After all, we've got as much Obama as it is possible to have. Clearly it was the Obamatude that elected him, not the Democratitude. And if all of those transgressive batteries have been charged after eight years delivering the triumphs of gay marriage, health insurance and legalization of marijuana, surely they must be primed in the face of the oncoming Trump to rage themselves into a new burst of freedom at the slightest hint of repression. I think the reaction will be absurd.
But will it be creatively absurd? Can it beat Fish Heads?
Aside from a Green Day's American Idiot, which I found brilliant. This video by Refused, 'The New Noise' is real art. Which is to say that I dig it.