Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World (Rezolution Pictures)
“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” ― Upton Sinclair
Some chipper go-getter types, reportedly, have had wonderfully gratifying early educational experiences, they seem to remember fondly. They are most often, obedient Ken & Barbie yearbook committee types with prominent last names, from bigass two storey homes nestled behind many old trees, and have nice cursive handwriting and strong math skills, own a lot of golf shirts in at least 31 various shades of Baskin Robbins, dutifully participate in sports, roller-skate, cheer-lead, earned many merit badges, and have already memorized the entire big bamboozle bullshit whitewash Murkkkan history that photo-shops all the hard and painful facts about this violent blood soaked empire settler colony that was built on the genocide of natives with the labor of slaves.
They don't teach us anything of value; to learn any useful skills, one has to take out big $100,000 loans, ya know? We are all obliged, from day one, to pledge allegiance to the phoney Stars and Stripes brand myth about religious freedom and a free press and recite the brazen lies about Columbus discovering the continent and the pilgrims seeking liberty and lovingly sharing with the natives, George Washington could not tell a lie, Honest Abe freed the slaves, Martin Luther King Junior had a dream, jellybean eating Ronald Reagan tore down the wall and made it morning in Amerikkka, and at last, the suave and dashing Obama was elected President, so now, it is supposedly a post-racial country, and cable watchers will tell you Obama ended torture and stopped the wars and repealed the Patriot Act and NSA spying and prosecuted the white collar criminals who crashed the economy and we all lived happily ever after in cozy gentrification, Whole Foods prosperity bubbles.
We have arrived in the age oft he hipster oppressor. Diabolical. Those middle class, middle aged, middle of the road, soft in the...middle Amerikkkans get their obligatory diplomas and accompanying debt, that requires they maintain those prestigious higher paying jobs and perpetuate the centuries old falsehoods and injustices.
It's easy to fool kids, particularly, if you corral 'em into bogus boot-camp indoctrination centers and make 'em wear uniforms and repeat big lies all day and manufacture a fake continuity with bells and cells and a reassuring tall tale about truth and justice and apple pie in cities of gold.
That is why the settlers and slave-owners used to herd Indian kids into honky bullshit schools to fill them up with Biblical brimstone punishment fears, and disconnect them from their true cultural heritage, tribal garb, religious ceremonies, respect for nature, their own language, music and dancing, ancient know-how and survival skills. That is why racist old men still ban words like diversity. They want everybody seig heiling in golf shirts, dumbed down, and under their command. Most grow up believing all these dishonest mythologies rammed into our heads by the system, and stand for the national anthem and think it's okay to bomb Libya and Syria, and poison people's water even in this so called homeland, and do nothing to rescue people without roofs in Puerto Rico....as long as we have tickets to see the new "Star Wars", ya know?
Other kids are just born different, think differently, ask questions, and have different experiences. It is always dangerous to stand out. Most of us learned at a young age how risky it is to ever rock the boat-you can't make waves, or ask questions, have your own style, or date out of your class, without stupidly brutal repercussions from the wrestling team, or aging sports-bar stormtrooper squads, who wear the blue and brown and work for the clampdown. Once a kid is identified as different, they are automatically on double secret probation, and the countdown begins. Especially, if they ever question the dominant narrative of the title holding authority havers. Every aspect of white man culture is based on lies, and heavily militarized, and your upper classmen have a zero tolerance policy for non compliance. They don't like no back-lip.
Our schools have been fucked up for a long time with an emphasis on sports patriotism, blind loyalty to uniforms, Nike and I-Phone owner consumerist conformity. The honky establishment is still using the same old strategies of displacement and division, criminalizing the poor, and cutting people off from their own traditions, only now, they call it gentrification. They are teaching people to obey, and not much else-and the believers in the system are a goose-stepping cult of petty, Judas goat, see something/say something, rat-fink, rule mongers, looking to make a bust.
All the TV shows on cable are glorifying border agents and alphabet gangs-swat teams and DEA agents bashing down people's doors, everybody wants to be a gestapo cop. Cops never go to jail for murdering unarmed citizens, we see this almost every day. People of color and other marginalized groups have been soulfully, earnestly, testifying for generations about the atrocities and injustices committed by the apple polishers and uniform wearers, but white folks never listen, until it abruptly starts happening to them, when their own loved ones get burned by the murderous injustice system, corrupt medical establishment, or the ruthless land barons, who gleefully evict and foreclose on anyone who can't keep up with their relentless ransoms, only THEN, do they realize Russell Means was right when he welcomed the white working class to the reservation, this is a plantation nation. The middle management corrections types are waiting like snakes in the grass, TMZ sensationalists, looking to manufacture a scandal, catch you alone in an unguarded moment, ratpack on some unarmed suspect IDF style, you are all under surveillance.
Step outta line and there will be no backstage pass, or special laminate that gets you into the air-conditioned photo-ops with the free champagne and fancy cheeses, once they put the little black mark on your permanent record , the big X, it's a matter of time, until they find a way to expel, suspend, evict, or otherwise, vote you off the island, "you're fired", the tiny tyrants all wanna be Little Donald Trumps.
I know kids who were shoved into the conformity meat grinder, who were written up for insubordination, paddled, grabbed, verbally abused, bruised and beaten by the authorities, and labelled and detained and put in solitary confinement for weeks at a time, and punished ceaselessly for years on end for the smallest of dress code violations in the new wave era, or for questioning some fat cat's completely outta proportion executive class power trip. I know someone who was put on juvenile probation and eventually incarcerated back in the eighties for drawing punk logos in the back of his history book. it's gotten much worse, since then. It's all no tolerance since the 9/11 op used to eviscerate the Bill Of Rights. Zero tolerance. Comply or die. As Heidi Klum says, "One day, you are in , and the next you are OUT."
It's like that at the schools, the churches, the sports teams, the boy scouts, the frat houses, the sensitivity safe-spaces, the big-boxes, the warehouses, the minimum wage pizza jobs, where you are drug-tested for minimum wage, every remaining slave industry revolves around some clip-on tied cop keeping his boot on the peasants. Ambulances standby at Amazon warehouses because the workers pass out in the rigid, punishing, sweat-shop conditions. There are no circles of friends here, just pyramid schemes of power. ESPECIALLY in the rich kid music scenes, anything to do with entertainment or consolidated media-from nightclubs, to hipster boutiques, radio, and entertainment weeklies.
Everybody's got these crazy honkified initiation rites, a casting couch, loyalty oaths and hazing rituals. It's fucked up how many people think this is okay, or pretend not to notice. It starts earlier and earlier, too-the whole prison to pipeline behavior modification treatment. Nobody gets it, the carrot and stick. Of course you are expected to like the cop who gives you the cigarette, (Democrats) better than the one who hit you with his nightstick, (Republicans) but they both work for the same exact system (Oligarchy) that wants to make an example of you, single you out for punishment, neutralize, disrupt, incarcerate, blacklist, or delegitimize you, if you ever break from the official script in a way that might improve somebody's life, or have any positive, or lasting, or meaningful, consciousness raising ripples.
Let's say a loudmouthed child insults a high paid administrator, the administrator can't get over it. The administrators's assistant puts child under heavy manners, extra scrutiny, starts documenting every micro infraction, collecting evidence against him. When they pull the clipboards out, it's like when the cops put on their leather gloves to manhandle the house-less huddling under an awning at the farmer's market. It's a signal that shit is about to go South. Kid's parents are called everyday with new reports of escalated allegations, asked to come in to hear lengthy, detailed litany/riot act of alleged transgressions. Parent is treated like Pac-Man ghost, all the child's former advocates are told to get in line behind the powerful authority figure, they all wear these sadly transparent chains of command.
Here comes paperwork and insincerity, they all act like robots, they have it down to a science. Clearly, they have done this whole dance many, many times before. They all know the script by heart, it comes easily to them. Auto-pilots. Drones. Any teacher who tries to buck the system or "make a difference" will be severely punished, penalized, peer pressured, or drummed out for embarrassing, or threatening the delicate egos of people at the top, whose only functions are to A) avoid law-suits B) demand "respect". If you went to college to become a high paid administrator, you should have the leadership strength and integrity to easily endure a petty remark from a child, without going on the warpath. That's why they are paid the big bucks, right?
But, no. The plugged-in, privileged manager classers do not recognize any obligations to lower ranking human beings, they are always looking up to their superiors, they don't even think they are being adequately paid, yet-not compared to the next level bosses, so they only concern themselves with acquiring more money, more authority, more property, more status, more titles, more reputation, more turf, more land, more, more, more. They think it is their manifest destiny, to be the big boss. That is their whole trip. Bossing.
Strangely, it's never enough-they all wanna be the Mister Burns pharaoh, winner takes all, in the penthouse suite at the top of the hill, but they remain ungratified no matter how many young souls they break, no matter how many underlings they "discipline", no matter how many people they fire, or how much useless shit they have in accrued in big piles, back home in the ivory tower of their McMansion. People hold born rich Taylor Swift up as some kind of role model for young girls, I don't get that. The white people music has never been so dumb. This is the kind of shit they want our children listening to.
There are the powerful, and the powerless. The rulers and the ruled. The haves and have-nots. The powerful go to Ibiza to do drugs on the beach, the powerless, go to jail, or war for college tuition, or are exiled to walk around outside in the cold, wet, savage elements. Everything's a hierarchy with some greedy bastard at the top with too much cologne and a pinky ring, controlling the channel changer. It's the same in local music scenes, a hierarchy emerges based on whoever's Dad has the most money, and buys them a recording studio, and some rental properties-ya know? Someone inherits a bar, or a record store, hires some oafish jock enforcers, starts hiring and firing people, excluding those who threaten, or challenge, or defy their authority. The richest stands around and brags and sloppily pours drinks and chops out lines for those he likes, removes those he doesn't. It ain't art. Reward and punishment, carrot or stick, the lowest common denominator is rewarded for uncritically carrying out orders.
I've seen it my whole life, so while my middle class former peers determinedly dispute the existence of a rigged system, doubt that Cointelpro programs have always monitored and targeted the Black Panthers, or American Indian Movement, or United Slaves, or Yippies, or Diggers, or Brown Berets, or Wobblies, and anti-war activists, or that both the swanky Obama administration and ham-fisted Trump bunch continue those severely undemocratic policies of profiling Occupy Wall Street or Black Lives Matters activists, because Snopes says there is "no such thing as conspiracies", just occasional human error, or oopsy-daisy unintentional government oversight, I know that shit is upside down here, Bizarro world, the fix is in. Integrity gets buried, ass kissing weasels head straight to the boardroom.
The petition signing people in the middle who watch Rachel Maddow need to believe there is some kind of fairness in the land. There ain't, though. I recognize it's because they are invested in that crooked system, themselves, we've all been lied to our whole lives, and who wants to acknowledge their own complicity in totally corrupt systems of willlful deception and evil oppression? Every other day, there are innocent bodies laying in the streets, so some asshole's daughter can buy another $10,000 purse and safely swan around our old neighborhoods.
It's fucked. They all want to enjoy the privileges of membership-the drugs and cushy jobs, high salaries and special parking spaces...AND collect KISS lunchboxes and attend festivals and burn sage and pay lip service to liking hip-hop. They think of themselves as "cool" authority figures. They are see-no-evil models of efficiency. The trains on time people are always skeptical when a Buffy St. Marie or Tupac Shakur, or Lenny Bruce, or Johnny Cash, or Abbie Hoffman, or Prince start blowing whistles about the corrupt machinery always destroying anyone with any heart or sincerity.
It is never an accident when talented people speaking truth are silenced by the powers that be. OF COURSE(!) Buffy St. Marie was blacklisted for having too much integrity and soul-power. OF COURSE(!) Johnny Cash's protest album about how Murkkkans fucked over the Indians was shit-canned by radio programmers. OF COURSE (!) it is still happening today. OF COURSE(!!!) even a token gay woman or black man working for the controlled mass-media is lying for a living. Everybody knows. The ones who pretend they don't know are in a state of intentional denial, a cultivated naiveté. Looks like a lot of work. They must be exhausted from holding up that false front, forever. Marching in formation. Trains on time. Assistant Managers. District Supervisors. Pain Compliance Tools. Enhanced Interrogations. TSA "pat-downs". No refusal blood draw checkpoints. Models of efficiency.
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This movie, "Rumble" is a heavy testament about truth and soul and how the many contributions of indigenous first-peoples to Amerikkka's popular music have always been whitewashed and buried by The Man, and it all has to do with the land that inspired the original people's music being stolen by the mass murdering honky death machine, that similarly continues to ignore all facts, poison the land and water, rob the people, abuse the real resistance...The oil-pigs and fascists and secret police and propaganda-miseducators that knowingly revise history in our underfunded public schools, and intelligence agency-dominated universities, and shadowy plutocrats who monopolize all media platforms, with the same old hogwash bullshit narratives about freedom and democracy, and Grandma's feather bed and thanking Uncle Lefty for his service some more, and waving that flag, and purchasing that big white Ford 4X4 truck, that are force-fed to us all day, against our will, by the loud noise of controlled media-which is just one big bullying bullhorn for racism, occupation, genocide, and endless war....
Meanwhile, these thoughtful and dedicated film-makers have gone back and interviewed some of the legendary musical visionaries who really made a difference in music, against all odds, edgy voices like John Trudell and Buffy St. Marie, and the relatives of some of the great native musicians, and fans of theirs, like Iggy Pop and Little Steven, uncovering how the native inhabitants of this land and the black people who were kidnapped and brought here as slaves, and even a few stray white hillbilly farmers, influenced one another's music and traditions and had babies together, who naturally, carried on the rhythmic, Earthy sound of the heart, the creek, the wind, the blood moon, the soil, the rustle of leaves and animals, and the primordial howl of pain, before the rich white dudes stole it with their lawyers, guns, plagiarists, and well-paid, paper-pushing, clipboard holders.
Of course, it's even more complicated than that, because so many people are multi-ethnic, it's true that Jimi Hendrix was Cherokee, and it is true that Jimi Hendrix was black. Robbie Robertson and Link Wray were told as children to hide their ethnicity, as children, as if it was something to be ashamed of. Nowadays, every culture appropriating, white, rich person who likes smoking herb and adorning themselves with body paint at overpriced garbage electronic muzak festivals wants to claim some dubious connection to native culture, or native soul, except, when the brute mercenaries are torturing water protectors with fire hoses and chemical weapons, all the cracker-ass self proclaimed warrior shamanic, dream catching, rainbow gatherers are nowhere to be seen. Tardy. Marked absent.
The immortal Link Wray.
I have always had a deep compassion for all of the early blues progenitors and overlooked artists who were never properly compensated or credited for their original ideas, songs, or artwork, this film is a tribute to many of them. I learned a lot about Mildred Bailey and Charlie Patton from this film. Until I saw this movie, I never knew it was Jesse Ed Davis who played the solo on "Doctor My Eyes". I just knew him from his work with Taj Mahal and the great poet/activist/resistance leader, John Trudell. His legacy has inspired underground punk and blues guitar gods like Billy Burks and Stevie Klasson, as well as resonating with ancient figureheads like Dylan and the Beatles and the Stones, back in the day.
"Rumble" is a remarkable testament to the unyielding resilience and immortal spirit of the native soul men and women who channel their ancestors spirits into soulful song, making music that is simultaneously infused with the ancient wisdom and spirituality and still totally sounds weirdly modern, ultra current, like anything by the electric godfather of delinquents, Link Wray. From field hollers and porch gatherings to juke-joints and gospel meetings, the song really does remain the same. The real stuff is all from the same place, as Miles Davis said-whether it is funk or jazz or country or punk, the gutsy stuff that makes you wanna move, that raises the hair on the back of your neck, or consoles the pained and tortured, or rallies folks to action, it's all the original spirit of our relatives who came before us, we keep passing it down.
Sometimes it changes into hip-hop, or heavy metal for awhile, but the real stuff is all from the same place. Randy Castillo, the broadly beloved heavy metal Ozzy drummer has a sad tale of haunting woe. It is interesting to learn more about Robbie Robertson's hippie folk with Dylan and the Band. Even Taboo from the jive-ass Top 40 Blackeyed Peas is sorta redeemed by his backstory and respect for 70's classic rockers, Redbone. This is an essential film, if you have any interest at all in the real roots of rocknroll. Link Wray paved the way, for all sneering, power chord striking leather jacket wearing switchblades who followed in his Cuban heeled bootsteps, the history of rocknroll--it truly is a gumbo. "Rumble", the dangerous instrumental, still has more rebellious authenticity, and undeniably provocative, irresistible coolness, than one hundred meet n greets with millionaire Guns N Roses ex punks, or one thousand smarmy Foo Fighting middle class Nirvana and Green Day cash-clowns. Love it.