Tuesday, September 04, 2007

All Aboard For the Heart of Darkness

I've been meaning to add a little postscript to the most recent Weekend Listomania, in which I waxed all Proustian about my first concert experience, but I've been conflicted about it because I didn't want to make a perhaps gratuitous political point.

Obviously, it's no secret that my co-bloggers and I are on the Left, but -- and I can't speak for KC or NYMary -- I for one have mostly tried to resist going all outraged and shrill here because (a) the name of the blog is PowerPop, not PissedOffLefty, and (b) I respect the feelings of one of our regular commenters, a guy who I consider to be that rarest of rare birds, i.e., a humane, principled conservative.

That said, I'm going to get on the soapbox here -- briefly.

In the story on Friday, I mentioned that I attended the concert in question in the company of my pal Richie Brenner. Richie was a big (really big) dumb (but incredibly sweet) jock who basically decided to be my bodyguard starting in 10th grade. Kept my dork self from a world of hurt, in other words. Anyway, after high school he barely managed to get accepted to some jerkwater forrestry school, but after he graduated in 1969, there was no chance he was going to be able to get into another college and a masters program, and thus continue to avoid the draft. Bottom line: Uncle Sam snapped him up immediately, he was summarily shipped off to Vietnam and within next to no time he was toast. Blown to bits at the age of 21.

Here's his entry at the Vietnam War Memorial, which, while I attend the anti-Iraq demo on the 15th, I really need to take the time to finally visit.

So what am I trying to say here, really? Simple -- that my friend Richie was, essentially, sent to his death for no more pressing reason than lousy grades.

And that if I ever hear another rightwing asshole attempt to justify that immoral, useless fucking war, and by extension Richie's death -- as our mongrel idiot never-served president attempted to do in a speech to the VFW last week -- I swear to god, I'm gonna take a hostage.


ntodd said...

Dude, I'll go to the Wall with you, even though I was just there last month. It's too powerful to ignore if I'm down at the National Mall.

Hecate said...

Three months in country. Wow. I hope you do get to leave a flower by the Wall for him. Too many dead. Too, too many.

steve simels said...


I really appreciate that. Thank you...

ql said...

We visited the Wall and were completely unprepared for the strong emotion we both felt. I actually cried and I am way too old to do that.

NYMary said...

I'll come along, too.

steve simels said...

NYMary said...
I'll come along, too.

Thanks, kiddo.

Cleveland Bob said...

Nice post, Steve.

Most of us come here as a respite from the onslaught of constant bad news and worse choices from the Cheney Administration. You guys do a fantastic job and that's why we love it here.

That said, my politics and musical tastes are inexorably linked. When I find out that wingers like the Pretenders or Springsteen I'm always whopper-jawed by the level of comfort they enjoy as it relates to their own cognitive dissonance.

You three all have the same political sensibilities so naturally, we're all mates in this together.

I guess I don't really know what I'm trying to say here, except ...thanks.

Thanks for this post and thanks for this blog and thanks for all of the memories and wonderful discussions the richness of music has brought all of us here.

Give my regards to Richie. I'm sure that if things were different he'd still be rockin' to the Beach Boys right along with you.


steve simels said...

Cleveland Bob:

I just got a little choked up reading that.

Thanks for the kind words...means a lot to me, actually.

Anonymous said...

Go to the wall. You won't regret it. Here's a fragment from something I blogged last week:

a few years ago, when the invasion was just getting started, I was in a restaurant in (I think) Kingston, New Jersey. The place had two televisions, one tuned to a news station, the other to a basketball game. Shaq had just won the game and was being interviewed, surrounded by adoring cheerleaders, flashbulbs popping everywhere. The other set showed the interior of a cargo plane in flight, one anonymous paratrooper after another jumping out the door into the night. A night jump behind enemy lines on the one side, a millionaire who can shoot a basketball on the other - who gets the glory?

danny1959 said...

Steve, It really pisses me off that these idiots are enlisting disabled veterans in their propaganda effort to keep this useless war going as well. Have you seen/heard the commercials?

steve simels said...

Are you referring to those spots from the group fronted by Ari Fleischer that debuted (I think) last week?

I kind of briefly glanced at them, but the disabled vets aren't ringing a bell.

Anonymous said...


The disabled vets are one thing.

But, to enlist a grieving mother as they do to me is just beyond the pale. It fills me with white hot rage that they have taken a mother's wish that her son's death is for a greater purpose and twist it to their purposes.

danny1959 said...

Yes, The ones made by the front group for the Bush administration. Kid, I was going to mention the grieving family ads as well. I have seen and heard both, including a radio spot featuring a disabled vet who lost a family member.

shrimplate said...

I'll be home in The Valley on the 15th, standing at the corner of 24th Street and Camelback with my WPE sign.

For all the "Richies" and their loved ones.