There is always room for Jello
Lani was kind enough to think of me when she made plans to go see <a href="http://www.alternativetentacles.com/bandinfo.php?band=jello&sd=9ZDuF5jgUjn5Xlad5bb">Jello Biafra</a> speak on Thursday night, and since the location wasn't far from work, I met her for a night of good old anti-establishment rhetoric.
I really didn't know much about Jello other than he was the former lead singer for the Dead Kennedys and former target of Tipper Gore and the evil PMRC. After a two and half hour speech, I now know quite a bit more about Jello and his distaste for coporations, his former band mates, the goverment, the military, the police, the media, and the overly religious. The topic for the night was "Free Speech and the War on Terrorism" but it basically was a free flowing procession of ideas that ranged among the topics I mentioned above. When he wasn't trying to scare his audience with the nefarious plans of Bush and his cohorts, Jello was busy making fun of anyone associated with the media/corporate/government establishment.
I had some problems with his speech, especially the humor that he was using. He seems like an intelligent guy, but he resorted to childish name calling (Ashcrack, Dumbsfeld, etc), making fun of people's looks, the way they talked, or their beliefs just to get some laughs. It just seemed really mean spirited. He made fun of Laura Bush because he didn't like her eyes. Maybe it's my Bates training, but I found it quite odd that a group of lefties were just as vicious and narrow minded as many on the right.
For his message, I found that he used unsubstantiated rumor, guesses and facts together in order to weave what ends up sounding like a grand conspiracy theory. Basically, he outlined how the major players in government and their shadowy private connections are responsible for all sorts of horrible things going on the world. If you took everything he said at face value, you'd probably run to Canada. Because he jumped around so much, you basically ended up walking out of the room with this overall feeling that there is something evil out there more powerful than we could possibly imagine, without a real, solid logical understanding of any of it.
He's a really paranoid guy, which is great, because so am I. The only thing is, he and I are in totally different locations philosophically. He is basically against the establishment, yet he'd want government to provide more services to society and regulate industry more. Is the establishment ok as long as it's serving the needs of the people? I don't get it. I guess he makes distinctions between different types of government power, which I guess I do as well. He wants government to serve people's every need and I want government to just protect people from people who want to hurt us and take our stuff.
Well, I think I've babbled enough and I'm too tired to actually flesh this out into something coherent. If you want another opinion of the night, check out what <a href="http://www.juliansanchez.com/2002_11_01_notesarch.html#85680598"> Julian Sanchez (a Cato co-worker) has to say</a> about the evening. I think, in the end, I'd rather just hear Jello sing rather than hear him speak.