Tag Archives: OF ALL TIME

the most perfect song: “deceptacon” & activist fatigue

This is a post about “Deceptacon” by Le Tigre. Here is the music video:

You can read the lyrics to the “Deceptacon” here.

backstory
I discovered Kathleen Hanna & Bikini Kill through The Rolling Stone Book of Women in Rock, which I found at the library when I was about 12 and worked my way through systematically in my quest for Awesome Music. (This led me to discover most of the artists on Kill Rock Stars, because when I first got a computer capable of downloading & burning mp3s, I went through all of the independent music labels I knew of and downloaded their samples. This was during the three month period before I embraced Napster. OH, 2001, YOU WERE RAD AND SEEM SO ~STRANGE~ NOW.) I found out about Le Tigre through the , who is responsible for igniting the eternal flame that is my love of electronic music and, more relevantly, burned me a copy of Le Tigre’s self-titled album.

Then I got to college and found out, via , that “Deceptacon” was everyone’s favorite song to dance to at gay parties, a.k.a. parties thrown by various folks in Pride Alliance. It was the first time I’d encountered folks IRL who listened to all my wonderful feminist rock music, and hell yeah to that.

this song is so fucking meta
So, returning to lyrics. This song is about how people ignore the message of Le Tigre’s music, want Le Tigre to make catchy dance music, and guess what? this song is a catchy dance song.
Wanna disco? Wanna see me disco?
Let me hear you depoliticize my rhyme
One, two, three, four
You got what you been asking for

Well, they have catchy dance music. But it’s not content-free:
Yr so policy free and yr fantasy wheels and everything you think
And everything you feel is alright,
It’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright

Nope, it’s a commentary on mainstream music listeners who like content-free music.

I used to like this song because it was a catchy song with feminism, but over the years, I’ve developed a more nuanced reading of it. I don’t like this song just because it’s catchy, or because it has political rhymes – I like it because it’s a catchy dance song about activist fatigue, and how futile and frustrating it can be to rail against an inescapable system like the patriarchy day after day, year after year, and still keep on going.
I take you home now watch me get you hot
Yr just a parrot when yr screaming
And yr shouting “More crackers please, more crackers please”
You want what you want but you don’t wanna be on yr knees
Who does your/ who does your hair?

Hanna is in charge, and she’s “tak[ing] you home” and “get[ing] you hot.” On the surface, this might seem like some pretty straightforward sexual innuendo, but it’s also an apt description of what her music is doing for “you.” Her music can be substituted for herself as the embodiment of “your” desire. But “you” (who can be read as singular, but I read as plural) can’t stop spewing the rhetoric they’ve been fed by society – by patriarchy. “You” feel entitled (sexually) to her in the same way “you” feel entitled to her music and “depoliticiz[ing] [her] rhymes.” Hanna, like a hairdresser, is seen as a woman in service, whether it’s sexual or as a musician.

Then there is the verse that made me hash out some nebulous ideas and write this post. This verse is pretty much my favorite verse in any song ever.
You bought a new van the first year of yr band
Yr cool and I hardly wanna say “not”
Because I’m so bored that I’d be entertained
Even by a stupid fuckin linoleum floor, linoleum floor
Yr lyrics are dumb like a linoleum floor
I’ll walk on it
I’ll walk all over you
Walk on it, walk on it, walking one, two
Who? Who? Who? Who?

I can’t find a citation for this Hanna quote, although I’ve seen it in print so I know it’s legit: “I hate the attitude of, ‘oh we already have a Lydia Lynch, so we don’t need a Bikini Kill.’ Well, there’s like 2 hundred million all male bands writing ‘baby baby i love you, let me drag you around on my ankle.’ Is that enough already?”
The “you” in this song has shifted from previous verses, and I read this new “you” as the league of male bands Hanna talks about above. Hanna is so bored by their bragging (their “new van” purchased in “the first year of [their] band”) that she can hardly even bring herself to object to it, which is, uh, so much this. Because the thing about patriarchy (kyriarchy)? It IS boring. After the first fires of incandescent rage against oppression, it can be really exhausting to take up the banner and keep fighting, because you’ve realized the essential truth that the societal structure and its embodiment in *isms might shift in manifestation but is never going to fucking change, it’s always going to be the same stupid shit over and over.
Even something as commonplace (in the US) as a linoleum floor is more interesting to Kathleen Hanna. And me, frankly.
Yr lyrics are dumb like a linoleum floor
I’ll walk on it
I’ll walk all over you

But, even though she’s tired and she’s bored, Hanna is still going to get up and rock the fuck on.

The chorus to “Deceptacon” initially appears nonsensical and pretty random. But it’s actually a rhetorical question to which Hanna alludes several times in the song.
Who took the Bomp from the Bompalompalomp?
Who took the Ram from the Ramalamading dong?
Who took the Bomp from the Bompalompalomp?
Who took the Ram from the Ramalamading dong?

It’s the same “who” to whom Hanna refers when she asks “who does your hair,” and it’s the same “who” as at the end of the previous verse:
Walk on it, walk on it, walking one, two
Who? Who? Who? Who?

Kathleen Hanna, as avatar of womanhood and avatar of feminism, is taking the bomp out of your bompalompalomp: she’s taking the fun out of your stupid music. Don’t like it? Too bad.

But don’t be surprised if you come for the catchy tunes and end up sticking around. They’re kind of new and innovative and stuff.

Just sayin’.

briefly interrupting the complete lack of content on this blog for…

Old Spice Guy meets FEMINIST HULK. Judith Butler ensues.

I did not write this but may have been responsible for the original prompt.

books, latin, yum, vids

Hey y’all! Here are some random thoughts that are not necessarily a cohesive post:

– I just finished reading Paper Towns by John Green, which comes heartily recommended, but was a very difficult read for me because it’s set in my hometown. Clearly, O-town and I have issues.
– All my books just came to me from home! I want to reread everything. Especially Blankets (Craig Thompson), because it’s right next to me! Clearly, Olga has no focus.
– Regina Spektor is awesome.
– I have been reading and writing Latin again recently. Hello ambiguous feelings!
– I have also been yearning for Holmes and Watson to acknowledge their pure & deliciously gay love. Oh yeah. Are you in denial? Need a vid? Fever by talitha78 will help you out. (Link goes to the old version – editing is better than the remastered version!)
– Speaking of vids, if you like True Blood and/or Amanda Palmer, you will probably love Runs in the Family by mresundance. (Warning: LOTS of gore, and sex! But if you watch True Blood, these things should be self-evident.) On a more serious note, Afraid of Americans (vidder to be revealed) perfectly pairs David Bowie’s classic song with footage from Watchmen. “God is an American” has never seemed more unsettling or portentous, or been so deeply felt.

oh, tiger beatdown!

Basically, this movie seems very much like some guy – let us call him, for legal reasons, “Phlames Phlameron” – sat down and was like, “well, I like Star Wars. And I like masturbating to old copies of National Geographic. If only there were some way for me to combine these interests!”

Reasons I Laughed Out Loud, Offending Several Fellow Patrons, During The Major Motion Picture “Avatar.” @ Tiger Beatdown

“Avatar really did look like a Lisa Frank binder had sex with a mid-’80s sci-fi paperback cover and their baby threw up on your face, which was great.”

wise as serpents and innocent as doves

Hey, gentle readers. Sorry about my absence! As much as I enjoy linkspam, I like this blog to have actual content, and while I’ve had a few ideas kicking around in my head, none have entirely come to fruition. So this post is kind of all of them at once. In case you get confused, just come back to the thesis, which is: how Olga is Miss Marple.


My first grown-up book was Agatha Christie’s Ten Little Indians, which I read at the end of third grade or beginning of fourth grade, and which was pretty freaking morbid for a 9 year old, and also kind of racist, but whatever. I got totally hooked on Agatha Christie and plowed my way through most of her back catalogue over the next three years. As a result, I have read almost all of her Miss Marple books and short stories, a fair amount of her Hercule Poirot works, and ALL of Tommy and Tuppence because they kind of rock. Namely, Tuppence rocks. Can I be Tuppence? But that is not the topic of this post. The topic of this post is why I really like Miss Marple.

This is Miss Marple’s schtick, for those of you who are not familiar with her: she is a little old lady who lives in St. Mary Mead, a quiet little English town, and people think that she is a tad bit doddering and off in the head. But Miss Marple is incredibly smart and a great observer of people, and she solves crimes, often using her harmless appearance to great advantage.


Recently, I have been reflecting on how much I no longer regret my decision to major in classics. For quite some time after choosing to forsake the world of togas for the world of forsaking bras, I looked at my classical period primarily as a springboard for future endeavors and six years’ worth of training to write the best Harry Potter spells OF ALL TIME. (At least, that was my motivation when I started taking Latin in 2001.) Now, however, I’ve realized that a background in classics has had other benefits, namely, accelerating my transformation into Miss Marple. Wikipedia agrees with me: “Miss Marple’s Olga’s acquaintances are sometimes bored by her frequent analogies to people and events from St. Mary Mead the internet The Past, but these analogies often lead Miss Marple Olga to a deeper realization about the true nature of a crime the patriarchy life, the universe, and everything.”

Being Miss Marple means that I spend a lot of time connecting the dots, but it also means other things, namely that I spend a lot of time sitting around going, “Somehow, Inspector Fox, I don’t think you’ll find the murder weapon in Mr. Clarendon’s shed.” In other words, I spend a lot of time debunking things. Prehistoric matriarchy! Goddess worship = female empowerment! The decline of Western civilization!

I really, really hate the “decline of Western civilization.”


In other ways, I have also been like Miss Marple. For a long time, I liked appearing to be innocent and sweet, and in some cases, namely in my relationships, I really tried for the sweet part. But when you are a grouchy and smart old lady, that tends to rear its head after a while, especially if you are trying to keep some of that on the down low. It also gets aggravating, day after day, to have people constantly underestimating and undervaluing you, assuming that you are eye candy or just She Who Keeps The Home Fires Burning (not that these in particular are Miss Marple problems).

At a certain point, appearing harmless and fluffy, having people tune you out because you don’t get straight to the point, and then surprising them when you hit them upside the head with your awesomeness isn’t subversive. It’s just kind of sad.

I’m still a grouchy old lady, though.


Ironically, after I came to the realization that it was best to just fly my freak flag and let the chips fall where they may, people started making even more erroneous and frustrating assumptions about my innocence and purity because I got Jesus. (That’s a phrase I deeply enjoy using. Like, fuck yeah, Jesus is the mud I’m rolling in! except it’s like spa mud because it’s made by God, and it’s also like regular mud because it’s outside and available to everybody, at least in rainy seasons!) What I had once enjoyed – creeping out my housemate with my tentacle bunny plushie, getting approved of by partners’ parents (hoo boy), alarming various people with the egg story (I only tell that one in person) – had lost its charm. When my mom told Martin that it was okay to tune me out sometimes, I just talk a lot, it runs in the family — that was not funny. Also, not ok.


For a long time, when I was very sick — that’s why I’m a grounchy old lady! not exaggerating, my dear readers! — I kind of forgot I was smart. I assumed people tolerated me on sufferance and attempted to buy their loyalty with baked goods. (In case you were curious, I make a truly bitchin’ three bowl devil’s food cake.)


Miss Marple is smart. She is a badass. People often forget this. That’s why, when she catches the bad guy, it’s a surprise. It shouldn’t be a surprise when women are smart, observant, socially aware. Those shouldn’t be “women’s secrets,” either. And when women talk, it’s worth listening. If people ever listened to Miss Marple finish her stories… well, those books would be a lot shorter. And possibly more morbid.
Which is fine by me.

sarah g brings us this sad news…

Mary Daly, blasphemer, radical, kicker of many patriarchal asses, has died. She was 81.

From the newsbrief I just linked to:

According to the National Catholic Reporter, Daly once wrote, “There are and will be those who think I have gone overboard. Let them rest assured that this assessment is correct, probably beyond their wildest imagination, and that I will continue to do so.”

Words to live by!

yeah, I’m on vacation

All I really want to do is recommend you some vids, because, yo, I’m obviously not doing anything constructive on vacation, but perhaps this post should have some content. Or maybe not. At least, it’ll have some links.

– I love Dinosaur Comics. So, naturally, I also love fanstrips that address the Serious Issues of cultural appropriation and racism in dance moves. I think this may be a call to action, action in this case being a slumber party with Save the Last Dance, lots of alcohol, and critical analysis. Or maybe just some Bring It On.

– Apparently there are no good fanvids for Golden Girls. Well, I don’t believe that. None that I can find easily. This is frustrating.

– I actually recommended a fic to someone the other day with the endorsement, “It references Stanley Fish!”

– My church’s book club is reading Small Gods for January and Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bible! for February. Previously on Olga’s Church’s Book Club: Cat’s Cradle and The Poisonwood Bible. I am pleased. (I have not yet read Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bible!, and I keep getting it confused with Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains!, which I am fairly sure is not the same.)


Okay, done with content now! Vid recs, absurdist edition!

– As I said to my friend Mer, who is the target audience for this fic, “Christian Bale + Zefron = NO = yay!” “Bet on It” meets Newsies for a ludicrous Disneygasm.

– There is no way that the execution of “Harry Potter meets Snakes on a Plane” could ever have topped the concept, but my, does Dualbunny’s vid give it a run for its money. I have at best a tepid tolerance for the first four Harry Potter films, and neutral feelings about HP vidding, but this vid won me over.

– I have feelings about the first Twilight movie, feelings which mostly boil down to, “I am so glad that my friend Dallas bought this for me, because I would never have paid money for it, but it is the best excuse for drinking games ever.” (Sidenote: despite what the content of this post, and possibly the content of this blog, may suggest, I have never played a drinking game.) However, this vid has made me see that, deep inside this… this… I’m trying to find a synonym for “black hole” that doesn’t have disturbingly yoni-like connotations — this abominable snowman of a movie, there is actually a pretty hilarious film. From Cappy, “All Apologies”. Ah, Nirvana and Edward… a match made in heaven. I cried happy emo tears.


Next time on the blog: actual content, as opposed to a mashup of links I keep emailing my poor innocent best friend in France & my Twitter feed.