Category Archives: analysis

My Crazy, Controlling Dad Explained

by anti-folk hero

Ah, fathers. Few have anything good to say about fathers. The best father/son relationships usually involved a father who taught his son to be just like him. The musician father with a musician son, the preacher father with a preacher son, etc. Then there are the loads of criminals in the world who claim to have been abused or neglected by their fathers. No matter what your relationship to your father was, however, one indisputable fact is that fathers have a tangible effect on their children no matter what they do. Whether that relationship is good or bad depends on the personalities of both people involved.

Let’s talk about my father for a minute. He is a very successful professional who is at the top of the company he works for. He has a team of elite, intelligent people working under him, doing his bidding, and generally just trying to profit off of his hard work. He financially supports my mother (whom he divorced over fifteen years ago and who still lives on alimony), sends his second kid to a private school for 30k a year, and is probably going to help me out when I eventually get into higher education later this year. Sounds like a great, helping, encouraging guy, right?

To be fair, he can be a great Dad. He got me into music by telling me stories about different musicians as I was growing up. He also forced me to start taking guitar lessons at age eleven even though I really didn’t want to. Almost everything he has ever predicted about my life or what would happen to me has been right on the money. So where is the issue in my relationship with him? My dad is a control freak. There is no better way to describe him. He has many personal insecurities that he cannot control that manifest themselves in negative behavior towards others. He’ll oftentimes be dead wrong about something and yet find justifications for why he is right and everyone else is wrong, often involving verbal and emotional abuse. He is aggressive, uncompromising, and decidedly uncooperative in just about everything. “My way or the highway” could be his personal philosophy.

Yet people still like him and deal with him. He has many friends, most of them through work, and he is well respected by his contemporaries. Now, you may be saying that I shouldn’t be so ungrateful, as he is giving me money for school. But at this point, I am sick of his money and sick of his shit.

An example: Today, I brought him a spreadsheet I had made outlining the costs of a cross-country trip to visit several of the schools I was accepted to. I laid out flight costs, dates, hotel prices, even trains prices from some cities back east back and forth. I got the absolute cheapest prices on flights that I could find (which is better than he could do). Upon sitting down in his office, he took the piece of paper to me, and then berated me for ten minutes about how stupid I was, how I should find the cheapest prices, insinuating that I was dumb and arbitrarily put up more expensive prices on purpose, and even accosting me for not realizing that flying to Ithaca is much more expensive than flying into Syracuse or Rochester instead (to save money). In the end, he has done nothing but yelled, complained, and generally insulted my intelligence in the most aggressive, mean-spirited way, and said nothing constructive at all. He had alienated me.

My father is a man at the utter whim of his moods. He can’t control himself. In many ways, a child has more control over the responses he chooses than my father does. If he has a bad day, he’ll be rude and contemptuous towards everyone around him. “This isn’t what I wanted for dinner!” he’ll shout at my step-mom. “I specifically told you that I only eat Norwegian potatoes, not these Idaho pieces of shit! You knew that! You’re just serving me these worthless, disgusting potatoes because you don’t listen. Maybe you should stop watching all of those idiotic TV shows and pay attention when I tell you these things. Its really not that hard to do.” Then, the same day, he’ll be half an hour late to a family dinner, forget about his son’s basketball game, and space out on a bunch of other shit entirely. HYPOCRITE.

This is my read on his personality. I see him as emotionally immature. Here is a person who has some serious insecurities that are deeply buried. He can’t control his fears and desires, so when he feels like he can’t control himself, he tries to control others. Being an intelligent person, he is quite successful in controlling other people. The effect, however, is that he alienates the people that care about him. He treats them like invaders or strangers and his attitude couldn’t be less inviting.

At this point in my life, I’m realizing that there are two paths I can take at this moment. If I take his money for college, I’ll be in a weaker position to call him on his bad moods and at the mercy of his bullshit. If I don’t take his money, I’ll have to take out monster-sized loans and repay them later in life. However, I would have my independence. What do you think? Is the independence worth it? Please share your stories about controlling friends or family members if you have them.

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Filed under abuse, aggression, aggressive, analysis, arrogance, arrogant, asshole, barn, barn stormer, barnstormer, control, control freak, controlling, crazy, dad, disorder, dominant, family, father, father son, freak, jerkwater, morals, oafish, obstinance, obstinate, papa, psychological, psychology, rude, son, stormer, stubborn, Uncategorized

Good Guy/Bad Guy Politics

by anti-folk hero

I’m not sure if this particular theory of politics has been posited before, but I’d like to take a moment to address something that I call “Good Guy/Bad Guy politics.” This is a form of political bickering wherein two sides of an issue are considered not only for what they actually state, but also for where they fall on an artificial scale of morality. Take a heated issue like abortion; pro-lifers are anti-abortion not only for religious reasons but also because they take certain religious tracts literally. As being religious necessitates believing you have the one truth, those who disagree with you are telling lies and thus bad guys. In response to this blanket stereotype, pro-choice advocates return the favor by depicting pro-lifers as religious fanatics devoid of decision making skills outside of exact Biblical text. This is the good guy/bad guy aesthetic at work. It is a reactionary technique used to polarize large groups of people into opposite sides of a particular issue.

Take Karl Rove’s strategy as Bush’s advisor. Rove tells Bush to take a far right stance on an issue, rather than a more centrist, cooperative stance; this immediately offends centrists and leftists who then chastise Bush for being divisive. Then, in retaliation to this flood of insults aimed at republicans, moderate-right and right voters move to the extreme right to support Bush (and in effect, pridefully defend their original support of Bush). Now we have people on the far left and the far right exchanging stereotypes and refusing to listen to each other’s points of view. Isn’t this a bit childish?

Occasionally, good guy/bad guy politics can be good. Take our long overdue switchover to an ecologically sustainable environment. This is a more clean cut issue where those who want to shut down polluters and move to sustainable fuels and organic foods are considered to be the goods guys and big industries are considered to be bad guys. Switching to sustainable fuels and organic foods would have mainly positive affects for the country and will be necessary to stop a complete meltdown of the planet. The wars in the middle east would become unnecessary and we would be able to keep more of our money in the country and put less of it into the hands of rich contracting companies like Halliburton and women-abusing-warlords in the middle east.

Until we can move away from good guy/bad guy politics, however, we will be stuck in a political world where hurling insults from either side of a fence has replaced conversation and logical debate. All of our beliefs are reactionary and based on the frustration of having an opposite side that won’t listen to what you have to say. In the end, we have to remember that we are all Americans before we are Democrats or Republicans, and if we want America to remain the greatest country in the world, we need to take each other seriously and place a higher value on cooperation. Otherwise the corrupt politicians and terrorists will have won.

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Filed under america, analysis, bad guy, barn, barn stormer, barnstormer, bush, cooperation, democrat, discussion, good guy, iraq, oil, opinion, politics, rational, reactionary, republican, rove, solution, stormer, Uncategorized, war

Britt Daniel – The Most Underrated Songwriter Around

by anti-folk hero

“Its so easy to say you don’t care, its so easy to say you don’t need it,” says Britt Daniel, lead singer of Spoon, but I would have to say that you all should care about Britt. He and his band Spoon have been putting out some of the most exciting rock music in the past 10 years and yet just about nobody has ever even heard of Spoon. Well, I for one am sick of that. This band can knock down and kick the shit out of your average indie band, though I think they’d be too modest to say that themselves.

Spoon 1

I remember my first Spoon show. I was obsessed with “Girls Can Tell,” their third release. It was my second year in college. I got out of class at 6:30; I went to school in Santa Cruz and the show was in San Francisco, an hour and a half away, and I had no one to go with. Over the phone, I convinced my friend Kevin to come with me. We showed up at a little bar called Slim’s, where I used my fake ID (I was 20) that said my name was “Richard D. James” to get in. We drank Pabst on tap and then fought our way to the front of the crowd to see Spoon perform. They were ON that night, as they electrified a packed house through most of “Girls Can Tell” and a good deal of “A Series of Sneaks.” For an encore, Britt Daniel even came out with an acoustic guitar and played “The Agony of Lafitte,” a song which he wrote as a gypsy curse for an evil record executive he once knew. The whole evening was so fun and exciting that Spoon immediately moved into my own personal hall of fame. Since then, I’ve seen them at the “All Tomorrow’s Parties” concert, where they played on the stationary cruise ship slash hotel, the Queen Mary. I’ve seen them headline at the Wiltern in LA and even up at the Fillmore in San Francisco.

So you’re probably saying, so what, why should I care? Well, listen to this song and see what you think.

JONATHON FISK

maybe you remember maybe you’re locked away
maybe we’ll meet again some better day some better life

mmmm Jonathon Fisk speaks with his fists
can’t let me walk home on my own
and just like a knife down on my life
so many ways to set me right

it’s such a long way home
it’s how the story goes
and it’s like atom bombs and blunt razors
atom bomb sand blunt razors

Jonathon then says it’s a sin
but he don’t think twice cause to him
religion don’t mean a thing
it’s just another way to be right wring
just like a knife down on my life
so many ways to set it right
that’s how it goes that’s how the story goes

it’s such a long way home
you’re too hold to understand
cause I just want to get home now
I just want to get home now

Jonathon’s right down on my life
so many ways to set me right
on the long walk home
that’s how the story goes
and Jonathon Fish always a risk
tells me he counts my teeth every night
I want to get them all back now
I want to get them all back now
and I want to turn him around

This song is Britt singing about a bully he knew in high school (or some kind of school). I read in an interview with Britt that Jonathan Fisk comes to their shows now. What a way to win over your enemies!

Britt recently worked on the soundtrack for the movie “Stranger than Fiction” with Brian Reitzell. Several classic Spoon songs were used and the soundtrack even included a new spoon song, “The Book I Write,” which I haven’t been able to get out of my head for days now. Spoon’s music really connected with me when I was first exploring indie rock music. Girls Can Tell became a soundtrack for my early college days and we spent many evenings listening to Spoon and Yo La Tengo records in the dorms. While my fellow Santa Cruz buddies were jamming to Zeppelin, I was figuring out how to play both the piano and guitar part of “Anything You Want” simultaneously on guitar. I even have a picture I snapped of myself with Britt Daniel from “All Tomorrow’s Parties.” He didn’t seem that thrilled to meet me. That’s ok. I still think he’s a legend.

Spoon 2

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