Hello 2021

Creator: Mike Theiler / Reuters

Sometimes I hate it when I’m right.

My prediction about a Trump coup-d’état is part of the historical record. From my review of Graceland:

  • October 30-November 2: I spend most of my time fucking, writing and walking the dog, waiting to see how things play out. I chat with maman Monday night and we agree that I’ll come for dinner the following day. She reminds me that Tuesday is Election Day in the USA and cautions me that because my father is in an exceptionally giddy mood due to his fervent belief in a Biden victory I should avoid ruining the good vibes with my equally fervent belief in a Trump coup-d’état. Good girl that I am, I agree to her conditions.

What really blows me away are the Americans who are still shocked and surprised that such a thing could happen when it was so fucking obvious it was going to happen. When you’re faced with a power-obsessed narcissistic sociopath who has no respect for either democracy or the law and a fanatically loyal cult of violence-prone followers who eat all of his bullshit as if it were manna from heaven, what the fuck did you think was going to happen? If an ex-American living thousands of miles away from the action could see what was coming, how could millions of Americans be so fucking blind?

Well, I hate to rub it in, but I answered that question two-and-a-half years ago in a Chick Riff entitled “Taking a Rain Check”:

“The biggest problem with the opposition forces is that they are united in only one thing: denial. When I scroll through my Twitter list of resistance fighters, I constantly run into the claim, “This is not America” or “Dear Europe/Dear Canada/Dear World: We apologize for our idiot president but please be assured that this is not who we are.” BULLSHIT! Read the lists! The United States is a militaristic, violent, gun-loving, racist, male-dominated culture and has been for years! You ARE Trump! Americans need to move past the denial stage and face the ugly reality of who they have become, or things will continue to devolve. Here’s your new inconvenient truth: Trump is the United States personified. He is the perfect embodiment of American culture.

“And here’s another inconvenient truth: most Americans don’t give a shit.

“If Americans really cared about democracy and their responsibility to the world, they’d call a general strike and shut down the whole fucking country. That won’t happen, of course, because Americans would never do anything to intentionally damage their precious economy or skip a few  paychecks—even if it means sacrificing “cherished values” and ending the “great experiment.” And even if Trump and his cronies are sent to the hoosegow, I doubt very much if Americans have the stomach or the courage to begin to face the deep-seeded problems of racism and misogyny that led to Trump in the first place.”

I’m not gloating here—I’m seriously pissed off. I’m also very scared that the violence and lawlessness will continue. There is no chance that two-thirds of a 50-50 Senate will vote to convict Trump if the House ever gets around to impeaching the traitor. That means the future of America is now entirely dependent on Mike Pence and a cabinet of Trump lackeys to grow some balls—good luck with that. This morning, I read that Trump is planning a trip to The Alamo, the ultimate symbol of a death cult embracing a lost cause. Trump has always been a Hitler admirer, and Hitler made absolutely sure that the German people he professed to love went down with him.

I hope I’m wrong. I hope that your security forces at both the federal and state levels haven’t been infiltrated by seditionists and that Biden, Harris and the rest of your government officials make it through the inauguration without a scratch. But I do think things are likely to get uglier before they get better . . . if they ever get better.

Anyway, I won’t be publishing reviews for the foreseeable future as it doesn’t feel right to provide Americans (still 75% of my audience) with options for passing the time when they’re running out of time to save their country. I’ll continue writing (we’re still on virtual lockdown), so if and when things calm down and feel more stable, you can expect a veritable flood of reviews. I have no idea what I’ll do if the USA goes full fascist—I’ll cross that bridge if we get there.

Here are some of the reviews I have planned for 2021 (not necessarily in publishing order):

  • Denim, Denim on Ice
  • The Auteurs, New Wave
  • Sleater-Kinney, Call the Doctor, The Hot Rock, All Hands on the Bad One and One Beat
  • Richard Thompson, Across a Crowded Room and You? Me? Us?
  • June Tabor, Abyssinians
  • Duke Ellington, Masterpieces by Ellington
  • Sleeper, The It Girl
  • The Sundays, Reading, Writing, Arithmetic
  • Thelonious Monk, Brilliant Corners
  • Dire Straits, Brothers in Arms
  • Santana, Abraxas
  • Ben E. King, The Very Best Of
  • Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, Young Brigham
  • The Grateful Dead, American Beauty
  • Perry Keyes, The Last Ghost Train Home

Okay! It doesn’t hurt to hope for the best, but I hope Americans do more than hope. Get off your goddamned asses and save democracy (and yourselves in the process)!


9 responses

  1. Thank you, ARC, as always, for the rational discourse which is so sorely lacking here. Also, if you could please add “Phil Ochs In Concert”, “Tape From California”, “Phil Ochs’ Greatest Hits”, and “Gunfight At Carnegie Hall” to your list….hoping you, your Significant Other, and your parents are sheltering from the pandemic in France….


    1. Merci. We’re sitting tight, limiting contact with the world and waiting for the government to get its shit together with the vaccine. I’ll probably get to two, maybe three of Phil’s remaining albums this year.


  2. I understand you being utterly appaled what is happening right now. I am also not entirely convinced that those thugs and homegrown terrorists will get what they have reaped. And what that finally might mean in a political context.
    It seems all the more reasonable that you are considering some of the least likely recordings worth a review and reconsideration.
    I hold my breath for the utterly generic and glorious synths of … `Denim On Ice`.

    (among others)


    1. The one thing that gives me hope is that both the terrorists and their leaders are some of the dumbest people to ever walk the earth.

      What I’m trying to do this year is fill some holes and explore the artistic-commercial dynamic in popular (and not-so-popular) music. With that in mind, Denim is an obvious choice.


  3. I am afraid that I agree with you entirely and wish that I didn’t. God help us all


  4. Looks like Ray is going to need to add another verse to “Nobody Gives.”

    In the year two-thousand and twenty-one
    Infected by a virus that we couldn’t outrun
    When the mask was lowered all Hell let loose
    Our past and our future in the shadow of a noose

    How does this all end?

    The days since the election have taken an eternity to play out and still 9 more to go. If Congress can get the impeachment trial going in an expedited manner, how might Republicans act when confronted with the evidence and they realize Trump was ready to sacrifice their sorry asses? I know you are right that no conviction will result, but the optimist in me will be the death of me yet. I can’t lose hope. This weekend is going to tell us a lot about where our country is going, and I think you will see a lot more than Proud Boys out there this time.


    1. This perfect storm has been building for a while. Remember, I fled from the US before Trump because of the response to Sandy Hook, and Americans went even more gun-crazy after that, removing nearly all the barriers to gun ownership and bearing arms in public. The response to mass shootings has always been thoughts and prayers, that’s the price of our freedom, yada yada yada. The public education system has virtually collapsed, the average American couldn’t pass the civics test given to immigrants and many people believe whatever they read on the Internet. Technological change wiped out a lot of low-skill/high-pay jobs populated by uneducated people who then blamed it all on the blacks and immigrants, and rather than getting an education or learning new skills, went into deep denial about it and blamed it all on the politicians, who seemed to spend most of their time raising funds for the next election cycle. So now you have millions of ignorant, racist, bitter gun-toting people who have neither faith in democracy (nor understanding of it) who fell in love with a reality show host who shares their sense of victimization and love of ludicrous conspiracy theories in the middle of a worldwide pandemic that has everyone on edge.

      Since American media sensationalizes everything, it’s hard to know what’s fact or fiction, so the only fact I can fall back on that gives me hope that we’re not witnessing the self-destruction of the American Empire is that 81 million is greater than 75 million.


      1. So they marched on DC and screamed,
        “God Bless America!” as they stormed it.
        “Support the boys in blue!” as they beat them with their flags.
        “Anyone is guilty whoever disagrees with me!”
        And the tragedy is, nobody gives anymore…


      2. As time goes by, my appreciation for The Tramp grows and grows.

        “But me, I’m only standing here
        Watching it all go on, and I’m watching it all go wrong
        And it’s painfully clear that the battle is near
        And I wish I could just disappear”

        Liked by 1 person


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