DEFENSE INDUSTRY REPORT IV: Who are these cops and why do they keep following me?

For those who haven’t kept up with the Defense Industry Reports 1, 2 or III Dave Reeves is about to realize that printing the words “Defend Brooklyn” on a three dollar t-shirt will turn that shit into a twenty dollar fashion accessory. See, back in 1998 little Dave thought he was too good to get into the schmatta trade because writing is the classy way to earn a living, just ask Hemingway’s brains all over the wall. Unaware that he is sitting on a gold mine, this idiot is using the shirts to bribe Priest from Antipop to do the sound for his off-off-off-Broadway play and to get backstage at a Thurston Moore show with his dad to blow his redneck mind.

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People told me I could make a lot of money selling the “Defend Brooklyn” shirts I’d been giving away, but I couldn’t waste my time because I’m so smart at writing. My first major effort as a writist was the beautiful tale of a Satanic mountain climber who eats his partners in order to climb the world’s holy mountains and desecrate the summits with evil demon penis figurines.

Aleister Crowley at K2 in 1905

I went to Hollywood and, by Beelzebub, I’d have Babylon Working now but for a misunderstood ritual performed in a certain talent agency after a couple or three bloody leroys. I was just being me. I’m not one of these salon satanists. They got all “you’ll never work in this town again” about it. Who knew that Hollywood Agents are a bunch of humorless assholes?

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DEFENSE INDUSTRY REPORT III: Nobody wants to be a hipster but everybody wanna be hip

If you missed the last missive, here’s the nutshell: Manhattan has a drink, a chowder, a Frank Sinatra song and the opening of Saturday Night Live but Brooklyn has murderers who keep the cops focused on doing their job of murderer-catching and let me do my job of riding stolen bicycles into flaming trash cans with girls who look like Mick Jagger.

NATACHA LE JUENE OF OH LA LA

Revolutions are born in cities because it’s hard to be revolutionary when you’re thankful to make it home after too much beer and zeitgeist. The real freedom of Brooklyn was the freedom from the pig’s eye and his harsh blinking lights, crappy polyester uniform and horrible reform school shoes. Brooklyn cops didn’t pull over a responsible citizen asking “Where’s the fire”, “How did my sister end up in your car?” and “Why is she wearing only a tubetop?” because they didn’t have time and I didn’t need a car.

I turned into a man of many bicycles as rubber on the wheel is faster than rubber on the heel. Cycling in New York is more lethal than riding a motorcycle in Los Angeles. It’s roughly the same drunk/medicated population and chossy roads but New York has the added hazard of the Taliban cavalry driving yellow people squashers.

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At the end of a Manhattan night I’d have to get on my bike, navigate traffic and cross the muggerland of the old Williamsburg bridge, drunk and hopelessly clipped into my pedals. It was dangerous but I was healthier than my Lower East Side peers who only had to stumble a couple of blocks home to nurse their habits into junkiedom.

In 1995, going back to Brooklyn meant you’d had been voted off the island. Bowery Boys and Loisidas loved to shame me about how they never been to Brooklyn and where was Brooklyn anyway?

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Damn right I defended it. I’d been kicked out of college and run from the Bible Belt. Disney and Giullianification priced me out of Manhattan. I had to make a stand before I got pushed into the sea. Brooklyn was the Masada of me.

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When I say “Brooklyn,” I mean before the raw food dipshits got there and it was all rice and beans or pierogis. Before the graffiti got all cute. Before the neighborhood was defined by the cookie cutter do’s and don’ts of Viacom.

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I’m talking about Brooklyn when you could get a Heineken and bolsita right over the counter at Kokie’s. The kind of place you might shoot a king rat with a twenty guage shotgun in your apartment on Lorimer Street and your Chinese landlord never said a word because he was scared of getting deported. That place where Haitian families felt comfortable enough to burn a mattress and cook a goat on the sidewalk. A time so poorly lit that Monk could fall down the steps at Rug o Lad and then spit bloody teeth at the bartender so we could nab the Absinthe. The Brooklyn where you pour beer on the floor of the Greenpoint Tavern in order to twist with Horsey and Carlos on Christmas Eve.

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That place is gone a long time now, banished to East New York or squelched behind facades of baby clothing shops. I’ve been going through the black box, trying to parse the day, the hour, the moment that Brooklyn turned into a mall. 
I remember a big bus pulled up. It said RISD on the side, which must be some kind of fashion academy because everybody that got off it had a bedhead and a pair of hundred dollar jeans slouched half off their ass.

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They came in, ordered slices and checked their hair in the bulletproof plexiglas. There was a local kid named Mando in the pizza parlor, famous to us for a trick of breaking into David Henry Brown Jr’s apartment late at night to sell him drugs. Mando eyeballed the RISD kids, turned to me and my boy and shook his head solemnly.

“Remember? This neighborhood used to be hard.”

Mando was blaming the pioneer hipsters for how fashionistas thought it was safe to primp in Brooklyn. Mando intuited that the presence of these nabobs meant that the neighborhood had forgotten to keep up an illusion of danger. The ability for them to exist here indicated that the corruption was now systemic, as gentrification exponentializes so quickly. He was suggesting that it was our presence that brought this plague upon us.

Soon it became obvious that Mando was right. Every day overwhelming number of non-weirdos and normal job-having motherfuckers came in on the trains and paid exorbitant rents on time to live in our charming bohemian cesspool.

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It’s the same every time: alpha hipsters and indie bands make coffeehouses which are patronized by fashionstas until the gays and college reality shows find out where they are and then suddenly all the buildings have doormen. The neighborhood keeps getting nicer until one day the local crackhead doesn’t come around to pimp Nazi uniforms, alligator heads or any other treasure reclaimed from the garbage. The Koolman is run off by hipster taco trucks. The cops write tickets for drinking beer on the street.

I wanted Mando to be wrong so badly that I went to the printer that day and had them make twenty t-shirts that read “Defend Brooklyn” with an AK-47 emblazoned on it. I didn’t try to sell them yet. Back then I didn’t want to be a t-shirt merchant. I just gave them out to like-minded people hoping to spark a war, like Red Dawn II if it was written by Genet featuring a cadre of wastrels vicious enough to break windows, burn down coffee klatches and scatter syringes around the neighborhood so we could still afford to live there.

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Understand that I’m describing pre-9/11 thoughts and actions. Since then we’ve all made money, lost money and seen things that make the language and stance of “Defend Brooklyn” moot. Twilight Zone things like people that know they can’t fly jumping out of buildings and the BQE empty at rush hour.

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NEXT: Just Wars Are Just Wars, Man.

DEFENSE INDUSTRY REPORT 1: The "Defend Brooklyn" story, as told by its creator

Power might be at the end of a gun, but sometimes it’s also at the end of the shadow or an image of a gun. – Jean Genet

In 1996 I printed this design on T-shirts and handed them out to friends, musicians and bartenders to curry favor:

There are many like it, but this is the real one.


Positive feedback from my target market helped me realize that I had minted a blue chip slogan.

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Since that day, my minions and I have distributed a veritable shit ton of these Defend Whosiwhatsit shirts allowing me to enjoy the riches and fame of a rich and famous man, without the benefit of proper health care or competent legal counsel that he gets.

Every week a random amount of money appears in my Paypal account. This windfall has allowed me the modicum of financial irresponsibility necessary to scribble drivel at this competitive level.

You may have not seen Defend Brooklyn before. It’s okay. I’m not claiming that it’s a famous design or anything, or that it’s everywhere.

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defend miami
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defend equality
def new jersey
defend dow jones
defend dorkchester
defend ireland
def oakland
def new orleans shrt w beer
def detroit
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defend dissertaitions

Or maybe you hate the design. All I can suggest is that if you have seen “Defend Brooklyn” enough to hate it, then you are one too. Stop hating yourself or you will turn into a “Hipstler“.

Defend Brooklyn is not a saturation thing like “I Heart New York.” It’s more a “now you see me now you don’t, some will see me others won’t” piece.

I’m not claiming to rank as one the captains of the T-shirt age, nor have I masterminded a contagion of meme on the scale of the Grateful Dead, Che or even Obama. I’m not in the old guard of the T-shirt industry such as Rolling Stone lips, “Frankie Say Relax” or “CBGB.” I’m aware that I’m somewhere below the “I’m With Stupid” progenitor in harvesting disposable income. I know that I will never have “Shut Up and Fish’s” money because my graphic is too challenging for mass consumption.

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That said, if you print the word “Defend” in an arc over the image or the shadow of a gun and the name of a town on a T-shirt, you’re guaranteed a return better than American real estate or drug money. It’s so easy and fun that the danger of this article is that you might try to steal the concept, damning yourself to being a biter.

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Basically, I have found the wellspring of profitable jingoism. Me and the people who steal my ideas are some of the few reliable money makers left in America. We are a veritable Defense Industry.

Why is this slogan so popular? I can only posit that it uses the same force which enables soccer hooligans, Reaganites, Bruce Springsteen and Hitlers.

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Or maybe it harkens back to the wily and armed “don’t tread on me”-populace, rather than one so is easily duped by a bunch of Ivy League clowns who take power through double talk and Diebold deals.

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Either way, I think Defend Brooklyn suggests some dark thing about human nature and the slogans we use to advance our agendas.

I thought Defend Brooklyn was a mere opus minimum, an ante in a game bigger than T-shirts, only to find that there is no bigger game. If one were to analyze all the relevant data we would find that Earth is primarily a T-shirt producing planet.

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Please take this time to re-approach this meme with me as it has allowed me to observe certain things about the damn kids today that might be useful to those who would manipulate the whimsies of the thinking population into a functioning mandate, or take their money, or both.

Next Installment: The real story of how Defend Brooklyn came to be in “THE DEFENSE INDUSTRY REPORT NUMBER 2!” WITH A SPECIAL OFFER OF A “CHOOSE YOUR REVOLUTION” HOW-TO KIT! WAKE UP YOUR FRIENDS! TELL YOUR MOM!

WFMU IS THE WORLD'S GREATEST RADIO STATION BAR NONE FOREVER SHUT UP

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In an era when everyone pretends that the mobius strip of endless ipod jams are satisfying I choose to stay freshly amused with a battery of living deejays who never leave the station in East Orange, and even if they did leave they’ve archived every show since forever and there’s no commercials.

I was first taken in by WFMU in the 95th year of last century when some deejay played the entire radio conversation between a train driver who had lost his brakes as he was heading into a big curve and certain doom. I think someone had put something in my drink because by the time the guy jumped from the burning train (and survived! he gets on the radio and tells everyone he’s buying them beers tonite!) I was crying and checking my radio dial to try and figure out who had just saved my life.

I’m serious when I say that I lived in New York until this radio station went live on the interweb. Out of all the New York things I could not part with, WFMU was the most important one.

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When people ask me what I’m listening to I tell them, “WFMU, never ask me again!” because WFMU is all I listen to, ever. There is nothing that WFMU can’t do. I used to be worse. If I went out of town i would be overcome with ennui, wondering what Brian Turner might play this week. The sense of loss was overwhelming, depressing even.

People always want to know how come I write so good. What I tell them is: I listen to Brian Turner on Tuesday, followed by the brilliant and bizarre Dave Emory (Daves of The World Unite!), who would have to be my greatest inspiration in my amazing career as a whatsit.

My favorite five hours all week to get the drivel wrote is Tuesday because I know that Brian Turner is deejaying just for me. Yeah. We work together, me and Brian. Of course Brian doesn’t know about me yet, but he will, and one day we’ll be together.

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After Brian Turner’s show, Dave Emory delivers a well-footnoted dissertation confirming what I suspected about how Nazis are still the running the game, whilst I get all the cooking and cleaning done. Then I get drunk, abuse myself and cry to Al Jolson songs during the Antique Phonograph Music Program. It’s a cheap date night and everybody is happy afterward.

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I then float off on the night time deejays who often do the greatest stuff because they are allowed to get weird. Solid Gold Hell with Sue P. never fails to gird me up for the extra hour of an all-night typing binge.

I love the ever discombobulated Terri T and her little Attitude (“I said don’t call when I’m on the mike!”), and I can’t tell if I like Dave the Spazz or Fools Paradise with Rex more. Rex has the politically incorrect 78s in the fur-lined fallout shelter with the bubbles. Dave the Spazz has a monkey. Both of them use soundbites that seem to work with my life (“Dave? Dave? this is highly irregular. I think you should take a stress pill and think things over”.)

The station is also a great way to scare indie rock idiots or Vice types out of your house at four in the morning if you know how to blast the awesome, unparalleled gospel show called “The Sinners Crossroads which is worth the link just to hear Kevin Nutt’s North Carolina accent. It makes their haircuts hurt!

If there is something on WFMU that doesn’t suit you, like that guy who screams in ersatz german (stop it for the love of god!), you can always go to the recent archives page.
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HEY CHAMBO! NEVER GET BUSTED AGAIN WITH BARRY COOPER

Dear Chambo,

Do you remember on our last sojourn through the great state of Texas when that huge baby in a cop uniform pulled us over for going sixty eight miles an hour in a sixty five mile per hour zone to check us for knives and Xanax (thank god we’d left that bullshit behind like I told you to).

THEY WERE LOOKING FOR DRUGS DAN

THEY WERE LOOKING FOR DRUGS DAN

I remember the way the flashing lights let me look into the deep cerulean blue eyes of the curious cop’s soul to see a man who just wanted to know what we were doing out in West Texas this time of night.

Well, Dan it turns out that I was wrong, those curious eyes wanted to take us to jail because of a thing that all cops use called “profiling.” I didn’t believe it until I saw the movie done by an ex-Texas drug force trooper who is cool now that he smoked a joint after he was jailed for not returning Jeepers Creepers 1 and 2 to the video store. And guess what? Turns out that jail in Texas sucks.

And then Barry Cooper realized that he had been putting people in a terrible place “and terrible position to get raped or even shanked which is stabbing.” Barry has to smoke pot now because he put so many people in jail for smoking flowers, man. It tripped him out so bad that he made a movie for the likes of freaky people he used to beat up on back in high school called Never Get Busted Again with Chambo—whoops, I mean it’s called Never Get Busted Again with Barry Cooper.

Then as if that wasn’t enough he went to Canada and did a three-foot bong hit on YouTube before launching into a dissertation about how much nicer the potheads where when he busted them compared to winos.

Then he even rented a house in Texas and pretended to grow pot but it was all just a set up to get the cops to do an illegal raid (drugs do weird things to your brain Dan). And they did it. It’s called Kopbusters and it has a Beastie Boys soundtrack, who I know are your favorite band.

Then he gets all crazy and tells you how to set up a grow house without getting busted. Must be the weed has got to his brain and he has done gone reefer mad!

HOW TO HIDE LIKE THOSE HUMANS IN TERMINATOR

I’m not kidding Dan, if you are going to continue to drive around armed and profiling yourself with whatever drugs you are on that makes you get hair cuts you have to watch this movie now, and look up Barry Cooper while you are down in that awesome state.

Barry Cooper says if you see that baby cop again don’t touch your head because it lets him know that you are lying about that knife collection that you keep under the dashboard. Luckily we took enough Xanax to forget about it, so we weren’t even lying. That’s why we got away.

Remember Dan, policemen are your friends, if they have gone to jail and smoke weed on youtube.

Viva Terlingua. Tell the Doodlin Hogwallops “wassup” for me. (Can we get a picture of this band godammit?)

love dave

Barbecue, beer and beards in Silver Lake…

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From L.A. RECORD:

“Territory BBQ and Records is the new restaurant-slash-record-store from Tony Presedo and Curtis Brown—formerly of Tee Pee Records and the band Bad Wizard, respectively. They will stock heavy music and serve heavy food prepared in part by heavy chef [and longtime Arthur “Do the Math” columnist] Dave Reeves.”

Read the whole article here…

okay already with the mardi grass, cash, ash

I’ve just toured one of the asphalt strips which girdle our great country and would like to say that nobody is illegal, unless nobody is Mexican or has a couple of pounds vacuum wrapped in the back of the truck under a bunch of hammers.

Along the way I was reminded that Indian reservations are awesome places to get the essential weapons and fireworks one needs for Mardi Gras by providentially breaking down at Bush Brothers Truck stop in Jamestown, New Mexico (exit 39 off I-40) that has all your personal items like tear gas, switchblades and this EYEGOUGE KITTY.

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A weapon whose sheer cuteness means you might get it through the metal detectors.

MAKE EM SAY “ME OOWW!”

Remember, ladies, the eyes are the other balls.

We broke down again in Weatherford, Arklahoma, where we were punished with 3.2 beer. Impossible to get drunk on. I will not describe this horrid church town or the stinking vindaloo of the hotel room.

Nor will I mention the tow truck driver who upon seeing our California plates kept trying to get us to “break out the joint” even there were obvious Christians mulling about.

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The first night in New Orleans, I apparently went to go see a band called “Tirefire” in Metarie.

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TIREFIRE GETS DOWN
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Tirefire were opening for one of the “eyehategod” guys’ side projects (I’ll find out what it as called later. Evil army? I dunno, my notes are too bloody) where I stabbed myself in the hand with my newest of a dozen milano switchblades I have owned over the years to assuage my condition.

These knives have a malfunctioning safety mechanism which encourages a “pocket pop” when the owner is doing something like getting jostled in a room full of sweaty freaks. In the short useful lifetime of the spring this design flaw allows these evil little spikes to poke more holes in people than a jail full of three-peckered soccer hooligans. (It’s in Wales, I think).

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