Matching Grant Challenge
alexPureWhen I met Alexander Cockburn, one of his first questions to me was: “Is your hate pure?” It was the question he asked most of the young writers he mentored. These were Cockburn’s rules for how to write political polemics: write about what you care about, write with passion, go for the throat of your enemies and never back down. His admonitions remain the guiding stylesheet for our writers at CounterPunch. Please help keep the spirit of this kind of fierce journalism alive by taking advantage of  our matching grant challenge which will DOUBLE every donation of $100 or more. Any of you out there thinking of donating $50 should know that if you donate a further $50, CounterPunch will receive an additional $100. And if you plan to send us $200 or $500 or more, CounterPunch will get a matching $200 or $500 or more. Don’t miss the chance. Double your clout right now. Please donate. –JSC (This photo of Alexander Cockburn and Jasper, on the couch that launched 1000 columns, was taken in Petrolia by Tao Ruspoli)
 Day 19

Yes, these are dire political times. Many who optimistically hoped for real change have spent nearly five years under the cold downpour of political reality. Here at CounterPunch we’ve always aimed to tell it like it is, without illusions or despair. That’s why so many of you have found a refuge at CounterPunch and made us your homepage. You tell us that you love CounterPunch because the quality of the writing you find here in the original articles we offer every day and because we never flinch under fire. We appreciate the support and are prepared for the fierce battles to come.

Unlike other outfits, we don’t hit you up for money every month … or even every quarter. We ask only once a year. But when we ask, we mean it.

CounterPunch’s website is supported almost entirely by subscribers to the print edition of our magazine. We aren’t on the receiving end of six-figure grants from big foundations. George Soros doesn’t have us on retainer. We don’t sell tickets on cruise liners. We don’t clog our site with deceptive corporate ads.

The continued existence of CounterPunch depends solely on the support and dedication of our readers. We know there are a lot of you. We get thousands of emails from you every day. Our website receives millions of hits and nearly 100,000 readers each day. And we don’t charge you a dime.

Please, use our brand new secure shopping cart to make a tax-deductible donation to CounterPunch today or purchase a subscription our monthly magazine and a gift sub for someone or one of our explosive  books, including the ground-breaking Killing Trayvons. Show a little affection for subversion: consider an automated monthly donation. (We accept checks, credit cards, PayPal and cold-hard cash….)

pp1

or
cp-store

To contribute by phone you can call Becky or Deva toll free at: 1-800-840-3683

Thank you for your support,

Jeffrey, Joshua, Becky, Deva, and Nathaniel

CounterPunch
 PO Box 228, Petrolia, CA 95558

Danny Goldberg's Imaginary Kids Chew Swallow Digest

Danny Goldberg’s Imaginery Kids

by MARIA TOMCHICK

Danny Goldberg’s new Dispatches from the Culture Wars: How the Left Lost Teen Spirit has a great premise: that the decline in political power of the American "left" stems from its increasing alienation from the popular cultures that define the worlds of millions of young Americans. It’s an intriguing idea, worth exploring. Unfortunately, it’s presented like the sort of marketing decision Goldberg, a long-time recording industry executive, might make. Instead of tacking a hit record onto his memoirs, Miramax Books seems to have decided it needed a catchier theme and a new opening chapter.

Goldberg managed acts from Led Zeppelin to Nirvana, going on to help run seemingly every big L.A. corporate music division, about one a year, through the merger-happy ’90s, before starting his own independent label. That history serves here as a name-dropping background to Goldberg’s free speech activism (especially with the ACLU) and fundraising for Democratic candidates. The ultimate "Hollywood liberal" political memoir turns out to be a semi-monotonous 30-year narrative of electoral cycles and music censorship battles, and the meetings that love them. Zzzz.

It’s hard to judge one person’s account of such now-obscure brouhahas. (Remember 2 Live Crew?) Meanwhile, vast chunks are missing from Goldberg’s discussion of his subtitled topic. Are Democrats out of touch? His argument rests almost entirely on adult condemnation of youth culture–stop the presses!–and a stunningly unhip 2000 campaign featuring Tipper Gore and Joe "I’m more religious than you" Lieberman.

But do Democratic candidates now hate kids, or are moralistic adults bigger donors and more frequent voters? This isn’t new–Southern Dixiecrats, a major Democratic Party bloc, were among Elvis’ biggest critics, and from Spiro Agnew to Dan Quayle to Robert Dole to Bill Bennett and John Ashcroft, it’s easy to find more recent Republican counterparts.

Older societal leaders are forever clueless to the ways of the young. Including, apparently, Goldberg, who fails to tell us what "teen spirit" is, how it could be regained, or how it might be applied in politics. Youth, here, don’t have energy or ideas–only votes and disposable income. Goldberg never once quotes or cites an actual young person; in his world, unit sales and hip corporate executives, rather than politicians, speak for the young. The young themselves still don’t speak.

If they did, perhaps they’d mention other factors–like the perceived irrelevance of politicians or futility of trying to influence them. Or they’d discuss–unlike Goldberg–non-electoral, youth-led phenomena like the anti-globalization and sweatshop movements, which have been ignored by Democrats. Goldberg does discuss Ralph Nader’s 2000 presidential bid, but ignores the reasons why so many 18-to-24-year-old voters found the equally wooden Nader (who, Goldberg reports, had no idea in 2000 who Austin Powers was) more compelling than Gore. (Might the young ‘uns be responding to–gasp!–the Democrats’ anemic policies? Or Nader’s accomplishments?) Goldberg can’t even tell us whether Republicans are drawing youth votes from the Democrats (what about Reagan?), or whether kids simply aren’t voting at all. And in discussing the elite left’s antipathy for rap and hip-hop, the wealthy, white Goldberg somehow forgets race and class.

Far more people are drawn to a good time than to a position paper–or to a music executive’s free speech memoir. I’ll take Emma Goldman’s revolution any day. "The left"–the traditional American voice of the disenfranchised, including youth–should absolutely sneer less at pop culture, and celebrate it more. A book on the topic would be a great idea.

MARIA TOMCHICK is co-editor and contributing writer
for Eat The State!, a biweekly anti-authoritarian newspaper of political opinion, research and humor, based in Seattle, Washington. She can be reached at: tomchick@drizzle.com