Somehow I was convinced that the band I saw most play live was Sick Of It All. But it might actually be Anti-Flag. I like them for their political punk rock of course, but also, and it’s pretty stupid, because they’re from Pittsburgh, where I lived for (only) one year.
Meandering through YouTube video recommendations the other night, I came across this trailer for a documentary about the band:
I bought the documentary on vimeo and watched it last night. It’s nice! Here are 2 quotes 30 minutes in, about 9/11. Pat Thetic and Justin Sane:
We were recording in Pittsburgh […] I was going to be headed to the studio. There was a morning radio show that I liked to listen to and I remember they […] were talking about a small plane that had run into the World Trade Center but they thought it was an accident and they thought it was a small plane and that the details were pretty iffy. […] I got into the car and the radio came on and I heard the radio announcer saying Oh my God Oh my God and I knew that something really bad had happened
It was almost […] immediate, like, it was in the next 8 hours […] it became known as a terrorist attack, and nationalism ran rampant and people were waving american flags and calling for blood
I was in Pittsburgh on September 11, 2001. How did I find out about the planes? My sister woke me up, calling from Switzerland asking if I was ok (another plane crashed “close to” Pittsburgh). My roommate and I had no tv, I was not listening to radio, and Internet was not what it is now. But I can totally relate to Chris #2’s comment. It was a weird time to be in the USA. Later in the documentary, they reflect on the fact that the life of the people living in countries raging foreign wars (USA in Afghanistan, Iraq… or Russia in Ukraine) is not much affected by said war-mongering. Which was also very true in my experience in 2001—2002. The USA flags everywhere were annoying, George W. Bush was an gigantic asshole, but your everyday life was normal.
Which brings me to past weekend, and this fabulous article:
although those former presidents might have had better syntax than Trump, worn better-fitted suits, had finer dance moves, weren’t proud “pussy grabbers”, or cunning tax dodgers, being a world-class bully has always been a part of the job.
Abroad, US presidents have wrought havoc, invaded and destroyed places whose names they could never pronounce, hosted murderous dictators from around the world at Camp David and found even more bloodthirsty ones to replace them.
Trump has just brought all that bullying home.
Barack Obama was one of the most loved president of recent times, the kind of man who you could actually imagine have a beer with. He left the killings to algorithms and drones […]. By the end of his tenure, the US was dropping the equivalent of nearly three bombs an hour every single day. (In 2009, he won the Nobel peace prize for his good intentions.)
Trump makes the US look bad, makes the US look too white, makes the US speak bad English, makes the US look ill-mannered, greedy, overweight. But as far as many of us around the world are concerned, even if he loses, it’s not a sign that the US is about to change; it really just heralds a bit of a makeover.
My favorite Anti-Flag record is A New Kind of Army (1999). The most recent in my collection is The People Or The Gun from 2009. I haven’t listened much to it. Like many bands, I don’t like the musical direction they have taken. 5 more albums have come out since 2009, and I haven’t listened to any of them, but I’m sure the lyrics are fantastic. There sure was a lot to comment on in the recent years of American Imperialism.
To end on a lighter note, in 2002 I ordered 70 1$ stickers from their website. They wrote back and asked if I made a typo. Nope, haha, the plan was to cover my BMX with Anti-Flag stickers: