While reading this post from Burningbird, this song from one of the greatest punk bands of all time (and one of my all-time favorites) Vancouver’s DOA, was playing on Winamp, appropriately enough. Not poetry, far from it, but good political hardcore rarely reached such lofty heights way back then, 20 years ago and more, and we rarely noticed, as busy slamming and pogoing and sinking oceanic quantities of cheap beer as we were. I do recall taking very seriously one of the band’s many mottoes, though: TALK – ACTION = ZERO.

DOA – Whatcha Gonna Do?
Whatcha gonna do?
Whatcha wanna do?
Whatcha gonna be?
Well if you’re thinkin’
That you’re nothin’
You already are
Yeah, you already are
You need some takin’, not just thinkin’
You need some takin’, not just thinkin’
You need some takin’,
Just quit your talkin’.
You’re sittin’ thinkin’
About your sinkin’
Around on down
You wanted everything
But you took nothin’
So now you lie
About the way that you tried
So whatcha gonna do
about what you do?
Whatcha gonna do
about what you do?
Whatcha gonna do
about what you do?
‘Bout the way that you tried?
So quit your talkin’
Whatcha gonna do?
Whatcha wanna do?
Whatcha gonna be?
Well if you want
Whatcha really want?
You need some takin’
Not just fakin’
So whatcha gonna do ’bout what you do?
Whatcha gonna do ’bout what you do?
And whatcha gonna do ’bout what you be?
Gotta be somethin’
I don’t know
I don’t know
I don’t know
I don’t know
I don’t know

I used to know the answer to that question, two decades ago, when I first heard this song, or thought I did. I marched in protests, I talked to everyone I could corner in bars and hallways, I told them to fight the wave of corporatist christian contrakiller bullsh-t flowing out of America and lapping around our ankles.
Today, I don’t know the answer anymore. I am almost certain that there is no good answer, actually, no answer that’s any damn good at all, other than the one that comes by following the urgings of your own sense of right and wrong.
So I’m going to go get drunk, and be nice to some people, and try and avoid getting in any fistfights with Americans. Not much, but it’ll have to do, you know?
Like Joey sh-thead said, you gotta know who your enemy is.

Musical Interludes

Join the conversation! 9 Comments

  1. Your message is like a joke that you want to fight me. Yes, I suppose 20 years ago you didn’t know why you hated America just the same. Look back, I never said bad things about gay people on this place, only that I associate posts like yours with gay men. You want me to appear bad on this post. If it makes you feel good to beat up any person simply because he is American, well, I suppose your actions speak very loudly. Is that what you look for at the peace protests?
    There are good people in all the countries of the world. There are scared and confused and sick and angry people. Obviously, there is nothing I can teach you. Your insults are meant to hurt me, I am only trying to improve the world before I am gone. I find it funny that you make jokes because I am originally Polish, a poor country -that makes you feel strong, I see? I don’t have time for this.

  2. Mate, this post has nothing, nothing to do with you. I don’t even know you. That you think I could care enough to post a rumination on my front page as a response to anything you’ve said is….well, a little pathetic, but certainly in character.
    *shakes head in bewilderment*
    Obviously, there is nothing I can teach you
    Obviously. Although next time you make attempts to ‘teach’ someone, I suggest you make an attempt to do it without insulting them.
    Yes, goodbye all-fucking ready!

  3. Stavro
    This would seem an opportune time as any to greet you after … 17…years.
    I always took solace in your stereo and your rye and the power chords of Angus as he sparked up the chorus. You know the one.
    I don’t mean to interupt a moment, but this is as good a one as any.
    May your helmet hold firm and as the Romans might have said ..nul illegitimi carborundum….Mark (as was 303 C-Boo)

  4. Holy Crap!
    Mark! How on earth did you find me? Email me!

  5. Even better, I’ll email you…

  6. I always preffered “Tits On The Beach.” But then again I’ll take breasts over politics any day of the week.

  7. That Polish rant has made my day. True nutters make me laugh (unless they find themselves in positions of power eg Kim Jong Il et al). I only hope he(?) is a harmless nutter. Perhaps he should sign off as “Angry from Gdansk” but then again he “has no time for this”.

  8. Jon, I’m pleased you know DOA, and of course totally unsurprised. But I do recommend (if you’re at all into ’78-’83 style political punk, and if you haven’t already) having a listen to some of DOA’s output beyond the ‘joke’ songs (‘Fuck You’, ‘Let’s Fuck’, ‘I Don’t Give a Shit’ and so on, including their paean to Wreck Beack, ‘Tits on The Beach’).
    The first few albums, up to and including War on ’45, are pure brilliance.

  9. I believe that first comment is a comment spam. There’s at least 10 hitting various MT webloggers, one reason I’ve turned comments off for the moment.

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