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R.I.P. Lou Reed

If you can't join 'em and you can't beat 'em...fuck 'em

If you can’t join ’em and you can’t beat ’em…fuck ’em

“When did punk rock become so safe?” —“The Separation of Church and Skate” NOFX

Today I shaved my face…bald.  I bald my face in honor of Lou Reed.  It was my only move…I might have tried to become a bigger asshole–were that sustainable.  Instead I shaved my face–bald.  I’ve never been much of a “joiner”, a fact I never noticed until my friend Matt pointed out to me that we shared that in common.  Still, I felt the need to show some solidarity…I never joined punk…it joined me.  As I age I thank God more and more that punk did join me…

Lou Reed was an asshole…as the days solidify the fact of Reed’s death, beware the hero-worshipers who’ll remind you of the man’s genius and white-wash his truth, but he was an important asshole…at least he was to a young me.  Lou Reed taught me two words that were buried deep inside of me…he taught me that the golden calves of polite society deserved no concessions from anyone who took the time to pay attention.  He taught me that it was okay to shit in the punchbowl from time to time.  He taught me that it was okay to shit in the punchbowl as polite society danced despondently, their dead eyes meeting with the smug sneer of self-assured indifference, drinking deeply from the bowl as dark-skinned bodies swung in Mississippi breezes and women were made to feel less than and junkies were treated as the source of social ills–not their logical conclusion and I was stuck in sub-urban Port Orchard–made to feel small because I liked to wear myself in a way that rubbed everyone every wrong way…Lou Reed taught me the words: Fuck You.

Lou Reed made it clear to pilgrims, who climbed the mountain of the Bowery in search of answers from acerbic quick-witted nihilistic gurus, that they were stupid.  Not because it is latently stupid to seek out messiahs, but because when messiah seekers are not made to feel stupid they become bloated and arrogant.  The Ramones may have made glitz irrelevant…Lou Reed made it clear that The Ramones were irrelevant…as was he.  He found it ridiculous that journalists would ask him what music he liked, asking the sycophants from Punk (the original zine): why would they care what kind of music he liked, he didn’t care what kind they liked.  He understood that the failings of douche-bag-hedonistic-arena-rock-double-album-recording sots didn’t stem from a weakness of content, but that the content ultimately suffered because of hero-worship and a spineless propensity to buy into the bullshit of said worship.

Reed did buy into the bullshit of his own mythos.  Anyone who is surprised by that misses the point.  The ultimate irony would be a spotless Lou Reed.  Reed wasn’t trying to be ironic…he was being clear.  Now he is gone, and the world is no worse for wear.  He came and changed everything…to mourn his death beyond that would make little sense to a man who once wrote: ” Well, you know what happens after dark/When rattlesnakes lose their skins and their hearts/And all the missionaries lose their bark…”

So today I shaved my face to honor the life of Lou Reed…Rest in Peace, Lou…I hardly knew you…it’s the way you wanted it…


About pats0

Pats0 is a writer who is informed by a punk-rock ethos, and a hatred for group-think. He is the founding member of The Pirate-Clown Guild of Free-Thinkers, an aegis from under which he soils the internet with his thoughts. Welcome.

2 responses to “R.I.P. Lou Reed

  1. Seems like the most fitting tribute I’ve seen yet. AND I heard a guy poorly cover two Velvet Underground songs last night at an open mic night, so that’s kind of saying something not really at all.


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