Whatever ancient thing it is

that works the chains and pulls us so relentlessly on

Whatever ancient thing it is
I don't remember where this is.

Good morning. Hope you had breakfast already.

Looking good fellas! And on top of that normal.

Previously on Hell World we talked about the Living Wage for Musicians Act.

Another villain who’s taking all our money
Usually Hell World is a political newsletter, and sometimes it is a music site, and sometimes, as with today’s two-parter, it is both. For paid subscribers we have a talk between the great labor and metal writer Kim Kelly and Maha Shami of the D.C. hardcore band NØ MAN

Since then Spotify has come out with a presentation on why the company is good, actually, and how much they love helping artists. Some of them anyway. Here's one of the slides from the presentation that explains what they think about most of us:

It's pretty insulting circular logic at work here. In other words you're not a real artist you're just a pitiful little hobbyist – no better than a delusional beer league athlete or ... even worse ... a YouTuber – unless you make enough money.

Also we're the ones who decide not to pay you any money in the first place.

On a related note David Roth was good as usual in this piece on the end of Vice:

The Coffee Machine That Explained Vice Media | Defector
Even before the fog machines were turned off due to unpaid electrical bills and the people on the first floor became aware that the walls of the executive offices upstairs had been torn open by their former occupants so that they could get at the copper wiring, there was something inescapably abstract about working at […]
The idea that a business could make nothing but money, and produce nothing but dividends, is one of the strangest and most popular capitalist fantasies. The appeal of it is obvious, but incomplete even as a fantasy, or at least dependent on another fantasy—that the people on the right side of these deals will somehow never need or want any of the things, from entertainment to medical care, that they are making impossible or obsolete, and that everyone else will consent to losing not just their jobs but all these other otherwise healthy parts of public life. It's unclear what would be left, once everything is broken down and sold off. The idea, for the victors, is I guess to get enough money to ascend to a place of pure open-bar inconsequentiality, some vile branded party where the Chainsmokers are forever about to go onstage.

But this is maybe too abstract, as well. So: There is a class of investors, and a type of wealthy sociopath, that wants to extract maximum value from their investments, and then there is the much larger and less comfortable population of institutions and individuals who are downstream of that one big urge and subject to that extraction. The former is an invasive species. It will, if left to continue doing what it does, eventually choke out everything it can compete with or consume, and then starve itself in turn. For anything else to grow, anywhere, it is going to have to go.

This piece in the Washington Post on sexual abuse of children by police was pretty hard to read.

Some of you will recall me writing about this sort of thing in the Welcome to Hell World book.

While that story is bad enough on its own the particulars of it aren’t even what stand out here for me because did you know that back in the day many years ago all the way back in 2017 when this was happening that it wasn’t even illegal as of yet for police officers to have sex with people in their custody in New York? What the fuck? It was indeed a crime for a prison guard to have sex with an inmate but not this type of thing where the person was still relatively free where it was only the idea of prison that hovered over the entire proceedings. Then it was sort of a gray area under the law and you could get away with it and cops often did and may still.

New York has since closed that loophole in their state laws but as of last year according to the ACLU New York was one of thirty five states where consent could be used as a defense when a police officer is accused of raping someone they have arrested.

Writing on the story last year Buzzfeed reported that “of at least 158 law enforcement officers charged since 2006 with sexual assault, sexual battery, or unlawful sexual contact with somebody under their control, at least 26 have been acquitted or had charges dropped based on the consent defense, according to a review of a Buffalo News data- base of more than 700 law enforcement officers accused of sexual misconduct.”

Police sexual misconduct is pretty common you might not be surprised to hear.

“According to a 2010 Cato Institute review, sexual misconduct is the second-most-frequently reported form of police misconduct, after excessive force,” according to the Associated Press.

Sometimes they even get in trouble for it.

In 2015 the Associated Press counted almost one thousand officers between 2009 and 2014 “who lost their badges in a six-year period for rape, sodomy and other sexual assault; sex crimes that included posses- sion of child pornography; or sexual misconduct such as proposition- ing citizens or having consensual but prohibited on-duty intercourse.”

That number was likely to be a vast understatement they said because it only counted officers who actually lost their jobs and many states including California and New York where there are quite a fair few number of cops didn’t have records about such things because why would they. In some states where they reported no firings for sexual mis- conduct they found cases through news reports or court records that it had actually happened so those states were lying or negligent or both.

“It’s happening probably in every law enforcement agency across the country,” Chief Bernadette DiPino of the Sarasota Police Department in Florida who studied the issue told the AP. “It’s so under- reported and people are scared that if they call and complain about a police officer, they think every other police officer is going to be then out to get them.”

What’s more a significant percentage of these incidents involve particularly vulnerable people like minors or women of color or sex workers or addicts or in other words people who the police perceive as having even less power than the average person and are therefore less likely to make a whole thing about it.

As the Washington Post reported last year a study from the National Institute of Justice looked at over 6,700 officer arrests throughout the country over a seven year period and found half of the arrests were for sexual misconduct involving minors.

This part is even worse than all of that which is that cops often prey on women who are victims of domestic violence who call the police for protection.

“As one officer quoted in an investigative report by the Philadelphia Inquirer said, ‘I would see women that were vulnerable where I could appear as a knight in shining armor,’” the Post reported.

“He explained, ‘I’m going to help this woman who’s being abused by her boyfriend, and then I’ll ask for sexual favors.’ Another bragged that getting dates with such victims was like ‘shooting fish in a barrel.’”

Ok here's today's main thing. It's one of those ones where I disassociate while reading the news or whatever it is I do. You'll have to be a paid subscriber to read it all but it starts like so:

Whatever ancient thing it is

A so-called vigilante is hunting the unhoused in Los Angeles with a bow and arrow they were saying and then came up an alert for a fresh obituary for my long dead uncle on a site I’d never heard of that was apparently AI-scraping newspapers to turn into gibberish and it said at the top that more than anything else my dear dead uncle loved to be alive and there were nails in the stomachs of the dolphins at an aquarium in Florida and I shared an article about a beloved to me band releasing their first album in a decade and someone informed me instantly that as it happens the singer is a transphobe now but those 90 seconds of excitement before that were genuinely so pleasant to be inside of and next they were saying people had been setting up multiple fundraisers to get some of the poor sons of bitches out of the warzone but instead they were stealing the money and getting away with it and Paul Bowles was asking me how many more times do I suppose it will be that I watch the full moon rise and all of my old bartender friends were texting each other about something we didn’t want to believe was real and the neighborhood skunk was walking its commute along the straight same path forty five degrees off the mouth end of my porch where it had walked a dozen times or more on some recent nights and my skin tingled in the way it does when something bad but not in the balance of things all that bad was threatening to happen and I gave CVS my phone number to save 60 cents and I gave 711 my phone number to save 30 cents.

It was Christmas and two dozen or twenty or fifteen wild turkeys were loitering in the unsnowed backyard when something in the nearby thicket must have spooked them and they all at once hurled themselves into the sky as far as they could reach and landed in the safety of a white pine perch with their grasping talons. You couldn’t have choreographed it more seamlessly. God could but not you. I have never seen turkeys actually fly that high off the ground in my entire life and I’ve seen a lot of turkeys. Not to boast. Usually just sort of briefly pecking around the sidewalks of Cambridge where I have always wanted to live out the rest of my days so badly but now cannot afford to and probably never could have. Rarely jumping like that though more so how I would look going up to grab a rebound at this point in my life. Wobbling with a heft and a bottomness to them. Like baby Godzillas. 

Here snuck around the corner next Willow the cat who makes my eyes sting swaggering through the bushes with such confidence. The slim king of all that he surveys. No idea that the thing he wanted most in the world in that moment would have been his undoing which I found relatable.