World War III Radio: Plug – Drum ‘n’ Bass for Papa (1997)

Another today by Luke Vibert, though recorded under his alias, Plug. You wouldn’t have caught me dead listening to drum n’ bass in 1997 but my relationship to music was different then. Taste was more aligned with what I would have considered to be identity back then. Of course it wasn’t identity at all. It was part of my armor. It was the accoutrements of cool, the trappings of proving who I wasn’t. Does that make sense to you? Have I explained that properly? Maybe it’s just easier to say that it’s about the music now, but a lot of things are different now. Everything is different, except the music. The music was always there. So that’s my confession for today. I’ll say ten Our Fathers and ten Hail Marys and move on. You can have the music.

Twenty-five years is a hell of a long time but this album is twenty-five years old. That’s a whole lifetime when you think about it. A lot has changed in two and a half decades. I’ve changed.


Is that true? Have I changed? Or am I the same person who has just been able to cast off the weight of costumes and make-believe? That constitutes a change, I guess. I’ve learned to manage my fear and that’s a big accomplishment. Is someone who has been able to do that still the same person? I suppose it depends on how one defines identity and that whole question just collapses into pseudo-intellectual bullshit, so let’s stick with the music. Let’s stick with late-April of 2022. It is late-April of 2022, isn’t it?

Covid-19 is still here. I don’t mean with me, though I can’t say I’m fully recovered. The exhaustion is still with me, but that may or may not be, at least partly, psychosomatic. I don’t know. Anyway, I mean it’s still a big fucking deal. We are just shy of a million deaths right here in the U.S. alone. Let’s do the math behind that, because it should still be the biggest news stories. A million deaths in two years multiplies to 10 million who have lost a loved one, let’s say a parent or grandparent or sibling or a close friend. That’s 10 million people who may or may not have even had a chance to grieve. The human toll of Covid-19 has been been supplanted by the politics. Nobody even talks about the grief anymore. It’s all about the political battles behind masks and vaccinations. It’s vitriol and accusations. It’s bullshit words like tyranny and fascism, and a tsunami of namecalling and ugliness. The grief has been buried beneath hate. That’s the biggest tragedy in this, that we’ve let that happen and ignored the people who’ve been emotionally devastated, and there are a lot of them. It’s horrible. We are horrible.

The situation with Ukraine is on a back-burner also, along with recent elections in Europe that should have been celebrated worldwide because a lot of Russian backed right-wingers were defeated, at least for now. The fact that the right-wingers were in the race at all though is terrifying. They are not a fringe, and I’m not talking about political conservatives either. I’m talking about white nationalists/supremacist armies around the world stewing and festering. They’re not going away. Yet this is all on the back burner.

What’s on the front page today? Well, for two weeks we had the celebrity shit show with Johnny Depp and Amber heard. Just when one couple seems like they’re taking the title of the most depraved, someone comes along and says, “Hold my beer.” This one is a doozy and that it’s made my radar tells you something. But if nothing else we’re getting a lesson in the banality of celebrity. It’s pretty gross. That’s the problem in the social media age though. There is too much information. It’s hard to be glamorous when you publish your own skidmarked skivvies for the world to see. These people are a fucking mess. Just like us.

Then there’s Elon Musk (who has had his own celebrity dragged across social media) buying Twitter. I’m not going to get into his true motivations, or not too much anyway. He is positioning himself as a champion of free speech and all the Trumpists and self-styled libertarians are cheering the move, but his own history shows a lot of inconsistencies. Narcissists don’t have philosophies and political stances and that’s the issue at stake here. I mean, I’m all for free speech. We have libel and slander laws. We have fact checkers, so I’m for free speech in theory. The problem is though that we are post-fact and post-truth. Lies take on a life of their own in 2022 and the truth has ceased to matter. So in this climate, do we really need the largest platform of speech being controlled by a single person or entity? That idea in and of itself is the best reason against private ownership for Twitter. It’s a big enough clusterfuck already.

But Elon Musk will either open it up as he says he will, and make it worse, or decide down the road to put insane, megalomaniacal controls on it and take it in entirely a different direction. Either path will be wrong. I just don’t see any good coming of it. BUT, I don’t see how it’s the biggest story right now because things are already fucked up enough as it is. I don’t think the impact is going to make things worse that they already are. The fact that this is the headline story now for days just shows that not only are we post-fact and post-truth. We are post-reason.

The world is post-reason.

Chew on that for a bit.

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