Observations of an American Infidel

By Nathan Payne | pablosmoglives | 20 Feb 2023

"I can hear the tolling of the bell
Of the man I was before, I am a shell
Cash my welfare check and say farewell
I'm proud to be an American Infidel."
From American Infidel


In early 2003, I marched through Hollywood with 100,000 people, to protest the invasion of Iraq.  I carried a sign that read, "Who Would Jesus Bomb?"  The procession ended somewhere around Sunset & LaBrea, at which corner a stage or platform of some kind had been built.  Gore Vidal said something I don't remember, but which resonated deeply with my convictions at the time, probably.

There were 100,000 people marching in Los Angeles alone.  Protests of similar size and scope occurred around the same time, in most large cities in the Western world.  London, Rome, New York, Chicago, everywhere you looked, hundreds of thousands of people marched against "Bush's" invasion of Iraq.

It was a few years later (though still the Bush years), when I was interviewed among a handful of other people for the Korean Broadcast System in New York.  The reason for the interviews was to ask artists (not influencers or creators) about dissent during a time when the war machine was moving ahead with its plans in direct opposition to not only the U.S. Constitution, but the will of almost everybody, everywhere.  They used my song "George Bush What's Your Problem?" as the lead-in music for the segment, which was called "Culture Zone."

This is my segment of the show:

I added the guy at the 4-minute mark because his thoughts are interesting in hindsight.  You wouldn't be surprised if he told you he was gay, if it occurred to anybody to bring it up at all (which it wouldn't have).  And he's not wrong.  The smart people, do indeed, still see through "him," whoever he may be.

Do "artists tend to believe in freedom of expression," as he claims at the beginning of the video?

I know I do.  Do "they?"

I have my doubts, but the old-school liberals probably still do believe in the basic Constitutional ideals the U.S. was founded on.  Whatever the case, Amy Goodman's point at the end has always been true.  Media is supposed to be the watchdog; and in fact it's now more true than ever, that artists (or anybody) ARE very brave for speaking out.  Unfortunately, the war machine outsourced our voices to people with self-important titles like "influencer" and "creator," who create nothing and are influenced mostly by their desire for attention on social media.  Bad trade.  But... creators and influencers?  Remember when "artist" was a potentially haughty, self-important term?

Hahahaha, me too.

So, is it still true for Amy Goodman and Democracy Now?  Do they still believe that they're supposed to be the watchdogs of government, Big Death, and other multi-zillion-dollar industries?  I have no idea; I haven't watched or listened to any liberal media outlets for roughly 15 years.  Liberalism as an anti-establishment, Constitutional, freedom-conscious mindset, as it was known during the Bush years (whether it was strictly true or not), has been obsolete since 2009.  By obsolete I mean completely non-existent.  There is no such thing as an anti-establishment liberal after Obama.  Such a person either lives in a cave, or does not exist.

And if they live in a cave, I say good for them.

Sadly, the days of writing a song with a now-dated liberal mindset that uses the word "American" in the title are long gone.  I released the American Infidel album 16 years ago this month, in fact.  The title (and hopefully the album itself) was supposed to be the jaded, road-weary equivalent of the idea behind the popular song that sings, "I'm proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm free," which song I have no problem with (and never did), but which may not have resonated entirely with people who are going to march down Sunset Blvd. to listen to Gore Vidal speak on the eve of an unconstitutional bombing of one form or another.  And, within my sphere of influence at the time, it was.  There are some ideas in the song I no longer believe are relevant or necessary to repeat, but when I sing "High School kids with a fully-loaded AK," you'll notice I'm not calling those kids stupid, or bad.  I'm just painting a picture.  I grew up shooting guns myself, and if I had kids, they'd have been shooting from a reasonable age themselves.  Granted, there is an attitude of slight disdain in the vocal delivery when I sing, "it's the American way," and while I think that was probably just an influence of the culture of liberalism at the time, I'm not too proud to cop to it, to say I'd sing it differently now, or confess to cringing a little when I hear the recording.

It's a song, after all, not a legal document.

The point, though, is that these days, the song wouldn't exist at all.  One way or another.

And it doesn't.

The video above is the reason for this article.  I left the U.S. 2 weeks before the 2020 election because I saw the writing on the wall, and yet just glancing at this video broke my heart.  I saw a video on Odyssey of an RT report in which both the guy in the studio and the guy in the field are trying to project a spirit of enthusiasm, and the sadness it gave me was visceral.

Nobody was there.

Is it because the influencers didn't tell their high-fructose constituents to get mad about the issue, which in this case is nothing less than World War 3, and so they stayed home swiping through the list of things they want to buy so as to more effectively stimulate their genitals?  Is it because the built-in memory hole that is the perpetually-scrolling social media news feed didn't tell them about it, because those platforms are all run by warmongers and pedophiles?  Is it because there's another superpeople franchise screensaver coming out this weekend, another forgettable children's story for intellectually- and emotionally-stunted adults with a bunch of patronizing, transexual BIPOC ciphers shoehorned into the cast?  

Remember this crap?  This miserable film about a bunch of kids whose Halloween masks turn their brains to worms and mush if a certain show happens to be playing on TV?  Fast-forward 40 or so years, put the TV in the kid's hand, and multiply the damage by a thousand.

I saw Halloween 3 once at the time, didn't like it, and have never seen it since.  I only glance at this clip to make sure the disgusting head-mushing occurs.  Is that supposed to be entertainment?  What a piece of garbage.  Don't let your kids watch horror movies.  I grew up in the Freddy Kreuger era and I'm tellinya, the entire genre is a load of crap.  At best, you're letting demons into your house.  At worst, I dunno.  Your kid's head turns into cockroaches, or she starts an OnlyFans account, or something. 

It's a lose-lose proposition.

But the point the movie made is sound, and has stood the test of time.  However unbelievably.  Like predictive programming, or even prophecy, disguised as a warning against watching too much TV.

Who knows.

All of this is to say, what happened to the anti-war movement in the United States?  From arguably stopping the war in Vietnam, to at least showing up to shout en masse at the war criminals in the Bush administration, to....

Standing down while an illegal administration goads a world superpower into thermulonukular war in the name of who even cares at this point,

After burning down large amounts of square mileage in American cities because a guy OD'd on Fentanyl while being arrested by some cops in Minnesota?  All at the behest and with the blessing of EVERY MAJOR CORPORATE NEWS OUTLET IN AMERICA, while pretending to be a grassroots uprising that isn't being used to undermine the foundations and stability of the very society that allows you to march against it in the first place, in numbers that used to exceed the capacity of the streets that hold them?

Really?  Are you stupid?

There is no solution, but I'm going to tell you the reason that relatively nobody showed up for the heartbreaking Rage Against The War Machine event in Washington, DC today.  An event I was glad to hear about, and was rooting for, and would have showed up for myself, if I hadn't taken the hint years ago and decided to hedge my bets and leave the country entirely.  Before the 2020 election, incidentally.  The writing has been on the wall for a long, long time.

The reason is social media.  Social media is probably not the only reason nobody showed up for the Rage event today, but it is certainly a major one.  Aside from the damage social media has done to the arts, by forcing the world to trade in its bands for bandwidth, every social media platform without exception exists to consolidate, centralize, and monitor human interaction in ways that Hitler or Stalin (or even George Bush) only ever dreamed of.  

From a post I made today on one of the "free speech" police-station bulletin boards, about the so-called Twitter Files:


Surely, I'm not the only person for whom the "Snowden Revelations" were not a revelation, and maybe even 10 years late.  Surely, I'm not the only person who needs an Illuminati whatever, like Elon Musk to illuminate the fact that a TECHNOLOGY WHOSE ONLY PRACTICAL USE IS CENTRALIZATION AND MASS SURVEILLANCE is being used to suppress information.  Surely not.  I re-joined this platform right before The Poor Man's Nick Cave Tour in 2018, to promote the music/tour.  It doesn't work.  Individual artists don't thrive on the consignment shelves that these platforms INHERENTLY ARE.  The culture traded its bands for bandwidth, and now, frankly, it's too late.  What's important is the SHELF SPACE we're consigning, not the item on the shelf itself.  This is what these things inherently are.  They are a contagion.  What was kinda amusing during Myspace became very uniform w/ Farcebook, and by now, even the PRESIDENT is supposed to care if some miserable Thrift-Store Consignment-Shelf manager trades his little box of secondhand ideas for somebody else's.

Anyway, if you need Elon Musk to tell you that Twitter has been used to ill effect.... I dunno what to tell you.  God have mercy on you.  Really.


And another post on the same police-station bulletin board, about a "festival" they're hosting, in which they're asking people to show up IRL [sic].  I understand that some people think I'm old, and in a way... I am old, and I understand that slang changes at least as often as every generation, and that's fine, and that texting has changed the way people communicate, which happens.  And shorthand ways of saying things is fine, and not a bad thing necessarily.  Especially via text, which is a convenient and useful means of communication.  But I'm going to ask anyway:

If you can't finish the sentence with real words, how do you expect me to show up in real life?

My comment, the tone of which is neither pleasant nor inappropriate:


Don't dare curse yourself by going anywhere near this place.  "We need" the community to.... holy smokes, please.  There is no "community" to meet IRL.  Social media destroyed the community years ago (I'd say the Myspace-Facebook transition, so... '09-ish?), and since the social media CEOs and wannabe creators have been able to pay the rent doing so, they are in denial about this fact.  If a fairly-potentially large event like the #rageagainstthewarmachine was a Raging Disappointment, no way a bunch of people who run a bulletin board in a police station are going to make a difference.  I mean, there is NO WAY.  Even if it wasn't in Austin.

Don't go to the festival unless they're paying you $200 an hour to be there, after expenses.  Why not.  They've built a comfy life on your inertia.  Don't encourage them.  They're part of the problem.  Them being unaware of it and not looking like a career politician has nothing to do with it.  Don't dare donate a penny or a second to this event.  If you're a musician who's going to make the world a better place by allowing yourself to be exploited by yuppies for ANOTHER 20 years, allow me to shame you into backing out of this while your integrity is still intact.  If they're paying you, though, do the show.  And kill it; earn your fee.  But don't give these people another reason to consider themselves creative, please.  They have absolutely not earned it. 

Charge them, or dismiss them.  They can afford it.  They're creators, after all.


Hmmm, what is the difference between a person who likens themselves to God because they make videos in their living room, and a dopamine addict who tells other people what to think from a pedestal of nonexistent wisdom?

Spelling ability.  One knows how to use auto-correct, the other does not.



I'm not saying this for enjoyment or sport; I hate it, it's profoundly un-enjoyable, but the self-importance and myopia in this place (which probably actually IS better than those other cop boards) literally demands to be deflated and brought down to size.  Why not piss on the wall of a FREE SPEECH PRISON CELL.  This place supposedly prides itself on its supposed unwillingness to kick you out.  Who cares about being kicked out of a jail cell?  Really.  Who?


And one more, pasted below this video by Zombie Farmer:

Let's be honest. Why are we here (social media)?  To change the world?  To come together under a banner of unity with people we're never going to meet so that we can sit on our asses and pretend that we're not scrolling or swiping our way to hell?  I mean, do we need MORE proof?  Why are we here?  There are 2 or 3 reasons, max:  To pass the time and catch up on some news and maybe see if there are any amusing memes about the nightmare that is continually unfolding before us.

Let's get real, and stop pretending that it's negative and heavy to point out the fact that SOCIAL MEDIA IS A SYMPTOM OF SOCIETAL DECLINE, and not much more.  Because it is definitely UNPLEASANT and heavy to point it out.  But, unfortunately, it isn't negative.  It's only negative if it isn't true.


*     *     *


All this is why I can't write anymore (it doesn't even occur to me to write "Elon Musk, What's Your Problem," like I wrote the George Bush song in the early 2000s, or "American Infidel 2," or any of it), and, far more importantly, why this blog is going to focus more on spiritual matters from here on out.  "Here on out" meaning between now and thermulonukular war, an EMP strike, the rapture, or an economic collapse that will finish the job social media began, and atomize humanity into warring factions of zombies withdrawing from food and Satanism.  Probably, I'll write the occasional meaningless article about movies and music, but they'll be more inclined to wind their way back around to the GET SAVED AND REPENT NOW theme, even if it's shoehorned into place like a gay BIPOC actor in a movie about Swedish Vikings.

But far, far more importantly than why I never write, all of this is why nobody shows up to protest World War 3, when, before social media, people showed up in the hundreds of thousands to protest the invasion of Iraq.  No small event, but microscopic in comparison to what we're facing now.

The disappointing turnout for the Rage event today in Washington, DC makes me very sad.  I applaud their efforts, and I was very happy to hear that somebody had organized something, but the footage of it breaks my heart.

Social media is a contagion.


In the meantime, while we're on the topic and before I go, check out "George Bush What's Your Problem?" on Vol. 1 of my greatest hits collections.  The song isn't on any of the other albums, and the greatest hits albums aren't on Spotify or any of those other thrift store consignment shelves.  The song starts around the 40- or 41-minute mark.  Somewhere in that range.

Hope to see you in Heaven.

Thanks for listening.

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Nathan Payne
Nathan Payne

I am a songwriter and bandleader who travels the world in search of the golden ticket. http://www.pablosmoglives.com


Replacing my blog at http://pablosmoglives.wordpress.com

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