Ram It Down

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Ever since my high school years, when Rammstein’s Du Hast gained global recognition, it seemed as though they also gained global condemnation and were accused of having Nazi imagery in their videos.

When I interned at the Jerusalem Post, the entertainment’s editor was convinced that they were Nazi and stated it as a clear and undeniable fact.

I was never really sure whether or not Rammstein is a Nazi band. I never read much into any of their videos, including the controversial one for Links 2-3-4, and their lyrics always seemed to be more sexist rather than racist. In fact, I always said “I don’t think Rammstein are Nazis. They’re just a bunch of crazy European perverts.” Consider songs like Rein Raus, Zwitter, Pussy, and countless others. But crazy Europeans or not, I love the shit out of their tunes. The way they synchronize the staccato bass and guitar riffs with their drum blasts is flawless. I also have a weakness for the German language and find it absolutely beautiful and lyrical. Rammstein fucking owns it.

Now that the video for their new single Deutschland came out, I’m not so sure about their Nazi status. The video does not have Nazi imagery this time, but actually has Nazis in it, wearing Nazi emblems, and executing the band members who are wearing the well-known striped uniforms of victims of the Holocaust and their respective symbols (the yellow star for Jews, the pink triangle for homosexuals…).

An article I read about this video asks relevant and justifiable questions about these controversial scenes: “Have Rammstein the right to do this? Do they trivialize the suffering of Holocaust victims? How can they justify using Holocaust imagery to promote their new video? These are important questions that are part of a much bigger debate about the ethics of using the Holocaust in art and media.”

Now, although I have my doubts about the political affiliation of the members of the band, the video itself traces the history of Germany ever since the time of the Roman Empire, and it would make sense for them to include the period of 1933 to 1945, as it is also a part of German history. In fact, I think that if that period were not included, I would feel even more offended. This would simply be a denial of the whole thing. Isn’t Holocaust denial just as bad as trivializing it in a music video?

The article I read fails to mention another part of the video where the camp inmates, still wearing their striped uniforms, are shooting the Nazi officers in the face. That made me stand up and scream “Fuck yeah!”

So considering this particular scene, what does that say? What’s that imagery all about? To me it’s clear Nazi-bashing, if anything, and also fitting with Germany’s history. Again, avoiding this part of history could easily be interpreted as Holocaust denial.

With all that, the more I listen to the song, the more I like it. And the rest of the video is spectacular. I love history. I took a history minor in university and loved every minute of it. Seeing it play out in a video with such a great song is a pure pleasure for me.

But still, I don’t know what I should think and how I should feel about this. So until Rammstein makes a clear statement, one way or another, or comes to play a show in Israel (which I think would be a clear statement in itself), I’ll just go on screaming “fuck yeah” every time one of their songs comes on my player.

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Negative Creep

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Whenever I feel like shit, I usually resort to two things which automatically make me feel better: Music and books.

However, I’ve recently come to realize that both of these can also cause a shitty feeling when they’re associated with such a heavy load of negativity, it hurts my head.

The books I read are all by Stephen King. The guy writes horror like too much of a pro, and his descriptions are brutal. So when he describes the death of a child, or the death of a dog, or the death of a major character, it makes me feel horrible, because he makes it seem all too real.

Then, there’s music. I absolutely LOVE the music I listen to. But sometimes the songs take on a darker tone when I think of the respective artist or band.

  • Kurt Cobain is dead, with the shadow of drug abuse and suicide looming above him
  • Janis Joplin is dead, also with the shadow of drug addiction and overdose
  • Jim Morrison is dead, with the shadow of a lifetime of substance abuse
  • Jimi Hendrix is dead, same drug-shadow looms again
  • Chuck Schuldiner is dead, with the enormous shadow of cancer looming high and mighty
  • Tristessa of Astarte is dead, same gigantic shadow of cancer
  • Mia Zapata is dead, with the even more monstrous shadow of brutal rape and murder above her grave
  • Decapitated’s drummer is dead and their lead vocalist is a vegetable
  • Michael Jackson is also dead, and seems like even after his death, the grim shadow of his alleged child-molestation charges still sticks to him like a leech
  • All punk and riot grrrl bands I listen to have broken up, so did Black Sabbath, and so did Arafel
  • Arch Enemy sold out
  • Phil Anselmo is a white supremacist
  • Rammstein are (allegedly) Nazis
  • Marilyn Manson’s lost his fucking mind…

Why do my favorite means of escape have to be tainted with so much bullshit? Still, I love all of these artists and their music, and still I love Stephen King’s books. And if I didn’t have that, I might as well go coffin-shopping, because seriously, life without music and books is a fate worse than suffering.

I need to go see Disturbed’s performance in July to hold on to the belief that there are bands out there who have not died, or got sick, or OD’ed, or sold out, or became hateful bastards, or broke up.

And I need to get a new Stephen King book because, well, just because. As if I need a reason to get another King book. His fiction owns my reality, and that’s a fact.

Peace, love and death metal for life

Headbanger’s Bag

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Taking time off from zinestering gave me the chance to focus on other projects.

For the past two days, I’ve been working on sewing patches on my new bag. At first, I wanted my mom to sew them for me with her sewing machine because my fingers may refuse to function. But it didn’t work out. And as my activity of the previous two days proved my finger-disfunction assumption to be almost right, I still managed to prove to myself that I can sew. Even if my fingers got all red, and the patches came out a little crooked, it worked out pretty well. I also added some cool pins on the part of the bag that is under the top flap. That part that is too small for patches ut perfect for pins.

I love the hell out of it and it looks totally DIY and totally badass.

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A bag worthy of a metalhead!

Peace, love and off to put my fingers in ice

Zine Rites

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Twigz 3Every zinester has their own little ritual while preparing for zine-production. Some light candles for inspiration, some set up a few snacks at arm’s reach to avoid interruptions by an empty stomach, while others, like me, build a playlist and crank up the volume of the speakers to overpower the tap-snap-ding sounds of the typewriter.

On days I work the evening shift, I get the mornings off so my ritual is set to start at 8:30 a.m. but I always remember yet another thing I need to do before I get down to zinestering (i.e. put in a load of laundry, cook something to have it ready for lunch or dinner, do the dishes, check my email…). So it actually starts around 9:15 or so.

I take out all of my zine ammo – the typewriter from the computer room, the stack of papers and construction paper from the desk drawer, the scissors and glue from the pencil holder on the front desk, my pen and zine pages from my backpack – and set it all on the dining room table.

Then, I get a glass of water or tea, depending on my mood.

I turn on the heater because fucking winter sucks, and take off one of my top layers because typing on an oldass manual typewriter definitely burns calories.

Then I plug my phone to the sound system in the living room, and set my playlist to shuffle.

I work to the sounds of death metal, black metal, folk metal, viking metal, gore metal, industrial metal, and the occasional softer sounds of punk, riot grrrl, grunge, old school pop, rock, blues, folk, and Israeli tunes.

I’m well into my zine groove when the clock strikes 11 a.m. and I cringe.

“No, not yet, I’m not ready!” I whine.

But alas, the office awaits. So I reluctantly pick my ass up along with all the pieces of paper spread out on the table like confetti. I lift the typewriter with a grunt and place it back into its case.

Once in the office, I take my zine papers right back out and keep right on working on my zine, only this time without my typewriter or my music, and with occasional interruptions from the clients.

I swear, today, I had to start counting my zine pages again like five times, due to the constant interruptions at the office, before I made it all the way through.

I hate working the evening shift, so my zine ritual morning is absolutely necessary on such days. It has to be perfect in order to maximize pleasure and minimize bullshit. When all items are in place and paper clippings are all over the place, it’s like the stars align and everything is right in my zinester universe.

Entering the Zone, inflaming temperament, and raising spirits, including my own. It wouldn’t surprise me for a second if one day, Rabbis write a bracha especially for making art. I mean, Jim Morrisson already wrote something similar: “Oh great Creator of being, grant us one more hour to perform our art and perfect our lives.” This is what I say when the clock strikes 11. Just one more hour. Please!

Peace, love and I should wear a headscarf for this.

ZineWriMo: Index and Pinky

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I can smell the end of the work in progress zine. A more than full-length beauty, all about my death metal life and my love of this deliciously brutal genre of music.

After I finish typing up the last piece, I am estimating a 60-page zine, size A6 (1/4 page), very text-heavy, but containing a lot of badass stories, photos, backgrounds, and a cute little segment of Twigz.

A couple of spoilers:

  1. I called the zine “Raise Your Horns”. So now, every time I come across the cover, Amon Amarth’s song gets stuck in my head for the rest of the day. I find myself silently growling “we will drink to glory tonight” even while in the office, and I wonder if the clients think I’m about to vomit. Ha!
  2. Here’s a sneak peak of the headlines to be found in the zine:20181126_153642_1

There’s a few more, but that’s all you’re getting for now.

After the final piece, I will put the pages together and off to the printer it goes. I hope to do that on Thursday morning.

FUCK. YES.

Peace, love and Channukah doughnuts!

Grab Zine by the Horns

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ZineWriMo Lite continues…

I was going to make a mini zine about my favorite snacks to have while engaging in hardcore zine-production, but I didn’t. I’ve made quite a bit of mini zines lately, and I really wanted to focus more on my work in progress zine, which by the way, I’m having a total blast with. This morning, I spent typing away on my typewriter, and now my fingers are nice and bruised.

I got a bunch of the writing done. I did the collage, I wrote a poem, I started planning the cover and have a pretty good idea of what I want to do for the comics. In fact, if I get the comics part nailed, I’m thinking about getting one part of it as a tattoo. Probably on my left wrist. A cute little drawing of my mascot, Twigz, flashing metalhorns will look adorable.

Speaking of metalhorns, I went to Sunday Metal Night last night! I was planning on taking my notebook but I completely forgot. Anyway, I’ll still add a small segment about it in my zine. I’m having so much fun writing metal, talking metal, listening to metal, living and breathing it at every waking hour, I find myself loving it even more.

Seriously, I love zines and I love metal. Writing a zine about metal is just about EVERYTHING! I really don’t know why I haven’t done it sooner. Silly me.

Regarding the double-sided mini zine, I think I’ll incorporate the snack theme on one side of it, but I’ll keep it for later. I really want to keep going with my WIP.

Meanwhile, it’s my daughter’s birthday parties this week – at the daycare tomorrow, at my in-laws’ on Wednesday, and at my parents’ this weekend, so I got enough things to keep me busy, I doubt I’ll get much work done anyway.

Peace, love and Disturbed is coming to Israel bitches!!!