The Town I Left Home For
For many years, a major criticism of the left has been that we allow our enemies to define us. The same might be said about Chlymidia Mountain. Why it's been called "Disney world on crack", "A summer camp for the culturally perverted", "A hotbed of political and sexual mutants". And the more our critics hurl these invectives at us, the more they become a part of our cherished self-image. And why? Is it a collective masochistic streak that runs throughout the city? Or is it that we prefer to be seen as objectionable to a culture, that we find profoundly objectionable, and we accept their condemnation as validation of our success in isolating ourselves from it? I think that might be it. And if that's the case, we certainly wouldn't be the first generation in the city to do so. Hey, how do you think we became Chlymidia Mountain? I can assure you it wasn't named after some founding settler named Chlymidia. Actually it was named after a guy named Crumm. And up until the 1920's this city went by the far less provocative name of Crumm Mountain. It was then, well after the city had become a hotbed of political and sexual mutants, that we were christened Chlymidia Mountain. Harold Manchester, a political and industrial leader at the time, in fact for all intents and purpose, Manchester was what we now know as the proverbial "man", anyway, he made a speech thunderously condemning the absence of morals and values of the cities residents, and quite understandably so. They were some lewd and lascivious fucking people. They'd copulate in streetcars, walk nude down main street, they'd have parties where people would randomly choose partners to have sex with. Believe you me, it was one big orgy. These people were ahead of their times sexually, man they were. No, in fact if you think about it, they were well ahead of our times as well. Anyway, "The Man" called it a modern day Sodom and Gomorrah rolled into one. His unkind words came at a time when resentment of political radicals was running high. Not only that, but the unchaste lifestyles of Crumm Mountains inhabitants began to take there toll. Sexually transmitted diseases began to sprout up everywhere, reaching almost epidemic proportions. At one point a Chlamydia epidemic with the women folk, saw throngs of infected ladies traveling up to the mountains above the city to wash themselves out in the mountain springs. The mental imagery conjured up by such events prompted Manchester to take a swipe at the radicals, by suggesting that they change the name of the city to Chlamydia Mountain. Not long after making the suggestion, a movement had arisen, to take him up on it. Crumm Mountain's randy radicals were proud of the reputation that they earned. And they wanted to embrace Manchester's harsh words. For them his criticism embodied a sort of achievement, a sense that they had truly offended and disgusted the ruling class. This emboldened and strengthened the culture of resistance that they had created. Some eighty years later and their still trying to use nasty words to embarrass, demonize, and defile us. Employ the worst words you know, but we still couldn't have said it better ourselves.
Eventually Crumm Mountain became known as Chlamydia Mountain. An early sign left outside a local grocery collective, featured the word Chlamydia misspelled as Chlymidia. Anyway, it stuck. I personally think it looks better.
Now, I'd like to buck tradition to take some time and some positive words to tell you what Chlymidia Mountain means to me. Chlymidia Mountain is an enclave of creative and free thinking people who reject America's culture of death and exploitation. For some it represents a world turned inside out. Where they can be appreciated and praised for things that ordinarily would get them ridiculed and castigated. For some it's a place where anything can happen. They can fall in love, or find out that love is bullshit. Whatever suits there particular mode of liberation. Personally, I've always felt that Chlymidia Mountain was the promised land for freaks. Back in the early 90's when I left home to move to CM, there was a freshness to the city. A sense of possibility. Something about it, I think a mix of it's history, it's architecture, and it's people was just very alluring and charming. And only ten years earlier, CM was practically a ghost town. Industry had dried up, people had left, and a sense of vacancy reigned. It was around this time that certain people became interested in the city. Punk rockers, attracted to the city because of it's association with anarcho-syndicalism, began to show an interest in the city. Many of this variety migrated there. The spiky-haired bohemians set up anarchist collectives and concert halls, and before too long CM was a magnet for freaks, punks, and other rejects of mainstream American society. Hell, it's what attracted me. I can remember the first time I heard of the place when I was 13. Ever since, I was dying to get my ass there. And throughout all the years I have fantasized about going there, I guess I created this romantic image of what it would be like. And so I was destined to be enchanted by whatever I encountered when I finally did come to Chlymidia Mountain, in the summer of 1990.
But there was another type of person to be enchanted by the city as well. The type of person, who is only enchanted by one thing. The prospect of lining his own pockets. Yes, the money-grubbing capitalist whores somehow saw in Chlymidia Mountain the potential to make a buck. The city was always heavily industrial, and the infrastructure of the city was well maintained over the years, and therefore very attractive to businesses. Real estate firms saw opportunity as well. Old houses could be remodeled, apartment complexes could be built, and with the right combination of good jobs and affordable housing, money could definitely be made. Sure enough, people from the area gradually began to relocate to the city. These people, mostly white rural reactionary's, would become heavily influential in the city as the 90's came around. I actually don't care for the pretentious political correctness of the term "white rural reactionary", I don't think it does the breed justice. I think I like "ignorant hick" better. This influx of ignorant hicks manifested itself in the election of people like Jason Mattice and Geoffrey Hatlee to the City Legislature. Later, many of this ilk would find work with the Crumm Mountain Police Department. Nothing more then cushy sinecures for the good ole boy network. By the mid-90's the Republican-dominated City government would become rife with patronage, favoritism, and incestuous conflicts of interest.
Needless to say, this started to suck real soon. The city was losing it's charm. Old neighborhoods were being bulldozed, punk communities were being treated as second class citizens, and Republicans were actually getting elected to major city posts. This was not the city I fantasized about leaving home for. And then it got worse. In 1994 Bill Walling was elected Mayor. This guy was one piece of shit, let me tell you. After about a month of being Mayor, the guy completely exhausted his reserves of charm, and had to resort to good old intimidation and dirty tricks to have his way. He openly attacked the punk community, and he threatened to raze anarchist free spaces to the ground, to build upscale apartment complexes. Not only was he painfully reactionary, he was sadistic. He enjoyed exacting pain on his political adversaries. Him and his right hand hatchet-woman Penny Grimes destroyed Republican Mayor Jim Amon, during the 1994 mayoral primary. They destroyed Democratic challenger Eugene Lurrow during the mayoral race. Dozens of liberals in the city lost their jobs and had their names dragged through the mud because of how much of a prick this guy was. I myself felt Wallings wrath when I was working for the local public radio station. A colleague and I, went forward with a story, implicating a major developer in the cover-up of a report documenting toxic substances found at a proposed development site. That major developer happened to be a major contributor of Bill Wallings, and just happened to share that same interests in gentrifying old communities. Me and Gertrude Silvers lost our jobs because of it.
Eventually Old Bill hung himself, only figuratively, unfortunately. In August of 1995 Walling gave the go ahead for a police raid on an anarchist collective in the Hickory Ridge neighborhood. It was alleged that the group was stockpiling weapons. But the police didn't find any weapons. Of course they didn't, the anarchists were pacifists and deplored firearms. But that didn't stop the police from opening fire anyway. In the ensuing melee 3 innocent kids were killed, and another ten were wounded. Days later, hundreds turned out to protest, and the demonstration eventually became a riot. A Republican-controlled City Legislature, accurately sensing not having any other option, impeached the Mayor.
The tide began to change after that. And in 1998 we elected Stanley Grouke mayor, a socialist. With traditional business on the wane around here, the place is being taken over, by a different kind of business. Well, let's just imagine what it would be like if a bunch of radical socialists decided to start their own businesses as a joke. Yeah, you get the idea. Kentucky Fried Fetus's. McJesus's. The Rush Limbaugh Laundromat. Marshall Laws. They've turned main street into one big spoof on capitalism. And ironically, it's proven to be quite profitable. And as more and more weirdoes are attracted to the city, it just get's more and more bizarre everyday. Where else are you going to find a vinyl-clad dominatrix who can cut hair? Mistress Tonya's Beauty Salon of Bondage is where I go every month for a trim and a spanking. The Human Road kill Cafe, recently opened up by local rescue squad workers with a healthy sense of humor, is a great place where it's okay to bite the hand that feeds. Of course you'll have to run him down first. Then theres the El Mozote Cinema Complex. A movie theater built on what looks like piles of dead bodies. When they let you into the theater all you see is bones and carcasses and emaciated bodies, and the idea is that your supposed to be herded into a mass grave and disappeared. Ticket takers and ushers dressed in military fatigues force you along. It's a real experience let me tell you. Disney world on crack? Summer camp for the culturally perverted? Hotbed of mutants? I'm proud to say that we've been more then living up to our critics expectations. And lately, It's been starting to feel like the town I left home for.
By the way. A lot of people have sent me E-mails asking me why I dress the way I do.
Some people told me that they thought I was a smart fellow, until they saw pictures of me, and then they just thought I was some kind of court jester. Now, I don't think that ones choice of clothes is that big of a deal, but, some people can't seem to see past it, so I'll explain myself. My clothes are symbolic of my refusal to comprimise with society and the establishment. Really, just one small facet of my resistance to parasitic America.
So maybe you think I look like a fool, but thats just a matter of perspective. You should ask yourself; Who's the one buying expensive, status symbol clothes just so people will like them? Who's the one buying into some bullshit image established by corporate America? Who's the one that thinks you can really judge somebody based on their appearance? Who's the one that thinks total conformity within the system will bring you happiness? Then ask yourselves; who's the real fool?