All Aboard the Performance Truck!

And just who IS Ron Ehmke, anyway? He's a writer, performer, media artist, curator,  archivist, editor, minister, and other things. He often refers to himself in the third person. This site is a work-in-progress, but so is life itself, so keep stopping by and see if anything has happened since your last visit.


A JEREMIAD ON THE OCCASION OF THE SECOND WOMEN'S MARCH, on the day of our lords and ladies 21 January 2018, A.D.

In Which Are Made Many Passing References to Various Other Matters of International Urgency Which May Not At First Mention Strike the Casual or Uninformed Reader as Relevant, But Which Are All Crucial to the Author's Overarching Point (Which Is Also Handily Summarized in the Essay's Five Final Words for the Benefit of Those Who Insist They Have More Important Matters to Attend To, Even When They Are Really Only Referring to Catching Up on the Second Season of Stranger Things)

Dear Fellow People Over the Age of 40:

You don't seem to be aware of this, but when you use the term "woke"—EVEN THOUGH you are always careful to add the hint of irony and world-weariness at Kids Today in your tone, and whether you are doing this with your friends or on national television/radio—you sound EXACTLY as obnoxiously out of touch, clueless, and unfunny ("unhip") as the people over 40 in YOUR youth did when they used "your" words, like "hip" or "groovy" or "far out" or "righteous" or whatever passing slang expression allegedly represented "your" generation.


But hey, if you really don't have an issue with turning into the very thing about your parents that used to piss you off the most (before you became one and suddenly the scales were apparently lifted from your eyes for a couple of years before they grew right back), then be my guest. Crack yourselves up, just don't be surprised when your kids and their friends don't find you and your friends quite as amusing as you do.


Also, if you IN ANY WAY keep up the idiotic media-generated premise there is a "war" between Millennials and Boomers—that the world has TRULY changed THAT MUCH during the course of your own lifetime—then I am going to make it my civic duty to rub your nose in that bullshit every single time you refer to it. You have no idea how completely oblivious you sound to me when you claim that Kids Today are in any substantial way different than you and me. Yeah, yeah, they don't know what it was like before the Internet—just like YOU don't have a fucking clue what it was like before indoor plumbing.


More on this later, as required.


Your fellow (proud) Old Fart,

Uncle Ron


A Postcript directed to anyone under the age of 25 who happens to be reading this:

PS. The exact same pledge I just made to the Old Farts re that phony "war" applies to you Young Whippersnappers, too.


If you seriously believe that you and your generation are even one iota more "woke" than the riot grrrls, LA hardcore bands, Radical Faeries, Diggers (1960s OR 1800s versions), Yippies, "second wave" feminists (WHEN THE FUCK DID *THEY* BECOME THE ENEMY ANYWAY?!?), Lost Generation flappers, or IWW members that are THE SAME AGE AS YOUR PARENTS, GRANDPARENTS, OR EVEN GREAT-GRANDPARENTS, then you might want to log off of your "devices" and "screens" (EXACT SAME ONES YOU OLD FARTS ARE ALSO ADDICTED TO, BTW) and get your ass to a bookstore or library and LEARN YOUR/OUR HISTORY.


Repeat after me: GENUINE "RESISTANCE" IS NOT A GENERATIONAL TREND OR A YOUTH MARKETING SHOPPORTUNITY. It is a NECESSARY movement AGAINST THE SAME FORCES FOR MILLENIA—a movement that has been with us since the days of Socrates, Aristophanes, Jesus, Buddha, Voltaire, Emma Goldman, Simone deBeauvoir, Shulamith Firestone, Audre Lorde, Ronnie Gilbert, and Yoko Goddam Ono. If you don't know much or anything about one of those names, or you don't immediately grasp the long, lustrous, elaborately woven thread that connects all of them to you and me and our children's children's children, then do yourself a favor and LEARN OUR/YOUR HISTORY. And shut the fuck up about this current "Resistance" or the Tr*mp/Bernie "Revolution" (take your pick) while you are busy learning about the world you do not know.


PPS to EVERYONE READING THIS, STARTING WITH YOU: Deciding and declaring as often as possible that you have nothing in common with people who are significantly older or younger than you is EVERY DAMN BIT as asinine and harmful to our species as deciding and declaring to everyone who will listen (which is only everyone who has been conditioned by forces far beyond their control to agree with you) that you have nothing in common with people whose skin tone, personal understanding (or rejection) of "religion" and/or "spirituality," choice of sex partner(s) or genitalia or any other criteria do not match yours to the letter. IT IS TIME TO OUTGROW THAT CHILDISH SHIT, or—so help me G*d—you personally are helping to steer the "United" States directly toward a very real, very fucking bloody SECOND CIVIL WAR, and the entire Spaceship Earth (as your hippie grandparents used to call it) toward one of those YA dystopias you apparently seem to think would be so fucking interesting to live through.


Hey, speaking of dystopian fiction, here's a fun idea: Explore the realms of dystopian NONfiction for a change. How about binging a few less of those future dystopian JO novels and movies and seeking out some truly old people to talk to one on one. Ask them how "interesting" it was to live in, say, the Rust Bowl during the Great Depression or anywhere in Europe during the YEARS when the Nazis and Allies were bombing the crap out of EACH OTHER (think the Nazis were the only murderers during "The Good War"? Take a drive through the ruins of Berlin or Dresden and tell me how great the Greatest Generation really was).


If you can't find anyone THAT old, how about someone who lived in Sarajevo at the peak of THAT "good" war, when the city that had just hosted the goddam Olympics a few years earlier became a living hell? Or Rwanda? Or Syria, today? Or, if you are too a-skeert of encountering those Poisoned Skittles who dare think of themselves as human beings, you could ask a single mother living in Appalachia at any time since the beginnings of our country. Go ahead: Ask each of them which role Jennifer Lawrence should play in the HBO series based on their suffering. And don't forget to cast a Hemsworth—either of those hunks will do—as the love interest. And top it off with a Baldwin—again, they are essentially interchangeable for these purposes—to play the Heavy. Then hie thee to Hollywood, where you too can profit from the tragedy of the truly traumatized, and probably add another Oscar to the bulging bookshelf while you are at it.


A boiled down version of what the author has contended thus far in this jeremiad:


START CONCENTRATING ON WHAT UNITES YOU TO OTHER PEOPLE, NOT WHAT MAKES YOU "BETTER" OR "WORSE" THAN THEM. You are not ten years old anymore, and neither is the "nation" you seem to think is so much "Better" than all the shitholes surrounding it (whether that nation is the Republican notion of the Once-Great America or the Michigan Wimmin-Born-Wimmin's Festival or any bullshit "nation" in between those two).


A further distillation of the message of this jeremiad, for those who cannot handle lots of words grouped together in one place at one time to discuss something more important than the sex lives of the Kardashians:


We're All In This Together.



Ronawanda in action, circa 2001-2. A different dumbass was in the White House at this time.
Photo: Don Kreger


Y'all, I have a little favor ta ask of you fine smart sexy people readin' this here whateverthisis. Yep, I mean YOU, Miss Lefty Till Graduation, and YOU, Mister Sister Resistance Whose Granddaddy Bravely Fought the Nazis As an Extra in Inglorious Bastards:

I'mo axe y'all if maybe, jus MAYBE, y'all could pretty please try RILL RILL HARD to remember somethin' that should never be forgot, no matter who or whom is in which or what pulliticull office and no matter how much they piss y'all off: WORDS MATTER, they matter a lot, but SOMETIMES, in life as in paint chips, what matters waaaaay MORE is the VALUES the speaker is expressin with them words.

We cum together once again to drop our collective jaws over the latest jaw-drop-provokin' mic drop dropped by our Fake President, but it could be any ol' droopy dogg of a pub-lickin' public offishyul spreadin the bullshit to make the flowers grow an I would be sayin the same damn thang, cuz I been sayin it to ya since the Year of Our Lord Joe Strummer, Nineteen Fuckin Seventy Eight:

Kin we all TRY not to get all caught up in the specific "VULGAR LANGUAGE" the current Failin President used but keep our outrage focused like a damn lazer beam on the even more VULLLLGARRR MEANING behind them words?

After all, if ya axe me, just about every damn sin-tense figment that comes out of his dang MOUTH is VULGAR. So we gots ta pick our battles.

I personally don't give two shits that President Pussygrabber used the word "shithole" (er was it a HOUSE o dung he was callin the darkies?) in a closed door meetin. Cussin is as American as Lenny MOTHERfuckin Bruce! Hell, my own mama used to talk that way behind closed doors, and I bet yers did too. If she didn't, then maybe you wus just on the wrong side of them doors.

I am WAY more O-fin-ded about everything BEFORE and AFTER that little snatch of perfectly Americun lingo in that most American of buildings on that purr-tickle-ular day.

I know, I know: Crooked Donnie AN his supporters AN the folks who hate him (folks like YEW) ALL like to claim he is "unpresidented" in every way a prezzy-dent kin be. But THAT TOO is bullshit, pure an simple.

Some a you younger folks're too young—an, alas, too poorly edumacated—to know this particular bit o' yer nation's history, but LBJ cussed like a goddam sailor an, hell, Richard M. Nixon's potty mouth on the Watergate Tapes gave the nation a catchphrase that lasted fer decades.

Look it up, kiddos: "[Expley Tive Deeee leted]" That was back in the pre-Bill Clinton days, when there was still a widely held belief among newscasters that they should always take the High Road even when the folks they was reportin' on took the Lowest one on the map. But THAT fuckin ship sailed a LONNNNG time ago.

Hell, LOTS a poly-tishuns have been a-cussin all along. Probly all the way back to Washington and that one y'all only know cuz a that hippity hop musical about him on the Grate White Way. Th'only reason you don't know about most of the cussin is cuz, again, YOU WAS ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE CLOSED DOOR.

"Shithole" ain't the problem, folks. An' as long as you keep actin like it is, Little Donno's jus' gonna keep doin' WHAT HE ALWAYS DOES:

STEP 1. Denyin' that he said it, even when there's witnesses or a goddam TAPE RECORDING (still waitin for THAT slipper to drop, Bee Tee Double-You; you cain't tell me NO BODY in that room was lifestreamin or livetwattin or whatever they call it nowadays. Mark mah words: jus like SMiLE, the se-cret iden-titty a Deep Throat, and them Debasement Tapes before it, the bootleg a that meetin IS gonna see the light sooner er later, cuz NOBODY IN AMERICA CAN KEEP A DAMN SECRET FUREVER)

2. Attackin the credibility of the witnesses

3. Shiftin the focus from the ISSUES AT HAND to one er two indie vitual WORDS.

NOW he's runnin around claimin he ain't a racist. Well, hell, that just shows ya how outta touch with his "Base" (and I DO mean BASE) that rich bastard truly IS.

Well, honeypie, I got news fer ya: ever since white sheets went outta style 'bout FIFTY FUCKIN YEARS AGO, almost NO BODY who really IS a racist still SAYS they are!

Ain't you never heard of Southern Politeness? Cunnin linguists calls it "in-di-rect speech."

In the New New South, NOBODY but a handful of loco yokels is STILL dumb enough ta EVER come right out of their dark lil closet and actually SAY they are a "racist"! That would be like sayin' you LIKE the [fill in the name a some sports team nobody likes]. It Ain't Done. Not even David Goddam DUKE ever actually SAYS he's "a racist."

No sir, ya keep that kinda thang to yer racist self an yer circle a racist friends. MEANWHILE ya just go on doin' all the shitty shit that racists do in their shitt little racist shithouses, like buildin walls to keep dark skinned people out, holdin' meetins to hash out how y'all are gonna screw over immigrants' younguns, sayin' yew SURRRE wish there was a lot more Norwegians in the country (and yes, Rush, Asians, too, cuz they ain't the enemy du jour at the present jour), and so on.

'member how ever'body made fun a garbage collectors (which is damn hard work, given the amount a trash THIS country generates) when someone came up with callin em "sanitation engineers"? And then when "bums" (another set o folks facin a DAMN HARDER WAY TO LIVE than bein a real estate tychoon's youngun) started bein' called "homeless" (CUZ THEY DON'T HAVE FUCKIN HOMES, unlike all the folks makin fun of 'em)? Or when the folks that had been labelled "faggots" said they preferred to be called "gay" (only to start the rich dumbasses complainin that the faggots had "stolen" that word from them, even though they ain't never knowed a moment a real "gayness" back when they thought the word WAS theirs)?

Rich dumbasses jus LOVE to WHINE about these kinds a changes in words (that's right, WORDS again). They call the simple act of treatin other livin creatures with the same respect they believe is their birth right "po-LITICAL cur-RECTness" and they carry on about it as if it was the end of the got dang WORLD and they was Henny Penny. Some days they act like they jus find it silly, "cuz it's just words an words don't matter to them as long as THEY are the ones decidin what those words MEAN fer everbody else. But even when they act like it's all just a big joke you kin tell they are still EXTREMELY offended by the mere idea that what offends somebody ELSE should matter, cuz they cain't STAND anybody but them gettin to do what they "prefer," which is to be able to use WORDS like bum an faggot an bitch an nigger an kike an on an on an on in the ever-replenishin well o' ways to trash talk people that don't look or talk or act or pray jus 'xactly like THEM. Yew know, like in the Good Ol Days, when they didn't have ta CONSTANTLY be PAYIN ATTENTION to the words that was flowin outta their mouths like verbal die-uh-ree-ahhhhh.

But guess what: THEY have their OWN words they would PrrrreeeFURRRR not to be called jus like everbody else. Nowadays, it is no longer con-sidered po-litically correct in THEIR circles to call folks "racists." They prefer other terms, like "Alt Right" or "European American" or "Republican." But it don't matter what you call 'em, cuz it's ALWAYS their ACTIONS that give em away. Actions like claimin that yer preddy-cessor wasn't born here, or that one a yer competitors' Cuban daddy killed JFK, or feelin obliged to remind everone that there's good Nazis, too, or —oh, hell, y'all KNOW the list as well as I do, an it jus keeps gettin longer an longer. Kinda like Pinocchio's nose. An I am wellll aware that by the time yew read this, there's gonna be a bunch more items on that list so outrageous I cain't even imagine them as of 5:24 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan-uary 11, 2018.

So please, mah fellow Americans, I implore y'all:
Which are a shithouse now.
And we gotta start cleanin that house.
Startin by cleanin up our OWN act.
Start by Wakin UP

into the long dark hours


Luv y'all!
Byyyyyye fer nowwww,