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Skinny Puppy: On Societal Ills and Political Subterfuge

On Societal Ills and Political Subterfuge: Ogre and gentler, humbler Skinny Puppy

By Dæmon / Transcription by DJ TLC

Published by Sick Among The Pure

Excerpt:

SATP: Obviously, you’re not a big fan of the Bush administration, as very few of us are. Why do you choose to live in the States as opposed to Canada?

Ogre: I’m all about experience right now I came down here with three bags, met my ex-wife and so, I kind of needed a place to stop. And it’s a really weird place to decide to stay…



SATP: L.A. or the US in general?

Ogre: Los Angeles, ya… Back then, Los Angeles moreso because I spent a lot of time in the ‘80s down here completely fucked out of my head and to come down here to try to get away from that seemed like, ‘What am I doing?’ But I ended up finding a lot of good people here and made a lot of really good friends – people who are really like minded. At the same time I’m really fascinated in almost a post-mortem way about watching how this country is the same way that Germany was this nation of somnambulists during the second world war. How something can happen where so much power can corrupt so absolutely? Seeing that, and seeing how people react to it and how it’s actually controlled and managed is really interesting. And at the same time, I’m really tired of Los Angeles for the traffic, and now I’m starting to see that it’s getting like that everywhere, so now I’m starting to think, ‘If you’re going to live somewhere why not live right on the edge of the cliff?’ [laughs] Do you know what I mean? As far as an urban centre that’s just heading fucking head long at the fastest rate where everywhere else is heading in a lot of ways. Then was back in Canada, I was in Montreal, and I was like, ‘Man, it’s nice up here… nice city, it’s nice up here. Before I stop moving my legs, my body, I want to try and live in as many places as I can. I’ve spent ten years here, so I’ve gotten a real feel of America, which I think is good. I’ve spent some time in Holland, and some time in different American cities, and there are other places I want to go. I want to go spend some time in Italy. I want to live my life as much as I can before I can’t, anymore. ‘Cause that’s all that we really have in our lives are our experiences. America is one of the strangest places to live right now, but at the same time, it’s fascinating from the point of view of what’s going on in the world. I don’t have any attachment to it, other than I pay a shitload of taxes down here.

SATP: Any more than you would in Canada?

Ogre: No less, probably less.

SATP: Ya, I’m sure less… it’s brutal here!

Ogre: It’s like 40% right?

SATP: Exactly. We can’t even get one and they have multiple festivals. Well, good on ‘em. Hopefully we’ll get there some day. So let’s talk politics a little bit. [both laugh] Always a fun subject, especially with a fellow Canadian down in America. [still laughing] You’re still following Canadian politics I take it as well, keeping in touch, Paul Martin, Minority Government all this kind of stuff going on?

Ogre: Ya, I only know what that means, where is Paul Martin from? Is he an East Coaster or a West Coaster?

SATP: Liberal, but he’s from Ontario, originally.

Ogre: So he still uses Alberta as the back 40? [laughing]

SATP: Yeah, it’s still very much where the West gets screwed. You’ve got Ralph Klein in Alberta and we have separatists in Red Deer, now…

Ogre: Oh really? [laughs]

SATP: Oh, yeah, it’s kind of funny, actually. We’ve got these small factions of farmers that think Alberta should separate.

Ogre: Wow. Well, the farmers have definitely gotten screwed up there.

SATP: Oh yeah, the farmers, and oil in Alberta…

Ogre: And I know that China is moving in to buy a lot of lumber…

SATP: …and then we had the Americans close the doors to us on beef, and then really hike up the taxes on soft wood. So maybe hot topics like gay marriage, legalizing marijuana, the Bush administration…

Ogre: Well, one thing I have to say is that I came from Canada and I came to America. At the onset, it seemed like America had a lot more access and it seemed like Canada was a bit more controlled, 10 years ago, 12 years ago, 20 years ago. To me, in the sense of just from choice, just from the point of view of like, ‘What’s available on the shelves and what’s available down there?’ … nothing more. So I came down here, I came from Canada where there is a great social system, and I still believe that, and lived in America for 10 years. And then on this last tour, went back up to Montreal and really had a great time and then from reading and with things like gay marriage and the Chief of police in Vancouver stating openly that we have a lot worse things to worry about than the guy smoking a joint on the corner. I mean, those kinds of things open me up to the fact that Canada is finally completely differentiating itself from it’s American big brother, and it really seems to be really developing an identity, which makes me proud actually, in a lot of ways. I don’t know that bad things – maybe you can fill me in – but that’s kind of what I see based on what’s going on, whether it’s all lip service. Hopefully they’re honoring all of these things.

SATP: In terms of open mindedness, I tend to agree with you that Canada is certainly ahead of the curve on a lot of hot topics like, again, gay marriage, legalization of marijuana, that sort of thing. But that said, then we’re dealing with of all these corruption issues in the government – the sponsorship scandal being one of the biggest ones…

Ogre: What’s that all about?

SATP: That the previous Liberal Government with Chrétien that hundreds of millions of tax payer dollars were funneled from the Liberal government to Quebec marketing and advertising agencies for absolutely nothing. There was no result from those dollars – it was all just, you know, ‘You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.’ They helped get the Liberals to power through funding. So now the Liberal Party is literally on trial with the Government of Canada to back up these hundreds of millions of dollars that can’t be accounted for.

Ogre: Unbelievable!

SATP: So I agree with you that we’re ahead of the curve on hot topics, but…

Ogre: Well, the unfortunate thing is, and this is what I see…to me America has modeled itself after the idea of a republic, but it’s becoming an empire. It’s moving toward an empire which takes away a lot of freedom, you know what I mean? It’s like, ‘We are the world.’ I see America as managing people in the way that China is now. They are creating this self economy of people that live off of fast foods, super size food, this high processed food, that this subspecies that will always narrate the caste system almost. And that’s how they’re going to manage people – the same way that China keeps a large amount of their population ignorant and in the field, in order to manage people, to manage huge populations of people. And so Canada is this last refuge to where there is this balance of both liberal views and conservatism in the sense of how we live our lives, but then there is a social system that I see is going to be plagued in the same way that a social system like that will never work in America because there are too many people that will abuse it. The population in Canada is getting to a point where those social systems are being stretched as well. They’re starting to break down, and once that starts happening, a new model is gonna to have to be created. And a great way to create restraint in a government is to have a scandal. ‘Where did all this money go?’ You know what I mean? It almost seems like it’s setting itself up for something.

If hundreds of millions of dollars have disappeared, someone knows where it is. And where were the checks and balances within a system where they already know that there is a chance of that happening from a political corruption level? When you have an open door with this sponsorship thing or you have this thing where money is being liberalized… [laughing] …liberated!

SATP: I like that!

Ogre: Where were those checks and balances? Because it’s not like it’s a five year-old country! We’re almost as old as Germany, so it becomes interesting to me to see what Canada chooses to do and how they deal with the fact that there isn’t going to be… All the money that you’re paying for social services now through your 40% taxed income is not going to be going to social services. It’s going to go to plug this hole. So the fall out from that is not going to happen right now, it’s going to happen two or three years down the line when that money was supposed to kick into help you in whatever way. So those things are interesting to me. I assume there are still a lot of people coming into Canada correct?

SATP: Oh yeah, we have definitely have our fair share of a burgeoning immigrant population.

Ogre: Right, which is fine, but at the same time it’s going to be interesting how Canada manages that. I don’t think it’s good or evil. I’m starting to think it’s pretty fucking evil if they create a pandemic with this avian flu virus that’s definitely a man-made, weird chimera thing. If somebody does that and kills a bunch of people for population control, that’s pretty fucking heinous, but I think right now, as well, looking from just the point of view of where the world is at is there’s way too many people on the planet. All the organizations now… the World Wildlife Fund or whatever, that was considered a fringe group, were saying that right now we are out-using all of our natural resources by 50%. But now scientists, legions of scientists, are coming forth saying that this is all real… it’s all happening, right now, and it’s happening at a faster and faster rate… faster than we anticipated, which is interesting. So there’s this conditioning thing, in the sense that in the same way there’s this huge scandal in the Canadian government about, ‘Where did all this money go? Because if we don’t have all this fucking money and how are we going to tell people?’ But now we have created something that we can manage. This happened blame it on Chrétien, he’ll be dead soon, blah, blah, blah. And now that we have something that we can harshly blame the fact that our system is breaking down, in the same way that in the ‘90s, there was a slew of – I talk about this too much, but – there was a slew of extreme weather documentaries in the mid ‘90s and I was like, ‘Why do they play these things over and over again on the Discovery channel?’ And now you don’t see them at all anymore, because we’re living in those times and we’ve been conditioned kind of accept it.

SATP: Interesting point actually. So what about US international relations…

Ogre: It’s an empire, right. People within the country are starting to feel the repressive sorts of rules and restraints that have been put on other countries for millenniums, essentially. But obviously, the foreign policy of the United States is entirely corrupt.SATP: So is it going to somebody, like another super power – I mean obviously there isn’t a super power now – but China is certainly is growing quickly. Is it going to take someone like that…

Ogre: China is growing quickly and they want to keep growing, so they don’t wanna go to war right now.

SATP: So is the answer a completely radical U.S. president that will never happen?

Ogre: Yeah, or a revolution, which will probably never happen. Bill gave me this amazing book called Amusing Ourselves to Death. It takes the basic premise of are we living in an Orwellian, 1984 world, or are we living in this Aldous Huxley, Brave New World world, and it’s kind of more of that. We bought into all of this technology that’s basically military technology that can track us, that can do everything to us. We’ve bought into it like it’s jewellery, and we’re stuck in a lot of ways. So I think the apathy that rises out of that is an amazing thing. I don’t know if there will be a revolution. The revolution may have been against us.


SATP: So Bush got reelected, unfortunately. Kerry lost. Who’s the next Presidential answer?

Ogre: I don’t know if I believe in the political system in America, in the sense of two-party system at this point in time, anyway. At least for these number of years that this global conflict is going to be going on for. The idea of a two-party system is just something to give the perceived idea of choice to the population. From seeing Kerry and how quickly he stepped back from his position, which was full of vigil of George Bush, and full of all of these accusations… to step back from that and suddenly stand in the line right at the very end and say that it’s for the better of the country is just a bit of a dog and pony show to me. I just kind of see him as a bland sort of candidate, and also a kind of a set up for somebody that was never intended to win anyway. The whole medal thing seemed altruistic but really for a President, they should have seen that coming a mile away. And the fact that as the election progressed, he just became more and more mundane and centrist and just… ugh! He didn’t have anything to say... It was just appalling to me. So I don’t know – the two-party system – that’s the question to me. It seems like there’s one kind of centrist system and you just don’t know where the centre is. It could be this hawkish writer, this extreme fanatical… I don’t know where is the centre towards all of this? It seems like there is definitely just one thought direction that both parties are heading towards.


SATP: So what do we do about all of this, do we sit back and continue to make music and write about music?

Ogre: I dunno. How do you feel about it?


SATP: It’s just so overwhelming.

Ogre: I almost feel like in a lot of ways, and I hate to say this – I always have the ideas about things – but my time of being active is diminishing, although I would if there were enough people organized… I would stand right up with people. It seems like I should be asking you that question: what do you want to do? Obviously if you really did something about this, it would impair your life the way it is right now… your life wouldn’t be the same.


SATP: Oh, absolutely. To me, I use the vehicle of the magazine and I’m trying to grow it as fast as I can. We always try to maintain political content and commentary, essays… essays on scandalous information, what the government isn’t telling you…all that kind of stuff. So that we’re not only saying, ‘Yeah, the new Puppy album is fantastic and the new Nails album is coming out and go see them and da, da, da,’ but also, ‘Think for yourself and support something, and think about this and that, and what not.

Ogre: Awesome. Well then, you’re doing something.


SATP: Yeah, we’re doing one small part but it almost seems so overwhelming…with the weight of the mountain, it’s never going to move.

Ogre: I think as well, what’s fascinating about today’s culture is culture jamming with information and the fact that advertising… I was talking to Bill and Bill was telling me how advertising really is culture now. With this access to information, it sometimes can be a curse, because ultimately when people are overloaded and inundated with information, they shut down. That’s a psychological trait that’s been proven for the most part, and people just want to hear the easiest and most digestible, best thing for them. They just wanna here that things are going okay. But at the same time, we’re all buying into this. Like you have your information up on a military conceived creation, so we’re all using cell phones, talking on technology that was derived by military. When I start throwing that back, it gets a bit depressing because how do you really affect change, and how do you effect change in a big enough way that really isn’t just lip service, isn’t just something that seems like it’s having an effect ultimately? What really causes change? Has there ever really been change?


SATP: I guess it comes back to whether or not you have hope, and just put your head down and hope for the best…do what you can.

Ogre: Yeah, doing what you can for the people around you who you care about, and having connection with something, and having empathy, and speaking your mind, more importantly. I think the most important thing today, right now, is speaking your mind and not being afraid to do so.
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