NEWS FROM THE TRENCHES   3/23/3   by Steven Hashimoto


A few random thoughts in this time of insanity...

Two wrongs do NOT make a right.

It is possible to disagree with it's policies but to still love America.
That's why soldiers have fought and died for over 200 years, not so that we
could turn ourselves into a homogenous totalitarian society. A lot of people
have been sending me e-mails urging people like me to get on the bandwagon
because my beliefs are undermining the efforts of our armed forces. I
    In the first place, you're wrong to assume that I don't feel for the
folks fighting over there. I've been watching the news, like everyone else,
and I get this horrible feeling of Viet Nam Deja Vu -- generals and
politicians and reporters tossing around terms like "collateral damage" and
"friendly fire" and "acceptable losses". There's a human being behind every
one of those catch-phrases; those aren't chess-pieces riding around in tanks
or getting the bejesus bombed out of them. They're kids young enough to be
yours, they're children young enough to be your grandchildren, and they're
old folks just like your grandparents. During the Nam years I never spit at a
returning grunt and I wouldn't now. They're just doing their job, just like
you are every time you play the Electric Slide, and I bet a lot of them feel
just as excited about it.
    In the second place, the argument that now that we're in a for-real
shooting war we all have to pull together is specious. It has yet to be
proven that there's any concrete reason for us to be in a war. Let me put it
like this: let's say your dad is a crack-addict wife-beating con artist. You
can still love him because he's your dad, but you don't turn your back when
he shoots someone to get his crack bread. And you try everything in your
power to get him off crack and into counseling, including intervention.
    In the third place, does no-one have a sense of history? I've been
spending all week explaining to a bunch of you that I agree that Hussein has
to go, he's patently insane, but the evidence that our guy is short a
trombone player or two seems kinda obvious too. International disapproval of
American policy has never been greater, both in the streets and in the
councils, and that's currency that has taken 200 years to build up, and will
take another 50 years to rebuild, if it's possible at all. I say we just get
the W.W.F. to stage a cage-match between Saddam and Dubbya, winner take all.
    Patriotism is a lot deeper than buying a flag and letting it get splashed
by mud on the back of your SUV. It's defending the principles that this
country was founded on, which, unfortunately, from the Monroe Doctrine on,
have been twisted to fit various people's hidden agendas.
    The future, I would hope, is in the hands of kids like the 1,800 kids the
Lil' Cow band played for Friday at The Copernicus Theater, beautiful, happy,
involved kids, unafraid to be happy (sem medo de ser feliz, Brasileiros), so
unlike the emotionally-constricted kids we've played for in the wealthier
suburbs. One can only hope that there's something left for them to inherit.

This week Steven Hashimoto will drag his conflicted beliefs to:

TUES. 3/25: CHICAGO CULTURAL CENTER, 78 E. Washington, noon-1pm, with The
Rick Shandling Trio (Rick on drums and composer-in-chief, Dennis Luxion on

WEDS. 3/26: GATEWAY BAR & GRILL, 7545 N. Clark, 7:30-10:30pm, with guitarist
Pat Fleming.

THURS. 3/27: AVENUE ALEHOUSE, 825 S. Oak PArk Ave., Oak Park, 8pm-midnight,
with the Steven Hashimoto Quartet (Mike Levin, sax; Carter Luke, piano; Steve
Magnone, drums).

FRI. 3/28: GREEN MILL, 4802 N. Broadway, 1:30-3:45am, with The Green Mill
Quartet (Barely Winograd, bari sax; Bob Long, piano; Rick Shandling, drums)
for The After-Hours Jam Session.

SUN. & MON. 3/30 & 31: JUDY'S CHELSEA in New York City with Anne Pringle and
Mark Burnell.

TUES. 4/1: LEOPARD LOUNGE, 1645 W. Cortland, 10pm-1am, with The Steven
Hashimoto Quartet (Neal Alger, guitar, Heath Chappell, drums, and a player to
be named later).

All of you folks who work with me a lot have gotten used to the sight of my
little green Honda Civic. Alas, it's history, after serving me well for
178,000 miles. I have a new Toyota Matrix, and I'm indebted to the kindness
of my sister, my brother-in-law, my mother and my late father for helping me
make the transition into a new stage of consumer debt.