Question Authority

Hey everyone, hope that you’re all doing well. Here’s this month’s installment of ‘Prattle For The Bored’…

- Shelter news: Scott and I are finishing up vocals on the Shelter album, and should start mixing in the next week or two. Cutting vocals consists of standing in my closet, which is padded by mattress egg-crating on all sides, and singing or screaming at the top of your lungs at this crating with as much emotion as possible; in other words, getting really mad in a padded room. Lotsa fun!

- We (Shelter) just got done playing the Vampire’s Ball Halloween show at Jester’s with Eden Crow, McCuen, and Wishtribe. It was a lot of fun; good turnout, and the other bands are as gracious as they are talented. Who knows, maybe we’ll poke our heads out again sometime soon?

- Scott and I are going to be helping Todd Ashley from Tripswitch out for a few shows he has scheduled over the next two months - one in Gillet, the others in Arkadelphia. It’s all cover material, so it should be a fun challenge; since we’re always writing our own material, we don’t focus on learning covers as much as we probably should. More news on the shows once I know more about ‘em!

- With my primary focus currently being on finishing up the Shelter tracks, I’m ashamed to say that (other than tinkering with drum tracks I’ve already programmed) there’s not a lot of news to mention on the Stillframe front. But the next album is still in my sights; once I’ve got Shelter’s album off to the presses I’ll be hard at work on it. I’m planning a little different approach on the next one, so I’m anxious to get going on it and see what I come out with!!

So, that’s all that’s new that I can think of at the moment. For those disinterested in ranting, you’re dismissed – for those who can’t find anything on TV, here ya go:

I normally try to keep my opinions to myself. Mainly because I’m a pretty cynical guy, so I’d rather not pollute the world with my pessimism, and also because I figure that I can get my point across artistically much more efficiently than with just words, if not more eloquently as well (hopefully!). Finally, I believe in the old adage about opinions, and I think that most people’s strength of conviction shuts off their ability to be objective enough to embrace an opinion different than their own.

But, with the election behind us now, and most of the country jubilant, the rest teary-eyed, I’m compelled to ask:

If the Presidency is determined by the Electoral College and not the popular vote, why is your vote so important?
If the media only covers the two ‘main’ parties for the entire race, and if you, out of doing your homework, find and choose to vote for a ‘third-party’ candidate, only to have that vote roll over to one of the ‘main’ parties in the end, why do you think you’ve just made a real choice?

Contrary to how it may appear, this isn’t a political rant; politics just happened to provide a nice example. It’s a rant about US, you and me.

It’s the easy choice to buy into everything advertised to you, to do what you’re told without questioning why; it’s just what all the machines that hold our lives captive want us to do, and they’re all perfect machines in their cunning. Work, government, religion, society – all these systems are fed and exist because you’ve given your time to them, traded your life for them. I’m not an anarchist; I realize that they all exist because they have to, they’re what is required to make it possible for all of us to enjoy the lives we have in the ways that we do. But they exist FOR us, BY us, not as unchangeable, untouchable overseers of our fates.

What I’m getting at is this: Question Authority. Challenge it, not out of punk-rock idealism or unfocused rebellion, not because you resent it, but because it’s your right to. Don’t blindly do what you’re told, like so much cattle; question everything, even your own convictions, even the things you’ve held true your whole life. Because without your questioning them, what’s their real value to you, and what’s your growth as a person? Blindly following a path because it’s popular, accepted, or ‘required’ negates you, takes your intelligence for granted, and makes you into a pawn in someone else’s game – it is apathy in disguise, an apathy that you subscribe to because it’s been indoctrinated into you your whole life that these things are ‘just the way it is’. Don’t accept ambivalence as an answer. The quality of your life is directly tied to your intelligence, and you gain intelligence by asking questions and making deductions on everything around you; that’s the game we’re all involved in.

So, be convicted about your favorite political party, or your religion, or your profession; be a true agent of its prosper. But do so because you’ve truly decided to, because you’re certain of everything it stands for and provides for you, not because it’s trendy, ‘right’, generally accepted, or because someone else told you to. Use skepticism and questioning as tools in defining your choice for what to stand up for, and be sure that you can defend your convictions intelligently when you’re called upon to do so. If you’re lucky, maybe you’ll even enlighten someone else.

Charlie Griggs