35. “Womanarchist” by Bad Cop / Bad Cop (2017)

The JOAT 50 Song Countdown is a blog series where every weekday for 10 weeks I am posting a brand new long form essay where I have ranked and written about my 50 favorite songs of all-time. From Adele to Zac Brown Band, Patsy Cline to Plasma Canvas, Ludacris to Rise Against, this series offers a personal essay about the 50 songs that hit me the absolute hardest.

One thing you’ll hear my wife say a lot is this quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” I think about this quote a lot these days as the very worst among us burn an unfathomable amount of calories trying to claw away hard-earned rights for the LGBTQ community, antagonizing transgendered people, and deciding what women do with their own bodies. These efforts are usually sold under the banner of conservatism, religion, or, in the very worst cases, both. And that, frankly, is a huge load of shit.

True conservatism abhors the idea of the government intruding upon the most personal aspects of people’s lives. Real conservatism would want to ensure everyone is equal in the eyes of the law, and then for the law to fuck right off and mind its own business as long as you’re not hurting someone else. Actual conservatism laughs in the face of modern Conservatism where the cruelty is the point, straight white men are always “first among equals,” and tangible legal tender provided by taxpaying citizens is used in some parts of this country to fight against a woman having necessary medical procedures to preserve her own life.

Religion in this context is a total joke. If you’re a follower of any of the Abrahamic faiths, then pretty much your only job is to love thy neighbor as thyself, treat others as you would have them treat you, and judge not lest ye be judged. So much of the fearmongering around LGBTQ people, and transgendered people in particular, comes from people who have not spent any time around these folks, or even attempted to. It’s easy to demonize those you never meet in real life or attempt to understand even a little bit. I’m deeply embarrassed for people who carry hatred in their heart and don’t try to resolve it. And I’m disgusted by those in positions of power who leverage and weaponize these people.

There’s plenty to fight about in politics – my personal hobby horse is the phony disingenuousness of most “environmentalists” who seem bound and determined to sentence people to poverty through either willfully ignorant, or actively malicious policies – but one thing that’s not up for political debate (or shouldn’t be, anyway) is an individual’s autonomy and the rights and privileges conferred upon us all. “Womanarchist” by Bad Cop / Bad Cop summarizes my own current personal politics neatly.

I’m a modern anarchist, a punk rock existentialist
Who wants to make the whole world coexist

I tend to shy away from proclaiming myself anything that ends with “-ist” because that almost never leads anywhere good. And I know anarchy as a system of government is doomed to fail, but in the context of this song, it feels like an extension of this house’s maxim: Work hard and be nice to people. Keep your head down, do good work, and leave others the hell alone for a change, and we’d all be better off.

In an ideal world, a song like this wouldn’t have to exist in the first place. But we do not live in an ideal world, we live in this one, and I’m therefore exceedingly thrilled that a song like this does exist. I love that I can show my daughters a song like this of badass women punk rockers being loud, being opinionated, being unapologetic, being their truest selves, and shouting back at the many flavors of fucker we have in society today. Here’s a non-exhaustive list of some of those fuckers referenced in this song: bigots and misogynists, alt-left liberalists, the fascist former president, alt-right separatists, religious lunatics, and fundamental extremists. When I say “-ists” almost never lead anywhere good, that list is my Exhibit A.

Punk rock at its best is a sneering, confrontational reaction to fuckery. Bad Cop / Bad Cop (what an amazing name, by the way) takes on systems of oppression in multiple ways. Sometimes it’s directly, sometimes it’s obliquely, sometimes it’s humorously, and kinda no matter what, they’ll throw in a few 3-part harmonies for kicks. I interviewed lead singer Stacey Dee on this show a few months ago, and when she’s not fronting Bad Cop, she’s heading up a nonprofit that provides support services to homeless people in Los Angeles. Unlike the politicians who choose to champion oppression and the craven, moneyed, power-seeking dickbags they serve, Stacey and the rest of Bad Cop choose love, compassion and support for the least fortunate among us. It’s no surprise this band is so active in Punk Rock Saves Lives, a non-profit organization I adore and support financially.

And here’s the biggest thing. I’m roughly 850 words into this thing, and it sounds like I love this band, and this song especially, just for reasons of virtue signaling. Ooooh, look at how good I am for supporting these causes! Yeah. Ideologically, I agree with so much of Bad Cop / Bad Cop and “Womanarchist.” But at base, these chicks go fucking hard, dude. The shit just plain old rocks. “Womanarchist” is a straight banger.

You’re going to see plenty of punk rock in the entries ahead, and the vast majority of it was created by straight white dudes like myself. As I sit here today, I can tell you most of my favorite new punk rock is created by people outside of my own demographic markers. I am not marginalized in any way whatsoever. Punk is about hearing the voices from those who are. It took me a long time to realize this.

But as I noted, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” If I can help it bend a little more in that direction, I’m happy. If I can do it while rocking out to songs like this, I’m happiest.

Up next: Changing gears entirely, I got a big weed stash, pocket full of cash, just seen a big ol’ ass.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.