We've said it before, we'll say it again... Chuck's opinions do not necessarily reflect those of the NIMBY editors. However we find him amusing. Chuck's column is for entertainment purposes only. Don't break anything.
This issue's very special episode:
There's a force out there that's intensifying censorship in the music industry, undermining your local economy, undermining fair labor, and controlling what you listen to, buy, and possibly even eat. And that's the evil empire--WAL-MART. Sam Walton's Fourth Reich. It's coming for you. What are you going to do to stop it, motherfucker?
Let me explain myself. First about Wal-Mart and the music industry. As you may or may not know, Wal-Mart refuses to stock any CD featuring a warning label. Now when the warning label system (as if it weren't fascist enough) was instituted, it was supposedly designed to not interfere with record sales, to be used as a guide for parents. As if that were true. but that's a whole other issue. Well, our good "family values" friends at Wal-Mart (is fascism a value in your family?) have taken the already inequitable warning label system a step farther and decided not to stock these albums, meaning that any artist that wants to make any money has to get by the Wal-Mart morality board if they want to sell any copies. Buy somewhere else than Wal-Mart? Unfortunately, because Wal-Mart is such a huge chain and sells so many items besides music, they can afford to sell CDs at or below cost, and can easily undercut independent competition and drive local independent record stores out of business. Plus, if you live in The Sticks, USA it's very likely that Wal-Mart is the only place for 100 miles that sells records.
And it isn't just warning labels that haven't made it past the mighty Wal-Mart's motherly wing. Album artwork has come under fire as well. Remember the flak over the back cover of Nirvana's "In Utero"? Well they weren't the only ones. John Mellencamp, of all the wholesome country boys, had his latest album's cover art altered because it featured, god forbid, a picture of JESUS and the devil in the background. (god and the almighty fundamentalist Gestapo's dollars win again...)And this version is in no way marked to signify that the artwork has been altered, as is the case with all altered records at Wal-Mart. Most "edited" (bleeped out or otherwise SILENCED) albums specially produced for Wal-Mart are marked as such somewhere, but there are no such markings for edited artwork. Same goes for some movies on video, thanks to Wal-Mart and their partners in crime, BLOCKBUSTER. Wanna know if what you're seeing is what was in the theater, or what's in an indie record store? Too bad. And because Wal-Mart is such a high-volume retailer, they've got the entire music and video industries at their feet. Many artists are actually reconsidering what they will put on an album (ALL versions) for fear of what Wal-Mart will think.
So what happens when Wal-Mart is the only place you can get your music?
Wal-Mart isn't just muscling record stores out of business. Lots of local retailers in all sorts of areas of retail have fallen to the Wal-Mart capitalist juggernaut. And that doesn't just mean a loss for local small business owners, it also means a loss of pay and health benefits for local labor. Wal-Mart only hires part-time up to low level managerial positions, and that means no need to shell out expensive benefits. And they're vehemently anti-union. (And all you Republicans out there who think that's good better remember that they're also anti-small business. As if you bastards don't do small business more than lip service.)
And if that isn't bad enough, I don't suppose any of you have heard of SUPER WAL-MART. Wanna know what that is? It's a Wal-Mart that includes a SUPERMARKET. yes, one day Wal-Mart will be supplying your FOOD, your MEDICINE, your CLOTHES, your SENATORS, your REPRESENTATIVES, your INFORMATION...
Now maybe you're thinking, yeah, but how can I live without Wal-Mart? If you just asked yourself that question, YOU'RE A FUCKING IDIOT! Do you actually believe that shit about Wal-Mart being so high quality? Or being so American? Walk through a Wal-Mart sometime and see how much of their "American" merchandise is made in Third World sweatshops. And do you really think Wal-Mart is so much more fucking posh than say, K-Mart? Yeah, the stores are usually newer, but does that mean their merchandise is any good? IT'S A FUCKING FAD. You've been corporately brainwashed.
Remember, when Wal-Mart banned the new Sheryl Crow album (oh and she is SUCH a rebel), they objected to the line "Wal-Mart sells guns to children" (no, only suicidal rock stars, remember that next time you go to Wal-Mart, Nirvana fans...) but said nothing about the next line, "Wal-Mart sells crap."
What to do? Well there's a few options. Such as a truck bomb in the parking lot at 3 am. Hey, it got McDonalds to stop using styrofoam packing material... Or there's always the "responsible" route of a boycott. Tell your friends to try a real record store. You'll be paying what, an extra DOLLAR, as long as you avoid the malls? Most decent labels have mail order anyways. Or try an indie distributor. And you can get anything else they sell elsewhere if you look. Or you can fuck shit up in less elaborate ways. Like what would "Fuck Wal-Mart" in three-foot letters on the front of the store do for their family image? If you work there, hold a free CD day sometime. Organize a sit-in in the register lane on a Saturday afternoon. Knock over a lamp in the lighting department. Find someone with a good system and blast NWA in the parking lot.
So that's what to do to a big multinational. Tune in next time for more advice on how to fuck with the people who fuck with you. And remember, there's nothing about fascism that can't be solved with a baseball bat to the head...
Up Next: FUCK (up) THE VOTE!