Yo Man! What’s In Yo Bag? Another WITB feat. Matt Pinfield (hour 1)
Written by Agent 47 on April 15, 2018
Another visit from the frequent show concept creating playlists from episodes of Amoeba Records What’s In My Bag video series on YouTube. This episode features the selections from MTV VJ alum Matt Pinfield. Btw “All the Young Dudes” is such an obvious David Bowie penned tune. Although in Mott the Hoople recording it, kind of demonstrates just what a gifted composer the Thin White Duke truly was. This episode of Box of Chocolates originally streamed out LIVE on July 30, 2017
And now to continue with our fictitious speech, excerpted from The Story of B by Daniel Quinn. Already in progress.
Signs of distress: 5000-3000 B.C.E.
It was getting crowded. Think of that. People used to imagine that history is inevitably cyclical, but what I’m describing here has never happened before. In all of three million years, humans have never been crowded anywhere. But now the people of a single culture—our culture—are learning what it means to be crowded. It was getting crowded, and overworked, overgrazed land was becoming less and less productive. There were more people, and they were competing for dwindling resources.
The water is heating up around the frog—and remember what we’re looking for: signs of distress. What happens when more people begin competing for less? That’s obvious. Every schoolchild knows that. When more people start competing for less, they start fighting. But of course they don’t just fight at random. The town butcher doesn’t battle the town baker, the town tailor doesn’t battle the town shoemaker. No, the town’s butcher, baker, tailor and shoemaker get together to battle some other town’s butcher, baker, tailor and shoemaker.
We don’t have to see bodies lying in the field to know that this was the beginning of the age of war that has continued to the present moment. What we have to see is war-making machinery. I don’t mean mechanical machinery—chariots, catapults, siege machines, and so on. I mean political machinery. Butchers, bakers, tailors, and shoemakers don’t organize themselves into armies. They need warlords—kings, princes, emperors.
It’s during this period, starting around five thousand years ago, that we see the first states formed for the purpose of armed defense and aggression. It’s during this period that we see the standing army forged as the monarch’s sword of power. Without a standing army, a king is just a windbag in fancy clothes. You know that. But with a standing army, a king can impose his will on his enemies and engrave his name in history—and absolutely the only names we have from this era are the names of conquering kings. No scientists, no philosophers, no historians, no prophets, just conquerors. Again, nothing cyclic going on here. For the first time in human history, the important people are the people with armies.
Now note well that no one thought that the appearance of armies was a bad sign—a sign of distress. They thought it was a good sign. They thought the armies represented an improvement. The water was just getting delightfully warm, and no one worried about a few little bubbles.
After this point military needs became the chief stimulus for technological advancement in our culture. Nothing wrong with that, is there? Our soldiers need better armor, better swords, better chariots, better bows and arrows, better scaling machines, better rams, better artillery, better guns, better tanks, better planes, better bombs, better rockets, better nerve gas . . . well, you see what I mean. At this point no one saw technology in the service of warfare as a sign that something bad was going on. They thought it was an improvement.
From this point on, the frequency and severity of wars will serve as one measure of how hot the water is getting around our smiling frog.