|Recently I was given a copy of the album ...AND THE GODS MADE WARS by White Rabbit Cult to listen to. Real-audio file, that just started downloading, is the song number two on that album, called Collateral Damage. Strange, a cult of white rabbit, an animal synonymous with timidity and bucolic tranquility, threw in on that album some powerful, mosh-pit-approved, tunes backed up with provocative, some may say annoyingly so, lyrics. The album is available through the Cult's own web site and through the amazon.com.|
When I was nineteen, Paul Hardcastle (I still have the vinyl somewhere in Zagreb), made an early techno-rave EP titled "Nineteen." The song was recorded both in German and in English, since the album was sold only in Germany, then the only techno crazed market, and it had repeated its refrain ad nauseam: "In Vietnam it was nineteen" [the average age of the soldier] - thatís what "Collateral Damage" incessant repetition reminds me mostly of. White Rabbit Cult starts the CD with the, to an untrained ear slightly repulsive, track #1: "Invocation AC99" by paying homage to Jimi Hendrix's "...And the Gods Made Love" from the Electric Ladyland CD. I found the albumís generally unusual, eclectic, kind of beyond alternative music, reminiscent of The Residents (not disclosing any personal information about its individual members), Skinny Puppy /RA/ (distorted industrial sound) or Laibach (they do take themselves that seriously). Laibach gone Hare Krishna.|
"If any town should engage in Rebellion or Mutiny, fall into violent Factions, or refuse to pay the usual Tribute; the King hath two Methods of reducing them to Obedience. The first
and the mildest Course is by keeping the Island hovering
over such a Town, and the Lands about it; whereby he can
deprive them of the Benefit of the Sun and the Rain, and
consequently afflict the inhabitants with Death and Diseases.
And if the Crime deserve it, they are at the same time pelted
from above with great Stones, against which they have no
Defence, but by creeping into Cellars or Caves, while the
Roofs of their Houses are beaten to Pieces. But if they still
continue obstinate, or offer to raise Insurrections; he
proceeds to the last Remedy, by letting the Island drop
directly upon their Heads, which makes a universal
Destruction both of Houses and Men."
[Jonathan Swift, "The Flying Island of Laputa," Gulliver's Travels, Voyage III,
Copied from David R. Steeleís article.]
With the exception to the Buddhist philosophical references like AnandaShiva and Maya, the album predominantly reflects on the NATO campaign against Serbia/Yugoslavia, a year ago today (I am writing this on March 24, 2000). I listened to the album together with my pal Rob G, rapper that rapped against Milosevic early on in 1991. He said, goodness, they sound like The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy. Disposable heroes of what? Those wanting to hear that unique band, get yourself Napster and snap the songs from other people computers. Members of The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy belonged to The Beatnigs, one of the most unique industrial band, in the eighties.|
NATOís fierce critic David Ramsay Steele is not alone in using "Gulliverís Travels" as a source of information:
[Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Hugh] Shelton unveiled a talent for simile to describe the situation, comparing the American superpower with Lemuel Gulliver of "Gulliver's Travels," who
was tied down by hundreds of tiny cords knotted by little people called Lilliputians.
Copyright 2000 Gannett Company, Inc.
Gannett News Service
February 21, 2000, Monday, FINAL EDITION
Analysis: Pentagon bigwigs fighting wars - domestic - on several political
JOHN OMICINSKI; Gannett News Service; WASHINGTON
Members of the White Rabbit Cult and the albumís creators are, to my best knowledge, all accomplished rock artists from Belgrade and the rest of Serbia, who lived in the U.S. long before Serbia became the rogue country of the world. They all played in bands that had multi-ethnic following, across former Yugoslavia, and Yugoslavia was big on rock and roll. So, it is not surprising that they could produce a reasonably sounding album. What is surprising is that they not only insisted on making a thematically anti-NATO musical record, but also seemed to be pulled together from the various paths, that their lives have taken since they immigrated to the U.S., by the very act of NATO bombing. Well, at least, we can say there is something good brought upon by the ever more unpopular military campaign Operation Allied Force. Maybe NATO indeed should have bombed Serbia earlier.|
Their hardly subliminal messages, aimed to deride NATO for saying one thing and doing another, sound as bold pubescent teasing, particularly irritating to those aware that Milosevic never did what he said he would do. They serve as a remainder to us that there are no humane ways to wage a war, no matter how hard some, like NATO in Kosov@, say they have tried. The term "Collateral damage" was voted the worst choice of words of the year 1999 by the association of German linguists. The "humanitarian war" is to the killing of innocent people what "ethnic cleansing" is to genocide.|
In the interview for The Balkans Pages, Rev. Draq-ul-lah of the White Rabbit Cult talks about all this, and more, he ventures in the tacky waters of the U.S. prime time political issues like the teenage homicides and popular alternative music:
Q: WHO IS THE WHITE RABBIT CULT?|
A: The WHITE RABBIT CULT is an association of modern-day druids dedicated to keeping the Cosmic Door open to all those seeking access to Knowledge stored deep in the Consciousness.
Q: WHAT DID THE MEMBERS OF THE WHITE RABBIT CULT DO BEFORE THEY BECAME THE WHITE RABBIT CULT? I MEAN, WHEN YOU LISTEN TO THE CD, IT IS OBVIOUS THAT THIS IS NOT YOUR FIRST RECORDING EFFORT.
A: It is a policy of the WHITE RABBIT CULT not to disclose any personal information about its individual members. But, you are right. This is definitely not our first recording. We have done things before, both individually and collectively, but we never used the name WHITE RABBIT CULT openly before.
WHITE RABBIT (G. Slick; Jefferson Airplane)
One pill makes you larger
And one pill makes you small,
And the ones that mother gives you
Don't do anything at all.
Go ask Alice
When she's ten feet tall.
And if you go chasing rabbits
And you know you're going to fall,
Tell 'em a hookah smoking caterpillar
Has given you the call.
When she was just small.
When the men on the chessboard
Get up and tell you where to go
And you've just had some kind of mushroom
And your mind is moving low.
Go ask Alice
I think she'll know.
When logic and proportion
Have fallen sloppy dead,
And the White Knight is talking backwards
And the Red Queen's "off with her head!"
Remember what the dormouse said:
"Feed your head. Feed your head. Feed your head"
transcribed by Johnny Blasi
Q: WHAT INSPIRED YOU AND THE OTHER MEMBERS OF THE WHITE RABBIT CULT TO MAKE THIS CD "...AND THE GODS MADE WARS."?|
A: Extraordinary times require extraordinary measures, and these are extraordinary times indeed. You see, we live in the times in which the crooks rule the World, in which the World leaders lie under oath and keep blaming each other, and at the same time those same people (we know who they are!!!) are telling the kids to be honest and to obey the law.
It is very confusing to be a teenager these days. It is very confusing to be a teenager, period; but there are so many contradictory values these days, more than ever before. Who do you listen to? Who do you turn to for answers to all your questions? And then the politicians express their concern over the growing drug use among the teenagers, over the growing number of teenage suicides and mass murders... They have to find a culprit, so they blame the media, they put the blame on the entertainment industry, on people like Marilyn Manson and Ozzy Osbourne. Yeah. Like Ozzy and Marilyn inspire kids to do drugs and shoot at each other... Nonsense!
"Since you're, like, the President and stuff, can you, like, set
a country on fire, . . . and then, fly over in a helicopter and
say, "I am the President of the most powerful nation on
earth. You must bow down before me"? Uh-huh-huh,
uh-huh-huh, uh-huh-huh, uh-huh-huh . . . "
[Butt-Head, in Beavis and Butt-Head]
And this is not happening just here in the United States. The problem of not having proper role models is apparent almost everywhere in the World.
And then, to turn the attention away from the real issues, they gang up on people such as the Arabs, or the Serbs...
We felt it was time to set the record straight. So, we came out with this CD and the web site (http://whiterabbitcult.org/). There is a lot of compressed Knowledge on both the CD and the web site. The web site is still under construction, but it is still worthwhile going there, to listen to the sound clips and to read the articles.
Q: THERE ARE LOTS OF REFERENCES TO BUDDHISM. ARE YOU OR ANY OTHER MEMBERS OF THE WHITE RABBIT CULT BUDDHIST?|
A: Every religion sucks. There is a lot of Knowledge in all the Scriptures, regardless of whether they are Buddhist, Hindu, Christian, Muslim, or you name it... The primary aim of every Teaching is to liberate the mankind, but then the authorities step in, they twist the Teaching around, and make it into a religion and use it to control the mankind.
The WHITE RABBIT CULT has been in existence for quite a while now. We use the Knowledge regardless of whether it is of a Buddhist, Christian, Muslim, Native American or any other origin.
Art -- and especially music -- is a very powerful medium for transmitting Knowledge. When you are in the state of deep meditation, Knowledge arises from the depths of Consciousness and surfaces in the form of rhythm and sound... Or, as Carlos Santana recently said, "May the music set you free..."
Q: IS THIS ALBUM MEANT TO BE A MOCKERY OF THE NATO CAMPAIGN AGAINST YUGOSLAVIA.
A: Not only of NATO. Exactly one year ago, the Serbian people found themselves caught in between the bad politics of both NATO and their own government. Both the Serbian and the NATO leaders amassed enormous profits during that war and -- as usual -- it was the people who paid the bill.
And not just the Serbian people. Everyone suffered and still suffers in the Balkans: the Serbs, the Albanians, the Bosnians, Croats, you name it. There is an enormous amount of suffering still present there as a result of recent military actions. And over here it is the American taxpayers who paid for the bombs dropped on Serbia. The money was taken out of the budget for social security, education, etc. That military campaign cost the American tax payers about 65 million dollars per day. The campaign lasted for 45 days, so you do the arithmetics...
And what did the people suffer for? Is the problem really solved? I don't think so.
13 is a lucky number|
1000 dead people, 10000 sorties, $60 millions a day and for what?
13 antiquated tanks...
Throughout the conflict, NATO made clear on many
occasions that it was not conducting a campaign to defeat Serbia or the
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and was not making war on the Serb people.
This was not a war. It was a careful operation to disrupt the Yugoslav
campaign of violence in Kosovo by attacking proportionately and
appropriately the military machine that was conducting these attacks.
Our aim was not to wage war against Yugoslavia or to bring about the fall
of Milosevic and his regime. The air campaign set out to disrupt the
violence against the Kosovars and to weaken Serb military capabilities in
a carefully controlled way. And that is what we did.
We did not set out to play any numbers game. The answer to the question:
"how many tanks did we destroy" is "enough".
REMARKS BY LORD ROBERTSON, NATO SECRETARY GENERAL,
AT THE PRESS CONFERENCE TO MARK THE FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF THE KOSOVO AIR
Q: DO YOU EXPECT TO SELL ANY OF THESE CD'S IN THE UNITED STATES?|
Yes. It took a while for the Americans to open their eyes and realize that their involvement in Vietnam was wrong. They will eventually come to their senses and see that they have no business being in the Balkans, either.
Q: DID YOU TRY TO PROMOTE THE CD IN YUGOSLAVIA?
A: To some extent, yes. A number of CD's was recently shipped to Serbia and Macedonia. We have not gotten any feedback yet. We are still looking for contacts in Croatia, Bosnia, and other two remaining former Yugoslavian republics.
A beautiful book by Italian humorist Stefano Benni has just come out
called "Spiriti", Feltrinelli, Milan, 2000. I'll just translate one paragraph:
President of the Empire, John Morton
Max, is being forced to play golf; while he is thinking of girls, his
advisors are working out the next war. The issue comes up of whether there
is a war still going on in Lunistan or not; one advisor believes that the
army had long since been withdrawn. So they contact the US command in
Lunistan. Here is the reply:
"We never received any order to withdraw, since the war is still going on.
Twelve thousand men and two hundred airplanes are engaged in operations,
bombing the territory twenty-four hours a day. The situation in the
territory of Lunistan, after two hundred and seventy thousand air
missions, is under control and no trace of life is to be found except for
some worms. Losses are four suicides out of boredom among our troops and
some two-hundred thousand Lunistan civilians and soldiers, however it is
hard to give exact details: the last TV crew has left so we have no more
news. We don't even know what happened to the refugees, none of them even
sent us a postcard. We await orders. P.S. Please send us cigarettes."
Q: THE TWO PREVIOUS QUESTIONS WERE ASKED TO DETERMINE YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE. WHO DO YOU BELIEVE IS YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE?|
A: The young people. The teenagers. They are definitely more open to new ideas, their minds are a lot more open to the Truth. And the Truth is always in the middle. Older folks are more opinionated, they need more time to open their minds to new ideas, new approaches...
Q: THERE IS SOME NICE DANCE MUSIC ON YOUR ALBUM... THERE IS SOME NICE MOSH-PIT MUSIC ON YOUR ALBUM... SO, I THINK WHEN YOU RECORDED THESE SONGS YOU THOUGHT OF PUBLIC THAT FREQUENT THE CONCERTS OF THE BANDS LIKE SKINNY PUPPY OR LAIBACH.
A: Yeah... Just like with your question about the religious background of the WHITE RABBIT CULT beliefs and practices, we incorporate all the cool music stuff regardless of which tradition it springs from. On this CD we dealt with heavy stuff, we dealt with punk, we dealt with techno, we flirted with many different ethnic sounds from various parts of the World... Personally, I don't think our music is cut out for dancing, but -- hey!! -- why not...
Q: LAIBACH IS KNOWN TO EXIST ONLY TO PROVOKE. DO YOU THINK PROVOCATION IS THE PRIMARY FUNCTION OF THIS WHITE RABBIT CULT'S ALBUM? IS PROVOCATION YOUR SELLING POINT?|
A: Good question. Maybe. But, provocation is good. Personally, I welcome being provoked. If someone provokes you, if you lose your cool, it means that that person hit upon a weakness of yours. There is a lesson to be learned behind every "provocation".
And, every time you stand up and make a statement, someone gets upset. You can count on that. It is a "calculated risk" you take every time you take a stand for something. And besides, if you come up with a CD or a movie that does not provoke anybody, it is usually kind of lame and boring, isn't it...?
Q: DON'T YOU THINK THAT AN AVERAGE JOHN DOE WILL JUST BRUSH OFF LISTENING TO THE LYRICS, OR NOT EVEN LISTEN TO THE LYRICS AT ALL...?|
A: An average John Doe will never get to the lyrics part. We purposely started the CD with the track called "Invocation AC99" which an average redneck will find very disturbing to listen to. In another words, we built in a redneck-protection mechanism on the CD. It takes a certain level of sophistication to listen to this CD. Clever, huh?
Q: DO YOU THINK THAT IN THAT CASE THERE IS HOPE TO SELL THE ALBUM AT WALLMART?
A: Who knows? The Wheel of Fortune is spinning so fast these days, it is hard to tell what is going to happen next. When I first heard of Marilyn Manson, I was attracted to their attitude, but I thought they were never gonna make it past the crazed-out-fucked-up-on-glue kind of audience, but I was wrong. They have become an integral part of the shopping-mall culture. At this point I am ready to believe that nothing is impossible.
The best part is, this is just a beginning of many wonderful things to come. The WHITE RABBIT CULT web site is expanding, the CD is already getting airplay, and there will be more CD's in the future. Soon, we'll start touring, but all in good time... Thank You for the interview. Peace.
There is a colossal irony in this unconscious repetition of history: In
1914, the decaying Austro-Hungarian empire of the Hapsburgs tried to
prove that it was still a great power by defeating Serbia in the
prototypical "splendid little war." Instead, it started World War I,
which wrecked Europe for two generations, destroying the Hapsburg
empire with much else. By those standards, the Kosovo war must be
judged a great success, because it did not start a world war, although
it did provoke much enduring hostility in Russia as well as a contrived
tantrum from China.
But for NATO as the embodiment of strategic solidarity between
Americans and Europeans, the outcome of attacking Serbia in 1999 is no
better than the attack of 1914 was for the Hapsburg empire. The gap
between American and European military strength was much too great. It
left the Americans contemptuous and the Europeans thoroughly
humiliated. For the first time, the French have found an audience for
their long-standing opposition to the American military role in Europe,
and more than that: all sorts of European politicians, including
British Prime Minister Tony Blair, now tacitly agree with what Gen.
Charles de Gaulle enjoyed saying out loud: Oui to American help if we
ask for it, but non to American strategic direction through NATO.
Los Angeles Times March 23, 2000, Thursday
BY EDWARD N. LUTTWAK, Edward N. Luttwak is a senior fellow at the
Center for Strategic, and International Studies in Washington