Some folks would have you believe that everything is running smoothly, A-OK even, as the globe keeps spinning toward its next mass extinction—one that will almost definitely include us. We’ve got vaccines (though only a third of Chicago has received a shot as of this writing), we’ve got the beginnings of economic recovery (though most $1,400 stimulus checks have gone to silly things like medical debt)—Jesus Christ, are you still complaining? In this, the land of Smucker’s Uncrustables?
It’s hard not to be angry at misguided ideologues forcing their opinions on the rest of us—especially because it’s now a widespread idea that responding to a pandemic by asking people to socially distance or wear a face covering in public is an attack on the personal freedoms Americans supposedly enjoy. I’ll admit to feeling a bit of schadenfreude that a certain COVID-denying guitarist has come down with more than “Cat Scratch Fever,” but these people’s stubborn refusal to be told anything contrary to their beliefs doesn’t just endanger them. Because viruses don’t respond to correct opinions, a COVID-19 breakout among the friends and family of a denier won’t stay confined to that group.
Worse yet—as disability activists, health care advocates, and others have been trying to point out since last year—is the fact that governmental and civic focus on how individuals can avoid getting sick doesn’t address the larger issues of health-care inequality that a rapidly, globally spreading virus has made crystal clear. As Brandie Sendziak of San Francisco’s Independent Living Resource Center told Bitch magazine last month, “I was worried about vaccine equity being an issue from the beginning of the pandemic when states were issuing crisis care guidelines that were discriminatory.” Given how difficult it’s been for the U.S. to convince healthy people to get vaccinated, what are our chances of creating an equitable world where disabled and marginalized people—even those outside the so-called developed countries—can live without worry?
When I think about this stuff, I want to scream out the window—but sometimes I turn to punk rock and hardcore instead. At least if I do scream out the window, I can scream along to Bad Noids’ Waiting Around to Die. The Cleveland outfit posted this four-song demo to their Noid Films YouTube channel in mid-April 2020, and if it’s been released any other way, I can’t find it (I’ve tried reaching out to the band on Facebook and Instagram, with no luck). The demo’s six minutes and seven seconds of Noid culture epitomize what punk rock should do: sneer at the stupid, fucked-up dominant culture to the accompaniment of cacophonous, high-speed guitar riffs and pounding drums. As far as I can tell, this is the first Bad Noids release in a few years—their previous seven-inch, It’s a Doggie Bag World, came out in 2016 on Virginia’s Feel It Records.
It’d be amazing to see Bad Noids tour to support Waiting Around to Die, even given the safety limitations that we’ll have to keep in mind at live shows. Though now that I think of it, lead singer Mike Thrope is notorious for doing things like setting his own hair on fire onstage—does anyone know if open flame prevents COVID transmission? In any event, listening to these quicker-than-quick songs about canceled tours, being stuck inside, and dumb people texting on their cell phones has been a happy option for me over the past year. It beats yelling at unmasked trolls who don’t give a shit for my health or arguing against their goblin-brain rhetoric about protecting society from the tyranny of public-health measures. v
- Waiting Around to Die appeared on YouTube in April 2020.
- Bad Noids play live on WFMU in 2012.
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