Rage Against the Machine

We have the most marketing brainwashy infomercial-ly impostor in the White House telling us everyday he is the best president ever, and no one is raging… well, except for our fav Boricua Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in Congress. A GenX daughter re-traces the roots of rage and where it’s headed…

I went to Lollapalooza when I was 16. It’s a phrase I like to say like Baby Boomers like to say about Woodstock. It’s stupid. And yet there is a part of me that feels proud to tell people who are younger than me, as if they care, “I went to Lollapalooza when I was 16! Doesn’t get any more GenX than that!”

If my dad let me, I would have also gone to the inaugural Lollapalooza a year before, when I was a baby 15-year-old, to see my favorite band in the whole world Jane’s Addiction, whose frontman Perry Farrell, hypnotized me with his words, “At this moment you should be with us…feeling like we do,” or “Señores y señoras, nosotros tenemos mas influencia cons sus hijos que tu tiene…Pero los queremos…creado y regalo de Los Angeles…Juanas Addiction!”

But. Daddy didn’t. let me. goooooo!!!! (Volcano eruption)  I was PISsssssssed! Apparently we were ALL PISSED, cuz even though most of us went to the second Lollapalooza to see Red Hot Chilli Peppers, it was Rage Against the Machine, led by Mexican frontman Zack de la Rocha, that captured us…and our entire generation. My most memorable moment in my little bratty Latina brain, that was PISSED OFF at my cop father who wanted to keep me in his suburban jail for the rest of my life, was screaming with the band,
“Fuck you, I won’t do whatcha told me! Fuck you, I won’t do whatcha told me!” To this day, watching this video makes me cry my eyes out. The words are powerful in themselves, but shit – the driving guitar, ughh it comes straight from the gut. Zack praying quietly into his mic and then violently bursting into a crescendo of raaaaaaaage. The white, angry boys flailing around in the crowd…I guess only thing I wish I could change about this scene is of course…inclusivity. I wish there were some black kids raging inside those mosh pits, but we all know what that would have meant.

Over and over, we chanted and raged and pushed each other around, my tiny feet protected by steel toed Doc Martens, all 5’2” of me mosh pitting with angry white boys. WTF? So much anger even though daddy caved and let me go to this seminal event for my generation. I should have been chanting, “So grateful for the freedom my dad gave me!”

Only a woman in her 40s, reflecting on her dad’s 79th birthday, after doing a million hours of yoga, will start preaching about gratitude, right? Don’t worry. I won’t do that to you. This article is titled, Rage, after all.

The real question at this point is:
Wasn’t dad angry, too? His mother died when he was only 13. His father used to steal his sneakers so he couldn’t go out on the mean streets of the Bronx and Brooklyn and join the white vs black vs Puerto Rican gang wars. He was struggling to raise 4 kids by the time he was only 22.

He could have acted out. Rebelled. Raged against his machine. But he didn’t. Somehow, he always knew things could be worse. Perhaps that’s what poverty does. I was spoiled with everything I ever wanted; he was denied everything he ever wanted. I am annoyed that I have to work for what I want now; he always loved being able to work for what he wants.
That’s an attitude of gratitude. Uh-oh. There’s that god damn fucking annoying word again. GRATIiTude!!! Ugggggghhhh!!!

As I watch from the outside how my generation is bringing up the next – you know, because like 43% of the women in my generation, I don’t have children – my theory is that the other 57% took all that angsty rage to a yoga studio, pushed it out during their water births and are now raising all these kind, grateful kids you see competing on J Lo’s “World of Dance.” It’s a really cool twist in evolution, although sometimes I worry because I do feel these kids need to be super duper extra pissed to fight against the current regime of Orange fuckery. But maybe that’s my job right now. It’s when you’re in your 40s when you have the most power to do something. And I’m sure all their moms didn’t push all their Lilith Fair rage out of their systems into the birthing water…this International Women’s Day, I’m hoping all us 40-somethings will rage against the machine on behalf of next gen…as a Femmebot, my personal mission is to help close the gender gap in technology, so today I am expressing the rage through swimming 1,000 kilometers to raise $1,000 for Girls Who Code, a non-profit organization that is on track to achieve this mission by 2027….when I am 52! Exactly the same age as Luke Perry, our hearth throb from Beverly Hills 90210, who died this week unexpectedly. Kieth Flint, front man of Prodigy, is dead at 49. We lost Chris Cornell from Soundgarden a couple years ago.

While our white boys are dying left and right, the females seem to be rising up. There are a lot of female empowerment songs out there, and that’s a good thing. Cardi B does a good job of expressing her rage, but ultimately, she’s super loving and big-hearted, along with Lady Gaga. Instead of giving people the finger, we are giving hugs? Is that the new rage? I can get down with that. But I do miss the screaming. It was raw. It was releasing. But instead of pushing people around in a mosh pit, I’ll swim it out and then give everyone a big wet hug when I’m done. LoL