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Where Have All the Doomers Gone?

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on November 24, 2014

Discuss this article at the Kitchen Sink inside the Diner

I’ve been chronicling Collapsing Economics on the Internet since 2008, after the collapse of the Investment banking firm Bear Stearns.  I knew nothing of Peak Oil at the time, and I had not really concerned myself with the monetary system, Stocks, Bonds, Investing etc since the 1980s.

I spent about the first month just trying to figure out why Bear Stearns went south, and why there was a run on the bank.  Eventually this led me to the PeakOil.com website, which at the time was very active in the commentary.  I learned a lot over there from folks who had been tracking this since even before the site was founded in 2004, and over time I got hold of the relationship between the Energy Depletion issues and the Monetary Problems going on at the time.  What would inevitably occur became quite clear, and I wrote this line in 2008:

“It will all Burn Up in the Greatest Bonfire of Paper Wealth in all of Recorded History”

A “Quote of the Month” on Peak Oil, and the Bonfire is well underway now, country after country falls into economic collapse, more Amerikans are on SNAP Card food assistance every year, and the geopolitical consequences become ever more dangerous by the day here.

Despite the fact the consequences become ever more obvious every day, it appears that there is ever less discussion about this on the internet.  Besides the economic issues, the climate problems become more apparent every day as well, drought in California, record snowfall in Buffalo, Super Typhoons hitting SE Asia on a weekly basis, you name it evidence of vast climate change is in evidence everywhere, but still the Deniers just return with “of course the climate changes, it always changes”.  True enough, but what it it changes so much it’s impossible to live in your local environment anymore because the floods come so often or because there is no water to drink?

On top of all that, you have the Ebola virus spreading in Africa, and ever escalating geopolitical conflicts between Russia and NATO, the Chinese and Japanese, and then of course ISIS Radical Muslims Beheading anyone they can get their hands on to strike TERROR into the heart of the average Oil Konsumer.

By EVERY measure in EVERY area of Collapse, there is way more in evidence today than when I started chronicling it on Peak Oil in 2008.  Conversely though, the worse it gets, the LESS people engage to discuss it, both in the commentary of Collapse blogs as well as the main Collapse Bloggers themselves.

The main folks who have been chronicling this the longest, people like Jim Kunstler and Dmitry Orlov rehash material they have been using for a decade, with the only real update to this whatever the latest manifestation is out in the real world in Current Events.  For people who have been following the collapse this long, there are no real NEW observations to make.

Far as the commentary goes anywhere, it’s all ideological bullshit and stupidity, from the commentary of Zero Hedge to The Burning Platform and back to Peak Oil too.  Anyone online in the collapse blogosphere has heard it all before, and basically anyone with any intelligence has STOPPED talking about it.  Folks like George Mobus, Paul Chefurka, David Korowicz, Nicole Foss and others have simply dropped off the map for the most part, nothing left to say, the die is cast and the Show will go on no matter what kind of Jawboning goes down on the net, or in Congress or at the European Parliament too for that matter.

This seems to have led to a kind of malaise, as folks just tun inward and pursue their own lives in the face of how collapse is affecting them.  Why talk about it on the Internet now?  We all know what is coming down the pipe here.

For me, I have come to realize that it really is not that important if people are talking or not, if there is discussion or not, I’m just observing it now.  I also will not change my opinion on where it is all going in any debate, and I am certainly not going to waste my time with Ideologues who will pitch their spin no matter how much evidence to the contrary show that it’s wrong headed.

So nowadays, I don’t look for or expect conversation on the topics, I just observe it and write down the observations as it occurs, a kind of contemporary history file overall.

EVERYBODY KNOWS what is coming down the pipe now.  As Leonard Cohen wrote so long ago now:

“Take one last look at this Sacred Heart before it BLOWS”

because anybody with any Common Fucking Sense now KNOWS IT WILL BLOW, and we won’t have to wait another 50 years for it to blow either.  In fact it is blowing as we speak, but if the implosion hasn’t yet hit your neighborhood or your job, you can still delude yourself into believing it all will work out OK in the end.

We have a little time left here, how much is anybody’s guess these days, so for everyone I suggest you try to find a little bit of Happiness and enjoy your life as it is, if you have not yet fallen off the Cliff and Collapse has not yet reached your doorstep.  Enjoy cooking and eating good food if it is available, drive the countryside while there is still gas at the pump, even go Shop On Black Friday at Walmart if finding Bargains is what floats your boat.

If you are very fortunate, you will find some others to join with as the Flowers Wilt.  For me, the Great Gift of the Diner was to find a few other people to observe this with, and it is the Gift that Keeps on Giving.

Collapse Fatigue Syndrome

Off the Diner Keyboards

Discuss this article around the Kitchen Sink of the Diner

Occasionally a thread inside the Diner strikes a chord with many Diners, as is the case with the recent thread, Futile or Not, Here I Come begun by Diner Buzzard.For many of us who have been examining the Collapse for a long time, a sense of Frustration and Fatigue has set in as we wait for and expect a Collapse to occur which is more definable than just the slow deterioration of the “Long Emergency” described by Jim Kunstler.  For some, their participation in discussions about Peak Oil and its ramifications goes back to 2004-2005, when the PeakOil.com and LATOC Forums began.  For others, their expectations of a Collapse have been with them as far back as the 1960s and 1970s.  For myself, I mostly woke up to oncoming collapse with the failure of Bear Stearns in 2007, although the Katrina disaster in NOLA was probably my real wake up call.While we appear closer than ever now to true collapse of the Monetary System and Industrial Civilization, the fact it has not yet occurred systemically through all societies brings with it a sense of Futility in perpetually rehashing the same topics.  Early Forums like Peak Oil and LATOC are either very quiet now or out of publication entirely in the case of LATOC.Is there still value in discussing this collapse, when there really is not much thatcan be done to stop it?  How many times can you predict the Sky Will Fall with other Chicken Littles but never see the Sky Fall, just lower the Cloud Ceiling some?A few Diners weighed in with their thoughts on these issues, and I present a selection of them here for both Veteran Kollapsniks and Rookies alike to consider.  To read all the thoughts of the Diners, visit the  Futile or Not, Here I Come  thread ongoing around the Kitchen Sink of the Doomstead Diner.RE

 Buzzard wrote:

I’m a reader here. In fact I’m basically a reader everywhere. I am neither brilliant nor inspired. Any comments which I could make would be amateur at best. However, I do read a lot- and I get impressions. While reading back and forth in the barbeque section (I’m obviously running low on good literature) I got the sense of fatigue in those who were posting. Perhaps this is only a mirror of myself because I have been admittedly tired of the whole mess recently. [You know, the whole collapse mess?]

Although my participation has been mostly lacking, I have followed several forums for some years- in fact since the yahoo lists. So most of the posters I run into are familiar to me from ROE, Dieoff, Peakoil, LATOC etc. What I am sensing is a sort of ‘collapse fatigue’ which shows in subtle ways. Interestingly also I have watched the development of online personalities and opinions over the years. Much of it, I believe can be attributed to a maturity and wisdom grown from years of experience in the individual’s search for knowledge and truth. I know that the journey has taken me to places which I never could have predicted.

Frankly, I’m tired. Part of it could be a growing impatience, like sitting in the theater as a kid with your tub of popcorn waiting for the movie to begin. And let’s face it. I’m not getting any younger. Seventy doesn’t look that far away any more. (I can’t believe that I even wrote that). Nothing earth shaking here. I’m just curious as to what others are feeling when you strip away all of the intellectual issues and probing questions of the day. I know that I find myself backing out of ‘acceptance’ into depression again. That’s depressing. I get up and do it again- amen. Most of you are veterans of the truth wars. Is it any easier than it was ten years ago? How is the cynicism quotient?

 Golden Oxen wrote:

“Frankly, I’m tired. Part of it could be a growing impatience, like sitting in the theater as a kid with your tub of popcorn waiting for the movie to begin. And let’s face it. I’m not getting any younger. Seventy doesn’t look that far away any more. (I can’t believe that I even wrote that). Nothing earth shaking here. I’m just curious as to what others are feeling when you strip away all of the intellectual issues and probing questions of the day. I know that I find myself backing out of ‘acceptance’ into depression again. That’s depressing. I get up and do it again- amen. Most of you are veterans of the truth wars. Is it any easier than it was ten years ago? How is the cynicism quotient?”

Hi Buzzard, Tired and depressed from the whole ball of wax myself. Starting to understand why Peter, my favorite poster at DD has walked away. The more I learn here, which I tell myself is a good thing, how can learning be considered a bad thing, the more depressed I get. We are in real friggin mess, with no way out it seems, and all this seems to accomplishing very little except pointing out how bad it really is. The petty fights and bullshit don’t help either.

OWS was the only thing I have seen lately which energized me and filled me with some hope, but that has ended on a very sour and depressing note as well. Guess that’s why we hang out at the Diner. Nice to hear from you. GO

 RE wrote:

Collapse Fatigue is pandemic across the Collapse Blogosphere these days. It probably should get its own listing in the DSM-IV right next to PTSD.

The two Biggest Collapse boards in the first generation were PeakOil and LATOC. LATOC is gone completely as Matt Savinar took it offline. PeakOil has withered away and gets less daily action than we get here in the Diner.

The early and most original Bloggers like Dmitri Orlov and Jimmy Kunstler more or less have made Collapse their Bizness, and both websites are mainly venues to promote their Books and Speaking Engagements. Both are still very creative writers, but they also both recycle the same themes over and over again. Neither participates much in discussion even over on their own Blog Commentariats.

For me, Collapse remains an intriguing and ever changing sea of information to digest, and really MOST of the world still is not even AWARE of it. The Collapse Fatigue phenomenon mostly exists among people who have been aware of peak oil since at least 2007, some since as far back as 2000.

Like many Kollapsniks who have been waiting for the Sky to Fall, part of me wishes that it would just FALL already so we can get on with the next stage, whatever that might be, bad as it is likely to be. However, for anyone who has NOT yet fallen off the Economic Cliff, its a GOOD thing that Extend & Pretend has worked as long as it has. Here on the Diner, we have several people who hope for 6mo-2years more time to get their Plans/Doomsteads ready.

I guess the best way to explain how I feel about Collapse and how I avoid Collapse Fatigue is to follow Ty Webb’s advice in Caddyshack, in this case rather than “Be the Ball”, it’s “Be the Collapse”. It remains the most IMPORTANT topic of our time, and regardless how Old you might be there is still much to be learned here.

So I keep thinking about it and writing about it and discussing it with others here on the Diner. Even recycling old material is important because Newbies are always Waking Up here, more all the time. Us Old Timers should be around to fill in the Newbies and…

Save as Many as You Can

 Water Weasel wrote:

Buzzard,

and RE, it is very hard reading the news anymore when you start to see what’s going on. It’s tough to say, but, if you’re not at least a little bit depressed, you’re not paying attention. I don’t know how you can get to “acceptance” when all the time things are getting worse. I won’t say the “f” word. (*cough*futile*cough*)

Quote
I’m just curious as to what others are feeling when you strip away all of the intellectual issues and probing questions of the day
I’m feeling like I need to stock up on beer and pretzels, ’cause this is going to be the biggest train-wreck you ever did see.

I have no idea how it’s going to go down. I can only hope that I have enough of an edge to make it through the first wave. Probably not, but in that case, I take solace in living a middle-class 21st century American life, at least for a while, which is better than most humans who ever lived. I’ll continue to be a good person, and I’ll continue to try to make things better, and I hope that’s still worth something.

RE,

Quote
For me, Collapse remains an intriguing and ever changing sea of information to digest, and really MOST of the world still is not even AWARE of it.
This is really mind-boggling isn’t it? There’s some meat here that hasn’t been explored. Futilitist is interested in sociology. Maybe he could lead this thread.

But, yeah, when you see the assault on the biosphere, that we depend on for our economy as well as our very life, it’s hard not to wish for it to stop, now, no matter how hard it might be. And it looks to me like it will stop, eventually. It’s like pulling off a Band-Aid, slow, or in one go? I prefer in one go. Let’s get it over with!

But, I do love my currently comfy lifestyle, with a job and food and all. It’s a tough call.

Surly wrote:

Ah, Caddyshack.

The story of the making of this movie is well worth watching.

My face: “Heavy hitter, the Dalai Lama…”

“… he said, on my deathbed I would receive total consciousness.
So I got that goin’ for me.”

Buzzard wrote:

Quote from: WaterWeasel on Today at 01:52:42 AM

RE,

Quote
For me, Collapse remains an intriguing and ever changing sea of information to digest, and really MOST of the world still is not even AWARE of it.
This is really mind-boggling isn’t it? There’s some meat here that hasn’t been explored. Futilitist is interested in sociology. Maybe he could lead this thread.

In fact it was Futilitist’s comments which prompted this thread. I didn’t address him personally because my question was more general, a smokey malaise which had settled over me.

I am fond of telling people that I have it easy because I am old enough that I will be dead before the shit really hits the fan. I have lived an interesting and eventful life. I won’t check out thinking that I have been particularly robbed of anything. I tell people that I pity those younger who stand to live through the full monty. What will their lives be like? What I tell people sounds good. It sounds right… And it is a lie. In fact, I am jealous of the young. I am so intrigued and curious about the future that I am beginning to think that I will miss it.

I guess that is why Greer gets under my skin. I don’t want to hear ‘Catabolic Collapse’. Doesn’t he realize that we need to get on with it so that I can see what happens? It is also why “Tipping Point” resonated with me instantly. If what he says is true then it could all come down tomorrow. Now we’re talking. And… aside from my selfish desire to see how it all turns out, I also subscribe to the ‘remove the band-aide’ quickly school of collapse. It just makes sense. As Jensen says. The sooner it comes down the less the planet suffers damage from human’s hubris and greed.

I suspect the reason most of us are here is because wandering through this mansion of darkness we have noticed a room where the lights are still on. Even though it seems to me at this point that the same arguments and information gets recycled over and over, at least the truth will set you free (or piss you off, whatever the case will be).

  RE wrote:

Quote from: buzzard on Today at 04:26:04 AM
I am fond of telling people that I have it easy because I am old enough that I will be dead before the shit really hits the fan. I have lived an interesting and eventful life. I won’t check out thinking that I have been particularly robbed of anything. I tell people that I pity those younger who stand to live through the full monty. What will their lives be like? What I tell people sounds good. It sounds right… And it is a lie. In fact, I am jealous of the young. I am so intrigued and curious about the future that I am beginning to think that I will miss it.

With this paragraph BY ITSELF you undermined your own initial argument that you are not a thinker who has something to say. You clearly do. I think you just have spent more time reading than most and have not felt it necessary to express your own opinions, Now you do. All to the good there.

I feel much the same in the sense that I had it good, if it all goes to hell in a handbasket tomorrow I lived a pretty good life in the Age of Oil. I certainly already lived longer than the average H-G lives, if you make it to 50 in that type of life you are OLD.

I am NOT nearly so old as some here though, I am pretty sure some of our Gold Bugs are well into their 70s actually. LOL. These folks have little to worry about, they don’t have all that much time left under the best of circumstances.

The folks who really got stuff to deal with are those in their 30s and 40s, particularly if they have dependent children. However, few of that demographic are here on the Diner as of yet. Mostly Old Dudes and some younger unmarrieds, though there are a few here with kids also.

In one sese, it would be EXCITING to be young again and preparing for the world as it is to be. I also am in a sense JEALOUS of younger folks, I WISH I was 30-something again with all my physical strength and speed to go out into the Bush and make my go of it there. What an ADVENTURE!

In reality though, I HAD my Adventure already, it was the adventure of a life lived in the culminating years of the Age of Oil. It was a FUN adventure. I lived a pretty good life, and I learned a lot. What else are you here for anyhow, besides eating and breathing? You learn stuff. Then you pass on what you learned to the Young ‘uns. That is the course of life, eh?

Now we have a bit of time left here to chat up on the internet how to negotiate the most amazing spin down of Human Civilization in all of recorded History. Us Old Folks won’t be around too much longer, but we still can pass on some knowledge and observe the end, until at last we each buy our Final Ticket to the Great Beyond.

RE

…Read the rest with the Diners around the Kitchen Sink of the Doomstead Diner

Pump Up The Volume

off the keyboard of RE

Discuss this article at the Kitchen Sink of the Diner

I am going to leave the Over The Road series here briefly to cover another portion of my Life in the Age of Oil,  which in many respects has much more to do with the Doomstead Diner than my years driving OTR does.

In fact, this period of  my life began very early, around the age of  6 years old in Rio de Janeiro on Rua Joachim Nabuco right off of Ipanema Beach.  That was where I lived from the age of 5 to 9 years old while my Dad (the Pigman) who worked as a Vice President for Chase Manhattan Bank (predecessor before numerous Mergers & Acquisitions since to become JP Morgan Chase, the Bank currently headed up by Jamie Dimon and still of course primarily owned by the Rockefellers) was acquiring small Brazilian Banks for Chase and also making innumerable Bad Loans to the rest of South America.

Rua Jaochim Nabuco

Living also on Rua Jaochim Nabuco was a boy named Randy, the son of a fellow who was working for the United Nations as a Fisherie Expert. I’m going to be vague here about these names but if you read through the references later in this article you probably  can figure out who I am talking about. The names are in the Newz in the Public Record.

In fact it is pretty likely Randy’s Dad was really working for the CIA, not the UN and I think in those days practically EVERYBODY who lived on Rua Jaochim Nabuco was either a Rockefeller Bankster Apparatchik,  FSofA Military, State Department Diplomat, or UN/CIA.  From my POV at the time, the Military Brats and State Department kids had it best, they had access to “PX Priviledges”.  This meant they could get hold of things like Cheerios otherwise unavailable in the Brazil of the Era.

 ALL of the children of these folks went to the same  School, “Escola Americana”, run under the auspices of the United Nations. Randy was 3 years older than I was, but we became friends riding on the same bus to school.  He was Legally Blind, which impacted tremendously on his life in many ways.  One of them was that he became very interested in the Music of the era. At Escola Americana,  he actually got his first”DJ”position over the Loudspeaker system of the school in his Middle School years,after I had left Brazil. Before I left though, we spent many days playing the records of the 1960s era Folksingers like Phil Ochs and early Rockers like  the  Beatles and the  Rolling Stones in his apartment.  Randy also had an old style Reel-to-Reel tape deck to edit music and sound effects and record us.  In those days to edit you physically cut and spliced the tape.  No digital computers and software to do the job for you..  He barely could see, but whether he was Splicing Tape or Soldering Circuit Boards,  Randi would work with the stuff right up to his NOSE, and he was very meticulous. His Gadgets always worked,although he took hours and days often to complete the work.

I lost touch with Randy for a couple of years after that when my parents divorced and I moved back to live in NY Shity, eventually ending up in a McMansion in Flushing, Queens of NY Shity my Mom got as part of the Divorce settlement. That was the House I lived in until I went off to the dormitories of  Columbia University.  By a sort of Coinkidink though, Randy’s UN/CIA Dad  got transferred to NY Shity and bought another Queens McMansion no more than Mile from the one I was esconsed in.  It was an easy Bike Ride away for an 11 year old by that time.  Randy was then around 14, and was not adjusting well to Public HS in NY Shity.  He eventually dropped out.

How Randy spent his time after Dropping out of NY Shity HS was in working in his CIA Dad’s Basement building a Pirate Radio Station. I cannot possibly detail all the battles he had with both his parents over these years, but in the end he mainly won them. He got to the point of setting up a Radio Tower in the backyard, and “WQLB” was born!  Later to be renamed Stereo 9, then later an “RNI” afffiliate.  It operated at the bottom end of the FM Frequency Band at 88.9 Mhz. Power was such it covered most of Queens when switched on.

By the time Randy got his station Operational, I was around 13 years old.  On weekends, I would go over his house, and late at night we would switch  on the Transmitter and begin to Broadcast Illegally far as the FCC was concerned.  The image you see of the Audio Board in the Pump Up the Volume video is the spitting image of the Audio Board we used at the time. Professional Analog Mixing Boards of this type in that period ran into the thousands of dollars, Randy put his together from Radio Shack parts for less than $100 I think.  He was really a fucking GENIUS with this stuff.

 My On Air Alias during this period was “Stony Stevenson”, and I did a regular 3 hour show on Saturday Nights from Midnight to 3AM.  Played Folky Protest Songs from Phil Ochs and Bob Dylan and lambasted the Nixon Administration of the era.   I did that as a 13 Year Old Boy!  My voice had already broken and was pretty close to what it is now, very basso profundo.  You really could not know from listening I was just 13.   I had a nice Fan Club too. Sadly, never got laid by any Groupies, but ego got massaged nicely on air over the Phone Calls we took.  Amazing thing in that era was we could actually take said Phone Calls, and the FCC Nincompoops were so dumb and disorganized they could not find us right off the bat.

Anyhow, we were not the ONLY Pirate Radio Station operating in NY Shity at the time, a bigger one was being operated by a fellow Allan and his friend Joseph Paul in Yonkers.  We eventually got together and became loosely “affiliated” in a Pirate Radio “Network”.  There were many battles though though this period and falling outs between the priniciples.    I fell out of this group  once I went off to Columbia, a couple of years earlier than normal at the age of 16.  Skipped a couple of years through the system of education over the years.

Radio New York International Offshore Broacasting Ship

Allan in particular did not stop his Obsession with Pirate Radio and Free Speech though, and neither did Randy.  Allan went so far as to buy a WRECK  of a cargo ship he named the “Sarah” sitting in a dock in the Boston Harbor.  He bought this ship for I think it was $500.  It was a good 100′ at the waterline I am pretty sure.  Nothing on it worked. The guy who sold it to him I think did it just to get the Docking Fees off his books.  He never thought the thing would sail again.  Allan fixed EVERYTHING, including the fucking engines.  He was an even BIGGER Electronics and Mechanical Wizard than Randy was.  He also put up a tower on it to broadcast from, and finally did get the thing Off Shore of Long Island to Broadcast.  The FCC of course did shut him down in short order though.

Radio North Sea International Offshore Broadcasting Ship

This whole deal was modelled after a similar Pirate Radio adventure undertaken over in Eurotrashland which persisted a bit longer, Radio North Sea International.  In the end though, “Pirate Radio”, which was the effort by a few mostly pretty young  individuals to take back control over the Conduit of the airwaves without going through Goobermint Channels was pretty well squashed out by the late 1980s.

Here is a short history from one of the principals in the Radio New York Internation Offshore Pirate Radio  adventure:

1987 was a strange year for Brooklyn pirate radio station WHOT. The FCC had paid us a visit in November of 1985 (we didn’t let them in), and we never heard another peep from them. The threat seemed like a distant memory due to the lack of any further noise from our friends at the Commission. At the same time, WHOT was exploding. Listenership kept growing in leaps and bounds, and each show seemed like it was more fun than the last one. We had really honed the “WHOT Sound” – a little bit of everything for everyone. Music, talk, comedy, jingles, reverb and punchy, killer audio. It was infectious to everyone involved – both for us AND the listeners.Spring was around the corner when we were first approached by Allan Weiner with a proposal. Allan had operated several New England-based pirates in the 70s and 80s, and Hank and Jim had known him for many years.  He was about to embark on a project of epic proportions called Radio NewYork International – “RNI” for short, as a tribute to the old Radio Northsea International.“RNI” would be the first U.S. attempt to broadcast in the same manner as the legendary European pirates: on a ship, off the coast, in international waters – out of the reach of the FCC. Allan felt that the heart of RNI’s staff should be made up of current pirate operators, and he wanted us to be a big part of it. After giving the project much thought, we decided to do it – if for no other reason, for the adventure. Allan worked towards smoothing over the “pirate disagreements” of the previous year and managed to get most of the New York area pirates on board.The idea sounded crazy, but it also sounded like it could be great. Allan secured an old Japanese fishing trawler to house RNI and turned it into “The Radioship Sarah”, installing transmitters on AM, FM, short wave and even long wave. I wondered if he could actually pull it off…he certainly seemed serious about it.RNI’s eventual goal was to broadcast 24 hours a day, seven days a week with a variety of programming. The core of the staff would be “the WHOT Good Guys” along with other pirates – Randi Steele (who had been running Stereo Nine FM as “Ed Armstrong”) was named Operations Manager and eventually others like Johnny Lightning of WJPL, along with a non-defined cadre of spurious pirate folk that  came and went throughout the project.Also along for the project was Ivan Jefferies, a WHOT listener who had recently started doing some guest appearances on the air with us, bringing his twisted syntax and genuine good humor to the shows, as well as lending his classic radio expertise to various “special segments”.As RNI neared completion, Hank and I put our lives on hold and traveled up to Boston to help, where The Sarah was being readied for its journey. The studio and transmitters were now in working order, but the ship itself needed a LOT of readying and sprucing up. We spent a large chunk of the early summer sanding, stripping, sweeping and painting. Meanwhile, Jim was in Brooklyn keeping WHOT on the air. Coming into June, the air was thick with anticipation as we closed on the target day to set sail for the waters off Long Island (where RNI would make its home). At night, Hank and I would lay out on the deck and wonder…how will people react? Will the news media cover it? Will people even listen to it?I had never worked so hard on something that wasn’t an actual “job” in my life. As the sail date neared, Hank went back to Brooklyn to take care of some of his personal stuff AND help Jim give WHOT a proper “sign off”. I had already decided to take the summer off and be a bum, so I stayed in Boston to work on the ship with Allan. Those days were rough. I remember hauling two-ton anchor chain in the hot July sun and thinking, “boy, I’m dying…I hope this is gonna be worth it…”.Hank returned to Boston on July 18th with Jim, Ivan and a few other friends that were expected to participate in RNI once it was on the air. That weekend, The Sarah played host to a who’s-who of the New York and New England pirate radio scene, and a party atmosphere permeated the ship’s studio and transmitter room as everyone looked around in amazement…sitting behind the board, fiddling with the knobs and getting themselves familiar with the setup.  It was really gonna happen, and everyone was excited! We even shot some video to record the historic moment.On the overcast morning of July 20, 1987, Allan, Hank, Ivan and I left the ‘dirty water’ of Boston’s Charles River and set sail for the waters off the coast of New York City. It was time for RNI to turn the world (and all our lives) upside down. The Sarah had no working engines to sail on it’s own power, so it had to be towed out by this huge towing ship called The Munzer. When we reached the desired destination, we dropped the world’s biggest (10,000 pound) anchor and that ridiculously big anchor chain, and the Munzer was gone, headed back to Boston. We had reached the point of no return!Allan had secured a small Liberty Launch boat to be used as a shuttle / supply boat for going back and forth from The Sarah to shore. Hank and I jumped on it and returned to Brooklyn to prepare for whatever sort of press reaction RNI would get once the broadcasts started. At the start, each broadcast would be six hours – from 6PM to Midnight – carried simultaneously on FOUR frequencies: 1620 AM, 103.1 FM, 6240 SW as well as an experimental transmission on Long Wave. Allan fired up all the transmitters on the night of July 23rd and played some announcer-free music, just to see if everything was still in working order. RNI’s first ACTUAL test transmission took place the night of July 24th, featuring Allan and Ivan. Hank and I sat on the stoop of his house with a GE Superadio and our hearts skipped a beat when the dead carrier was broken at 6PM ET by an RNI promo followed by “Come Sail Away” by Styx. RNI was actually on the air! The media reaction was immediate and tremendous – WAY more than I had expected from just the first night of broadcasting!The following days were spent entertaining members of the press, who came out in droves. The nights were spent broadcasting. Randi and Ivan did a special midday show for the benefit of the assembled media on the 25th, and Allan and Ivan did another six-hour “test” program that evening. On the third day (July 26th) the FCC finally decided to show up. It was mid-afternoon when the Coast Guard pulled up next to The Sarah with several FCC agents in tow. They boarded the ship, looked around, handed some legal papers to Allan and left – but not before promising they’d be back. Since the ship WAS in international waters, we truly felt we were not breaking any laws. To make this point, RNI kept on broadcasting that very evening, with another 6PM test show from Randi Steele and a post-midnight show from Ivan.While this was all going on, WHOT was still broadcasting (around RNI’s shows) so we could say a proper “farewell” to the HOT listeners. We assumed the launch of RNI would mean the end for all land-based pirates for an unforeseen amount of time, so we wanted to say goodbye in a way fitting of The HOT One – loudly, over three nights. We told the listeners to “watch the news, read the papers – we’ll be back”. Both the print and broadcast media were already covering RNI at saturation level, so we knew the listeners would connect the dots and make the connection eventually.Hank and Jim hit the RNI airwaves with another six-hour test show the evening of July 27th (the plan was to continue with the 6PM to Midnight schedule until launching full 24-hour broadcasts on August 1). As luck would have it, this was at the moment that the press coverage was reaching it’s height. Everyone was running around trying to take it all in, while at the same time worrying about what the FCC’s next move would be. I was busy working the phones like a madman and preparing to do MY first show, which was scheduled for the next evening on the 28th.Instead, July 28, 1987 would become a day that would live in underground radio infamy…

Allan went on to buy a small Radio Station with a License from the FCC in Maine.  I don’t know what happenned to him after that.  I also lost touch with Randy many years ago, last I heard he had moved up to around Bethel, NY near the old Woodstock Festival site.  I had no participation in Pirate Radio after around 1978 or so.  I missed being Arrested on the Sarah with Randy and Allan and Joseph Paul, although I did have the chance to go out with them, which sadly I turned down. Hadda be the experience of a Lifetime. My life had gone in another direction by then though.

When the film Pump Up the Volume came out,  it was Jaw  Dropping for me.  So much of that story came from what we did in the 70s it was incredible.  I am pretty sure whoever wrote that had contact with Allan and Joseph Paul at least, if not Randy also.

Pirate Radio had many similarities to today’s Blogosphere, though it was even more “edgy” since much of it was explicitly Illegal, at least under administrative laws.  In fact, the FCC rarely successfully prosecuted any Pirates, and the smaller ones generally had such sparse listenership it wasn’t worth the expense to try to track them down.  Certainly the dramatization in the film Pump Up the Volume is Hollywood Fiction, but it was a fun movie nonetheless, especially for anyone who was involved in Pirate Radio of the era.

Pirates were fighting very much the same battle against Corporate Control of the Media then that Bloggers fight against the MSM now.  At the time, Clear Channel Communications was busy buying up every Radio Station in the country with the same packaged Playlists and syndicated Jocks like Casey Casem and Talk  Show Hosts like Don Imus.  Alternative music only made it onto some College Stations and the Pirates.  Far as Newz Commenters on the radio in any way deviating from the Konsumerist Message, they became nonexistent and are so to this day.

The internet has changed this dynamic again, with the Podcasts, the Livestreams, the You Tube Channels and of course the Blogosphere.  We do have a chance here again to get the Message Out.  I am glad here as I near the end of my years walking the Earth to do once again what I did in my youth so many years ago now in a short career as a Pirate Radio Disk Jockey and Talk Show Host.  I once again have the chance to….

PUMP UP THE VOLUME ON THE DOOMSTEAD DINER!

RE

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