After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, none of us here in the United States were sure if we’d ever be able to laugh or smile again or repeatedly submerge a teenager dressed up as a foreign enemy we used to give weapons to. That’s why this city’s former mayor, H.E. White, came up with the idea of the Terrorist Dunking Booth in 2002 for the annual Spring Carnival. We all had lots of fun throwing that baseball at the target and sending poor Brian Deezen into the freezing water below, not even giving him time to readjust his Osama bin Laden costume beard or listen to his rational plea that we switch him out with another teenager dressed up as a Saudi royal.
But just as we started to make plans for a second dunkee dressed up like Saddam Hussein who could alternate with Brian’s Osama for the 2003 Spring Carnival, the American Civil Liberties Union got wind of the Terrorist Dunking Booth and shut it down. There was a silver lining, though: before he left office in 2005, Mayor White received a lovely letter from Vice President Dick Cheney, who thanked him for creating a slightly more humane yet still effective alternative to waterboarding.
Now it’s a new decade, and after some intense discussions with the ACLU I’ve managed to bring the Terrorist Dunking Booth back to the Spring Carnival! I had to make a few concessions, however:
1) “Terrorist” is now defined as anything that terrorizes people. If you can find a way to physically manifest “mortgage payments,” “social networking,” “a complete and utter lack of job prospects,” “wasted youth,” “the mere thought of people taking Sarah Palin seriously,” “car alarms,” “racist, homophobic thugs who masquerade as government watchdogs,” or “Matt Wardlaw” in the form of a dunkable teenager, go for it!
2) If teenagers dressed up as Iraqi terrorists are to be dunked, then we’re also required to dunk DVDs of movies set during the Iraq war that no one wanted to see in theaters. Prepare to get wet, Body of Lies, In the Valley of Elah, The Men Who Stare at Goats, The Lucky Ones, Stop-Loss, Brothers, and Best Picture winner The Hurt Locker! And if anyone has a bootlegged DVD of Green Zone that they bought on the streets of New York right after it hit cinemas earlier this month, bring that along too.
3) In spite of popular demand, Brian Deezen is now 25 years old and can no longer be dunked. For one thing, the 2002 Spring Carnival made the former honor student and ex-Ivy League prospect deathly afraid of water. Now his mother has to knock him unconscious with powerful sedatives before she can bathe him once every fortnight. Sad, sad story, but don’t look at me — I wasn’t mayor back then. I was just the winner of the 2002 Spring Carnival’s Most Valuable Dunker Award. One hundred and three dunks in only four hours! What a day!
Speaking of fanatical behavior, I might be receiving some angry complaints and/or threats from P.M. Dawn enthusiasts because of this week’s featured bootleg, the eclectic hip-hop duo’s unreleased 2000 album “Fucked Music.” There are only a limited number of copies in existence, and to the fans who have the actual CD I’d like to say, “Fantastic! You own a collector’s item.” But for casual fans who haven’t heard much about P.M. Dawn since 1998’s Dearest Christian, I’m So Very Sorry for Bringing You Here. Love, Dad, their follow-up album with the less church-friendly title may come as a complete surprise. At the risk of sounding blasphemous, if God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, can’t the chosen ones of the P.M. Dawn fan club give their less fortunate online brethren a gift as well?
Think of “Fucked Music” as P.M. Dawn’s attention-grabbing “mixtape,” only it arrived at the end of their string of studio albums rather than the beginning. The audio on the MP3s I was given isn’t perfect — some digital pops and hiccups can be detected — and I accidentally deleted the final track, “Hope,” though it only amounts to a few seconds of silence, a riddle like the title track of Sly & the Family Stone’s There’s a Riot Goin’ On.
Is there really no chance of “Fucked Music” getting a proper release? There’s also the matter of “The Jim Sullivan Syndrome,” a full-length originally set to debut in 2003. It was preceded in the fall of ’02 by a single, “Amnesia,” one of the best soul songs I heard all decade — P.M. Dawn’s MC, Prince Be, is a good rapper, but he’s a great singer — but 2003 came and went without any new album in stores.
So, for anyone who’s been jonesing to hear new music from P.M. Dawn since the twilight of the ’90s but didn’t realize any existed, here it is. I’ve also included “Amnesia” since it’s no longer available for purchase — and because a song this transporting deserves to be heard. But all of P.M. Dawn’s studio albums, as well as a best-of compilation and the self-released Greatest Hits Live, are available at iTunes, so please throw down some money there when you get a chance.
Prince Be could probably use the financial help: according to P.M. Dawn’s DJ, Doc G (he replaced DJ Minutemix in 2006), at pmdawnonline.com, Be had a stroke on July 4, 2008, and another one seven months later. (His first major health scare came in 1992, when he was diagnosed with diabetes after falling into a coma for three days.) He suffered his first stroke in 2005 and is now on dialysis; additionally, Be’s right leg was amputated below the knee due to a gangrene infection that cropped up after his 2009 stroke.
Stay Away From Me
In My Dreamz
Slowly But Surely
Don’t Make Me Lie to You
I Can See Myself
Uoy Rof Flesym Etah I